Biden comes through on his clemency promises ... somewhat.

The Biden administration is reportedly planning to deny staff applicants for investing in cannabis stocks.

According to Politico the administration will no longer be considering applicants for jobs with security clearance if they have ever invested in a cannabis company or a company that exclusively works with the cannabis industry.

“Eligibility may be negatively impacted if an individual knowingly and directly invests in stocks or business ventures that specifically pertain to marijuana growers and retailers,” wrote the author of an internal executive branch presentation that was given to reporters. “Decisions to willfully invest in such activity could reflect questionable judgment and an unwillingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations.”

The White House policy change might signal wider national reform regarding cannabis businesses since those businesses cannot currently trade on U.S. exchanges. The new hiring rule might have been made in preparation of national reforms that would be hindered by conflicts of interest.

The administration has been criticized for denying staff positions to applicants who admitted to having used cannabis in the past. This was done despite promises made early in the term to eliminate previous cannabis use as a barrier for approval.

ABQ Approves Dozens of Pot Retailers

The City of Albuquerque has approved over two dozen adult-use cannabis retail locations to operate within the city.

At the time of writing, the city has approved 35 retail locations and is in the process of reviewing seven more. The bulk of the stores will be located on the East Side, with only eight applicants looking to open stores west of Interstate 25.

Albuquerque’s Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) bars cannabis companies from operating within 300 feet of a school or child care facility or within 600 feet of another cannabis facility. The 600-foot rule does not apply to microbusinesses (cannabis businesses that sell or grow less than 200 plants).

New Mexico’s adult-use cannabis market will open April 1.

Weed Sales Drop in 2022

An analytics firm reports that cannabis sales in western U.S. markets dropped in January compared to the previous year.

According to a report from analytics firm BDSA that was published last week in New Cannabis Ventures, following a slight bump in sales last December, cannabis markets in the western U.S. dropped off in January. The lowest dip occurred in Nevada, where monthly cannabis sales dropped by 21 percent compared to a year ago.

The two largest markets in the west—California and Colorado—lost 12 percent and 11 percent of sales, respectively, compared to last year. Flower sales appear to have suffered the most during this time while sale of pre-rolled joints suffered the least. In many states, pre-roll sales increased over last year.

Arizona, which began adult-use cannabis sales in late January 2021, saw an increase in sales of 18.7 percent compared to the year before.