This week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled an adult-use cannabis legalization proposal that would allow sales to start Jan. 1, 2023. Elsewhere, in Mexico, the health ministry published rules to regulate the country’s forthcoming medical cannabis market.
Here, we’ve rounded up the top 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Montana: State lawmakers have rejected the Montana Department of Revenue’s request to fund the state’s adult-use cannabis program. The department asked the House Appropriations Committee for $1.35 million to pay for the employees, office equipment and operating expenses needed to launch the program, but Rep. Bill Mercer declined the request, calling it a “huge tranche of money.” Read more
- California: Gov. Gavin Newsom’s fiscal year 2021-2022 budget proposal released Jan. 8 includes a proposal to consolidate the three state licensing authorities into a single Department of Cannabis Control, a proposal that was first introduced in January 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If approved by the legislature, the new department will be created on July 1, 2021. Read more
- North Dakota: After a failed attempt to place an adult-use cannabis legalization measure on North Dakota’s 2020 ballot, Legalize ND is again working to get the issue in front of North Dakota’s voters, filing a petition with the Secretary of State’s office Jan. 11. If the petition is approved, Legalize ND will have one year to collect a minimum of 26,904 signatures to qualify its initiative for the 2022 ballot. Read more
- Florida: Multistate operator Cresco Labs announced this week that it will expand into Florida’s medical cannabis market through the acquisition of Bluma Wellness, a vertically integrated cannabis operator in the state. The transaction means that Cresco will now have operations in all seven cannabis markets that fall within the top 10 most populated states in the U.S. Read more
- Indiana: Sen. Karen Tallian has introduced two pieces of legislation that would legalize and regulate medical and adult-use cannabis, as well as hemp, in the state. S.B. 87 would create a Cannabis Compliance Commission to regulate cannabis and hemp in the state, while S.B. 223 would decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis. Read more
- Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam proposed an adult-use cannabis legalization bill this week that would allow sales to launch Jan. 1, 2023. The legislation also includes expungement provisions and outlines “diverse participation” plans, which include a licensing process meant to support those identified as social equity applicants, as well as low- or no-interest loans and waived or reduced application and licensing fees for qualified applicants. Read more
- Illinois: The Illinois Senate approved legislation this week aimed at improving social equity in the state’s cannabis licensing process. The bill would establish two systems for the state’s lottery for dispensary licenses—tiered and qualified—in order to issue 75 retail licenses that have been held up in legal disputes since regulators announced in September that only 21 social equity applicants would be included in the lottery. The legislation also creates a separate lottery for 75 new dispensary licenses. Read more
- New Mexico: Nicole Sena, a medical cannabis caregiver to her young daughter with a rare form of epilepsy, and Ultra Health, a medical cannabis operator in the state, have reopened their lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to challenge the state’s plant count limit. The original lawsuit, filed in August 2016, contended the plant cap regulation promulgated by NMDOH was not in accordance with the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, the enabling legislation for New Mexico’s Medical Cannabis Program. Read more
- Kansas: Lawmakers introduced a medical cannabis legalization bill this week with the backing of the Kansas Cannabis Industry Association. The bill’s supporters say that a regulated medical cannabis market may help boost the state’s economy, and they are confident the legislation has the support it needs in the legislature if it is called up for a vote. Read more
- International: Mexico’s health ministry published rules Jan. 12 to regulate the country’s forthcoming medical cannabis market. The move will allow pharmaceutical companies to start conducting medical research on cannabis products, and is part of broader policy reform efforts to regulate medical and adult-use cannabis in Mexico. Read more