Thursday March 18, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Congressional Marijuana Banking Bill Will Be Reintroduced On Thursday (Marijuana Moment)

// New Mexico Marijuana Legalization Bill Heads To Senate Floor Following Contentious Committee Hearing (Marijuana Moment)

// Schumer Weighs In On New York Legal Marijuana Talks Applauding Legislature And Snubbing Cuomo (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Cova Software, the number one dispensary point-of-sale system in North America! Swing over today to see why two thirds of all Canadian cannabis stores run on Cova software, which is also the fastest growing dispensary software in the U.S., with more than a hundred new client dispensaries open for business in January alone!


// Montana’s legalization plan: Homegrow bans THC caps 20% taxes. Yay? (Leafly)

// Regulators crack down on Michigan credit unions marijuana banking (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Field Trip Closes On $95 Million Supersized Offering (Green Market Report)

// Sundial Reports Full Year and Fourth Quarter 2020 Financial and Operational Results (Cision PR Newswire)

// Green Thumb Industries Reports Solid Quarter Beats Estimates (Green Market Report)

// GrowGen Makes Seventh Acquisition And It’s Only March (Green Market Report)

// New Hampshire’s Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Now Support Letting Patients Grow Their Own (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: kidTruant/Flickr

Friday, February 26, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, February 26, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Washington Supreme Court Strikes Down Criminalization Of Drug Possession (Marijuana Moment)

// Disagreements Threaten Virginia Marijuana Legalization Deal As Deadline Approaches (Marijuana Moment (Virginia Mercury))

// Dispensaries: Millions in tax revenue could be lost if legislators delay Montana’s recreational marijuana program (KTVQ 2 News)


These headlines are brought to you by Cova Software, the number one dispensary point-of-sale system in North America! Swing over today to see why two thirds of all Canadian cannabis stores run on Cova software, which is also the fastest growing dispensary software in the U.S., with more than a hundred new client dispensaries open for business in January alone!


// Another New Mexico House Committee Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Sales of cannabis pre-rolls up nearly 50% in 2020 despite pandemic (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Sales of Canadian cannabis edibles extracts fall for first time (Marijuana Business Daily)

// House passes recreational marijuana legislation in North Dakota (Rapid City Journal (AP))

// Missouri pushes back deadline for medical cannabis businesses to open (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canadian marijuana firm Canopy Growth files $2 billion shelf prospectus (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New Jersey Attorney General Orders Marijuana Cases To Be Dropped Following Legalization Bill Signing (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Raymond Wambsgans/Flickr

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, January 5, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Illinois Governor Announces Half A Million Marijuana Expungements And Pardons (Marijuana Moment)

// Illinois Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Surge 15% in December to End First Year at $669 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Incarcerated Patients Have A Right To Use Medical Marijuana New Mexico Judge Rules (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!


// Steve DeAngelo Parts Ways With Harborside (Green Market Report)

// Recreational use of marijuana now legal in Montana (KBZK 7)

// AZ Dispensaries Likely to Begin Cannabis Sales Before April (AZ Marijuana)

// Lack of standards dubious business practices threaten to upend cannabis testing industry (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Farmers lose hope – and money – in race to build Maine’s hemp market (Portland Press Herald)

// Best Music Playlists For Psychedelic Therapy Are Explored In New Johns Hopkins Study (Marijuana Moment)

// Veterinarians Can Consult On Marijuana And CBD Therapy For Pets Under Michigan Governor-Signed Bill (Marijuana Moment)

Check out our other projects:Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement. • Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Matthias Muller/Flickr

The Long and Winding Road to Cannabis Legalization in Montana

In a victory that was a long time coming for cannabis advocates in Big Sky Country, Montana voters approved twin ballot measures mandating legalization and establishment of an adult-use market in the state last week.   
Constitutional Initiative No. 118, which was approved by nearly 58%, amends the state constitution, allowing the Legislature to set a legal age for purchasing or possessing cannabis. This, in turn, permits the terms of Initiative 190, which passed by not quite 57%. This will allow those over the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of cannabis or eight grams of cannabis concentrate. It also allows individuals to grow up to four plants for personal use. Regulated sales are to be permitted, with non-medical cannabis to be taxed at 20% of retail price. 

