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

Cannabis News Roundup: Cannabis Key Updates in KY, FL, PA, VA and NC

Across the United States, legislative efforts and public opinion are increasingly favoring cannabis reform, reflecting a significant shift in societal attitudes towards marijuana legalization and regulation. In Kentucky, House Bill 420 marks a crucial step towards legalizing cannabis for adults, emphasizing social equity and economic benefits. Florida’s legislative bodies are proactively setting THC caps for cannabis products in anticipation of a legalization vote, addressing public safety and mental health concerns. Pennsylvania shows strong voter and governor support for cannabis legalization, with proposals to regulate the industry and enhance social equity. Virginia’s legislature is moving forward with bills to open retail marijuana stores, focusing on social equity and economic opportunities. Meanwhile, North Carolina demonstrates overwhelming public support for medical marijuana legislation, indicating a broad desire for policy change in the state’s approach to cannabis.

Kentucky’s Legislative Efforts Toward Cannabis Legalization

On January 30th, Kentucky unveiled its legislative proposal for cannabis legalization. Through the introduction of House Bill 420, Kentucky proposes to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults aged 21 and over, setting a standard for cannabis reform in the state. Since the bill’s introduction, there has been a noticeable increase in public interest and support, with stakeholders eagerly monitoring the bill’s progress through the GOP-dominated legislature. This legislative move seeks to authorize various cannabis-related businesses, including cultivation, processing, and retail, and introduces a taxation framework aimed at strengthening the state’s economy. The proposal is designed to address social equity by providing for record sealing opportunities and establishing a Social Impact Council to fund educational and community initiatives. Kentucky’s initiative reflects a comprehensive effort to modernize its cannabis laws, with potential economic and social benefits that have garnered attention statewide. For further information about Kentucky’s current cannabis program, you can read our guide.

Florida Legislators Advance THC Caps in Anticipation of Legalization Vote  

On February 1st, the Florida House Healthcare Regulation Subcommittee took a preemptive step by approving a bill, HB 1269, to set THC limits for recreational marijuana, in anticipation of a future vote on legalization. This legislative action was closely followed by the Florida Senate Health Policy Committee’s introduction of SPB 7050 on February 8th, proposing a 30% THC cap for smokable flower in adult-use cannabis, mirroring the House’s adjusted position from an initial 10% to a more forgiving 30%. These concerted efforts by Florida lawmakers aim to address public safety and mental health concerns ahead of a potential vote for cannabis legalization. The Senate’s proposal also outlines a 60% THC limit for non-smokable forms, except for edibles, which would have a 200 milligrams per package cap, aligning with standards in other states. With the Florida Chamber of Commerce reporting only 57% support for the adult-use initiative, the legislative moves underscore a cautious yet forward-looking strategy as the state braces for a crucial decision on cannabis policy, dependent on achieving the 60% support needed for constitutional amendments.To stay informed on Florida’s cannabis policies, click here.

Pennsylvania Voters and Governor Back Marijuana Legalization

On February 1st, a new poll showed strong support among Pennsylvania voters for marijuana legalization, with 63% in favor, setting the stage for legislative action. This enthusiasm aligns with the governor’s February 6th budget proposal to legalize and regulate cannabis for those 21 and older, mirroring Ohio’s progressive approach. The proposal, aimed at licensing cultivation, processing, and sales, also emphasizes social equity, including expungement opportunities and a council for fair resource distribution. With broad public support and a focus on enhancing the state’s economic and social landscape, Pennsylvania’s push for cannabis reform marks a significant policy shift. Stakeholders are closely monitoring the proposal’s progress through the legislature, anticipating potential statewide benefits. Stay informed on Pennsylvania’s evolving cannabis landscape, click here

Virginia Moves to Open Retail Marijuana Stores 

On February 9th, Virginia’s House of Delegates advanced HB 698, a bill to authorize adult-use cannabis sales, with a final vote anticipated early next week. This bill received preliminary approval through a voice vote and is expected to undergo a final third reading floor vote on Monday. HB 698 aims to legalize and regulate retail marijuana sales, allowing existing medical marijuana operators, five hemp businesses, and up to 60 equity-focused microbusinesses to commence retail sales on January 1, 2025. These microbusinesses, part of a proposed accelerator program, would receive $400,000 each from a medical operator for early sales, focusing on social equity criteria such as impact from past marijuana criminalization. The bill proposes a 9% tax on cannabis products and prioritizes licensing for individuals with marijuana misdemeanors or connections to them. Meanwhile, a competing Senate bill, SB 448, proposes a different approach, with no early sales advantage and a general application process for retailers to open later in 2025. Both bills highlight Virginia’s significant steps towards a regulated adult-use cannabis market, emphasizing social equity and economic opportunity. Stay updated on Virginia’s cannabis legislation progress, click here.

North Carolina Voters Show Strong Support for Medical Marijuana Legislation

On February 5th, a Meredith Poll revealed that nearly 80% of North Carolinians advocate for the state legislature to revisit and approve a medical marijuana bill during this year’s short session. This overwhelming support comes after the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, known as Senate Bill 3, passed the Senate last year but was halted in the House. The poll, conducted from January 26-31, 2024 with 760 respondents, indicates a mere 18% opposition, showcasing a significant public push for medical cannabis legalization. The anticipation grows for the bill’s potential return and a hopeful vote in the House, reflecting a strong desire among North Carolinians for legislative action on medical marijuana. This legislative effort is part of a broader discussion on public health and safety, including a 91% majority favoring a ban on mobile device use while driving and a 54% approval for casino operations. As the state gears up for the upcoming election cycle and legislative session, the support for medical marijuana legalization underscores a pivotal moment for policy change in North Carolina. For more details on the evolving stance on cannabis in North Carolina, click here.

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