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Mississippi medical cannabis industry to launch July 1

Mississippi medical cannabis industry to launch July 1

Mississippi medical cannabis legalization

After months of lengthy legal battles, legislation effectively legalizing cannabis for medicinal use in Mississippi will become law on July 1, 2022. The Mississippi Department of Revenue will be running the licensing process.

The agency has said that it will begin accepting applications for dispensaries starting July 5. Patients and medical practitioners will be able to begin applying for applications and registrations on July 1, along with some cannabis production licenses. These licenses specifically will be handled by the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDOH).

Both agencies’ responsibilities stem from the Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA), which was passed in February of this year. Medical cannabis legalization was delayed by nearly a year in the state after a voter initiative to legalize, Initiative 65, was overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court in May of 2021.

Now patients with conditions covered under the MMCA can go to their physician and complete a medical certification from the MSDOH. If approved, patients will be able to apply to join the medical cannabis program. Once accepted they will receive patient ID they can use to purchase cannabis from a licensed dispensary.

While patients may be accepted as early as next month, plants won’t go in the ground in Mississippi until the bill is officially law, i.e. July 1. With dispensary applications being accepted starting July 5, it will certainly be several months before we see any dispensaries open with cannabis product on their shelves.

Estimates claim that purchasing could begin by December this year, or January 2023.

For those seeking a license, the state plans to hand them out within 30 days of receiving a completed application, meaning dispensary construction could begin within the next two months. The state is also accepting applications for a variety of other medical cannabis industry licenses:

  • Cultivator/Grower

  • Processor/Wholesaler

  • Transporter (local freight)

  • Transporter (long distance)

  • Testing Facility

  • Waste Disposal

Rhode Island cannabis legalization signed into law by governor

Rhode Island cannabis legalization signed into law by governor

Rhode Island cannabis legalization passed

Rhode Island has become the 19th state in the US to legalize cannabis for recreational use after Governor Dan McKee signed new legislation on Wednesday May 25.

Less than 24 hours after the state legislature unanimously passed the legalization bill, McKee signed it into law. The Rhode Island Cannabis Act would allow adults over 21 to buy, possess and grow their own cannabis at home.

Adults will be allowed to grow up to six plants, and cannabis purchases will be limited.

The law will also introduce expungements of past criminal records related to cannabis, depending on the severity of the charge. Taxes from legal cannabis sales will be re-invested into communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Rep. Scott Slater, whom drafted the revised legislation that was passed, said the bill won’t please everybody.

“Frankly, no bill could do that,” he said. “So in the many years it has taken to get this bill to this point, we have learned from other states that legalized cannabis, and we know that they too must address issues each year and modify the original statute to address new issues that occur. We will be no different.”

McKee appears to have full support for the legal cannabis industry and the equity it intends to implement.

“Today I signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, legalizing and safely regulating cannabis in our state. This bill successfully incorporates our priorities of making sure legalization is equitable, controlled, and safe.”

He continued, “The end result is a win for our state both socially and economically.

The Rhode Island Cannabis Act calls for retail cannabis sales to begin December 1st of this year, however it is unlikely that any retail cannabis stores will be licensed and open by that time. Additionally, unless growers are licensed and permitted to produce cannabis for retail in the next couple of month, it is unlikely there will be any product to put on shelves should stores open in December.

New Jersey recreational cannabis sales finally begin

New Jersey recreational cannabis sales finally begin

New jersey recreational cannabis sales have started

Thursday April 21, 2022 marks the first day that recreational cannabis can be sold to consumers in New Jersey. Doors opened at the first dispensaries at 6 AM, with lines wrapping around the block.

“It’s a huge event. It’s a moment in time in American history where prohibition 2.0 is lifted,” said Ben Kovler, the chairman and CEO of Green Thumb Industries, which has two facilities opening Thursday, one in Bloomfield and another in Paterson.

However the industry isn’t fully taking off just yet. Just over a dozen “alternative care providers” in the state that were already providing medical cannabis to patients were given permission to sell adult-use cannabis on opening day.

It is still unclear when the hundreds of other cannabis business applicants will get their licenses and be allowed to open their doors, but it will likely start with social equity applicants first.

State regulators say dispensaries in New Jersey are allowed to sell up to the equivalent of 1 ounce of cannabis, which means an ounce of dried flower, or 5 grams of concentrate or 1,000 milligrams of edibles, like gummies. However perishable edibles like cookies and brownies will not be available.

Recreational cannabis sales will still apply the state 6.625% sales tax, with 70% of the proceeds going to areas disproportionately affected by marijuana-related arrests.

