Legal Cannabis Laws Are Now In Effect In These 3 States
It’s been an eventful time for cannabis legislation in 2021. This has been made apparent with the fight for new laws legalizing cannabis. Particularly for states where recreational or medical use goes into effect in three new states on Thursday. In states like Connecticut and Virginia, legislators have passed laws enacting recreational marijuana.
Yet while medicinal cannabis use has been passed in South Dakota which happened back in 2020. Which has come a short time after the adult-use marijuana legalization took effect in New Mexico. Not all of the elements of the new laws are instantly in motion. Here’s a summary of what is and isn’t legal in each state as of July 1st
Having up to 28 grams of marijuana for people 21 and over is now legal in Virginia. In addition to growing up to 4 plants at your home is also legal as well. Privately giving others cannabis of the legal age is also legally allowed up to one ounce. But only if no compensation is involved. State regulators in Virginia started a website in June.
Taken from the site “all records of misdemeanor possession with intent to distribute marijuana arrests, charges, and convictions will be automatically sealed from public view in the Virginia State Police’s systems” starting on Thursday as well.
North Carolina lawmakers appear serious about bringing medical cannabis to the Tar Heel State, with a legislative proposal passing a major test on Wednesday.
Members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee approved “bipartisan legislation that creates a patient, manufacturing, licensing and sales structure…” for a medical marijuana program in North Carolina, the Associated Press reported this week.
The bill passed with majority support on a voice vote, the Associated Press said.
Under the proposal, patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and multiple sclerosis, among other conditions, would be eligible to obtain a medical marijuana card in the state, while a “special advisory board would have the power to add to the list of conditions,” the Associated Press reported.
The AP has more details on the proposal: “Qualifying patients could obtain medical cannabis products for smoking or other uses through 10 suppliers licensed by a new state commission. Each supplier would control production from seedlings to sale at ‘medical cannabis centers’ from which to sell to the public. An amendment on Wednesday reduced the maximum number of sales centers for each licensee from eight to four. Suppliers would have to pay 10 percent of gross revenues monthly to the state.”
Earlier this year in April, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a publication that included changes to state “wholesale food, industrial hemp and shellfish regulations.” Some of these regulations officially went into effect on July 1, and now, the state will move forward into a new era of legal cannabis, but one that could potentially cause problems.
The state already allows CBD and hemp extracts to be used in the preparation of food and drinks, but those products must now be tested for potential pesticides and other harmful contaminants. According to Hemp Industry Daily, hemp products will now be tested for 106 different pesticides by October 1. Previously, only 13 pesticides were required for testing within the industry. Products must go through a lab testing facility—and there’s only one officially authorized to operate in the state right now.
Hemp product labels do not currently list THC or cannabinoid content either, and companies don’t have to list that information as long as the 0.3 percent THC threshold isn’t surpassed. According to the new rules, information regarding both contained THC and any other cannabinoids must be listed.
Colorado and the “Final Rule”
Earlier last month on June 1, Colorado submitted a revised version of its Hemp Management Plan, which revolves around the USDA’s “Final Rule” on hemp production. “With the publication of this final rule, USDA brings to a close a full and transparent rule-making process that started with a hemp listening session in March 2019,” stated USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach in a press release from January 2021. “Key provisions of the final rule include licensing requirements; record keeping requirements for maintaining information about the land where hemp is produced; procedures for testing the THC concentration levels for hemp; procedures for disposing of non-compliant plants; compliance provisions and procedures for handling violations.”
As North Carolina approaches a marijuana milestone, potentially legalizing the drug for medical use, nearby states are split in their approach.
The Southeast is coming late to the marijuana scene. The region is home to several of the 14 states that do not have comprehensive medical marijuana programs or full marijuana legalization, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
With nearly 80% of voters approving of medical marijuana in North Carolina, according to a poll conducted by Elon University, support is also building in the state legislature, where a Senate committee approved a medical marijuana bill Wednesday.