As the Great Falls Tribune notes, the promoters of I-190 say it will generate up to $48 million annually in tax revenue and licensing fees by 2025. Just over 10% of the revenue will go into the general state fund, with the remainder “dedicated to accounts for conservation programs, substance abuse treatment, veterans’ services, health care costs and localities where marijuana is sold,” according to the text of the measure. Individual counties will be allowed to prohibit dispensaries. Advertising will be barred statewide.

Those currently serving prison time for “an act permitted by I-190” will be able to apply for resentencing or expungement of the conviction. 

Threat of Repeal  

Under the terms of I-190, the Montana Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act is to take effect no later than Oct. 1, 2021, the deadline for the Department of Revenue to establish oversight regulations and begin accepting applications for dispensaries. Sales are projected to start in January 2022, but there could be political roadblocks between now and then.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that the legalization push was spearheaded by New Approach Montana, which spent over $140,000 on signature-gathering efforts to get the initiatives on the ballot. They were opposed by the Wrong for Montana coalition—which is backed up by the Montana Chamber of CommerceMontana Bankers AssociationMontana Contractors Association and other pillars of the state’s establishment. Opposition to I-190 also received support from the national anti-legalization outfit Smart Approaches to Marijuana

These opponents sought to fend off the twin initiatives before they even passed. Two weeks prior to the election, Wrong for Montana and its founder, Billings car dealer Steve Zabawa, went to the state Supreme Court, seeking to block I-190 on a narrow technicality – that only the Legislature can earmark tax revenues. The court turned them down, finding that the legal team did not demonstrate sufficient urgency to skip over the usual trial and appeal process. However, the court did not rule on the merits, which means a case against implementation of I-190 could still be brought forth.

Earlier in October, a group of Republican legislators drafted a bill to preemptively repeal I-190. Rep. Derek Skees of Kalispell, chief drafter of the bill, agreed to withdraw the repeal after the vote in light of the initiative’s easy passage. “Say 51%, then that bill would’ve been a good idea, because then it would’ve allowed us to say, ‘Well, listen, Montanans are a little confused on this. Not everybody was really for it,’” Skees told NBC Montana.  

When asked if a repeal might be an option in the future, he responded, “The only branch of government in this state dumb enough to overturn citizens’ initiative is the Supreme Court, which has done it repeatedly.”   

The expansion of cannabis freedom in Montana has been met with heavy resistance though, and this gives cause for concern. 

Déjà vu in Big Sky Country 

For longtime Montana cannabis activists, there was a sense of déjà vu to the efforts to head off legalization in the high court and statehouse. 

Montana voters approved medical marijuana in a 2004 initiative, I-148, which passed by a handy 60%, but a backlash was sparked by an explosion in the number of registered users as the medical sector began to take off. In 2010, the number jumped from about 1,000 users to more than 25,000 statewide, with some businesses operating out of traveling “caravans” that quickly diagnosed people for maladies that could be treated with cannabis. There were even arson attacks on dispensaries in Billings that spring. 

The following year, legislation was introduced to rein in the program and overturn the terms of the 2004 medical cannabis initiative. Montana’s then-Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer once vetoed such a bill, but finally relented in April 2011, and allowed the bill to take effect without his signature, under a special provision of the state constitution.

The new legislation limited providers to no more than three patients each, barred them from receiving compensation, and imposed other restrictions, including a ban on advertising. After the law was passed, registered users rapidly dropped below 12,000

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association challenged the new law as an unconstitutional restriction on their business. The Montana Supreme Court ruled against them in September 2012, finding that there is no fundamental right to cultivation, distribution or use of medical marijuana. The high court sent the decision back to Helena district court, instructing it to use a “rational basis” instead of a “strict scrutiny” test to determine whether the law would pass muster. The “strict scrutiny” test places a heavier burden on the state to justify a law, requiring a compelling state interest. A “rational basis” review is the lowest level of scrutiny a court can apply, only requiring a law to be rationally related to a legitimate state interest. 

