SBA Nevada tours rural towns, offers support to Fallon businesses

Rural Nevada’s small business scene is thriving.

To further enhance management and opportunities for owners and employers, Nevada’s chapter of the Small Business Administration is offering local businesses tools and support to preserve services within their communities.

Almost 50 local business owners, including City of Fallon and Churchill County officials, gathered at Stockman’s Casino on Wednesday to meet Nevada Administration Director Joseph Amato. The event was hosted by the Churchill Economic Development Authority.

Amato hails from New York and is a former business leader with more than 30 years of experience.

When he was appointed to director, he had five states to choose from.

“From an entrepreneurial standpoint, there are pieces in Nevada that could grow exponentially,” he said. “It could benefit residents and it could grow with the support services we could provide.”

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As director, Amato collaborates with statewide agencies to create more opportunities for small businesses and provide more training in management.

“I’m here to try to make a difference, but I can’t do it without your help,” he said. “I want every business owner, commissioner, politician, and banker to understand that we’re going to do whatever it takes to help you help small business.”

According to a report conducted by CEDA, the authority helped start 13 businesses in Churchill County and create 120 jobs during the course of 12 months.

Amato is collaborating with state government organizations, such as USDA Nevada State Director Philip Cowee, to help bring new prospects to rural businesses with the state and communities, one of the first steps to making a difference, he said.

“The state of Nevada is very lucky to have Amato in this role,” Cowee said. “I think the point is for small businesses to have access to the capital. For me, it’s about getting out to those in rural Nevada and help make a difference with our products or grants.”

Amato and SBA’s new Senior Area Manager Rachel Dahl both moved their offices from Reno to Carson City to work closer with the state.

“I want us to work with the state business and industry program every day,” Amato said. “We’re forging relationships that bring a better service to our small businesses and those who want to be in business.”

Amato said a major concern is that not many local businesses know about what SBA offers. Amato said he toured 277 businesses in Nevada and discovered less than 18 percent know SBA exists.

When Amato met with city managers in Hawthorne on Monday, they discussed the Interstate 11 project; officials said they didn’t have enough childcare for those workers traveling in remote areas. There’s a lack of transportation from outlying areas to get to Hawthorne Army Depot, the town’s largest employer.

Although a private enterprise could help, Amato said he would assist in finding a solution.

“Eighty percent of the driving force behind this country businesswise is from small businesses,” he said.

Amato said banks in Nevada also could do better, such as using more product.

He said SBA Nevada’s top lender achieved 103 loans for local businesses in the state over the course of 12 months, about $24 million, which is not much.

The administration has two main programs, a Loan Guarantee Program and 504 Program for local businesses to consider.

“That’s not a lot at all,” Amato said. “Other competitive states have done more. But you have a lot of statewide banks here that are trying to do better.”

Those in attendance who work with loans found takeaways from Amato’s speech.

“We need to promote small businesses in Fallon,” said Jane Capurro, production manager of Prime Lending, a home loan company. “I have people that call me about small business loans and now, I know what I can do.”

As Nevada is becoming the tech pioneer land of opportunity, Amato said he’s spoken to small businesses in California cities; there are seven businesses that are interested in moving to Nevada, he said.

“Their district director doesn’t mind because they know I’m telling the truth,” he said. “We have a better regulatory environment, a better tax environment, and opportunities for growth are endless here.”

Besides gaming and mining, Amato said one of the most appealing industries drawing businesses to Nevada is medical and recreational marijuana; two Canadian pharmaceutical companies recently moved to Las Vegas for the opportunities, instead of Colorado, California, and other legalized states.

Amato’s last message to the public before leaving Fallon is to spread the word.

“We’re getting the word out together,” he said. “I’m going to do everything in my capacity to bring small businesses to the next level. We are not relevant unless you use us.”

Amato visited Hawthorne and Minden earlier this week, and was headed to Winnemucca on Thursday.

After the meeting, Churchill Economic Development Authority Executive Director Nathan Strong awarded Dahl a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Green Crack, Blue Dream, Gorilla Glue: The problem of pricing pot

NEW YORK (Reuters) – In 2014, as Jonathan Rubin and Ian Laird considered investing in the booming U.S. cannabis industry, they hit a problem: How to value pot starts-ups with little verified data on the price of the weed itself?

FILE PHOTO: Employees prepare recreational marijuana orders for customers at the MedMen store in West Hollywood, California, U.S., January 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

While a smoker may know the going retail price for “Strawberry Diesel” or “Buddha’s Sister”, the sector’s wholesale tier still operates much like a black market because of ongoing federal prohibition, despite legalizations in 30 U.S. states and Washington D.C. since the 1990s.

That left Rubin and Laird puzzled on the investment value of a dispensary, a weed farm or a factory making pot-infused candy. The problem spawned a different investment: The founding of New Leaf Data Services LLC, a Stamford, Conn.-based wholesale price data service that fields reporters to take on the steep challenge of cataloguing going rates.

Started three years ago, New Leaf now publishes weekly benchmark spot prices and forecasts on wholesale indoor-, outdoor-, and greenhouse-grown marijuana for 17 regions with legalization laws.

New Leaf makes money from about 350 pot proprietors and other subscribers who buy reports and custom analytics. It has raised money from investors who want exposure to the cannabis sector without the risk of breaking federal law.

The model is roughly based on S&P Global Platts, a firm where Rubin once worked that researches and publishes wholesale prices for crude oil, fuel and other commodities such as metals or agricultural crops.

The task is much harder for pot, and New Leaf’s experience stalking prices sheds light on the murky trade of what might be the fastest-growing U.S. commodity, sold legally and illegally for untold billions of dollars.

