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Cannabis Professional is continually updating developments at the U.S. state and federal level. Click on any of the state links below for more recent news. This Cannabis Pro tracker also archives everything we’ve published, serving as a permanent record of these historic developments.

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Most recent update...

Wednesday, August 7: Utah court rejects challenge to medical marijuana law

The Utah Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to a state law that replaced the voter-approved law legalizing medical marijuana.

The court on Tuesday dismissed the petition by The People's Right group that argued the governor and the state legislature acted unconstitutionally when they replaced the medical marijuana ballot initiative with a more restrictive law in December.

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The group had argued that Republican Governor Gary Herbert had effectively vetoed the original measure known as Proposition 2 by calling a special legislative session. State law does not allow vetoes on ballot initiatives.

Justice Paige Petersen wrote in the court opinion that the governor acted within his authority and can call special sessions in "exigent circumstances."

The group had filed an application for a referendum on the new law immediately after lawmakers approved it. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox denied the application, saying it did not meet certain statutory requirements and state law does not allow referendums on measures passed by two-thirds majorities in the state House and Senate.

The group asked the state Supreme Court to allow the referendum, arguing the two-thirds rule should not apply to ballot initiatives. The court rejected the argument.

The group has not said if it will pursue additional legal action.

– Associated Press

Tuesday, August 6: Louisiana rolls out medical pot regime

Louisiana is becoming the first U.S. Deep South state to dispense medical marijuana on Tuesday, four years after state lawmakers agreed to give patients access to therapeutic cannabis. Nine pharmacies are licensed to dispense medical marijuana across Louisiana and most are expected to open this week. Louisiana joins more than 30 other states that allow medical marijuana in some form. And though marijuana is banned at the U.S. federal level, a congressional amendment blocks the Justice Department from interfering with states’ medical marijuana programs.

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GB Sciences, one of two state-sanctioned growers, will begin shipping medical marijuana to Louisiana’s registered dispensaries Tuesday morning, after state regulators recently completed final tests and cleared it for release. Hundreds of patients in Louisiana have been awaiting the start of the program after years of work by lawmakers, who created the regulatory framework in 2015 for dispensing the cannabis. There also have been regulatory disputes and other hurdles.

Only the Louisiana State University and Southern University agricultural centers are authorized to grow medicinal-grade pot. Under the 2015 law and additional changes passed since then, Louisiana is allowing medical marijuana to treat a long list of diseases and disorders, such as cancer, seizure disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease. Marijuana can be available in oils, pills, liquids, topical applications and an inhaler, such as that used by asthma patients – but not in a smokeable form.

– Associated Press

Federal developments

Tuesday, July 30: Ohio legalizes hemp cultivation

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed a bill that allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp and legalizes the manufacture and sale of CBD products derived from the plant.

Ohio's leading farm group applauded the signing of the bill Tuesday by the Republican governor. The Ohio Farm Bureau says industrial hemp will give farmers another crop option and potential revenue stream that could offset "years of declining commodity prices."

Hemp contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana, another plant in the cannabis family. CBD products, which are being touted for their therapeutic effects, can contain just .3 per cent THC under the new law.

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Ohio’s Department of Agriculture must create rules for a hemp program before farmers can begin planting.

Wednesday, July 24: Pot legalization bills introduced in Congress

Bills that would legalize and tax marijuana at the U.S. national level, and provide opportunities for people convicted of federal pot crimes to clear their records, were introduced Tuesday in Congress.

The companion legislation in the House and Senate were introduced by Senator Kamala Harris of California and New York Representative Jarrold Nadler, the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee. Both are Democrats.

"Times have changed — marijuana should not be a crime," said Harris, who is running for president. "We need to start regulating marijuana, and expunge marijuana convictions from the records of millions of Americans so they can get on with their lives."

The tax revenue from legalization would support job training, substance abuse treatment, literacy programs and other services for individuals and communities hit hard by drug enforcement. Some of the revenue would also support programs designed to help "socially and economically disadvantaged individuals" start their own marijuana businesses.

While support for marijuana legalization has gained traction in Congress it's still a longshot that a bill will pass this session. Still, Nadler's introduction means the issue is very likely to get a hearing before his committee.

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Supporters of legalization hailed Nadler's involvement as a clear sign of momentum.

"Never in American history has the chairman of the Judiciary introduced a bill to end federal marijuana criminalization," said Justin Strekal, political director of the Washington-based National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "At a time when the state you live in can determine whether cannabis can ruin your life or make you a millionaire, now more than ever we must end the national prohibition of marijuana."

Eleven states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana since 2012 for so-called recreational use by people 21 and older. Illinois joined the list last month when that state's governor signed legislation removing criminal penalties and allowing for expungement of past low-level pot convictions.

Legalization efforts in New York and New Jersey stalled this year despite strong support in their Legislatures. Proponents believe legalization is only a matter of time in those states. Meantime, two-thirds of the states have some form of legal medical marijuana, which also is banned at the federal level.

- Associated Press

June 25: Illinois becomes 11th state to allow recreational marijuana

Illinois' new governor delivered on a top campaign promise Tuesday by signing legislation that makes the U.S. state the 11th to legalize small amounts of marijuana for recreational use and the second to approve it through the Legislature rather than the ballot box.

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Legalization in Illinois also means that nearly 800,000 people with criminal records for purchasing or possessing 30 grams of marijuana or less may have those records expunged, a provision minority lawmakers and interest groups demanded. It also gives cannabis-vendor preference to minority owners and promises 25% of tax revenue from marijuana sales to redevelop impoverished communities.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, whose election last year gave Democrats complete control over state government again after four years under GOP predecessor Bruce Rauner, signed the bill in Chicago amid a bevy of lawmakers and pot proponents.

Under the measure, residents can purchase and possess up to 1 ounce (30 grams) of marijuana at a time. Non-residents could have up to 15 grams. The law provides for cannabis purchases by adults 21 and older at approved dispensaries, which, after they're licensed and established, may start selling Jan. 1, 2020. That means possession remains a crime until Jan. 1, a spokesman for Senate Democrats said.

– Associated Press

May 31: USDA says states can’t block hemp transports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says states can’t block the interstate transportation of hemp, but law enforcement in Idaho says it won’t follow those guidelines.

Hemp doesn’t get a person high, but it still contains trace amounts of the chemical THC, which is found in marijuana. Under Idaho law, any amount of THC is illegal.

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The USDA released a memo Tuesday saying states can’t block any interstate shipment because hemp was legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill. That opinion isn’t legally binding.

But an Idaho State Police spokesperson says they will continue to make arrests and confiscate hemp while enforcing Idaho law, Boise State Public Radio reports.

The spokesperson said federal rules need to be updated to take effect, but the USDA memo says they’re essentially in effect because the bill passed Congress and was signed into law by President Donald Trump last year.

Three men are currently facing felony drug charges in Ada County for transporting what they say was hemp.

Two of them have pleaded guilty to lesser felony charges. The third man has pleaded not guilty and could face a minimum of five years in prison if convicted.

The owner of the hemp in that third case, Big Sky Scientific, sued Idaho State Police in federal court. The company said ISP had violated interstate commerce laws and asked for an injunction to get their hemp back before it degrades and molds.

The USDA memo specifically mentions that lawsuit, saying the federal judge erred in denying that injunction. It’s currently under appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and awaiting a hearing.

Associated Press

May 30: FDA to hear arguments for CBD reform, but guidance on regs may take a while
  • The first FDA public hearing on CBD and other cannabis products starts on Friday in Maryland.
  • U.S. Hemp Roundtable lawyer says it could take a year or more for the FDA to finalize regulations.
  • Companies, led by retailers, are pushing ahead despite legal grey zone.

FDA to hear arguments for CBD reform, but guidance on regs may take a while

ANALYSIS: In U.S. states mulling legalization, social equity becomes a key question

Pirate lore and shenanigans’: The wild world of credit cards and U.S. cannabis

Bingo and bongs: More U.S. seniors seek pot for age-related aches

May 8: Attorneys general from 33 states urge pot banking reform

Attorneys general from 33 states on Wednesday urged Congress to approve a proposal intended to fully open the doors of the U.S. banking system to the legal marijuana industry.

Most Americans live in states where marijuana is legally available in some form. But most banks don't want anything to do with money from the cannabis industry for fear it could expose them to legal trouble from the federal government, which still considers marijuana illegal.

"This is simple: not incorporating an $8.3 billion industry into our banking system is hurting our public safety and economy," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose state is the country's largest legal pot shop.

The bill "would reward taxpayers and small and local licensed businesses who play by the rules," he said in a statement.

The conflict between state and federal law has left many growers and sellers in the burgeoning pot industry in a legal dilemma, shutting them out of everyday financial services like opening a bank account or obtaining a credit card. It also has forced many businesses to operate only in cash — sometimes vast amounts — making them ripe targets for crime.

The pending bill would allow pot businesses to access loans, lines of credit and other banking services, while sheltering financial institutions from prosecution for handling pot-linked money.

The number of banks and credit unions willing to handle pot money is growing, but they still represent only a tiny fraction of the industry.– Associated Press

April 2: U.S. regulators exploring ways CBD products could be legal

U.S. regulators say they’re exploring ways CBD could be used legally in foods and dietary supplements, and will hold a public hearing on the cannabis compound next month.

File photo CBD buds of chocolate.

Richard Vogel/The Associated Press

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the May 31 meeting will discuss the science, manufacturing and sale of CBD as it explores regulation of the ingredient.
  • For now, the agency has said CBD is not approved for use in foods and dietary supplements. It also notes health claims need to be approved, and has sent warning letters to companies making illegal, unapproved claims about products with CBD.
March 28: Bill to let banks work with pot companies advances in U.S. House

A U.S. congressional panel advanced legislation Thursday that would allow banks to provide services to cannabis companies in states where it is legal.

