AOAC International, an independent nonprofit standards development organization has announced the appointment of Dr. Katerina (Kate) Mastovska as their new deputy executive director and chief science officer.
Most recently, Dr. Mastovska served as chief science officer for the Eurofins US Food Division. She has been an active member of AOAC for almost twenty years, winning the Harvey W. Wiley Award in 2021, their highest scientific honor. “I’m delighted to join the AOAC staff and lead the team of dedicated scientists,” says Dr. Mastovska. “AOAC has a critical role in food safety, and I’m inspired to continue to be a part of this important work.”
AOAC International works actively in the cannabis industry through their Cannabis Analytical Science Program (CASP), a working group established in 2019 that is dedicated to developing standardized methods in cannabis testing. In the world of cannabis lab testing, AOAC International creates standards under the standard method performance requirements (SMPR®) moniker, which are detailed descriptions of what analytical methods should be able to do.
More recently, CASP launched their own proficiency testing program last year and launched their first round, shipping samples to labs across the country in the Fall.
The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection approved nine licenses for dispensaries to commence adult use sales on Tuesday, January 10. While nine were approved, just seven began adult use sales today. Connecticut also launched its “Clean Slate & Cannabis Erasure” website, as the state’s Clean Slate bill went into effect on January 1, effectively erasing thousands of cannabis convictions.
Connecticut’s legislature voted to legalize cannabis back in 2021. On June 17, 2021, Governor Ned Lamont signed the bill into law, marking the beginning of the state’s journey of building a legal adult use cannabis market that culminates today.
In a speech he delivered on January 9, 2023, Governor Lamont told reporters that the bill eliminating past convictions makes a big difference. “Under a new state law that went into effect on January 1, our administration has marked 43,754 low-level cannabis convictions as erased,” the Governor tweeted, alongside a video of his speech. “An old conviction for possession should not hold someone back from pursuing their career, housing, professional, and education aspirations.”
At the ZenLeaf Meriden dispensary, one of the nine retailers authorized to commence sales, politicians, stakeholders, the press and customers met outside of the store for a news conference at 9 a.m., shortly before the store opened for business an hour later. Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz delivered a speech at the news conference where she celebrated the occasion, shared details on the launch and emphasized the importance of “not losing sight of a very robust medical program.”
In a video shared by WFSB, Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz said they are requiring all businesses to have a “medical preservation plan” to ensure safe, adequate and fair access for patients continues as the adult use market opens up. Part of that plan is a state-mandated cap of ¼ ounce of cannabis for all adult use purchases to make sure inventory remains available for patients.
On December 29 just before the end of 2022, New York officially launched legal adult use sales in the state, but at only one location. The nonprofit dispensary Housing Works Cannabis Co. held a grand opening party complete with music, speeches from politicians and regulators and very, very long lines.
Chris Alexander, executive director of the New York Office of Cannabis Management (NYOCM), had the honor of making the first legal purchase, a pack of gummies and an eighth of flower, at the dispensary on the afternoon of December 29. “It’s been a lot of work that’s come to get us to this point,” Alexander told reporters on location. “We do have a lot more work to do, a lot more stores to open.”
New York originally legalized adult use cannabis in early 2021. Following almost two years of setbacks, missed deadlines and failed promises, the state just barely met one deadline: opening a dispensary in 2022. Governor Kathy Hochul has previously said that twenty stores would be doing business before the end of 2022. According to NPR, 36 dispensaries have been licensed, the NYOCM has another 139 licenses they need to issue and there are roughly 900 applicants that are still waiting.
To many in the cannabis space, New York is expected to become a massive boon to the country’s cannabis economy. It is just taking a bit longer than expected to materialize. Roy Bingham, CEO of BDSA predicts it will be the second largest contributor to growth in cannabis sales through 2026, just behind Florida. “With nearly 15 million residents over the age of 21 and tens of millions more tourists visiting the state annually, New York is one of the most exciting cannabis opportunities in 2023,” says Bingham. “Despite some expected growing pains in the early years, the market is expected to be the second largest contributor to sales growth through 2026, following Florida.” More dispensaries in New York are expected to open their doors in the early weeks of 2023.
In another second-place finish, New York follows New Jersey as the second state in the tri-state area to legalize adult use sales. New Jersey launched its market in April of 2022.
Election Day in 2022 has come and gone and as the dust settles, it looks like voters favored cannabis legalization in some states, but failed to pass muster with other key ballot initiatives. While we wait to see the final tallies for which party will gain congressional power in the United States, we can safely call the cannabis legalization ballot initiatives.
In Maryland, voters overwhelmingly passed a legislatively-referred ballot question to legalize cannabis for adults. Question 4 passed with a clear 65.5% margin. The General Assembly gets to decide a sales tax rate for all cannabis sales following the question’s approval.
With 89% of the votes reported, Missouri’s Amendment 3 appears to have passed muster with a 53.1% margin. Amendment 3 legalizes cannabis for adults and sets a 6% sales tax rate. Notably, it also expunges convictions non-violent cannabis-related offenses.
