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Hot off the press cannabis, marijuana, cbd and hemp news from around the world on the WeedLife News Network.

University launches online cannabis course

ALBUQUERQUE - UNM is launching a new online course dedicated to navigating New Mexico’s cannabis rules and regulations.

“There’s a funny joke in the cannabis industry that people think they’re in the cannabis business, but they’re actually in the compliance business,” said Max Simon. Simon is the CEO of Green Flower, the California-based company behind the new class.

Green Flower already operates several cannabis industry classes for UNM’s continuing education department – including ones on cannabis agriculture and business strategies. Department leaders say they previously had a class dedicated to understanding cannabis laws in New Mexico. They say that class was geared more towards attorneys and legal professionals, so they decided to rework the material for a business/manager perspective.

“That’s probably the number one scary topic when people jumped into this business of saying, ‘oh, yeah, let’s, let’s get into the cannabis industry,’ and then they find all these, you know, policies and laws that are also changing rapidly,” said Audrey Arnold, executive director of UNM’s continuing education department.

The class is broken into 3 sections. According to the program’s website, the first covers the cannabis industry as a whole. The second presents a framework for assessing and managing risks in a business setting. The third takes a closer look at risk management and how to properly identify and mitigate gaps in a commercial cannabis business’s control of activities.

“This program is really training people to become professionals in understanding those cannabis compliance needs, assessing any risks within the business, and then ultimately, making sure that these cannabis businesses are totally compliant in the most efficient way” Simon said.

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Cannabis Industry Association calls for US hemp reforms

The 2018 Farm Bill left the barn door open for dangerous and intoxicating forms of hemp says the the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA).

The CCIA has released a white paper it says details the dangers associated with the growing number of increasingly intoxicating products currently being sold as “hemp” from a myriad of outlets, and has called for urgent reform.

The issue has its roots in the wording of the 2018 Farm Bill, which made hemp legal if it contained less than 0.3 per cent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis. The fact only delta-9 – the most commonly consumed form of THC and the one that provides a high – was singled out gave rise to other forms of intoxicating THC such as delta-8. These can be created by manipulating non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) extracted from hemp.

The white paper notes some of these products are far more potent than their delta-9 counterparts and often contain dangerous chemicals resulting from the manufacturing process. Some of these cannabinoids include THCjd, THC-O, HHC, Delta-10 THC and the most commonly sold (for now), Delta-8 THC.

“With the way these products are sold, it’s easier for a kid to get their hands on them than a six-pack of beer,” says CCIA board Vice President Tiffany Devitt.

Various states have crafted their own laws regarding other forms of THC in order to rein in or stop their distribution, but the CCIA says more action is needed

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Up to 40 Cannabis consumption lounges coming to Nevada

Up to 40 cannabis consumption lounges could be coming to Nevada as early next year.

The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board on Monday announced it had received 100 completed state licensing applications during a 10-day window earlier this month.

Nonrefundable application fees had been set at $100,000 for dispensaries; $10,000 for independent applicants, and $2,500 for social equity applicants, those who were negatively affected by marijuana laws before the state legalized the drug in 2017.

Established dispensaries, which would have a lounges attached or adjacent to them, accounted for 20 of the completed licenses. The state did not set a limit to how many such businesses it will be licensing.

But Nevada is only issuing 20 independent licenses, half of which would go to social equity applicants.

That will mean 40 independent and 20 social equity applicants will be left out out following a lottery for the 20 available slots.

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If amend 3. passes, when would legal pot be available in Missouri?

How soon recreational marijuana could be ready for purchase if approved by Missouri voters next week?

JEFFERSON CITY - One week from Tuesday, Missouri voters will get to decide if marijuana should be legal for anyone 21 and older. 

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) doesn’t have a stance on whether Amendment 3 on the November ballot passes or fails but would be required to put the program into effect. But if the measure is approved by voters, how soon could Missourians buy recreational marijuana, and how is the state preparing to roll out the program? 

“We don’t have an opinion on this whole thing,” Missouri’s medical marijuana director Lyndall Fraker said. “All we want to do is administer the law.”

