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Cannabis News Roundup: 8/21/23 - 9/3/23

In recent cannabis updates, New York maintains its ban on new adult-use retail licenses, Ohio advances its November legalization initiative, Missouri announces lottery winners for small-scale licenses, Georgia expands its dispensary network, Connecticut launches a Canna-Business Revolving Loan Fund, and Alabama grapples with legal delays for its medical marijuana program. Here’s what you need to know:

New York Court Maintains Ban on New Licenses for Adult-Use Cannabis Retail

Following an August 25th hearing, the court order preventing new entries into New York’s adult-use cannabis market is still in effect. The state attorney general has appealed to lift the stay, but the order remains. About 30 applicants who submitted permits on time might be allowed to start their businesses. However, many more potential recreational marijuana entrepreneurs, including small businesses and major operators, will need to wait a few more weeks for the outcome of the legal challenge against the state’s Conditional Adult Use Recreational Dispensary (CAURD) program. Find out more about the cannabis program in New York by visiting this page.

Ohio Officials Greenlight Ballot Language for November’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative

On August 24th, Ohio officials unanimously agreed on the language for a ballot initiative seeking to legalize marijuana. The Ohio Ballot Board voted 5-0 to adopt the summary, which had been prepared by the secretary of state’s office. This decision comes after the required number of valid signatures were submitted by advocates. The summary, referred to as Issue 2, outlines the initiative’s intent to legalize and regulate various aspects of cannabis use, possession, and cultivation for adults aged 21 and above. 

On August 29th, a survey by Fallon Research & Communications was released and revealed that 59 percent of registered Ohio voters support a cannabis reform proposal. This survey highlights a noteworthy shift: GOP voters now favor legalization more, and overall opposition has decreased compared to a July poll. You can learn more about Ohio’s existing cannabis program here.

Missouri Announces Winners for Small-Scale Cannabis Licenses via Lottery

On August 28th, the state of Missouri started granting small-scale cannabis business licenses through a lottery. They’ve announced the winners for each of the eight Congressional districts. In each district, there are six winners – two for microbusiness dispensaries and four for microbusiness wholesale facilities, where owners can cultivate up to 250 plants. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which oversees the state’s marijuana program, will now verify the selected applicants’ information for eligibility. The applicants have a few days to provide additional information if requested. The state will issue the licenses by October 4th after completing the review process. More information about Missouri’s existing marijuana program may be found here.

Georgia Medical Cannabis Commission Adds New Dispensaries

On August 23rd, Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission (GMCC) approved three new dispensary locations for the state’s low-THC oil program. Trulieve, a major cannabis company, got its fifth Georgia retail license for a store in Evans. Botanical Sciences, Georgia’s first physician-owned medical cannabis provider, received its third and fourth retail licenses for stores in Chamblee and Stockbridge. These two companies also own other dispensaries in the state. If you’d want to learn more about Georgia’s marijuana program, you can find out more here.

Connecticut Launches Canna- Business Revolving Loan Fund

On August 29th, Connecticut’s Social Equity Council (SEC) and Department of Economic and Community Development launched the Canna-Business Revolving Loan Fund. It offers financial aid to licensed social equity cannabis businesses in Connecticut, with a streamlined application process. The program supports rehabilitating or developing unused real estate for cannabis use, with fixed-rate loans at prime plus 3%. Participants in the SEC accelerator program receive a 1.50% interest rate discount. If you want to learn more about Connecticut’s marijuana program, you can find out more here.

Alabama Medical Marijuana Regulators Navigate Legal Delays, Plans for Third Licensing Round

On August 31st, the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission (AMCC) officially decided to postpone the issuance of licenses for the cultivation, manufacturing, and production of medical cannabis. This delay comes after a temporary restraining order was extended by a Montgomery judge, potentially leading to a third round of license awards. AMCC stated that the temporary suspension will provide an opportunity for parties to address issues before resuming the licensing process. During this suspension, licensees are not required to pay fees, and applicants denied a license can request an investigative hearing without a specific deadline. More information about Alabama’s existing marijuana program may be found here.

Keep an eye out for our 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.