Stay up to date with the latest legalization and cannabis news with the CB Advisors. Every week, we will release a snippet of what’s happening with each state in the cannabis industry. Did you miss last week? No worries – click here for last week’s cannabis news.
Alabama: Alabama lawmakers are debating whether medical marijuana should be allowed in the state, and as we near the end of the legislative session we may have an answer soon. Some believe SB 46 is absolutely necessary to help people with debilitating illnesses while others feel it’s a slippery slope. The bill’s House sponsor Representative Mike Ball said medical marijuana would only be for people with qualifying medical conditions and could only be used through certain means such as oils or creams. The bill does not include smokeable or edible products. This bill is now ready for its third reading on the house floor, according to lawmakers.
North Carolina: North Carolina lawmakers have introduced a bill to legalize marijuana in the state. Rep. John Autry, along with House Members Allison Dahle, Pricey Harrison and Zack Hawkins introduced HB 617, a bill to legalize and regulate the sale, possession and use of Cannabis in North Carolina. According to lawmakers, HB 617 specifies controls for the production and distribution of cannabis under a system of licensing, regulation, and taxation. It includes lab testing, potency labeling, secure packaging, restrictions on advertising, and education about responsible use and risks. It also fosters a responsible industry, whereby businesses will only be allowed to expand if they prioritize diversity, good wages, sustainability, and community investment.
Texas: During this 87th Legislative Session, the Public Health Committee from the state House of Representatives all voted in favor of passing House Bill 1535. House Bill 1535 would allow the medical use of low-THC cannabis by patients with certain medical conditions. Alongside this, the bill would also establish compassionate-use institutional review boards to evaluate and approve proposed research programs; these boards would study the use of low-THC cannabis as a treatment for certain patients in Texas. Additionally, this bill would increase the THC cap from 0.5% to 5%.
Connecticut: Lawmakers and Gov. Ned Lamont are negotiating a bill that would legalize cannabis, but in order to do that, they will need to figure out a way forward that’s equitable for communities impacted for decades by the war on drugs. Sen. Doug McCrory, D-Hartford, said, “there is no cannabis legalization without equity.”
Florida: The Florida Supreme Court declared a proposed amendment to legalize recreational marijuana “misleading,” effectively ending the issue’s chances of getting on the ballot in 2022 and perhaps for good.
Hawaii: The Hawaii legislature has adopted a resolution that asks the state to seek an exemption from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stipulating that it is permitted to run its medical cannabis program without federal interference. The cannabis-focused measure asks the state Health Department to seek an “exception to regulations” from DEA and to petition for a rulemaking process that would clarify that state-level legalization is not in violation of federal drug laws.
A proposal to dramatically restrict medical cannabis patients from growing their own marijuana has died at the state Legislature. The state Health Department was seeking severe limits on community growing co-ops. Some co-ops are huge and each patient or caregiver can grow up to 10 plants with no limit on members. Patients complained limiting their right to grow their own would deprive them of medicine they depend on.
On Wednesday, House and Senate negotiators killed the state proposal, concluding they were too far apart to reach agreement.
Louisiana: Louisiana lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill to legalize marijuana in the state as well as a separate decriminalization proposal in committee votes, with additional cannabis reform proposals slated for consideration on Thursday. Following debate, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee advanced the legalization legislation in a 7-5 vote and the decriminalization bill with a 6-5 tally. They now head to the full chamber. The broader proposal would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess marijuana from licensed retailers. Possession of up to two and a half pounds of cannabis would be lawful. Regulators would be tasked with creating a permit for adults to grow up to six plants for personal use.
Minnesota: An eighth Minnesota House committee on Thursday approved a bill to legalize marijuana in the state. This time, the House Education Finance Committee cleared the legislation by a vote of 8-6. The legislation—which was introduced by House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler (D), Speaker Melissa Hortman (D) and other lawmakers in February—would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis and cultivate up to eight plants, four of which could be mature.
Missouri: The strong growth trends in Missouri’s medical marijuana industry continue as the week of 4/20 saw Missouri climb to over $3.3 million in a single week. To this point, no single week had exceeded $2.7 million, with that figure coming just two weeks prior. The week of 420 showed a 21% increase in sales over the prior week, a change of $698,249 in positive revenues. Missouri sales topped $2 million for the first time in late March. That marked a 26% increase over the prior week’s sales which had waned slightly, down to $1,794,583 from $1,907,836 the prior week. In the weeks since topping the $2 million mark, Missouri has soared from $22,211,149 to $35,679,927 in cumulative sales.