The bill would provide sought-after clarity to banks across the country that want to do business with the growing industry, where companies have struggled to gain access to the financial system.

The measure, which was broadly backed by a mixture of Democrats and Republicans, now proceeds to the full House, where it is expected to be passed by the Democrat-led chamber in the near future. However, the bill faces an uncertain future in the Republican-led Senate, according to analysts.

Related: Banking reform gets mostly a ‘meh’ from U.S. cannabis industry

While all but three states allow for some form of legal cannabis use, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. That has left banks largely unwilling to do business with businesses that sell marijuana or related enterprises, out of concern they could run afoul of federal laws. In particular, banks are wary that taking deposits from pot businesses while marijuana remains illegal at the federal level could violate anti-money laundering laws, which in turn could put at risk their federal charters or access to federal payments systems.

Currently, companies in the marijuana industry have extremely limited options for dealing with their finances, with many relying on strictly cash to do business. Numerous lawmakers noted that operating exclusively in cash can be extremely dangerous, making companies a target for theft.

The bill has the backing of the banking industry, where firms are eager for reassurance from the federal government they can engage in this sort of business. The American Bankers Association has told Congress it takes no stance on the legality of marijuana, but its widespread adoption by states “raises practical issues that must be addressed.”

– Reuters

March 19: Poll says support rises in all U.S. age groups for legal pot

A growing majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal according to the General Social Survey, a widely respected trend survey that has been measuring support for legal marijuana since the 1970s.

  • Support for legal marijuana hit 61 per cent in 2018, up from 57 per cent in 2016.

Analysis shows that support is across all age groups and political parties.

  • 54 per cent of Republicans and 76 per cent of Democrats favour legalization.
  • 18-to-34-year-olds: Nearly 75 per cent favouring legalization
  • 65 and older: 46 percent say marijuana should be legal (up from 42 percent in 2016).

The GSS asks about making use of marijuana legal, but does not specify whether it should be legal for recreational or medical use.

Views on marijuana legalization have shifted dramatically: in 1973, 19 per cent supported legalization.

The change in views about cannabis can also be witnessed on the campaign trail.

  • A growing list of Democratic presidential contenders, including Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, want the U.S. government to legalize marijuana.

Ready to inhale: U.S. Democratic 2020 contenders embrace legalization

Support for legal pot has increased sharply since 2012, when Colorado and Washington state became the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

Related stories:

U.S. lawmakers renew push to end fear of border scrutiny of cannabis workers

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  • Legal
  • Illegal
  • Limited




  • Medical: Limited
  • Recreational: Illegal
April 24: Alabama committee advances medical marijuana bill

Alabama lawmakers are advancing a bill that would allow the use of medical marijuana to treat some illnesses and conditions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday voted 6-2 for the bill after a public hearing. The bill now moves to the full Alabama Senate.

The bill by Republican Senator Tim Melson of Florence would set up state oversight and a process for prescribing marijuana as medicine. Patients with a valid medical cannabis card could not be charged with the crime of marijuana possession.

Proponents of the bill said medical marijuana has been proven to help people with some illnesses without the danger of opioids.

Opponents asked lawmakers to keep all marijuana illegal, predicting a medical marijuana program would be abused.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
March 13: Alaska rules for onsite marijuana use take effect in April

Statewide rules governing onsite use of marijuana at authorized stores take effect April 11 in Alaska.

A joint is prepared at the medical marijuana dispensary in Anchorage, Alaska.

The Associated Press

  • Some in Alaska’s legal marijuana industry have said it’s possible that the first onsite use areas could be approved by this summer.
  • Interested retail businesses will have to apply for a special onsite use endorsement, devise plans meeting security, ventilation and other standards and gain approval of the regulatory Marijuana Control Board.
  • The rules allow local governments to protest onsite consumption endorsements and by ordinance or a vote of the people prohibit onsite use or aspects of it, such as smoking.

Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer on Tuesday signed and filed the regulations, the last step before they take effect.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
May 3: Arkansas licenses first medical marijuana dispensary

Officials have formally signed off on Arkansas' first medical marijuana dispensary, about one week before cultivators expect to have product ready for sale.

Department of Finance and Administration spokesman Scott Hardin said Friday that Hot Springs dispensary Doctor's Orders RX has been officially awarded the state's approval.

The dispensary had been inspected by Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates medical marijuana, and the fire marshal.

Hardin says Green Springs Medical, another Hot Springs dispensary, is scheduled for inspection May 9.

Voters approved a medical marijuana amendment to the state's constitution in November 2016.

– Associated Press

April 19: Arkansas medical marijuana sales set to begin in mid-May

Medical marijuana sales in Arkansas are set to begin around May 12 as cultivators plan to begin harvesting the plant in the coming days and regulators finish the approval process for the state’s first dispensaries.

Department of Finance and Administration Spokesman Scott Hardin said the final decision for licensing Doctor’s Orders RX in Hot Springs, which would be the state’s first operational dispensary, will be made within the next two weeks. The dispensary has been inspected by both the Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates medical marijuana, and the fire marshal and is awaiting final approval.

Three of the five licensed cultivators have begun growing, Hardin said, with Bold Team in Cotton Plant expecting to have their first harvest ready to be sold by May 12. Bold Team's cultivators expect to have about 200 pounds of product dried and cured for an initial harvest, spokesman Robert Lercher says.

Two other cultivators, Natural State Medicinals Cultivation in White Hall and Osage Creek Cultivation in Berryville, have also begun growing, Hardin said, and both expect to have their first harvest by summer. Hardin said the final two cultivators have broken ground and are constructing facilities.

With around 10,500 Arkansas residents licensed for medical marijuana use — and 40,000 expected when all licenses are issued — but only one cultivator ready to harvest, many are concerned that the initial supply might not meet demand.

“My biggest concern is that there’s going to be shortages right off the bat,” David Couch, the attorney who wrote the medical marijuana amendment Arkansas voters approved in 2016, said. “They’re going to run out of product and people are going to be disappointed and back to zero again,” he said.


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
June 10: Pot industry wants LA crackdown on rogue shops

The legal marijuana industry is urging Los Angeles City Hall to get tougher with illegal shops that are gouging into their business.

Illegal pot shops are widespread throughout Los Angeles, selling cheaper products than their legal rivals because they don't pay taxes.

In a letter Monday, the industry group Southern California Coalition recommended the city consider seizing cannabis inventory and cash from illegal shops that are found to be selling tainted products.

In the legal market, marijuana products must be tested for consumer safety — a requirement that illegal shops can ignore.

The letter says many legal shops are being driven toward bankruptcy because they are surrounded by rogue shops undercutting them.

– Associated Press

May 21: California Senate OKs special banks for marijuana retailers

The California Senate has voted to allow special banks to handle money from legal marijuana retailers.

Recreational marijuana use has been legal in California since January 2018, but is still illegal under federal law.

That means licensed marijuana retailers cannot use traditional banks because federal law makes it a crime for traditional banks to handle money from criminal activity, which includes federal drug laws.

The Senate voted 35-1 on Tuesday to pass a bill that would create cannabis limited charter banks and cannabis limited charter credit unions.

The banks could accept cash deposits and issue special purpose checks retailers could use to pay taxes, rent, or vendors and to purchase bonds or other debt.

The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration. – Associated Press

May 16: California lawmakers nix temporary marijuana tax cut

An effort to jumpstart California’s licensed marijuana retailers failed to clear a key legislative committee on Thursday, likely dooming its prospects for the year as the country’s largest legal cannabis industry continues to flounder in the shadow of the illegal – and tax free – black market.

Prices for legal marijuana products are inflated in California by the 15 per cent tax consumers have to pay at the cash register and a cultivation tax on growers of $148-per-pound for the flower and $44 per pound for the leaves.

A group of state lawmakers, led by Democrat Assemblyman Rob Bonta, had hoped to temporarily lower the sales tax to 11 per cent and suspend the cultivation taxes for 2 ½ years to help retailers compete with prices on the black market.

A Bonta spokesman said he had agreed to eliminate the sales tax portion of the bill in the hopes it would attract enough votes to get it out of committee and have a chance to pass. But the bill failed to clear the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday, meaning it won’t advance to the Assembly Floor and is likely dead for the year.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Tiffany Devitt, chief compliance officer for CannaCraft, a cannabis manufacturer and distributor. “We’re being crushed by the black market.”

It’s possible lawmakers could revive it using legislative manoeuvres later this year, but it’s unclear if they want to do that. California’s marijuana tax collections are not at all what lawmakers had expected after voters agreed to legalize the drug in a state with nearly 40 million people.

State officials estimate that if marijuana tax collections continue on their current pace – which is hard to predict because the industry is so new – the state will collect US$270-million this year. That’s $85-million less than initial estimates.

Last week, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration lowered marijuana tax revenue estimates for the budget year that begins July 1 by $223-million. – Associated Press

April 22: California bill encourages banks to work with pot businesses

California legislators considered a plan Monday intended to encourage more banks to do business with marijuana companies that have been frozen out of thousands of financial institutions.

Most Americans live in states where marijuana is legally available in some form. But most financial institutions don't want anything to do with money from the cannabis industry for fear it could expose them to legal trouble since the federal government still considers marijuana illegal.

The conflict between state and federal law has left businesses in California's emerging legal pot industry in a legal dilemma, shutting many out of everyday services such as opening a bank account or obtaining a credit card. It also has forced many businesses to operate only in cash — sometimes vast amounts — making them ripe targets for crime.

An Assembly bill would authorize state regulators to share detailed sales, cultivation and shipping information collected from cannabis companies with banks, a step supporters hope will provide additional assurances to financial institutions that a pot shop or grower is operating within the law.

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued guidelines to help banks avoid federal prosecution when dealing with pot businesses in states where the drug is legal.

But most banks don't see those rules as a shield against charges that could include aiding drug trafficking. And they say the rules are difficult to follow, in effect placing the burden on banks to determine if a pot business is complying with all legal rules.