Next Tuesday, Missouri could join 19 other states in legalizing recreational marijuana. It was four years ago that voters approved medical marijuana, sending tax revenue to veterans’ healthcare services. 

“We have turned over almost $27 million to the veterans’ commission,” Fraker said. 

Overall, the industry has brought in more than $500 million dollars in sales since launching in Oct. 2020. Fraker said there are about 204,000 patients and 3,000 caregivers that have licenses in Missouri. 

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How pig farmers could affect Cannabis interstate commerce

Apparently conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch isn’t a fan of the Dormant Commerce Clause and used the pork case as a way to challenge it.

Could an issue over pigs affect the entire cannabis industry? It may seem like an odd connection, but it could be the Dormant Commerce Clause that brings these disparate industries together.

The Dormant Commerce Clause is known for its effect on interstate commerce, an issue that has vexed states wanting to create residency requirements for cannabis licensing. It could also single-handedly take down social equity efforts within the states.

What Is the Dormant Commerce Clause?

According to Wikipedia, the Dormant Commerce Clause (DCC) is used to prohibit state legislation that discriminates against, or unduly burdens, interstate, or international commerce. The general idea is that interstate commerce should be decided as a Federal issue versus a state issue.

The first clear holding of the Supreme Court striking down a state law under the Dormant Commerce Clause came in the 1873 case Reading Railroad v. Pennsylvania. In this situation, the state of Pennsylvania tried to tax the railroads for traveling through the state, but the Supreme Court ruled against the state.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that: “The central rationale for the rule against discrimination is to prohibit state or municipal laws whose object is local economic protectionism, laws that would excite those jealousies and retaliatory measures the Constitution was designed to prevent.”

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Customers sue California Marijuana company for overstating THC Potency in its joints

Two marijuana consumers have sued a California marijuana company because its joints contain a lower percentage of THC that declared and accused it of false advertising.

According to the plaintiffs, the preroll joint advertised as the one "that will get you to Mars quicker than Elon Musk" allegedly raised concerns over the mislabeling of marijuana products to sell at a higher price.

The plaintiffs, Jasper Centeno of Long Beach and Blake Wilson of Fresno, are involved in a suit against the defendant, California marijuana company DreamFields Brands, Inc. and Med for America, for false advertising.

Santa Monica-based law firm Dovel & Luner seeks unspecified damages and restitution for the two plaintiffs who purchased the allegedly mislabeled products and class-action status for the lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed on October 20, states that the plaintiffs purchased DreamFields Brands' Jeeter pre-rolled joints, which allegedly had a THC content lower than was advertised, and, therefore, the declaration of THC content on the company's labels is false.

"Testing by independent labs reveals that the true THC content of Defendants' products is materially less than the amount listed on the label. Moreover, the difference is far greater than the 10% margin of error that DCC [California's Department of Cannabis Control] regulations permit," the lawsuit states.

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Nasdaq objection to Canopy’s Big Deal shows pot stocks’ Lingering Risks

Lawyers and cannabis companies have come up with some innovative business structures, and last week’s deal to create Canopy USA may be one for the history books — whether it succeeds or fails.  

Will the exchange give the all-clear?

Canopy Growth’s innovative deal structured to get it access to the US marijuana market even without federal legalization hit a potential roadblock last week, one that showed how big a role stock exchanges play in the fate of cannabis companies.

Soon after Canopy announced a plan to buy three US assets ahead of the federal legalization that everyone thought the transactions were hinged on, it filed a proxy statement. The filing disclosed that “Nasdaq has objected to Canopy consolidating the financial results of Canopy USA in the event that Canopy USA closes on the acquisition.” That leaves Canopy, its investor Constellation Brands and the three companies — Acreage Holdings, Jetty Extracts and Wana Brands — hanging.

US stock exchanges have so far shied away from listing US cannabis companies because they traffic in a federally illegal substance. It may turn out that even the creation of a US holding company owned by a Canadian firm via exchangeable shares makes the Nasdaq too nervous. A Nasdaq spokesman declined to comment.

