WeedLife News Network

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

Montana is now a pot state, not a coal one — so tell our federal delegation

For years now we have heard Jon Tester and Steve Daines declare themselves “coal state senators” whenever they so willingly vote against measures to reduce or tax the use of coal and its planet-killing pollution. But as recently released data show, the state and local tax revenue and number of jobs created by Montana’s legalization of recreational and medical marijuana now outpace coal — a trend that is expected to continue.

Montanans voted overwhelmingly to approve Initiative-190 in 2020 to legalize adult recreational marijuana use. In fact, tens of thousands more Montanans supported recreational pot than voted for Senator Steve Daines, Governor Greg Gianforte or Congressman Matt Rosendale. If “bipartisan support” means anything to the politicians that continually blather about it, the vote for legalizing recreational pot indisputably garnered votes from across the political spectrum.

While medicinal marijuana has been legal in Montana since the voter approved passage of I-148 in 2004, adult recreational use only became legal in January of 2022. In a 2020 study titled “An Assessment of the Market and Tax Revenue Potential of Recreational Cannabis in Montana,” the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research predicted total sales of recreational pot would be a whopping $217 million this year, producing $43.4 million in state and local tax revenues. That number was predicted to rise to $259.8 million in sales and $52 million in tax revenues by 2026.

As reported in a recent article, the Montana Department of Revenue posted sales data showing total medicinal and recreational cannabis sales hit $72.9 million in the first three months of this year. Recreational sales outpace medicinal and with the tourist season upon us — and an expected 10 million or more visitors to the Big Sky State — those numbers are only expected to increase. It’s fair to say the sun is shining on the marijuana industry in Montana while coal continues its precipitous decline.

According to a report from the Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning, coal tax revenues last year came in at $45 million and are predicted to fall to $36 million by 2025 due to “continued decline in domestic demand.” Indeed, if one could say the future of the coal industry in Montana is black, very black.

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An overview of historical federal cannabis charge statistics (and why they may be declining)

In 2012, Colorado and Washington made headlines when they became the first two states in the U.S. to legalize cannabis for recreational use. Since then, 18 other states as well as the District of Columbia have followed suit by passing legislation for recreational distribution and consumption.

Classified as a Schedule I drug by the Controlled Substance Act, the same as methamphetamine or cocaine, cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. However, as more state lawmakers pass legislation to legalize recreational use, federal cannabis trafficking cases and charges have steadily dropped year-over-year.

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s 2021 Sourcebook, in 2012, the same year Colorado and Washington first passed their legislation, there were roughly 7,000 offenders charged with cannabis trafficking by federal prosecutors. Cannabis made up 27.6% of all drug trafficking charges that year, the most of any category.

As more states continued to pass legislation to legalize recreational cannabis, the number of federal trafficking charges began to drop year-after-year. In 2016, when nine states in total had opened for recreational use, cannabis trafficking cases fell to approximately 3,500 cases.

Most recently, in 2021, that number dropped below 1,000 for the first time in this period, with 996 total people charged for trafficking cannabis, accounting for only 5.7% of the total federal drug trafficking cases, the least of all major categories.

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Florida’s top democrat suing Biden admin. over rule barring medical cannabis users from buying guns

The highest ranking Democrat in Florida is taking on the leader of her party—and the country—over weed and guns.

Nikki Fried, the state’s agriculture commissioner and a Democratic candidate for governor,

“Plans to sue the Biden administration Wednesday to try to block a federal rule that prohibits medical marijuana users from buying guns or maintaining concealed-carry permits,” according to NBC News, which obtained a copy of Fried’s lawsuit.

“I’m suing the Biden Administration because people’s rights are being limited. Medical marijuana is legal. Guns are legal,” Fried said in a tweet on Wednesday morning.

“This is about people’s rights and their freedoms to responsibly have both.”

(The 4/20 announcement of Fried’s lawsuit against the Biden administration was not a coincidence, by the way.)