The number of banks and credit unions willing to handle pot money is growing — it’s over 400 across the United Statest — but they still represent only a small fraction of the industry.

– Associated Press

April 5: 25 local governments sue over California cannabis delivery

A coalition of 25 local governments has filed a lawsuit against the California Bureau of Cannabis Control in an effort to invalidate regulations allowing delivery of commercial cannabis statewide.

City of Covina Councilman Walter Allen III says in a statement Friday that the bureau's actions burden local governments in jurisdictions that have regulated or banned commercial cannabis deliveries.

Attorneys for the coalition say the lawsuit was filed late Thursday in Fresno County Superior Court.

  • Plaintiffs include: Santa Cruz County, Agoura Hills, Angels Camp, Arcadia, Atwater, Beverly Hills, Covina, Ceres, Clovis, Dixon and Downey, McFarland, Newman, Oakdale, Palmdale, Patterson, Riverbank, Riverside, San Pablo, Sonora, Tehachapi, Temecula, Tracy, Turlock and Vacaville.

The bureau says it has no immediate comment on the lawsuit's claims.

– Associated Press

April 4: California Senate approves fix for pot licensing snag

The California Senate on Thursday moved to close a licensing gap for state marijuana growers, the latest problem to bedevil the shaky legal marketplace.

Scores of cannabis cultivators have seen their temporary licenses expire before the state has been able to replace them. Companies caught in that backlog have been stranded in a legal lurch — technically unable to do business in the legal pot economy.

Voting 32-4 without debate, the Senate passed a bill that would allow the state to extend those temporary licenses until replacements are approved.

The bill now goes to the Assembly, where it is expected to pass.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Mike McGuire of Healdsburg, warned that growers marooned without valid licenses could fall into the illicit market — through no fault of their own.

He says the proposal will create a short-term bridge "to avoid an impending crisis."

Meanwhile, state regulators have also taken steps to ease the problem, authorizing the issuance of provisional licenses in certain cases to close the gap.

The state's licensing process for the industry has been clunky from the start, in part because they were given so little time to create it.

Broad legal sales kicked off in January 2018, a little over a year after being authorized by voters. Regulators faced the daunting task of transforming California’s longstanding illegal and medicinal marijuana markets into a unified, multin-dollar industry.

Initially, marijuana businesses were issued only temporary licenses. Those are now being replaced with annual licenses, but the transition has been slow and created bottlenecks that left some growers without valid licenses.

The state, meanwhile, has been sending menacing letters to businesses whose temporary licenses expire, warning them to cease activity "immediately."

Without a fix, McGuire said 6,900 temporary growing licenses would expire by July 2019. In March alone, over 1,000 of those licenses will expire, he said.

– Associated Press

March 27: Los Angeles looks to break up vast illegal pot sales

Los Angeles is considering a major crackdown on illegal marijuana shops that have been bedeviling the city's legal marketplace.

  • Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday said he is considering adding “tens of millions” of dollars to the fight against the flourishing illicit market.
  • The mayor didn’t put a precise figure on the spending for the city’s upcoming budget but said it would go toward police overtime and enforcement operations in other city agencies.
  • He says legal shops “can’t get undercut every single day” by illicit sellers who typically have lower prices.

California kicked off broad legal sales in 2018, but Los Angeles has struggled to get control of its vast illegal marijuana economy.

LA is the largest U.S. city with a legal pot market.

– Associated Press

Feb. 26: Cannabis tax revenue disappoints

California brought in considerably less in tax revenue from cannabis sales than analysts had forecast when the market was legalized, the Orange County Record reported.

  • California booked US$345.2-million in tax revenue from legal cannabis during the first year of regulated sales in 2018, according to numbers released by the state.
  • Revenue figures are on track to match the forecast revenues in the current fiscal year.
Related stories:

LA confidential: What Canadian retailers can learn from the SoCal experience

As California plans cannabis tax cut, Canada says it will maintain its levies


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal (possession of small amounts has been decriminalized)
May 11: Governor signs bill creating new industrial hemp program

Governor Ned Lamont has signed legislation that could lead to the production of industrial hemp in Connecticut.

The Democrat says the new law will provide the state’s farmers with an opportunity to “bolster their profits with hemp.” He says it will also attract veteran and first-time farmers to a new and growing market. The legislation passed both the House of Representatives and Senate by unanimous votes.

Under the new law, the Connecticut Department of Agriculture is required to establish a pilot program for growing or cultivating industrial hemp. The federal government recently allowed states to grow, use or sell the product, which proponents say has thousands of uses.

Connecticut’s regulations will ultimately need federal approval.

The new law also establishes licensing requirements and qualifications for hemp growers, processors, and manufacturers.

April 2: Governor supports legal pot despite medical society opposition

Governor Ned Lamont remains optimistic Connecticut lawmakers will pass legislation legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, despite opposition from four state medical society presidents.

The Democrat said Tuesday it would be "irresponsible and dangerous" to leave marijuana sales to "the black market." He says legalizing marijuana "on a carefully regulated basis is the safest way" for Connecticut to proceed.

Lawmakers plan to merge several bills that detail a potential legalized system into one bill for the full General Assembly to consider this session.

The presidents of the Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and New York medical societies recently signed a letter expressing opposition to marijuana legalization efforts in their states, saying “not enough research has been done to prove marijuana is safe.”

They’re telling lawmakers to “stop the tide now.”

March 14: Lawmakers unveil proposals for legal marijuana

House Democrats unveiled a package of legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The plan would allow marijuana to be cultivated, manufactured and sold to consumers in Connecticut. Proposals are also included to tax the drug and clear criminal records of low-level drug offenders.

Cannabis seedlings grow under lights.

The Associated Press

Under the legislation:

  • One bill creates a pilot program for marijuana sales to adults over 21, beginning the end of 2019.
  • The drafts don’t allow people to grow their own marijuana; legalization would be modeled after Connecticut’s existing, tightly regulated medical marijuana program.

Potential tax revenue: Estimated to be $30-million to $180-million annually.


Medical: Permitted for adult patients with certain serious illnesses.

Recreational: Illegal.

May 16: Delaware lawmakers reintroduce marijuana legalization

Democratic lawmakers are again proposing to legalize marijuana in Delaware, an idea still opposed by Democratic Governor John Carney.

Sponsors of a bill unveiled Thursday say it is aimed at eliminating the black market for pot by establishing a state-licensed industry that would create jobs while padding state coffers with licensing fees and taxes.

A similar bill failed last year amid opposition from the law enforcement and business communities.

Under the legislation, adults over age 21 could buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana, no more than 5 grams of which could be in a concentrated form such as that used in edibles and vape liquids.

The legislation calls for initial authorization of 50 indoor and outdoor cultivation facilities of various sizes, 10 product manufacturing facilities, 15 retail stores and five testing facilities.

The state would collect a tax of 15 per cent of the retail sales price of the marijuana products sold, as well as licensing fees for each facility. Licensing fees for stores, manufacturing facilities and testing facilities would be $10,000 every two years. Cultivation facilities would pay two-year licensing fees starting at $2,500 and increasing in $2,500 increments up to $10,000, depending on their size. – Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
April 3: Florida seeks to limit strength of smokable medical pot

Less than a month after Florida lifted a ban on smokable medical marijuana, a state House committee approved a bill to limit the strength of marijuana flowers available to patients who want to smoke their medicine.

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted Wednesday to cap THC levels in smokable medical marijuana at 10 per cent over the objection of patient advocates who said stronger marijuana is already on the market and limiting strength will hurt patients and boost black market pot sales. Republicans supported the cap and Democrats opposed it.

More than 200,000 patients have medical marijuana identification cards, though smokable forms of the plant only became available last month. Voters approved medical marijuana in 2016, but the Legislature placed a ban on smoking it. That ended when Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill ending the ban, which had been ruled unconstitutional by a judge.

Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson argued that high-THC marijuana could make some people violent.

March 25: Bill creating hemp as Florida crop approved by Senate panel

A measure that could give Florida farmers the option of growing hemp as a crop for industrial uses won unanimous approval Monday in a state Senate committee.

The bill backed by the Senate Agriculture Committee would authorize creation of a state program to administer and oversee the growing of hemp.

A federal farm bill passed in 2018 gave states the opportunity to develop a hemp-growing program that would be submitted to the U.S. Agriculture Department for approval.

  • Still, growing hemp for individual use would be prohibited under the Senate bill.
  • The Senate bill next heads to the Rules Committee before it is ready for a floor vote. A similar bill is set for a House committee vote Tuesday.
March 18: Governor signs smokable medical pot bill into law

Florida’s ban on the use of smokable medical marijuana by eligible patients was repealing Monday.

Republican Governor Ron DeSantis announced the state is dropping its previous appeal of court rulings that also could have ended the ban without state lawmakers’ input.

Under the law:

  • Smoking medical marijuana would not be available to anyone under 18 unless the patient is terminally ill and if two doctors, one of them a pediatrician, say it is the most effective form of treatment.
  • It could not be smoked in public or at private businesses subject to the state’s cigarette smoking ban.
  • Private property owners would have the right to prohibit it and patients wouldn’t be able to possess more than 4 ounces of marijuana in a smokable form.

– Associated Press

March 13: Florida passes bill to repeal smokable medical marijuana ban

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Fort Lauderdale.

Wilfredo Lee/The Associated Press

The Florida Legislature met Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ deadline to hand him a bill to repeal the state’s ban on smokable medical marijuana when the House passed the legislation Wednesday.

While lawmakers aren’t necessarily in favor of allowing medical marijuana to be smoked, they faced the prospects of having it become legal without any restrictions.

Governor DeSantis said in late January that the current law doesn’t represent the will of the voters and that he would drop the appeal if lawmakers didn’t repeal the ban by mid-March.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal (for limited medical uses)
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 29: Medical marijuana bill clears state Senate

A bill that would allow the in-state production and sale of low-potency medical marijuana oil has passed the Georgia senate, two days after the proposal was limited significantly in committee.

