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.
Nebraska: In a split decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit has reinstated the requirement in Nebraska that initiative petition drives must collect signatures of at least 5 percent of registered voters in two-fifths of the state’s counties to qualify for the ballot.
The 2-1 decision on Wednesday came in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Nebraska on behalf of Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana. The lawsuit argued that the 38-county requirement gave too much power to the state’s less populated counties, diminishing the power of voters in heavily populated counties, thus violating the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
The marijuana group is seeking to qualify two initiatives for the November ballot to legalize marijuana products to treat epileptic seizures, pain and other maladies.
Wyoming: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issued another round of pardons last week, including 11 for individuals previously convicted of cannabis-related offenses. Clemency has been a defining part of Evers’ gubernatorial tenure.
In May, Evers issued dozens to bring his total number of pardons to 498, with his office saying at the time that he had “granted more pardons during his first three years in office than any other governor in contemporary history.”
The first-term Democrat, who is up for re-election this year, granted another 49 pardons on Friday to bring his total up to 603.
Alabama: Alabama state’s Medical Cannabis Commission started its application process for business licenses. Businesses have a little over a month to request an application before the actual forms are sent out.
The commission will award a specific number for each license:
- 12 cultivators licenses
- Four processors license
- Four dispensary licenses
- Five integrated facility licenses
- An unspecified number for secure transport and state testing lab licenses
It costs $2,500 to apply. And if accepted, annual license fees range from $30,000 to $53,000. The state set the following deadlines:
- 17 for application requests
- 24 is when applications will be sent to requestors
- 30 is when applications due
Missouri: A group of Missouri lawmakers asked the state’s governor to add recreational marijuana legalization to an upcoming special session as an alternative to the Nov. 8 adult-use cannabis ballot measure.
At the same time, a circuit court judge has until Sept. 13 to rule on a lawsuit that would block the ballot measure, according to the Missouri Independent. Despite the pending lawsuit, the lawmakers want voters to say no to the ballot question because it would create a monopoly in the industry by giving existing medical marijuana businesses an advantage, the Kansas City Star reported.
The group of lawmakers also wants Gov. Mike Parson to get the Legislature to pass a bill introduced last session that would have created a more “free market” adult-use marijuana program.
The upcoming special session is scheduled for Sept. 14.
Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to consider whether a question on legalizing recreational use of marijuana should appear on the ballot in November.
Oklahomans for Sensible Marijuana Laws gathered enough signatures to qualify State Question 820 for a statewide vote, but because it took longer than usual to count the signatures, it’s not clear if there is enough time to get the question printed on ballots ahead of the Nov. 8 general election. Officials with the Oklahoma Election Board said earlier this year the statutory deadline to call a state question election for November was Aug. 29.
Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, the party’s candidate for U.S. Senate, announced on Thursday the creation of a new program to pardon past convictions for marijuana offenses. Dubbed the Pennsylvania Marijuana Pardon Project, the initiative is a “coordinated effort for a one-time, large-scale pardoning project for people with select minor, non-violent marijuana criminal convictions,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.
The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons began accepting applications for the Marijuana Pardon Project on Thursday and will continue the drive through Friday, September 30, 2022. Those eligible for pardons include people with convictions for one or both of two specified offenses for low-level marijuana possession. Individuals can apply for an accelerated pardon through the one-time project online
California: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed another pair of marijuana reform bills, including one that provides protections for medical cannabis patients against discrimination in healthcare.
Ahead of the end of legislative session last week, lawmakers delivered a number of cannabis measures to the governor in the final push. On Friday, Newsom signed AB 1954 from Assembly member Bill Quirk (D) and SB 988 from Sen. Ben Hueso (D).
The former legislation makes it so doctors cannot discriminate against patients by denying medication or treatment based on a positive THC test if the person is a registered medical cannabis patient in the state. It further stipulates that medical professionals can’t be penalized for administering treatment to a patient who uses medical marijuana in compliance with state law.
Michigan: The City of Detroit announced today it is opening the application process last Thursday morning for the first phase of capped recreational marijuana licenses. The application window for adult-use retailer, microbusiness, and designated consumption establishment licenses will open at 8:00 AM, Thursday, September 1st and close at 8AM on October 1st.
Half of licenses are to be awarded to social equity applicants. The City will issue 160 licenses over three phases of applications, with the first 60 licenses awarded in Phase One. Applications will be available online at www.homegrowndetroit.org.
New York: One of New York’s top cannabis regulators said the application period for most marijuana businesses would begin in the middle of next year, marking a significant timeline shift from prior statements that the entire adult-use market would likely be online by then.
At an event in Yonkers last Thursday – the day NY opened applications for Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) licenses – Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander was asked by an audience member whether people can start growing and processing weed for sale to retailers. The OCM did not immediately respond to an NY Cannabis Insider inquiry about the timeline shift.
Vermont: Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board can start issuing retail licenses beginning on October 1, just weeks away. But businesses have been preparing for the big day for months. According to officials at the Cannabis Control Board, retailers can begin selling marijuana as soon as their license is approved. That is scheduled to begin Oct. 1. Officials say they are on target to meet that deadline.