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Alabama medical cannabis may not be available until 2023

Alabama medical cannabis may not be available until 2023

Alabama medical cannabis commission holds first meeting

The Alabama Medical Cannabis commission held its first official meeting on September 1, 2021, in which the board’s chairman expressed concern that the rollout of the Alabama medical cannabis program may take longer than expected.

During the first meeting of the 14-member commission, Dr. Steven Stokes tried to establish a timeline for how soon treatment with medical marijuana will be available in Alabama.

“I was hoping next spring,” Stokes said.

However Patrick Moody, the deputy commissioner for the Alabama Department of Agriculture, has said that Alabama medical cannabis growers should not expect to receive their licenses until September 2022.

Accounting for the time it would take growers to produce a harvest after receiving a license with indoor facilities, Alabama medical cannabis likely won’t be available to consumers until 2023.

The medical cannabis commission has a deadline of Sept. 1, 2022 to set up the rules to implement the program and issue licenses to cultivators, processors, transporters, testing laboratories, and dispensaries. The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries will regulate the cultivators.

But without any medical cannabis to sell, dispensaries will struggle to open their days on day one. Additionally, physicians who will prescribe Alabama medical cannabis must also go through a training program, which will likely keep some physicians from participating.

In addition to the medical cannabis program being pushed back, the state’s hemp industry has been struggling as well.

The industrial hemp program in Alabama started with 600 hemp growers and is now down to only 200 farms. The majority of Alabama’s hemp is grown outdoors, which has led to a rise in plant theft.

The cannabis commission has taken note of this and will require Alabama medical cannabis to be grown indoors or in a greenhouse for greater security. The chairmen of the board has also mentioned the possibility of introducing more legislation to help speed up the process.

Massachusetts recreational cannabis now a $2 billion industry

Massachusetts recreational cannabis now a $2 billion industry

Massachusetts recreational cannabis sales top $2 billion

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission this week released numbers revealing sales of recreational marijuana has topped $2 billion dollars in the first three years of legalization.

The first Massachusetts recreational cannabis dispensaries opened for business in November 2018.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively impacted other businesses, cannabis sales remains strong.

At Seed Recreational Dispensary in Jamaica Plain, which opened in March 2021, Assistant General Manager Bobby Driscoll is not surprised.

“I’m not surprised. It is definitely moving a little quicker than I think some of us in the industry had anticipated,” Driscoll said. “I think it was something we were waiting for, for a long time. A lot of people sacrificed a lot to get us to this point.”

Driscoll anticipates demand will remain strong, even as new dispensaries are approved and open for business.

New York Cannabis Control Board Appoints First Two Members

New York Cannabis Control Board Appoints First Two Members

new york cannabis control board has started assigning its first members

New York’s recreational pot program is no longer a buzzkill.

The state Senate confirmed two long overdue appointments to the agency that will regulate pot sales in the state during a special session ordered by Gov. Kathy Hochul to fast-track the program Wednesday.

Tremaine Wright was confirmed as chairperson of the Cannabis Control Board, and Christopher Alexander was secured as executive director of the new office of Cannabis Management.

Wright is a former Democratic assemblywoman who represented Bedford-Stuyvesant, and Alexander is government relations and policy manager at the Canada-based cannabis company, Vill, LLC.

Four more members still need to be named to the board by the governor and legislative leaders, which is responsible for awarding licenses to cannabis sellers in the state. The appointees do not need to be approved by lawmakers.

Hochul ordered the special session Tuesday with a thinly veiled swipe at her predecessor, disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo, saying she wanted “to jumpstart the long-overdue decisions pertaining to establishing cannabis in the state of New York.”

Recreational cannabis was approved by Albany in the spring after being shelved by Cuomo amid the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“These two individuals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their new roles, and I know they will do a tremendous job of outlining and implementing regulations that are safe, fair and transparent, and that recognize the need to remedy the impact that prohibition has had on communities of color,” the Democrat said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with them on building our state’s cannabis industry and effecting real change for New Yorkers.”

State Sen. Liz Krueger, who chairs the powerful state Senate Finance Committee and sponsored the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, said Hochul’s appointees to the cannabis board cleared her committee after being questioned.

New Jersey Cannabis Industry Rules Set by Regulators

New Jersey Cannabis Industry Rules Set by Regulators

New Jersey cannabis industry has had rules established by regulators

New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission has approved rules to set up the state’s recreational marijuana marketplace.

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey‘s cannabis regulators on Thursday approved rules to set up the recreational marijuana marketplace, giving application priority to women-, minority- and disabled veteran-owned businesses and paving the way for sales to begin.

A timeline for when people 21 and older could head to a retailer to buy a marijuana cigarette, vape pen or edible wasn’t given, but chairperson Dianna Houenou said after the meeting that a date for when sales can begin hasn’t been set yet because the commission wants to be sure that the application process goes smoothly. She said the start date is “admittedly uncertain.”

