This week, Virginia and Missouri launched medical cannabis sales as the states’ first dispensaries opened their doors to patients. Elsewhere, in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plans surfaced to include adult-use cannabis legalization in the state’s 2021-2022 budget, as well as to issue new CBD rules.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: Several organizations have filed amicus briefs in support of Dr. Sue Sisley, who is petitioning the Ninth Circuit to rule that the DEA’s five-part test to assess if a drug has medical use and can be rescheduled is arbitrary and capricious. The briefs urge the court to grant Sisley’s Petition for Review, which would allow researchers to study the effects of cannabis as a treatment for PTSD. Read more
- Texas: According to an economic analysis released this week by Vicente Sederberg LLP, Texas could collect more than half a billion dollars per year in new tax revenue and create upwards of 40,000 new jobs if it legalizes and regulates cannabis for adult use. The state could also save millions of taxpayer dollars per year in criminal justice costs, according to the report. Read more
- Virginia: Dharma Pharmaceuticals’ first day of sales marked the opening of Virginia’s medical cannabis market on Oct. 17. “It was overwhelming,” Dharma Pharmaceuticals COO Jack Page told Cannabis Dispensary this week. “And, honestly, it was just truly emotional. We’ve been working seven days a week for two and a half years to get this thing up and running, and to finally actually see patients and see our hard work and money that we invested was pretty amazing.” Read more
- Massachusetts: A bipartisan group of Massachusetts lawmakers have voiced opposition to the Cannabis Control Commission’s (CCC) cannabis delivery regulations, drafting a letter to regulators indicating that they believe the proposed wholesale delivery license type “was not contemplated, nor supported, by the enabling legislation.” The draft regulations, which were established last month, proposed the creation of two types of delivery licenses—a limited delivery license, which would allow a licensee to charge a fee to deliver from licensed cannabis dispensaries, and the wholesale delivery license, which would allow a licensee to buy cannabis wholesale from licensed cultivators and manufacturers, store it in a warehouse and sell it to consumers. Read more
- The CCC then approved policy changes to its proposed adult-use cannabis delivery regulations this week, following a public comment period that closed Oct. 15. The rules now establish Marijuana Courier and Marijuana Delivery Operator license types, and regulators put in place operations restrictions, modified caps on ownership and control, and limits to financial relationships with third-party technology platform providers in order to prevent entities from dominating this emerging delivery market segment. Read more
- California: Two cannabis trade organizations, Southern California Coalition and the California Cannabis Couriers Association, as well as Zachary Pitts, CEO of delivery service Ganja Goddess, filed a lawsuit this week against Los Angeles over the city’s delivery licenses. The complaint says restrictions on the licenses have barred the plaintiffs from participating in the market until 2025, and the plaintiffs are asking a judge to overturn rules approved earlier this year that gave only social equity applicants initial access to the delivery licenses. Read more
- New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo is renewing his push for cannabis legalization in 2021, and also plans to issue new CBD rules in the state. The news was revealed during a recent interview between Axel Bernabe, one of Cuomo’s top advisers on cannabis, and David Culver, an executive with Canopy Growth. Read more
- Missouri: Medical cannabis sales have launched in Missouri, as the state’s two operational cannabis retailers, N’Bliss and Fresh Green, opened their doors to patients this week. N’Bliss, a subsidiary of Nirvana Investments, opened its first two stores in Manchester and Ellisville on Oct. 17, while Fresh Green opened for business in Lee’s Summit on Oct. 19. Read more
- Shortly after the market opened, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services conducted an investigation of a complaint that medical cannabis sold in the state contained mold growth. Retesting of the product confirmed that the batch falls within acceptable limits for relevant tests, including microbial screening, and presents no health or safety concerns. Read more
- Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania House approved an amendment to the state’s DUI law Oct. 21 that would decriminalize trace amounts of medical cannabis in a driver’s system. The state’s current DUI laws criminalize driving while THC is in a driver’s system, even if it has been weeks since ingestion, and even if a driver is a registered medical cannabis patient. Read more