Here’s a look at the condition of marijuana laws in some other Southeastern states.
South Carolina has not legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use.
It started with Uruguay in 2013, then came Canada in June 2018. This was followed by a recreational legalization in Georgia in July 2018, and now by Mexico in 2021. Though the US and Australia both boast legal locations, Mexico is now the 4th legalized country to allow recreational cannabis use nationwide.
With Mexico as the newest legalized country, the world of recreational cannabis is growing even bigger. More recreational legalizations = more products for you to choose from. We support cannabis legalization, and provide our readers with the best products on the market. This includes delta-8 THC, a different THC experience with less associated anxiety and couch locking, and a clear-headed and energetic high. We’re happy to ship you your product of choice ASAP, so take a look at our array of delta-8 THC deals and figure out what’s best for you.
The mess: how Mexico became a legalized country
In order to understand what just happened, and how it impacts life in Mexico, it helps to understand the recent history that led up to it. The legalization process began at the end of 2018 when a fifth consecutive Supreme Court ruling was made in support of defendants and their use of recreational cannabis. In Mexico, jurisprudencia kicks in when the supreme court makes five consecutive rulings on any matter, in the same way. That ruling becomes binding for all lower courts, essentially setting law that the legislative section of government must catch up with to stay in concert with the courts.
The Supreme Court rulings started in 2015 with a case against The Mexican Society for Responsible and Tolerant Self-Consumption. They ended in October 2018 with two cases that got ruled on in the same month, both about the ability for an adult to use cannabis recreationally. The court found that personally developed human beings must be allowed to choose their own recreational activities without the interference of government. It is stipulated in the Mexican constitution that personal development is a given freedom of the Mexican people.
All this enacted jurisprdencia, thereby ending the ability for lower courts to find an individual guilty of personal possession, use, and cultivation crimes. However, the Court ruling itself only stipulated that cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional, the Court doesn’t set up criminal penalties or regulated markets. This is done by legislation in Congress. Once the Supreme Court made the final ruling to end prohibition, the ball went to Congress’s court to pass an actual law with fundamentals.
In Minnesota, two issues have become entwined unexpectedly. The first is the drive to exclude medical marijuana from the federal government's list of banned controlled substances. The second is the right for people to get a permit to buy and carry a gun.
The issue revolves around an effort by marijuana advocates to get the state's health leaders to petition the federal Drug Enforcement Administration to grant an exemption for the Minnesota marijuana program from the federal law that makes cannabis illegal.
They've won support for their cause from Republicans. That's because medical marijuana patients could get banned for life from owning a firearm if arrested for marijuana possession under current federal law.
Thomas Gallagher of Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition - Minnesota said in a press release:" Reducing or eliminating the criminal penalties we're seeing around marijuana is where we have consensus. Let's focus on the people who have small quantities. There is injustice in a trivial amount of marijuana resulting in life-changing punishments like imprisonment, criminal records, and lost jobs and kids."
Minnesota could be a first
If the proposal is successful, Minnesota will become the first state to appeal to the federal government on behalf of the people in its medical marijuana program (36 states now have legal medical marijuana laws in place).
The eve before medicinal marijuana becomes legal in South Dakota, residents are largely at a loss for the details of a program the state has tried to stand up in a matter of weeks, following the collapse of a delay in the legislature.
"What exactly becomes legal on July 1?" asked Alex from Sioux Falls, at the outset of a public forum held on Monday, June 28, by the South Dakota Department of Health.
The telephone town hall was billed as an opportunity for "public input" on the state's rollout, and, fittingly, callers gave DOH officials plenty to chew on about a state law approved by 70% of voters and still standing after an alternative legislative plan failed in the session's final days. That plan, which Gov. Kristi Noem blessed, invoked the pandemic emergency as reason for a 6-month, even year-long delay.
"There's no other state that has stood up a medical marijuana program this fast before — except Oklahoma, and it's a mess," said Gov. Noem at an early March press conference.
