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United Nations calls for global ban on cannabis advertising

United Nations calls for global ban on cannabis advertising

United Nations cannabis advertising law

The United Nations on Thursday called for a global ban on all advertising that promotes cannabis products, in a move that it said could mimic its efforts to lead a global effort to limit tobacco marketing and use.

The UN can only recommend such a move, and it would be up to member nations to implement and enforce any kind of advertising ban.

A comprehensive ban on advertising, promoting and sponsoring cannabis would ensure that public health interests prevail over business interests,” the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime wrote in its annual World Drug Report.

“Such a ban would need to apply across all jurisdictions,” the global agency added.

The agency noted in its report that pot products “have almost quadrupled in strength in the United States of America and have doubled in Europe in the last two decades.”

Even as the products have become more potent over the last 20 years, the percentage of adolescents who view the drug as harmful has decreased by as much as 40 percent over the past 20 years, the UNODC said.

It added that marijuana can lead to mental health disorders in long-term, heavy users.

“Aggressive marketing of cannabis products with a high THC content by private firms and promotion through social-media channels; can make the problem worse,” the UN officials wrote in their report.

The UNODC did not specify how such a ban would work, but noted that “the measures could work in a way similar to the provisions of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”

Rhode Island Cannabis Legalization Bill Passed by Senate

Rhode Island Cannabis Legalization Bill Passed by Senate

Rhode Island cannabis legalization bill passed in Senate

The Rhode Island Senate approved legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults on Tuesday, marking the first time either chamber of the state Legislature has voted on a bill to legalize cannabis.

The proposal was introduced by longtime proponent Sen. Joshua Miller, a Cranston Democrat who chairs the chamber’s Health and Human Services Committee. It now heads to the state House of Representatives.

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat, has said the Democratic-controlled Legislature will likely end up taking up the question on how to structure a legal cannabis industry in a special session later this year.

Gov. Daniel McKee has his own plan for legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis, but legislative leaders didn’t include it in their proposed $13.1 billion state budget for the coming fiscal year.

Miller’s proposal would impose a 20% tax on cannabis sales, create an independent cannabis control commission to license and oversee cannabis operations, and allow for home cultivation. It would also create a “Cannabis Equity Fund” to help cannabis businesses from disadvantaged communities.

McKee’s proposal would have the state Department of Business Regulation oversee the industry and ban home growing cannabis, among other differences.

Eighteen states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for adults over the age of 21, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 
Everything to Know about Connecticut Cannabis Legalization

Everything to Know about Connecticut Cannabis Legalization

Connecticut cannabis legalization starts July 1st

Connecticut cannabis legalization has been signed into law by Governor Ned Lamont, setting the date for the law to take effect on July 1, 2021.

Connecticut joins 19 other states plus the District of Columbia in legalizing adult use recreational cannabis after the state legislature passed multiple revised versions of the Connecticut cannabis legalization bill, finally sitting at over 300 pages.

While Connecticut will follow in the steps of other states in regards to some popular aspects of cannabis legalization, such as expungement of criminal records for cannabis and setting up enforcement for intoxicated driving, they are also adding some of their own changes.

Cannabis may be officially legal in Connecticut starting July 1st, but that doesn’t mean dispensaries will be open by then, or that consumers will even be able to purchase cannabis legally. Here’s everything to know about what actually changes when Connecticut cannabis legalization takes effect on July 1st.

When Connecticut cannabis legalization takes effect

Cannabis legalization takes effect in Connecticut on July 1st, 2021. This means that all rules and regulations proposed in the legislation signed by the governor will be official on that date.

Cannabis possession limits

The new law will allow and individual to possess up to 1.5 ounces on their person, and up to 5 ounces in a locked container, glove box or trunk of a car.

Home growing

Home growing is permitted in the Connecticut cannabis legalization bill, however it will not be allowed immediately. The bill says anyone 21 and older can grow up to six plants in their home (three mature and three immature plants) as of July 1, 2023. Households can grow no more than 12 cannabis plants at any given time.

In other words, while cannabis use and possession will be legal in 2021, home growing will not be allowed until 2023.