The Senate voted 44-8 to pass the measure.

Under the bill:

  • A sharply reduced number of licenses to grow and sell would be granted
  • A loophole created by the state’s 2015 medical marijuana law that allows patients to possess the drug but provides them no legal avenue to obtain it is closed

Its author said there were "many, many problems" with the updated measure. Patients and families advocating for the bill agree.

Critics worry that legalizing medical marijuana could lead to legalizing recreational marijuana, which Gravley disputes.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 1: Liberal Hawaii decides again not to legalize marijuana

Despite garnering widespread bipartisan earlier this year, efforts to legalize recreational cannabis now appears to have stalled.

  • Senate Bill 686, which would allow licensed medical cannabis dispensaries to sell for recreational purposes, passed a committee vote unanimously.
  • However, the bill included some administrative functions for the state’s Health Department, another vote was required. The Honolulu Civil Beat reports that vote “turned out to be a significant roadblock.”

A member of the committee said it is “probably too late” for the bill.

Another proposal, House Bill 1383, would replace criminal penalties for marijuana possession with fines, and is expected to pass one final committee vote this week before proceeding to a vote on the House floor.


  • Medical: Illegal
  • Recreational: Illegal
April 11: House kills Idaho hemp legislation

The House has voted to kill Idaho hemp legislation after the Senate added amendments lawmakers say turned it into a decision to create a state plan for hemp rather than go with a federal plan yet to be released.

  • The full House on Thursday accepted the recommendation of the House Transportation and Defense Committee not to agree with amendments added by the Senate.

The original bill was intended to allow hemp-loaded trucks to cross Idaho — where hemp is illegal.

Republican Rep. Judy Boyle says the federal plan has a better chance of allowing Idaho farmers to start growing hemp next spring.

She says efforts to create a state plan could get bogged down.

Law enforcement officials have been concerned legalizing hemp in Idaho could hinder efforts to enforce the state's prohibition on marijuana.

– Associated Press

April 3: Legislation may allow interstate transport of hemp in Idaho

Legislation that will allow the interstate transport of hemp and a hemp-derived extract called CBD through Idaho — where it’s illegal — has been introduced.

The House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday introduced the bill that would allow the director of the Idaho State Police to issue permits for the interstate transport of hemp and CBD.

The Senate on Monday approved legislation involving hemp that caused some House members to withdraw their support because of the amendments done in the Senate.

Republican Rep. Judy Boyle says the House legislation legalized hemp, but the amendments by the Senate undid that.

Hemp backers say the state needs to pass legislation that conforms with federal law on hemp while maintaining the state’s prohibition on marijuana.

– Associated Press

March 25: Legislation legalizing hemp in Idaho heads to full Senate

The state Senate will consider legislation to legalize hemp that Idaho Governor Brad Little said Monday could get his signature if amendments sought by law enforcement officials are approved.

The amendments seek to make it possible for officials to intercept marijuana, illegal in the state, without being stymied by laws that make hemp legal.

The Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously to send the legislation to the full Senate to add amendments to the bill that has already passed the House.

The legislation would legalize the growing and selling of hemp products containing 0.3 percent or less of THC, the cannabis compound that gives marijuana its high. Backers say the state's climate is ideal for growing hemp that could produce millions of dollars in revenue for Idaho farmers.

Opponents say legalizing hemp could make it more difficult to enforce the state's prohibition against marijuana. Hemp is a crop that comes from the same family of plants that produces marijuana, and determining the THC levels of the plants, opponents say, can be time-consuming and expensive.

Republican Sen. Abby Lee, who presented the legislation to the committee, said hemp is already legal on the federal level.

"In order to preserve our primacy for how hemp would be regulated in our state, we really need to do something this session," she said.

The U.S. Congress, led by Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, late last year passed legislation that effectively legalized hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill that was signed into law by President Donald Trump.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Illegal
  • Recreational: Illegal

May 21: Kansas law offers protections to some users of CBD oil

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has signed into law a bill that would allow profoundly ill people who have been unable to find relief with pharmaceutical medications to avoid prosecution for possessing certain blends of oil extracted from cannabis plants.

The protected cannabidiol oils, also known as CBD, can contain no more than 5 per cent THC. Kansas is one of only four states with no provisions for use of medical marijuana.

Besides offering a defence against prosecution in state and city courts, the law also bars agencies from removing children from the homes of parents for possessing or using the oils for medical treatment.

The law goes into effect on July 1. – Associated Press

April 15: Governor signs bill to move Kansas toward hemp production

Kansas will be taking steps toward allowing farmers to grow hemp for industrial use under a measure Gov. Laura Kelly signed into law Monday.

The new law taking effect later this month replaces a state program only for researching hemp and its potential uses with a program for commercial production. Lawmakers authorized the research program last year after federal farm legislation allowed commercial hemp production.

The new law requires the Kansas Department of Agriculture to submit a plan to the federal government for regulating commercial hemp production. The department is required to confer with the governor's and attorney general's offices before submitting the plan.

Kelly said in a statement that the new law will help the state’s agricultural economy by giving farmers another crop to grow.


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
June 2: Illinois poised to be 11th U.S. state to legalize recreational pot

llinois is likely to become the 11th U.S. state to allow small amounts of marijuana for recreational use after the Democratic-controlled House on Friday sent a legalization plan to Democratic Governor. J.B. Pritzker, who campaigned on the issue.

Illinois poised to be 11th U.S. state to legalize recreational pot

May 6: Illinois governor announces plan to legalize marijuana

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Saturday he's reached an agreement with key lawmakers on a plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state starting next year.

The legislation would allow adults 21 and older to legally buy cannabis for recreational use from licensed dispensaries. Illinois residents could possess up to about an ounce (30 grams) of marijuana, while non-residents could possess about half an ounce (15 grams).

The measure also would automatically expunge some marijuana convictions.

The Illinois law would take effect Jan. 1, the first licenses for Illinois growers, processors and dispensaries wouldn’t be issued until May and July 2020, the governor’s office said.

Pritzker was joined by fellow Democratic lawmakers in Chicago to announce the deal, which comes after years of discussion among state legislators. They said the measure will be introduced Monday, kicking off debate at the Legislature, where Democrats hold a majority in both chambers.

The measure includes a $20-million low-interest loan program to help defray the costs of starting a licensed cannabis business for “social equity applicants.” Those applicants would include people who have lived in a “disproportionately impacted area” — or communities with high rates of poverty and high rates of arrest and incarceration for marijuana offenses — or been arrested or convicted of offenses eligible for expungement.

– Associated Press

Jan. 31: Legal cannabis regime takes shape

Illinois is inching closer to introducing legislation to permit recreational marijuana for consumers age 21 and over.

Under the legislation:

  • Residents would be able to to buy and possess up to 30 grams of cannabis.
  • Nonresidents would be able to buy 15 grams.
  • Use of the drug in public would be prohibited.

A grower cares for marijuana plants.

Seth Perlman/The Associated Press

A pair of state lawmakers behind the legislation say about 800,000 people in the state consume pot regularly, but only about 42,000 are registered in Illinois’ medical marijuana program.

– Staff


  • Medical: Limited legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
May 13: Governor signs law enabling industrial hemp production

Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that allows Iowa farmers to legally grow industrial hemp.

The Iowa Hemp Act passed the Legislature with overwhelming support last month.

The bill Reynolds signed Monday allows licensed growers to cultivate the crop on up to 40 acres. First, however, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship must develop a plan and submit it for approval of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The USDA must still release its own regulations this fall, with hopes of allowing farmers to grow hemp next year.


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal (possession decriminalized in 2015)
March 22: Louisiana medical marijuana grower can ramp up production

Louisiana’s agriculture department and a state-sanctioned medical marijuana grower have broken through one of the key regulatory logjams keeping therapeutic cannabis off pharmaceutical shelves and out of patients’ hands.

Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain announced Friday that regulatory paperwork and background checks have been finished that will allow Louisiana State University’s medical marijuana grower to move fully into a larger growing facility and start ramping up production.

Still, product testing and other regulatory hurdles remain to be completed — and growing must expand — before medicinal-grade pot can reach patients eligible for treatment of chronic conditions.

  • Only the agricultural centers at LSU and Southern University are allowed to grow therapeutic cannabis in Louisiana.
  • Under a law passed in 2015 and tweaked since then, Louisiana is allowing medical marijuana to treat a long list of diseases and disorders, such as cancer, seizure disorders, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease. Marijuana can be available in medicinal oils, pills, liquids and topical applications, but cannot be sold in a form to be smoked.


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
Jane 3: Massachusetts inches cautiously toward ‘cannabis cafes’

Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission voted 3-2 recently to accept the recommendations of a working group that explored the possibility of licensing social-consumption sites for marijuana, a move that potentially would open a new frontier for cannabis businesses and consumers in the Bay State.

The plan calls for a test rollout of such venues in up to a dozen Massachusetts communities. But don’t look for Amsterdam-style cannabis cafes to spring up in the near future. It took more than two years after voters approved a recreational marijuana question for the first retail stores to open, and a full — or even partial — rollout of social-consumption venues could easily take just as long, if it happens at all.

Go deeper: Massachusetts inches cautiously toward ‘cannabis cafes’

May 17: Test of ‘cannabis cafes’ gets state OK, but obstacles remain

Massachusetts marijuana regulators have approved of a plan to slowly roll out "cannabis cafes" where adults could use pot in a social setting.

The 3-2 vote by the Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday calls for an initial test program in as many as a dozen communities where licenses would be granted for social consumption establishments. Marijuana use might also be allowed at certain outdoor public events.

The program could not move forward without a change in state law that would give local communities the power to authorize cannabis cafes. Bills are pending in the Legislature to do that.

The commission is recommending stringent rules to prevent people under 21 from entering social consumption sites, and training for employees to recognize when a patron is too high to drive safely.