Cannabis firms still deal almost exclusively in cash to avoid a paper trail or because they have almost no access to banks and financial services. Because it’s illegal to transport the drug across state lines, prices and available products vary widely in different regions based on whether a state has both medical and recreational markets and the number of licensed dispensaries and producers.

Last week, spot prices for flower in Alaska were $5,496 per lb, while prices in Colorado and Oregon fell to historic lows of $1,008 and $1,166, respectively, according to New Leaf.

(For a graphic on state marijuana laws and price differences, see: )

Legal pot prices are also impacted by supply and demand fluctuations in the illegal market, and the spread between the two can vary.

In California, regulated market prices are more than $1,000 per lb, whereas prices for illegal weed can be as low as $500 per lb, estimated Scott Davies, a California cultivator. Legal market marijuana tends to be more expensive because supplies are more restricted and because it is taxed.

“Consider each state to be a different country when it comes to their laws, amount of licenses issued, what the qualifying conditions are for entry into their medical program, as well as what the political climate and current illicit market looks like,” said Nic Easley, one of New Leaf’s market consultants.

Easley, a disabled veteran of the U.S. Air Force, said he moved to Colorado in 2006 to use cannabis to ease the pain of injuries. He’s one of New Leaf’s team of a dozen price experts who chase down their market data and intelligence through a network of commercial players and cannabis industry groups, such as the Oregon Retailers of Cannabis Association (ORCA). The data suppliers agree to submit weekly prices anonymously and, in exchange, get discounted subscriptions or other services.


A multi-billion dollar cannabis industry has developed despite federal prohibition, but many executives, farmers and employees are still wary of federal prosecution.

FILE PHOTO: A billboard advertising marijuana in advance of the upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana in San Francisco, California, U.S., December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Christie/File Photo

Davies, a farmer in Humboldt County, California – a region renowned for its premium cannabis – said growers have historically done and still do handshake deals with counterparts vouched for by shared acquaintances. Davies sells directly to dispensaries, essentially relying on the rumor mill to set prices.

“It’s all been word-of-mouth, through people we know and trust who are established players,” he said.

But the market in California – which recently legalized recreational use – is evolving rapidly and becoming more like a traditional industry, with buyers and sellers now sometimes meeting at industry events, Davies said.

Market transparency has seen a boost from heightened regulations as authorities in states like Oregon rolled out legal recreational markets, said Casey Houlihan, head of ORCA.

Under the new rules in that state, dispensaries must purchase cannabis from registered producers, who are required to track their sales and report them to the government. Previously, dispensaries could buy more liberally through a medical marijuana program.

The data New Leaf collects is still fairly rough, and the marijuana market has nothing like national benchmark prices or futures contracts common to other legal commodities trades. There’s no real way for businesses to hedge, and price-setting remains largely guesswork, said Josh Richman, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Franklin BioScience, which grows cannabis and manufactures branded products, such as mints, in Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania.

FILE PHOTO: Different strains of marijuana are seen for sale at Harborside, one of California’s largest and oldest dispensaries of medical marijuana, on the first day of legalized recreational marijuana in Oakland, California, U.S., January 1, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

“There isn’t something where I can sell long or short,” he said.

GRAPHIC: U.S. legalization legislation and regional pot prices –


The retail market is somewhat more transparent, and a pricing service called BDS Analytics runs an online database of more than 140,000 types of pot and pot products. BDS sells pricing and popularity data to retail shop owners.

Roy Bingham, who co-founded BDS Analytics in 2015, is a veteran of the finance and consultancy industries.

“We knew this data is really invaluable for the retail business,” Bingham said. “There are people in this industry who have been in supply chains at Walmart, GNC and other mainstream operations.”

His firm collects point-of-sales data from retailers and lists the details for products such as “Blue Dream” and “Green Crack”.

Joseph Hopkins, co-owner of a dispensary called The Greener Side in Eugene, Oregon, uses the data to deal with suppliers.

“When vendors come in and say they have x, y, z products, I can go back and look at whatever the going rate is for that product,” he said.

Still, the metrics are imperfect. State regulators increasingly perform quality tests to ensure safety, but no one checks to make sure that what someone is selling as “Green Crack” really matches weed branded under the same name elsewhere.

The data show variations in demand for various brand among regions. For example, Blue Dream has reigned as the most popular strain for flower in Colorado and Washington since 2014. But in Oregon, tokers favor a strain known as GG – formerly “Gorilla Glue,” until its purveyors got sued by the makers of the actual glue by the same name.

Reporting by Chris Prentice; Editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot

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Mines maintain strict marijuana policies | Mining

As Nevada government grapples with how to manage the legalization of marijuana, northeastern Nevada’s major mining companies maintain a hard stance on alcohol and drug use policies for employees.

“Newmont has taken a zero tolerance position on marijuana use in the workplace,” Newmont Mining Corp. said in a statement. “Employees who test positive will be terminated.”

Nevada voters legalized the use of recreational marijuana effective Jan. 1, 2017, and medical marijuana in 2001. The state’s first medical marijuana establishments became operational in 2015.

Over the past three years, marijuana positivity in safety- sensitive and general U.S. workforces increased, according to a May 2017 Quest Diagnostics report that analyzed millions of workforce drug test results. In urine tests of the safety- sensitive workforce, marijuana positivity increased nearly 10 percent — 0.71 percent in 2015 versus 0.78 percent in 2016, the report shows.

Local governments can regulate cannabis businesses in their jurisdictions, and Elko’s elected officials have approved ordinances that prohibit marijuana establishments. In past years, Elko County prohibited recreational and medical marijuana establishments in unincorporated areas, and the City of Elko approved an ordinance Feb. 13 that bans recreational and medical marijuana businesses in the city.

