This week, a proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis was stripped from the New York state budget after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there was “too little time” to fine-tune the plan ahead of an April 1 deadline to approve the sprawling budget. Elsewhere, in Mexico, Senators have asked the Supreme Court to extend an April 30 deadline for lawmakers to draft a cannabis legalization bill.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has released a request for information, inviting comments from “the scientific community and other interested parties,” to help establish a standard dose for THC to improve cannabis research. Responses to this request for information must be submitted electronically and received by May 1, 2020. Read more
- Ohio: As part of its coronavirus response, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program has issued new guidance to help patients maintain access to medical cannabis. Medical cannabis dispensaries are considered essential and can remain open under the state’s stay at home order, but the Board of Pharmacy has announced temporary guidelines to help keep patients and dispensary employees safe during the pandemic. Read more
- Massachusetts: The Cannabis Control Commission has indicated that the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries will be able to provide curbside pickup to patients and caregivers during the coronavirus outbreak. Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker deemed medical cannabis businesses essential, allowing them to remain open as the state responds to the pandemic, but as of March 28, retailers must conduct sales electronically or over the phone and dispense medical cannabis products either in the facility’s parking lot or at the entrance of the dispensary. Read more
- Illinois: Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed an executive order that extends the deadline for cannabis infuser, craft grower and transporter license applications from March 30 to April 30. All applications must now be submitted by certified mail by April 30, and licenses will ultimately be awarded by July 1. Read more
- Missouri: Missourians for a New Approach is up against a May deadline to collect enough signatures for a petition to place an adult-use cannabis legalization initiative on Missouri’s November ballot, but the coronavirus pandemic could very easily spell doom for these efforts. Missouri law does not allow for the electronic collection of signatures, but Missourians for a New Approach is currently assessing other options to keep the campaign afloat. Read more
- Minnesota: Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order March 31 that extends medical cannabis enrollments for patients to limit the spread of COVID-19. Patient enrollments are extended until Aug. 1 or 60 days after Minnesota’s peacetime emergency ends, whichever is later. Read more
- California: An audit of Los Angeles’ cannabis licensing process has determined that the city took “reasonable and appropriate” steps to ensure fairness. A city official is now recommending that the city’s Department of Cannabis Regulation move forward with awarding final licenses to cannabis retailers, who have been waiting since the licensing process was suspended last year. Read more
- New York: A proposal to legalize adult-use cannabis was stripped from the New York state budget after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there was “too little time” to fine-tune the plan ahead of an April 1 deadline to approve the sprawling budget. As in many other areas of the country, the COVID-19 crisis has stolen the spotlight in New York, and Cuomo has been placing his attention on the virus since the state’s first confirmed case was reported March 1. Read more
- Oklahoma: Rep. Scott Fetgatter has announced plans to begin work on an adult-use cannabis legalization bill, saying a taxed and regulated market would provide a new source of revenue for the state in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Several groups are competing to bring adult-use cannabis legalization initiatives to Oklahoma’s November 2020 ballot in the form of SQ 807, SQ 808 and SQ 811, but Fetgatter has indicated that the petitions will likely be unsuccessful, especially in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Read more
- International: Senators in Mexico have asked the Supreme Court to extend an April 30 deadline for lawmakers to draft a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis for medical, adult and industrial uses. Both the Senate and the Supreme Court have suspended many legislative procedures until at least mid-April due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and many lawmakers have indicated that this will cause them to miss deadlines to pass certain bills, including the cannabis legislation, which has been stalled since three Senate committees approved the bill last month. Read more