“WEED can either proceed with the transaction and delist from Nasdaq or WEED can abandon the transaction,” BMO Capital Markets analyst Tamy Chen said in an Oct. 26 research note, using Canopy’s Canadian stock symbol. She said she wouldn’t be changing her estimates on the company and would continue to view it as a stand-alone entity given uncertainties over whether the plan would go ahead.

It was a different story on Oct. 25, the day Bloomberg broke news about the deal. Marijuana stocks were buoyed on both sides of the border — with Canopy rising the most in four years — and many analysts speculated that the Canopy plan could set a precedent for other Canadian companies shut out of the larger US market.

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Fire Chief concerned marijuana grow waste ending up in Keystone Lake

PAWNEE COUNTY - Keith Buntin is the fire chief for the volunteer department at Station 58 in Pawnee County.

He took pictures of what appears to be gloves, cans and other trash partially buried under mulch near Keystone Lake. He says he found the mess while responding to a fire a couple months ago.

The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics confirms they are investigating some of the grows in the Terlton area to make sure they are legal when it comes to who regulates what. They say when it comes to dumping, that is on the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA).

OMMA says: “The rules allow licensees to dispose of root balls, stems, fan leaves and mature stalks—parts of the cannabis plant not generally used as medical marijuana or in a medical marijuana product—at their own licensed premises by open burning, incineration, burying, mulching, composting or any other technique approved by the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The licensees must also maintain a disposal log with a signed statement attesting that the plant parts were disposed of lawfully.”

Chief Butin says in the Cleveland and Terlton zip code there are 54 legal and licensed grows or dispensaries.

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Where are Florida’s Marijuana licenses?

Florida voters in 2016 overwhelmingly approved Amendment 2, intent on creating a market for medical marijuana to help those suffering from debilitating illnesses.

But a Florida appeals court judge rightly chided the state last month month for failing to serve this growing market, in what’s become only the latest betrayal of the voters’ will by the governor and Legislature.

The shot across the bow from First District Court of Appeal Judge Ross Bilbrey’s came as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration continues to drag its feet on issuing new licenses to medical marijuana operators. As the News Service of Florida explained, a 2017 law creates a framework for the state’s medical marijuana industry. Florida has 22 medical marijuana operators, but the law requires the Department of Health to grant new licenses as the number of patients increases. With more than 700,000 patients, the state should have issued at least another 22 licenses — double the current number — to keep pace. Bilbrey said that potential applicants are “understandably frustrated” and the judge suggested they file legal challenges to force the state to open the permit pipeline.

Since taking office in 2019, the governor has left the application process in limbo, blaming a delay on litigation over the 2017 law. But the Florida Supreme Court upheld the statute last year, and Bilbrey has repeatedly questioned state health department attorneys about the apparent bad faith behind the delays. The judge even noted that Florida had failed to grant a license earmarked in the 2017 law for a Black farmer. (The state finally announced this week that it had selected a north Florida farmer for the license.)

This obstruction has become standard operating procedure in Republican-led Florida. First lawmakers ignore the voters’ demand for political change. So Floridians go over their heads and pass a constitutional amendment. Then lawmakers ignore those amendments or distort their intent — forcing Floridians to seek justice in the courts. It’s happened with redistricting, environmental spending and felon voting rights. No surprise it’s happening here.

The state should be carrying out the voters’ will and meeting the demands of the market. Restricting permits only dampens competition. It sends the wrong message to investors, stigmatizes medical use and further embroils the state health department in yet another political issue. The department has had ample time to do its diligence and get the applications process in gear. It shouldn’t fall on companies to seek relief from the courts when these regulatory functions are a matter of routine.

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The normalization of Cannabis

In recent years, the cannabis industry has been booming. Research has created a new way to treat patients with debilitating health issues, like seizure disorders and chronic pain.

Businesses have created marijuana-friendly spaces such as coffee shops, restaurants and lounges. Cannabis is becoming increasingly normalized in our society and the drug has begun to lose a majority of its negative connotations with younger generations.