Advocates also sought to put the issue to the voters again, but in a ballot initiative that November, the state voted to keep the more restrictive measures.  

The litigation wound its way back through the appeals process and ended up before the state Supreme Court again in 2016. That February, the high court upheld provisions of the restrictive 2011 law, finding them a “rational response” to the dramatic increase in users. In one victory for the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry, the provision that banned providers from receiving compensation was struck down. There was fear of widespread closure of dispensaries. 

But the situation was salvaged that November when voters approved Initiative 182 – a second and successful attempt to reverse the restrictive provisions of the 2011 bill.  

Another advance came last year when the Legislature approved a bill to “untether” medical marijuana users, allowing them to purchase from more than one dispensary or “provider.” The “untethering” took effect this June. 

There are currently 38,385 people enrolled in the Montana Medical Marijuana Program.

Protecting the Will of the Voters

Ryan Saghatelian is the owner of Greener Pastures, a dispensary which opened in Bozeman in 2008 and now also has outlets in Missoula and Big Sky. Reached by Cannabis Now, he spoke of his plan to expand from the medical to the “recreational” market.

“We’ll be applying as soon as we can,” he said in a phone interview, noting that approval from the Revenue Department for recreational sales will be needed on top of the company’s existing approval for medical sales from the state Department of Public Health.

“It’s looking like it’s going to work in concert, with medical and adult use existing side by side,” he said. “This is probably a good thing, because the taxes are only 4% on the medical side. It would be great for those people who really need it to get the tax break.”  

In contrast to the medical market, adult-use sales will not be restricted to state residents.

“We would like to do both – keep our medical patients happy and bring our products to a larger market, including the many tourists and visitors we get every year,” Saghatelian said, adding that with Montana’s “great outdoors” emphasis, tourism is still thriving despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Saghatelian also notes that the recreational law will allow contracting and wholesale opportunities in addition to retail sales. “We’d love to supply edibles and concentrates to smaller providers that don’t want to deal with production,” he said, adding that it also benefits the consumers, as they will have more options to choose from.

While outdoor growing is permitted in Montana, Saghatelian says that the state’s early frosts and short growing season are “not for the faint of heart.” Meanwhile, he boasts that Montana has “some of the best indoor in the country.” Bozeman and Missoula have emerged as centers of cultivation.  

Saghatelian considers the seeming irony that his state voted for Republican candidates up and down the ballot on Nov. 3. “It’s kind of interesting how red the vote was in Montana, and yet there was overwhelming support for marijuana legalization. There’s a kind of libertarian element, even among the state’s conservatives,” he said.

“I just hope the lawmakers don’t go back on the will of the voters in the spring,” Saghatelian concludes. “I hope they don’t whittle the law down so much that it’s worthless…We need to stay vigilant as voters to make sure that our lawmakers respect our wishes.” 

The post The Long and Winding Road to Cannabis Legalization in Montana appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Cannabis Ballot Initiatives Win Big on 2020 Election Night

The cannabis community is celebrating multiple historic victories today as the march to decriminalize drugs spreads further across the nation — despite continued federal prohibition.

Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota are the latest states to legalize adult-use cannabis, with South Dakota becoming the first state to authorize both medical and recreational marijuana sales at the same time. And Mississippi joins 34 other states in legalizing medicinal cannabis. 

Additionally, Oregon voted to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs and legalized therapeutic use of psilocybin, while Washington, D.C. voted to decriminalize psychedelic plants.

Cannabis Legalization

Recreational cannabis is legal in 15 states plus the District of Columbia, while medical use will be permitted in 35 states plus D.C.

In Arizona, voters decided by a 60% to 40% margin in favor of Proposition 207, an initiative legalizing the recreational possession and use of marijuana by adults aged 21 and over. 

