This week’s regulatory compliance updates are from April 23rd to April 29th.
In federal news, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a statement that clarified that the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill rendered the importation of hemp seeds legal. The USDA held that the DEA “no longer has authority to require hemp seed permits for import purposes.”
Additionally, the USDA announced last Wednesday that hemp cultivators can officially apply for intellectual property protection for seed-propagated hemp, making the newly legal crop part of an existing program. This will allow farmers to prohibit others from marketing their variety of the plant.
In payments news, PayPal Inc.’s Q1 2019 lobbying report, the company added the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 to its list of lobbying efforts in Congress. The lobbying effort supports allowing cannabis businesses to have access to banking services and signals a change in the way the tech giant treats businesses in the cannabis industry.
In Arizona, the Department of Agriculture is establishing regulations for the emerging industrial hemp industry. The introduction of hemp has the state’s medical cannabis growers concerned about cross pollination. Cannabis and hemp may be part of the same plant family, but, as many of you know, they are two very different plants. Farmers are asking for a 10-mile buffer zone and the rules are expected by May 31st.
California regulators cracked down on two unlicensed cannabis businesses recently. The first business was “110 Medical” and second was “Enrique’s Connection”. These were both unlicensed cannabis retailers located in Los Angeles.
In Michigan, the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board conducted its last meeting on April 25th. The four-member panel tabled several applications, leaving the final determinations to its successor, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency, which started conducting the licensing process internally on April 30th.
Also in Michigan, the Department of Treasury has issued a Revenue Administrative Bulletin, which updates the Marijuana Provisioning Center Tax and Sales and Use Tax Treatment of Marijuana.
In New Mexico, hemp legislation was signed into law earlier this month. The legislation authorizes multiple state agencies to regulate the industry and also allows federally recognized Native American communities to develop their own regulations and licensing procedures. As of April 15th, the Department of Agriculture has issued 93 hemp-growing licenses and had 38 applications pending.
In Oregon, the senate moved forward with a plan to limit the state’s supply of recreational, legal cannabis. Lawmakers voted 18 to 10 on April 22nd to freeze cannabis production at current levels for the next two years. The state will not issue new production licenses to cannabis growers, but current growers will be able to renew their licenses. The measure now goes to the House for consideration.