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Move over, Giuliani: how loopholes sparked a golden age of cannabis in New York

With possession legalized, weed trucks and pop-ups are everywhere. But that could all change when the state swoops in

For the past few months, anyone visiting Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side of Manhattan – as famous for its role in When Harry Met Sally as it is for pastrami – has queued near a green-painted food truck, strategically parked on Houston Street to capture Katz’s foot traffic, adorned with multi-colored LED signage advertising the city’s latest hot delicacy: cannabis.

Passersby can stroll up to the truck’s sales window and peek at a menu written in marker on a white dry-erase board and ask to see and smell a sample before forking over $60 cash for 3.5 grams, the cannabis industry’s standard serving size.

Business is so good that in addition to the truck here and the others outside a Trader Joe’s in Brooklyn and a major subway transfer in the Upper West Side, the Green Truck recently opened an eighth location, a block away from Grand Central. Though none of this is technically legal – even if the $60 is legally a “donation”, as the bored-looking man running the truck explains – nobody cares enough to intervene. On a recent visit to Katz’s, an NYPD police car was parked behind the Green Truck, where “donations” or sales, whichever, continued as if police did not exist.

Marijuana possession and consumption is legal in New York state for adults 21 and over and has been for almost a year. But the way New York has gone about legalization has been very different from states like California. There are strong social-justice provisions and guarantees to reserve cannabis retail opportunities for minorities and others most harmed by the country’s decades-long drug war.

New York’s legalization law, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, or MRTA, is one of the most progressive legalization laws in the country. New York is also considered the next big prize for the country’s fledgling cannabis industry, which recorded $40bn in legal sales in 2021, according to BofA Securities research. Projections vary, but New York’s appetite for cannabis is projected to be worth between $3.7bn and $5.8bn within five years.

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420 day: Berlin pro-cannabis rally demands immediate legalization

Hundreds of marijuana users gathered in the German capital to mark 420, the annual cannabis celebration, and demand legalization of the drug. Germany's new government has promised a new law.

At least 500 pro-legalization protesters gathered in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday for 420, the annual April 20 celebration marked by cannabis consumers around the world, to urge the government to move forward with its plans to decriminalize the drug.

The police presence, enough to fill several police vans parked around the demo, prevailed on organizers to turn the German hip-hop and rap music down, but made no overt attempt to trace the many clouds of smoke hanging above the small crowd.

The gathering was made up of activists, rappers, former police officers, people who use cannabis for medical treatments and several small business owners who used the opportunity to promote cannabis-friendly products, from "ecological" hemp and beeswax firelighters to an all-in-one cannabis grow kit, complete with fume extractor and power unit.

Promises but no action

An estimated 4 million people in Germany consume cannabis, and the coalition contract presented by Chancellor Olaf Scholz's new government last December was clear enough about its aims.

"We will introduce the controlled distribution of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed stores," the government promised, before detailing its reasons.

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Marijuana trafficking is changing at US-Mexico border — Here’s how

While the DEA did not outright attribute recreational marijuana legalization to the decrease in trafficked weed over the U.S. border, there is certainly a connection to be made.

The United States and Mexico border has made front page news daily for nearly a decade for all sorts of reasons. Whether it is building an expansive border wall, or major immigration policy issues — or even the ever-evolving problems of drug smuggling — there is always something critical to report on this 1,954 mile long imaginary line.

Recently, however, there has been a shakeup in one of the U.S. and Mexican border’s previously-biggest talking points: marijuana trafficking. Only a decade ago, Mexico was smuggling a significant amount of the marijuana consumed by Americans, according to the DEA. Now it appears as though marijuana smuggling into the United States is decreasing, while Mexico is seeing an increase of American made pot entering its side of the border.

The DEA released a new report, stating that, “in U.S. markets, Mexican marijuana has largely been supplanted by domestic- produced marijuana.” This is a major shift from the days when the vast majority of marijuana was coming into the United States from Mexico. 

The report, titled “FY 2023 Performance Budget Congressional Budget Submission,” did, however, say that Mexico is still the main foreign supplier of U.S. marijuana. The report did not go so far as to attribute this decrease in illegal drug trafficking to legalization efforts in many U.S. states. Instead, it stated that “The national landscape continues to evolve as states enact voter referendums and legislation regarding the possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana and its associated products.”

