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Interstate cannabis commerce bill introduced in California

Interstate cannabis commerce bill introduced in California

California interstate cannabis commerce bill introduced

California has always been at the forefront of cannabis legalization. As one of the first states to legalize medical and recreational cannabis, other states looked to California for the outline of legal cannabis.

But despite its progressive policies regarding cannabis, California has not been able to develop and maintain a strong legal cannabis industry. This is for a wide range of reasons, from strict and expansive regulations to exorbitant application and licensing fees. Not to mention the massive illicit market that still operates within the state, in part due to the current barriers to entry into the legal market.

Some would argue that the solution to California’s cannabis industry woes is to simplify the application process, lessen the cost of licensing and give cultivators and retail owners the resources they need to stay within regulation. However the state is taking a different approach to profiting off an industry with an oversupply of cannabis.

SB1326 has been introduced to approve interstate commercial transactions for cannabis products. This means that if passed, California would be able to import and export cannabis products from other legal cannabis states. For example a state that recently legalized cannabis but does not yet have enough supply to meet demand could import products from California to fill the gaps.

If this bill sounds familiar, it may be because Oregon passed something similar in 2019. However since they were the only state with a law allowing export of cannabis, and no states have a law allowing imports, the law is basically moot.

The interstate cannabis commerce bill wouldn’t just be restricted to recreational cannabis either. California also has one of the country’s oldest medical cannabis programs and would be able to provide medical cannabis to neighboring states as well.

Even with the largest illicit market of cannabis production in the country, California’s legal recreational market is still oversupplied. The hope with SB 1326 is that some of that supply can be sent to other states to make the industry more profitable for those participating legally.

Critics of the bill have shown concern however over wording that could remove the opt-out clause currently in place in the state.

Most states with legal cannabis programs will have opt-out clauses that permit municipalities to opt-out of legal cannabis business in their localities. Those criticizing SB 1326 believe that the new bill will overshadow the opt-out clause, but lawmakers believe that it will actually give the municipalities more options than the opt-out clause itself provides.

The interstate cannabis commerce bill also places restrictions on who can enter the new market if it passes.

“The bill would prohibit an entity with a commercial cannabis license issued under the laws of another state from engaging in commercial cannabis activity within the boundaries of this state without a state license, or within a local jurisdiction without a license, permit, or other authorization issued by the local jurisdiction,” the bill’s text reads.

This line should reassure smaller towns and local businesses that multi-state operators won’t be able to just storm in and take over. And at this time, officials in the cannabis industry want to focus on leveling out the supply in California before they begin accepting any imports.

New Mexico gets ready for recreational cannabis sales

New Mexico gets ready for recreational cannabis sales

New Mexico legal cannabis dispensary

New Mexico recreational cannabis sales are set to start on April 1. While retailers aren’t too concerned about meeting the demands on opening day, nerves are still running high.

Hundreds of retail dispensaries will be opening their doors on April 1, and the excitement is palpable.

“We really expect that first day of business to be filled with excitement,” said Kristen Thomson, director of the Cannabis Control Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.

Some business owners have expressed concerns about whether supply will be able to meet demand in early days of legal sales. Thomson said she is certain cannabis growers have enough products to keep stores stocked.

“We do not have concerns about lack of product,” she said. “As with any new gadget or restaurant or something opening, some products may come up short, but we do not anticipate a massive statewide shortage of product on opening day.”

In addition to the medical cannabis dispensaries that have been in operation for years already, over 220 recreational dispensaries have been approved to open. However it is unclear exactly how many will be open for business on day one. Many of these licenses also include integrated licenses for businesses that produce, manufacture, deliver and sell cannabis products.

Thomson added that the biggest hurdle retailers are facing prior to opening day is getting approved for zoning in their specific municipalities. Other businesses that will be open on the first of legal sales don’t share the same optimism as Thomson regarding supply.

New Jersey prepares to launch recreational cannabis market

New Jersey prepares to launch recreational cannabis market

New Jersey recreational cannabis sales to start soon

New Jersey’s recreational cannabis market is gearing up to launch within weeks and is poised to become one of the largest on the East Coast with annual sales projected to top $2 billion within a few years.

The state is positioned to beat rival New York to the punch and to match, if not exceed, Massachusetts in annual adult-use sales.

But, like most new markets, industry officials are concerned about whether supply will be adequate to meet demand – at least in the early stages.

New Jersey’s adult-use market – approved by voters in November 2020 – is expected to launch with only a handful or so of the state’s existing medical cannabis operators.

The start of recreational marijuana sales also comes as social equity applicants are struggling to develop their business know-how, raise funds and secure real estate.

Existing medical marijuana operators might get as much as an 18-month head start on some new cannabis businesses, an industry expert said.

Missed deadline

The recreational marijuana law implementing the voter initiative called for sales to begin by Feb. 22, 2022, but the state ignored that deadline, saying it was too early.

Gov. Phil Murphy then hinted in late February that the market could launch “within weeks,” and state regulators indicated recently that they were nearly finished reviewing applications by five current MMJ operators.

Industry officials say that the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission could take up and approve those applications at its March 24 meeting, but it’s unclear how quickly sales would then be allowed to begin.

“We could have only five operators trying to meet the initial demand of the entire state,” said Rob DiPisa, co-chair of the cannabis law practice at Cole Schotz in New Jersey.

“It’s almost naive to think we aren’t going to run into some issues.”

While that’s been the case in other new adult-use markets as well, the New Jersey recreational marijuana law included provisions intended to prevent negative fallout for the state’s roughly 120,000 MMJ patients.

