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D.C. bill would give unlicensed operators more time to transition to the legal market while nine I-71 transition applications get tabled

Catch the Smoke: Nov. 27, 2023

D.C. bill fine tunes medical expansion, plus adds time for I-71 shops

Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie introduced a bill to amend the medical cannabis expansion. The legislation proposes giving unlicensed businesses until September 2024 to come into compliance. The current legislation would end a grace period for operations early next year. 

  • Four unlicensed operators were approved for social equity retail locations while nine other applications were tabled by the ABC Board. 
  • An additional two couriers, one manufacturer and one cultivation center were approved conditionally. 

  • The last meeting of the year will be this Wednesday, followed by a three week break. 

Republicans signal possible D.C cannabis shift 

After a closed-door meeting with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who proposed recreational marijuana sales as a topic of discussion, U.S. Representative James Comer, Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, expressed support for the taxation and regulation of recreational marijuana in the District. This comes despite Republicans in Congress previously blocking D.C. from taxing and regulating recreational cannabis, preventing its legal sale.

MD police grapple to test for high-driving 

Police are struggling to determine marijuana impairment, making it difficult to enforce DUI laws, because there is no reliable method for detecting cannabis impairment like Breathalyzers for alcohol. Officer Jayme Derbyshire from Montgomery County highlighted the challenges and stressed the need for validated tests for cannabis impairment, similar to those for alcohol. Until such tests are developed, officers may lack sufficient evidence to prosecute DUI cases involving marijuana.

  • The first licensing period for Maryland’s adult-use market closes tomorrow at 5 P.M. 

  • Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles sent a letter urging Gov. Wes Moore to pardon individuals convicted for non-violent marijuana possession and expunge their records. This call comes in response to the recent passage of the Cannabis Reform Act.

Hope sparks for Virginia

With the recent changeover in Virginia’s legislature, hopes are rising for the launch of an adult-use marijuana market. Democrats now have full control of the General Assembly, and newly sworn-in lawmakers are eager to push forward with legalization.

  • Cannabist, formerly Columbia Care, looks to open its third store, a 5,500-square-foot in an old booze store in Henrico.

East Coast Round Up

New York’s governor said more than $54 million worth of illicit cannabis has been seized in enforcement efforts. There was also a town hall meeting and out spoken warnings against out-of-state licensing for cannabis brands. 

New Hampshire lawmakers have pre-filed two bills for the 2024 legislative session that aim to expand access to medical marijuana in the state.

Massachusetts cannabis interim-agency Executive Director suspended two high ranking officials due to serious misconduct allegations. A state judge also allowed the suspended top regulator to block a meeting in which she could have been fired. DRAMA!

Curaleaf, a multistate cannabis operator, has exited the Vermont market by selling its remaining assets to Zenbarn Farms, a local CBD company. The deal includes two dispensaries, a growing facility, and plans for Zenbarn to create a small-brand incubator and workforce development program for minorities in the cannabis industry. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Curaleaf’s departure reflects the challenges some large cannabis companies are facing in smaller, less profitable markets.

Culture Corner

A new federal study shows that states where cannabis is illegal typically have higher rates of treatment admissions for marijuana use disorder, suggesting that prohibition may not be effective in reducing problem marijuana use. 

Six governors sent a letter to President Biden urging him to reschedule cannabis from its current Schedule I listing to a less restrictive schedule. They argue that the current classification is outdated and harmful, hindering research and causing social injustice. The governors also cite the economic benefits of legalizing cannabis, including increased tax revenue and job creation

From the Swamp

The over 250 page federal Cannabis Rescheduling Recommendation was finally released but heavily redacted. The DEA is “likely” to approve the rescheduling as of a report this week. 

A Republican congressman introduced a new bill to end federal marijuana prohibition in states where it is legal, allow interstate cannabis commerce, and normalize IRS policy for the industry. 

Veterans groups urge President Biden to expedite the marijuana scheduling review and implement broader cannabis reform to benefit veterans.

Shrooms

Activists in Massachusetts collected enough valid signatures to force the state legislature to consider legalizing psychedelics in 2024. Covered psychedelics include DMT, mescaline, ibogaine, psilocybin, and psilocin, with specific possession limits defined for each.

Don't miss

1-71, Social Equity and Wholesale Pricing in DC: HQ Women Grow will host a discussion focused on the program regulated by ABCA, local sourcing and wholesale pricing practices to new entrants in the marketplace at 1636 Connecticut Ave NW, D.C. (Dec. 28 7:30P.M.-9P.M.; FREE)

Please submit your upcoming cannabis event here


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