Stay up to date with the latest legalization and cannabis news with the C.B. 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.
Arkansas: A referendum to legalize recreational cannabis sales in Arkansas passed a critical milestone, likely assuring the proposed constitutional amendment will be on the state’s November ballot.
State election officials said the referendum proponent, Responsible Growth Arkansas, succeeded in submitting the required 89,151 valid signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot, according to the Associated Press. The only additional step is for the state Board of Election Commissioners to review the measure, including the proposal’s name and ballot title, the AP reported. That is expected to occur Aug. 3.
The referendum calls for recreational marijuana sales to begin March 8, 2023, with existing medical marijuana providers.
Louisiana: Louisiana’s governor signed several bills over the past week that will bolster the state’s medical marijuana industry by allowing more dispensaries and enabling out-of-state residents to buy MMJ.
Among the MMJ measures signed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards: House Bill 697, which allows for the number of dispensaries – or pharmacies, as they’re called in Louisiana – to increase from nine to 30 over time. The option to expand rests with the existing medical marijuana dispensaries. But a new MMJ operator could apply to enter the market if an existing dispensary declined to open a second satellite location.
House Bill 135, which allows dispensaries to sell medical cannabis to out-of-state residents who have a valid MMJ card from another state. The visitor also would need to sign a form attesting that he or she had a qualifying condition under Louisiana law. House Bill 190, which authorizes certain nurse practitioners to recommend MMJ to patients.
Minnesota: Several cities in Minnesota imposed moratoriums on cannabis edibles, and others are considering bans, in the wake of a first-of-its kind law allowing adult-use THC sales in outlets other than medical marijuana dispensaries.
In the past month alone, Marshall, Robbinsdale and St. Joseph passed moratoriums on sales of food and drinks containing THC, the Duluth News Tribune reported. Food and beverages containing THC from hemp became legal in Minnesota on July 1.
The new law allows packages containing a total of 50 milligrams of THC to be sold in grocery stores and convenience stores to adults 21 and older.
Missouri: An initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri is falling short of the required signatures to qualify for the November ballot.
According to the Longview News-Journal, the petition needs help to reach its goal in two of Missouri’s six congressional districts if adult use is to go before the state’s voters. In the 7th Congressional District, the adult-use campaign is 1,144 names short; in the 6th Congressional District, it needs 1,573 signatures.
The deadline for Secretary of State John Ashcroft to determine the success of the campaign is Aug. 9. The initiative would: Allow existing medical marijuana companies to also sell adult-use cannabis and add an additional 144 microbusiness licenses.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma will stop giving out new licenses to grow, sell, or process marijuana at the end of August. The moratorium was supposed to start Monday, but the application deadline was extended at the last minute.
The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority admitted it made a mistake Saturday and had misinterpreted the law. Bills in the Oklahoma legislature must pass with a two-thirds majority to take effect sooner than 90 days after the governor signs them. The text of House Bill 3208 said the moratorium would begin on August 1st, but it did not meet the required vote threshold. Since it was signed by Governor Stitt on May 26th, it could not take effect before August 26th.
South Dakota: South Dakota is nearing another milestone for medical marijuana.
Unity Rd. in Hartford is gearing to open its doors on Wednesday, making it the first state-licensed cannabis dispensary in the state’s history. It’s been a long time coming since 70 percent of South Dakota voters said “yes” to cannabis for medicinal use in November 2020.
While tribal-governed Native Nations Cannabis opened in Flandreau 10 months ago, Unity Rd. is expected to be a historic landmark for many of the 1,600 people in the state who are qualified to purchase the once-illegal drug.
“It’s going to be crazy,” said co-owner B.J. Wilson, taking a break from helping train clerks less than 48 hours from opening day.
Connecticut: Regulators took another step toward establishing Connecticut’s adult-use cannabis market July 28 when the state’s Social Equity Council approved five dispensary licenses. The successful applicants will now be referred to the Department of Cannabis Protection for the next step in the licensing process, according to the Hartford Courant.
The state has not yet released the names of the successful applicants, the news outlet reported, but they will be identified after they advance to the Department of Consumer Protection. The council ultimately denied one social equity retail application and approved a recommendation to reject nine applications due to ownership and control issues.
