Several states in the U.S. are making significant strides in their cannabis programs. In an overview of recent developments, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission is set to issue licenses by year-end after facing legal challenges. Maryland released instructions for new cannabis business license applications. A survey indicates majority support for recreational marijuana legalization in Ohio, and Michigan now permits state-licensed cannabis businesses to trade with tribal entities. There are also updates in New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Georgia. Here’s what you need to know:
Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission to Grant Cultivation and Distribution Licenses by End of 2023
On October 12th, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission gave the green light to a proposal that aims to grant licenses to medical marijuana cultivators and distributors by the end of 2023. This decision came after multiple lawsuits challenged the initial rollout of the state’s medical cannabis program. The AMCC had previously issued licenses in June 2023, but due to errors in the application process, they were put on hold and later rescinded. New licenses were issued in August, but they faced legal challenges from unsuccessful applicants. To address these issues, the commission has adopted an emergency rule to approve a new licensing procedure. This new process will allow applicants to present their case to the agency, and the AMCC hopes to start issuing licenses by the end of 2023. The slow progress has left many patients, who could benefit from medical cannabis, waiting. Stay updated on Alabama’s medical cannabis program, click here.
Maryland Cannabis Administration Releases Additional Instructions for New Cannabis Business License Applications
On October 16th, the Maryland Cannabis Administration issued instructions for creating operational, business, and diversity plans, along with the minimum qualifications for a cannabis business license application in the Evaluation Worksheet for the upcoming application period for the new cannabis business licenses in the state. Additionally, on October 17th, the MCA released comprehensive guidance on the application submission requirements once the OneStop portal becomes available, accessible in the Application Instructions. More information regarding the present program in Maryland can be found in our article here.
Support for Ohio Recreational Marijuana Legalization Revealed in Recent Survey
On October 18th, Baldwin Wallace University released a survey that revealed that over 57% of Ohio registered voters support the legalization of recreational marijuana on the November ballot, while roughly 35% oppose it. Issue 2 has majority support across various demographic groups, including political party, gender, age, race, religion, and education level. If approved by voters, Issue 2 would allow adults aged 21 and older in Ohio to grow, use, possess, and transport legally obtained marijuana within specified limits. You can learn more about Ohio’s existing cannabis program here.
Michigan Governor Signs Bills Allowing Marijuana Businesses to Trade with Tribes
On October 19th, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan bills, SB 180 and SB 179, enabling state-licensed marijuana businesses to trade with tribal cannabis entities. SB 180, sponsored by Sen. Roger Hauck, primarily encompasses policy changes, while SB 179, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Irwin, focuses on tax revenue allocation adjustments. Both bills are interdependent, requiring both to become law to take effect. These laws are now in immediate effect. More information about Michigan’s existing marijuana program may be found here.
New York Cannabis Control Board Extends License Application Deadline
On October 17th, New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) extended the state’s cannabis license application deadline from December 4th to December 18th, aiming to provide prospective business owners with two additional weeks to apply. This extension also applies to expedited applications for dispensaries and microbusinesses that have secured locations, pushing the deadline from November 3rd to November 17th. Additionally, the CCB approved new rules, reducing the burden of proof required to identify illegal cannabis sales. Find out more about the cannabis program in New York by visiting this page.
New Hampshire Commission Progressing on Cannabis Legalization Legislation
On October 24th, the New Hampshire Commission to Study With the Purpose of Proposing Legalization, State Controlled Sales of Cannabis and Cannabis Products started working on a bill to legalize cannabis sales through state-run stores. Their goal is to draft legislation by December 1st, considering the potential impact of legalization on the state. This legislation will be reviewed by lawmakers in the 2024 session. Key topics discussed include integrating existing medical marijuana dispensaries into the new system, ensuring the safety and potency of cannabis products, and avoiding disruptions to the hemp and CBD markets. You can find the full draft legislation that was discussed at the meeting here. If you want to learn more about New Hampshire’s marijuana program, you can find out more here.
New Jersey Seeks Input on Expanding Edible Cannabis Product Options
New Jersey is considering expanding the types of edible cannabis products available in licensed shops. Currently, they only allow non-perishable items like lozenges, pills, and gummies, which is more limited than other states. The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission is now seeking public feedback on proposed rules to include items like beverages, chocolates, baked goods, and jams. They are accepting comments until December 15th, 2023. For information about New Jersey’s current marijuana program, you can read our guide.
Georgia Makes History: Pharmacies Now Selling Cannabis at the Counter
On October 27th, Georgia achieved a historic milestone by becoming the first state in the United States to allow independent pharmacies to sell low-THC oil legally. This development follows the approval of low-dose THC oil distribution by the Georgia General Assembly in 2019, although the establishment of the necessary regulatory framework took several years. Governor Brian Kemp’s endorsement of Georgia Board of Pharmacy rules in September 2023 paved the way for pharmacies to sell THC. To gain state approval, pharmacies must undergo an inspection by the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency, which assesses their security measures and ensures that staff members are knowledgeable and proficient in handling and selling these products. If you’d want to learn more about Georgia’s marijuana program, you can find out more here.
Keep an eye out for our email updates throughout the year, and we’ll be sure to let you know about any changes in 2023 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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