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.
Kansas: Representatives from the Kansas Cannabis Coalition, Loud Light, and the ACLU of Kansas held an online meeting on Jan. 23 to discuss why they need to call on the Kansas House and Senate to move forward with medical cannabis.
Wisconsin: The Republican push to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin under some of the nation’s toughest restrictions won’t pass the state Senate, according to a leading Republican cannabis advocate. Another more practical compromise bill might be introduced next session, the senator added.
Alabama: The court has stayed the issuance of integrated facility and dispensary licenses, while all other categories move forward. Somerville says they are seeking injunctive relief to stop the issuance of those licenses. It’s one of several possible legal outcomes that Judge Anderson could decide. “It’s going to be largely dependent on what we find out in our depositions,” Somerville said. Somerville says lawyers are still working out when the depositions will happen but have proposed Feb. 12 to start the process.
Arkansas: Arkansas’ attorney general on Monday rejected language for a ballot initiative meant to improve access for medical marijuana patients and trigger the legalization of recreational use if the drug becomes federally legal.
Attorney General Tim Griffin determined the ballot title for the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Amendment of 2024 was insufficient due to improper formatting of the proposed constitutional amendment and ambiguities about how the measure would affect existing state laws and rules.
Griffin’s full opinion on the Arkansas Medical Cannabis Amendment of 2024 can be read here.
Those who drafted the amendment plan to make revisions and resubmit it.
Florida: After months of will-it-or-won’t-it battles over whether recreational marijuana will go before Florida voters this November, one prominent Floridian predicted that it probably will.
“I think the court is going to approve that,” Gov. Ron DeSantis told cannabis lobbyist Don Murphy at his last New Hampshire campaign stop, according to cannabis media site Marijuana Moment. “So it’ll be on the ballot.”
It wasn’t clear if DeSantis, who dropped out of the 2024 Republican presidential race days later, was speaking from a sense of how the Florida Supreme Court will rule over the challenge to the proposed constitutional amendment or if he was just making his best guess.
Hawaii: There are new marijuana senate and house bills that have been proposed. Political leaders and industry experts have discussed pros and cons. The hearings for these bills have not yet been scheduled.
Pennsylvania: Cannabis advocates say it’s “past time” for Pennsylvania lawmakers to act and join Ohio in passing an adult-use bill. As it stands, both Democratic and Republican legislators have taken steps to advance this goal, holding informational hearings on cannabis legalization and proposing two separate bills to decriminalize marijuana possession and legalize cannabis use for adults over 21.
West Virginia: On January 17th, a new bill was introduced to the House of Delegates. House Bill 4873 proposes the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older in West Virginia. Included in the bill, is a mandate that would require businesses selling marijuana to obtain a license while properly labeling and regulating cannabis products. Seven delegates sponsored the bill, including Joey Garcia.
Delaware: The Delaware House of Representatives has approved a bill to significantly expand the state’s medical marijuana program ahead of the launch of adult-use sales that may take another year to implement.
About two weeks after the legislation from Rep. Ed Osienski (D) cleared committee, the full chamber passed it in a 26-10 vote on Thursday, sending the measure to the Senate for consideration.
The bill would make a series of changes to Delaware’s medical cannabis program, including removing limitations for patient eligibility based on a specific set of qualifying health conditions. Instead, doctors could issue marijuana recommendations for any condition they see fit.
Maryland: A California attorney is suing Maryland for discriminating against out-of-state applicants.
Minnesota: The Office of Cannabis Management is tasked with coming up with rules for cannabis businesses seeking to operate in Minnesota such as growers, manufacturers and retailers. Now, the state’s newest department is turning to the public for help. The current questionnaire, Survey 5, asks how to create a fair licensing system for people referred to as “social equity applicants,” or those who were harmed by the war on drugs and now want to start a business all while larger operations also want in on the industry.
New Jersey: The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC) approved rules at its Jan. 17 meeting for cannabis consumption lounges, providing an operational framework for medical and adult-use operators who want to add consumption spaces to their dispensaries.
The rules will become effective once the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law signs off on them, and dispensary operators will then need municipal approval to have a consumption area in order to get final approval from the NJ-CRC.
New York: New York’s adult-use cannabis rollout stumbled recently as regulators canceled a key marijuana dispensary meeting and were sued for allegedly discriminating against white men.
An Onondaga County company, Valencia Ag, filed the anti-discrimination lawsuit in federal court, claiming in part that state laws and regulators unjustly favored non-white races and ethnicities in awarding cannabis business licenses. The case came as the state Cannabis Control Board abruptly postponed its Jan. 24 meeting, citing a need for more time to process a backlog of dispensary and business applications.
Ohio: Ohio regulators have released an initial batch of proposed rules for the state’s adult-use marijuana program, focusing on requirements for applicants seeking to become licensed retailers, as well as certain changes to the medical cannabis system.
Nearly three months after Ohio voters approved a marijuana legalization initiative at the ballot, the state Division of Cannabis Control (DCC) announced on Monday that it is requesting stakeholder feedback on the rules that must be finalized before the adult-use market launches.
However, the licensing application regulations that DCC is proposing may need to be amended in the coming weeks, as the Republican governor and GOP legislative leaders have pushed for a series of changes to the measure voters passed, including a possible expedited timeline to let existing medical cannabis dispensaries start serving adults within months, rather than waiting until September for the first potential licensing approvals.
Virginia: A Senate proposal to legalize commercial sales of marijuana in Virginia has passed a key hurdle, clearing the Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services in a 10–5 vote on Friday morning. The bill needs to advance quickly through additional committees in the coming weeks in order to stay alive in the current session.
The measure, SB 448, from Sen. Aaron Rouse (D), would begin licensing adult-use marijuana businesses in July of this year, though retail licenses wouldn’t be available until 2025. Local governments would be able to ban commercial cannabis activity, but only with approval from voters.