The wide variety of cannabis uses is astounding, from medicine to hemp-based products that help to fight pollution, to a recreational activity for those 21 and over. The United States has also made huge legal strides in terms of marijuana throughout the last decade, with 18 states having it fully legalized and 36 states having medical marijuana legalized. Rather than continuing to criminalize marijuana users, states have been able to make a profit from the product and allocate the funds to cities and programs in need.

Yet, there are still 40,000 Americans incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana-related charges. States are steadily continuing the legalization of marijuana but are not releasing people from prison at the same rate. This leaves our prisons overpopulated and underfunded, and ruins the lives of people who are, respectively, innocent.

Studies have found that people of color and white people use marijuana at roughly the same rate, yet people of color are four times as likely to be arrested for using the drug. Data collected from the New York Police Department found that in 2020, 94% of all people arrested on marijuana-related charges were people of color.

The popularization of marijuana usage has focused on white people and has become normalized by white people repeatedly speaking out about the benefits. Less than one percent of all dispensaries across the country are owned by people of color. Recently, a dispensary was under fire for naming a new strain of marijuana, “Strange Fruit.” The name was taken from a Billie Holiday song that was written as a metaphor to describe the abuse African Americans endured in the deep south.

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Hemp and CBD to be removed from German narcotics act bringing an end to business prosecutions

While the draft of Germany’s cannabis laws has received a mixed response, those in the country’s hemp industry have welcomed developments.

Earlier this month the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) confirmed the suspended prison sentences of two commercial traders of CBD flowers. 

This was the latest in a long list of similar rulings with possibly hundreds more similar cases due before the country’s courts – which continue to view hemp/CBD as having narcotic properties.

However, it is understood that the country’s new cannabis regulations are set to finally remove hemp/CBD products from the German Narcotics Act.

Removed From Narcotics Law

This direction of travel has been welcomed by Jürgen Neumeyer, Managing Director of the Cannabis Business Industry Association (BvCW). 

He told BusinessCann that it appears that ‘in the future, cannabis – and thus also commercial hemp and CBD – will be completely removed from the Narcotics Act in Germany’.

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Legalizing Cannabis would improve Missouri’s economy; new study finds

71% of those polled, believe legalizing cannabis will improve states' economies.

Recreational marijuana could be legal in half the country after the November elections. Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota are all asking voters to legalize recreational marijuana. They would join 19 other states and the District of Columbia that already allow recreational cannabis.

Missouri’s amendment would approve cannabis for those 21 and older. If the amendment passes, Missourians can start buying and growing cannabis for personal use as early as this year. Missouri voters approved medical marijuana in 2018. Missouri’s legislators have failed to pass recreational marijuana at least twice, leading advocates to go to voters for approval instead.

Now, with less than two weeks to go until the midterm election, new research published this week finds that 71% of those polled, believe legalizing cannabis will improve states’ economies. In a survey of 1,000 Americans, 67% support full cannabis legalization, and 9-in-10 support legalization in some form. Many of those surveyed are residents of the states with cannabis measures on the November ballot, such as Missouri.

When it comes to the value of your home, the study conducted by Real Estate Witch, found that 27% of Americans think cannabis legalization increases home values, while only 16% believe cannabis legalization decreases home values.

The study also found that most Americans (70%) would pay at market rate or more for a house near a cannabis-related amenity such as a dispensary or weed lounge.

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California marijuana firm sued over potency of its joints

Two plaintiffs claim "Jeeter" branded joints are not high-potency as advertised.

Two disgruntled customers are suing a California marijuana company, alleging that their prerolled joints were not as strong as claimed.

The lawsuit was filed on October 20 against DreamFields Brands, Inc. for allegedly falsely claiming that their products have a high THC component, according to the suit. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the compound in marijuana that makes users feel high.

The two plaintiffs, Jasper Centeno of Long Beach and Blake Wilson of Fresno, accuse the company of unfair competition, false advertising, and negligent representation. The two say they purchased prerolled “Jeeter” branded joints that were advertised as having a high THC content.