May 1: Legal pot sales top $100M in Massachusetts

Legal marijuana has reached a milestone of sorts in Massachusetts as sales of recreational pot climb over the US$100-million mark.

According to the latest data from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission:

  • Retail pot shops have sold US$104-million worth of product since the first stores opened last November.
  • Nearly US$7-million in total sales were reported last week, with customers spending an average of US$41 per transaction.

The increases reflect the steadily growing number of pot shops in the state, with 21 having now been awarded final licenses.

The first recreational store in Worcester, the state's second-largest city, opened Wednesday.

Massachusetts, however, is still likely to miss its forecast of US$63-million in marijuana taxes in the current fiscal year due to the initially slower-than-expected rollout of retail stores.

– Associated Press

April 27: State panel OKs plan to allow home delivery of marijuana

State marijuana regulators have signed off on plans for home delivery of legal recreational pot.

The Boston Globe reports the Cannabis Control Commission voted 4-1 on Friday to give preliminary approval to the policy, which could begin later this year after regulations are adopted and a final vote taken.

Under the plan, delivery businesses could pick up products from retail marijuana stores and bring them to residential customers.

For the first two years, regulators say delivery businesses would be limited to social equity and economic empowerment applicants. The state law that legalized recreational marijuana included provisions designed to help small entrepreneurs from areas of the state that were disproportionately impacted by past enforcement of marijuana laws.

So far, however, Massachusetts’ marijuana industry has been dominated by large, well-financed companies.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
April 22: Pot proposal would put Mainers first in line for licenses

Maine's proposed rules about the sale of marijuana for recreational use would for the first two years limit licenses to residents of the state.

The state released its long-awaited draft rules about the recreational marijuana program late Monday. Residents voted in favor of legalizing marijuana in 2016, but crafting the rules has been a long and sometimes contentious process.

The draft states Maine will only give licenses to grow and sell marijuana to people who have lived in the Pine Tree State and filed income tax returns there for four years. That standard would apply until June 2021.

The draft rules are subject to public comment and face state approvals.

Maine already has a long-established medical marijuana program. It's also currently legal to grow marijuana for personal recreational use there.

– Associated Press

March 27: Maine approves bill designed to protect producers of hemp

Maine’s governor has signed a bill designed to make clear that production and sale of hemp-derived food products are allowable in the state. Democratic representative Craig Hickman introduced the bill earlier this year after guidance from state regulators to retailers to stop sales of food products containing the hemp derivative cannabidiol, or CBD. Hickman’s bill is intended to align the definition of hemp in state law with the definition included in the most recent federal Farm Bill. The Farm Bill makes clear hemp is not marijuana. The Maine House of Representatives and Senate overwhelmingly approved Hickman’s bill. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signed it as emergency legislation on Wednesday. She says it will preserve “the continued growth of the legal hemp industry” in Maine.

Feb. 25: Maine reverses course on CBD

CBD products do not need to be pulled from store shelves in Maine, officials with the Maine Department of Agriculture conceded.

  • The FDA caused uncertainty in late 2018 by issuing warnings to dozens of companies selling CBD products, claiming despite the passage of the federal Farm Bill that such products still violated FDA regulations.
  • U.S. lawmakers have urged the agency to clarify its position
  • Maine is considering a new state law that would allow it to write its own hemp-based food rules.

– Jameson Berkow

CBD in the USA: The craze and the confusion


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal (stores expected in 2020)
April 18: Michigan House targets unlicensed pot shops still operating

Michigan lawmakers are intervening in a long-running legal dispute over unlicensed medical marijuana shops, pushing to enact a firm deadline by which the businesses must close or risk their ability to get a license.

The House voted 102-4 Thursday in favor of legislation that would prevent unlicensed facilities that stay open after June 1 from becoming licensed for a year. The move comes after a judge last month issued a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of a March 31 deadline that had been set by state regulators who are more tightly regulating the medical marijuana industry under a 2016 law.

The legislation was sent to the Senate for consideration next.

The House voted the same day that Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello heard arguments in several consolidated lawsuits against the state. He is expected to rule soon.

Some suits were filed by temporary operators wanting to stay open after alleging their license applications were denied for invalid reasons. Others were brought by licensed businesses saying they cannot compete against unlicensed facilities that do not have to play by the same rules.

Licensing deadlines have been extended numerous times over the last year due to court action and other reasons, including regulators needing more time to thoroughly evaluate potential licensees and concerns about a shortage of marijuana for patients.

In March, Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer eliminated the marijuana licensing board and folded its functions into a newly created agency, citing "inefficiencies."

– Associated Press

April 18: Lawmakers: Unlicensed pot shops open after June 1 must wait a year

Michigan lawmakers are moving to curb unlicensed medical marijuana shops by threatening their ability to get licensed if they stay open after June 1.

A bill approved 102-4 by the state House on Thursday will next be considered by the Senate. The measure would prevent unlicensed marijuana facilities that remain open from becoming licensed for a year.

State regulators let many provisioning centers reopen temporarily through March without it being a risk to their licensure. But a judge last month blocked enforcement of the March 31 deadline.

The sponsor, Republican representative Jim Lilly of Ottawa County's Park Township, says his bill clarifies "that there's a point in time at which we have to move from an unregulated market to regulated, from unlicensed operators to licensed operators."

– Associated Press

April 1: Judge thwarts crackdown on unlicensed medical pot shops

A Michigan judge has blocked yet another attempt by state officials to shut down unlicensed medical marijuana provisioning centers.

About 50 unlicensed shops in Michigan were set to be shut down by regulators. But Michigan Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello signed a temporary restraining order Thursday that prevents state regulators from enforcing a licensing deadline that had been set for Sunday.

The judge's order means that the unlicensed shops can keep their doors open for at least another two weeks.

The Bureau of Marijuana Regulation said in a statement Friday that Sunday's licensing deadline would not be enforced.

State officials have tried to impose a deadline for licensure since September 2018, but it's been pushed back multiple times due to legal challenges and official intervention.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal, but under strict rules
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 11: Senate panel votes against recreational marijuana

A Minnesota Senate committee voted to kill a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state; it’s unlikely legislation will pass this year.

  • The panel also rejected forming a task force to conduct a comprehensive study and come back with recommendations on marijuana-related issues.

The bill would have set up a regulatory system for recreational marijuana in 2022; and allowed people previously convicted of marijuana crimes to get their records expunged. Under the bill, it would remain illegal for marijuana to be sold to — or used by — people younger than 21.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 11: Missouri medical marijuana licenses in high demand

Missouri plans to license more than 300 medical marijuana-related businesses this year, and is preparing for up to 180,000 people applying for medical marijuana cards.

  • The state is already planning at least 192 dispensaries, 60 cultivation facilities, 86 manufacturing facilities and two testing facilities.
  • More than 450 potential licensees have applied, even though it’ll be months before licenses are awarded and application fees are non-refundable.
  • Sales will begin: January, 2020. The state is still formulating rules and regulations.

An employee at a medical marijuana cultivator works on topping a marijuana plant.

David Dermer/The Associated Press

Voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment in November allowing medical marijuana use.


  • Medical: Illegal
  • Recreational: Illegal
April 25: Why Nebraska’s tough approach to medical marijuana may backfire

Year after year, Nebraska's conservative lawmakers have rejected measures calling for limited and highly regulated medical marijuana.

They're poised to do it again, but their decision this year could have the unintended consequence of ushering in one of the most unrestricted medical marijuana laws in the country.

If so, Nebraska will join a growing number of conservative states with unusually easy marijuana access, all because red-state lawmakers refuse to touch the issue and thereby make way for ballot initiatives.

Why Nebraska’s tough approach to medical marijuana may backfire

March 5: Medical marijuana backers file formal papers for campaign

Backers of an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Nebraska have filed formal paperwork for a statewide ballot campaign.

State Senators Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld.


  • State Senators Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld, of Lincoln, are co-chairing the effort to place the constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot. Wishart introduced a bill allowing lawmakers to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes.

Legalization supporters have said they will pursue the ballot campaign if lawmakers don’t pass a measure this year.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
May 10: Nevada governor set to sign transparency bill

Nevada's governor is expected to sign a bill Friday to open the books on how the state awards lucrative licenses to sell recreational marijuana.

The bill will make public the identity of all marijuana license applicants and the method the state tax department used to score and rank their bids.

The licensing process has faced complaints from companies who say it is not clear what criteria officials use to award new marijuana licenses. Their complaints have turned into lawsuits and the companies accuse the state of unconstitutionally picking winners and losers for the marijuana licenses.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are on the line for licensees.

Sixty-one dispensaries in Nevada reported almost $425-million in recreational pot sales in the year after broad marijuana sales began in July 2017.Medical marijuana sales brought in another $105 million.

– Associated Press

May 1: Las Vegas approves marijuana consumption lounges

Legal marijuana smokers will soon be able to find lounges where they can light up in Las Vegas — but not in casinos, not in places serving alcohol, and not on the resort-lined Las Vegas Strip.

The City Council on Wednesday approved what proponents dubbed "social use venues" in the downtown and urban core of Nevada's sprawling casino playground.

The move answers a conundrum faced by adult tourists who have been able since July 2017 to buy marijuana for recreational use, but not consume it in public, in casinos or in hotel rooms.

It adds Las Vegas to a list of U.S. cities allowing pot lounges — currently headed by San Francisco but also other California towns, places in Alaska, and Denver. Colorado state clean air rules mean the Mile High City's two bring-your-own lounges don't allow pot smoking, but they do allow vaping.

City spokesman Jace Radke said it could take several months for the 20 or so licensed recreational marijuana sales dispensaries in Las Vegas to get permits to open hookah-style consumption lounges.

The city measure says lounges can't be near casinos, schools and churches. Lounges may be able to open as close as next-door to dispensaries, Radke said.

