We’ve rounded up our top 10 articles to keep you up-to-date on the latest industry news.
This week, Canada passed its Cannabis Act to legalize adult-use marijuana, with sales slated to start mid-October; Robert Patterson, the current acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), announced he will retire at the end of the month; the New York State Health Commissioner recommended legalizing marijuana while the state also looks to expand its medical program; Massachusetts awarded its first adult-use cannabis license; and more.
Federal: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that President Trump hasn’t talked to him about legislation to decriminalize federal marijuana laws, but that he believed the president would support legislation to protect states that do so. “What I understood the president to have told Sen. Cory Gardner was that if a state legalizes marijuana, he may be supportive of legislation that would honor that state’s decision,” Sessions said during an interview with The Hill’s new TV show, “Rising.”
Robert Patterson, the current acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), has announced that he is retiring at the end of the month. It is not clear who will replace Patterson as head of the DEA, but the cannabis industry is no doubt hopeful that it will gain an ally with the next appointee.
Texas: Texas’ Republican Party passed a platform June 16 supporting major changes in the way the state treats medical marijuana and those found in possession of less than an ounce of cannabis, signaling that years of prohibition could be over as soon as 2019. As of last weekend, Texas Republicans officially support decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, improving the state’s 2015 Compassionate Use Act and more.
New York: New York’s much-anticipated study on recreational marijuana will recommend legalizing the drug in the state, the state’s top health regulator said June 18. The study will soon be finalized and delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who ordered the study in January after neighboring states Massachusetts and Vermont took action to allow marijuana for recreational purposes.
The New York State Health Department plans to make medical marijuana available to more New Yorkers by adding opioid use to the list of qualifying conditions under the state’s medical marijuana program. The health department characterized the decision as a step toward curbing the opioid epidemic, saying that medical marijuana treats the pain that opioids are meant to address while also reducing the chance of addiction and eliminating the risk of a fatal overdose.
Michigan: Michigan State Rep. Sheldon Neeley introduced a bill that would make it easier for residents convicted of misdemeanor marijuana crimes to have those records expunged if adult-use is legalized in the November election. “If marijuana becomes legal, I don’t believe that it should still be a burden on those individuals that have had these crimes placed on their permanent record,” Neeley said.
Massachusetts: Sira Naturals, one of Massachusetts’ largest registered marijuana dispensary (RMD) groups, announced June 21 that it has received approval from the Cannabis Control Commission for a Tier 3 Cultivation License. This license, the first granted in the state, enables the company to grow between 10,001 and 20,000 square feet of cannabis for adult-use.
Arkansas: The Arkansas State Plant Board (ASPB) approved regulations for the state’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program June 21 at its quarterly meeting. When the hemp regulations become effective, the ASPB will establish the protocol to grant licenses to Arkansas farmers and processors.
Colorado: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment hopes to expand on the state’s nine currently funded medical marijuana studies by offering nearly $3 million more in grants for qualified research efforts. The Colorado General Assembly created a Medical Marijuana Research Grants Program in 2014—the same year that the state’s recreational cannabis sales started—in hopes of attaining concrete evidence on the medical benefits of cannabis, and so far, the program has funded studies about medical marijuana’s effect on post-traumatic stress disorder, inflammatory bowel disease among youth, pediatric brain tumors, epilepsy and sleeping disorders and more.
Canada: After a series of back-and-forth debates between Canada’s House and Senate, the Canadian government has formally approved its cannabis legalization bill, with legal sales beginning Oct. 17. “It’s been too easy for our kids to get marijuana—and for criminals to reap the profit,” Trudeau tweeted after the vote. “Today, we change that.”