This week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he will propose legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis when the state’s General Assembly reconvenes in January. Elsewhere, in Mexico, the Senate passed a cannabis legalization bill, sending it to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, for consideration.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- California: The Bureau of Cannabis Control has awarded $29,950,494 in public university research grant funding to universities across California. Research proposals had to fall within one of the several specified categories, including public health, criminal justice and public safety, economic, environmental impacts, and the cannabis industry. Read more
- A California judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to overturn a rule that allows cannabis companies to deliver statewide, even into municipalities that have banned cannabis sales. Although the state has allowed licensed cannabis deliveries in “any jurisdiction” within California, the group of local governments behind the lawsuit argued that the state did not have the authority to regulate cannabis sales within their jurisdictions. Read more
- Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam has announced plans to introduce an adult-use cannabis legalization bill when the General Assembly reconvenes in January. Northam’s most recent push for policy reform is in response to a Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission study on the potential impacts of legalization in the state. Read more
- New Jersey: A cannabis decriminalization bill has stalled in the New Jersey Assembly after the Senate added an amendment that would lessen the penalty for the possession of up to one ounce of psilocybin, or psychedelic mushrooms. The Senate approved the measure Nov. 16 in a 29-4 vote, but the Assembly canceled a vote on the bill due to the added provision that would make possessing up to one ounce of psilocybin a disorderly person offense punishable by a six-month jail sentence. Read more
- New Jersey lawmakers also passed two different versions of an adult-use cannabis bill out of Assembly and Senate committees this week, and must now agree on a unified proposal before the legislation can receive floor votes. The Assembly Appropriations and Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees both approved the bill Nov. 19 in 8-4 votes, but the legislation that advanced in the Senate excluded a provision that passed in the Assembly that would limit the number of licenses for adult-use cultivators in the early years of the industry. Read more
- Arkansas: Harvest Health & Recreation Inc., a vertically integrated cannabis company and multi-state operator in the U.S., has completed the divestiture of its dispensary and cultivation assets in Arkansas. Natural State Wellness Dispensary, LLC and Natural State Wellness Enterprises, LLC, which own and operate a medical dispensary and cultivation facility, were sold on Nov. 13. Read more
- Utah: New legislation sponsored by Rep. Ray Ward (R-Bountiful) and Senate Majority Leader Evan Vickers, would allow more doctors to recommend medical cannabis by authorizing physicians to recommend cannabis for up to 15 patients, or up to 275 patients if a doctor receives specialized training through the state. The bill would also allow doctors to refer patients to the state’s medical cannabis pharmacies, where pharmacists can make specific product recommendations. Read more
- An audit of the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) under the leadership of former commissioner Kerry Gibson has found issues with the state’s medical cannabis cultivation licensing process. The audit offers numerous recommendations, including that the UDAF reassess the eight cannabis cultivation licenses that were issued last year. Read more
- Rhode Island: Lawmakers are considering a cannabis legalization proposal that was put forth by Gov. Gina Raimondo in January in an effort to combat the state’s budget deficit. When Raimondo included the cannabis legalization proposal in her state budget plan earlier this year, Senate leadership opposed the plan, but during the Senate Democratic caucus earlier this month, lawmakers seemed more receptive to legalization to counteract the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more
- International: The Mexico Senate approved a cannabis legalization bill this week, sending it to the lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, which must now pass the legislation by a Dec. 15 deadline. The legislation would legalize the possession of up to 28 grams of cannabis and allow licensed businesses to sell it, while adults would be authorized to grow up to six plants at home. Read more