Cannabis Business Times/August 3, 2018
This week, New York took a big step toward legalizing adult-use in the state with Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing that he has set up a working group to write a bill to legalize and regulate cannabis, implementing recommendations from the state Department of Health. Elsewhere, in Pennsylvania, patients were able to buy medical marijuana in flower form for the first time.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: State legislators from Oregon and across the nation are calling on Congress to lift the federal prohibition on cannabis and remove it from the Controlled Substances Act so legal businesses in this industry can begin accessing banking services. The National Conference of State Legislators passed a directive Aug. 1 at the group’s annual conference in Los Angeles, urging Congress to help legal cannabis businesses access banking services and let states determine their own path forward on cannabis regulation. Read more
- A bipartisan house bill introduced July 26 would prevent federal agencies from firing employees for using marijuana when they reside in a state where doing so is legal. The Fairness in Federal Drug Testing Under State Laws Act, introduced by Reps. Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Drew Ferguson (R-GA), would ensure that federal employees who live in states where recreational or medical marijuana use is legal cannot face adverse action if tested positive for past marijuana use. Read more
- Oklahoma: The group Green the Vote announced July 29 that it reached the required amount of petition signatures to put recreational marijuana on Oklahoma’s ballot in November. Once all of the petitions and signatures are submitted to the state, officials with the Oklahoma Secretary of State’s office will count the petitions and determine if enough legal signatures have been gathered. Read more
- The Oklahoma State Board of Health voted unanimously to adopt a new set of medical marijuana rules after the passage of State Question 788. The new set of regulations excludes the controversial ban on selling smokable products and the requirement of pharmacists at dispensaries. Read more
- Florida: Christian Bax, the embattled director of the Florida’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use, is resigning after a three-year stint marked by rule-making delays, rocky litigation and continued criticism over patients’ problems accessing the drug since medical cannabis was broadly legalized more than a year ago. In his resignation letter, Bax wrote that he intends to step down no later than Aug. 10, though he did not provide a reason for his departure or its timing. Read more
- Pennsylvania: Medical marijuana in dry leaf and flower form became available to registered patients in Pennsylvania for the first time this week. Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said dry leaf cannabis would be available at about a dozen dispensaries starting Aug. 1. Read more
- Pennsylvania has awarded 13 additional permits to grow and process medical marijuana. The Health Department on July 31 named the chosen entities that will bring the total number of growers and processors in the state to 25, the most currently allowed under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law. Read more
- Mississippi: The woman whose daughter’s name is on Mississippi’s marijuana oil law has begun a drive for a state constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana use. Her group, called Mississippians for Compassionate Care, must collect at least 86,185 certified signatures over the next year from across the state to get Medical Marijuana 2020 on the statewide ballot in 2020. Read more
- New York: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a big step toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use in the state Aug. 2, announcing that he has set up a working group to write a bill implementing recommendations from the state Department of Health to legalize and regulate cannabis. Once the group comes up with a proposal, it will be up to the legislature to pass it before Cuomo can sign it into law. Read more
- Canada: Molson Coors Brewing Co. is starting a joint venture with Hydropothecary Corp. to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market. The partnership will be structured as a standalone company with its own board and management team, and a chief executive officer will be named in the coming weeks. Read more