ISTOCK / ALENA PAULUS

HAPPY 2017! If your New Year’s resolution is to stay more up to date with all that’s happening in the world of cannabis, keep reading! If it’s to lose the 10 pounds you gained over the holidays (okay, fine, 15), keep reading—while on a treadmill!

NEW NEIGHBORS

Understatement of the (new) year: The City of Portland’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement has not been a friend to the cannabis industry. Absurdly high fees, inexplicably long delays, and what can charitably be called “abundant overregulation” have all been major roadblocks to supporting and growing the economic engine of the cannabis industry. Mayor Ted Wheeler has brought new hope with his announcement that the bureau will change hands, from Commissioner Amanda Fritz to newly elected Commissioner Chloe Eudaly.

As reported in Willamette Week, Wheeler’s spokesperson Michael Cox said on December 30 that “The state has set up a regulatory structure [for cannabis]. They’re making it work. Reinventing it at the local level is redundant and confusing.”

Wheeler has support of commissioners who feel the city overregulated—including Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who told WW, “I hope the program goes away.” Preach it, Danny Boy. So does every cannabis business owner in Multnomah County.

GREEN MONEY

Arcview Market Research has released some statistics on cannabis sales, and they’re jaw-droppers. While the full, 200-page report won’t be out until February, here’s an early look at those numbers.

Cannabis sales grew in North America to $6.7 billion, a 30 percent increase from 2015.

Sales are expected to increase to $20.2 billion by 2021, if the compound annual growth rate of 25 percent stays steady.

Concentrates and edibles are gaining favor with consumers when compared to traditional smoking.

Year-to-date sales in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon climbed 62 percent through September 2016 when compared to September 2015.

Arcview CEO Troy Dayton believes that even with the uncertainty of having President Orangutan in office, along with Attorney General nominee Jeff “I thought the Klan was okay until I learned they smoked pot” Sessions, investor money is streaming into California, Florida, Massachusetts and Nevada. “Twenty-one percent of the total US population now live in legal adult-use markets,” Dayton told Forbes. (Is that a big enough number to make secession a viable option?)

CBD IN THE UK

Meanwhile, the land we fled more than 200 years ago because of a lack of freedoms has determined that CBD is—gasp—a medicine. Britain’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, mercifully known as the MHRA, made an announcement over New Year’s weekend, stating, in a most British manner, “We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine,” and “MHRA will now work with individual companies and trade bodies in relation to making sure products containing CBD, used for a medical purpose, which can be classified as medicines, satisfy the legal requirements of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.”

After the MHRA sent out cease-and-desist letters a few months ago to CBD producers and vendors, it didn’t look promising for the recipients. But according to Gerald Heddell, director of inspection and enforcement at MHRA, “The change really came about with us offering an opinion that CBD is in fact a medicine, and that opinion was based on the fact that we noted that people were making some quite stark claims about serious diseases that could be treated with CBD.”

Meanwhile, back in the Colonies, in December the DEA added CBD to the list of Schedule I drugs such as heroin. There has been much discussion since as to what this means exactly for the producers and vendors of CBD products. The DEA says that they only took this action as “an internal accounting mechanism,” as DEA spokesperson Russell Baer explained to Vice News. “The purpose is to drill down and get more accurate information about research that’s being conducted with CBD in particular.”

But as Denver cannabis attorney Robert Hoban told the International Business Times, “This action is beyond the DEA’s authority. The DEA can only carry out the law, they cannot create it. Here, they’re purporting to create an entirely new category called ‘marijuana extracts,’ and by doing so wrest control over all cannabinoids. They want to call all cannabinoids illegal. But they don’t have the authority to do that.”