CVS Strikes CBD Deal with Curaleaf
CBD may be coming to a CVS near you. Towards the end of March, CVS expressed that they have entered into a Distribution deal with Curaleaf, a cannabis company based out of Massachusetts. This move comes shortly after the U.S passed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, which federally legalized Hemp and select hemp derived products (see our article on the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, here). Curaleaf offers a variety of marijuana and hemp derived products such as vape oils, concentrates, flower, topicals, transdermal patches, as well as a variety of orally consumed products. While the company does offer products with both THC and CBD options, CVS will only be carrying select CBD products such as transdermal patches and lotions/topicals.
As of now CVS will only be carrying CBD products at 800 stores in 10 different states, including but not limited to, California, Colorado, Illinois, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee. The company expressed that they are going to move slow with the program, but if it successful it is likely that we will see CBD in several more CVS stores and possibly additional states. Walgreens made a similar announcement shortly after, saying it will shelve CBD at 1,500 stores.
San Diego is Looking to Allow Cannabis Consumption Cafes
The City of San Diego is looking at the possibility of allowing cannabis lounges in the near future. In California, there are several jurisdictions that have issued licenses for these ever-elusive cannabis lounges including Palm Springs, San Francisco, Eureka, and West Hollywood (where Green CP successfully obtained one of 8 cannabis consumption Lounge licenses allowing edible, vaporizing, and smoking ingestion methods). While lounge licensing remains sparse, there are several indications that lounge licensing will continue to spread, albeit slowly.
Cannabis Lounge proponents site some deficiencies in current legislation which, among other things, requires consumption of cannabis in privately owned residences. Many tourists are now visiting California to enjoy legal cannabis, but they have no place to legally consume it. San Diego feels that consumption lounges offer a solution by being a socially responsible place for visitors and locals to consume cannabis and cannabis derived products. Additionally, they believe that through offering a hip atmosphere where individuals can participate in the legal cannabis industry, they will deter people from buying from unlicensed black-market dealers, thereby legitimizing the legal cannabis industry in San Diego.
This could be a big win for the city as these lounges will attract scores of visitors. As San Diego continues to consider this possibility, we will keep you updated on the status of the City Council’s decisions governing cannabis consumption lounges.
Track and Trace Implementation for Annual Licensees
As summer approaches, California temporary cannabis licenses that haven’t yet expired are set to expire in the next few months. Currently, the California state agencies regulating cannabis licensing (the BCC, CDFA, & CDPH) have collectively issued around 100 annual licenses, but there are still thousands of operators operating under Temporary licenses. California law requires all annual cannabis licensees to register and maintain compliance with California’s Track and Trace system METRC, but temporary licensees are not required to do so. This has led to some confusion between annual licensees who conduct transactions with temporary license holders who have not implemented the States Track and Trace system.
Since temporary licensees do not have access to METRC, annual licensees have to pick up the slack by entering manual shipping information into the state’s online system. This creates more work for the annual licensees, as well as an inefficiency in tracking and tracing the product from seed-to-sale as data must be recorded from offline transaction documentation. With thousands of temporary licenses set to expire, cannabis businesses throughout California are hopeful that the state can begin issuing annual licenses more expeditiously so as to resolve the current issues relating to track and trace implementation.
SAFE Banking Act
At the end of February, we released an article discussing the Safe Banking Act (see here), which among other things would allow cannabis businesses and employees to obtain legitimate banking services. This offers both financial security and safety, as individuals will be able to safely store their large cash volumes as well as obtain loans to help complete projects. Additionally, it would add transparency to a murky industry by incorporating an accountable way to track transactions.
Recently, The Safe Banking Act has gained a lot of momentum as it won the House Financial Service Committee’s approval on March 28th and is now advancing to the House Floor for further consideration. To date, this is the most significant and supported banking bill to be introduced at the federal level. If approved, this bill would be a huge victory for the cannabis industry. We will be following this one closely so keep an eye out for an article these coming weeks.