Weed Wonks Podcast: Metrc Chief Strategy Officer Lewis Koski

Earlier this year, Germany became the first European country to legalize cannabis for adult use, sparking excitement across the continent and around the cannabis world. The latest episode of our Weed Wonks podcast examines what legal marijuana will look like in Europe’s largest economy and how it will compare to the U.S.

Strategies 64 partner Jordan Wellington hosts Metrc Chief Strategy Officer and former Colorado cannabis regulator Lewis Koski to discuss insights he gained from a recent trip to Germany. They look at some of its unique features, such as cannabis cultivation clubs, and what the country can learn from—and teach—other jurisdictions. They also look back at the early days of legalization in Colorado, where both of them held positions in the Marijuana Enforcement Division of the state Department of Revenue.

Strategies 64 in the News: Politifact

National fact-checking nonprofit Politifact reached out to Strategies 64 partner Mason Tvert for its “Biden Promise Tracker” feature on cannabis policy. Specifically, they sought his opinion on whether President Joe Biden’s recent actions around rescheduling cannabis fulfill his 2020 campaign promise to decriminalize the use of cannabis.

Obviously, marijuana has not yet been “decriminalized,” but as Mason pointed out, decriminalizing cannabis would require an act of Congress, and the administration’s efforts are extremely significant.

“[The administration’s rescheduling proposal] is the most significant action any president has ever taken to roll back our nation’s federal prohibition on marijuana, and it is arguably the furthest any president could go in doing so,” Tvert said.

[M]arijuana policy experts said terminology such as “legalization” and “decriminalization” have historically been used loosely, especially by politicians, suggesting that a move to reschedule, like the one now moving toward enactment, may have been what Biden had meant when he made his pledge.

Tvert, a 20-year professional in cannabis policy, said he interpreted Biden’s promise as one to “revisit the federal government’s existing marijuana prohibition laws,” and that he did so by “directing his departments to reexamine the policy and initiate the process of reevaluating its classification under Schedule 1.” The administration, Tvert said, has “followed through on that.”

Based on interviews with Mason and other marijuana policy experts, Politifact concluded Biden’s promise is “In the Works” because it “represents a tangible step forward, but it is not yet officially enacted.”

Weed Wonks Podcast: Tax Attorney Nick Richards of Greenspoon Marder LLP

In the latest episode of Weed Wonks, Strategies 64’s Jordan Wellington talks to tax attorney Nick Richards, partner and co-chair of the Cannabis Law practice at Greenspoon Marder LLP, about how tax policy affects the future of cannabis.

The promise of marijuana tax revenue was a key selling point for legalization, and it continues to be a major policy issue for the regulated cannabis industry. It is also a pain point for many businesses, as well as the consumers they serve. Jordan and Nick take a deep dive into the tax policies surrounding cannabis and what a lack of federal guidance has meant for the cannabis industry.

The Weed Wonks podcast is produced by Strategies 64 in conjunction with our partners at Rootwurks.

Strategies 64 in the News: Colorado Springs Gazette

Strategies 64 partner Mason Tvert was quoted in a Colorado Springs Gazette story about El Paso County’s large number of licensed medical marijuana cardholders.

Although sales of medical marijuana have been declining across Colorado since high use during the pandemic, El Paso County continues to lead the state, by far, in having the most medical marijuana cardholders.

As of March, Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Registry program lists 22,634 patients countywide, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment.

That’s about 3% of the county’s population and more than triple the amount of medical cardholders in Denver County, which is comparable in overall population. Denver County’s count last month was 7,327 registrants — about 1% of its population.

There’s a simple reason for the numbers, said Mason Tvert, spokesman for Colorado Leads, a cannabis industry organization.

“Colorado Springs has repeatedly refused to regulate the sale of adult-use cannabis, and as a result many people are still relying on medical cannabis cards to access cannabis legally and safely,” he said.

“There are a lot of localities that have not regulated adult use, but they make up a fraction of the state’s overall population,” he said. “Local communities increasingly have been lifting prohibitions and choosing to regulate these businesses and collect the taxes.”

Weed Wonks Podcast: Douglas Fischer of Advanced Vapor Devices

In the latest episode of Weed Wonks, Strategies 64’s Jordan Wellington talks to Douglas Fischer, general counsel of Advanced Vapor Devices, about what the cannabis world can learn from the e-cigarette industry.

They discuss the regulatory challenges the e-cigarette industry has faced and what they may portend for the cannabis industry following federal legalization. They also highlight the importance of sensible federal oversight and how regulatory failure can lead to market failure.

The Weed Wonks podcast is produced by Strategies 64 in conjunction with our partners at Rootwurks.

