Latest Cannabis News: December 22, 2020

Stay up to date with the latest legalization and cannabis news with the CB Advisors. Every week, we will release a snippet of what’s happening with each state in the cannabis industry. Did you miss last week? No worries – click here for last week’s cannabis news.

Medical:

Arkansas: Medical marijuana sales in Arkansas have topped $200 million since the state’s first legal sale of the drug in May 2019, the state revenue agency said Thursday. The sales report the Department of Finance and Administration released Thursday reported $200.7 million in sales on 30,648 pounds sold through Wednesday. Daily sales averaged $622,727 during the 22-day reporting period that ended Wednesday, beating the $562,500 reported during the 16-day reporting period that ended Nov. 24.
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Georgia: Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) says the fate of federal marijuana legalization rests on the shoulders of Georgia voters who next month will decide which party controls the Senate in two runoff elections. And if Democrats win both races, cannabis reform will advance under President-elect Joe Biden despite his opposition to legalization, he said.
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Missouri: Missouri’s fledgling medical marijuana program survived a court challenge Monday. Acting on a lawsuit brought by a company that failed to win one of the licenses offered by the state to grow pot, Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce said the rules limiting how many companies can grow and sell the product are appropriate and will protect patient safety.
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New Jersey: A coalition of civil rights and drug policy reform groups is calling on the governor of New Jersey to systematically issue pardons for people with marijuana convictions to supplement the state’s voter-approved move to legalize cannabis. While lawmakers sent the governor legislation last week that would provide opportunities to have marijuana-related records expunged, the organizations—including ACLU of New Jersey and NAACP New Jersey State Conference—say it does not go far enough to right the wrongs of cannabis criminalization.
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New York: The debate over legalizing marijuana for adult, recreational use in New York has been brewing for the last two years after Democrats took control of the state Legislature, but disagreements on the issue coupled with a global pandemic have kept it out of reach for lawmakers. That could change next year as the Legislature returns to Albany, but Democrats still remain divided on certain aspects of the issue that are likely to complicate negotiations.
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Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s Medical Marijuana Authority issued 2,392 new permits through November 2020, outpacing California by 88 licenses. Michigan didn’t come close to Oklahoma and California numbers, but the Midwest state’s 333 new licenses was a 38% increase in total active licenses there and placed it sixth in a very top-heavy list for total active cultivation licenses.
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Rhode Island: Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D) said in an interview on Monday with The Providence Journal that he is taking the first steps to formulate a legalization plan by tasking Majority Leader Michael McCaffrey (D) and Sen. Joshua Miller (D) with working out the details for a marijuana bill for the 2021 legislative session, which begins next month.
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Virginia: The governor of Virginia on Wednesday unveiled a budget proposal that “lays the groundwork to legalize marijuana” by including millions of dollars to support efforts to expunge cannabis convictions as well as steps to set up the state to eventually implement a system of commercial sales. Gov. Ralph Northam (D) had campaigned on merely decriminalizing possession, but he publicly backed broader legalization of marijuana for adult use last month, just as a legislative commission issued recommendations on how to most effectively enact such a system. Now he’s making clear his intent to get a legalization bill passed in 2021 with his fiscal proposal.
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Recreational:

Colorado: The Aurora City Council approved a proposal to allow marijuana delivery in the city on a 7-3 vote Monday night. The proposal now heads to Mayor Mike Coffman for final approval. The program will include a grant program and 36-month exclusivity period for transporters that qualify as social equity licensees under the State’s definitions.
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Illinois: A second marijuana dispensary, Zen Leaf, opened in Naperville Saturday morning. The first adult-use-only dispensary is located at Ogden Avenue and Naper Boulevard. “I didn’t expect it to look like this. It looks fantastic,” said John D, Naperville resident. “I think the money’s going to go back to the community. I think it’s a great idea.”
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Maine: Wellness Connection of Maine and its parent company, High Street Capital Partners of Delaware, filed papers in U.S. District Court in Maine last week to overturn the state’s requirement that medical marijuana dispensaries be owned by Mainers. It is seeking an injunction to prohibit the state from enforcing that part of the law until the dispute is settled in court.
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Nevada: Three Nevada marijuana companies that were facing possible revocation will keep their licenses after agreeing to settlements with state regulators. The Cannabis Compliance Board approved the settlements during a meeting Friday. Gravitas Nevada Ltd. of Las Vegas, which holds licenses for medical and recreational marijuana production, was facing revocation of those licenses, a $52,500 fine, and a nearly 10-year industry ban following incidents that date to spring 2018 that included employees taking cannabis product home and reporting it as destroyed. That product, the board’s complaint said, ended up in the hands of a minor, who took it to school.
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Vermont: Vermont Gov. Phil Scott is calling for applicants for appointment to a new three-member Cannabis Control Board. The board was created to establish, administer and regulate a cannabis regulatory system for commercial growers, wholesalers, product manufacturers, testing labs, and retailers, as well a safely, equitably, and effectively implementing and administering the laws and rules that regulate adult-use cannabis in the state.
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Washington: Washington State lawmakers next month will yet again weigh whether to allow residents to grow marijuana at home, extending a debate in the legislature that’s stretched on for years. A bipartisan bill introduced late last week would let adults 21 and older grow up to six cannabis plants and keep any marijuana produced by those plants. It’s a policy that resembles similar provisions in neighboring Oregon, as well as those in Colorado, California and nearly every other state that has legalized marijuana.
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