Latest Cannabis News: December 15, 2021

Latest Cannabis News: December 15, 2021

Shelby Knight

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.


Industry News:

Visa, the world’s second-largest card payment company, recently issued a compliance memo to customers warning them that miscoding point-of-sale transactions through the use of so-called cashless ATMs—a practice used by some cannabis retailers as a workaround to accept credit or debit cards for purchases—could lead to penalties or other unspecified enforcement action.

The warning comes as congressional lawmakers grapple with how to handle marijuana business banking. The House passed a defense bill in September with language that would have protected banks that work with state-legal cannabis companies, but after talks with the Senate, those provisions were not attached to a new bicameral deal filed Tuesday.





Kentucky: The governor of Kentucky says medical marijuana is “the future,” and part of that future should involve letting farmers grow cannabis to sell to other states.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D) talked about how legalizing medical marijuana is a priority for him in the coming legislative session during an interview with 44 News that aired on Wednesday. He also expressed openness to broader legislation that would allow adults 21 and older to grow and possess cannabis without having a medical reason for it.

A bill to legalize MMJ in Kentucky was approved in the state House earlier this year, but the measure eventually stalled after it was not taken up by the Senate.

Beshear went on to say he agreed with proposed legislation that would decriminalize cannabis but not legalize an adult-use marijuana, though he’s “open to conversations on the recreational side.” Beshear also mentioned that Kentucky could potentially grow marijuana to be sold in other states. However, the plant is still illegal at the federal level, so it’s not clear how such a move would work.





Alabama: Montgomery city leaders are taking steps to bring a medical cannabis dispensary to the capital city.

On Tuesday, council members unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the operation of a medical cannabis dispensary within city limits.

The law recently passed in the legislature allows for five dispensaries across the state. City leaders say they want to make sure Montgomery is one of those possible destinations.

”Dispensaries are looking for cities to be proactive in saying ‘we’re open for business,” Councilman CC Calhoun said. “It’s an opportunity to create economic development and an opportunity to create jobs. They’re not looking to bring dispensaries into a city that’s not willing to say, ‘hey, we’re willing to do business.’ It’s taxable.”



Connecticut: The state’s Social Equity Council – which was created to promote equity in the cannabis industry and help those impacted by the war on drugs – is taking things slow and steady.

The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) recently accepted the council’s request to keep the application period open for 90 days for all cannabis license types selected through the first lottery. Andrea Comer, Chair of the Social Equity Council, said they anticipate voting in the coming weeks to provide final approval, so the clock will soon start ticking for the application process. The DCP will begin to make applications available 30 days after the Council issues its final approval of income and residency documentation and subsequently posts the criteria on its website.



Minnesota: Starting in August 2022, medical cannabis patients in Minnesota will be able to purchase infused cannabis products, including gummies and chews, the state Health Department announced last week. Currently, the state only allows for pills, vapor, liquids, topicals, powdered mixtures, and orally dissolvable products, like lozenges. Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said the expansion “will mean more options for patients who cannot tolerate currently available forms of medical cannabis.”

In May, state lawmakers approved a measure to allow smokable forms of cannabis in the state’s medical cannabis program, which the Health Department said would be available to patients in March of next year.



Missouri: St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones on Monday signed a bill repealing city ordinances that make it illegal to possess small amounts of marijuana.

This comes as Amendment 2 was passed by Missouri voters in 2018 to legalize medical marijuana use, which received the support of 82 percent from St. Louisans.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that in addition to repealing city ordinances, the bill bars police from enforcing state and federal laws against the possession of small amounts or of marijuana paraphernalia, with certain exceptions. The smell or presence of marijuana can no longer be the only probable cause for search and arrest.



Rhode Island: A top Rhode Island lawmaker on Thursday said that a bill to legalize marijuana in the Ocean State is nearly finalized, with just one major provision left to resolve following months of negotiations—and that he expects the issue to be resolved early in the new year.

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi (D) told WPRI-TV that while legislators are “still not there” on a final product, he’s “happy to report that we’ve worked down to almost one issue that’s left, but it’s not there yet.” That issue relates to who should regulate the cannabis market—a new independent commission or the state Department of Business Regulation (DBR).

It appears that another outstanding issue related to how many marijuana business licenses should be approved has been resolved, given the speaker’s new comments. Miller’s bill proposed as many as 150 cannabis shops, whereas Gov. Dan McKee’s (D) plan called for 25 and Rep. Scott Slater (D) wanted just 15 in his separate House bill.





California: California Sen. Mike McGuire expressed his intentions Wednesday to introduce legislation in early 2022 to eliminate the state cannabis cultivation tax, a favored target of the industry. “We need to take a close look at the overall tax rate and whether it is impeding the overall growth of the cannabis market,” he said. “The bottom line is this, cultivation taxes are crushing small farmers throughout the North Coast,” McGuire said, adding: “Basing it off the weight doesn’t account for when the market collapses. It’s simply not sustainable.”

To remove the tax, the Healdsburg Democrat plans to shift the cultivation tax to the excise tax, which is imposed on point-of-sale-transactions . The state lawmaker plans to ask the Legislature’s Legal Counsel to see what’s allowable under state statute.

The state cultivation tax sparked renewed ire from the industry when the state announced plans to raise tax rate from $9.65 to $10.08 per dry weighted ounce next year.



Illinois: Cannabis license applicants and Illinois officials are scrambling to change a court order after a judge prohibited the state from issuing up to 60 new craft grower licenses that were due out by Dec. 21. Cook County Judge Neil Cohen issued an injunction Nov. 22, preventing the Department of Agriculture from issuing the licenses “until further order of the court.”

The order follows a similar order from Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius preventing the awarding of 185 new marijuana retail store licenses until litigation over some of the licenses is resolved — which could take months or years.

Cannabis licenses had already been delayed more than a year by the state after complaints that the application scoring process had been badly mishandled by contractor KPMG. Some identical applications had been scored differently, applicants said, and many applicants had not been told additional information they needed to provide, as had been required by the law.



Montana: The state’s rulemaking process for the sale of recreational marijuana is again moving ahead. It was delayed after Montana lawmakers intervened last week with last-minute concerns.

The Economic Affairs Interim Committee lifted its bipartisan objection delaying the new industry’s regulations after several proposed rules were amended, including the regulation of licenses on Indian reservations and how businesses manage marijuana waste.



New Jersey:  On Tuesday, New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission announced it has approved licenses to 30 new medical marijuana dispensaries that will open throughout the state. The medical pot shops will be spread equally through the state: 10 in North Jersey, 10 in Central Jersey and 10 in South Jersey, said the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, or CRC. However, the CRC declined to make public the exact towns where the 30 dispensaries will be located, saying it was not yet considered public information.

The chair of the commission said supply cannot keep up with New Jersey’s demand for medicinal pot: They originally were only going to approve 15 new medical pot shops, but decided to increase it to 30.



Oregon: Portland’s Office of Community & Civic Life on Wednesday announced that the City Council had voted Dec. 1 to approve a $1.3 million fund that will provide grants to dispensaries impacted by a record-setting number of burglaries and robberies in the past two years, as well as the pandemic and wildfires.

That makes the city of Portland the first local government in the U.S. to allocate cannabis tax revenue to an emergency fund for cannabis retailers, according to the Office of Community & Civic Life.




Contact for more information on how to apply for a cannabis business license.




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