Latest Cannabis News: January 12, 2021

Latest Cannabis News: January 12, 2021

Demi
JANUARY 12TH, 2021

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.

Dry:

Kansas: After a shortened session dashed hopes for medicinal cannabis legalization in 2020, proponents of the plant are taking a fresh approach for the upcoming legislative session. This year, those pushing to pass the bill are working to create collaborative legislation that appeals to both sides of the aisle, said Daniel Shafton, a consultant for the Kansas Cannabis Business Association.
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Nebraska: An Omaha state senator wants to give Nebraska voters a say on whether to allow the use of recreational marijuana by individuals over 21 years of age in the Cornhusker State. Sen. Justin Wayne introduced a constitutional amendment (LR2CA) Wednesday to legalize “the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, consumption, and sale of cannabis in any form” on Oct. 1, 2023. The proposal would need at least 30 votes in the Legislature to be placed on the November 2022 general election ballot.
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CBD:

Kentucky: Kentucky lawmakers have filed a new bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state just as the governor made a call for the reform during a State of the Commonwealth address on Thursday. The legislation is being sponsored by Rep. Jason Nemes (R), who also introduced a medical cannabis bill that passed the House last year but later died in the Senate.
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South Dakota: Gov. Kristi Noem is getting involved in a legal challenge to the marijuana-legalization ballot initiative approved by South Dakota voters in November. A civil-rights group says the move adds to frustration being felt by voters in the current political environment. Last week, Noem issued an executive order, saying the state’s Highway Patrol superintendent has the legal standing to move forward with a lawsuit against the amendment.
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Tennessee: A Tennessee lawmaker wants decriminalize some marijuana possession if a person has a valid medical marijuana card. State Senator Sarah Kyle (D-Memphis) is the sponsor of SB0025 filed for consideration in the Tennessee General Assembly. According to the bill, it would not be an offense to be in possession of up to a 1/2 ounce of marijuana as long as they have a valid medical marijuana patient identification card.
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Texas: There are no less than 20 bills up for consideration regarding marijuana this legislative session in Texas but don’t bet the farm that any of them will become law. While both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed interest in decriminalizing marijuana, which is often considered an early step in full legalization, John Baucum, legislative director for Republicans against Marijuana Prohibition, believes it is not enough to move the needle on the issue. He said he believes that without the governor and lieutenant governor on board, marijuana legalization in Texas is destined for failure.
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Medical:

Arizona: Applications for existing medical cannabis operators who want to enter the recreational market will open on January 19 and close on March 9. This is a significant development, as it signals that once rules are finalized, approved applicants could start selling marijuana to all adults over 21 as early as next month.
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Arkansas: The medical marijuana industry saw a 900% increase from 2019. Scott Hardin with the Arkansas Department of Finance says that the marijuana industry in 2020 shattered everyone’s expectations. Hardin says the $180 million of marijuana sold in the state of Arkansas equates to 26,000 lbs., and he thinks covid-19 has a lot to do with the increase in sales.
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Connecticut: The governor of Connecticut reiterated his support for legalizing marijuana during his annual State of the State address on Wednesday, pledging to cooperate with lawmakers to advance the issue in 2021. “I am working with our neighboring states and look forward to working with our tribal partners on a path forward to modernize gaming in our state, as well as the legislature on legalization of marijuana,” the Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said in the speech, delivered in a video on the first day of the new session.
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Iowa: Iowa Democrats said Wednesday they want to legalize cannabis and regulate it at the same level as alcohol. Nearly 40 Democrats, ranging from city council members to Iowa state senators, signed on in support of legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana and expunging the criminal records of Iowans who have been previously charged in misdemeanors for marijuana possession.
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Mississippi: In about five months, Mississippi will begin to see the rollout of medical marijuana in the state. All medical marijuana will be regulated by the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH). Over the next few months, the department will be looking at how to best regulate the program. In July, MSDH will outline the rules and framework. On August 15, 2021, licenses will be distributed, and then the program would officially start. The head of the Mississippi Medical Marijuana Association (3MA), Ken Newburger, said having MSDH manage the program is the best option.
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Missouri: A St. Louis company is now the first in the state to be granted a license to both cultivate and manufacture medical marijuana and be able to do it under one roof. The state granted Proper Cannabis a license to grow marijuana plants three weeks ago. On Wednesday, the company received its license to manufacture. The 90,000 square foot facility will eventually be able to house as many as 13,000 marijuana plants.
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New Jersey:  The governor of New Jersey on Tuesday reaffirmed his commitment to passing legislation to get a legal marijuana market up and running after voters approved a legalization referendum in November. In a State of the State address, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said “we are on the verge of passing an innovative and groundbreaking set of laws to reform our historically unjust approach to marijuana and cannabis.”
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New York: The legalization of cannabis in New York is once again on the agenda for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and many state lawmakers. But even as the proposal is being pushed in part to aid a cash-strapped state by generating more revenue, the measure could once again face similar scrutiny over how it aids communities affect by stricter drug laws of the past. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday formally called for the inclusion of a marijuana legalization measure, pointing to the need to generate more cash for the state, but also as the criminal justice issue it has been considered for years by advocates.
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North Dakota: Supporters of an unsuccessful 2020 ballot measure to legalize marijuana through North Dakota’s constitution are trying again. They submitted their petition on Monday to Secretary of State Al Jaeger, who will review the filing’s format. If he approves it, supporters can circulate petitions to gather signatures. Supporters would have one year to submit at least 26,904 valid signatures for ballot placement.
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Virginia: After years of attempts, could 2021 be the year local Del. Steve Heretick’s marijuana legalization bill passes in the Virginia General Assembly? Heretick (D-Portsmouth), who’s proposed both decriminalization and legalization bills in the past, reintroduced his signature legislation to “legalize the cultivation, sale, and consumption of marijuana in Virginia.” The proposed legislation provides for the issuing of licenses for cultivation and retail services and legalizes home cultivation for personal use.
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Rhode Island: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved hemp regulatory proposals from one additional state and one tribe. Rhode Island and the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians are the latest to have their plans accepted, raising the total number of federally approved hemp proposals to 72. Since the crop and its derivatives were legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, USDA has been reviewing and accepting plans to regulate hemp on a rolling basis.
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Recreational:

