Legislative & Licensing Update: January 13, 2022
Progress in New Hampshire & Kansas. Tax revenue records in Illinois.
Plus job gains in Colorado and updates from New Jersey, California, Virginia, Mexico, and Germany. Get the top cannabis news for this week in the U.S. and internationally.
The Republican-controlled New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize possession and personal cultivation of marijuana, while other new legislation on cannabis sales is still pending.
Kansas House Democratic leaders announced new resolutions to let voters decide on legalizing recreational and medical marijuana on the November ballot. Lawmakers in several other states are pushing similar cannabis referendums this session.
N.J. hires firm to track legal weed ‘from seed to sale.’ The commission voted 5-0 to approve a six-year, $390,000 contract with Metrc.
Also in New Jersey, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) denied the winners of the 2018 medical cannabis RFA lawsuit against the Department of Health (DOH) the licenses they expected. CRC Executive Director Jeff Brown said some applicants provided non-compliant information, too many pages, did not submit electronically, and some plans were far larger than the specified size. The CRC voted unanimously to deny the applicants, and three of these applicants then threatened further lawsuits during the public comment period.
California Senator Scott Wiener Says Bill To Legalize Psychedelics Possession Has ’50/50′ Chance To Pass This Year, while separate legislation from the lawmaker that would allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs has a hearing this week.
California officials announced on Wednesday that the state has awarded $100 million in funding to help develop local marijuana markets, in part by getting cannabis businesses fully licensed. The state Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) distributed the funds to 17 cities and counties where there are a disproportionate number of provisional marijuana licenses, rather than full-year licenses.
Illinois has generated almost $100 million more in tax revenue from adult-use marijuana sales than from alcohol in 2021, state data shows, cannabis tax dollars have exceeded those for liquor every month since February.
Monthly sales totals for all of 2021 published Monday by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation showed nearly $1.4 billion in cannabis products sold. That’s more than double the $669 million sold in 2020.
Also in Illinois, a cannabis company has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to let the state name the winners of new craft grower licenses, citing the mounting costs applicants are paying while judges decide lawsuits over the issue. Despite a state law requiring that 60 new craft licenses be issued December 21, 2021, Cook County Judge Neil Cohen and Sangamon County Judge Gail Noll ordered that those licenses be held up while the lawsuits grind through the legal process. A hearing in the case is set for March 10, but the proceedings could take months or years.
The legalization of adult-use marijuana in Colorado increased jobs and did not negatively impact worker productivity, according to a new study published recently in the IZA Journal of Labor Economics, based on eight years of data from the state. Researchers also found that unemployment fell in counties in which dispensaries opened, compared to counties in which dispensaries did not open.
Ohio regulators will hold a lottery for new medical cannabis dispensary licenses on January 27.
but meanwhile, Governor Mike DeWine (R) said legalizing marijuana would be a “mistake” that would lead to more traffic deaths and more children accidentally ingesting cannabis products. These claims have been thoroughly debunked numerous times.
In Virginia, Republicans are stripping out social equity in cannabis legislation. SB107 was filed on January 6 and is scheduled to be offered on January 12. What is notable about the legislation is that 30% of the tax revenue was originally carved out to go to the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Fund, but instead is being directed to the general fund. Some industry sources have said that legislators were calling the program, “give a felon a license.”
Indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico, are replacing corn crops with cannabis in anticipation of marijuana being legalized in the country. Ten communities formed the collective ‘Oaxaca Highlands,’ and are in the process of obtaining growing permits. They plan to use the plant to sell products containing CBD, dishes flavored with cannabis seed, and clothes and beer made with hemp. A Mexican Supreme Court decision last year eased the rules for receiving licenses to grow medicinal cannabis, which is legal.
The new coalition government of Germany is unveiling some initial details about its marijuana legalization plan, which calls for adults to be able to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed facilities. There must also be producers who are allowed to grow and sell it legally,” signaling that the coalition is developing a licensing structure for different aspects of the market. According to German news reports, legislative leaders are also looking into staffing policies for dispensaries. In order to sell marijuana for adult use, there could be some “required expertise of the sales staff”