Proposition 207, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2020) allows adults 21 and older to possess, consume or transfer up to 1 ounce of cannabis and create a regulatory system for the drug’s cultivation and sale.

Voters in Montana had two recreational cannabis items on their ballot, Initiative 190 and Initiative 118, and decided by a 57% to 43% margin in favor. The Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance, or I-148, legalized medicinal use in 2004.

I-190, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2020) will allow adults in the state to possess and buy cannabis for recreational use and defined a 20% tax on recreational cannabis. It would also allow people serving sentences for certain cannabis-related acts to apply for resentencing or records expungement.

CI-118, Allow for a Legal Age for Marijuana Amendment (2020) will amend the state’s constitution to establish 21 as the legal age to purchase, possess and consume cannabis.

Mississippians had the option of weighing in on two versions of the Medical Marijuana Initiative: Initiative 65 and Alternative 65A. 

Voters approved the citizen-led Initiative 65 by a 74% majority, which will allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana for patients with any of 22 debilitating conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The constitutional amendment would establish a regulatory program for businesses to grow and sell medical cannabis and for the products to be taxed at a 7% rate.

Initiative 65A was the state legislature’s proposed alternative to the grassroots Initiative 65. It would have limited the smoking of medical cannabis to people who are terminally ill and was designed to leave the regulatory framework up to state legislature.

New Jersey became the first state in the Mid-Atlantic to legalize recreational cannabis, with Public Question 1 passing by a 67% to 33% margin. The state legalized medicinal cannabis in 2010.

Public Question 1, Marijuana Legalization Amendment (2020) legalizes the possession and use of marijuana for persons age 21 and older and legalizes the cultivation, processing and sale of retail marijuana. The amendment is set to take effect January 1, 2021.

Voters in South Dakota had two separate ballot initiatives legalizing both recreational and medical cannabis use. Amendment A passed by a 53% to 47% margin, and the medical initiative, Measure 26, passed 69% to 31%. 

Constitutional Amendment A, Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2020) will legalize cannabis for all adults in addition to  requiring state legislators to pass laws for medical marijuana use and hemp sales by April 1, 2022.  

Initiated Measure 26, Medical Marijuana Initiative (2020) will establish a medical cannabis program and registration system for people with qualifying conditions.

Drug Reform in Oregon and Washington, D.C.

By far, the most innovative drug reform laws passed in Oregon. Voters decided to decriminalize small amounts of hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Oregon also became the first state to legalize  the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” – psilocybin – for mental health treatment in supervised settings.  

Oregon Measure 109, Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative (2020) passed by 56% and creates a program for administering psilocybin products to people age 21 and older. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will be responsible for establishing the program and its regulations.  Proponents said the move would allow the drug to be used to treat depression, anxiety and other conditions. 

Oregon Measure 110, Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative (2020) passed by 59% and reclassifies possession of any drug to be a “lesser violation resulting in a $100 fine or a completed health assessment.” This means possession of small amounts of what have long been considered harder drugs will no longer be punishable by jail time. The law also funds drug addiction treatment from marijuana sales taxes.

In Washington, D.C, voters approved Initiative 81, which shifts police priorities by decriminalizing a wide range of psychedelics.

Initiative 81, the Entheogenic Plants and Fungus Policy Act of 2020, does not legalize or reduce penalties for entheogens. Rather, it makes possession and use of entheogenic plants and fungi among the District’s lowest law enforcement priorities.

TELL US, did you vote for cannabis in yesterday’s election? 

Note: All cannabis ballot initiatives above have passed, but percentages could shift as ballots continue to be counted.

The post Cannabis Ballot Initiatives Win Big on 2020 Election Night appeared first on Cannabis Now.

2020 US Elections – Voting on Cannabis

The 2020 US Presidential election took place last night, and the results have yet to be decided. American voters chose a new leader and voted on measures put forward by each state. This election brought a record turnout; thus, US lawmakers got a better idea of what the American people actually want. So, they asked […]

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