Arkansas’s Issue 4, which would have legalized adult use cannabis and instated a 10% cannabis sales tax, lost by well over 100,000 votes. With 95% of the votes being reported, it appears that only 45.1% of voters in North Dakota backed cannabis legalization. South Dakota’s population struck down cannabis legalization with a 52.9% majority.
Last week, Uber Eats and Leafly announced a partnership to begin cannabis deliveries in Toronto. Adults in Toronto can now place orders from licensed cannabis dispensaries through the Uber Eats app, delivered to them by the cannabis retailer. This marks the first time cannabis deliveries are possible on major delivery platforms.
General Manager of Uber Eats Canada Lola Kassim says their investments in delivery growth in Canada are paying off with deals like this. “We are partnering with industry leaders like Leafly to help retailers offer safe, convenient options for people in Toronto to purchase legal cannabis for delivery to their homes, which will help combat the illegal market and help reduce impaired driving,” says Kassim. “Over the last few years, we have invested heavily in our delivery business and selection has expanded tremendously. Uber Eats has grown quickly to become a versatile platform usable by diverse businesses large and small.”
Currently, Uber Eats Canada is working with three dispensaries: Hidden Leaf Cannabis, Minerva Cannabis and Shivaa’s Rose. Marissa and Dale Taylor, owners of Hidden Leaf, say this deal allows their small business to expand their reach and grow their business across the city.
Meanwhile, much further south in Florida, Circle K and Green Thumb industries have reached a deal offer up their gas station convenience stores in Florida as retail space for cannabis dispensaries.
Circle K is a massive global convenience store chain with 600 locations in Florida. The partnership they signed will allow Green Thumb to set up shop in ten of those locations beginning next year.
However, Florida regulators have stepped in and told reporters that they have not approved the deal. “This project has not been approved by the State,” a Florida Health Department spokesperson told the Washington Examiner. “Florida has never approved a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center to operate out of a gas station.”
Earlier this month, ASTM International announced that the D37 cannabis committee has approved four new standards for the cannabis industry. Just a few days ago, the same organization announced the development of a new standard that will be published soon.
According to a press release, the four new standards that are already approved will help those working in the cannabis space, as well as regulators and consumers. The four new approved standards are as follows:
D8375: This standard provides a method to establish cannabinoid content in cannabis and hemp samples. ASTM member Garnet McRae says, “the standard will help ensure products are labeled properly in jurisdictions where they are legally produced and sold.”
D8399: This standard “will aid laboratories in analyzing cannabis and hemp samples to establish pesticide concentration levels – or lack thereof – to ensure products meet regulatory requirements within appropriate jurisdictions,” reads the press release.
D8442: This standard aids stakeholders in the cannabis supply chain with quality control measurements. It provides a method for testing terpenes and cannabinoid levels using gas chromatography.
D8469: This one provides a new metals testing method for cannabis using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).
David Vaillencourt will be discussing standards and more at the Cannabis Quality Conference on October 17. The fifth standard that ASTM International announced this week is D8439. This one is designed “to support sound and reproducible research” by providing specifications for medicinal-use cannabis flower. ASTM member David Vaillencourt says it will help establish consistent testing for safety and quality. “With a fragmented cannabis industry marketplace, there is no common set of requirements around reporting cannabinoids and terpenes, which are the primary constituents that are linked to therapeutic benefits,” says Vaillencourt. “This lack of consistency harms public health and prevents evaluation of product safety and efficacy across jurisdictions. This standard provides a solution to this problem.”
On the afternoon of October 6, President Biden issued a statement that many would call an October Surprise. Biden announced a three-part plan addressing cannabis reform, taking the first steps since he has taken office to address his campaign promise of tackling cannabis prohibition.
In his speech, Biden laid out the three steps he will take: First, he is pardoning all prior federal offenses for simple cannabis possession. Second, he is calling on all governors to do the same for state-level offenses. Thirdly, he announced that he is initiating a federal review of the current Schedule 1 status of cannabis.
Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. Hear from @POTUS on the three steps he is taking to right these wrongs. pic.twitter.com/IqOxHxjgue
As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.
Today, I am announcing three steps that I am taking to end this failed approach.
First, I am announcing a pardon of all prior Federal offenses of simple possession of marijuana. I have directed the Attorney General to develop an administrative process for the issuance of certificates of pardon to eligible individuals. There are thousands of people who have prior Federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result. My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.
Second, I am urging all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses. Just as no one should be in a Federal prison solely due to the possession of marijuana, no one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason, either.
Third, I am asking the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances. This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic.
Finally, even as federal and state regulation of marijuana changes, important limitations on trafficking, marketing, and under-age sales should stay in place.
Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana. It’s time that we right these wrongs. – President Joe Biden
PARSIPPANY, NJ, October 17, 2022 – The Cannabis Quality Conference & Expo (CQC) just announced the newest addition to the event’s agenda. Commissioner Maria Del Cid-Kosso of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission will deliver a keynote presentation at 1:00 PM EST on Monday, October 17.
