New Congressional Bill Aims to Regulate Weed Like Alcohol

2019 could be the year we see federal marijuana legalization. Last week, Rep. Earl Blumenauer filed H.R. 420 to federally legalize cannabis, removing it from the Controlled Substances list. (And yes, labeling the bill 420–slang for cannabis consumption– is an intentional joke.)

The new bill would allow federal permits to be issued for cultivating, packaging, selling and importing cannabis, per Forbes. Though shipping marijuana into states that have not legalized it would be prohibited. Currently 10 states have legalized recreational use and 34 states allow medicinal use. And so far, three states (NY, NJ and IL) are looking into recreational use this year.

The bill would also transfer cannabis enforcement authority from the Drug Enforcement Administration to what would be called the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, Firearms and Explosives.

In addition, there would be an Alcohol, Tobacco and Marijuana Tax and Trade Bureau within the Department of Treasury, which would also have authority over marijuana regulation along with the Food and Drug Administration.

“While the bill number may be a bit tongue in cheek, the issue is very serious. Our federal marijuana laws are outdated, out of touch and have negatively impacted countless lives,” Rep. Blumenauer said in a release. “Congress cannot continue to be out of touch with a movement that a growing majority of Americans support. It’s time to end this senseless prohibition.”

You may recall, the feds reclassified CBD meds last year. The DEA announced that non synthetic cannabis-derived medicine, with approval from the FDA, is no longer considered a Schedule 1 substance [see WSD 09-28-2018].

However, with the government still partially shut down, there likely won’t be any movement on this issue until later in the year.

RESTAURANT INDUSTRY FINISHES 2018 STRONG

The restaurant industry ended 2018 on a high note, with same-stores sales growth of 2% in December, which is the highest it’s been since August 2015, according to TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence data. Not to mention, December was the seventh consecutive month to report positive growth.

Meanwhile, same-store traffic was down 0.9% for the month, and down 1.6% in the fourth quarter. Though Victor Fernandez, TDn2K vp of insights and knowledge, notes that price increases, reduced discounting and an upward shift in product mix offset the reduced traffic.

In fact, average guest checks were up by 3.1% year over year in the fourth quarter. Comparatively, average guest check topped at 2.5% growth over the last three years.

Upscale casual and fine dining segments have shown the most consistent growth, with a strong showing in 2018 and positive sales growth average over the last three years.

BERRY BROS & RUDD CEO STEPS DOWN

Berry Bros. & Rudd ceo Dan Jago is leaving the company after three years at the helm. Dan introduced “significant operational commercial initiatives that have made us a much stronger organization,” according to chairman Lizzy Rudd, per The Grocer.

UK-based Berry Bros. & Rudd is a brand owner, with a stake in California’s Hotaling & Co. (formerly Anchor Distilling), distributor and retailer.

“With Dan having completed what he set out to achieve, the Board and Dan have agreed that the time is now right for new leadership to guide the company through the next phase of growth,” says Lizzy.

The search for a new ceo is on.

DIAGEO HQ MOVES TO NY WITH $6.6M IN INCENTIVES

Last Thursday, Diageo announced plans to move headquarters for its North American operations to New York City from Norwalk, Connecticut, while keeping a satellite office in Norwalk. The state of New York is giving the company $6.6 million in incentives for the move.

Moving to NYC gives the company access to a larger pool of managerial talent, according to a Diageo spokesperson, reports The Hour. In fact, the company plans to employ 500 people in the city including some jobs that are currently in Connecticut.

WSD BRIEFS:

EASTSIDE DISTILLING ACQUIRES CRAFT CANNING + BOTTLING. Oregon-based Eastside Distilling announced the acquisition by merger of Portland’s Craft Canning + Bottling, a mobile canning and bottling service operating in Oregon, Washington and Colorado. The acquisition cost Eastside $5.2 million, which was a combination of $2 million in cash, debt of $800,000 and more than 338,000 shares of Common Stock (about $2.4 million), per a release. They will combine operations with Eastside’s Mother Lode co-packaging subsidiary. The co-packing business will operate under the name Craft Canning + Bottling.

BROCKMANS GIN MAKES DISTRIB CHANGE IN NY. Brockmans Gin will now be distributed by lNJ Brands in Metro New York and Elmira Distributing Co. in Upstate New York, effective February 1. “We are pleased to partner with LNJ Brands and Elmira Distributing to take our award-winning brand to new heights, reaching new fans and establishing an even bigger footprint in both the Metro and Upstate New York markets beginning this year,” says ceo and co-founder Neil Everitt.

CONSTELLATION’S INCOMING CEO JOINS BOARD OF DIRECTORS. Constellation Brands incoming ceo Bill Newlands has been elected to join the board of directors, effective March 1, per a release. “It’s an exciting time for our company. I’m honored to join the board of directors and look forward to working together in continuing to shape the company’s future strategies and priorities,” says Bill.

Until tomorrow,
Your Editors

Emily Pennington – emily@winespiritsdaily.com
Sarah Barrett – sarah@winespiritsdaily.com

“Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.” – Mark Twain

——- Sell Day Calendar ———
Today’s Sell Day: 10
Sell days this month: 22
Sell days this month last year: 22
This month ends on a: Thurs.
This month last year ended on a: Wed.
YTD sell days Over/Under: 0