Smokers in Arkansas were able to get their initiative on the November ballot, while legal wrangling is keeping a similar initiative out of voters’ hands in Oklahoma.
Moves that seem like a good idea during times of expansion have a funny way of looking a lot different in the glow of a less flattering light.
Canopy Growth (CGC) – Get Canopy Growth Corporation Report, one of the biggest Canadian cannabis companies, is realizing its pandemic expansion into the retail space wasn’t the right move.
This week, Canopy exited the Canadian retail space, announcing that it will divest its Canadian retail operations and selling all of its 28 corporate-owned stores in Canada under its Tweed and Tokyo Smoke retail brands.
“We are taking the next critical step in advancing Canopy as a leading premium brand-focused CPG (consumer packaged goods) cannabis company while furthering the Company’s strategy of investing in product innovation and distribution to drive revenue growth in the Canadian recreational market,” said CEO David Klein.
OEG Retail Cannabis will purchase 23 Canopy-owned retail stores in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, and Labrador, while keeping the Tokyo Smoke brand. Calgary-based retailer Four20 will purchase five stores in Alberta and rebrand them under its own banner.
Canopy has 10 stores in Alberta, but five of the locations will simply be closed, MJBizDaily reported.
High inventory and falling prices has forced the entire industry into survival mode and Canopy has been cutting costs for months.
In April, the company laid of 8% of its workforce as part of an effort to achieve C$150 million in savings.
Cannabis Is a State-by-State Issue
Marijuana legislation has put the best and worst of the American governing experiment on full display.
No other country allows its individual states so much latitude in determining what’s best for the region like the U.S., so differing parliamentary outcomes are to be expected on an issue like cannabis, which is up to the states.
Even states in the same region with seemingly similar political leanings can go different ways on the issue.
Last week, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the state’s adult-use cannabis ballot initiative can appear on November ballots. The decision came after activist group Responsible Growth Arkansas petitioned the court to reverse an August decision by the state Board of Election Commissioners to exclude the ballot measure due to a technicality.
“While I believe that amending our constitution is something that the voters should do with caution, we should not underestimate the intelligence of the voters or their ability to evaluate a proposed ballot initiative,” the court said in its ruling.
“The people will decide whether to approve the proposed amendment in November.”
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Oklahoma Smokers Have to Wait
Meanwhile, next door in Oklahoma, Justices in the state’s Supreme Court ruled that voters will get the opportunity to vote on a cannabis ballot initiative legalizing the drug for adults.
The nine justices were unanimous in their decision to deny citizens the right to vote this November, instead preferring to punt the issue until either the next general election in 2024 or until the Governor or legislature calls for a special election.
The Court’s decision centers on the fact that State Question 820 cannot be printed on ballots in time to comply with the deadline for mailing ballots in time.
Advocates for the measure presented nearly double the number of total signatures necessary to qualify for the 2022 ballot. But since the Secretary of State’s office took its sweet time to verify signatures, and opponents filed what NORML described as “questionable legal challenges,” the initiative has been bogged down.
“In a healthy democracy, those with competing visions on public policy vie for voters’ support and abide by their voting decisions. However, it is becoming clear that those who oppose marijuana policy reform would rather take voters out of the equation altogether,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a recent op-ed.