Cannabis consumption

Smoking cannabis would generally not be allowed in places where cigarette smoke is already prohibited, including restaurants, health care facilities, state or municipal buildings and most workplaces.

The use of cannabis is banned in state parks, with $250 fines for offenders. Hotels are also required to prohibit guests from smoking cannabis, but they cannot ban possession and use of other forms of the drug in nonpublic areas. Cannabis use is illegal in motor vehicles by both drivers and passengers as well.

When dispensaries will open

The Connecticut cannabis legalization bill does not include a specific date in which dispensaries will be permitted to open. Legislators have said that May 2022 is the current deadline for allowing dispensaries to being operations. However due to the legislation being delayed and approved late in the legislative session, this deadline could end up being pushed further.

Connecticut cannabis business licensing

Business licensing for dispensaries or grow operations will be given out in a lottery system. Fees to enter the lottery for a license range from $250 for a food and beverage manufacturer or delivery license to $1,000 for a cultivator license.

If an applicant is selected, additional licensing fees must be paid. Half of the licenses would be reserved for “social equity applicants” that come from economically disadvantaged areas that have been most harmed by the war on drugs. Those applicants would pay reduced licensing fees.

Businesses involved in the state’s existing medical marijuana program could pay to enter the recreational market, with fees ranging between $1 million and $3 million.

Cannabis taxes

Connecticut expects to pull in over $26 million in tax revenue in its first full year of operation, which will start July 1, 2022 and end June 30, 2023. Currently cannabis sales will be subject to the state sales tax of 6.35%, with additional state and municipal cannabis taxes that have yet to be finalized.

The state anticipates over $76 million in revenue by the end of 2026.

Resolving prior cannabis convictions

Who is eligible to have a prior conviction expunged depends on the specific charge and when the individual was charged. People charged with possession of 4 ounces or less of cannabis before Jan. 1, 2000, or from Oct. 1, 2015 through June 30, 2021, can petition a court beginning July 1, 2022, to have their criminal record erased.

Those charged with that same offense from Jan. 1, 2000, through Sept. 30, 2015, will have their records automatically erased on Jan. 1, 2023. More serious marijuana charges would not be eligible for erasure.

Conclusion

Connecticut cannabis legalization follows in the footsteps of other legal states when it comes to some of their regulations, while making their own rules in regards to other aspects of the industry. The final bill approved by the governor went through numerous revisions, which is can be seen as a sign that the legislators does not have a hardened, solid plan for implementing a legal industry.

Setting a deadline for 2023 will allow the state to thoroughly plan and establish an adult use cannabis industry, giving more time to focus on the application and licensing process, one of the most common roadblocks that cause issues in a new cannabis industry. Issues will likely arise when individuals can possess cannabis, but cannot grow it themselves or buy it from a licensed dispensary for two years. With no access to legal cannabis many will resort to the black market to obtain their cannabis, which is completely unregulated, and potentially harmful to consumers.

The District of Columbia resolved this same issue by creating a gift/donation grey market for cannabis. Due to a rider in the District’s legalization bill, no government funds can be used to establish a recreational cannabis industry, leaving consumers to “gift” cannabis to each other in exchange for a “donation”, skirting around the legal language of the bill.

It is likely that we see a similar trend develop over the next year in Connecticut as consumers seek out reliable cannabis without access to legal dispensaries.

Connecticut Cannabis Legalization Bill Headed to Governor

Connecticut Cannabis Legalization Bill Headed to Governor

Connecticut cannabis legalization has been passed in the senate
Connecticut has become the latest U.S. state to pass legislation authorizing adult recreational use of marijuana. Washington D.C., Guam, and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island have also legalized adult recreational use.

On Thursday, the state’s legislature voted to broaden its policy that so far has limited use of the drug for medical purposes. Gov. Ned Lamont, who helped introduce the bill, is expected to sign the bill into law.

“It’s fitting that the bill legalizing the adult use of cannabis and addressing the injustices caused by the war of drugs received final passage today, on the 50-year anniversary of President Nixon declaring the war,” Lamont said in a statement on Thursday. “The war on cannabis, which was at its core a war on people in Black and Brown communities, not only caused injustices and increased disparities in our state, it did little to protect public health and safety.”

