D.C’s dank delay, Maryland’s weed-smell conflict, Virginia’s slow movement forward


D.C. unlicensed operator application period draws to a sluggish close

Just three additional licenses were approved for the current unlicensed retailer applicant period at the ABC board meeting last week. This combined with the onslaught of ANC protests of medical cannabis licenses is clouding the end of this license application period. All unlicensed operators period closes today

  • In good news, December’s medical sale numbers were the highest in the last six months. 

Can’t Smell, Can’t Search? Maryland Republicans Challenge Cannabis Law

Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly are calling for the repeal of a law that prohibits police from searching drivers based solely on the smell of marijuana. This law, passed in 2023, aimed to address concerns about racial profiling and unwarranted searches. However, Republicans argue it hinders police efforts and undermines public safety. The appeal’s success seems unlikely. 

Va. Poised for Legal Weed Sales: Equity-Focused Bill Advances

The Virginia Senate is on track to legalize recreational marijuana sales, with a bill moving forward that would allow up to 400 stores to open by 2025. This was chosen over a competing proposal with a faster start for existing medical dispensaries but slower rollout for new businesses.

  • Police in Virginia seized 33 pounds of marijuana from luggage at Roanoke airport after a K-9 alerted officers to suspicious bags.

East Coast Round Up

Massachusetts cannabis sales hit record highs in December ($158.7 million) and 2023 ($1.8 billion), with adult-use sales driving the surge.

A white-owned New York cannabis business is suing the cannabis regulators alleging racial and gender bias in licensing favoring minorities and women against white men.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is frustrated with the slow pace of marijuana license approvals and has urged regulators to “go back to the drawing board” to approve hundreds of new retailers.  She acknowledged that litigation from “larger conglomerates” has also delayed the process.

Around the country

A new poll reveals anxiety among marijuana users about potential federal involvement in the industry, with one-third saying they’d return to the illicit market if cannabis became solely available through FDA-approved prescriptions. This highlights concerns that rescheduling could disrupt state-licensed businesses and raise access barriers.

A new policy brief on interstate commerce suggested that despite state bans, federal courts are chipping away at barriers to interstate marijuana commerce, raising concerns about regulatory chaos. Congress could avoid confusion by creating a framework similar to the one governing alcohol, allowing orderly interstate trade to flourish.

A Fresno golf club was raided for running an illegal cannabis operation, with authorities seizing thousands of dollars’ worth of products and paraphernalia. The investigation is ongoing, but no arrests have been made yet.

The majority of U.S. voters back legalizing cannabis in all 50 states, according to a new poll

The Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce (UCETF) in California confiscated over $317 million worth of illegal cannabis and 128 firearms in its first year. 

From the Swamp

Senators Booker and Norton are proposing a bill to protect people in federally assisted housing from eviction for using marijuana legally in their state. Current law allows evictions even if cannabis is legal, causing discrimination and lack of access to medical treatment. 

Following President Biden’s expanded marijuana pardon proclamation, the Justice Department began issuing pardon certificates to eligible individuals. This includes activist Chris Goldstein, whose previous arrest for cannabis possession on federal land now falls under the covered offenses.

SAFE Banking
received one additional Republican co-sponsor for a total of 98.


Maryland is considering a detailed plan to explore legalizing and regulating psychedelics like psilocybin. A legislative task force would study various aspects, from public benefits and risks to potential permit systems and sales models, including online options.

Don’t miss

Elements for Success: CannabizMD, a Maryland-based woman-owned, will host social equity advocate and cannabis entrepreneur Tahir Johnson and other leading cannabis industry experts, thought leaders, and aspiring entrepreneurs to explore the essential elements that contribute to the success of a Maryland cannabis business in Lanham, MD. (Feb. 24 8A.M.-3P.M.; $75)

Please submit your upcoming cannabis event here


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