Ohio has legalized recreational cannabis. Click HERE to learn more about cannabis business opportunities in Ohio.

Cannabis News Roundup: AL, NH, HI, NY Cannabis Shifts: Delays, Laws, Licenses

In the U.S., cannabis law reform is advancing variably across states. Alabama faces delays in its medical marijuana program while New Hampshire is grappling with legislative challenges to align a marijuana legalization bill. Hawaii is facing hurdles towards legalizing adult-use marijuana and in New York, significant strides are being made as the State Cannabis Control Board waives fees for cultivators and issues new licenses.These efforts reflect the diverse landscape of cannabis policy reform across the nation.

Alabama’s Setback in Medical Marijuana Program Implementation

On March 11th, the Montgomery County Circuit Court examined the legal issues causing delays in starting Alabama’s medical marijuana program, suggesting that these problems would continue in court for at least another month. These proceedings follow the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission‘s (AMCC) efforts to license businesses for various roles in the industry, as mandated by the 2021 law. While licenses for cultivation, processing, transportation, and testing have been issued, conflicts have arisen regarding dispensary and integrated company licenses, involving over a dozen companies. These companies contest the AMCC’s licensing process, alleging violations of state laws and calling for a review of procedural fairness. The AMCC, defending its position, argues that these companies must first exhaust administrative appeals and questions the legal standing of the cases The court’s ongoing deliberations have pushed back the timeline for making medical marijuana available to patients, a significant deviation from the initial plans. To stay updated on Alabama’s medical cannabis program, click here.

New Hampshire’s Marijuana Legalization Efforts Face Legislative Hurdles

On March 13th, during a hearing of a House Finance Committee panel, New Hampshire’s efforts to legalize marijuana faced challenges in shaping a bill that aligns with both the legislative body and Governor Chris Sununu’s expectations. The bill, which initially received House approval, is being modified to adhere to the governor’s criteria, including setting a statewide limit on marijuana retailers and imposing restrictions on cannabis business lobbying. An alternative plan suggesting a franchise model is also under consideration, aiming to meet the preferences of both the Senate and the governor. Despite these initiatives, disagreements over public consumption penalties and the specifics of regulatory oversight continue to complicate progress. The House Finance Committee has postponed its vote to allow time for further amendments. Governor Sununu, while recognizing the inevitability of legalization, remains skeptical, highlighting the ongoing struggle to establish a legal framework for marijuana in New Hampshire. Stay updated on New Hampshire’s cannabis program, click here.

Hawaii Marijuana Legalization Bill Faces House Hurdle

On March 22nd, the Hawaii House narrowly passed SB 3335 with a 25-23 vote, pushing it to the House Finance Committee amid warnings of negative impacts on public safety and state economics. The bill, supporting adult-use cannabis, permits possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and five grams of concentrates for individuals 21 and over, sparking extensive legislative debates. Opponents cite potential increases in youth drug use and homelessness, while proponents argue for benefits in regulated access and crime reduction. The bill’s journey reflects a contentious divide in Hawaii’s approach to marijuana policy, balancing societal risks with the prospect of regulatory and fiscal advantages. For more details on Hawaii’s evolving cannabis legislation, refer to our comprehensive guide. For further information about Hawaii’s current cannabis program, you can read our guide.

New York Waives Fees for Cannabis Cultivators, Issues New Licenses

On March 21st, the New York State Cannabis Control Board has decided to waive the licensing fees for Adult Use Conditional Cultivators for two years, impacting fees that typically range from $4,500 to $40,000 based on license tier and canopy size. This move, announced by Governor Hochul, aims to support family farms and strengthen the cannabis industry in the state. The waiver is for those transitioning to non-conditional licenses, including cultivation and microbusiness licenses. Additionally, the board has issued 114 new licenses, with 45 designated for retail dispensaries and 31 for microbusinesses, bringing the total to 88 licensed dispensaries in New York as the state nears its third year of legal marijuana.  For more information on New York’s cannabis program, visit this page.

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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