“We are a mining community, and we depend on the mines for jobs, for tax revenue base, and we do not want to do something by implementing recreational marijuana and/or medical marijuana,” said city councilman Reece Keener during a Jan. 9 city council meeting. “Marijuana use is not compatible with the mining-sector employment.”

In response, councilman John Patrick Rice said that “the mines are fully capable of managing it themselves.”

Mining companies consistently adhere to policies that prohibit the use of substances — including marijuana — that could endanger employees and others at worksites where risks are present. Jobs in the industry rank among the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s top 10 most dangerous professions.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 states that an employer must “furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees,” according to Section 5 of the act.

“Barrick’s intent is to provide a safe, healthy, productive and respectful work environment for all its employees, contractors, and visitors,” Barrick Gold Corp. said in a statement. “Our drug and alcohol policy was written with these priorities in mind and in accordance with current laws. We continue to monitor the issue but do not foresee a change to our policy at this time.”

The Mine Safety and Health Administration provides guidance about drug and alcohol use at mines through the Code of Federal Regulations. The administration states in 30 CFR 56/57.20001 that “intoxicating beverages and narcotics shall not be permitted or used in or around mines. Persons under the influence of alcohol or narcotics shall not be permitted on the job.”

Although cannabis is not considered a narcotic, federal law still classifies marijuana a controlled substance. The Drug Enforcement Administration categorizes cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” according to the DEA. Marijuana extract is also listed as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Perhaps in response to the state law change, mining companies’ policies seem stricter now than ever, said Virginia Babiuk, spokeswoman for A1 Alcohol & Drug Collections in Elko.

“In mining, they still adhere to a very strict standard,” she said. “They follow, as well as we follow, the federal regulations.”

A1 has served Elko for eight years, plus 10 more under a previous name. The locally owned and operated company provides drug and alcohol testing for businesses, including mining companies.

“It’s still a safety concern because they don’t want to jeopardize safety-sensitive issues,” Babiuk said. “It is still not [federally] legal. Every company has their own policies about what to do with it if it showed up. The policies are strict.”

Through A1, marijuana normally is identified via urine analysis in a lab, Babiuk said. Some forms of marijuana can stay in a person’s system for days or weeks, depending on metabolism rates and frequency of use.

“Every test we take goes to a certified lab,” Babiuk said, explaining that the company follows U.S. Department of Transportation standards and every technician is certified. “That’s why we have the clients we do. They want to be safe.”

Barrick and Nemont conduct pre-employment screenings and random testing, and administer tests based on reasonable suspicion and after safety incidents or accidents, the companies stated. Barrick also requires its contractors and vendors to have drug and alcohol testing procedures for their employees.

“Employees and contractors found to be in violation of Barrick’s drug and alcohol policy face disciplinary action up to and including termination,” Barrick stated.

Lab tests detect tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is another chemical found in marijuana that has antipsychotic effects, according to the National Library of Medicine. THC and CBD can be found in medical marijuana.

Employers, including mining companies, are allowed to restrict medical marijuana in the workplace, according to the Nevada Revised Statutes.

NRS Chapter 453A.800 states that an employer is not required to allow the medical use of marijuana in the workplace. The statute also does not require an employer to modify the working conditions of a person who uses medical marijuana.

The law does, however, state that an employer “must attempt to make reasonable accommodations for the medical needs of an employee who engages in the medical use of marijuana if the employee holds a valid registry identification card,” provided that the accommodations do not “pose a threat of harm or danger to persons or property or impose an undue hardship on the employer,” or “prohibit the employee from fulfilling any and all of his or her job responsibilities.”

The law of the state might change, but the law of the land in the mining industry remains the same.

“Newmont does not foresee changes, however, Newmont continuously reviews employment policies to ensure compliance with all State and Federal laws,” Newmont said.

“Every company has their own policies about what to do with it if it showed up. The policies are strict.” Virginia Babiuk, A1 Alcohol & Drug Collections

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Is THC Lube the Future of Sex Products?

The explosive popularity of the legalized, recreational-cannabis industry has created new demand for marijuana-focused consumer products. Among the latest weed innovations to hit the market? Sex lubricants.

A new collection of men’s lubricant called Jack, from cannabis startup Altitude Products, just announced its release of the first delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) lube on the market. With its tongue-in-cheek branding, the line’s first product is called “Knob Polish” and uses THC oil derived from the marijuana plant to elevate its users’ intimate experience with therapeutic properties.

Jack was founded by a team of cannabis professionals who infused cannabis oil with a water-based personal lubricant to create the company’s latest intimate product. It promises to be “the future of sex products” without the mosh pit smell.

“It won’t make your man larger, thicker or more charming, but you won’t care…,” the company’s website states. “Use a drop or a handful to achieve optimal elevated lubrication and polish away!”

It’s safe to say Knob Polish isn’t your typical drugstore lubricant. At $10 per 2-ounce bottle, it’s definitely a premium product when it comes to the ever-innovating sex toy category.

Krista Whitley, Founder and CEO of Las Vegas-based Altitude, tells Inverse she started the company in late 2015 amid the push to legalize cannabis in Nevada. The company launched with its marijuana-themed The Weekend Box, a subscription box of curated items from the cannabis industry’s most well-known brands. Eventually, Altitude added other subscription products, Whitley says, “with the Jack lube being the latest.”

Knob Polish is Jack’s first lubricant product.

You may be wondering: Why add cannabis oil to an intimate product like lube? The answer is its healing properties.

“What THC does is act as an anti-inflammatory,” Whitley says, “Our research shows that 30 percent of women experience pain during intercourse, so CBD helps reduce that inflammation.”

She also refers to THC as “Nature’s baby aspirin,” as it’s been touted to be good for everything from hair growth and skin healing to overall pain relief.

