This week, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, a Seattle-area law firm, filed a civil complaint to obtain U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) records concerning the agency’s policy of denying foreign citizens entry to the U.S. due to any involvement with the cannabis industry. Elsewhere, in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy and top state lawmakers have resolved the last major sticking point in their year-long talks on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey, setting up the possibility of a vote on the plan on March 25.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: After months of radio silence from CBP, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, a Seattle-area law firm, has filed a civil complaint to obtain agency records concerning CBP’s policy of denying foreign citizens entry to the U.S. due to any involvement with the cannabis industry. In some publicized cases, Canadian citizens have been given lifetime bans from entering the U.S. for their work with cannabis, and CBP has yet to explain how it derives the authority to enact this policy. Read more
- Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc., a vertically integrated cannabis company with one of the largest footprints in the U.S., has announced that it has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Verano Holdings, LLC, an arm’s length third party and one of the largest privately held, multi-state, vertically integrated licensed operators of cannabis facilities, in an all-stock transaction for an estimated purchase price of approximately $850 million. The combined company will be one of the largest multi-state operators in the U.S., as measured by licenses held and facilities permitted. Read more
- West Virginia: A bill to encourage medical marijuana businesses to set up shop in West Virginia has passed the House of Delegates and state Senate, and now awaits the governor’s signature. House Bill 2079, sponsored by Del. Mike Pushkin (D-Kanawha) removes a provision from the 2017 law that states a marijuana grower or processor may not also be a marijuana dispensary, allowing medical cannabis businesses to be vertically intergrated. Read more
- Ohio: The state Commerce Department has awarded Ohio’s first certificate of operation to a medical marijuana processor, allowing for the conversion of cannabis into edibles, tinctures, creams and other products. Muskingum County’s Grow Ohio received the first certificate, and Commerce Department Spokeswoman Kerry Francis says 37 other processors awarded provisional licenses are working on receiving their certificates of operation, as well. Read more
- New Mexico: A proposal to legalize the sale and consumption of recreational marijuana through state-run stores in New Mexico is advancing in the state legislature. A Senate panel endorsed the House-approved bill that would allow possession of up to one ounce (28 grams) of marijuana for recreational use by people 21 and over, while applying taxes of up to 17 percent on sales. Read more
- New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy and top state lawmakers have resolved the last major sticking point in their year-long talks on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey, setting up the possibility of an historic vote on the plan in less than two weeks. After reaching a final deal on the bill late Monday, Murphy and his fellow Democrats, who lead the state legislature, will now try to whip up the votes they need from lawmakers to pass the measure, and the goal is for a vote to happen in both houses of the state legislature on March 25. Read more
- Minnesota: A Minnesota Senate committee rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana on Monday, even rejecting a move by supporters of the bill that tried to change it to create a task force to study the issue. The Senate bill would have set up a regulatory system for the cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail sale of recreational marijuana in Minnesota beginning in 2022. Read more
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma's booming new medical marijuana industry will have some new state regulations to follow under a bill that is now headed to the governor’s desk. The Oklahoma Senate voted 43-5 on Monday for the measure known as the “unity bill” because it's supported by various factions of the cannabis industry. Read more
- Florida: The Florida Legislature met Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' deadline to hand him a bill to repeal the state's ban on smokable medical marijuana when the House passed the legislation Wednesday. While lawmakers aren't necessarily in favor of allowing medical marijuana to be smoked, they faced the prospects of having it become legal without any restrictions. Read more
- Alaska: Alaska is now the first in the country with statewide rules allowing onsite use of marijuana at specially authorized stores. On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer signed the regulations that were approved by marijuana regulators in December, and the rules go into effect April 11, when interested retail businesses can start applying for onsite use. Read more