While the DEA did not outright attribute recreational marijuana legalization to the decrease in trafficked weed over the U.S. border, there is certainly a connection to be made. In fact, this trend was noticed shortly after states began passing legalization measures. 

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What impact will the French elections have on cannabis reform?

For Americans, European—especially French—politics are generally a bit strange. Of course, the same could be said in reverse.

Regardless, France, one of the largest and most influential countries in Europe, is headed back to the polls on April 24 to elect a new president. Whomever wins will certainly have an impact on cannabis reform in both France, and beyond that, the EU. However, given the candidates’ track record on the issue so far, whoever wins will not take bold steps forward on the issue. 

At best, it will be more of the status quo. At worst, it could herald a new Drug War.

The rivals for the top spot are the sitting president, Emmanuel Macron, a former banker and political centrist who has played it safe on this issue since he was first elected in 2017 and Marine Le Pen, a female version of Donald Trump if there ever was one, starting with being the national president of the far-right National Front (which changed its name to the National Rally) from 2011-2021.

The two went head-to-head in the first round of the French election for president and emerged as the two politicians with the highest votes in April.

How will the situation change after the second runoff, in a country with some of the harshest laws against cannabis in Europe still on the books, but now in its second year of a national medical trial?

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These 3 cannabis bills could spur significant societal change

Legalization offers hope for social justice and it also has financial incentives.

Change drives innovation, and the U.S. is poised for a seismic shift in cannabis legislation with broad implications for social justice and economic health.

Several notable pieces of legislation are currently proposed or working their way through Congress. These include the Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA), a bill that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) plans to file in April 2022. CAOA would decriminalize cannabis and support research, public safety, and restorative social justice initiatives. 

There is also the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would eliminate criminal penalties and remove cannabis from the controlled substances list. Even if cannabis were to be legalized on the federal level, there remain significant hurdles regarding the industry’s access to financial institutions.

The bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which is widely expected to receive a favorable vote, would allow cannabis companies to access needed banking services without financial institutions running afoul of the law. 

If these bills are signed into law, they have the potential to spur significant societal change, including greater racial parity and positive changes in the business climate. More than at any other time in our nation’s history, support for cannabis-friendly legislation extends across the aisle, thanks at least in part to broad public acceptance and the need for states to fill their coffers with tax revenue.
 

Bolstering the business climate with medical cannabis and CPGs

I’m excited to see what the future holds for my fellow entrepreneurs. Cannabis and cannabinoids offer considerable potential for non-recreational use. There is a long list of health complaints that can benefit from cannabis and CBD extract products, such as insomnia, epilepsy, anxiety, and chronic pain. 

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Chuck Schumer’s cannabis legalization bill: Back to the drawing board until August

The bill will remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and “help repair our criminal justice system, ensure restorative justice, protect public health, and implement responsible taxes and regulations.”

Democratic senators leading a push to legalize marijuana say they are now on track to introduce legislation in the Senate before the August recess, after initially announcing plans to file a comprehensive reform bill later this month. (Benzinga)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has been leading the push to legalize cannabis along with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), said in a statement Thursday that he’s proud of the progress they’ve made “bringing this vital bill closer to its official introduction” before the recess in early August.

That said, the long-anticipated Senate bill to federally legalize cannabis will have to simmer until the democratic leadership works out various provisions “with the assistance of nearly a dozen Senate committees and input from numerous federal agencies.”

The bill, Cannabis Administration & Opportunity Act (CAOA), will remove cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and “help repair our criminal justice system, ensure restorative justice, protect public health, and implement responsible taxes and regulations,” among other measures.

The announcement came after Schumer said several weeks ago that he and the senators behind the effort had intended to bring the reform bill forward in late April.

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Time running short for dueling Missouri marijuana legalization efforts

A legislative push and initiative petition face looming deadlines in the coming weeks

With the end of the legislative session only weeks away, and organizers of an initiative petition campaign sounding the alarm about an even more pressing deadline, dueling efforts to legalize marijuana in Missouri face uncertain fates.

In the legislature, GOP state Rep. Ron Hicks is sponsoring a bill to legalize possession and use of marijuana for individuals 21 and older. 