MJBizDaily projects that New Jersey recreational marijuana sales will ramp up from $625 million to $775 million in 2022 to more than $2 billion a year by 2025 or 2026.

Medical marijuana sales, meanwhile, are expected to peak by 2023 and then begin declining, as has been the trend in most adult-use states.

Legal gray area leaves potential Missouri cannabis growers in limbo

Legal gray area leaves potential Missouri cannabis growers in limbo

Missouri cannabis growers

NORTH MISSISSIPPI (WMC) – It’s been well over a month since the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act was signed into law. However, potential cannabis growers in Mississippi are hesitant on how to proceed in growing their product.

Ambiguity in the signed legislation doesn’t specify if greenhouses are considered indoor or outdoor grow.

The difference is outdoor grow is strictly prohibited under the law.

“We fought so hard for these last two years, over two years, to get something passed,” said Zack Wilson with We are the 74. “Here we are, we have something passed, and now it’s another set of hurdles.”

Wilson, a resident of Byhalia, has been planning on building greenhouses for months, already setting up the framework for one on his property.

He’s put a pause on that after seeing greenhouses are not officially defined in the law.

You don’t have to look far in the 445-page bill.

On page 2, the bill reads “Cannabis cultivation facility” means a business entity licensed and registered by the Mississippi Department of Health that acquires, grows, cultivates and harvests medical cannabis in an indoor, enclosed, locked and secure area.

Wilson said in his conversations with his local legislators, the feeling is greenhouses do not offer the same level of security as a brick and mortar structure.

Wilson disagrees.

“A greenhouse is totally enclosed, so as far as I’m concerned that is indoor,” Wilson said. “Locked? There are doors. There’s a lock on it, just like any other building. A secure area? That means we put it inside a fence. Myself, personally, I’m in the middle of 200 acres. If somebody were to find my stuff, they would have to fly over it to find it.”

“It leaves everybody in limbo that’s actually going to do a greenhouse grow,” said Todd Franklin, owner of Franklin Farms.

Franklin built two greenhouses, 3,000 sq. ft. and 1,800 sq. ft. in 2021 before the original Initiative 65, the cannabis program Mississippians voted on in the 2020 elections, was overturned by the state Supreme Court.

He was ready to build more but has also paused construction due to the uncertainty of if greenhouses would be considered indoor grow.

“If you call the department of health, they tell you to go to their website. You click on their website and there’s nothing there,” Franklin said.

In our attempts to find some clarity from the Mississippi Department of Health, asking if greenhouses are considered indoor or outdoor grow, we were told the department doesn’t have an answer for us at this time.

“It is important to remember that beyond determining what is indoor growing – the same indoor security measures would apply. While the program is in development, I encourage you to visit or website and read the bill for answers,” an MSDH spokesperson said.

“Greenhouses are pretty much the industry standard. Why would we want to pull more from our power grid when we have mother nature above us,” Wilson said, gesturing up to the sun.

Both Wilson and Franklin said they would have 24/7 security systems on their properties once growing began.

Franklin doesn’t want to be caught behind the curve.

Connecticut tries to crack down on cannabis gifting

Connecticut tries to crack down on cannabis gifting

cannabis gifting to be banned in Connecticut

Hundreds of shoppers filtered through rows of vendors selling novelty art and clothing earlier this year at High Bazaar, a Hamden festival where a “gift” of a marijuana product often accompanied the items they purchased.

But the High Bazaar parties are on hold for now, after the town of Hamden claimed permitting violations. And while a hearing in that civil case is scheduled for later this week, the state legislature is considering a bill that would outlaw such “gifting.”

House Bill 5329 would impose up to a $10,000 fine and a year of jail time on violators. Supporters of the legislation said it would help keep sales in the market regulated, although some hemp and cannabis advocates were wary that it would re-criminalize marijuana.

The bill also includes provisions to cap the number of equity joint ventures for producers and to outlaw billboard advertising. Equity joint ventures allow partnerships between social equity applicants and other cannabis businesses.

“We appreciate that gifting will go on between people in the privacy of their homes,” said Rep. Mike D’Agostino, a Democrat who represents Hamden. “An event that’s organized, that rents space and is really a market just violates the entire intent of the statute that we put in place last year.”

D’Agostino chairs the General Law Committee, which heard public comments on the bill Tuesday.

Cannabis gifting is a practice that’s been used in Washington, D.C., where recreational marijuana sales aren’t allowed but possession of less than 2 ounces has been decriminalized. Vendors sell consumers a product such as a T-shirt, and a cannabis product is included as a gift.

Republicans aim to restrict Oklahoma medical marijuana industry

Republicans aim to restrict Oklahoma medical marijuana industry

Oklahoma medical marijuana industry would be restricted under new legislation

Republicans in the Oklahoma House are unveiling a package of new restrictions on the medical marijuana industry.

The 12-point plan includes a standardization of lab testing and equipment, more inspections of grow facilities, separate licenses for marijuana wholesalers and stringent new reporting requirements for electric and water usage by growers. One proposal would also make the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority a stand-alone agency, not a division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

“If you’re an illegal operator in Oklahoma, you’re time is up,” said Rep. Scott Fetgatter, an Okmulgee Republican and a member of the House Republican working group on medical marijuana.

The marijuana industry has been booming in Oklahoma since voters in 2018 approved one of the most liberal medical programs in the nation. It’s easy for patients to obtain a two-year medical license, and nearly 10% of the state’s population is now authorized to buy and use marijuana. Unlike other states, there also are no restrictions on the number of dispensary or grow licenses, and the low cost for entry into the industry has led to a flood of out-of-state pot entrepreneurs seeking to capitalize on the boom.