The cannabis entrepreneur says she started the company herself because she was “determined to bring products and design techniques to cannabis and eventually lube products.”

While Jack is mainly marketed as a men’s lubricant line — hence the phallic name “Knob Polish” — the product is meant to be inclusive, with “men, women, non-binary and everyone in between” being encouraged to use it, the company’s site says. Whitley also notes that Altitude boasts a large LGBTQ-identifying customer base, currently making up 30 percent of its consumers.

The lubricant is also a simple way to introduce customers to cannabis products, Whitley says. The company’s main mission is to provide a “positive first regulated cannabis experience” for customers to help grow and unify cannabis industry’s new frontier.

“It’s a really easy way to incorporate new sex toy technology into cannabis enthusiasts’ lives,” Whitley says. “Perhaps they’re not ready to dive into futuristic sex toys like robots or dolls, but a CBD-based wellness product is a good place to start.”

If you liked this article, check out this video: “This Is What Heartbreak Does To Your Brain”

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The Challenges of Cannabis Lawyering in Nevada

Melissa Waite

Nevada’s recreational marijuana market is less than a year old, but sales and tax revenues are soaring beyond early projections. Melissa Waite, a partner at Jolley Urga Woodbury Holthus & Rose in Las Vegas, is part of the flourishing green rush in the Silver State.

Before Nevada legalized medical marijuana sales in 2014, Jolley Urga was already serving clients from highly regulated industries, including gaming, liquor licensing and transportation. Adding cannabis clients, Waite said, “was a natural transition.” Today the firm represents cultivators, producers, dispensaries and testing labs.

Waite recently spoke with The Recorder about what she’s seeing in Nevada’s booming market and developing regulations.

The Recorder: What’s the state of things in Nevada? All the headlines say marijuana sales and tax revenues are way above projections.

Waite: It’s been a pretty wild ride and the last seven months have been no exception. Generally there’s a lot of things Nevada does really well, and at the top of that list are just a number of highly regulated industries. So I think our leaders, our legislators, our regulatory agencies have really just been aggressive when they needed to be and cautious when they needed to be. They just have a good system in place with top operators and kind of balancing those business interests with the public health and safety interests.

As a result I think the initial early start period, which was the period from July 1 to the end of December, and now through this time in March has just been hugely successful without any major missteps or huge challenges that really detract from the momentum we’ve been gaining.

How easy or difficult is it for you and your clients to work within Nevada’s regulatory scheme?

Nevada is tough on its operators and demands a high level of compliance. The flip side of that is the operators in this market are pretty top-notch. So the clients we work with really appreciate the regulatory scheme, and I think they’re interested in being successful but only within the constraints of Nevada law.

For the most part, the regulatory interactions are positive and overall I think operators are pleased with the way it’s gone.

Have things subsided at all since the adult-use regulations went into effect?

We haven’t seen much of a lull at all. In 2017 we went from licensing those early-start retail operators and operating under temporary regulations to now [in late February] having our permanent regulations go through the final adoption process and take effect.

We’re anticipating another application period to open in 2018, so I think existing licensees and new applicants are all anxiously positioning themselves for that next round of licensing, which includes things like raising capital and securing new locations and doing some of that initial land use evaluation.

What is the biggest issue on your plate right now?

I think the single greatest challenge is helping clients cope with the constant changes and uncertainty that”s created by this changing legal landscape. Whether it’s the federal enforcement or compliance with the new permanent regulations that were just recently adopted, I think one theme that has remained consistent: Something is always changing.

And that’s a challenge for any business to cope with. A lot of our clients in other industries have a relatively settled scheme to operate under, and marijuana businesses don’t have that luxury.

How do you keep on top of all that change?

I find myself constantly skimming whatever our local jurisdictions are doing here. There have been a tremendous number of groups appointed by the governor and committees assembled and our Nevada Department of Taxation, the authority that regulates this body, has had a number of meetings to solicit input. So we’re just constantly listening to that input, to those changes and evaluating how things are evolving.

Are lawyers from out of state coming to Nevada, attracted by the work? How difficult would that be?

I think with some areas of law that’s easier than others. As with any specialization I think there’s something to be said about understanding the nuances of state law and particularly local law here. And that’s certainly not something that can be accomplished overnight, just based on the sheer volume of state and local regulations that we have in Nevada.

There are many aspects of operation, at least initially, that center around local government decisions. Here in Southern Nevada, not quite to the same extent as California experiences, but we have five jurisdictions just within the city of Las Vegas that all operate with their own sets of regulations and their own requirements. At some point, knowing the value of when to seek advice from a local attorney, a local lobbyist or land use consultant could really make all the difference.

What advice would you give attorneys interested in serving the Nevada cannabis industry?

I’ve seen quite an increase in the number of CLE opportunities for this area of law. So my recommendation would certainly be to seek out the Nevada-specific options just to understand the background and the overlay under which Nevada operates and also how to recognize those pitfalls and when to recognize when you need some local advice on a specific issue that might come up.

For those considering this industry, at the core these marijuana establishments are just like other businesses. They need employment law advice. They need litigation counsel. They have disputes with other owners or third parties or they have an insurance issue. They need tax advice. They need contract advice. With all of those regulated industries there are some things that counsel would certainly be qualified to advise their clients on but there are those nuances that I would encourage attorneys considering this area of law to just really educate themselves on those specific pitfalls that could pop up.

