Happy Holidays! However you celebrate (or if you don’t), we hope this season brings you prosperity and happiness.
Cannabis saw huge wins this year, especially in the mid-term elections and things aren't slowing downing. There is already a plethora of great cannabis bills introduced across the country for 2019, which we give a quick snapshot of below.
Oregon is no exception, ORCA is working on 5 major policy bills for the industry. If you like what we are working on please consider joining our 350 current member businesses and help us succeed in the 2019 legislature. Simply, the more members we have the stronger we are, the louder our voice is, and the more likely we are to win.
To those who are getting our newsletter for the first time - welcome, we hope that you enjoy it. With that let's get started...
Oregon Update -
The November Election - was terrific for Oregon's cannabis industry with six Oregon cities voting to legalize recreational cannabis businesses. Democrats won super-majorities in the House and Senate and we have strong supporters in party leadership positions. There are a lot of challenges before us but 2019 is looking really good for cannabis legislation in Oregon.
Additionally, Rep. Carl Wilson was elected as Minority Leader by the House Republicans. Wilson served on the "Joint Committee" for its duration and understands the importance of cannabis to Oregon's Economy. With a Republican leader who understands the nuance to cannabis policy, we are in a strong position of achieving our goals.
2019 Legislative Session - ORCA representatives have been stumping for our policy priorities in Salem. And We are working with our alliance partners to educate elected officials and staff about the policy needs of the cannabis industry and build support for the change we all want.
ORCA's major focus (as we have noted) is on passing bills for:
- Automatic expungement of cannabis convictions
- Legal cannabis export
- Fixing social consumption
- Ending employment discrimination for off-hours cannabis use
- Tackling unnecessary and expensive regulatory burdens relating to manifests, transportation, delivery, storage, and B2B sampling.
If you haven't signed the petition yet for legal cannabis export, take a moment right now to sign on at www.onefixcannabis.org.
FYI - We will be hosting a Cannabis Industry Lobby Day March 12 for ORCA members.
Portland Cannabis Criminal Record Expungement
The City of Portland has recently funded the Metropolitan Public Defenders office to provide free expungement services for the public. If you have been harmed by cannabis prohibition email: firstname.lastname@example.org to begin your free analysis.
OLCC licensing news - As of Dec. 19th Oregon has 2086 active licenses an increase of 60 licenses since mid-September. These new licenses break down to 1 Lab, 10 Processors, 15 farms, 24 Retailers, and 12 Wholesalers.
We know that there will be an effort in the legislature this year to give the OLCC the ability to limit the number of licenses granted. We are tracking this effort to make sure it is done right and doesn't hurt the existing industry.
THE OTHER STATES -
1 in 4 Americans now lives in a state where cannabis is fully legal and 68% live in a state with medical cannabis. In total ten states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while 33 states allow medical marijuana. The real question now is not if but when states will go fully legally.
State Cannabis legalization - Is definitely on a roll and picking up speed. The focus of the industry now needs to be on proactively shaping its policies and regulations. We all must be politically engaged to ensure that we get the actual industry we want when everything is said and done.
Federal, and International Updates
The recent election had a massive impact on the potential for cannabis legislation across the country. We are very hopeful that the 2019 session will see significant progress on several fronts in the movement to legalize more broadly, especially if the industry comes together fights hard.
1) Senate Judiciary - Senator Chuck Grassley will step down as Chair to be replaced by Sen Lindsay Graham. Graham, while certainly not a proponent for fully legal cannabis, has co-sponsored several beneficial pieces of legislation (to protect legal markets, reschedule cannabis, and remove CBD from a list of federally banned substances) so it is more likely we will see positive progress as a result of this change.
2) Pete Sessions lost - His bid for re-election in Texas. This is great news for the cannabis industry. While most are familiar with Jeff Sessions (the evil Keebler Elf of the DOJ), Pete Sessions, as the previous chair of the House Rules Committee, consistently killed bipartisan any pro-cannabis measures he could. Getting rid of him is a huge victory let's hope no one picks up his mantle.
3) 2018 Farm Bill - Woo Hoo! It has now passed both House and Senate and is headed to the President’s desk for approval. The long-awaited bill removes industrial hemp from the federal government’s list of controlled substances, making it a lawful agricultural commodity. It also allows states to become the primary regulators of hemp, enables researchers to apply for federal grants and makes the crop eligible for crop insurance. Both farmers and investors are looking forward to a loosening of hemp regulations expecting the market could grow from $800M to $22B in the next four years.
4) The STATES Act - Senator Cory Gardner tried to attach the STATES Act as an amendment to the criminal justice reform bill coming to the Senate floor this week. Although it is a move unlikely to gain more than attention, it is an indicator of the strength of the movement at the federal level going into the 2019 session.
5) The MAPLE Act - Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer filed a bill to make sure we can hang out with our friends and partners in Canada. The new legislation, the Maintaining Appropriate Protections For Legal Entry (MAPLE) Act, would provide exceptions for conduct that “was lawful in the State, Indian Tribe, or foreign country in which the conduct occurred” or that was “subsequently made lawful under the law or regulation of such jurisdiction.” While it is unlikely the proposal will be passed before the end of the current legislative session, it will go to the newly democratic House in the 116th session.
