Louisiana Governor Signs Medical Cannabis Expansion into Law, New Jersey Assembly Approves Decriminalization Bill: Week in Review
This week, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that allows doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any condition, thus drastically expanding patient access in the state. Elsewhere, in New Jersey, the Assembly passed a cannabis decriminalization bill, sending it to the Senate, where lawmakers have introduced their own decriminalization measure.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: Charlotte’s Web has completed its acquisition of Abacus Health Products, a producer of over-the-counter topical products that combine active pharmaceutical ingredients with hemp extract. The deal gives Charlotte’s Web distribution through more than 21,000 retailers. Read more
- Arkansas: The state’s medical cannabis sales are nearing $100 million since the market opened in May 2019. The Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration reported that the state’s 22 dispensaries have sold 14,714 pounds of product, totaling just over $92 million in sales. Read more
- Louisiana: Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a medical cannabis expansion bill into law that allows doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients with any condition. With Bel Edwards’ signature, the new law takes effect Aug. 1. Read more
- Missouri: St. Louis-based BeLeaf Medical LLC has opened its first cultivation center—and the first medical cannabis cultivation facility in Missouri—in Earth City. BeLeaf holds 10 medical cannabis business licenses in the state, including three for cultivation, two for manufacturing and five for retail, and the company’s first cultivation facility will operate under the Sinse brand name. Read more
- Michigan: The state’s weekly adult-use cannabis sales have surpassed the state’s medical sales for the first time. Adult-use and medical sales have been on an upward climb since Michigan launched its recreational market in December; weekly adult-use sales are up more than 800%, while weekly medical sales have nearly doubled. Read more
- North Dakota: Legalize ND, a campaign that originally hoped to qualify an adult-use cannabis legalization initiative for North Dakota’s 2020 ballot, has refocused its efforts on 2022. With only about 5,500 of the required 13,500 valid signatures in hand and the coronavirus crisis putting pressure on the campaign’s efforts, the group is now petitioning until December to qualify its measure for the 2022 ballot. Read more
- Nevada: In a unanimous vote this week, the Nevada State Board of Pardons Commissioners approved an amended resolution put forth by Gov. Steve Sisolak to pardon low-level cannabis convictions in the state. The resolution pardons those previously convicted of the possession of one ounce or less of cannabis, and the Secretary of the Board of Pardons has been charged with creating an expedited process for those seeking pardons. Read more
- Maine: After reaching a settlement with Maine last month in a dispute over a residency requirement included in the state’s cannabis law, cannabis operator Wellness Connection of Maine has filed a new lawsuit against Portland, which has included in its cannabis ordinance a residency bonus for license applicants who have lived in Maine for at least four years. Wellness Connection, which operates dispensaries in Portland, Brewer, South Portland and Gardiner, along with its Delaware-based investor, High Street Capital Partners, filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court June 15, alleging that Portland’s cannabis ordinance is “unconstitutional” and “discriminatory” to non-local businesses. Read more
- New Jersey: The New Jersey Assembly passed a cannabis decriminalization bill this week that would reduce the penalty for the possession, manufacture and distribution of up to two ounces of cannabis to a $50 civil fine. Lawmakers in the Senate have introduced a broader decriminalization measure, S.B. 2535, which would reduce the penalty for cannabis possession of up to one pound to a written warning and a $25 fine for subsequent offenses. Read more
- Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Supreme court ruled this week that Lebanon County cannot prohibit parolees from using medical cannabis. The county had instituted a policy that barred patients enrolled in Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program from using cannabis while on probation, arguing that cannabis remains illegal under federal law, but the court ultimately ruled that parolees with valid medical cannabis cards cannot be punished, as they are immune under the state’s medical marijuana law. Read more
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