California: A coalition of marijuana businesses is asking California policymakers to specifically include cannabis workers in the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Marijuana companies have been deemed essential services throughout the pandemic, and the group argues that there are unique risks in the industry because workers frequently interact with patients who might be more vulnerable to the virus because they are immune compromised or elderly.
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Colorado: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has requested $5 million to help boost the state’s cannabis entrepreneurs and social equity businesses. Looking to mirror programs like the Federal Small Business Association and the State Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the state’s Office of Economic Development & International Trade (OEDIT) is asking for the one-time cash infusion to fund “a new cannabis advancement program, that will include workshops and other business development services.”
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Illinois: While Illinois topped $1 billion in total cannabis sales in 2020 as consumers scooped up adult-use products, the new recreational marijuana market there might actually be underperforming when considering the state’s large population. Illinois consumers purchased 14.5 million recreational marijuana products last year, generating $669 million in sales. With a population of 12.7 million people, Illinois has a few million more residents than Colorado and Oregon combined. Yet, first-year adult-use sales per resident in those states were $10 or more higher than in Illinois.
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Maine: Despite a global pandemic overshadowing the launch of Maine’s legal marijuana market, shops in the state are reporting brisk business. Maine began allowing the sale of medical marijuana on October 9th, 2020. While they were unable to replicate the grand opening scenes that have followed the first sales in other states because of the worsening effects of COVID-19 in the state and country at that time, regulators reported more than $1 million in sales in October, more than $1.2 million in November and nearly $2 million in December. The number of retail businesses also continues to grow.
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Montana: Montana lawmakers have rejected a request from the state’s Department of Revenue for money to fund the the voter-approved marijuana legalization program, a move that threatens to delay the launch of legal cannabis sales and slow the inflow of tax revenue to state coffers. Meanwhile, the governor is proposing to shift eventual tax revenue from sales to programs that are different than the ones spelled out in the initiative that voters approved in November.
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Nevada: Cannabis multistate operator Vireo Health said it has finally closed on a 2018 deal valued at $4 million to purchase four Nevada marijuana production licenses. According to a news release, the permits are only for cultivation and manufacturing and won’t allow Minnesota-based Vireo to enter the retail side of the Nevada cannabis market.
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Oregon: Malheur County, taking advantage of its proximity to pot-deprived Idaho, sprinted past neighbor Baker County to become the per-capita cannabis sales leader in Oregon in 2020. Sales in the county totaled $91.7 million, all in the city of Ontario, on the border with Idaho and within an hour’s drive of hundreds of thousands of Gem State residents who can’t legally buy cannabis in their state.
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