But while it received a committee hearing in early March, it took nearly a month to get a vote — and when it did, a pair of amendments were added that the bill’s supporters labeled poison pills. 

“Do we still have time? Yes,” said Hicks, noting the legislature will adjourn at 6 p.m. on May 13.

“I’ve seen bills sail through the process in a week. It really comes down to whether we have the will to tackle it.”

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African Americans paid the price for the war on marijuana, now they’re fighting to access the billion-dollar legal cannabis industry

The American Civil Liberties (ALCU) estimates that between 2001 and 2010, there were over eight million marijuana arrests across the U.S., and 88 percent of those arrests were for simply having the drug. 

Although marijuana use is almost equal among Blacks and Whites, Black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. 

In 2012, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana and since then, 17 more states have followed, with several more considering legislation this year. 

The U.S. legal marijuana industry is projected to earn $43 billion by 2025, according to cannabis industry researcher New Frontier Data, which begs the question: how much of that wealth will African Americans have access to? 

In Maryland, cannabis is only legal for medical use, and most are owned and operated by White Americans. However, in Washington, D.C. voters approved Initiative 71 in 2014, which legalized the possession of minimal amounts of marijuana for recreational use. The initiative made way for “gifting shops”, also known as I-71 businesses, which get around the ban on the sale of recreational marijuana by selling other items like art and clothing and including a free “gift” of marijuana. 

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Despite cannabis wins, advocacy for truth, reason and reform is still necessary

Smokers are used to being the butt of jokes, (though we stoners tend to prefer roaches — thank you very much, I’ll be here all week, and don’t forget to tip the waitstaff). With put-downs like “pothead” and campaigns like D.A.R.E. painting us as shiftless slackers without direction, passion, or purpose beyond the reefer madness-driven urge to consume cannabis, there have long been negative associations ascribed to those who dance with Mary Jane.

Despite the decades-old propaganda campaigns aimed at skewing the public’s view of marijuana and its users, many advocates have fought the good fight against the demonization of the dank and all those who imbibe, even when doing so would likely put them directly in the crosshairs of law enforcement.

This year’s canna-rific calendar stop always lands close to Earth Day, so it’s a perfect time to celebrate this powerful and potent crop that yields so many wonderful benefits to humankind. And it’s worth taking a minute to give thanks for the hard fight that’s been waged against prohibition, the fight that paved the way to where we are today. 

The same spirit that brought groups together over the years to celebrate marijuana while struggling for its legalization is at the heart of this holiday. Back in the heyday of the counterculture, so the story goes, 4:20 p.m. became the honored time of day for smokers. It’s been mythologized in pothead circles as a reaction to the over-policing of pot during the War on Drugs. For some, the designated time of day helped cement the act of smoking marijuana as an act of rebellion.

Not just rebellion against the norm, but also against the controlling hand of the government attacking (and creating) this (non)issue with racism-born propaganda and politics-driven legislative actions without foundation in fact, logic or justice. All to stifle minorities and the left and provide economic incentives for corporate USA. The spirit powering today’s 4/20 celebrations was birthed when marijuana prohibition was the law nationwide but has shifted as state after state has torn down the barriers, leading to an April 1 House vote that’s a step toward legalizing marijuana at the federal level.

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Hemp, marijuana advocates push back against Youngkin crackdown

 

Hemp advocates and civil rights activists pushed back Tuesday against a proposal by Gov. Glenn Youngkin to crack down on marijuana and popular edibles known as “Delta-8.” They say the proposal is an assault on farmers and businesses and harkens back to the decades-old “War on Drugs.”

Youngkin — three months into the job — made his proposal in the form of amendments to a piece of legislation that aims to restrict the potency of synthetic edibles made from hemp and sold in retail stores.

Youngkin proposed amendments to the bill to set the minimum age at 21 for buying CBD products, and would ban Delta-8 products starting in October.

The bill would create new criminal misdemeanor penalties for people with more than 2 ounces of marijuana, something a state oversight agency recommended last year. (Virginia legalized personal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana last year, with higher amounts up to a pound punishable by a $25 civil penalty).