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Nutritional High Hits the Jackpot in Nevada – Enters Into Letter of Intent to Acquire Leading Producer/Processor

TORONTO, March 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

Nutritional High International Inc. (the “Company” or “Nutritional High”) (CSE:EAT) (OTCQB:SPLIF) (FRANKFURT:2NU) is pleased to announce it has entered into a non-binding letter of intent (“LOI”) to acquire a 75% interest in Green Therapeutics LLC (“Green Therapeutics”), one of the premier innovators and established producer/processors within the cannabis space in the State of Nevada (the “Acquisition”). In conjunction with the Acquisition the Company will also purchase certain lands and premises owned by Meridian Companies LLC (“Meridian”), a Nevada limited liability company, consisting of cultivation facilities and parcels of land for cultivation expansion (the “Property”) utilized by Green Therapeutics. Nutritional High and Green Therapeutics have also entered into a binding lock-up agreement while purchase and sale agreements are negotiated and due diligence is completed.

Green Therapeutics has a state of the art cultivation and processing facility in the Las Vegas area. They produce and sell cannabis flower and manufactured cannabis products to a number of Nevada dispensaries. In addition to producing and selling cannabis flower, Green Therapeutics manufactures the following products: Dabs, vape pens and cartridges, oral sprays, topical creams, as well as pre-rolls.

Green Therapeutics completed their first harvest and finalized construction of their laboratory in July 2016, and commenced sales of manufactured products in August 2016. Green Therapeutics is led by a professional management team with extensive pharmaceutical experience operating GMP licensed medical and recreational facilities. 

Green Therapeutics’ asset base includes:

  • Four Nevada Licenses: 2 cultivation and 2 production facilities in Clark County & North Las Vegas;
  • 8,000 sq. ft. of licensed and operational cultivation/production facility in Clark County generating approximately $400k/month in recreational sales;
  • Licensed 5,400 sq. ft. production laboratory in North Las Vegas with UPLC/MS and GC testing capabilities;
  • Approved cultivation license in North Las Vegas that’s ready to move to a new high-tech green house facility; and
  • 9.8 acre parcel of land to allow for expansion of over 500,000 sq. ft. of cultivation space in North Las Vegas.

The final transaction structure will be determined after each party has had the opportunity to receive legal, accounting and tax advice regarding the most appropriate structure for the proposed transaction. The Company and Green Therapeutics are proceeding to expedite due diligence and move to finalize and close the proposed transaction as soon as possible.

Proposed Transaction Highlights:

As consideration for the Acquisition the Company will:

     (a)  subscribe for 25% of the units of Green Therapeutics for aggregate process of US$6,000,000.  US$2,000,000 of the subscription price would be paid on closing with the remaining US$4,000,000 paid in US$2,000,000 increments on specific dates to be agreed upon.  It is intended that the proceeds of this subscription will be used to add 40,000 square feet to Green Therapeutics existing grow operations; 

     (b)  the Company will purchase 25% of the outstanding units of Green Therapeutics from certain of the members of Green Therapeutics in exchange for common shares in the capital of the Company having a value of US$6,000,000. The number of common shares of the Company to be issued will be the lower of US$0.55 per common share or the 20-day volume weighted average price (in US dollars) of the Company’s common shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange on the date immediately preceding the date a definitive agreement in respect of the Acquisition is executed (the “Per Share Price”);  

     (c)  the Company will purchase 25% of the outstanding units of Green Therapeutics from certain members of Green Therapeutics in exchange for secured convertible promissory notes having an aggregate original principal amount of $6,000,000.  The notes would bear interest at a rate of 7% per annum, compounding annually, with all principal and accrued interest due and payable on the date which is 12 months from the date of issuance.  The notes would be convertible at any time at the election of the holder(s) up to the maturity date into common shares of the Company at a conversion price equal to a 20% premium to the Per Share Price.  The notes would rank pari-passu among each other and will be secured by the units of Green Therapeutics owned by the Company as well as the Property.

Concurrent with the closing of the Acquisition the Company proposes to purchase the Property from Meridian for the sum of US$1,519,000. This property will become home to one of the largest processing facilities in Nevada and will showcase new technologies in the industry.

Green Therapeutics CEO, Dr. Duke Fu commented: “We are very excited about the opportunity to combine forces with Nutritional High. We believe the national platform offered by Nutritional High will allow us to leverage our expertise and integrate into their wider operations. The expansion capital being provided is sorely needed to meet burgeoning demand. Our supply is currently completely sold out through pre-orders until the end of April 2018, and we believe that adding capacity will significantly increase our revenue and profitability.”

“We are excited about this business venture with Green Therapeutics, as we see this as an opportunity to establish ourselves in the rapidly growing cannabis market of Nevada, and add some key talent to our management team,” said Jim Frazier, CEO of Nutritional High. “Nevada’s cannabis market has seen tremendous growth in the past year and we are excited to work with the Green Therapeutics’ team to introduce Nutritional High’s FLI products to the Nevada market and to further expand the Nutritional High and our partner brands throughout the US.”

The transaction contemplated is subject to approval by the Nevada Department of Taxation (the “Department”) and if applicable, by the applicable municipal authorities. There can be no assurance that the Department or the applicable municipal authorities will approve the contemplated investment.

Completion of the transactions described herein will be subject to satisfactory completion of due diligence, execution of a definitive agreements and receipt of all required approvals and consents. There can be no assurance that the proposed transactions will be completed as proposed or at all.

About Nutritional High International Inc.

Nutritional High is focused on developing, manufacturing and distributing premium and consistently dosed products in the cannabis-infused products industry, including edibles and oil extracts for nutritional, medical and adult recreational use. The Company works exclusively through licensed facilities in jurisdictions where such activity is permitted and regulated by state law. 

For updates on the Company’s activities and highlights of the Company’s press releases and other media coverage, please follow Nutritional High on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ or visit

For further information, please contact:

David Posner, Chairman of the Board
Nutritional High International Inc.