6) Cannabis Economy - A recent report entitled “The National Cannabis Economy” released by Democrats on the Congressional Joint Economic Committee shows that the industry has brought in more than $8 billion in sales in 2017, estimates sales will reach $11 billion this year, and soar to $23 billion by 2022.
Canada - As the global market expands, state-legal markets and cross-border businesses continue to suffer under Federal Prohibition. Several Canadian attendees were banned from attending MJBizcon in Las Vegas, and at least one investor was banned for life. As cannabis stocks continue to multiply, this ongoing uncertainty does provide a drag on the market, trading has been volatile and trending down.
Mexico - As Canada’s market swiftly starts to mature, Mexico has introduced legislation to allow cultivation and sale by private citizens. Although facing some opposition, the MORENA Party (the same as President-Elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador) feels confident the legislation will pass both houses. As currently written, the bill would allow for a commercial, medicinal, and recreational industry as well as a provision for citizens to grow their own. Smoking in public would also be allowed.
Thailand - In a surprise move, Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly announced an intention to become the first country in Asia to cultivate and sell cannabis. They did stress an intention to serve the medical market but are excited about the economic opportunity posed. Thailand will join the growing cohort of nations who have legalized cannabis for medical use including Australia, Germany, and Israel.
ORCA MEMBERS' MEETING with Rep Rachel Prusak (HD37)
ORCA's January 7th Members Meeting will feature guest speaker Representative-Elect Rachel Prusak (HD37). Rep. Prusak won her first legislative election this fall. We have big hopes for her in the legislature but it is important to get her up to speed on cannabis quickly. Please come and share your experiences, concerns, and hopes for the industry with her.
January 2019 ORCA Meeting - Portland, OR
Monday, January 7th, 6:00-8:30pm
*OPEN TO MEMBERS AND INVITED GUESTS ONLY*
Not a member yet, sign up today - Join ORCA!
We'll start with a brief round of introductions and then quickly move through our agenda. Our special guest will speak from 6:45pm to 7:45pm. Folks can then relax and enjoy some casual networking with complimentary food and drinks.
CANNABIS COLLABORATIVE CONFERENCE - FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
The Cannabis CollaborativeConference (CCC) is a rare and valuable experience created “By the industry, for the Industry”. For five years, CCC has brought together education, networking and innovations on the high impact issues. A recent article in the WEED NEWS- outlines why this Conference is more important than ever.
Join the 2,500+ like-minded attendees, to engage in Future of the Industry discussions (Keynote: Across State Lines: A Conversation with the OLCC and LCB.) Connect with thought-leaders to address high-value issues, and network with our carefully curated network of cannabis and ancillary businesses.
NEW! Pitch Contest
CCC & Willamette Week are hosting a joint Pitch Contest. Semi-finalists will have the chance to pitch their company to a panel of investors, who will choose the five finalists to pitch on the Main Stage to close the conference.
As the Oregon and Washington markets mature, business owners concerns are evolving. The CCC includes a mix of presentations and panels focused on the future trends of the industry:
- Hemp/ CBD
- Best Business Practices
- Emerging Markets
- Social Media/ Marketing
- Medical Science
- Social Justice
- OLCC will also be in the hall next door providing Oregon licensees’ rules & reg updates, Q & A booth on-site
- Rule updates and Q&A with OLCC representatives.
- Networking Opportunities - local, national and international.
- Investor speed-dating & Cannabis Connex Lounge
Introductions that Matter
Growers meet Buyers, Investors meet Entrepreneurs, Agencies meet Advocates. We bring together the most diverse audience in the industry and then create opportunities for meeting, networking and learning.
“I have attended the CCC as both a visitor and as a booth exhibitor, and I absolutely love this conference in all ways. The expo floor is full, diverse and energetic AND is organized and licensed with the OLCC to allow exhibitors to show their cannabis products (huge benefit for us!). But not only is this show an expo, but presents multiple and simultaneous break-out seminars that are educational and offer a thorough variety of subjects. This is by far the most educational cannabis conference I attend, and I have been going to a lot! (OMBC, ICBC, CannaCon, etc.)” ~~ Rhea Miller, Millerville Farms
Weekly Wholesale Report
We have attached our weekly wholesale flower report this month. ORCA members get this weekly courtesy of our good friends at CannabisBenchmarks.
Download Full Report!
The driving mission for ORCA and our 350+ member businesses is to create a thriving and respected legal cannabis industry through lobbying, advocacy, and community organizing. Our primary focus is on fixing regulations and statutes to improve the business environment for the industry.
Every new member makes our voice louder, increases our resources, and makes our success more certain. Growing our membership is vital to our ability to make change. Consider forwarding this email, or inviting a friend to the next ORCA meeting. Our accomplishments are a direct reflection of our membership, we rely on you to help us grow.
Members also get a ton of great benefits like promotional opportunities, advertising discounts, urgent policy updates, and access to MAPS credit union bank accounts for licensed businesses anywhere in the state.
That's all for December. Thanks again for following our work, and for your interest in supporting the work our organization does. It truly makes a difference and we appreciate the support.