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.
Connecticut: As many Connecticut towns take a wait-and-see approach to recreational marijuana — passing a moratorium to allow 6 months to a year to evaluate the situation — other towns are moving more quickly in an effort to provide clarity and allow preparations for potential applicants to enter the state lottery for growing and retail licenses next year.
The State of Connecticut is also establishing a very different system for awarding recreational dispensary permits than it did for medical marijuana. For medical sales, Zrenda said, every application was scored based on a rubric, and the applications with the highest scores were awarded permits. For recreational marijuana, the state will use two separate lottery systems to award permits — including a lottery for “social equity applicants” who will be awarded half of the available permits.
To qualify for the social equity lottery, a business must be at least 65-percent owned by someone who has lived in an area disproportionately impacted by marijuana-related arrests. In eastern Connecticut, those areas are centered in New London, Norwich and Willimantic
Mississippi: Last Wednesday Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said he’ll call lawmakers into special session on medical marijuana legislation “sooner rather than later,” but would not speculate a date or whether he’ll also let legislators tackle pandemic pay for nurses or other COVID-19 measures they’re proposing.
Reeves said there are still details—such as funding for a medical marijuana program—to be worked out, and indicated a session would be in coming weeks, but not this week as lawmakers had requested. After months of negotiations, House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann (R) announced a House-Senate agreement last week on a medical marijuana program to replace the one adopted by voters last year but shot down by the state Supreme Court on a constitutional technicality. Gunn and Hosemann said they have the votes to pass the measure and asked Reeves to call a special session for Friday. Reeves has sole authority to call lawmakers into special session and set the agenda.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s medical marijuana market is one of the loosest in terms of regulations of any agency in the state, but the program’s new chief cannabis regulator is looking to change that.
In what she’s calling a “hard reset” of the program, according to NPR affiliate KOSU, Oklahoma’s new Medical Marijuana Agency director, Adria Berry, is hiring more inspectors and creating new policies. By Dec. 1, the regulatory agency aims to hire 40 more compliance inspectors as well as six “peace officers” to work with the state’s narcotics bureau to root out illegal marijuana businesses.
Less than 40% of the state’s licensed cannabis companies have been inspected this year, according to Berry. Berry also said the program has had a 25% increase in cannabis license applications over the past year, the radio station reported.
South Dakota: Members of the state’s medical-marijuana subcommittee voted last week to rescind key provisions in South Dakota’s voter-approved medical cannabis initiative (Measure 26). Last Wednesday, subcommittee members decided 6 to 4 to eliminate the ability for qualified patients to home-cultivate marijuana. Nearly 70 percent of voters decided in favor of the ballot Measure (Measure 26) last November, which allows patients to either obtain cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries or to grow it themselves.
California: Last Tuesday the governor of California signed a bill to require hospitals to permit medical marijuana use by certain patients. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) approved the legislation, signaling that his prior concerns about an earlier version that he reluctantly vetoed in 2019 have since been resolved.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Ben Hueso (D), has been pushing for his measure to allow cannabis use in medical facilities for terminally ill patients over multiple sessions. He recently sent a letter to the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking clarification on whether the policy change could jeopardize federal funding for those facilities.
Colorado: Proposition 119 will ask Colorado’s voters on Nov. 2 whether to raise the state’s recreational marijuana sales tax to bring in about $137 million a year for out-of-school educational programs for children ages 5-17 — with a priority on kids from low-income households.
The measure calls for a 5 percentage point increase by 2024 on the state’s 15% sales tax for recreational marijuana by 2024 (starting with a 3% rate increase in 2022 and 4% in 2023). If passed, about $20 million a year would also go toward the enrichment programs from the Colorado Land Board Trust, according to a Common Sense Institute report, though that number could fluctuate depending on state land revenue.
Maine: It’s still illegal to sell recreational marijuana in 90% of the state, according to Maine Public Radio. Of Maine’s 500 cities, towns, and plantations, 453 do not allow recreational marijuana retailers. One problem for towns opting in is that they simply won’t see much from it. Sales taxes and excise taxes both go directly to the state government, not to the towns.
Nevada: Your next trip to Vegas just got a lot more interesting. As of a vote last week, Cannabis lounges are coming to the state of Nevada. A law introduced by Assemblyman Steve Yeager that allows the Cannabis Compliance Board to start accepting applications takes effect on Friday. Once licensed, the lounges will become the first public places in Nevada where cannabis products can be consumed recreationally. Licensing fees for the lounges range from $10,000 to $100,000 but can be reduced for applicants affected by previous drug laws. Nevada is now among seven states that now permit cannabis lounges, including New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.
Oregon: In 2019, Oregon lawmakers voted to halt issuing new recreational marijuana licenses for two years, citing overproduction that was causing the market’s wholesale prices to tank. The statutory moratorium expires next year. Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission Executive Director Steve Marks said the moratorium extension will be recommended to the state Legislature and governor’s office.
Contact Info@thecannabisbusinessadvisors.com for more information on how to apply for a cannabis business license.