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.
North Carolina: The North Carolina Senate Health Care Committee became the third Senate panel to approve a medical cannabis legalization bill Aug. 26, according to an AP News report.
The Judiciary Committee approved the legislation June 30, then passed the bill again Aug. 24 after a second review, where lawmakers addressed an amendment with changes requested by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Senate Bill 711, called the NC Compassionate Care Act, would allow patients with qualifying conditions, including cancer, epilepsy and HIV, to access cannabis products, and would authorize a newly created state commission to license 10 medical cannabis suppliers, which could open up to four dispensaries.
The bill must pass through one more committee, the Senate Rules Committee, and then could go to the Senate floor as soon as this week, although some lawmakers have expressed concerns that the legislation could lead to adult-use legalization in the future.
Wyoming: Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill (R) has approved the language of two cannabis-related ballot initiatives, the Associated Press (AP) reports. Brought forward by the Wyoming chapter of NORML, one proposal asks if medical cannabis should be legal in Wyoming and a second question relates to decriminalizing cannabis in the rural state. NORML says they will begin collecting voter signatures on or around September 1.
Alabama: The launch of Alabama’s medical cannabis program could be delayed until 2023. The state’s Medical Cannabis Commission met for the first time this week, and the chair of the board said the program rollout could take longer than expected, AL.com reported. A representative from the Alabama agriculture department said he didn’t expect licenses for medical marijuana cultivation to be issued before Sept. 1, 2022. That would mean licensed cannabis wouldn’t be ready for sale until the next year. Medical marijuana in Alabama is to be grown in greenhouses, which usually takes 3-4 months.
Delaware: An adult-use cannabis legalization bill gained momentum in the Delaware House this spring before it ultimately stalled after debate over a social equity fund included in the legislation. Now, the sponsor behind that legislation, Rep. Ed Osienski (D-Newark), has plans to reintroduce a substitute bill in January, when the Legislature reconvenes for its 2022 legislative session, according to a Cape Gazette report.
Florida: Florida is among the handful of U.S states that have been making immense progress in the cannabis industry. In 2020 alone, the state ended up with a staggering $1.3 billion in sales, landing it in the third spot in the list of most sales in cannabis last year. An initiative titled “Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, and Other Restrictions” was recently proposed in pursuit of permissions regarding adult-use cannabis at legal status. However, to the surprise of many advocates, the Supreme Court of Florida rejected it, raising a lot of concerns for the local industry.
Maryland: The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) on Thursday approved three more licensed processors to produce and distribute edible cannabis products across the state. Regulators on Thursday moved through a packed agenda of approvals, giving a final thumbs up—unanimously and with little to no discussion—to a slew of license ownership transfers from existing businesses to multistate operators. The commission rejected just one license transfer—from Harvest of Maryland in Hagerstown to Florida-based Trulieve—because the processor, which started operating in 2019, must wait at least three years to transfer its license under state rules, and still has another year to wait.
Oregon: Since June 2018, Oregon has not processed new applications for any cannabis license type. Due to concerns of a large cannabis oversupply, and a flood of applications, Oregon’s cannabis regulatory agency, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC), “paused” the processing of new applications effective June 15, 2018. Only applications submitted on or prior to that date are eligible for investigation and potential issuance. During the 2019 legislative session, new producer applications were further prohibited in statute until at least January 2022, in what is often referred to as the “producer moratorium.”
Since the pause and moratorium were put in place, the OLCC has expended considerable resources and effort to streamline their licensing processes and reduce requirements that often made obtaining a license more burdensome than necessary. As a result, they have almost eliminated the backlog of applications. The OLCC has publicly stated that it is nearly operationally ready to being processing new applications again. Meanwhile, SB 218 is scheduled to sunset in January 2022, thereby lifting the statutory prohibition on new producer licenses. These factors beg the question that so many are now asking: how soon will Oregon start allowing new applications for licenses?
New Mexico: Applications are now open for businesses interested in becoming legal marijuana producers licensed by the state of New Mexico. A day after the state released finalized rules for cannabis producers, the Cannabis Control Division announced on Wednesday that interested parties can now use an online application portal to get the process started.
New York: The newly inaugurated governor of New York is committed to expediently filling regulatory positions to implement marijuana legalization in the state, her office says.
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), who replaced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) this week after he resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal, was supportive of the legislature’s passage of the adult-use legalization bill this year. While her predecessor faced criticism as negotiations with lawmakers on potential appointments stalled, the new governor is now talking the helm and discussing how to move the process forward with leaders.
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