D.C. Takes Aim at Unlicensed Cannabis Stores, Maryland Sales Boom, Virginia Dems Push for Legalization, West Virginia Considers Adult-Use Market


Catch the Smoke: Jan. 23, 2023

D.C. Cracks Down on “Free Weed” Loophole 

D.C. cracks down on unlicensed cannabis gifting stores offering “free” weed with other purchases. The new emergency law lets authorities fine and shut down stores that haven’t applied for medical cannabis licenses. Council says it’s about regulation, taxation and bringing businesses into the legal fold. The bill will be in effect for 90 days unless it is moved to official legislation.

Sales continue to surge

Maryland’s marijuana market capped off a record-breaking year in December 2023, with nearly $96.5 million in combined sales from both medical and adult-use markets. This marks the highest monthly total since recreational sales began in July.

VA Dems continue push for cannabis launch, some Republicans stall

Virginia Democrats revive efforts to establish a retail recreational cannabis market after two years of delay. They argue for regulation and safety enforcement, addressing concerns raised by opponents. The proposal faces further debate before potential approval.

Mountain state mulls adult use cannabis 

A new bill has been introduced in West Virginia aiming to legalize recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over. This follows a similar attempt in 2023 that stalled. The bill proposes regulating and taxing marijuana sales through licensed businesses, while keeping driving under the influence illegal. This marks a renewed push for legalization in the state.

East Coast Round Up

New York will be awarding less than 400 licenses in the coming months despite almost 7,000 applicants. Applicants who are not awarded licenses will be forced to reapply from scratch in a new period. 

HighBazaar canceled its Jan. 21st cannabis market after the Connecticut Attorney General shut it down citing repeated law violations and unsafe products.

Around the country

A new study suggested that weed, often used for anxiety and creativity, might also make you a kinder soul. Research suggests regular cannabis users showed increased ability to understand others’ emotions, both via behavior and brain scans. 

Boxing legend Mike Tyson’s weed launch in New York is a knockout, with fans snapping up $40,000 of his “Tyson 2.0” flower in just hours. His star power could reshape the state’s booming cannabis market, sending unlicensed operators to the ropes.

Another once highly anticipated cannabis company, Medmen Enterprises, circled the drain last week hitting a ZERO dollar stock price. 

The rec markets offer a tantalizing customer expansion but operators across the country say that increased regulations to expand into the adult-use market are smothering growth. 

From the Swamp

The US Justice Department plans to ask a federal court to throw out a lawsuit filed by the cannabis industry. This lawsuit challenges the continued federal ban on marijuana, even in states where it’s legal. 

Former GOP presidential candidate, Ron DeSantis, called the ban on guns for medical marijuana patients unconstitutional

Nikki Haley, who’s beginning to give Trump a run for the Republican presidential nomination, said that marijuana should be rescheduled and “obviously” doesn’t belong in the same class as heroin. 

A major cannabis coalition led by the Last Prisoner Project plans a pre-4/20 D.C. meeting to urge for equitable federal reform. They aim to capitalize on a potential rescheduling decision to push for broader changes beyond just cannabis classification.


A bill proposes comprehensive mushroom legalization in New Jersey, encompassing both consumption and commercialization of psilocybin. 

Don’t miss this week

Mindful Drinking Fest: Mindful Drinking Fest ’24 will be a full weekend engaging and connecting mindful drinkers with tastings, seminars, bars, and a NA rave at Union Market in D.C. (Jan. 26 – 28; 5P.M. – 5:30 P.M.) 

Please submit your upcoming cannabis event here


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