This news release may contain forward-looking statements and information based on current expectations. These statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements. The statements relate to the completing the proposed transaction, the expansion of the Green Therapeutics facility and the ability to increase supply of product.  Risks that may have an impact on the ability for these events to be achieved include completion of due diligence, negotiation of definitive agreements and receipt of applicable approvals.  Although such statements are based on management’s reasonable assumptions, there can be no assurance that such assumptions will prove to be correct. We assume no responsibility to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.

The Company’s securities have not been registered under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”), or applicable state securities laws, and may not be offered or sold to, or for the account or benefit of, persons in the United States or “U.S. Persons”, as such term is defined in Regulation S under the U.S. Securities Act, absent registration or an applicable exemption from such registration requirements. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall there be any sale of the securities in the United States or any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

Additionally, there are known and unknown risk factors which could cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking information contained herein.
All forward-looking information herein is qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement, and the Company disclaims any obligation to revise or update any such forward-looking information or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking information contained herein to reflect future results, events or developments, except as required by law.

Source: Nutritional High International Inc.

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Sunshine Week is about holding public officials accountable

Barry Smith, Nevada Press Association
Published 9:28 a.m. MT March 12, 2018



Nevada’s public records law grants seemingly straightforward access to all books and records of state and local governments “unless otherwise declared by law to be confidential.”

There’s the rub.

That same paragraph contains some 431 exceptions where the law does, in fact, make confidential various kinds of information.

Here are a few examples:

  • Minutes of a closed meeting by the Nevada Commission on Homeland Security to discuss responses to terrorism.
  • Identity of a narcotics addict by the state, a rehab clinic or a hospital.
  • Information turned over to the Gaming Control Board on why a casino employee was fired.

It’s a long list, and it covers a broad range of topics. You would think over the years the Nevada Legislature had identified every bit of information that our governments collect for themselves but need to keep secret from us.

During Sunshine Week (March 11-17), it’s a good time to examine why we insist on openness as the default setting for public records and for government itself.

My count of 431 exceptions is considerably short of the actual number, because it doesn’t include those found in regulations, known as the Nevada Administrative Code.

Exceptions creep into regulations, even when they aren’t in the statutes. One example is in the recently adopted regulations for recreational marijuana — without anybody asking for it, without the Legislature discussing it and contrary to how things work in most of the state.

The list of exceptions also doesn’t take into account pushback from some government officials who have their own interpretations of the law.

And then there’s the biggest exception of all — the Nevada Legislature, which has exempted itself from both the state’s open-meeting and public-records laws. It has set a tone that transparency is secondary to politics, an attitude I see reflected in too many local governments.

The only recourse under Nevada law is to go to court to gain access to records, an avenue that Nevada newspapers and members of the public must follow with alarming frequency. And in case after case, government agencies have shown they are willing to use taxpayer money to fight the release of public records.

How are we to evaluate whether government agencies are doing their jobs fairly and competently if they report only to themselves?

Is there opportunity for favoritism in granting recreational-marijuana licenses, made possible by the exception in new regulations?

More: Sunshine Week: Shining light on government officials

Could someone take advantage of their unused vacation time to get extra money from the state, an issue the Las Vegas Review-Journal is struggling to get records to review?

Would police be able to cover up a shooting if the public couldn’t see autopsy reports, a situation that’s come up in more than one state and became an issue here?

Can public officials use their private e-mail accounts to make secret deals, the question in a case now pending before the Nevada Supreme Court?

A phrase made popular by President Ronald Reagan comes to mind: “Trust, but verify.” It’s the approach we should take to Nevada’s government.

I like to have faith in Nevada’s governmental agencies that they will do the right thing, admit mistakes and foster open discussions about the issues important to us. But I’m also skeptical because, when they know information can be withheld from the public, there is no incentive to be forthcoming.

We need to be able to verify, and that comes through access to public records.

Barry Smith is executive director of the Nevada Press Association.

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TGIF Rolls Huge Pot Jackpot In Big Land Deal In Sin City

Friday Night Inc. (CSE:TGIF) (OTCQB:TGIFF) announced the final closing of its recent land purchase on Tuesday. The acquisition of 2.78 acres in Las Vegas adds to the 1.39 acres the company previously purchased in the city. The acreage will be host to Alternative Medicine Association’s 67,000 square foot cultivation facility, which has already received the necessary building and cultivation permits from the state of Nevada.

Alternative Medicine Association (AMA) is a subsidiary of Friday Night Inc. based out of Las Vegas. AMA produces its own lines of recreational and medicinal marijuana. The managing partner of AMA, Mark Zobrist, announced plans for future growth for both companies in a statement on Tuesday.

“The additional land will allow for future expansion of the cultivation facility as well as a new production facility when needed.  It could also be used as the location for a retail dispensary license application if the Company decides to apply when that window opens again,” Zobrist stated.

According to a statement, Friday Night Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiaries are focused on expanding their current operations in both Canada and the United States. With recreational sales in Nevada reaching $200 million in just six months, Friday Night Inc. touted their position in The Silver State in a statement last Friday.

As the first company approved to cultivate and dispense marijuana in Southern Nevada, Friday Night Inc. gained a head start in the Las Vegas recreational industry. The company already owns one cultivation facility in the city as well as a CBD-infused product company that provides medical and topical products. The company hopes investors will take advantage of them as a  lucrative opportunity in Las Vegas’ recreational market.

Earlier this month, Friday Night Inc. acquired Spire Secure Logistics, a Canadian security intelligence company. Spire designs IT and security programs for the legal cannabis sector. In a recent interview with PotNetwork, Spire co-founders Jeff Meyers and Andy Richards shared their experience in securing the cannabis industry.

“We represent a number of industries,” they said, “but currently focus the majority of our services on cannabis as it is the fastest growing economic sector. With that being said, we provide advanced security consultation services to government, prospective licensed producers, retailers, existing licensed producers and ancillary businesses.”

