Latest Cannabis News: December 15, 2020

Stay up to date with the latest legalization and cannabis news with the CB Advisors. Every week, we will release a snippet of what’s happening with each state in the cannabis industry. Did you miss last week? No worries – click here for last week’s cannabis news.

CBD:

Texas: Over a dozen bills have been introduced to the Texas legislature that would legalize or decriminalize marijuana in the state. “We are finally seeing policymakers at the federal and state level talking about repealing marijuana prohibition,” said Heather Fazio, Director of Texas for Responsible Marijuana use. The bills are set to be discussed on January 8, 2021.
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Wisconsin: Residents of Wyoming support legalizing marijuana, according to a poll published on Tuesday, and strong supermajorities back more modest reforms such as allowing medical cannabis or reducing penalties for possession. In the new survey, conducted by the University of Wyoming, 54 percent of state residents want to allow “adults in Wyoming to legally possess marijuana for personal use.” That’s up from just 37 percent in 2014 and 49 percent in 2018.
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Medical:

Arkansas: The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission (AMMC) on Tuesday (Dec. 8) approved just one of three remaining dispensary licenses, but a legal challenge may be filed by Fort Smith-based River Valley Relief which lost its bid for a dispensary license because of a technicality. Tuesday’s vote also means the state will have authorized 38 of the 40 dispensary licenses approved by voters in 2016.
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Mississippi: A court fight threatens to block a Mississippi medical marijuana program before the program even gets started. Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler opposed Initiative 65 because it limits cities’ ability to regulate the location of medical marijuana businesses. The Republican mayor sued the state days before the election, arguing that the initiative was not properly on the ballot because of the number of signatures gathered.
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Missouri: A federal lawsuit filed Friday seeks to overturn state rules requiring Missouri residents to own the majority of any company operating a medical marijuana business in the state. The lawsuit says that because of the rule, applying for a business license in Missouri would be “futile.” The state had filed no briefs in the case as of Tuesday. A spokesman for the Missouri attorney general’s office declined to comment.
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South Carolina: Republican lawmakers in South Carolina have prefiled legislation to legalize medical marijuana in the state next year, saying patients have waited long enough for legal access to the drug. Lawmakers filed two versions of what’s being called The South Carolina Compassionate Care Act on Wednesday. Herbkersman’s H. 3361 is the House measure, while Sen. Tom Davis (R) is sponsoring S. 150 in the legislature’s other chamber. The measures are expected to be taken up during next year’s session, which begins in mid-January.
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Utah: Legislators are again eyeing changes to Utah’s medical marijuana law, including enabling any doctor to recommend the medication to up to 15 patients. The move could address one of the biggest bottlenecks so far with the program, according to advocates. Desiree Hennessy, director of the Utah Patients Coalition, said doctors “have not got on board as much as we hoped.” The new bill could also add some additional forms of medical marijuana to be used, and allow those with additional conditions to qualify.
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Virginia: As lawmakers prepare to take up proposals to legalize recreational marijuana, questions about how to address past racial inequities and prevent new ones from cropping up in a legalized marketplace have figured prominently in early discussions. It remains to be seen whether or how lawmakers address past marijuana convictions for more serious charges, such as distribution, which will remain illegal outside of licensed dispensaries, although potentially with reduced consequences.
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Recreational:

Arizona: The Department of Health Services on Thursday announced draft rules, much of which remain to be written, along with a survey asking the public what they like and what they see as deficient in the draft. The survey will be open until Dec. 17. The regulation of recreational marijuana sales looks to follow the framework of the medical-marijuana program, which voters approved in 2010 and is regulated by the health department.
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Illinois: Nearly a year after the legalization of recreational marijuana in Illinois, the state has failed to meet its promised diversity goals for the businesses licensed to be part of what’s expected to be a billion-dollar industry. State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago, says Illinois’ efforts to boost social equity in its weed industry so far have amounted to “an epic failure.”
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Maine: Of the 55 municipalities that have passed rules to regulate adult-use marijuana businesses, 29% opted out of retail sales, according to the state’s Office of Marijuana Policy. Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy reports that 55 communities have participated in the state’s opt-in program by adopting rules for specific adult-use marijuana businesses.
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Nevada: From January to the end of September, Nevada’s cannabis dispensaries made more than $588 million in sales. That’s according to a new report by the Nevada Dispensary Association. The industry group that represents cannabis sellers in Nevada said over last year, they have recorded a 14% increase in sales. In September alone, Nevada dispensaries reported $82.6 million in sales — a 43% increase over the same month last year.
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New Jersey: A New Jersey bill that could set up the legal recreational marijuana industry in the state in the new year made progress through the state legislation system Monday. The Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee will send the bill to the floor later this week for a vote, where it’s likely the Democrat-led Assembly will approve the measure and send it to Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, NBC10 reported. The bill is up for a vote Thursday, along with a separate bill that decriminalizes possession of up to 6 ounces of marijuana.
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Vermont: Vermont’s governor is taking a step toward implementing a legal marijuana sales market for adults, soliciting applications for three seats on the new program’s regulatory board. The positions are full-time, and the chair is expected to receive a $107,184.67 salary, with the other two members making $80,388.50.
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