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: Legislation to legalize medical cannabis stalled this year in Kansas, but Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill into law last week that allows patients to use cannabis-derived medication that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—even if not much of this medication currently exists. According to Forbes, Kelly signed House Bill 2540 into law on June 2 to amend the definition of “marijuana” in Kansas’ Uniform Controlled Substances Act to exempt FDA-approved drugs that contain cannabis compounds.
As the news outlet points out, Epidiolex remains one of the only cannabis-derived medications that the FDA has approved to treat seizure disorders in children. Marinol is also FDA-approved, Forbes reported, but it contains a synthetic form of THC.
According to the news outlet, H.B. 2540 also updates Kansas’ criminal code to reflect the legality of CBD under federal law.
Georgia: Legislation is pending, House Bill 1425 and Senate Bill 609, which seeks to revise provisions relating to Class 1 and Class 2 production licenses by eliminating the previous competitive application process and asking the Commission to purchase or obtain low-level THC Oil in such quantities as are necessary to reasonably meet the needs of all registered patients on the Low THC Oil Patient Registry.
If passed, this bill would provide for additional licenses based on increases in the number of registered patients in the Low THC Oil Patient Registry. It would direct the commission to immediately take all necessary steps to purchase or obtain low THC oil from any available legal source while providing for a new competitive application process.
North Carolina: The North Carolina Senate on Thursday gave initial approval to a bill to legalize medical marijuana.
Just one day after clearing a key Senate committee chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bill Rabon (R), the legislation passed the full chamber on second reading in a 35-10 vote. The NC Compassionate Care Act previously advanced through three separate panels last year.
One more vote on the third reading, expected next week, will be required to formally send the measure to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Connecticut: The practice of exchanging cannabis or cannabis-related products for donations or other purchases – known as “gifting” – could now carry a heavy price tag in Connecticut.
Under legislation signed last week by Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, towns can fine residents up to $1,000 for gifting a cannabis plant or related products.
The state also has the authority to issue $1,000 fines for not paying state sales taxes on the exchanges.
Louisiana: Louisiana legislators passed a bill that allows for the expansion of the number of medical marijuana dispensaries, or so-called pharmacies, from nine to 30 over time, with the option to do so rests with the existing MMJ operators.
According to The Advocate in Baton Rouge, the introduction of smokable flower this year fueled sales, the number of patients, and thus the need for expansion.
The bill now goes to the desk of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, who previously expressed reservations about expanding the number of locations but was involved in the negotiations on this measure, The Advocate reported.
Under House Bill 697, the state’s existing medical cannabis operators could open an additional dispensary in the same geographic region after reaching 3,500 active patients and a second satellite location once the next 3,500 patient milestone is reached.
Minnesota: The governor of Minnesota on Thursday signed a large-scale bill into law that includes provisions to provide permanent protections allowing state hemp businesses to legally market certain cannabis products—including foods and beverages infused with CBD and other cannabinoids.
Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed the omnibus legislation without explicitly addressing the cannabis components instead of focusing in a press release on separate provisions aimed at addressing the opioid overdose crisis.
But for the industry, the measure’s enactment marks an essential step in the push for clear hemp policy reform. However, advocates remain disappointed that broader marijuana legalization didn’t advance through the GOP-controlled Senate this session, despite a recent effort by Democratic leadership to force a vote ahead of a legislative deadline.
Mississippi: Mississippi’s Medical Marijuana program officially began Wednesday as the Mississippi State Department of Health began accepting applications.
Applications are now being accepted for cultivation, processing, transportation, disposal, research testing, patient ID cards, and physician certification. Businesses and people wanting to apply for work permits can do so. However, the Mississippi Department of Revenue will not begin accepting applications for dispensaries until July.
A 30-day lag time exists between application windows because there can be no dispensaries without product.