Some officials within her own executive branch might be quick to say the governor was right.
After passing a bill back and forth between the Senate and the House, and threats of a veto if certain provisions remained, Connecticut became the 18th state, when it legalized recreational cannabis this week. The question now, which state is next, and when can we expect it to happen?
Now that Connecticut has legalized recreational cannabis, the market for products has grown even bigger, and that means more options. Luckily, Connecticut did not ban delta-8 THC. Delta-8 is the half-brother to delta-9 THC – what most people associate with getting high. However, delta-8 doesn’t cause the same anxiety or couch locking as delta-9, and provides a clear-headed high, making it preferable for many users. There is an ever growing selection for Delta-8 THC deals, so go ahead, and pick the product best for you.
Connecticut legalized recreational cannabis
On June 17th, after haggling back and forth, Connecticut’s House and Senate were able to agree on the accepted provisions of a cannabis legalization bill. The Senate Bill 1201 was originally passed by the Senate during regular sessions, however it didn’t get to the House before congress adjourned for the year. This led to requiring a second vote in a special session, before which the Senate added some last-minute provisions, one of them related to equity.
The original bill stated that based on where a person lived, they could gain the ability to get a license faster to cultivate and produce cannabis products, thereby allowing more easy entrance into the market. This was geared mainly toward people from areas where drugs have taken a great toll.
Before the second Senate vote, the provision was changed to include anyone who had been convicted of a cannabis crime, or other crimes, and the family members of those who had been convicted. Somehow, that actually passed, even though the overstep was huge, and Governor Ned Lamont threatened to immediately veto that version of the bill if it did pass the Senate and the House.
Starting Thursday, Virginians can legally grow and possess marijuana.
But the change in law doesn’t exactly open up a pot free-for-all. Legal amounts are limited, and buying and selling marijuana will remain illegal until Jan. 1, 2024, when retail sales are expected to begin. Smoking marijuana in public is still against the law.
Here are some highlights of the new law:
Virginians ages 21 and older may legally possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana “on [their] person or in any public place.” There are some exceptions for public school grounds.
Adults can privately share up to 1 ounce of marijuana, as long as it is given away and not sold.
This Monday, June 28, around noon, the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) approved the Declaration of Unconstitutionality on the prohibition of adult use of marijuana in Mexico , after which Congress did not reach a consensus regarding the approval of the Federal Law for the Regulation of Cannabis .
With eight votes in favor of the eleven ministers that make up the plenary session of the Supreme Court, the proposal of Minister Norma Lucía Piña Hernández was endorsed. It pointed out that the Congress of the Union had failed to comply with the Court's mandate by failing to regulate the recreational use of marijuana. This Declaration of Unconstitutionality is expected to be published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF) this week.
What does the declaration of the SCJN really mean?
In an interview with Entrepreneur en Español , Luis Armendáriz , corporate lawyer for the Cannabis industry at Caam Legal and representative of Hoban Law Group, pointed out that this resolution raises more problems than solutions.
“It is a scenario where the Judiciary is legislating, because it is annulling, modifying, a law. The problem is that, although it is a step forward, the legal vacuum is expanding because you can already consume, but they are not regulating the industry. Where do I buy it? Who can sell it? Can I grow it to sell or not? What are the limits? In other words, a lot of legal uncertainty was created, how are you going to know what you can do and what not? " explains the specialist.
Armendariz pointed out that this Declaration of Unconstitutionality "decriminalizes but does not regulate" the cannabis industry and all the processes involved. Therefore, there will be situations that are legal and illegal at the same time "because it is going to lend a lot to the interpretation and perception of the people ."
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said what most of us are thinking on Monday: The federal government’s longstanding prohibition on marijuana may well be past its expiration date.
Thomas, widely seen as one of the most conservative justices on the high court, made the observation in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to turn down the appeal of a Colorado medical cannabis dispensary that sought the same federal tax breaks afforded to other businesses.
