USDA plans hemp survey • Colorado adopts equity rules • Maine’s first sales • New Jersey cannabis vote draws $1.3M • & more…


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USDA plans to survey thousands of hemp producers. 

The USDA has published a notice in the Federal Register indicating that it plans to conduct a “survey of hemp producers and production trends,” as it is “necessary to develop an understanding of the industry across the country.” There is a 60-day public comment window on this proposal. 

The plan is for the University of Kentucky to develop the survey and for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture to administer it through the individual state departments. The USDA estimates that 18,000 hemp producers will respond. 

The survey’s first section will ask about “production location, licensed acreage, planted acreage, and harvested acreage by end-use.”

The second section will ask about “production costs and practices” and “dives deeper into the production costs for hemp and asks specific questions about the types of hemp.” The types of data would include “input costs including seed, labor, fertilizer, licensing fees, and testing.”

The third section will look at “contracting and marketing practices,” including “farmgate pricing by end use, contract usage, contract structure, and storage.”

And the final section will gather demographic information. 

New Jersey adult use supporters and opponents have spent $1.3 million. 

So far, three groups focused on next month’s adult use vote in New Jersey have raised (and spent) money, according to a report released this week by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. This is the first report that reveals who is spending on the issue and how much. 

The two groups in favor are: Building Stronger Communities Action Fund Inc. ($700,100) and NJ CAN 2020 ($574,558). The group opposed is: Don’t Let NJ Go to Pot Inc. ($9,688). The total raised comes to $1,284,346.

The Scotts Company (Scotts Miracle-Gro) gave every penny raised by the first pro fund (except for $100) and $100,000 to the second fund. Its total contribution came to $800,000 of the total. 

(According to ELEC, Scotts also spent $180,000 on lobbying between 2017-2019, as the legislature was considering legalization, just before they kicked the question to voters.)

The second top donor on the pro side is the ACLU of New Jersey, which gave the second pro fund $323,446.

The executive director of ELEC noted in the report that this raise is historic. 

“Unlike states like California, which have laws that make it easy to put public questions before voters,just a handful of New Jersey referendum elections have drawn heavy spending,” said Jeff Brindle. “Whether or not this year’s ballot question election turns out to be a true blockbuster in terms of funds spent, early reports show it already is among the top ten ballot questions in the state’s history.”

+ More: Read Cannabis Wire’s recent coverage of the forthcoming vote here.

Maine’s first (long) weekend of adult use cannabis sales. 

Nearly four years after voters approved adult use cannabis at the ballot box, Maine’s adult use sales officially launched on October 9. The total from the long weekend? $258,411.58. 

That’s from 6,430 transactions, yielding the state $25,841.16 in taxes. 

If you’re thinking that’s low: yes, it is. The entire state (and it’s a big-ish state) has 1.3 million residents. If you look at the first three days of adult use sales in, say, Illinois (population 12.7 million), which launched in January of this year, it’s the following: 

• Day 1: $3,176,256.71 (77,128 transactions)

• Day 2: $2,252,586.51 (56,762 transactions)

• Day 3: $2,209,065.01 (55,161 transactions)

Colorado adopts permanent rules on residency requirements and social equity. 

On October 9, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division filed permanent rules, including those on HB20-1080, which eliminates the residency requirements for employees of licensed cannabis businesses, and HB20-1424, a bill aimed at providing “direction and authority” to create a social equity program. These rules will take effect on January 1. 

+   More: Read Cannabis Wire’s extensive coverage of Colorado’s efforts to establish a social equity program herehere, and here.

Supreme Court says no to cannabis rescheduling case.

As we noted in our newsletter last week, the US Supreme Court was deciding whether to review and move forward to hear Washington v. Barr. A group of plaintiffs filed their appeal in July 2020, which challenged the constitutionality of the federal criminalization of cannabis. Specifically, its place on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

This week, the Court decided no. You can see that decision here.

France’s medical cannabis experiment takes a big step forward.

The government issued a decree last week that marks the official OK for the country’s medical cannabis pilot program, in which 3,000 patients could participate. 

+   More: In case you missed it, Cannabis Wire has been covering the path to this point in France. We also published a deep-dive on cannabis pilot programs taking place across Europe.

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