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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.

Biden Admin warns applicants about investing in cannabis stocks

Biden Admin warns applicants about investing in cannabis stocks

Biden admin cannabis stocks

Smoking weed may no longer be the only potential impediment to getting a job with security clearance in the Biden administration. Investing in cannabis companies could now trip up applicants, too.

The Biden administration has expanded its employee conduct guidelines to potentially deny security clearance to individuals who have invested in companies that are involved in the marijuana business, according to an internal executive branch presentation shared with POLITICO.

“Eligibility may be negatively impacted if an individual knowingly and directly invests in stocks or business ventures that specifically pertain to marijuana growers and retailers,” according to the document. “Decisions to willfully invest in such activity could reflect questionable judgment and an unwillingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations.”

The recently updated guidance is the latest illustration of the federal government trying to grapple with its cannabis-related HR policies as the product has become an accepted legal business, medication and recreational substance in states across the country. All told, 37 states, the District of Columbia and some territories have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use.

The White House has adopted a more forgiving posture than its predecessors. Early on in his tenure, President Joe Biden issued a memo that stated prior marijuana use would not automatically disqualify applicants — the most lenient policy of any administration since before President Ronald Reagan.

But he hasn’t been altogether forgiving. Last year, the White House did fire some employees and rescinded employment offers due to prior marijuana use in the early days of the administration. According to the internal presentation, the White House has not changed its position, despite calls from House Democrats to do so.

Could Virginia cannabis legalization be overturned in 2022?

Could Virginia cannabis legalization be overturned in 2022?

virginia cannabis legalization could be flipped in 2022
Virginia legalized the home cultivation of cannabis July 1, 2021, with plans for a retail industry set in place for 2024. However with the 2022 gubernatorial race quickly approaching, that could all be overturned.
The retail market set to begin in 2024 still needs to be organized and approved down the road by legislators. This means that there’s still plenty of time for those that oppose legalization to try and overturn it. Should the Republican candidate win the race, it might be easy to do.

NORML, a national organization that has been fighting for cannabis legalization for decades, uses a rating system in gubernatorial races across the country to grade the candidates for their likelihood to support cannabis legalization.

NORML has given the race’s Democratic candidate, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an A grade, noting his public statements calling for legalization. The Republican candidate, Glenn Youngkin, a private equity executive, has a D grade from NORML, noting that Youngkin supports only limited cannabis decriminalization.

And it isn’t just the governor’s seat that is up for grabs in 2022. The Virginia House of Delegates is nearly split down the middle on partisan lines, with multiple seats up for re-election in 2022. Advocates are concerned that without a Democrat majority in both chambers of government in the state, the path to full legalization may be blocked indefinitely.

Similarly to the gubernatorial race, the race for Virginia Attorney General is just as important. The Democratic candidate for attorney general, incumbent Mark Herring, has called for cannabis legalization in the commonwealth, while GOP challenger Jason Miyares has only expressed limited support for medical marijuana.

Additionally the lieutenant governor race falls into the same judgement from NORML, with the democrat receiving and A grade and the Republican getting a D grade. Long story short, if Democrats lose these races, the future of cannabis legalization in Virginia is hazy to say the least.

Over 60% of Virginians have expressed their support for cannabis legalization, with just over 30% being opposed. One would like to think that no matter who wins these races, the voice of the people will be respected. If the majority supported legalization enough to pass it, then it is the will of the people of Virginia that cannabis should remain legal.

While traditionally the party of smaller government, less intervention and following the will of the people, one should be very hesitant to believe that a republican governor and republican controlled House of Delegates would not try to impede legalization in Virginia. Suffice to say, Virginians will be waiting with bated breath to see who comes out on top, as it would seem the future of cannabis legalization literally depends on it.

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.