“We know that there is a lot of interest in getting this market up and running and we were duty-bound to do it right,” she said in a separate statement.

The five-member commission, which was established under a February law, voted unanimously to approve the the 160-pages of regulations. The rules got expedited treatment under the law, sidestepping the usual public comment and response period.

Commission executive director Jeff Brown said a next step will be a notice that applications will be accepted.

The rules focus heavily on what commissioners called equity — a main driver of the legislation because of years of disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws against Black residents in particular.

Among the rules is priority for applications from companies owned by minorities, women and disabled veterans, as well as for those from poor areas and past marijuana-related criminal offenses.

Application fees were designed to be low to encourage small business owners, and not just major firms, from applying, with fees as low as $100. Annual licenses for microbusinesses — firms with 10 employees — will cost $1,000. Large businesses could pay up to $50,000 for an annual cultivator license.

Humboldt County announces more than $2 million in grant funding for cannabis farmers

Humboldt County announces more than $2 million in grant funding for cannabis farmers

humboldt county gives out cannabis grant to farmers
Many Humboldt County growers are struggling this season as the price of cannabis falls in California.

Humboldt County announced more than $2 million in grant funding available through Project Trellis, the county’s cannabis micro-grant, marketing and local equity program, to help the local cannabis community enter into the commercial cannabis marketplace. Those eligible can apply for up to $10,000 “per service” in accordance with Humboldt County’s eligibility requirements for Project Trellis.

“All applications and supporting documents will be reviewed by Economic Development staff to ensure the applicant meets eligibility criteria. Some projects may receive a lower amount than what was requested, based on the availability of funds or needs of service,” a news release from the county stated.

“A typical approval process can take 60 or more days from when the application is received. Upon approval, the applicant will receive a notice of award, contract, fund request form and a W9 form.”

Project Trellis was built as a three-tier program to redirect cannabis tax revenue back into the local economy. In September 2019, the county sought proposals for cannabis branding and marketing.

The goal of the program is to “implement the recommendations set forth in the Humboldt County Cannabis Equity Assessment” and “to further equity among those impacted by the criminalization of cannabis, by providing services to individuals in Humboldt County’s cannabis community, particularly small growers who were adversely affected by the criminalization of cannabis.”

While $2 million may seem like a big chunk of change, Humboldt County Growers Alliance executive director Natalynne DeLapp said the county’s “independent cannabis farmers are in crisis.”

“It is great that the county developed Project Trellis…and (has) secured nearly $5 million in funding from the state to support communities most impacted by the War on Drugs in entering the regulated cannabis market, but now it is time to get serious,” she said. “…Perhaps 200 of Humboldt County’s 900-plus cultivation operators, who can prove the War on Drugs has negatively impacted them, could receive up to $10,000 in fee waivers for professional services like fee waivers, technical assistance or installing solar or water storage systems.”

[Denver Post] Oklahoma is the new “Wild West of weed” — and Colorado marijuana entrepreneurs are helping fuel the green rush

[Denver Post] Oklahoma is the new “Wild West of weed” — and Colorado marijuana entrepreneurs are helping fuel the green rush

Chip Baker Denver Post interview

Lax regulation and low barriers to entry have triggered cannabis’s explosive growth in Sooner State

OKEMAH, Okla. — Chip Baker surveyed a vast field on the outskirts of an old hay farm an hour east of Oklahoma City, his ponytail waving in the thick, humid air, his voice growing excited.

“This is probably the largest collection of Squirt in the world!” he boasted, pointing to an array of neatly plotted cannabis plants before him that will soon flower pounds of the popular strain.

Baker would know. From the time he planted his first marijuana plant at 13, he’s been all about growing weed. A dream formed in the Georgia fields took him to Humboldt County, California — the nation’s earliest pot epicenter — then Colorado, the country’s first recreational market.

But it’s here in rural Oklahoma, down a dusty dirt road along the banks of the North Canadian River, where true cannabis cowboys — including droves of Colorado entrepreneurs like Baker — are buying mammoth properties to grow mammoth numbers of plants, all in a quest for mammoth stacks of kush-derived cash.

It’s a place unlike virtually any other in America.

“Other states grow patches,” Baker said with a grin, taking in the 90-acre, 40,000-plant cannabis farm before him. “In Oklahoma, we grow fields.”

The Sooner State, as deeply red as the American political palette will go, has almost overnight become the hottest place in the country to grow marijuana. It’s an unprecedented look at what happens when the government stays largely out of the picture and lets the free market run wild.

And Colorado businesses are pumping their sizeable dollars and cannabis expertise into the state, hoping to cash in on what Baker and others in the industry call the next green rush.

“It’s the Wild West of weed,” he said, “in all its glory.”

Read Full Interview with The Denver Post

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