Ohio: The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy has approved increasing the number of state dispensary licenses by 73, bringing the total allowed to 130 statewide. The Board initially issued 57 dispensary licenses; however, there are currently only 52 operating dispensaries. Compared to bordering states’ medical cannabis programs, like Pennsylvania and Michigan, Ohio’s current number of permits is low based on the state’s population, the proposal states.
Oklahoma: U.S. House members from Oklahoma united last week in their opposition to statehood for the District of Columbia, but split on whether to allow the cannabis industry access to the federal banking system. Voting for the banking bill were Reps. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City; Tom Cole, R-Moore; and Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa. Reps. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, and Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, voted against. The bill was approved 321-101 and is now before the U.S. Senate.
Pennsylvania: Democrat Sharif Street of Philadelphia and Republican Dan Laughlin of Erie are co-sponsoring a bill legalizing pot for adults.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island marijuana authorities are without a company to run a lottery to award six new medical marijuana dispensary licenses. The state put out a call in February for bids to develop the process but received no takers. The lottery was originally scheduled for around May 14 if the state received an acceptable bid from a company to oversee the process. Rhode Island currently has three medical cannabis dispensaries in operation. New Gov. Dan McKee, who is keen on legalizing adult-use cannabis, proposed a program in which 25 retail licenses would be issued for a market that would launch in April 2022.
West Virginia: The West Virginia Senate passed two bills aimed at improving the program, which passed four years ago but has yet to provide any relief to patients. Neither bill passed the House, which has more staunchly anti-cannabis members than the Senate. Senate Bill 231 amended several sections of the Medical Cannabis Act, reducing fees for patients and adding to the list of approved conditions to receive a medical card. The bill also raised the tax from 10% to 20%. Dry leaf and edibles were added as permitted forms of cannabis. The Senate also passed Senate Bill 590 to add edibles to the list of permitted forms.
Arizona: A bipartisan push to create advertising and labeling regulations on Arizona’s fledgling recreational cannabis industry is in limbo. House Bill 2809 contains labeling rules that resemble requirements for cigarette and alcohol purveyors, requiring warnings about cannabis use when pregnant or breastfeeding and limiting marketing that would be considered attractive to children. The bill passed early unanimously in the House on Feb. 23, but it has made only a few steps toward passage in the Senate, something that must happen in the final days of session if it’s to be sent to Gov. Doug Ducey for consideration.
California: Assembly Bill 384, is a critical measure that would help expand veterinarian oversight of medical cannabis products designed for companion animals. The bill recognizes cannabis as a therapeutic for non-livestock animals and allows veterinarians to legally recommend the use of cannabis to clients and provide pet-specific dosage information. Following Assembly Bill 2215’s passage in California in 2018, veterinarians were allowed to discuss cannabis with clients, but not recommend it,” said Dr. Tim Shu, founder and CEO of VETCBD. “Due to that legal gray area, many veterinarians were uncomfortable discussing its use whatsoever. The passage of AB-384 would remove that barrier and allow veterinarians to recommend the use of cannabis without fear of legal reprisal. In addition to allowing veterinarians to recommend cannabis as a therapeutic treatment for companion animals, AB-384 would create a separate category for pet cannabis products that are sold in California dispensaries and subject to the same testing requirements as other products. If AB-384 is passed, California would be the first state to adopt such a law, making history and likely setting a precedent for others, as it did with medical cannabis for human consumption in 1996 and again in 2003. AB-384 successfully passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee on Apr. 13 and will be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee next month. AB-384 was drafted by California Assembly member Ash Kalra, D-San Jose, and initially introduced to the assembly on Feb. 2
Illinois: Rep. La Shawn Ford quietly filed a long-awaited amendment to a bill that aims to resolve the state’s beleaguered cannabis licensing process and vastly expand the legal weed industry.“ This is driving home the intent of the cannabis law of Illinois,” Ford, a Chicago Democrat, told the Sun-Times on Tuesday. “We want to get to the point of true social equity.” Ford’s proposal would most notably create up to 120 new pot shop licenses, adding to the 75 dispensary permits that have remained in limbo for nearly a year. Under Ford’s plan, 110 new recreational cannabis licenses would be issued to existing applicants in a second lottery. In addition, five licenses that were never issued would be doled out to new applicants in a “Social Equity justice Involved Medical Lottery.”
