In this week’s issue:
- The pressure to pass the SAFE banking legislation is growing
- Connecticut becomes the youngest state to legalize cannabis for adult use
- California is providing funding to support the ailing cannabis industry amid licensing delays
- And more…
- Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Sherrod Brown (D-OH) asking him to implement their Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Improve Banking Act. The letter comes amid growing frustration with Brown, who said he did not seek to pass the legislation alone. Similar frustrations exist in the House of Representatives, where MPs like Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) are pushing for safe banking language in every moving vehicle. The House Financial Services Committee’s draft budget includes a SAFE language that must be renewed each year.
- Civil rights groups are pushing for changes to the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act that will ensure the market is fair, empower affected communities, and limit the ability of large companies to dominate the market. Passed by the House of Representatives last year, proponents are calling for the MORE Act to be voted on by the House of Representatives before the August recess.
CA – California state lawmakers approved a $ 100 million program to renew temporary licenses and provide grants to local governments to help troubled legal cannabis companies. More than 80 percent of provisional license holders have yet to move to regular licenses, in part because of what some consider to be onerous environmental compliance requirements.
CA – The State Personnel Board issued a “preliminary ruling” stating that a past positive test for cannabis use should not be used as a reason for firing most public employees. The board found that urine tests do not accurately reflect whether a worker is drunk at work. The decision does not apply to police or certain other professions in which employees are prohibited from using cannabis.
CT – This week Connecticut became the 19th state to legalize recreational cannabis. The law taxes retail sales of cannabis based on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, which is 0.625 cents per milligram for plants, 2.75 cents per milligram of edible products, and 0.9 cents per milligram for all other cannabis products. The new bill is expected to raise $ 4.1 million for the state and municipalities in fiscal 2022 and grow to $ 73.4 million by FY 2026. Local governments can hold a referendum on whether to allow cannabis sales and impose an additional local sales tax of 3 percent on top of the state’s existing 6.35 percent sales tax.
FL – The state Supreme Court has blocked a proposed constitutional amendment to allow recreational cannabis use in Florida on the 2022 ballot, saying the voting language is misleading. The decision effectively ends electoral initiative efforts, which should also be hampered by recent legislation capping $ 3,000 per individual contribution to groups sponsoring electoral initiatives during the signature-gathering phase.
HI – Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) celebrated the 21st anniversary of the state’s decriminalization of medical cannabis by declaring June 14th as “Medical Cannabis Day”.
MS – Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) says he supports calling state lawmakers back to the Capitol for a special session to discuss a medical cannabis bill if an agreement can be reached on the legislation before the session. Last month, the Mississippi Supreme Court rejected the state’s electoral initiative process, including a medicinal cannabis initiative approved by more than 70 percent of the state’s electorate. Governor Reeves is against the legalization of cannabis, including for medicinal purposes, but says he supports the will of those who voted for it to be legalized.
NJ – The New Jersey practice of “giving away” cannabis products to those who purchase other items will soon come to an end after the attorney general sent warning letters to companies using the practice to circumvent state laws. Although New Jersey approved recreational use earlier this year, licensing terms still need to be developed before licenses can be issued.
RI – The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve a measure to legalize recreational cannabis, setting the stage for a possible Senate vote later this year. The move is significant as no law to legalize cannabis has ever gotten beyond the committee’s deliberations. The revised bill reduces the number of cannabis stores a community could host and reserves a third of retail licenses for communities disproportionately affected by previous cannabis enforcement.
TX – Texas made modest reforms to its medical cannabis program, including adding cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that qualify patients for legal access to cannabis. The new law also doubles the permitted THC concentration from 0.5 percent to one percent.
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- New Frontier has published its “Cannabis in the US 2021 Mid-Year Market Update”. The Dentons-sponsored report finds that 42 percent of total annual U.S. cannabis demand will be met by legal purchases in regulated marketplaces by 2025, up from 24 percent in 2020; and 5.4 million Americans, or 2.4 percent of adults in the US, are enrolled as patients in medical cannabis states. The report also finds that 141 million Americans live in 18 adult states, making a diverse and widespread consumer base that retailers can segment and target; and that cannabis capital increases more than tripled to $ 6 billion in May 2021, signaling increased confidence in the predicted aggressive growth of the cannabis market.
- WM Holding Company, LLC, a leading technology and software infrastructure provider to the cannabis industry, announced on June 16 that it had completed its business combination with Silver Spike Acquisition Corp. has completed. In connection with the closing, SSPK changed its name to WM Technology, Inc.
- Cronos Group Inc. and PharmaCann Inc. announced that they have entered into an agreement under which a wholly owned subsidiary of Cronos Group has acquired an option to acquire approximately 10.5 percent of the shares in PharmaCann, one of the largest vertically integrated companies Cannabis company in the world US.
- A new multi-center longitudinal study of the non-acute effects of cannabis on neurocognition in adolescents shows that decision-making is not compromised when (i) cannabis is used in moderation and (ii) after age 15.
- A report by JAMA Psychiatry used MRI scans of adolescent brains, ages 14 and 18, to determine the effects of cannabis use in adolescents – brain maturation.
- One study shows that medicinal cannabis improves insomnia symptoms and the quality of sleep in people with chronic insomnia symptoms.