– Associated Press

April 22: Judge sets hearing on bid to stop new Nevada pot licenses

A Nevada judge says she'll hear arguments next month on a bid by dozens of companies to freeze a second wave of licenses for entry in to the state's lucrative marijuana sales market.

Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez told more than a dozen lawyers Monday she can't officially consolidate seven lawsuits filed in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas.

Gonzalez says she also has no jurisdiction over two other lawsuits filed in Washoe and Lyon counties.

But she says she hopes having most take part in one hearing May 24 will avoid ending up with conflicting rulings by different judges.

Companies are accusing state tax officials of failing to disclose how they chose winners and losers last December from 462 applicants for 61 new cannabis dispensary and production licenses.

– Associated Press

April 14: State may be forced to reveal marijuana-license criteria

Nevada faces complaints about secrecy in awarding licenses to sell marijuana in the state’s booming legal marketplace, boiling over into lawsuits and legislation that appear poised to pry open the process.

Several companies have sued the state tax department, arguing that no one knows for sure the criteria officials use to award new licenses. They complain the state releases no information about who seeks and receives permission to sell cannabis to adults, many of them tourists, in the nearly 2-year-old market.

They will ask a judge Monday to freeze the granting of marijuana dispensary licenses, at least temporarily, until the courts decide whether it's "arbitrary and capricious and violates the constitution," one lawsuit says.

The hearing will focus on a second wave of dispensaries approved in December to open into an evolving regulatory environment where local lawmakers are considering allowing pot lounges on or near the Las Vegas Strip.

The companies say Nevada unconstitutionally picked winners and losers from 462 applicants for 61 new dispensary, cultivation, laboratory and production licenses.

Plans are underway to release the names of all applicants and licensees once the measure becomes law, said Ky Plaskon, spokesman for the state Department of Taxation, which regulates the licensing process.

Governor Steve Sisolak on Friday acknowledged "the frustrations of many marijuana license applicants with the current licensing process" and endorsed the legislation that he said "would shed light on the methodology used ... in granting licenses."

Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, and figures show that sales are booming.

  • In the first year after broad marijuana sales began in July 2017, 61 dispensaries statewide reported nearly $425-million in recreational pot sales. Medical marijuana sales totaled an additional $105-million.
  • Nevada reaped $42.5-million in taxes on adult sales, with about $27.5-million going to an account for schools.
  • In the last six months of 2018, all dispensaries reported $884-million in sales and the state took in almost $72-million in taxes on recreational sales, Plaskon said. There are now 65 marijuana stores statewide.

–Associated Press

March 25: Nevada bill looks to license banks for marijuana industry

A new Nevada bill seeks to create a process for licensing banks and credit unions that would serve marijuana dispensaries.

Under the proposal:

  • The bill aims to provide those dispensaries with a “safe and efficient way” to invest in the economy and pay taxes.
  • The measure asserts that most marijuana businesses are forced to operate almost entirely in cash because banks are reluctant to serve them as customers.
  • It says the reluctance stems from marijuana still being illegal under federal law.
  • Accounts from the licensed banks and credit unions under the bill would not be required to be insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The bill also creates an advisory board to assess the implementation and enforcement of the legislation.

–Associated Press

March 16: Nevada appears to be shorted on pot tax revenue

Nevada legislative auditors report that poor bookkeeping processes and a lack of oversight of the legal marijuana industry suggest the state is losing potential tax revenue.

The audit report said:

  • Data from many cultivators’ and dispensaries’ tax returns didn’t match with inventory tracking data.
  • The Department of Taxation isn’t able to verify the businesses’ tax returns and that those “did not always appear to be correct.”
  • $70 million of marijuana excise taxes were collected during the 2018 fiscal year.
  • A sampling of returns suggested “a potential unpaid tax liability of over $500,000” during a six-month period.

The department plans to make changes recommended by auditors.

– Associated Press

New Hampshire

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
May 30: New Hampshire Senate puts marijuana legalization on hold

The push to legalize recreational use of marijuana has suffered a setback in New Hampshire.

The Senate voted Thursday to delay action on a legalization bill until late December or early next year. The bill had passed the House in April, but not with enough votes to override a promised veto by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. Sen. Martha Hennessey, a Hanover Democrat, said the Senate Judiciary Committee was unanimous in believing that the issue needs further consideration.

– Associated Press

May 2: New Hampshire Senate passes bill to allow home-grown medical marijuana

The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill to allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own supply, but participants wouldn’t be able to share the results with other patients.

New Hampshire legalized medical marijuana in 2013. More than 7,000 patients are enrolled in the program. For now, they must travel to one of the state's four dispensaries to get the drug, and many have said distance and cost are major obstacles.

The Senate passed a bill Thursday that would allow patients or caregivers to grow their own marijuana, and possess up to three mature plants, three immature plants and 12 seedlings. The bill must now be reconciled with the House-passed version, which would have allowed growers to give plants to other patients.

Feb. 28: New Hampshire lawmakers advance legalization bill

The New Hampshire House has given preliminary approval to a bill legalizing recreational marijuana.

  • Lawmakers voted 209-147 in favour of the bill that would legalize up to 28 grams of recreational marijuana and 5 grams of concentrated cannabis.
  • A cannabis control commission would be established to license and regulate cannabis businesses.

A similar bill passed the House last year before dying in the state Senate.

Democrats, who added legalization to their party platform last year, now control both chambers. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has promised to veto the bill if it passes.

– Associated Press

New Jersey

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
May 30: NJ Senate passes bill to expand medical marijuana program

New Jersey's Democrat-led Senate on Thursday passed a bill expanding medical marijuana services.

  • The Senate voted 33-4 on the bill that increases the number of cultivators, sets up a regulator commission and gets rid of sales tax on prescription cannabis by 2025.
  • The bill would have gone to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy’s desk, but last-minute amendments were added so the measure is returning to the Democrat-controlled Assembly.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said the changes would require the state’s existing medical marijuana treatment centers, as well as the new ones slated to open under the legislation, to enter into agreements with labor unions to permit unionization.

– Associated Press

May 20: NJ lawmakers advance medical cannabis, expungement bills

New Jersey lawmakers advanced legislation Monday expanding the state's medical marijuana program and making it easier for certain convicts to clear their records.

Democrat-led Assembly and Senate committees advanced the measures, with votes in each chamber coming as early as this week.

Monday’s votes come days after Senate President Steve Sweeney said a bill legalizing recreational cannabis didn’t have enough support to pass and he instead would pursue a 2020 referendum.

Sweeney also said that in the interim, lawmakers would pursue an expanded medical cannabis program as well as legislation to ease the expungement of certain criminal records.

Democratic Governor Phil Murphy supports recreational cannabis legalization but had a “mixed reaction” to Sweeney’s proposal. Murphy’s office declined to comment Monday on the bills.

The medical marijuana legislation sets up a regulatory commission to oversee the program, which is managed by the Department of Health under current law. The bill also calls for up to 23 permits for medical cannabis cultivation. Currently there are six alternative treatment centers, which are authorized to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana. The Murphy administration has said it would double that number to 12.

The 2010 law enacted under former Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine authorized the treatment centers to cultivate, process and sell medical cannabis. The new legislation instead provides for different categories for wholesale and retail, for example, mirroring language in the recreational marijuana bill that remains on ice.

The measure also phases out the state’s 6.625 per cent sales tax by 2025. The bill, does however, establish the ability for towns where medical marijuana dispensaries are located to impose a transfer tax on dispensed marijuana of up to 2 per cent. Nearly 50,000 people are currently enrolled in the program. That’s up from about 15,000 when Murphy took office in 2018.

– Associated Press

May 15: New Jersey will ask voters to legalize recreational pot

A measure to legalize recreational marijuana in New Jersey fizzled out Wednesday when the state Senate president said he would instead look to voters next year and will pursue separate bills to expand medical cannabis and wipe clean some criminal records.

The Democrat vowed that adult-use marijuana – supported by fellow Democrats Governor Phil Murphy and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin – would become legal, just not now.

This is the latest development as New Jersey sought to become the 11th state to legalize recreational weed since a vote on the measure was postponed in March. Senate president Stephen Sweeney said at the time that the bill didn’t have enough votes to pass.

Murphy campaigned on recreational cannabis legalization and pushed hard for the bill. He has said he would consider a referendum but didn’t want to abandon legislation. – Associated Press

March 25: New Jersey cancels vote on recreational marijuana

New Jersey’s Senate president says there are not enough votes to pass a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. The vote in that chamber has been postponed.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said Monday that he remains committed to passing the law and will continue to work to do just that.

Leaders and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy back the measure, but some lawmakers were hesitant.

A vote was also scheduled in the state Assembly Monday, and it was not clear how that was affected.

March 24: New Jersey lawmakers near vote on recreational cannabis

March 18: Lawmakers advance bill to legalize recreational marijuana

The bill lawmakers voted on contained many of the same details Governor Phil Murphy announced recently, including a $42 per-ounce tax.

  • The bill also includes the ability for towns to impose taxes of up to 3 per cent in some cases.

The legislation goes next to the floor in both chambers, but it’s unclear whether there are enough votes for the measure to succeed and make it to the Governor’s desk.

– Associated Press

Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during a joint meeting of the Democratic-led Assembly and Senate in Trenton, N.J., Tuesday, March 5, 2019.

Seth Wenig/The Associated Press

March 12: New Jersey takes big step toward legalizing recreational pot

Governor Murphy and legislative leaders said they’ve agreed on legislation to legalize recreational marijuana for adults after more than a year of negotiations.

  • The measure aims at getting cannabis industry participation for minorities and women, the leaders said.
  • The deal calls for a US$42 per ounce tax on the product.
  • It also lets towns collect 3 per cent tax: those with cultivators will collect 2 per cent and those with wholesalers would get 1 per cent.

The Assembly is expecting a committee vote on the deal on Monday. A floor vote is possible March 25.