Under Senate Bill 1201, approved by the state’s senate on Thursday, slated to become effective on July 1, adults 21 and older can legally purchase and possess marijuana for recreational use. Individual possession limits are capped at 1.5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent cannabis concentrate, with up to 5 ounces of cannabis or equivalent cannabis concentrate permitted in a locked container.

Recreational retail sales are not scheduled to begin until May of next year, according to the measure. And residents looking to grow marijuana plants for their own recreational use will have to wait to do so until 2023. Home cultivation for authorized medical patients can begin as soon as October this year.

In February, Lamont published revenue projections estimating that sales from an adult-use cannabis program starting in May 2022 would generate tax revenues of approximately $33.6 million by fiscal year 2023. According to the estimate, that number would jump to $97 million by fiscal year 2026.

The vote by Connecticut’s lawmakers comes amid a wave of recent state legalizations, including by regional neighbors New Jersey and New York, and others still scheduled to take effect this year.

New Jersey residents officially voted to legalize recreational weed beginning January 1. New York followed and green-lighted adult use on March 31.

Weedmaps joins Nasdaq with $579 million infusion

Weedmaps joins Nasdaq with $579 million infusion

Weedmaps has been listed on thr NASDAQ

Cannabis advertising platform Weedmaps started trading on the Nasdaq on Wednesday in the wake of the completion of its merger with special purpose acquisition company Silver Spike Acquisition Corp.

The transaction brought California-based Weedmaps, a leading but sometimes controversial online marketplace for cannabis consumers and businesses, $579 million in gross proceeds, according to a news release.

In connection with the closing of the deal, Silver Spike changed its name to WM Technology. Its Nasdaq ticker symbol is MAPS.

Shares were up 9% Wednesday at more than $20 each.

The transaction was approved unanimously by Silver Spike’s board of directors. It also was approved by stockholders at a special meeting last week.

Chris Beals, Weedmaps chief executive officer, said in a release that the merger will enable the company to accelerate its growth as it benefits from ongoing legalization across the country.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2020, the company generated net income of $39 million on $162 million in revenue.

Weedmaps, which has been operating as WM Holding Co., has run into issues with regulators in recent years.

In early 2018, California regulators ordered the company to stop carrying advertising from illegal cannabis retailers.

Weedmaps also was the focus of a federal investigation at least partially tied to its relationships with licensed and apparently illicit California companies.

Louisiana Marijuana Decriminalization Signed into Law by Governor

Louisiana Marijuana Decriminalization Signed into Law by Governor

louisiana marijuana decriminalization

A bill to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use in Louisiana will become law after Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the legislation from Democratic Rep. Cedric Glover Tuesday.

“This is not a decision I took lightly,” Edwards said. “The state of Louisiana should no longer incarcerate people for minor legal infractions, especially those that are legal in many states, that can ruin lives and destroy families, as well as cost taxpayers.”

Although Edwards said the bill won’t technically “decriminalize” possession of small amounts of pot, the penalty would be less than most speeding tickets.

The bill would make possession of 14 grams or less — about half an ounce — a misdemeanor in all cases and limit the fine to $100 with no jail time. It takes effect Aug. 1.

Glover said he believes House Bill 652, which is based on a local ordinance passed in Shreveport, found a sweet spot with those whose attitudes about weed are evolving but who don’t yet support full legalization.

“One thing I think we can find common ground on is the belief that the possession of small amounts of marijuana should not lead you to jail or to become a felon,” Glover has said repeatedly. Glover formed a rare alliance with conservative Shreveport Republican Rep. Alan Seabaugh, whose amendment in the House set the parameters for penalties.

“It essentially provides for the officer to write a ticket with no jail time,” Seabaugh said then. Louisiana had been one of 19 states that haven’t either legalized pot or decriminalized it.

The bill does not alter the penalties for someone who is distributing marijuana, only for possession. A bill from Republican state Rep. Richard Nelson that would have legalized the sale and use of marijuana died in the House earlier in the session.

But a bill from Republican Houma Rep. Tanner Magee adding smokable cannabis to the state’s medical pot program options has already won final passage and also has the governor’s support.

 

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