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Cannabis News Roundup: 1/1/24 - 1/14/24

The new year is already off to an exciting start with several updates in the world of marijuana legalization. Kentucky’s HB 72 aims to legalize marijuana for adults without allowing commercial sales. Florida is considering a bill to limit THC levels in marijuana products, indicating caution towards legalization. Wisconsin proposes state-run medical marijuana dispensaries, focusing on medical needs. South Carolina is working on a bill for medical cannabis for severe illnesses.

Kentucky’s Progressive Marijuana Bill: Legalization without Commercial Sales

On January 2nd, Kentucky made a significant move in advancing towards a more liberal marijuana policy. A new bill, HB 72, introduced by Rep. Nima Kulkarni (D), proposes to legalize the use, possession, and home cultivation of recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and over. This groundbreaking legislation, however, stops short of legalizing commercial sales. It aims to end all penalties, including arrest, for simple possession and use of marijuana. Adults would be allowed to grow a small number of cannabis plants at home for personal use, aligning with the state’s efforts to implement a medical cannabis policy. The bill also includes provisions for expungement of criminal charges or convictions for activities that would be legalized under this new law. This move reflects a growing trend in states across the U.S. to reconsider their stance on marijuana, balancing legal access with regulatory measures. For further information about Kentucky’s current marijuana program, you can read our guide.

Florida’s THC Limitation Bill: A Preemptive Strike Against Legalization

On January 5th, Florida GOP lawmaker Rep. Ralph Massullo took a proactive move and introduced a bill to cap THC levels in marijuana products at 10% in the event of a voter-approved marijuana legalization ballot measure. This proposed cap is significantly lower than the average THC content in most state markets and Florida’s existing medical cannabis market. The bill, HB 1269, is set to take effect 30 days after any future constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana, would limit THC to 10% for smokable products and 60% for other forms like extracts, with edibles capped at 200 milligrams of THC. This initiative could lead to logistical and commercial challenges, creating a disparity between THC rules for medical patients and recreational consumers. The bill’s introduction ahead of the potential legalization vote reflects the complexities and preemptive strategies in the evolving landscape of cannabis legislation in the U.S. You may learn more about the current cannabis program in Florida by reading our blog article on the topic here.

Wisconsin’s Cautious Entry into Medical Marijuana Market

On January 8th, Wisconsin unveiled its measured approach to medical marijuana, signaling a shift in the state’s stance on cannabis. Following the announcement of a Republican-led proposal, the state is poised to open five state-run dispensaries, catering exclusively to medical cannabis users. In just a few months since the proposal, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has reported a steady increase in patient registrations, with numbers expected to grow as the program gains momentum. This growth encompasses a rise in demand for medical cannabis products, including oils, edibles, and pills, leading to a notable uptick in business for the sector. The initiative, which mirrors Minnesota’s medical cannabis model, is also set to enhance the state’s economy, with early tax collections showing promising returns. Wisconsin is further expanding its reach by introducing new licenses, with a focus on ensuring equitable access and supporting communities historically impacted by stringent drug laws. This move underscores Wisconsin’s commitment to a balanced and socially responsible cannabis market. For a comprehensive understanding of Wisconsin’s cannabis program, please refer to this detailed guide.

South Carolina’s Renewed Push for Medical Marijuana Legislation

On January 8th, South Carolina saw a renewed effort in its legislative approach to medical marijuana. Led by Senate Medical Affairs Chairman Danny Verdin, the latest bill aims to legalize and regulate the prescription of cannabis for treating various severe diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD, and autism. This initiative, however, faces challenges in the Senate. Verdin, a strong advocate for the bill, expressed his commitment to establishing a medicinal cannabis program for the health and well-being of South Carolinians. Despite previous setbacks, including objections from some Republican senators and law enforcement officials, the bill’s proponents are pushing for a vote early in the legislative session. The bill, led by Sen. Tom Davis (R), is described as “very conservative,” prohibiting smoking and limiting cannabis use to edibles and vapes. It also includes strict regulations for growers, pharmacies, and patients. The Senate has passed the bill once before, but it faced technical rejection in the House. This time, with a nearly identical bill minus the tax component, there is renewed hope for its passage, reflecting South Carolina’s evolving perspective on medical marijuana amidst broader national trends. For a comprehensive understanding of South Carolina’s cannabis program, please refer to this detailed guide

Keep an eye out for our email updates and we’ll be sure to let you know about any changes as they occur. Cannaspire can assist you in determining your next steps, obtaining a license, complying with regulations, and other relevant cannabis business services. Please visit this page for further details.

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