The California Department of Cannabis Control requires companies to label cannabis products with their THC content, expressed as either a percentage or in milligrams. And the THC content on the label must be within 10% of the actual THC content, according to the department’s code of regulations.

“Because cannabis consumers generally prefer and are willing to pay more for high-THC cannabis products, declaring that their products have a very high THC content allows Defendants to charge premium rates for their cannabis products,” the lawsuit claims.

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Braintree lifts ban on some Marijuana businesses; recreational sales still prohibited

RAINTREE - Retail sales of recreational marijuana will remain prohibited, but bans on other sectors of the marijuana industry have been lifted under a revised town ordinance.

On a 6-3 vote at a recent meeting, the town council approved the ordinance as the latest in a series of measures that apply to the marijuana industry. Nicole Taub, chief of staff to Mayor Charles Kokoros, said the new ordinance "will continue to prohibit the sale of nonmedical marijuana."

Medical marijuana is not subject to local regulation.

Kokoros wrote in a memo to the council that the purpose of the measure is to remove the conflict with a zoning ordinance approved Aug. 2 that allows marijuana cultivation and processing in the town's highway business district.

The zoning change was sought by Flower XPress of Boston, which plans to build a marijuana cultivation and processing operation in a long-vacant warehouse on Ivory Street next to the Braintree MBTA station.

District 2 Councilor Joseph Reynolds said any changes in the town's marijuana regulations should be approved by the voters in a referendum.

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Here’s how many Americans believe cannabis legalization improves the economy

Despite the fact that most Americans are on board with legal weed and believe it would help the struggling economy, only 8% consider it the most-pressing social issue in the country. (Benzinga)

The majority of Americans (71%) believe that legalizing cannabis improves states’ economies, according to a new report from Real Estate Witch, an online publication that connects readers with expert real estate advice, owned by Clever Real Estate.

A survey of 1,000 Americans found that 9 in 10 (91%) support cannabis legalization in some form, including 67% who support full legalization. 70% would vote in favor of recreational cannabis legalization, and even more (84%) would vote in favor of medical cannabis legalization.

Of those in states where cannabis is not legal, 35% say legalization would impact their use, including 12% who would start using cannabis and 23% who would use it more often.

More than one-quarter (27%) of respondents in states where cannabis is already legal believe legalization helped the economy.

Additionally, 60% of Americans think cannabis legalization will impact the real estate market. Of those, 41% believe more people will flock to states where cannabis is legal.

More than 1 in 4 (27%) Americans believe that legalization improves home values in a state. Data confirms this — home values actually increased $6,338 more in cities where cannabis was legalized, according to a previous study from Real Estate Witch.

In fact, the survey found that most Americans (70%) would pay at market rate or more for a house near a cannabis-related amenity such as a dispensary or weed lounge — including 22% who would pay above market rate.

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Planning Commission backs permit for downtown Mitchell building to welcome Medical Marijuana dispensary

“We didn’t want to give up on Mitchell. We found a good building, and we hope the community will find the rehabilitation of that building will be a benefit to Mitchell,” Emmett Reistroffer said of the company's plan to transform the vacant building that housed Overtime Steakhouse.

MITCHELL - A South Dakota cannabis company’s plan to transform the former Overtime Steakhouse building into a medical marijuana dispensary received the city Planning and Zoning Commission's approval on Monday.

The commission unanimously approved Genesis Farms’ conditional use permit to operate a cannabis dispensary inside the vacant building in downtown Mitchell.

After being denied from opening a dispensary in a building on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Main Street in April due to the location being within 300 feet from a nearby church, the former Overtime building doesn't require any variances like the previous property Genesis Farms attempted to turn into a dispensary.

Emmett Reistroffer, the operations manager of Genesis Farms, spoke about the renovations that the company has in store for the building that’s been vacant for over a year.

“We didn’t want to give up on Mitchell. We found a good building, and we hope the community will find the rehabilitation of that building will be a benefit to Mitchell,” he said during Monday’s meeting at City Hall.