Citing Gonzales v. Raich, a 2005 Supreme Court case that cemented the federal government’s prohibition on weed, Thomas said the law may have finally outlived its usefulness, given the growing number of states and cities that have embraced legalization, both for medical and recreational use.
“Sixteen years ago, this Court held that Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce authorized it ‘to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana,” Thomas wrote in his statement. “The reason, the Court explained, was that Congress had ‘enacted comprehensive legislation to regulate the interstate market in a fungible commodity’ and that ‘exemption[s]’ for local use could undermine this ‘comprehensive’ regime. The Court stressed that Congress had decided ‘to prohibit entirely the possession or use of [marijuana]’ and had ‘designate[d] marijuana as contraband for any purpose.’ Prohibiting any intrastate use was thus, according to the Court, ‘‘necessary and proper’’ to avoid a ‘gaping hole’ in Congress’ ‘closed regulatory system.”
He added: “Whatever the merits of Raich when it was decided, federal policies of the past 16 years have greatly undermined its reasoning. Once comprehensive, the Federal Government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana. This contradictory and unstable state of affairs strains basic principles of federalism and conceals traps for the unwary.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed a bill on Thursday that tightens limits on cannabis concentrates and puts restrictions on medical marijuana patients and their physicians. The measure, House Bill 1317 (HB21-1317), also funds research into the effect that high-potency marijuana products can have on developing minds.
Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician and sponsor of the legislation, said that the main objective of the bill is to keep cannabis concentrates away from young people so that they cannot “get their hands on an incredible amount of products and very concentrated products that they can then give or sell to people their age or younger who don’t yet have access to legal market because they’re not 21.”
Under the legislation, the daily limit on the amount of marijuana concentrates that can be purchased will be reduced from 40 grams per person per day to eight grams. The cannabis concentrate limit for medical marijuana patients ages 18 to 20 will be two grams. The bill will also update the state’s seed-to-sale tracking system to monitor cannabis concentrate purchases by medical marijuana patients’ identification numbers in real time, rather than at the end of the day.
House Speaker Alec Garnett, who introduced the bill, said that the change to the tracking system will prevent buyers from purchasing their daily limit multiple times in a single day. According to data from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, cannabis extract use by teens doubled from 2015 to 2019. Garnett said that 18-year-old medical marijuana patients purchasing more than the daily limit is the primary way that high-potency cannabis products end up in the possession of young people.
“This bill will close that loophole,” Garnett said. “This bill will make sure that we aren’t creating a gray market on our high school campuses and that our high school kids, their developing brains aren’t flooded with the most high-potency products when they don’t need them.”
The South Dakota Department of Health’s proposed rules for medical marijuana include a $100 annual fee for card holders and a $5,000 yearly fee for businesses that sell the cannabis.
The state health agency released 105 pages of draft rules this week that include license fees, the renewal process, packaging guidelines and security plans, among other things.
“The proposed administrative rules are one of many steps our department has taken to develop a safe and responsible medical cannabis program in South Dakota, as the voters intended,” South Dakota Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.
The businesses that sell medical marijuana would have to renew their commercial licenses every year.
Each employee of a commercial cannabis business would also have to be certified by the state health department and could not have violent offenses on their background report within the last 10 years, the Argus Leader reported.
The new 2021 World Drug Report shows cannabis potency has skyrocketed in parts of the world and that has the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) thinking member states should consider outlawing weed advertising.
In just 24 years, “cannabis potency had increased by as much as four times in parts of the world, even as the percentage of adolescents who perceived the drug as harmful fell by as much as 40 per cent,” notes a UNODC press release accompanying the release of the report Thursday.
From 2002 to 2019, THC climbed from about six per cent to more than 11 per cent in Europe; in the U.S., THC levels increased from approximately four per cent in 1995 to 16 per cent in 2019.
Youth underestimation of cannabis dangers is growing “despite evidence that cannabis use is associated with a variety of health and other harms, especially among regular long-term users,” notes the statement.