Commissioner Del Cid is an inaugural commissioner of the NJ Cannabis Regulatory Commission, the government body overseeing regulating the state’s new cannabis industry. Prior to being appointed by Governor Phil Murphy in February of 2021, she was the Director of Policy and Legislative Services at the New Jersey Department of Health. She was awarded the Union County Women of Excellence Award in Government, the Hazel Frank Gluck Award from the Eagleton Institute of Politics, Urban League of Union County Young Professionals Award in Government, and has been recognized as Insider NJ’s 2021 Top 6 Millennial; Insider’s 100 Cannabis Leaders; Insider’s 50 under 30; and Insider’s Top 100 Millennials (2018, 2019, and 2020).
Following Commissioner Del Cid’s keynote presentation, a panel discussion on The Future of East Coast Cannabis: Social Equity, Justice & Legalization will take place in the afternoon. Following that will be a panel on The Standardization State of the Union: Science-Based Resources for Driving Cannabis Safety with an overview of the New Jersey cannabis marketplace to end the first day.
The second day will kick off with a Keynote titled Centering Equity in Cannabis Policy, Quality & Business with Toi Hutchinson, President & CEO at Marijuana Policy Project. Other agenda highlights include:
The State of the State: An Update on New Jersey Legalization by Steven M. Schain, Esquire, Attorney at Smart-Counsel, LLC
Tri-State Cannabis: Pro Tips for Winning Applications by Sumer Thomas, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Russ Hudson, Project Manager at Canna Advisors
Navigating Cannabis Testing Regulations for Multi-State Operations by Michael Kahn, President & Founder of MCR Labs
Keynote by Edmund DeVeaux, President of the New Jersey Cannabusiness Association
A Guide to Infusion Technology | Design Experiences that Inspire and Innovate with Cannabis Ingredients by Austin Stevenson, Chief Innovation Officer at Vertosa
Valuable Analysis Ahead of Asset Acquisition by Matthew Anderson, CEO of Vanguard Scientific
Cannabis industry professionals also interested in the food industry can attend the Food Safety Consortium, which begins on Wednesday, October 19 – Friday, October 21.
About Cannabis Industry Journal
Cannabis Industry Journal is a digital media community for cannabis industry professionals. We inform, educate and connect cannabis growers, extractors, processors, infused products manufacturers, dispensaries, laboratories, suppliers, vendors and regulators with original, in-depth features and reports, curated industry news and user-contributed content, and live and virtual events that offer knowledge, perspectives, strategies and resources to facilitate an informed, legalized and safe cannabis marketplace.
About the Cannabis Quality Conference & Expo
The Cannabis Quality Conference & Expo is an educational and networking event for the cannabis industry that has cannabis safety, quality and regulatory compliance as the foundation of the educational content of the program. With a unique focus on science, technology, safety and compliance, the “CQC” enables attendees to engage in conversations that are critical for advancing careers and organizations alike. Delegates visit with exhibitors to learn about cutting-edge solutions, explore three high-level educational tracks for learning valuable industry trends, and network with industry executives to find solutions to improve quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness in the evolving cannabis industry.
According to a press release sent out today, ASTM International’s D37 cannabis committee has approved three new standards for environmental conditions during packaging, shipping and storing cannabis and hemp flower. The three new standards are:
Standard Specification for Environmental Conditions for Post Packaged Storage and Retail Merchandising of Cannabis/Hemp Flower (soon to be published as D8423);
Standard Specification for Environmental Conditions While In-Transit for Packaged Cannabis/Hemp Flower (soon to be published as D8432); and
Standard Specification for Environmental Conditions While Packaging Cannabis/Hemp Flower (D8450).
ASTM members will be presenting at the Cannabis Quality Conference & Expo, October 17-19 in New Jersey. Click here for more information. Jonathan DeVries, a member of ASTM, says these standards are designed for the entire cannabis supply chain, from cultivation, manufacturing and transportation all the way to the end consumers. “These standards are designed to support the safety and quality of packaged cannabis and hemp flower as it moves through the supply chain,” says DeVries. “This includes the activities following curing and drying, namely packaging, transit, and storage, until it reaches the final end user.”
In that press conference last year, Sen. Booker emphasized the need to address social equity and restorative justice, laying out the foundation for what would soon be called the most comprehensive piece of cannabis legislation so far.
According to the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), the bill succeeds in doing that, offering a number of provisions that would help those most impacted by cannabis prohibition, offer funding for equity programs, support for minorities in the cannabis market and more. “The CAO Act represents a giant leap forward in federal cannabis policy by outlining the most meaningful solutions to address issues facing minority cannabis businesses we’ve seen in a federal legalization bill to-date,” says Kaliko Castille, president of MCBA.
Notable provisions in the bill also include:
Removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act scheduling entirely.
Allows states to implement their own policies without the federal government interfering.
Allows cannabis businesses access to financial services, removes the threat of 280E tax code impacting normal business deductions.
Regulatory responsibility would fall under the authority of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Immediate expungement for prior cannabis convictions and cancellation of any sentencing for those incarcerated for cannabis.
Raise allowable THC content in hemp from 0.3% to 0.7%.
Sets up a pilot program with the Small Business Administration (SBA) for minority-owned and economically disadvantaged cannabis businesses.
High taxes: Up to a 25% federal excise tax on top of state cannabis taxes.
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