Lawmakers in Virginia, Pennsylvania Push for Cannabis Legalization, Arkansas Campaigns Run Out of Time to Qualify Adult-Use Initiatives for 2020 Ballot: Week in Review

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This week, Virginia Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy announced plans to carry an adult-use cannabis legalization bill into a special session of the legislature if the legislation wins approval from the Speaker of the House. Elsewhere, in Pennsylvania, Sen. Sharif Street sent a letter to the governor, urging him to consider adult-use legalization this year.

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

  • Texas: Austin Chief of Police Brian Manley has issued a memo indicating that the police department will no longer prosecute misdemeanor cannabis possession offenses unless there is an immediate safety threat, or it is part of a separate felony-level investigation. “At some point the state of Texas needs to step up and do their part and legalize it so it can be properly taxed and regulated, but for now, not having the police wasting their time on these personal marijuana cases … is the right policy and we’ve been fighting to achieve this for many years,” Austin Councilmember Greg Casar told KVUE.com. Read more
  • Missouri: The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has determined that a doctor’s credentials were stolen and used to fraudulently certify patients for the state’s medical cannabis program. The DHSS launched an investigation last month after roughly 600 patients submitted physician certification forms with unauthorized signatures. Read more
  • Virginia: Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy has announced plans to legalize cannabis in a special session of the legislature, if the legislation wins approval from the Speaker of the House. A cannabis decriminalization law took effect in Virginia on July 1, and Carroll Foy told WTOP, “If we can decriminalize, we can legalize.” Read more
  • Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has announced that it will begin enforcing more stringent laboratory testing rules in the state’s medical cannabis market. The OMMA indicated in April that it would require medical cannabis products sold by a processor or grower to be tested by a state-licensed laboratory, but the deadline was extended to July to ensure there are enough licensed labs to meet the demand. Read more
  • Pennsylvania: In an effort to ameliorate Pennsylvania’s economic contractions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, State Sen. Sharif Street issued a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf this week, urging for the consideration of adult-use cannabis legalization during this year’s budget negotiations. Co-signed by 14 Democratic senators, the letter advocated that new revenue from legalization is a preferable alternative to issuing broad-based taxes and spending cuts; and legalization will bring justice to those affected by cannabis-related offenses, which “disproportionally fall on our black and brown citizens,” the letter stated. Read more
  • Arkansas: Facing a shortage of funding and unforeseen circumstances stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, two groups that hoped to place adult-use cannabis legalization initiatives on Arkansas’ 2020 ballot have refocused their efforts on the 2022 election. Arkansans for Cannabis Reform and Arkansas True Grass had to gather nearly 90,000 signatures by July 3 to get their proposed constitutional amendments before voters this fall, but the feat proved too much once the coronavirus crisis descended on the U.S. this past spring. Read more
  • Illinois: The state’s cannabis sales reached over $47.6 million in June, which now holds the record for the highest sales figures in the state. Dispensaries sold 994,545 items last month with customers spending $48 on average per sale before tax. Read more
  • Ohio: The Ohio State Medical Board voted this week to add cachexia, or wasting syndrome, to the list of qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program, although it rejected adding autism and anxiety. The board’s decision follows recommendations from an Ohio State Medical Board committee, which recommended adding cachexia last month, while also rejecting autism and anxiety as new qualifying conditions. Read more
  • California: A group of cannabis dispensary applicants plan to drop their lawsuit over Los Angeles’ licensing process after the city agreed to process the next 100 applicants in line for licenses, which could double the number of permits issued during this licensing round. The Social Equity Owners and Workers Association and one of its members filed the lawsuit earlier this year to force Los Angeles cannabis regulators to vet all the dispensary applications it received last fall under its first-come, first-serve process, which has been marred by controversy. Read more
  • Canada: Aurora Cannabis announced this week that Miguel Martin, president of Aurora USA and head of Reliva LLC, has been appointed chief commercial officer of Aurora. Martin will replace Darren Karasiuk, who held the position at Aurora since February 2019. Read more

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