This week, legislation was filed in Illinois that could launch an adult-use cannabis market by Jan. 1, 2020, with a focus on expungement and social equity. Elsewhere, in Oregon, the Open Cannabis Project dissolved May 6 in response to intense backlash against its former business partner Phylos Bioscience, which has announced its intent to launch a breeding program to create new, better strains of cannabis and hemp.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Florida: A plan to limit medical marijuana’s potency did not come to fruition as the 2019 legislature moved to conclusion. Earlier in the legislative session, the Florida House advanced a bill to limit the level of THC to no more than 10 percent in whole-flower products, but the bill stalled. Read more
- The Florida House and Senate approved a bill aimed at creating an industrial hemp industry in the state post-Farm Bill. The legislation now goes to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Read more
- Texas: The Texas House on Monday advanced a bill that would expand the list of debilitating conditions that allow Texans to legally use medical cannabis. The bill would also increase from three to 12 the number of dispensaries the Texas Department of Public Safety can authorize to begin growing and distributing the product, and authorizes the implementation of cannabis testing facilities to analyze the content, safety and potency of medical cannabis. Read more
- Oregon: The Open Cannabis Project, an Oregon nonprofit that aimed to protect the cannabis genome from patent trolls, dissolved May 6 in response to intense backlash against its former business partner Phylos Bioscience. Last month, Phylos Bioscience announced its intent to launch a breeding program to create new, better strains of cannabis and hemp, and many farmers balked at the news because they had given the company genomic data with the understanding that it would not be used to enhance a breeding program. Read more
- Louisiana: Frustration over Louisiana’s long-delayed medical marijuana program bubbled up at the State Capitol Tuesday, with lawmakers on a House panel advancing a proposal to strip the state’s agriculture department of its regulatory power over the program following a probe of who’s to blame for lengthy delays. A debate has played out for months between GB Sciences, LSU’s growing partner, and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture, which is tasked with regulating medical cannabis, over which side is at fault for the repeated delays. Read more
- California: When California voters broadly legalized marijuana, they were promised that a vast computer platform would closely monitor products moving through the new market, but 16 months after sales kicked in, the track-and-trace system isn't doing much of either. As of last month, just nine retail outlets were entering data into the network established under an estimated $60-million state contract, even though 627 shops are licensed to sell cannabis in California. Read more
- Illinois: Illinois lawmakers officially filed legislation May 6 to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis, and the bill outlines a set of robust expungement and social equity provisions. Lawmakers hope to get the bill through the legislature by the end of May, with the legal adult-use sales beginning Jan. 1, 2020. Read more
- North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum has signed a bill into law making North Dakota the 25th state in the nation to eliminate the threat of jail time for possession of small amounts of marijuana. HB 1050 reclassifies possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana by adults 21 and older as an infraction punishable by no jail time and a maximum fine of $1,000. Read more
- Alabama: The Alabama Senate on Wednesday began a historic debate on medical marijuana but adjourned before taking a vote on a bill authorizing it in the state. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Tim Melson (R-Florence) would allow the use of medical marijuana for certain conditions if other treatments prove ineffective. Read more
- Canada: According to new Health Canada rules, new applicants for cannabis business licenses in must now have a “fully built site” to show regulatory officials before submitting an application. The change comes in response to recent trends, as Health Canada reports that “more than 70 percent of applicants who successfully passed Health Canada’s initial paper-based review of their application over the past three years have not yet submitted their evidence package to demonstrate to the Department that they have a built facility that meets the regulatory requirements.” Read more