Strategies 64 leaders to speak at AICPA & CIMA Cannabis Industry Conference

Join Strategies 64 partners Christian Sederberg and Jordan Wellington at the AICPA & CIMA Cannabis Industry Conference August 12–14 in Denver and Aurora, Colorado (along with the option to participate online). Christian and Jordan will be featured on a panel titled, “High Stakes: Accounting for the Shifting Cannabis Landscape,” where they will discuss regulatory issues in states with emerging and mature cannabis markets.

The conference will address a variety of issues with implications for accounting professionals serving legal cannabis businesses, including 280E litigation and the potential impact of DEA rescheduling. Senior IRS Counsel will also be on hand to discuss tax challenges for cannabis businesses.

The Association for International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) have helped shape the accounting profession for over a century. They came together as AICPA & CIMA to forge a powerful international alliance that promotes accounting and finance in every corner of the world, according to their website.

Registration for the conference is now open online.

Weed Wonks Podcast: Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner Kimberly Roy

The latest episode of Weed Wonks features Kimberly Roy of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. Strategies 64’s Jordan Wellington talks with her about efforts to expand access to veterans and more broadly educate consumers about cannabis and related issues, such as the dangers of cannabis-impaired driving.

They discuss why it is important to be honest about the risks and take an evidence-based approach, without creating undue burdens on businesses and consumers. They also discuss cannabis testing, recent state-issued pardons for cannabis offenses, putting a stop to “the wild west of host community agreements,” and steps the commonwealth is taking to “level the playing field” for legal cannabis.

The Weed Wonks podcast is produced by Strategies 64 in conjunction with our partners at Rootwurks.

Save the date for the 2024 Cannabis Policy Institute Symposium

Strategies 64 is proud to partner with the Cannabis Policy Institute to co-host its inaugural symposium at the University of Nevada Las Vegas on December 5, 2024 (coinciding with MJBizCon).

Join policymakers, regulators, policy and government affairs professionals, and other thought leaders to explore key issues impacting the regulated cannabis industry. Tentative topics for the event, which are subject to change, include intoxicating hemp, the post-election (and possibly post-rescheduling) federal landscape, and the next frontier of the legal cannabis industry: social use.

Sign up now to request an invitation and receive more details when they become available.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact CPI Director Riana Durrett for more information.

Cannabis Policy Institute Symposium at UNLV on December 5, 2024

VS Strategies is now Strategies 64

We are delighted to announce our firm has officially changed its name—VS Strategies is now Strategies 64.

Our team is not changing, but their email addresses are, so please update your address book by replacing any instances of @vsstrategies.com with @strategies64.com. We also encourage you to check out our new website and contact us if you would like to learn more about our services.

We are very excited for what’s to come under our new banner, so please stay tuned. Moving forward, we will only send you occasional, concise updates about the most important issues, events, and firm developments. Thank you for your time and attention! 

Why the change?

It’s been nearly a decade since VSS was founded as the independent policy consulting and public affairs affiliate of the Vicente Sederberg law firm (now Vicente LLP). Today, we have a larger team providing a broader range of services to a wider variety of clients, plus a number of exciting new ventures. It’s time to turn the page, and we want to begin our next chapter with a new name — one that reflects our mission, values, and abilities; honors our history; and embodies the spirit of innovation, collaboration, and excellence that drives us forward. We could not think of a better fit than Strategies 64.

What’s in a name (and number)?

Our new name is inspired by the historic Colorado legalization initiative, Amendment 64. It is a major nexus for the leaders of our firm, and it’s the perfect example of how strategic planning, tactical skills, and gritty determination can advance sound and righteous policy. From laying the groundwork and running the campaign, to implementing the initiative and building upon it every year since, A64 brought us together and fostered our growth, both individually and as a team. It also marked a critical turning point for cannabis and drug policy, inspiring jurisdictions across the U.S. to enact similar reforms—many with our help.  

Game theory

Our new name and logo are also an homage to our late partner Steve Fox, the architect of Amendment 64 and the original driving force behind VSS. Our fox chess piece is a tribute to him and the penchant for strategic thinking he instilled in our firm. Also, with 64 spaces, the chess board perfectly characterizes our holistic strategy and unique insight into the entire cannabis landscape—the policy and the politics, the industry and the players, the history, and what’s to come. For more about our firm’s history and name change, listen to the new bonus episode of our Weed Wonks podcast featuring the Strategies 64 partners.

Want to work with Strategies 64? Contact us today to find out how we can help you make sure your next move is the best move.  

VS Strategies nominated for cannabis consulting firm of the year

We are proud to announce VS Strategies has made it to the final round of voting for “Cannabis Consulting Firm of the Year” at the Emjays International Cannabis Awards.

The public was given the opportunity to nominate firms for each award, and VSS was one of the five firms that received the most nominations. The final winner will be decided by a public voting round along with judging by industry leaders. 

This is the first year for the Emjay awards, which are being produced in association with MJBizCon, which is scheduled for November 28–December 1 in Las Vegas. MJBizCon is one of the largest, if not the largest, cannabis industry events, attracting tens of thousands of cannabis professionals. 

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