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Miami to vote on Medical Marijuana dispensary rules

City commission slated to vote on Michael Comras’ appeal to open a medical marijuana outpost, as well as on guidelines on where dispensaries can set up shop.

The contention is expected to bubble up again this week. On Thursday, Miami commissioners are slated to vote on Comras’ appeal of the Miami Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board’s denial of a certificate of use he needs to open a dispensary. Plus, they are expected to take up proposed regulations that spell out where the facilities can open.

Cities in Florida can either outright ban medical marijuana dispensaries or allow them, as long as they are 500 feet from schools. Or, cities also can impose their own rules with distancing requirements that dictate how far the stores have to be from each other and from properties such as daycare centers and churches.

So far, Miami has not decided on any of these options. The ordinance on the agenda proposes to place dispensaries at least 1,000 feet from schools, religious institutions, day cares, parks and addiction treatment centers, according to city records. In addition, no two stores can be within 5,280 feet of each other. Exceptions would be allowed for dispensaries that are part of hospitals with at least 100 beds.

But expect changes to the proposal and lots of debate on Thursday.

Commissioner Ken Russell, a long-time proponent of the city becoming more friendly to dispensaries, said the draft language is too prohibitive. Based on the proposed spacing requirements, “there’s not a postage stamp left in the city where a dispensary can operate,” he said.

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Cannabis consumers hot over tepid buzz from weed brand

'By labelling its products with inflated THC numbers, defendants are overcharging consumers,' lawyer argues

Cannabis consumers in California do not appear to have taken kindly to lofty claims about the high produced by weed pre-rolls from Jeeter, a brand by DreamFields Brands Inc. and Med For America Inc.

According to a report from Cannabis Business Times, the law firm Dovel & Luner is representing plaintiffs who claim they purchased mislabelled Jeeter products at California dispensaries.

As per the Jeeter website, its infused joints average more than 35 per cent THC and “will get you to Mars quicker than Elon Musk.”

But the promising effects did not translate, at least for the people represented in the suit.

Filed on Oct. 20, the class action lawsuit cites false advertising, arguing the THC content is said to average about 35 per cent, but runs as high as 46 per cent in some products.

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Would medical marijuana benefit South Carolina?

South Carolina is one of only 13 states where marijuana is illegal.

But some lawmakers and doctors in the state continue pushing for the legalization of medical marijuana, which they say can be a safer treatment for people with debilitating illnesses than some prescription medications.

An attempt to legalize medical marijuana failed this spring, passing in the state Senate but not the House of Representatives .

Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York County, who voted against the bill, said he thought it went too far.

“My biggest concern is that I feel like it sets up an infrastructure for (full) legalization,” Pope said. “As opposed to focusing on taking care of those that probably need help the most.”

Still, legislators who support medical marijuana argue that legalization could significantly reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic.

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South Dakota voters to again consider Recreational Marijuana

SIOUX FALLS - When it comes to marijuana, South Dakota has been a leader among its Great Plains neighbors: one of the first to legalize recreational use, the first to approve both medical and recreational forms on the same ballot and the only one to have its recreational measure reversed.

Legalization is back on the ballot in November, but whether the politically red state will become the first to pass it twice remains in doubt.

It’s facing strong opposition from conservative groups and figures determined to pull the state back from legalizing pot. And though 54% of voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis in 2020, that campaign may have benefited from the medical marijuana measure that appeared on the same ballot.

This time, recreational marijuana stands alone on the ballot. And it likely faces a different demographic of voters — older and perhaps less inclined toward the drug — in a midterm election rather than in a presidential year, said Matt Schweich, who organized that campaign and is doing so again this year.

“I think this is a close race,” he said at a news conference to kick off a statewide voter registration tour last week. “We need our people to come out and vote.”

Pot legalization advocates have found success primarily through ballot measures rather than legislatures, especially in GOP-held states. Voters in three states where Republicans control the governor’s office and both legislative chambers — Arkansas, Missouri and North Dakota — are deciding on recreational marijuana this year, as is politically divided Maryland.

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