Michigan: Legislators have introduced bills that would, if passed, outlaw the sale of synthetic urine and ban billboard marijuana ads. The Senate has voted to ban the sale of synthetic urine and other products used to falsify drug tests. Synthetic urine is water mixed with additives such as creatinine, salts, uric acid and yellow coloring to replicate human urine, according to Quest Diagnostics, a New Jersey-based clinical laboratory that provides drug testing for employers across the country. The bill, introduced by Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington, passed the Senate 33-1. It’s pending in the House. Bills have also been introduced by Reps. Mary Whiteford, R-Casco Township, and Abdullah Hammoud, D-Dearborn, to ban the advertisement of medical and recreational marijuana sales on billboards.
Montana: Senate lawmakers approved the state’s flagship weed implementation and taxation bill on its third reading Friday afternoon. House Bill 701—the Legislature’s response to the passage of Initiative 1-190—is the culmination of months of planning and debate, needs to pass one more reading in the Senate before being sent back to the House for approval on a series of amendments added in the Senate. If the House concurs with the Senate amendment, it will be sent to Gov. Greg Gianforte (R). Montana will be that much closer to fulfilling the voters’ wish of recreational marijuana.
Nevada: An attempt to align Nevada’s DUI laws with the state’s marijuana laws intensified in the Nevada Legislature on Tuesday, and not just because it’s 4/20. A bill to protect those with marijuana metabolites in their system, but who are not driving impaired, passed in the Nevada Assembly and is now heading to the Senate. Under current law, despite whether a driver is actually impaired, if a blood test shows even the slightest evidence of prior marijuana use, they will be convicted of a DUI. Assembly Bill 400 (AB400) aims to change that.
New Jersey: New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission held its second meeting Thursday afternoon, but much about the new legal weed industry remains a mystery. The new, five-member commission has lots of authority over the cannabis industry and a four-month deadline to set up its regulations. It will determine when sales can start to people 21 and older, recommend how tax revenue be spent and award licenses to dispensaries, growers and more.The commission did not provide an update about when it will issue licenses to entrepreneurs who applied for medical licenses in 2019. A lawsuit halted that process for more than a year, stunting the medical marijuana program. But a court in February gave the health department the green light to resume the review, and many are eager to know who received one of the 24 licenses.
New Mexico: Timeline of recreational use
June 29, 2021: New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department Superintendent Linda Trujillo has said new limits on marijuana possession and home growing take effect June 29.
No Later Than 09/01/21
- Create the Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee.
- CCD accepts and begins processing license applications for cannabis producers, cannabis producer microbusinesses, and properly licensed medical cannabis producers.
No Later Than 01/01/22
- CCD issues licenses to conduct commercial cannabis activity for people properly licensed in the medical cannabis program.
- CCD begins licensing cannabis training and education programs.
- CCD issues cannabis server permits.
- CCD accepts and begins processing license applications for all license types.
No Later Than 04/01/22
- The retail sale of commercial cannabis begins.
South Dakota: The South Dakota Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday morning in the case involving a constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana use in the state for adults 21 years and older. The Supreme Court Justices will hear oral arguments in their courtroom on the second floor of the State Capitol Building in Pierre. The public will be able to access audio and video of the arguments on the South Dakota Unified Judicial System website ujs.sd.gov.
Virginia: Earlier this month, lawmakers approved Northam’s proposed changes to a bill to allow adults in Virginia to possess and cultivate small amounts starting in July. That move accelerated the timeline of legalization by about three years. But it will be years before legal retail sales will be available in the Commonwealth. The legislation created a new state agency that will oversee the marijuana marketplace, with sales beginning in 2024.
Washington: As Washington State’s legislative session drew to a close this weekend, lawmakers approved a bill that for the next two years would make drug possession a misdemeanor. After that, the criminal penalties would disappear—a move designed to force lawmakers back to the negotiating table. The measure is a temporary response to a state Supreme Court decision in February that struck down Washington’s felony drug possession law as unconstitutional, ending the prohibition of simple possession. In an attempt at compromise, the bill’s criminal penalty provisions will expire on July 1, 2023, again leaving Washington without a law against drug possession.