South Dakota: South Dakota voters will once again decide on adult-use cannabis legalization this year after state officials approved a legalization measure for the state’s 2022 ballot. According to a local Dakota News Now report, Secretary of State Steve Barnett validated South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws’ (SDBML) measure on May 25.
The measure will be titled Initiated Measure 27 and appear on South Dakota’s General Election ballot on Nov. 8, the news outlet reported.
Arizona: Legislation is currently pending in Arizona, House Bill 2792, which seeks to ensure that landlords cannot terminate a tenant’s rental agreement due to the sole reason that the tenant consumes cannabis.
Current state law does not provide such protections, although the minor use and possession of marijuana are legal.
California: Sacramento’s 30 existing cannabis dispensary owners will now be able to sell the majority of their business after the city council last Tuesday night approved new rules allowing ownership transfers.
Dispensary owners have complained that an outright city ban on dispensary transfers or sales was unfair. Still, the rules were imposed in November 2019 after The Sacramento Bee disclosed that one business group had acquired a third of the city’s dispensaries despite prior city transfer prohibitions.
The rules Tuesday also allows dispensary owners to own minority interests in other dispensaries, changing the one dispensary per owner rule, but the ownership stake is limited to five percent.
Connecticut: Another state with legal weed is cracking down on unregulated cannabis retailers. This time, it is lawmakers in Connecticut who are taking on the practice of “gifting,” through which illicit weed shops sell a product (say, a T-shirt) that comes with a cannabis “gift.”
That loophole could be tightened up under a bill signed into law last week by the state’s Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont.
According to the Connecticut Post, cities in the state “can now fine residents up to $1,000 for gifting a cannabis plant or other cannabis-related product to another individual in exchange for any kind of donation, including an admission fee, or as part of any giveaway such as a swag bag,” while the state itself can “can also separately issue $1,000 fines for failing to pay sales taxes.”
Michigan: Michigan’s first indoor cannabis-smoker lounge opened in downtown Kalkaska on Wednesday.
“Kalkushka” is finally open, located next to the Botanical Company on South Cedar Street. “We’re the first indoor cannabis lounge where you can smoke cannabis inside, legally, for the first time in the state,” said Kalkushka Cannabis Lounge General Manager Chris Attenberry.
They say the community has expressed a lot of interest and excitement around Kalkaska being the hub for all things recreational marijuana use.
New York: New York marijuana regulators took another step toward setting up the state to launch its adult-use retail market, approving a series of proposed rules for packaging, labeling, advertising, and testing requirements.
They also approved 16 additional adult-use cannabis cultivator applications to help ensure the market has enough product when recreational sales launch by the end of this year, raising the total to 162.
Members of the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) said that the new rules would help ensure public safety and prevent underage use.
Rhode Island: Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee signed a bill legalizing recreational marijuana in the state on May 25. The new law took effect immediately. Adults age 21 and older now can possess up to an ounce of cannabis, may grow cannabis within their primary residence—up to certain limits—and possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis in addition to live plants. Retail sales may begin as early as Dec. 1.
The law states that employers are not required to accommodate the use or possession of marijuana, or being under the influence of marijuana, in any workplace or other location where the employee is performing work, including remote work.
Vermont: During today’s Vermont Cannabis Control Board meeting, board members approved eight licenses and 20 prequalifications, discussed social equity statuses, addressed the importance around business’ names, and reminded applicants about the need for fire safety measures.
The Board has maintained approving several applications a week since the process began. Last week, seven were approved and received their licenses. All seven are cultivators. The eight approved since last week are all cultivators save for one, a testing laboratory.
Virginia: The budget deal approved by Virginia lawmakers created a new penalty for marijuana possession. If approved by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the budget will make it a misdemeanor to carry more than four ounces of cannabis but less than a pound in public.
A first offense would be a Class 3 misdemeanor, which will leave those found guilty with a criminal record and up to a $500 fine, and a second or subsequent offense would be a Class 2 misdemeanor, which could bring up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.