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Michigan opens first cannabis consumption lounge

Michigan opens first cannabis consumption lounge

Michigan cannabis consumption lounge

The first marijuana consumption lounge is set to open its doors later this month in Hazel Park.

Hotbox Social will start off with private events and then will open to the public later in the year.

It’s the first of its kind to be granted a state permit where users can recreationally light one up or smoke a bong.

But there’s a catch, you can’t bring in your own stash just yet.

“We’re able to accept deliveries from any retailer in the area. We don’t actually sell here,” CIO at Trucenta Nowfal Akash said. “Delivery drivers show up and maintain the transaction inside where it’s safe.”

Experts will also be on hand to teach those who are new users.

“The FDA has a certain recommendation about 5mg as an initial dose. We want to cut that in half and probably float around the 2-2.5mg range for a first-timer just to be safe,” Akash said.

Michigan is now the 7th state to allow these consumption lounges.

“We saw a need for a way for social consumption to occur in a responsible manner,” Michigan’s top Cannabis Regulator Andrew Brisbo said. “We can ensure the safety of the employees working in those types of establishments.”

There are a lot of regulations for these consumption lounges including an adequate ventilation system.

Illinois cannabis sales bring in billions, while leaving hundreds of license holders in limbo

Illinois cannabis sales bring in billions, while leaving hundreds of license holders in limbo

Illinois cannabis sales

 

It is easy to look at the massive profits of the Illinois legal cannabis industry and think it’s been a huge success. But to nearly 200 cannabis dispensary license holders who have been put on hold, the industry isn’t meeting the promises made when the state legalized.

Since legalizing cannabis sales for adult use in 2020, Illinois has brought in over $2 billion in revenue. However a major aspect that made the Illinois cannabis legalization bill stand out was its claims of social equity.

The bill included multiple stipulations that would help minority and disproportionately impacted communities get first dibs on licenses. In one sense, they came through on that promise.

However getting a license and opening a business are two separate things. And 185 dispensary license holders — including minority license holders — have been waiting to open their businesses for two years.

For others like Akele Parnell, an attorney on the board of Chicago’s NORML chapter, they were able to open a grow facility, but with no dispensary to shelve the finished product. This has led to financial struggles for many who don’t have the partnerships or financial backing to stay afloat while waiting to be approved to open their business.

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Missouri Cannabis Legalization Bill Introduced

Missouri Cannabis Legalization Bill Introduced

Missouri cannabis legalization bill introduced

Missouri is trying to introduce legal cannabis. It remains to be seen if it will pass or remain unattainable for the state.

A Missouri lawmaker introduced a comprehensive bill to legalize recreational cannabis on Tuesday. The measure, titled the Cannabis Freedom Act (HB 2704), was introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives by Representative Ron Hicks, a Republican from St. Charles.

If passed, the bill would legalize cannabis for adult-use, regulate recreational cannabis commerce and expunge convictions for past cannabis-related offenses. In a statement, Hicks acknowledged the assistance from interested parties and an Oklahoma colleague in drafting the legislation.

“The Cannabis Freedom Act is the product of input from many different stakeholders including members of law enforcement and those who have endured incarceration for conduct that society now deems acceptable,” Hicks said. “I am particularly grateful for input from Oklahoma State Representative Scott Fetgatter for his assistance in creating a free market program that is also strictly regulated.”

Missouri Cannabis Legalization Bill Permits Possession and Sale

Under the bill, adults 21 and older would be permitted to purchase and use recreational cannabis. Adults would be also be allowed to grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home for personal use.

The bill tasks the Missouri Department of Agriculture with regulating the recreational cannabis program. The department would draft the rules for the program and issue licenses for cannabis producers, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, without caps on the number of licenses that could be issued to qualified cannabis businesses.

The Cannabis Freedom Act directs the state Department of Revenue to set a tax of up to 12 percent on recreational cannabis products. Medical cannabis purchases by registered patients would not be subject to the retail tax. Revenue raised by marijuana taxes would be used to administer the recreational cannabis program, with the remainder divided equally among the Missouri Veterans Commission and funding for teachers’ salaries and pensions for first responders.

Provisional cannabis licenses in California coming to an end

Provisional cannabis licenses in California coming to an end

provincial cannabis licenses in California news

Thousands of business have been put on a timeline as provisional cannabis licenses in California will be coming to and end in the future.

The end to a longstanding program in the state is going to make entry into the California legal cannabis industry much more difficult for newcomers. However the end to the temporary permit program will impact thousands of legal cannabis businesses across the state.

In fact, this change will impact the majority of California cannabis businesses.

Beginning June 30th, the options for entering the cannabis industry in California will become more limited. Potential newcomers will have two options:

  • Obtain an annual state license
  • Buy an existing licensed company

But obtaining an annual state license in California right now can take months or even years before a new business could begin operations, not to mention the costs of obtaining said license. Buying an existing cannabis company that is already licensed will be a much speedier process, though likely even more costly.

This could mean an increase in merger and acquisition activity in the state. While the end to the provisional cannabis licenses in California is meant to help existing cannabis businesses in the state, it may be too soon to say.

