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Ag Industry Brief: Cannabis News from Four States, World Bank Funds Ag Innovation, FDA in Hot Water Over Recalls, more

January 5, 2018

California Cannabis Regulations Do More Than Just Legalize

On January 1, California became the latest state to legalize cannabis and the largest market for legal recreational cannbis use. Dispensaries staffed by ‘bud-tenders’ are now serving clients up and down the Pacific Coast, but aspects of its regulatory framework set the state apart from its regional counterparts. The new laws clear records of previous drug offenses no longer considered criminal and allow individuals convicted of cannabis-related crimes to enter the industry. Read more.

Massachusetts Schedules Hearings on Final Regulatory Framework for Legal Cannabis

Legal cannabis sales could come to the Bay State as soon as July 1, 2018. Last year, the legislators debated over how best to regulate the industry; now the state may be the first to permit ‘social uses’ of cannabis, allowing for use of the drug in certain public places. The Cannabis Control Commission must have regulations in place by March 15, 2018; public hearings are scheduled across the state in February. Read more.

Washington State Delays Transition to Seed-to-Sale Tracking

In June 2017, Washington State announced it would implement Leaf Data Systems to monitor licensed cannabis businesses throughout the supply chain starting January 1, 2018. The state had been working with BioTrackTHC but negotiations reached a halt last fall. Now, the state has delayed implementation of Leaf Data until February 1, causing concern in the industry at large. Read more.

New Jersey Could See $1 billion in Revenue from Legal Cannabis

Estimates from a New Jersey law firm suggest the state could stand to gain substantial revenue by legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. Through sales taxes, licensing and permitting fees, the industry could boost the state budget by $1 billion. New Jersey’s new governor, Phil Murphy, supports the move to legalize but has yet to outline a regulatory plan. Read more.

Jeff Sessions Move to End Obama-Era Cannabis Policy Likely to Slow Investment

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced this week that he intends to roll back federal policy that protected states where cannabis is legal from federal enforcement and prosecution of the drug’s sale and use. The move allows federal authorities and US attorneys to address cannabis-related crimes and cases as they see fit, upsetting state control over the industry and driving a potential slow down in investment. Read more

Applications Open for Iowa AgriTech Accelerator 2018 Cohort

The Des Moines, Iowa-based AgriTech Accelerator is accepting applications until April 2 for its 2018 cohort. The program is looking for early-stage companies with an idea, intellectual property, or prototype for agricultural innovation. Alongside funding and mentorship, the accelerator provides a residency at a local extended-stay facility and graduates its class during the World Food Prize when industry and academic leaders descend on Des Moines. Read more.

Amazon VP Stephenie Landry to Oversee Amazon Fresh and Amazon Restaurants

The vice president of Amazon, Stephenie Landry, launched the express delivery service Prime Now in 2014. Now, she leads Amazon Fresh and Amazon Restaurants, two additional delivery platforms, which serve the grocery and restaurant industries respectively. Landry maintains that her oversight of the additional services doesn’t suggest a coming consolidation, but rather is an effort to ‘develop as many efficiencies as possible.’ Read more.

Morocco to Receive $200 Million from World Bank to Promote Agrifood Innovation

The World Bank approved a loan to Morocco for general support to the Kingdom’s agricultural sector, which accounts for 15% of the economy. The loan will focus on integrating and streamlining the supply chain, building infrastructure for value-added products, and strengthening the market for small- and medium-sized producers and businesses. Read more.

The FDA Slow to Remove Tainted Foods from Shelves

Federal Investigators revealed that the Food and Drug Administration tends to drag its feet when it comes to removing contaminated food from grocery store shelves. On average, food companies took 57 days to recall items after the F.D.A. knew about potential hazards. Deficiencies in oversight and monitoring of recalls, alongside timeliness, were among the failings investigators identified. Read more.

Other News That’s Fit to Chew

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