Working with ancillary companies to provide products and security measures diversifies Friday Night Inc.’s investment portfolio. Between security investments with Spire and cultivation opportunities with AMA, Friday Night Inc. hopes to be well-positioned in Nevada and soon take in the global cannabis market.

*Photo Credit: Writer Gal

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Legalizing pot: How Utah fits into the nationwide debate

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns who look at a map showing states that have legalized medical marijuana will see they are now in the minority. Thirty states and the District of Columbia currently have laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form.

Eight states, including those immediately to Utah’s east and west — Colorado and Nevada — have enacted the most expansive laws, legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

The map makes it look as if it is a simple yes or no question. But the truth is marijuana laws are as diverse as the states that have enacted them.

Joseph Tolman

States with broad medical marijuana laws

As Utahns look at medical marijuana legislation, there are dozens of factors to consider. Everything from the number of dispensaries allowed in a state, to the list of conditions for which marijuana is approved could affect the ease of access for patients in need as well as the potential for legally sold cannabis products to find their way into the hands of teenagers.

Five bills related to medical marijuana passed in the Utah Legislature this year. HB302 lets private growers produce industrial hemp, HB197 allows the Utah Department of Agriculture to contract with private growers to produce high THC cannabis for research purposes, HB195 allows terminally ill patients the right to try medical marijuana, HB25 calls for the Cannabinoid Product Board to review expanded cannabinoid products, and SB130 sets up the regulatory framework for businesses to legally sell CBD oil. The governor’s office is currently reviewing the bills.

None of these reforms are as sweeping as the ballot initiative, spearheaded by the Utah Patient’s Coalition, which will make cannabis broadly available, if the initiative acquires enough signatures and Utahns vote yes in the fall.

“There’s no clear gold standard as far as what a medical marijuana law should look like,” said Rosanna Smart, a drug policy expert with RAND Corp. “There’s a lot of unanticipated consequences that can occur that Utah may end up not wanting.”

According to Smart, every state has learned from California, the first state to legalize medical cannabis in 1996. That law led to a proliferation of marijuana grow operations and dispensaries that were difficult to regulate, she said. Since then, states such as New York and Minnesota have found different ways to more tightly control the market, such as requiring doctors to register with the Department of Health’s medical marijuana program and prohibiting smokeable products.

As Utahns make decisions about legalizing cannabis, they can study these examples, evaluate the risks and benefits of cannabis use and determine what laws will have the best outcome.

“Utah now has a lot of examples it can look to as far as what to do and what not to do,” Smart said.

Cautionary tales

In 2010, a 20-year-old woman who was 6 months pregnant walked into the office of Dr. Manuel De Jesus Aquino at the Garden Health and Wellness Center in Denver, Colorado. During the three-minute appointment, Aquino didn’t conduct any physical examination, didn’t take any notes, didn’t ask about the woman’s medical history and didn’t give any directions for follow-up care, according to a complaint to the Colorado Medical Board filed by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. Aquino never learned that she was pregnant, and the woman left with a recommendation for cannabis.

When the woman gave birth a few months later, the baby demonstrated difficulty feeding and the woman tested positive for the drug. Although the effects are largely unknown, marijuana use while pregnant has been associated with low birth weight and developmental problems for babies. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends against it.

The Colorado Medical Board suspended Aquino’s license. Dozens of other doctors in Colorado have had their licenses suspended for recommending large plant counts to an excessive number of patients without a legitimate need. One doctor, Gentry Dunlop, of Aurora, authorized 75 or more plants to at least 700 patients, according to 2016 news reports.

These cases raise the question: Who should be authorized to recommend cannabis? How much should they be able to recommend and for what conditions? How should it be regulated? And what should be the disciplinary process for those who don’t follow guidelines?

Keith Srakocic, AP

The checkout area of CY+ Medical Marijuana Dispensary is shown during an open house and media availability for the opening, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Utah’s ballot initiative proposes that not only doctors, but other medical professionals, including dentists and pharmacists, be allowed to recommend cannabis.

In some states, including Maryland, nurse midwives are permitted to recommend the drug, and studies show that an increasing number of pregnant women are taking marijuana for morning sickness and anxiety.

“The first trimester is a critical time when birth defects are likely to occur,” said Christine Miller, a Maryland pharmacologist who works with the advocacy group Parents Opposed to Pot. She doesn’t think medicine without FDA approval and thorough research backing should be recommended for widespread use. “The state bears responsibility. If they circumvent the Food and Drug Administration, they need to do a risk benefit analysis themselves and let the patients know.”

Utah’s proposed law would only allow nurse midwives to recommend marijuana to patients under the supervision of a physician. But nothing in the proposition forbids medical marijuana from being distributed to pregnant women, according to Michelle Swapp, of Utah County’s Substance Misuse and Abuse Reduction Team. And it will be difficult to hold doctors accountable as the Utah ballot includes a clause saying those who recommend cannabis according to the provisions in the bill will not be subject to “civil liability, criminal liability, or licensure sanctions.”

“To me, that’s completely backward,” said Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, who sponsored three of the five medical marijuana-related bills heard in the Legislature this session. “We need to look closely at the law and make sure it protects the people, not the industry.”

Successes stories

Proponents of medical marijuana point to the personal stories of those who have benefited from the drug and its potential to replace more addictive substances, like opioids.

John Weddle, 33, became a medical refugee in 2009 when he moved from Tennessee to California in order to get access to cannabis. Weddle, who joined the Army reserves at age 17, was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and worked as a transportation specialist, hauling fuel across the country. In doing so, he says he was exposed to all the horrors of war. When he came home, he had severe post-traumatic stress disorder and back pain from a car accident he was in while deployed. Weddle turned to alcohol, methamphetamine and cocaine — in addition to the multiple antidepressants and opioids that were being distributed to him by the Veterans Association.

