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.
Kentucky: A pared-down medical marijuana bill will be introduced during Kentucky’s next legislative session with hopes of gaining support among conservative lawmakers who have blocked it in the past.
The state House passed a measure in 2020 that would have allowed doctors to prescribe cannabis for several medical conditions and created a regulatory system to grow and sell it, but it was never taken up in the Senate.
The new version doesn’t allow people to grow their own plants. And like the older version of the bill, it doesn’t allow people to smoke marijuana—only legalizing products like edibles and oils.Rep. Jason Nemes, a Republican from Louisville and sponsor of the measure, said the bill isn’t for the recreational use of marijuana; it’s only for people with serious medical conditions.
South Carolina: In a letter to South Carolina’s Law Enforcement Division chief, state Assistant Attorney General David S. Jones said that delta-8 THC—or any other forms of THC derived from hemp—is not legal under the state’s hemp law. The attorneys and HIA did note that while delta-8 THC “appears to be safe” some of the products which may contain “adulterants, contaminants, or other toxins” may be unsafe. In June, a Leafreport study found 53% of delta-8 products contained delta-9 THC over federal legal limits while 68% of the products contained less delta-8 than advertised.
Arkansas: The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has advanced rule changes that would allow the state to issue its two remaining dispensary licenses, possibly in January.
Spokesman Scott Hardin said the rule changes advanced Thursday would allow the commission to issue licenses to companies that initially applied in 2017 and had applications that remained active until earlier this year, when they expired. The Medical Marijuana Commission decided in August to use a reserve list to award the two unassigned dispensary licenses and to use a lottery system in the future to make these decisions.
Maryland: Maryland cannabis regulators have advanced a framework for providing discounted cannabis to eligible registered patients, including veterans and state Medicaid recipients.
The Policy Committee of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission unanimously approved a proposed framework for the Compassionate Use Fund on Thursday. The fund, established through a broader industry-expansion bill in 2018, allows registered patients enrolled in the Maryland Medical Assistance Program or the Veteran Affairs Maryland Health Care System to purchase medical cannabis at a lower cost from dispensaries. The proposed regulatory framework includes:
- A minimum discount of 20% on all cannabis products for eligible patients (dispensaries can go further, the regulations note)
- A schedule of fees for licensed businesses to pay in, amounting to either 1% of a full year’s revenue or (if lesser) $60,000 for processors, $75,000 for growers, $95,000 for growers also operating a dispensary and $20,000 for dispensaries
- A process by which dispensaries can be reimbursed by the MMCC for the discounts they provide
Under the proposed rules, newly licensed businesses won’t need to contribute to the fund for their first two years in operation.
Mississippi: Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Tuesday he and legislative leaders are continuing to make changes in a proposal to create a medical marijuana program. The Republican said he still intends to call a special legislative session on the topic, but he does not know when.
House and Senate leaders want to enact a medical marijuana program to replace an initiative voters approved in November. State Supreme Court justices overturned the initiative in May when they ruled that Mississippi’s initiative process is outdated and unworkable.
Reeves said he’s “very interested” in Mississippi limiting medical marijuana’s content of TCH, the compound that produces a high.
Missouri: Late last week, a federal judge made an order that could dramatically change the development of Missouri’s young medical marijuana industry.
Missouri voters authorized a highly regulated medical cannabis system almost three years ago. Voters backed a state constitutional amendment that made it mandatory for marijuana companies operating businesses like dispensaries, grow operations and manufacturing centers to be at least 51% owned by residents. Residents were defined as those living in the Show-Me State for a minimum of one year before applying for a marijuana facility permit.
But in a Thursday virtual hearing that only lasted from 10 a.m. to 10:07 a.m., according to federal court records and cannabis news site GrownIn, Judge Nanette Laughrey of the Missouri Western District ordered a permanent injunction against the residency requirement. (In late June, Laughrey blocked the state from enforcing the requirement with a preliminary injunction, federal court records show.)
Ohio: Ohio lawmakers soon will have a second marijuana legalization proposal in front of them, and this one will come from a Republican. The forthcoming bill, sponsored by Republican Reps. Jamie Callender of Concord and Ron Ferguson of Wintersville, is similar to other proposals in that it would build on the state’s existing medical marijuana program. He hopes fellow lawmakers will favor his bill over an industry-backed effort to pass a law through the ballot box.
Current medical marijuana cultivators, processors and dispensary owners would be allowed to operate on the recreational side, Callender said in an interview. Adults age 21 and older could buy, possess and grow marijuana.
The bill also would provide a way for Ohioans convicted of marijuana crimes eliminated in the bill to have their records sealed or expunged.
Pennsylvania: A much-anticipated bipartisan Senate bill to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania that has been months in the making was formally introduced on Friday. It’s the latest in a string of reform measures that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been promoting in recent days.
Sens. Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D) unveiled the nearly 240-page legislation months after first outlining some key details back in February. It would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, five grams of marijuana concentrate products and 500 milligrams of THC contained in cannabis-infused products.
Arizona: Arizona regulators announced a list of 87 zip codes across the state where applicants for 26 social equity retail marijuana licenses must have recently resided.
The 2020 ballot measure passed by voters legalizing adult-use marijuana business requires the state health department to issue the 26 licenses to applicants “from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.” Other scoring criteria include past marijuana convictions of the applicant or family member as well as household income. The list appears to focus on zip codes in proximity to Native American reservations, according to the Republic. The licenses are expected to be awarded in early 2022, after the screen process is complete, the Republic reported.
The additional 26 licenses will bring the total adult-use retail stores in Arizona to 169.
California: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday signed a bill that stands to dramatically expand the state’s hemp industry by legalizing retail sales of a wide range of consumable products derived from the plant.
Until now, the lack of explicit regulations has inhibited the hemp market, stakeholders say. The governor’s signing of AB 45 means that non-intoxicating cannabinoids, including CBD, can be sold as dietary supplements and as ingredients in food and beverages. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday signed a bill that stands to dramatically expand the state’s hemp industry by legalizing retail sales of a wide range of consumable products derived from the plant. The bill lays the groundwork for the sale of smokable hemp in California, but lawmakers must first pass a measure to establish a tax scheme for those products before they can be marketed
New Jersey: The state will award several new licenses to operate medical marijuana business this week, marking the beginning of the end for a two-year saga that has slowed growth of the New Jersey’s cannabis industry. The Cannabis Regulatory Commission will announce the winners of licenses to grow cannabis as well as for businesses to take on the triple threat of growing, processing and selling it during its public meeting next Friday, Oct. 15.
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