The Social Equity Council approved 16 adult-use cannabis cultivation licenses earlier this month.
Maine: The ACLU of Maine says state regulators should eliminate a requirement that multiple video cameras be placed inside and outside adult-use cannabis businesses, arguing that doing so violates Maine’s ban on facial recognition surveillance.
The requirement, which appears in a set of draft rules for the regulatory framework of the state’s adult-use or recreational marijuana program, “would needlessly expose customers and workers in the cannabis industry to privacy-violating tracking and data collection,” the ACLU said in a letter to the Maine Office of Cannabis Policy this week.
But the Office of Cannabis Policy, which is part of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, says the draft rules simply update existing video surveillance requirements for cannabis businesses to cover newly approved cannabis delivery.
Nevada: Members of the Cannabis Compliance Board this week opted not to make any big decisions on allowing legal marijuana sales and use at large events, instead kicking the matter to an advisory council for more study.
The move came last Tuesday, after consultant Chris Anderson proposed the board approve a pilot program to allow a handful of outdoor events with crowds of more than 25,000 people to permit marijuana sales and consumption.
Under the petition, licensed retail marijuana stores could receive one-time vendor permits from state cannabis regulators if they entered into an agreement with event organizers, who would need to document permission from local authorities to hold an event with marijuana consumption.
New Jersey: Consumers, business leaders, and pro-cannabis advocates continue to accuse the state Cannabis Regulatory Commission of dragging its feet on changes they seek to the nascent adult-use cannabis industry.
The commission is set to meet for its monthly meeting Thursday, where it will discuss an array of topics, including making curbside pickup and home delivery permanent, bringing down the cost of medical marijuana cards, and approving another 81 cannabis licenses.
But notably missing from the agenda are two long-awaited topics: workplace regulations for employers who suspect a worker is high on the job, and the approval of edibles like brownies, cookies, and chocolate bars.
New Mexico: Senator Ben Ray Lujan is pushing for a law to allow TV and radio ads for marijuana companies. The ads would only be allowed in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana use. Marijuana is still illegal federally, so the bill would ban the FCC from punishing stations in any way for airing legitimate cannabis ads. With this bill, we could one day see ads for cannabis products and stores just like we do for prescription drugs and alcohol.
The 13-page bill spells out some rules, allowing ads only from legitimate companies. The ads would have to have warnings that there could be risks associated with the consumption of the product. And, they could only be shown in states that have legalized medical or recreational cannabis.
Oregon: The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission said it has grown tired of “bad actors” gaming the system when they’re caught breaking the law or violating OLCC rules, so commissioners plan to crack down on that group of licensees by limiting their ability to monetize their license.
At their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, commissioners signaled that they want to take a new approach against cannabis operators facing license cancelation who want to sell their businesses through a “change of ownership.” That action requires the OLCC to use its discretion to facilitate issuing a new license to the buyer of the discredited cannabis business.
Rhode Island: Warren may become the first community in Rhode Island to ban smoking or vaping cannabis in public, since marijuana became legal in the Ocean State.
On May 25, Rhode Island became the 19th state in the U.S. to legalize recreational cannabis. The move legalized the possession and consumption of marijuana statewide, though retail stores won’t open until at least December. The new law also gives cities and towns throughout the state the power to regulate recreational cannabis in their communities.
When Gov. Dan McKee signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act on May 25, officially making Rhode Island the 19th state to legalize adult-use cannabis in the U.S., the approved legislation included a provision for municipal authority. So far, a dozen municipalities have passed resolutions via their town councilors to include that question on November’s ballot, according to ABC-affiliate WLNE. Those 12 towns include:
Barrington; Bristol; Charlestown; Coventry; Cumberland; East Greenwich; Hopkinton; North; Kingstown; Scituate; Tiverton; Warren; West Greenwich.
Cumberland and Coventry, towns of roughly 35,000 residents, are the most populated among those 12.While there are 39 incorporated municipalities in Rhode Island, many of the state’s most populous cities, like Providence and Warwick, already have medical dispensaries that will have the first go in the adult-use retail market but would need to pay a $125,000 fee—to be deposited in a social equity fund—to become “hybrid” cannabis retailers.
Another 24 adult-use retail licenses will be distributed equally among six geographic zones in the state.