– Associated Press

New Mexico

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
June 11: New Mexico proposes new cap on cannabis production

New Mexico is proposing new cannabis production rules designed to shore up supplies to its medical marijuana program without flooding the rapidly expanding market.

The Department of Health published a proposal Tuesday to limit medical cannabis cultivation to 1,750 mature plants per licensed producer.

Immature seedlings shorter than (25 centimeters) won't count toward the limit so that producers can experiment with plant strains.

The production cap could increase starting in June 2021 if demand outstrip supplies.

– Associated Press

May 14: Medical pot producers can’t keep up with demand

A survey of licensed medical marijuana producers in New Mexico indicates that a majority cannot meet customer demand. The survey was commissioned by the Department of Health and obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. It found that 55 per cent of producers say they are unable to keep pace with patient demand for marijuana and related products.

Nearly all of the state’s 34 medical cannabis producers say they have plans to expand operations. The number of patients enrolled in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program increased by 39 per cent during the year ending in March. Active patients now number more than 72,000.

Regulators surveyed producers as the state reconsiders limits on how many plants each provider may grow at once and other provisions for ensuring adequate supplies to patients.

April 3: New Mexico reduces penalties for marijuana possession

A bill that reduces penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia has been signed by the governor of New Mexico.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation Wednesday that makes the possession of up to a half-ounce (12 grams) of marijuana a petty misdemeanor.

That would translate into a $50 fine on first offense. The same penalties will apply to possession of drug paraphernalia.

The provisions go into effect July 1.

Possession of large quantities of marijuana can still result in felony charges.

A proposal to legalized recreational marijuana sales and use across New Mexico received House approval but stalled in the state Senate without a floor vote.

Lawmakers also balked at decriminalizing possession of small quantities of other illicit drugs that can result in jail sentences.

– Associated Press

April 2: New Mexico lays regulatory groundwork for hemp production

Governor Grisham on Monday signed a bill that establishes a state regulatory framework for an emerging hemp industry. State oversight responsibilities are spread across the departments of agriculture, health and environment.

The legislation:

  • Aims to help farmers and manufacturers comply with federal and state law as they develop products including hemp textiles and hemp-derived cannabidiol.
  • Allows federally recognized Native American communities to develop their own regulations and licensing procedures.

– Associated Press

March 16: Governor wants to revive marijuana proposals

New Mexico’s Governor said next year’s limited 30-day legislative session will include marijuana reform proposals. In New Mexico, the governor decides what major policy issues are heard during abbreviated legislative sessions in even-numbered years.

  • Governor Grisham says legalization is possible with sufficient precautions to prevent child use and impaired driving.
  • A previous proposal received bipartisan support, but stalled without a Senate vote.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks at a press conference in Albuquerque, N.M. on Monday, Jan 7, 2019.

Russell Contreras/The Associated Press

March 12: New Mexico weighs America’s first government-run pot shops

New Mexico would become the first U.S. state to set up its own government-operated marijuana stores and subsidize medical cannabis for the poor under a bill brokered between Republicans and Democrats.

The Democratic governor has expressed guarded support for recreational marijuana.

Under the bill:

  • A 17 per cent tax on recreational marijuana sales would be levied.
  • Possession of up to 28 grams would be permitted.
  • Local governments can opt out, forgoing tax proceeds in the process. Businesses could maintain “zero-tolerance” policies for drug testing as a condition of employment.

Sponsors say the bill would safeguard New Mexico’s medical marijuana program by removing taxes on medical pot to keep down prices and ensure its 70,000 participants don’t flock to the recreational market.

– Associated Press

March 8: New Mexico moves toward legalizing recreational marijuana

New Mexico’s House approved a bill that would allow state-run stores and require customers to carry a receipt with their cannabis or face penalties.

The narrowly approved measure mixes major provisions of a Republican-backed Senate bill that emphasizes aggressive regulation with a draft by Democrats concerned about the U.S. war on drugs.

The bill now moves to the Democratic-controlled state Senate for consideration.

Under the bill:

  • Possession of up to 28 grams by people 21 and older would be legal with a receipt.
  • Home-grown cannabis is not allowed.
  • Private dispensaries would be allowed where there is no state-run marijuana store within 25 miles.
  • Oversight of the industry would be shared by state agriculture, health and environmental officials.
  • Taxes: medical marijuana taxes would be eliminated; recreational marijuana sales would be taxed up to 17 per cent.
  • Recreational cannabis stores would open for business in July, 2020.

– Associated Press

Feb. 25: State House to vote on legalization

The state’s full House of Representatives will vote on whether to legalize recreational cannabis. House Bill 356 passed the Judiciary Committee, the second approval at the committee level which clears the way for a House vote.

Under the bill:

  • Residents 21 and older to possess up to 56 grams of dried cannabis flower.
  • Grow up to six live cannabis plants per household
  • A 17 per cent tax would be imposed.

– Jameson Berkow

New York

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
June 19: Push for marijuana legalization falls flat in New York

A push to legalize recreational marijuana in New York state has fallen flat.

The sponsor of the main legalization bill in the state Senate says the bill will not pass before lawmakers adjourn for the year this week.

Manhattan Democrat Liz Krueger says supporters came close to "crossing the finish line" but ran out of time.

Sticking points included how pot tax revenue should be spent, whether past pot convictions should be expunged and whether local communities could opt out of hosting dispensaries, or instead would have to opt in.

– Associated Press

May 11: New York could still be in play for legalization this year

Supporters of cannabis in New York state say they're still optimistic lawmakers and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo can work out a deal to legalize recreational marijuana this year. But time is beginning to run out.

Cuomo initially wanted a provision legalizing cannabis to be included in the state budget passed April 1. He withdrew it after it became obvious lawmakers couldn’t resolve thorny questions about the details of the legislation.

Now, those same devilish details could prevent a vote before lawmakers wrap up their session next month.

“The time for squabbling over details is over,” said Kassandra Frederique, New York state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We need action from the Democratic majority. Marijuana legalization needs to pass during this legislative session. Period.”

One big question is whether legalization will be paired with a proposal to expunge the criminal records of people arrested in the past for pot possession. Many lawmakers say it’s essential such a measure be included as a way to address decades of racial and economic disparities in the enforcement of marijuana laws.

Lawmakers in Albany point to the experience in New Jersey, where a vote on legislation to legalize marijuana and expunge old pot convictions was put off earlier this year.

Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan told Gothamist this week that passage of a legalization bill would require Cuomo to make the issue a priority in end-of-session negotiations with lawmakers. – Associated Press

Feb. 11: Cuomo still optimistic New York can legalize cannabis by April 1

Governor Cuomo said he remains confident the Legislature can vote to legalize adult-use cannabis as part of the state budget, which is due on April 1.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference.

Hans Pennink/The Associated Press

  • Both Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie support legalization.
  • However, there is not yet an agreement on details, such as tax rates and rules about how the product should be sold and regulated.

Attaching legalization to the budget is one way Cuomo has used to get leverage over the Legislature. Removing the issue from the budget could complicate the negotiations over legalization, and potentially delay passage.

One possible sticking point: Heastie wants legalization accompanied by legislation expunging the criminal convictions of low-level drug offenders as an attempt to respond to decades of racial and economic inequities during the war on drugs.

– Staff

North Dakota

  • Medical: Legal (17+, with qualifying health conditions or terminal illness)
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 1: Medical marijuana makes its debut in North Dakota

North Dakota’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened for business Friday, two years after voters approved medical marijuana in 2016.

The cash-only shop does only carries smokeable versions of the drug.

  • Patients will eventually be able to buy products in six forms: dried leaves and flowers, concentrates, tinctures, capsules, topicals and transdermal patches.
  • Edibles were part of the original initiative but the state Legislature removed them from the list. A House bill introduced in the current session would return them to the menu.
  • State law limits the amount of THC, the chemical that produces a high, in the capsule, patch and topical forms, and it requires patients to get special authorization from a health care provider for dried leaves and flowers with a THC concentration greater than 6 percent. That form is not available to minors.

In 2017, the Legislature crafted rules that allow the use of medical marijuana for 17 qualifying health conditions, along with terminal illnesses. State lawmakers this year are considering expanding the list of legal conditions to 30.

The Health Department hopes to have dispensaries operating in the state’s eight major cities by fall.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal (but decriminalized for possession of up to 100 grams).
May 11: More than 30K people register to buy medical pot

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program says more than 30,000 people with physician recommendations have registered to legally buy cannabis with about half having made purchases since some licensed dispensaries opened in January.

The state provided an update on various aspects of the program Friday, to include:

- 17 of 29 cultivators with provisional licenses having received operating certificates to grow medical marijuana.

- 15 of 56 dispensaries with provisional licenses to sell cannabis now have certificates of operation.

- 484 physicians have been certified to recommend medical marijuana use

- Only 2 of 39 provisional licensees thus far have permission to produce cannabis-based products like edibles, tinctures and creams.

- Dispensaries through May 5 have sold 750 pounds of marijuana flowers at a price of $5.8-million.

April 1: Ohio passes a bill to legalize hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol oil

The Ohio Senate has unanimously passed a bill to legalize hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol oil, a move that could create an industrial hemp industry in the state.

Under the bill:

  • Cultivation of hemp as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC is allowed.

Both farmers and retailers have supported the legislation, saying it can bring new jobs to Ohio.

Fibers from hemp can be used to manufacture clothing, cosmetics, rope and other items.

  • The hemp bill would require the state Department of Agriculture, governor, and attorney general to develop a plan to regulate, license for three years, and inspect the cultivation and processing of hemp. They must also submit a plan to the federal government for approval.
  • Program operations would be funded, at least initially, through fees paid by licensees.

Many states have adopted a hemp pilot program, which is permitted by federal law, so that farmers in their jurisdictions could begin planting and harvesting the plant.

Republican Sen. Brian Hill, who co-sponsored the bill, stressed a need to move rapidly on the legislation.