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North Dakota marijuana legalization groups aims for November election

A group that wants to legalize recreational marijuana in North Dakota submitted paperwork Monday to the secretary of state to begin the approval process.

If approved by the secretary of state, the group would need to gather 15,582 signatures by July 11 to get the measure on the ballot for the general election in November.

The proposed measure would allow any person over the age of 21 to use limited amounts of marijuana and purchase products from registered establishments in North Dakota. The measure would put policies in place to regulate retail stores, cultivators, and other types of marijuana businesses.

A similar effort failed in 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic hampered the group’s signature-gathering.

Marijuana was a major topic in the Republican-controlled Legislature last year. State representatives brought bills to legalize and tax the drug, but the Senate killed the bills that were passed by the House.

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Hemp advocacy group meets with McConnell to push legislative agenda

 

Representatives of a hemp advocacy group met with members of Congress including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week to rally support for legislation drafted to promote hemp agriculture. The day of meetings with senators and members of the House of Representatives was coordinated by the U.S. Hemp Roundtable to advocate for Food and Drug Administration regulation of cannabidiol (CBD) and to support pending legislation including provisions of the Hemp Advancement Act and the SAFE Banking Act.

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is a national group advocating for the hemp industry consisting of dozens of companies and organizations committed to safe hemp and CBD products. The group’s board of directors and staff traveled to the nation’s capital on April 6 to meet personally with several members of Congress to advocate for several pieces of legislation related to hemp agriculture, which was legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill.

Topping the list of engagements with lawmakers was a meeting between hemp advocates and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supported including hemp legalization provisions in the Farm Bill. Jonathan Miller, general counsel to the U.S. Hemp Roundtable, says that the meeting with McConnell was scheduled to ensure that the FDA provides a regulatory pathway for hemp products such as CBD.

“We discussed the continuing challenges faced by the hemp and CBD industries, and the growing frustration with the FDA’s lack of movement on its 2018 promise to develop a regulatory pathway for the sale of ingestible CBD products,” Miller writes in an email.

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Senators Rick Scott, James Lankford and Ted Cruz openly against federal cannabis legalization, here's why

The House of Representatives approved the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, H.R. 3617 on April 1, sending it to Senate. The MORE Act removes cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act, allowing states to legalize cannabis, its production, and sale, free from federal interference. (Benzinga)

Reaching the Senate is an accomplishment in itself after many attempts, the legislation now needs bipartisan approval in the body and then President Biden’s signature. That said, let's look at where some senators stand on federal legalization of marijuana. 

When asked last week at the Capitol about the MORE Act, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said, “Okay, I don’t support that. I’ve had family members who have had a lot of drug issues, and so I’m not going to do it,” reported CNSNews. 

Sen. Scott is far from being the only senator who opposes cannabis legalization. Some other senators were asked if they'd ever consumed marijuana and if not, then why not? Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex) replied, “I don’t because it’s illegal and because it’s harmful to you. It’s not healthy.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) was asked if he used cannabis and whether he also thought it to be harmful, to which he replied:

“I do actually, and I think the science also shows that as well, so this is one of those interesting debates where people talk about ‘follow the science’ on it, okay – well, follow the science on it and be able to track the reports.”

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Wisconsin Senator Agard says 'Republicans are all talk and no action' on medical marijuana reform

Wisconsin State Senate Committee on Insurance, Licensing and Forestry will hold a public hearing on a medical marijuana bill (Senate Bill 1034) on April 20th. Sponsors say the fact that the hearing is scheduled on the popular 4/20 cannabis holiday is a coincidence. (Benzinga)

Senator Melissa Agard (D-Madison) responded to the hearing notice, saying that the Wisconsin residents are ready for cannabis reform, reported Wispolitics.

“It is supported by the majority of the residents of our state, including a majority of Republicans,” Agard said.

“While I’m encouraged people will have the ability to come testify at a public hearing, it is disappointing that we had 15 months of session in which we could have rolled up our sleeves and worked in a bipartisan manner on this important and complex policy. Sadly, Republicans are all talk and no action when it comes to legalization efforts in Wisconsin.”

