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Denver opens applications for cannabis delivery licenses, consumption lounges

Denver opens applications for cannabis delivery licenses, consumption lounges

Denver cannabis delivery licenses are being accepted now

Applications are now open for marijuana delivery and transporter licenses in Denver for the first time in the city’s history, the Department of Excise and Licenses announced.

The city is also accepting applications for new marijuana store locations for the first time since 2016, in addition to applications for marijuana cultivation and manufacturing licenses.

This comes two months after Denver changed its marijuana policy to allow for social equity delivery and hospitality businesses where patrons can consume marijuana on the premises. Applications for the hospitality business licenses are expected to open in November, the department said.

“This is a big part of the biggest overhaul in marijuana rules and regulations since initial legalization that the mayor signed into law on 4/20,” said Eric Escudero, spokesman for the Department of Excise and Licenses.

Under Denver’s new marijuana policy, there is no cap on the number of licenses and permits available, and there is no deadline to apply.

Social equity applicants are defined as Colorado residents who have never had a marijuana license revoked and meet one of the following social equity criteria:

  • Applicant lived in an opportunity zone or a disproportionately impacted area between 1980 and 2010
  • Applicant or immediate family was arrested, convicted or suffered civil asset forfeiture due to a marijuana offense
  • Applicant’s household income doesn’t exceed 50% of the state median income

By providing exclusivity to social equity applicants, Denver officials say they are trying to make up for the damage caused by the War on Drugs and the unequal persecution of disadvantaged communities for marijuana offenses.

House Committee Approves Marijuana Protections For Banking

House Committee Approves Marijuana Protections For Banking

A house appropriations committee has approved a cannabis banking amendment

A House subcommittee on Thursday approved a large-scale funding bill that includes provisions protecting banks from being punished for working with marijuana businesses and allowing Washington, D.C. to legalize cannabis sales.

The move by congressional Democrats to let the District of Columbia set its own marijuana policies is in contrast with a budget released last month by President Joe Biden, which proposed continuing the longstanding Republican-led rider that has prevented the city from spending its own money to regulate adult-use cannabis commerce.

The banking-related provision is less far-reaching than more robust standalone bills the House has passed on four occasions, but would still provide some protections to banks that work with state-legal marijuana operators.

Both measures are attached to a bill to fund various federal agencies for Fiscal Year 2022 that was approved by the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittee in a voice vote. The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up the legislation on Tuesday.

In a press release, the panel called the rider blocking local D.C. marijuana policymaking an “objectionable” measure that “undermine[s] home rule.”

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said in a press release that she’s “very pleased the bill respects D.C.’s right to self-government by allowing D.C. to spend its local funds as it sees fit, including on…recreational marijuana commercialization.”

“With Democrats controlling the White House, House and Senate,” she said, “we have the best opportunity in over a decade to enact a spending bill with no anti-home-rule riders, as this D.C. appropriations bill does and as I requested.”

After the Biden budget was released, Norton told Marijuana Moment that she was “very disappointed” over the decision, especially considering that fact that he’s voiced support for D.C. statehood.

The exclusion of the D.C. provision from the Fiscal Year 2022 FSGG appropriations bill could set the stage for conflict between lawmakers and the president. The Biden administration has already disappointed advocates by declining to take meaningful action on cannabis reform as promised on the campaign trail, and his inclusion of the D.C. rider was seen as an outright hostile act.

The District’s mayor said in April that local officials are prepared to move forward with implementing a legal system of recreational cannabis sales in the nation’s capital just as soon as they can get over the final “hurdle” of congressional interference.

The ongoing blockade is the result of an amendment that was first added by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) when Republicans controlled the House and has since been continued in annual appropriations legislation. The House on several occasions has since passed spending bills that do not include the cannabis ban, but it has been included in final enacted legislation because the Senate under GOP control insisted on reinserting it.

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.”

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.

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.

California offers $100 million to rescue struggling legal marijuana industry

California offers $100 million to rescue struggling legal marijuana industry

California legal marijuana industry is getting $100 million from government for support

The California Legislature on Monday approved a $100-million plan to bolster California’s legal marijuana industry, which continues to struggle to compete with the large illicit pot market nearly five years after voters approved sales for recreational use.

Los Angeles will be the biggest beneficiary of the money, which was proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to be provided as grants to cities and counties to help cannabis businesses transition from provisional to regular licenses.

“California voters approved Proposition 64 five years ago and entrusted the Legislature with creating a legal, well-regulated cannabis market,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), the chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “We have yet to reach that goal.”

Many legal marijuana growers, retailers and manufacturers have struggled to make the transition from a provisional, temporary license to a permanent one renewed on an annual basis — a process that requires a costly, complicated and time-consuming review of the negative environmental effects involved in a business and a plan for reducing those harms.

As a result, about 82% of the state’s cannabis licensees still held provisional licenses as of April, according to the governor’s office.

The funds, including $22 million earmarked for L.A., would help cities hire experts and staff to assist legal marijuana businesses in completing the environmental studies and transitioning the licenses to “help legitimate businesses succeed,” Ting said.

The grant program is endorsed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who said in a letter to legislators that the money is “essential in supporting a well-regulated, equitable, and sustainable cannabis market.”

Separately, the governor wants to give legal marijuana businesses a six-month extension beyond a Jan. 1 deadline to transition from provisional licenses by complying with mandates of the California Environmental Quality Act. That extension, which faces opposition for delaying promised environmental safeguards, was not included in the state budget bill approved Monday and is still being negotiated with lawmakers.

The governor’s proposal to extend provisional licenses has drawn objections from a coalition of seven environmental groups including Sierra Club California, Defenders of Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy.

They said in a letter to Newsom that the proposal allowing the extension of provisional licenses and interim alternatives to CEQA rules goes against what voters were promised and is “wholly inadequate to protect local communities and the environment.”

 
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