UNODC executive director Ghada Waly points out “lower perception of drug use risks has been linked to higher rates of drug use,” highlighting “a gap between perception and reality” that needs to be closed.
The USA’s Hemp Industries Association has released a position statement on the controversial cannabinoid delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8THC).
THC is the most commonly known (and pursued) intoxicating cannabinoid, specifically delta-9. But there’s also delta-8-THC, a minor cannabinoid naturally occurring in cannabis plants in very small quantities. However, it can also be produced by altering the non-intoxicating (cannabidiol) CBD. Legal hemp, which contains very low delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, can be a rich source of CBD.
As the legal definition of hemp in the USA only refers to delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol levels, that has created some controversy as to the legality of delta-8. Some believe it isn’t illegal and an industry has rapidly sprung up around it, although several states have made moves to ban delta-8 THC. There is also debate on whether altering CBD to produce it makes the delta-8 THC “synthetic”.
Back in March, the U.S. Hemp Roundtable wanted to see a lot of regulatory distance put between hemp CBD and Delta-8. But the Hemp Industries Association has recently come out as a backer, supporting the following views:Δ8THC extracted from hemp is not a controlled substance under federal lawΔ8THC derived from CBD does not meet the definition of “synthetic THC”, but even if it does it is not a controlled substanceThe hemp industry should advocate for safe Δ8THC products and production methodsProhibition is a failed concept that should not be applied to Δ8THC or other hemp-derived cannabinoid
The HIA’s support is based on a legal opinion from Kight Law that also states Delta-8 THC, along with all other hemp-derived cannabinoids, were federally legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill. With regard to it being “synthetic”, the legal opinion provided says it isn’t entirely clear as there is no generally accepted definition in US law of the term “synthetic”.
The measure now moves to the House for consideration and, based on the vote in the Senate, is likely to pass unless constituents make their voices heard in opposition.
On June 23, 2021, the Oregon Senate approved on a vote of 23-6 a measure (SB 864) that, if passed by the House of Representatives and signed by Governor Kate Brown, will allow cities and counties to raise their portion of the sales tax on marijuana items sold in recreational dispensaries from 3%, as allowed under current law, to 10%. This means that the total tax applied at the time of sale could increase from 20% to 27%, representing a 35% tax hike to Oregon recreational cannabis consumers.
While the bill, if it becomes law, will not automatically result in a tax increase, it will allow the governing bodies of cities and counties to raise the marijuana sales tax within their own jurisdictions, much like current law. However, if past experience is predictive, it is nearly certain that most or all local governments will take the necessary steps to enact the tax increase. Customers who present current, valid OMMP cards at the time of sale will continue to be exempt from this tax.
Photo by 400tmax/Getty Images
The measure now moves to the House for consideration and, based on the vote in the Senate, is likely to pass unless constituents make their voices heard in opposition. If you’d like to make your voice heard, you can use this online tool to look up your representative. The legislative session is set to expire on Sunday, June 27, 2021, so time is of the essence.
North Macedonia’s government cannabis regulation body is working on drafting legal framework for decriminalisation, legalisation and use of the substance, the government said on June 24.
The country legalised use of medical cannabis in 2016. In November 2020, Social Democrat Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said that he supports the decriminalisation, but also legalisation, of cannabis consumption saying that this will help the tourism and hospitality industry in the country.
Travel industry publication Travel Daily News reports that cannabis tourism is a growing area. Rather like wine tourism where enthusiasts visit vineyards, cannabis tourists visit areas where the drug is legal.
At the second meeting, the working group adopted definitions of the terms ‘decriminalisation’, ‘legalisation’ and ‘depenalisation’ regarding cannabis use, the government's statement said.
The definitions of terms are needed to better understand the levels of permitted use of cannabis, including recreational use.
Analogies between the patterns and paths that cannabis legalization is taking—between Canada and Europe, and more recently, the U.S. and Europe—are certainly in the room this year. Especially as different European states begin to at least engage if not normalize parts of the cannabis discussion—from medical and CBD to full boat adult use.