The main problem? The bill won't become law this year because the Legislature has adjourned and it won’t be back until 2023. While there’s no doubt that the Senate committee hearing on the medical marijuana bill is an accomplishment in that it enables supporters to present their arguments about MMJ's benefits as they seek reform in the state, Sen. Agard thinks this is not enough.  

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Despite demand, Iowa lawmakers see no future for legalizing cannabis

While Congressional lawmakers are taking steps toward decriminalizing cannabis, Iowa Republicans say there's no appetite for it in their caucus.

Driving the news: The U.S. House passed a bill decriminalizing the possession and distribution of cannabis earlier this month — prompting Iowa activists to gather at the State Capitol and call on lawmakers to consider doing the same here, Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.

The result: The protest ended after activists were told they would be arrested.

State of play: In March, the Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll showed that 54% of Iowans support legalizing recreational marijuana and 78% support expanding the state's medical cannabis program.

What they're saying: Iowa Rep. Steven Holt, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said legalizing cannabis, "... is something I would never support," according to ICD.

Holt said decriminalizing it could increase usage in the state and be harmful for Iowans."I think it's kind of crazy, at a time when we're having so many mental health issues, and we know that many of these mental health issues are connected to substance abuse, that we would be talking about taking this step."

The other side: Just two and a half hours away from Des Moines — on the border of Illinois and Iowa — sits "Nature's Treatment of Illinois," a medical and recreational dispensary in Moline.

There, they see interest from curious Iowans who are traveling through the state and stop by.Others are more intentional and go to seek relief from their ailments or ween off of pain relievers, Cody Franks, a manager at the store, told Axios.

Since recreational cannabis was legalized in the state, the store's popularity has spiked — prompting its owners to expand and create a waitlist.

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Senate passes bill to grow, diversify cannabis sector

Wide-ranging marijuana legislation that targets some of the most persistent issues that activists, regulators, businesses and municipalities have said are holding Massachusetts back from realizing the full potential of the 2016 legalization law cleared the Senate unanimously on Thursday with senators pitching it as both an economic development and racial justice bill.

The bill (S 2801) would put tighter restrictions and enhanced oversight on the host community agreements marijuana businesses are required to enter into with their host communities, make grants and loans available through a new Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund to participants in the Cannabis Control Commission’s social equity (SE) program or economic empowerment (EE) priority applicants, and create a method for cities and towns to authorize the on-site cannabis consumption establishments that are already authorized under the CCC’s regulations.

“By clarifying the requirements of the host community agreements, making financial investments to increase social equity and allowing for the full implementation of the cannabis industry through permitting social consumption authorization, I am confident that this legislation aids in the continued growth of a competitive and equitable commercial marijuana industry here in the commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Michael Rodrigues said as he introduced the bill on the floor.

The Legislature has long maintained a mostly hands-off approach to marijuana policy. Lawmakers passed up their opportunities to act before voters approved decriminalization in 2008, medical marijuana in 2012 and adult legalization in 2016, but then delayed and rewrote significant portions of the 2016 ballot law legalizing marijuana. Aside from a bill that the House passed in early 2020 with provisions similar to the Senate bill, the Legislature has largely avoided cannabis issues since 2017.

Social equity

Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who chairs the Cannabis Policy Committee for the Senate, said the bill that sailed through her committee without opposition seeks to remedy “long-standing problems with long-identified solutions.”

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Democrats face tough climb on winning Senate approval of legal marijuana

 

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is facing significant obstacles in his legislative push to legalize marijuana, with resistance from Republicans and members of his own party threatening chances of passage in the upper chamber.

Schumer has said that his aim is to bring a comprehensive marijuana reform bill forward later this month, weeks after the House passed a bill that would remove marijuana from the federal controlled substances list.

“We hope to do that towards the end of April,” Schumer said in remarks last week, noting discussions with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who are involved in the push. He also added that he has been reaching out to “a few Republicans to see what they want.”

Staunch Republican opposition to legislation to legalize marijuana is one of the biggest hurdles Schumer faces in passing a measure through the evenly split Senate, where Democrats would need the backing of all of their members and at least 10 GOP members to make the bill law.

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