Friday, October 22Urban Hippie

Author: Thomas Edward

Recreational Cannabis Law in Washington, D.C. May Soon Be Operational

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Congress may be on the verge of removing a crucial impediment that has kept Washington, D.C. from implementing the recreational marijuana law it passed years ago. The appropriations bill introduced by Democrats in the United States Senate on Monday evening did not contain the so-called “Harris Rider” that has prevented the District of Columbia from enjoying legal weed, despite voters there passing a legalization proposal all the way back in 2014. Written by Republican Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland, “the budget rider written by Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) has prevented D.C. from commercializing the drug and has been added into every appropriations bill since [it was passed by D.C. voters],” the Washington Post explained, noting that Congress “has oversight over all D.C. laws.” 

Alabama Announces Medical Cannabis Licenses Won’t Be Available Until 2022

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Regulators in Alabama said last week that medical marijuana likely will not be available for purchase in the state prior to 2023. The Associated Press reported that the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission “has plenty to do before people can apply for medical cannabis licenses, so it won’t push for a date that might allow sales next year.”  The news comes after the regulatory panel had previously said that the start date for sales may be accelerated. But according to Rex Vaughn, the vice chairman of the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission, the panel has a full plate. He told the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper that “the group needed to address other duties, including rulemaking and physician training,” while also expressing “concerns that further legislative action—required to move

Virginia Has Sealed 64,000 Cannabis Distribution Charges

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More than 64,000 misdemeanor charges related to distribution of cannabis have been sealed in Virginia since July, when pot legalization officially took effect in the commonwealth. The figure emerged last Thursday “during a meeting of the legislature’s Cannabis Oversight Commission,” according to the Virginia Mercury. “Officials said the records were scrubbed from the state’s criminal record database, which is used by employers like school boards, state agencies and local governments to screen employees,” the website reported, and it comes after Virginia “had already sealed 333,000 records detailing charges of simple possession last year after the state reduced the offense to a civil infraction on par with a traffic offense.” In April, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed legisl

Arizona’s Social Equity Cannabis Program Takes Shape

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Policymakers in Arizona unveiled rules last week for a social equity cannabis program aimed at giving communities most affected by pot prohibition opportunities in the state’s newly regulated recreational cannabis market. The Arizona Daily Star reported that the state’s Department of Health Services issued the final draft of its report on the social equity ownership program last Thursday.  According to the Daily Star, the “major changes” issued by the department include “clearing up language around the transferability of a social equity license,” by barring “applicants from entering into prior agreements with larger retailers to sell or take over an applicant’s license.” The Department of Health Services also voted to lower the initial application fee to $4,000 from $5,000, accord

New Licenses Awarded to Expand Cannabis Industry in New Jersey

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Regulators in New Jersey last week voted to significantly increase the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.  In a four to one vote on Friday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission agreed “to issue 10 new licenses for medical marijuana cultivators and four new licenses for vertically integrated businesses, which grow, manufacture and sell medical marijuana at dispensaries,” the Asbury Park Press reported. With the approval from the commission, the “number of legal cannabis growers in the state will more than double,” according to the newspaper. The publication noted that by “the state’s own estimates, there should be 26 medical marijuana cultivators and 61 dispensaries to handle that number of patients,” but instead “the state has just 23 active dispensa

Minnesota Denies Coverage of Medical Marijuana for Injured Workers

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Minnesota’s high court ruled this week that medical marijuana cannot be covered under workers’ compensation. In a pair of decisions handed down last Wednesday, the state’s Supreme Court said that the federal prohibition on cannabis precludes employers from being required to cover medical marijuana treatment for employees who have been injured. “If federal law preempts state law in this specific instance, then an employer cannot be ordered to reimburse an injured employee for the cost of medical cannabis used to treat the effects of a work-related injury,” Justice G. Barry Anderson wrote for the majority. With the rulings on Wednesday, the Minnesota Supreme Court “overturned earlier decisions by the state Workers Compensation Court of Appeals’ that ordered employers to pay for med

Mississippi ‘Not Quite Ready’ to Implement Medical Cannabis

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Mississippi’s governor on Tuesday said he isn’t quite ready to call a special legislative session to implement the state’s new medical cannabis law.  Tate Reeves, a first-term Republican, made it clear that he believes the special session will indeed happen––but not until a few outstanding matters are ironed out. “I am confident we will have a special session of the Legislature if we get the specifics of a couple of items that are left outstanding,” Reeves said at a press conference, as quoted by Mississippi Today. “Again, we have made great progress working with our legislative leaders.” Reeves’ announcement on Tuesday comes nearly three weeks after lawmakers in Mississippi had apparently struck a deal on legislation to implement the medical marijuana law.  Mississippi Today r

First Nevada Cannabis Dispensary Approved at Border of Idaho

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The Nevada-Idaho border is about to get a little bit greener.  Officials in Elko County, Nevada last week signed off on a proposal for a marijuana dispensary to open in Jackpot, Nevada, which straddles the border between the two western states. Commissioners in Elko County unanimously approved the license for the business, according to the Associated Press, adding that the shop could open as early as Monday. “We have no issues moving forward with the license,” Elko County Undersheriff Justin Ames said Wednesday at the commissioners’ meeting, as quoted by the Associated Press. The Elko Daily reported that the business, known as Thrive Cannabis Marketplace, “passed background checks” and had “interviewed nearly 60 candidates to work in the dispensary, giving preference to Elko an

Illicit Cannabis Grow Op Discovered in Oregon

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An enormous, illicit marijuana grow operation was discovered in southern Oregon last week in what local authorities are describing as an unprecedented bust.  The operation was found last Wednesday near the town of Klamath Falls, Oregon, where deputies reportedly stumbled upon a “27,000-square-foot potato shed” south of the town.  The potato shed, according to the Herald and News newspaper, was “filled with marijuana in various stages of processing: drying in giant strands that stretched from the roof to the floor, buds pruned and stuffed into 40-pound bags, hundreds of those bags stacked against a wall and years of discarded marijuana waste in piles ready for disposal.” Authorities believe the value of the marijuana discovered inside the shed likely eclipses $100 million in street

The Latest IRS Initiative Could Positively Impact Cannabis

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The tax man is extending a helpful hand to marijuana business owners, not something we would normally see for the cannabis industry.  In an announcement posted on its website late last month, the Internal Revenue Service unveiled its new “Cannabis/Marijuana Initiative,” billed as a “groundbreaking effort” by the agency to assist such business owners as they navigate the often confounding U.S. tax code. The goal of the initiative, the agency said, “is to implement a strategy to increase voluntary compliance with the tax law while also identifying and addressing non-compliance,” a move the IRS believes “will positively impact filing, payment and reporting compliance on the part of all businesses involved in the growing, distribution and sales of cannabis/marijuana.” The agency said