D.C. social equity cannabis licenses round one closes, Maryland legal market launches, Virginia hemp bans go into effect


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Catch the Smoke: July 3, 2023

Maryland opens legal rec 

Maryland swept headlines as the recreational market opened. The market is already bracing for product shortages, but the hope is for it to set a national example as a profitable, equitable market.

  • The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #3 announced the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions should order police agencies to stop barring recruits with a history of cannabis use and discontinue “random” drug screenings for police officers.

  • Dispensary owners reported quadruple the number of customers on the first day of legalization compared to June.

  • TerrAscend, a Canadian company, secured a $25M loan to finance its business. It is set to acquire a third Maryland store, Hempaid, for almost $7M.

  • Baltimore’s Cookies store reopened in time for state legalization after agreeing to pay a $81,500 fine for violations and be on probation for a year.

  • The Baltimore Banner released a sweet comic to guide users through the new market.

Back tracking 

Advocates continue calling out Virginia’s new hemp restrictions that began this weekend. They say the restrictions will lead consumers to turn to unregulated, underground markets.

First round done

D.C.’s first round of social equity licenses for medicinal cannabis expansion ended last week. The first round was for couriers, cultivation centers and manufacturers. The number of social equity applicants approved will determine the number of normal licenses available starting Aug. 29 for the same categories. No changes to the license process or social equity requirements have been announced despite concerns voiced in a June public hearing.

East Coast Round up

Connecticut residents can now legally grow weed at home.

New York’s cannabis social equity fund is backed after an asset management firm backed it with a $150 million investment.

New York’s crackdown on unlicensed weed shops might not cause the stores to shut down immediately. Only four of 11 Manhattan storefronts that received fines or had flower confiscated actually closed or stopped selling, according to the AP.

In other news

A decade from legalization

Despite sweeping legalization at the state level, a federal cold shoulder to cannabis legalization could drag out prohibition for another decade. Whether a Republican wins or Joe Biden gets re-elected, we’re unlikely to see a “pro-weed” president until 2033. This is especially bad for D.C. if Congress continues to refuse to remove the Harris Rider preventing the District from regulating cannabis sales.

Must read: “We’re getting social equity wrong,” a journalist’s plea to look beyond social equity and charity.

The NBA officially removed cannabis from its banned substance list. It also laid out rules allowing players to invest in weed companies. A super bowl champ estimated up to 80% of NFL players consume cannabis.

High Times interviewed Baltimore rapper, Shordie Shordie, who recently released his own strain, Captain Hook Rx.

Shrooms: The National Institute on Drug Abuse is calling for research into states’ rapidly changing psychedelics’ laws, along with impact of access to psychedelic substances.

This week, don’t miss

Intro to Home Cultivation

The Unprescribed Nonprofit hosts a second grow class. Learn the basics of home cultivation in this beginner-friendly class at Gateway Healthcare Services. (July 8)


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