New Jersey is the first among several neighboring states to launch recreational cannabis sales. New York legalized cannabis in 2020 but has yet to implement a recreational market. Pennsylvania has a successful medical cannabis industry, with advocates and even legislators pushing for full legalization this year. Connecticut also legalized cannabis but has yet to implement any marketplace for consumers.

Montana recreational cannabis sales top $43 million in first quarter of 2022

Montana recreational cannabis sales top $43 million in first quarter of 2022

Montana recreational cannabis dispensary sales

In its first three months of operation, Montana recreational cannabis sales have surpassed $43 million, resulting in nearly $9 million in tax revenue for the state.

According to the state’s Department of Revenue, Montana recreational cannabis produced $43,537,110 in sales, compared to medical cannabis which generated $29,373,731 in sales during the same period.

Voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize Montana recreational cannabis in 2020, the same year three other states — Arizona, South Dakota and New Jersey — passed similar measures. However state officials wouldn’t approve regulations for a legal cannabis marketplace until October 2021.

This late action created a short deadline for the state’s Department of Revenue Cannabis Control Division to build out the framework for legal sales in Montana.

“The deadlines are aggressive,” Kristan Barbour, administrator of the Department of Revenue’s Cannabis Control Division, said at the time. “Really, the rules are our biggest challenge.”

“Our focus was really to be business-friendly and to try to work with the industry in a fashion that makes the rules adaptable to their current business structure and that they’ll be able to evolve into without a whole lot of pain,” Barbour added.

However despite the delays and tight deadlines, the Montana recreational cannabis market opened right on time, New Years Day 2022. On January 1 an estimated 380 dispensaries opened their doors in 29 counties across the state.

The state brought in an estimated $1.5 millions in adult-use sales in the opening weekend, a number that would snowball over the next couple months. While money isn’t the only reason a state like Montana would legalize cannabis, it is at the top of the list.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, states have generated over $11 billion in tax revenue through legal cannabis. On average, a state with adult-use cannabis sales generated more than $3.7 billion in total revenue in 2021.

However another growing reason for multiple states legalizing cannabis is the failing War on Drugs. In 2018, 40% (yes, 40%) of all drug arrests in the US were for cannabis, typically possession. Think about the resources and dollars that go into arresting, processing, and housing all of these mostly non-violent offenders.

In March the Montana Supreme Court issued temporary rules for procedures that would allow those with past cannabis-related convictions to have them expunged. The state’s new cannabis law says “anyone convicted of an offense that would now be legal in the state can petition to have their conviction removed from their record, get a lesser sentence for it or reclassify it to a lesser offense,” according to local television station KPAX.

Just for comparison, Oklahoma, an equally red state with just a medical cannabis program that launched in 2019 brought in nearly $500 million in its first year of sales. Then the state nearly doubled that number in 2020.

Comparatively Montana recreational cannabis sales seem pretty miniscule. However it has only been three months. Should the trend continue, the state could easily see over $200 million in sales its first year.

NY Gov. Hochul signs conditional cannabis cultivation bill

NY Gov. Hochul signs conditional cannabis cultivation bill

New York passes conditional cannabis cultivation licenses

With this legislation, NY is creating a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license, allowing hemp farmers to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed new legislation on Tuesday that will allow hemp farmers in the state to apply for a conditional license to grow cannabis.

With this legislation, New York is creating a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license, allowing hemp farmers to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season. Conditionally licensed cannabis farmers must hit certain requirements under this law.

According to the governor’s office, some of the requirements include, “safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation practices, participation in a social equity mentorship program, and engagement in a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization.”

“I am proud to sign this bill, which positions New York’s farmers to be the first to grow cannabis and jumpstart the safe, equitable and inclusive new industry we are building,” Hochul said. “New York State will continue to lead the way in delivering on our commitment to bring economic opportunity and growth to every New Yorker in every corner of our great state.”

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes added, “Last year, after many years of fighting, we finally enacted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, and are beginning to undo the devastating impacts over 90 years of unequal enforcement of marijuana prohibition had on too many lives and communities. MRTA ensures that the legal adult-use market will be centered on equity and economic justice for communities of color and individuals that have been harmed most by the War on Drugs in the State of New York. With the passage of this bill, we have the opportunity to create a responsible start to the adult-use cannabis industry by authorizing temporary conditional cultivator and processor licenses to current New York hemp farmers. This authority will help secure enough safe, regulated, and environmentally conscious cannabis products to meet the demand of the adult-use cannabis market when retail dispensaries open. Importantly, this legislation calls for a Social Equity Mentorship Program, which will create a viable and inclusive path for social and economic equity partners interested in cannabis cultivation and processing to gain invaluable knowledge and experience in this emerging industry. The temporary conditional licenses authorized by this bill will ultimately help realize the vision and goals of the MRTA.”