Richard Vogel, AP

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018, photo, customers line up for recreational marijuana outside of Med Men, a dispensary in West Hollywood, California. A Democratic lawmaker wants to make it easier for Californians with marijuana convictions to reduce or erase their records as the state moves into the next phase of legalized pot.

Weddle knew he needed to try something different. But cannabis was, and is, illegal in Tennessee. And so he moved to San Pablo, California. With the help of cannabis, Weddle was able to wean himself off of all other drugs, started taking classes at Berkeley City College, and now practices meditation to calm his anxiety.

“It changed my life,” said Weddle. “If I was living in Tennessee, I for sure would be an alcoholic. Since coming here, I haven’t been drinking at all. It’s unbelievable.”

But it came with a price. Weddle said he had to leave his home, his friends and his family, including a 13-year-old daughter whom he now only gets to see during summers.

Even in states that have legalized cannabis for medical use, some don’t recognize PTSD as an approved condition. In five states, PTSD is not listed as an approved condition for medical cannabis due to limited research into the drug’s benefits for mental illnesses.

Utah’s ballot initiative puts PTSD on the list, along with Autism, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain and other conditions.

“If you limit it to AIDS or cancer-related symptoms, you close the door to people who can benefit,” said Katherine Neill Harris, a professor from Rice University. Other regulations related to dispensaries, home growing operations and doctors can also have the effect of limiting access for people in need, she said.

In several states, pain by itself is not an approved condition, because it’s not something a physician can measure. But some studies have indicated there may be a link between legalizing cannabis use for medical purposes and reduced opioid overdose rates.

Richard Vogel, AP

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 photo, a bud tender prepares marijuana for a customer at Med Men, a dispensary in West Hollywood, California. A Democratic lawmaker wants to make it easier for Californians with marijuana convictions to reduce or erase their records as the state moves into the next phase of legalized pot.

Patients who are given the option to treat pain with cannabis are better able to avoid the dangerous pitfall of opioid addiction, according to Tamar Todd, legal director at the Drug Policy Alliance, a group against drug prohibition.

Hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped 23 percent on average in states after cannabis was permitted for medicinal use. And hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses in particular dropped 13 percent, one analysis by the University of California, San Diego showed.

“Other states have proven that it can work,” said Todd.

Too slow or too fast?

The disagreement about cannabis comes down to two attitudes — some think it’s moving way to quickly and some think it’s moving way too slowly. Those attitudes are exemplified by the two paths states can take to medical marijuana legalization: a ballot initiative or the legislature.

One path leaves the legislation up to elected representatives who are experienced with lawmaking but may move more slowly. The second path puts the decision into the hands of the public, who may not be familiar with legal specifics but can push for more rapid change.

“The difference is with the legislature, you have an opportunity for experts to talk to a smaller group of people, charged with learning about a subject,” said Miller. “With ballot initiatives, it is extremely hard to educate the public about these complex subjects.”

All the early states that legalized cannabis for medical use, including California, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Maine, Colorado and Nevada, did so through a ballot. After these early states showed medical marijuana legislation was possible, state legislatures started taking charge, according to Smart. Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Mexico were some of the first states to legalize cannabis through legislatures.

Keith Srakocic, AP

An open house and media availability is held for the opening of CY+ Medical Marijuana Dispensary, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Overall, 14 of the states have gone through a ballot, while 16 states and the District of Columbia have gone through legislatures.

The original laws that passed through ballots in California, Washington and Colorado, for example, were broad and, according to Carnegie Mellon University drug policy expert Jonathan Caulkins, allowed legal use for “pretty much any adult who wanted it.”

“Propositions often produce perverse and bad laws,” said Caulkins. “Advocates who are pro-marijuana write the proposition. Then the state has no choice but a thumbs up, thumbs down.”

In November 2015, people in Ohio rejected a marijuana legalization ballot that would have given campaign donors direct rights to the state’s 10 pot farms as an explicit gift for their support. It was, even legalization advocates argued, an example of members of the pot industry trying to profit from the movement.

The next year, Ohio passed a more narrow medical marijuana bill through the Legislature.

A 2017 Quinnipiac University poll found that 94 percent of U.S. voters now support “allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it.” The poll also found that 61 percent of American voters believe that adult use marijuana should be legalized.

“I can’t think of another issue that Americans agree on more than medical marijuana,” said Todd.

A slippery slope?

All the states that have now legalized recreational marijuana started by approving medical cannabis. So, is this a “slippery slope” toward legalization?

“The total amount of cannabis that would be used by people with medical needs — is really not that much,” said Caulkins. “Repeatedly, medical laws have been the camel getting its nose in the tent and the industry wants to expand its market.”

Some worry that the legal marijuana industry, which hit $6.7 billion in North American sales in 2016, is exerting too much influence. The Marijuana Policy Project, which has multiple board members and leaders with ties to and investments in marijuana businesses, is one of the leading national advocacy groups. The project is the Utah ballot initiative’s top donor and has contributed more than $109,000 to Utah’s legalization efforts.

“Parents and concerned citizens when they stop pro-drug legislation, they are not making money. There is a major conflict of interest for the industry that is pushing legislation,” said Kevin A. Sabet, leader of Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

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On the other hand, marijuana advocates believe the recreational programs are more likely to pass after medical legislation, not because of greedy industry leaders, but because of effective programs and people’s positive personal experiences.

“Everyone starts to see the sky hasn’t fallen and everything’s fine,” said Harris. “After you pass a medical program and people see it working, they tend to be more supportive of an adult use program.”

It’s positive public opinion that will continue to push cannabis legalization nationwide, Harris said.

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