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.
Kentucky: The governor of Kentucky used his State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday to call on the legislature to legalize medical marijuana “this session,” saying that it’s an essential reform for the state to make sure it is “treating people right.”
That’s why he signed a pair of executive orders in November, which took effect at the beginning of the month, he said. Those moves allow patients who meet certain criteria to possess up to eight ounces of medical cannabis legally obtained from dispensaries in other states and also regulate the sale of delta-8 THC products.
The governor said that the medical cannabis order is important because it “allows people to get help they need without fearing a misdemeanor.”
On Tuesday state Rep. Nima Kulkarni introduced a constitutional amendment to ask Kentucky voters to weigh in on the cannabis debate.
In addition to the amendment, which would legalize personal possession and use of marijuana in Kentucky, the Louisville Democrat also introduced legislation to codify decriminalization into state law.
The amendment will ask voters “to decide whether they want to decriminalize cannabis possession up to an ounce and cultivation up to five plants for adults 21 and over in our state,” she said during a rally in the Capitol Rotunda just before the General Assembly convened in regular session.
Wisconsin: The Democratic governor of Wisconsin says he’s “confident” that lawmakers in the state’s Republican-led legislature will produce a passable, bipartisan medical marijuana legalization bill this session, and that he’s ready to sign such a measure—as long as the majority party doesn’t come up with a “flawed” plan that’s overly restrictive.
In a pair of new interviews, Gov. Tony Evers (D) reacted to remarks from Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R), who said last week that Republicans are “getting pretty close on medical marijuana,” keeping the door open for reform this session.
Florida: The effort to make recreational marijuana use legal in Florida could be up to voters. However, in order for the topic to make it on the 2024 ballot, the online petition needs a certain number of signatures. According to the Florida Division of Elections website, that number is 891,589. Right now, the petition has 148,418 signatures. Safe and Smart Florida Political Committee is leading the charge.
It is called “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana,” which would allow anyone at least 21 years old to be able to possess or buy marijuana products and accessories for non-medical reasons.
Minnesota: Minnesota lawmakers have unveiled a marijuana legalization bill and announced next steps to advance the reform in the 2023 legislative session.
At a press conference on Thursday, the House and Senate sponsors of a revised legalization bill were joined by leaders of each chamber as well as advocates to preview the legislation, which largely aligns with an earlier measure that passed the House in 2021.
Rep. Zack Stephenson (D) and Sen. Lindsey Port (D), who are sponsoring the proposal in their respective chambers, said that they already have a hearing scheduled in the House Commerce Committee next Wednesday.
Ohio: Lawmakers in Ohio have until May 3 to approve a citizen-initiated recreational cannabis legalization proposal or the question will go before voters.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose kicked off this latest step in a lengthy and circuitous process Jan. 3 when he reintroduced the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol’s legalization proposal to the Republican-controlled General Assembly. That proposal was removed from consideration for the November 2022 ballot last year as part of a lawsuit settlement.
After accusing Republican lawmakers of blocking legalization on a technicality, campaigners agreed to allow LaRose to resubmit the petition to the newly seated General Assembly that convened last week.
Under the terms of the May 2022 settlement, the General Assembly has four months to adopt the measure, an outcome that’s seem as unlikely.
Connecticut: Connecticut’s first recreational cannabis retail shops will open Tuesday morning – a long awaited milestone in the state’s effort to decriminalize the drug and create an equitable legal market.
State officials gave permission to nine existing medical cannabis dispensaries to also sell in the adult use market and seven of them will start legal sales at 10 a.m. on Jan. 10 – the soonest allowed. Other new retail cannabis shops aren’t expected to open until later this year.
Missouri: Starting this weekend (January 7-8) the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will have on its website (cannabis.mo.gov) a look at the sample application individuals will soon be able to submit to get a license to grow their own recreational marijuana.
You can’t actually use it yet, but that’s coming in the next month.
It became legal for people in Missouri to possess recreational pot on December 8 and under the new amendment to the state Constitution, the DHSS must have personal cultivation applications available to the public by February 6.
So right now you can only look at what’s involved in getting those $100 licenses and make your plans.
Virginia: Republican Del. Keith Hodges has filed a bill to create a regulated marijuana market in Virginia, but in a way that marijuana legalization advocates say would benefit large corporations at the expense of people harmed by the war on drugs. The bill would change crucial aspects of Virginia’s current law—which allows legal, adult-use cannabis possession and personal cultivation—by establishing a commercial marketplace and overriding equity guidelines prioritizing cannabis dispensary licenses for individuals and communities most affected by the state’s marijuana prosecutions.
Hodges’ bill would remove language that calls on regulators to develop standards on prioritizing social equity applicants. They would instead need to consider ways to “prioritize any applicant who intends to operate in a historically economically disadvantaged area, rather than those who are from such an area.”