D.C extends fee waiver for medical patient application; MD Mayor closing her hemp business due to state’s new cannabis laws


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Catch the Smoke: Aug. 14, 2023

D.C. extends fee waiver

Last Wednesday ABCA decided to extend the fee waiver for medical cannabis patients and caregivers through Dec. 7, 2023. They also announced that digital registrations will only be issued to approved applicants.

  • If you missed the information session on the next license application period which opens on Aug. 29, 2023 at 9AM, read the slides here and listen to the recording here. Remember, the normal application period for cultivators, manufacturers and couriers is now also open to social equity applicants who did not apply this past spring. The application period could be closed before Oct. 30 if the volume is large. The non-social equity licenses are capped at 24 cultivation centers, 20 manufacturers and two courier licenses. Questions can be sent to ABCA.cannabislicensing@dc.gov.

  • The next info session for Unlicensed Operators (Cultivation Center, Internet Retailer, or Retailer) is Oct. 10, 2023. Register here.

  • ABCA also approved Phyto Cultivation LLC to use butane as a form of cannabis extraction, and to produce and process butane extracted cannabis concentrates and cannabis, according to last Wednesday’s meeting.

  • ABCA also officially released a response to the June public hearing. It’s over 150 pages, but it’s worth reading to understand the legality behind some of the reasonable and absurd public comments that were issued in June.

Weed prices rise after legalization

The adult-use market in Maryland, launched last month, led to an increase in cannabis product prices as cannabis businesses attempt to recover from past losses. One dispensary’s prices rose from 10–25%. The article reminds people that if they register for a medical card in the state, they will not have to pay sales tax.

New legal market forces mayor to close MD hemp business

The mayor of Federalsburg is closing her hemp farm and retail business because of the new Maryland laws that opened up recreational use but clamped down on the hemp market. The mayor and her husband were unable to obtain a license for a cannabis business in the new market. And despite her hemp products passing federal law, the state now enforces cannabis laws on the hemp business. Her business closure follows a lawsuit by the state’s hemp industry to overturn portions of the new cannabis laws that restrict hemp.

VA fines hemp businesses

Virginia’s new hemp law is being enforced with fines ranging from $13,000 to over $97,000 issued in late July. The fines could be reduced if the five stores that were issued noncompliance letters come into compliance. The store facing the largest fine allegedly sold hemp products over the 0.3% THC limit and other products that contained synthetic THC and looked like popular snacks.

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East Coast Roundup

New York opens weed farmers markets

New York’s first marijuana farmers market will open this week in New Paltz, where it will sell products from licensed cannabis cultivators and processors until the end of the year or when a traditional retailer opens in the village. The market is one of several measures that New York regulators have taken to increase the availability of legal weed in the state.

New York cannabis license grind to a halt

A state judge temporarily stopped authorities from issuing more licenses. This followed a lawsuit by four veterans who argue that the social equity program in the state is unfairly prioritizing applicants with drug convictions. This is the latest delay weighing down a market that has been painfully slow to launch causing confusion and the proliferation of illicit shops.

Oklahoma weed is fueling the illicit East coast market 

Loose oversight of the state’s medical marijuana program and cheap land and licensing fees has caused an explosion of illegal grows that are “overwhelming” law enforcement. A 7,000lb shipment to New York was recently apprehended. A spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs said that the state is now the “number-one supplier of black market marijuana in the country.” Despite shutting down almost 1,000 illicit grows in the last two years, officials said there are 5,000 still remaining.

Culture Corner

Pick up the joint, put down the cig

A new study published by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that people view smoking weed or being exposed to marijuana smoke is safer than smoking tobacco or being near it. This is a significant shift from previous studies which signifies a changing public perception on the safety of cannabis.

Waffles n’ weed

Officials working on the U.S. border confiscated 2,000lbs of weed disguised as frozen waffles in July. A 22-year-old Canadian was arrested and charged with possession and intent to distribute. Authorities alleged that he had driven five previous shipments over the border.

From the Swamp

Big spenders 

The industry continues to spend millions on lobbyists in an attempt to get U.S. senators to pass cannabis reform including the SAFE Banking Act. Companies and trade groups spent over $2.4 million just in the first half of this year. That is less than the second half of 2022 when banking reform passage seemed possible.

This week, don’t miss

D.C. Cannabis License Townhall

The DC Cannabis Business Association hosts a D.C. cannabis licensing information and networking event including a panel at 4200 Kansas Ave. NW (Aug. 22, 5-8PM; Free)


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