To some extent, the political fight over legalization has certainly been divided between the cannabinoids in a way not really seen in either the United States or Canada—and that has been a deliberate strategy by advocates and the industry alike as medical reform has either stalled or moved too slowly for real progress to be made. Ultimately, patients pay the steepest price.
To some (notably patients) the parsing of legalization between THC and CBD is unbelievably frustrating. However, to lobbyists and commercial interests, the opening, finally, of a European market for at least one part of the plant is a strategic place-marker that has advanced some parts of reform in some countries—while leaving other conversations hanging.
To some extent, the recent victories over CBD in the European Union (EU) are clearly a sign that at least one part of the plant is normalizing. On the other hand, that such advances have only come post legal action is a sign of how treacherous and legally challenging the path to market actually is—and all over Europe—and how much CBD reform is a weak substitute for either medical use that is integrated into healthcare systems, much less adult use.
Recent Significant European Victories
The entire CBD discussion has been put to the test over the last six months in both France and Germany, and further in ways that the rest of Europe is clearly watching, if not merely skipping on the road to full recreational reform.
The Norway City Council on Monday struck growing facilities and microbusinesses from its ordinance allowing marijuana establishments within city limits.
Such operations will not be allowed in Norway to avoid odor issues, City Manager Ray Anderson told The Daily News.
The council requested the change at the June 7 meeting and can revisit the issue in the future if it wishes, Anderson said.
Because of the amendment, a resolution that would have defined the process for accepting, evaluating and approving applications for licenses to operate marijuana businesses was removed from Monday’s agenda, as it had several references to growing facilities and microbusinesses.
Additionally, the city needed more time to refine the rubric for evaluating the businesses, Anderson said.
Let’s be honest, the cannabis market is becoming a cut-throat one, with everyone looking to make a buck, a range of low-level and possibly dangerous products on the market, and a rush by local governments to save revenue by outlawing what they can’t regulate. This brings up the question of whether a hemp-derived THC like delta-8 threatens the revenue of the legal cannabis industry, and explains why recreational states are quickly banning it.
Delta-8 THC runs the gamut from accusations that it threatens the legal industry, to governments like Texas which recently failed to fully criminalize it. What’s all the fuss about? Well, this alternate form of THC gives a milder psychoactive high, doesn’t create the anxiety that delta-9 can, and leaves users with more energy and less couch locking. There are very good reasons why delta-8 is liked by so many, and we have an array of great Delta-8 THC deals that can get you started with this new form of THC.
What is hemp-derived THC?
In short, THC and CBD are the two more prevalent cannabinoids in a cannabis plant. Some plants, which we use the term ‘marijuana’ for as a differentiator, have more than .3% of THCA in the plant, whereas the term ‘hemp’ implies cannabis with less than .3% THCA, and a higher amount of CBDA. The reason I use the terms ‘THCA’ and ‘CBDA’, instead of ‘THC’ and ‘CBD’, is because THCA and CBDA are the precursor acids that are found in cannabis flowers, and the actual compounds for which these measurements are made in fresh and dry plants. THC and CBD occur only after decarboxylation. Even the term ‘THC’ really isn’t a good one, as that merely stands for ‘tetrahydrocannabinols’, and the THC of interest is specifically delta-9.
It is much easier to extract THCA from marijuana plants since there’s way more of it there. In hemp plants, it only exists in small amounts, but CBDA exists in larger amounts. This CBDA can be converted into CBD, and then into delta-9 by way of a solvent and some processing. Realistically, this is not the issue, though. The issue, is that it can also be used to source delta-8 THC.
Delta-8 THC is also naturally occurring, like delta-9, and is produced through the oxidation of delta-9 when it comes into contact with oxygen. This happens at an extremely low rate, however, so in order to produce enough to be used in products, human processing help is needed. This has caused an argument as to whether delta-8 should be considered a synthetic, and bound to laws related to THC synthetics.