Of the 12,221 marijuana businesses that are currently licensed in California, only 3,378 currently hold annual state licenses. In other words, over 70% of legal cannabis businesses in California are operating with a provisional license.

Compared to annual licenses, provisional cannabis licenses in California have been much easier to obtain. Provisional licenses have acted as an extension of temporary permits that were issued following the passing of Proposition 64. These temporary licenses were originally intended to allow already licensed medical cannabis businesses in the state to sell cannabis recreationally while the state set up the regulated industry.

That was in 2018.

In 2022, the majority of the industry is still operating under provisional licenses for a variety of reasons. However most would likely argue that the costs of obtaining an annual license alone is reason enough.

As it stands, current provisional license holders don’t need to worry. However those looking to apply for a new provisional cannabis license in California will have their first deadline March 31, 2022. These will specifically be license applications for mixed light and indoor cultivation at or less than 22,000 square feet of contiguous premises and outdoor cultivation at or less than 20,000 square feet of contiguous premises.

June 30, 2022 is when the California Department of Cannabis Control is when these licenses must be issued. Starting July 1st, renewing a provisional cannabis license in California will become more difficult, requiring specific conditions. However local equity applicants and smaller cultivations will still be able to apply for provisional cannabis licenses in California through 2023.

January 1, 2026 is the last day that any provisional cannabis licenses can be in effect. In other words, all current provisional cannabis license holders — 70% of current businesses in California — have until this date to obtain an annual state license.

Four years may seem like ample time for the 8,843 provisional license holders in California to make the switch to an annual license. However since Proposition 64 passed, California has been plagued with suffocating bureaucracy, exorbitant fees and costs, strict regulations and other issues that already make it extremely difficult to operate for smaller operations.

The state has allocated $100 million to help the 17 cities and counties with the most marijuana companies to finish transitioning provisionally licensed companies into annual permits. However the annual licensing process is so involved, said attorney Ariana Van Alstine, that some companies have taken years to get theirs. Others are still waiting for their licenses, going back-and-forth with local or state regulators on getting theirs completed or both.

With a priority on transitioning existing provisional cannabis licenses in California, one must hope that the process will run smoothly. Ideally, every provisional license holder will be able to make the switch to an annual license before January 1, 2026.

However if California’s past is to act as any reference, one must also be extremely skeptical.

Austin to Vote on Cannabis Law Enforcement Reforms

Austin to Vote on Cannabis Law Enforcement Reforms

Austin cannabis reform vote happening in May

Residents in Austin, Texas will have the opportunity to vote on cannabis enforcement reforms in May.

Voters in Austin, Texas in May will vote on ending the enforcement of low-level cannabis offenses and no-knock raids by law enforcement, KXAN reports. The City Clerk’s Office on Monday qualified the ballot measure, known as the Austin Freedom Act.

Last year, the City Council approved a resolution prohibiting Austin police from spending city funds on lab tests to distinguish hemp from THC-rich cannabis in personal possession cases – a move meant to end arrests and fines for low-level cannabis possession.

Advocates submitted the petition signatures to officials last month. At the time, Ken Casaday, president of the Austin Police Association, said the 2021 resolution had already changed how the city police enforce cannabis laws and he didn’t “really see the point” of the initiative. He indicated that Austin police don’t make arrests for “low amounts” of cannabis.

Mike Siegel, political director of Ground Game Texas, which is backing the campaign, said the initiative would codify that “current informal policy.”

Cannabis lounge opening in Denver hotel

Cannabis lounge opening in Denver hotel

the first cannabis lounge in Denver is opening at the Patterson Inn
The Patterson Inn was recently the first — and only — business to apply for the newly available hospitality license

Weed has long been a social substance — after all, there needs to be someone to pass the dutchie on the left hand side. But because of laws limiting public consumption, there are very few places where tokers can go to socially consume it like they do alcohol at a bar.

Denver regulators and entrepreneurs hope that will soon change, however, since the city recently legalized cannabis hospitality businesses. In November, the city began accepting applications from folks who want to open smoking lounges and Amsterdam-esque gathering places, or run bus tours where consumers are able to consume cannabis.

So far just one person has applied, according to Eric Escudero, director of communications for Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses. That person is Chris Chiari, owner of Capitol Hill bed and breakfast The Patterson Inn.

Chiari is familiar with the cannabis industry, currently serving as the deputy director of the Colorado branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and having previously invested in a local dispensary. He also co-produced a documentary with rapper and actor Ice-T called “Public Enemy Number One,” which explores the United States’ weaponization of marijuana against communities of color.

 

Chiari first dreamt of turning The Patterson Inn into a cannabis-friendly space about a decade ago when he walked by and saw the address: 420 E. 11th Ave. The property ended up selling to other buyers, but when it came back on the market in 2018, Chiari jumped at the opportunity to purchase it.

“What I envisioned then and am working on today,” he said, “is to combine four-star, boutique hospitality with legally licensed cannabis hospitality and consumption.”