Wildfires Continue to Ravage West Coast Cannabis Businesses, U.S. House Postpones Vote on the MORE Act: Week in Review

Wildfires Continue to Ravage West Coast Cannabis Businesses, U.S. House Postpones Vote on the MORE Act: Week in Review

West coast wildfires continue to threaten and destroy cannabis operations as growers work to save their businesses and homes.

September 19, 2020

This week, cannabis operators in Oregon and Washington continued to work to save their businesses and homes amid wildfires as the ongoing crisis stymies the industry. Elsewhere, the U.S. House postponed its floor vote on the MORE Act, scrapping plans for a vote sometime next week.

Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.

  • Federal: Plaintiffs in the Washington v. Barr case, which seeks to declare the federal law that criminalizes marijuana unconstitutional, have received impressive support in the form of several amicus briefs from cannabis industry organizations, researchers and current federal lawmakers. Eight industry organizations and seven members of Congress all wrote in support of Marvin Washington’s appeal to the Supreme Court. Read more
  • Wildfires on the west coast continue to threaten and destroy some cannabis businesses, forcing evacuations and causing growers to work to save their operations and homes as the ongoing crisis stymies the industry. This week, Cannabis Business Times checked in with Okanogan Gold and East Fork Cultivars to see how they were faring in the wake of the fires. Read more
  • Industry stakeholders by and large support the House Committee on Energy and Commerce passing on a voice vote a modified version of the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019. While there is no scheduled vote on the bill in the full House as of now, the fact that the bill made it out of committee on a bipartisan vote signals a political tide change for cannabis research. Read more
  • The cannabis industry has been awaiting a U.S. House vote on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, legislation that would federally decriminalize cannabis by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act, but the floor vote, which had been slated for the week of Sept. 21, has been indefinitely postponed by House Democratic leaders. The delay comes after some lawmakers indicated reluctance to take up the legislation before tackling a COVID-19 relief package, which they view as must-pass legislation. Read more
  • Vermont: The Vermont House has voted to approve S. 234, legislation that would automatically expunge low-level cannabis convictions involving the possession of two ounces or less. The measure, which the House advanced in a preliminary vote of 113-10, would also decriminalize the possession of between one and two ounces of cannabis. Read more
  • The Vermont House and Senate reached a deal this week on legislation to legalize cannabis sales and create a legal marketplace in the state. The bill, S.54, would allow dispensaries to open May 1, 2022, and would impose a 14% excise tax and a 6% sales tax on cannabis sales. Read more
  • Illinois: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced plans this week to “review questions” raised about its licensing process before setting a date for its cannabis dispensary license lottery. Regulators announced Sept. 3 that 21 social equity applicants would be included in a lottery to win the 75 licenses, with the lottery to be held later this month, but the licensing process has drawn criticism from those denied access to the lottery. Read more
  • Missouri: Counsel for Missouri House Democrats have alleged in a new memo that the agency responsible for regulating the state’s medical cannabis industry obstructed an investigation into the program. The memo alleges conflicts of interest and other issues with a consultant the state hired to score medical cannabis license applications, and also claims that Gov. Mike Parson’s office was able to influence the state’s medical cannabis program, particularly with how applications were scored. Read more
  • Oregon: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has approved permanent rules allowing licensed recreational marijuana retailers to continue curbside delivery transactions, and increased the marijuana flower purchase amount for OMMP cardholders and caregivers. The commission also approved ten marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements at its regular meeting. Read more
  • California: The state’s three cannabis licensing authorities—BCC, CDFA and CDPH—have announced the launch of a unified licensing search platform, the culmination of a collaboration between the California Department of Technology, the California Health and Human Services Agency Office of Innovation, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), and the licensing authorities. The unified license search tool allows the public to search for cannabis license information from all three licensing authorities by using one search tool. Read more