"It's imperative that Ohio moves quickly so our farmers can take advantage of a domestic hemp marketplace to catch up with other neighboring states," Republican Sen. Brian Hill, who also co-sponsored the bill, told The Blade of Toledo.

This bill now heads to the House for consideration.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal (with a license)
  • Recreational: Illegal
May 6: April medical marijuana sales top $18M in Oklahoma

Oklahoma tax officials say medical marijuana sales topped $18 million last month, marking the seventh straight month of growth for the new industry.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission reported Monday the state collected more than $1.2-million in April from the 7 per cent excise tax on marijuana that is in addition to state and local sales tax also collected from medical marijuana sales.

The number of people eligible to obtain the drug also is continuing to climb. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority says it has approved more than 104,000 patient licenses since August and has licensed more than 1,400 dispensaries and 2,700 commercial growers.

– Associated Press

Oklahoma quickly becoming medical marijuana hotbed

April 10: Medical pot sales still climbing, top $12M in March

Oklahoma tax officials say medical marijuana sales topped $12-million last month, marking the sixth straight month of explosive growth for the new industry.

  • The Oklahoma Tax Commission reported the state collected more than $870,000 in March from the 7-per-cent excise tax on marijuana.
  • The state collected an additional $1.2-million in state and local sales tax on medical pot in March.

Medical marijuana sales have grown significantly each month since dispensaries began selling cannabis in the October.

The number of patients also is skyrocketing. The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority says it has issued more than 83,000 patient licenses since August. It has also licensed more than 1,200 dispensaries and 2,300 commercial growers.

March 11: Oklahoma lawmakers send medical marijuana bill to governor

Oklahoma’s booming new medical marijuana industry will have some new state regulations to follow under a “unity bill” that is now headed to the Governor Kevin Stitt’s desk.

Under the bill:

  • Guidelines for inventory testing and tracking, advertising, packaging and labelling are established.
  • Employers may fire medical marijuana users in certain “safety-sensitive jobs” who test positive for the drug.

The bill isn’t intended to curb the explosive growth of the medical marijuana industry.

– Associated Press

In this Feb. 4, 2019, photo, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt gestures as he delivers his State of the State address in Oklahoma City.

Sue Ogrocki/The Associated Press

Feb. 13: State medical sales surge

Numbers from the Oklahoma Tax Commission show medical marijuana sales topped US$4.3-million in January, a fourfold increase from the previous month.

  • The 7 per cent tax on medical marijuana sales generated US$305,265 for the state in January. That figure doesn’t include the standard sales tax that varies from city to city.
  • The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority also has generated more than US$13 million in licensing fees.

Nearly 44,000 Oklahoma patients, 950 dispensaries and 1,600 growers have been licensed since August.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
June 2: Oregon, awash in marijuana, takes steps to curb production

Oregon is awash in pot, glutted with so much legal weed that if growing were to stop today, it could take more than six years by one estimate to smoke or eat it all.

Now, the state is planning to curb production.

Oregon, awash in marijuana, takes steps to curb production

May 14: Advocate: Bill to legalize pot lounges is dead

Oregonians won’t be smoking joints at legal cannabis lounges anytime soon.

The Statesman Journal reports that a bill to legalize cannabis lounges is "100% dead," according to Sam Chapman, legislative director for the New Revenue Coalition, the group behind Senate Bill 639.

Legal pot lounges aren’t unheard of in the U.S. The Las Vegas City Council this month OK’d marijuana consumption lounges, also known as social use venues, under certain conditions.

An initiative petition submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office in March may allow Oregon residents to vote on legalizing cannabis social consumption cafes in the November 2020 election.

– Associated Press

April 29: Oregon Senate okays temporary freeze on pot production

The Oregon Senate moved forward with a plan to limit the state's supply of recreational, legal marijuana.

Lawmakers voted 18-10 Monday to freeze marijuana productions at current levels for the next two years. The state will not issue new production licenses to marijuana growers, but current growers will be able to renew their licenses.

Democrat Sen. Michael Dembrow from Portland said the state produces so much marijuana that Oregon has enough of the drug to last it for the next 6.5 years. That surplus has caused prices to plummet.

Lawmakers shot down another version of this bill earlier this month. Republicans said at the time that the marijuana industry should be regulated by the free market, not the state.

Some Republicans reversed their vote this time around saying the amended proposal is narrower in scope.

The measure now goes to the House for consideration.

– Associated Press

April 10: Oregon Senate rejects marijuana supply management plan

The Oregon Senate shot down a plan to limit the state's supply of recreational, legal marijuana.

  • The proposal responds to a rampant oversupply of marijuana that’s caused prices to plummet.
  • The measure would have allowed the state to limit the number of marijuana production licenses it issues based on supply and demand for the product.

Democrat Sen. Michael Dembrow from Portland said oversupply has left the state with enough marijuana to last nearly seven years. He said managing the amount of marijuana produced could prevent the product from slipping into the black market.

  • Lawmakers voted down the proposal 17-13. The measure was moved back to the Rules Committee for further consideration.

– Associated Press

Feb. 11: State policy change could run afoul of federal laws

Local policymakers consider a new law, State Senate Bill 582, that would allow marijuana produced legally in the state to be exported to any adjoining jurisdictions that also have legal cannabis markets.

Under the bill:

  • Commerce between Oregon and California, Washington and Nevada would be allowed.

However, transporting marijuana across state lines remains a federal crime and that no state-level law can alter that fact.

Local politicians are struggling to find ways of dealing with the state’s massive cannabis oversupply issues as official data shows more than 1.1 million kilograms were harvested in October, 2018, and wholesale prices have been cut in half over the past two years.

– Staff


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 18: State senators unveil bill to legalize recreational pot

Pennsylvania state Senators Daylin Leach and Sharif Street said Monday they will introduce legislation that would legalize recreational cannabis for adult use in Pennsylvania.

The bill is expected to face a difficult ride through the GOP-controlled legislature.

Governor Tom Wolf says his administration will take a serious look at the pros and cons of marijuana legalization. The state is currently receiving comments from residents as part of a listening tour currently being conducted by Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

A 2017 poll by Franklin & Marshall college said nearly 60 percent of state residents support legalizing marijuana.

Under the bill:

  • Anyone over the age of 21 could consume cannabis.
  • Individuals would be able to grow up to six plants for personal consumption.

– Staff

Rhode Island

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 29: Sales of medical marijuana hits new highs

State regulators say sales of medical marijuana in Rhode Island are continuing to hit new highs. Regulator Norman Birenbaum says Rhode Island’s three medical marijuana dispensaries are on pace to sell about US$56-million worth of medicinal pot in fiscal 2019. The Providence Journal reports it is a 46.6 per cent increase over sales in fiscal year 2018.

The list of qualifying conditions to enter the medical marijuana program is short but broad, listing symptoms like severe pain or muscle spasms. Birenbaum says regulators remain concerned there are ways to "abuse the program." Last year, Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo's attempt to restrict certain doctors from participating in the program failed.

Regulators predict they will collect over US$5-million in taxes on medical marijuana in the current fiscal year.

– Associated Press

March 26: Alternative pot legalization plan pulled back for revisions

A state legislator is proposing an alternative plan to legalize recreational marijuana in Rhode Island.

The proposal sponsored by Democratic Rep. Scott Slater was initially scheduled to be heard Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee. The Providence Journal reports a group of licensed pot cultivators objected to parts of the bill Monday, resulting in Slater delaying the bill’s hearing for reworking.

Under the proposal:

  • Owners of the states’ three medical-marijuana dispensaries would be able to create a separate for-profit entity for legalized marijuana production.

Opponents say the language of the proposal could help create an unfair advantage in the marijuana business for medical marijuana dispensary owners and stakeholders.

Democratic Governor Gina Raimondo proposed legalizing recreational pot as part of her budget proposal.

– Associated Press

March 20: Lawmakers review proposal on marijuana legalization

The Rhode Island Senate Finance and Judiciary committees have held their first joint hearing on a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. The Providence Journal reports lawmakers had several criticisms about the proposal unveiled Tuesday, including that it provides too little money for drug-abuse prevention. Other lawmakers questioned the cost of new positions for a cannabis regulatory commission and said some proposed penalties were overly excessive.

Governor Gina Raimondo included potentially legalizing recreational marijuana as part of her budget for the next fiscal year. Her proposal would ban home growing and bar high-potency products from store shelves. Recreational marijuana sales could start by next January if approved. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio says he has significant concerns about the proposal, including work force issues and its impact on children.

– Associated Press

South Carolina

  • Medical: Illegal (children with severe epilepsy can receive CBD oil if recommended by a physician)
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 20: Faith leaders endorse medical marijuana bill

Some South Carolina faith leaders are showing their support for the Compassionate Care Act, which would legalize medicinal marijuana for individuals with terminal, debilitating medical conditions.

The legislation introduced in the House and Senate has bipartisan backing.

Under the legislation:

  • Patients would be able to purchase up to 57 grams of marijuana or its equivalent every two weeks if authorized by their doctor.

Members of the Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee approved the bill. It now goes to the full committee.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legalized by ballot measure in November 2018
  • Recreational: Illegal
March 25: High court hears challenge to medical-marijuana law changes

People angry about sweeping changes made to a voter-approved law legalizing medical marijuana are calling on the state’s highest court to rein in the legislature’s power to amend measures passed at the ballot box.

Steven Maxfield with The People's Right group said Monday the alterations undid much of what the voters wanted and are part of a troubling pattern of state leaders changing voter-approved laws.

This group wants the court to overturn the changes and go back to original measure known as Proposition 2. Though the justices appeared skeptical about that, they did grill government lawyers about whether lawmakers went too far.

Legislative attorney Eric Weeks says defended their actions, saying voter-approved laws are subject to being changed or repealed like any other law.

The justices did not indicate when they would rule.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Ilegal
May 20: Vermont, New Hampshire both could delay marijuana proposals

After the movement to legalize marijuana scored several victories in New England, pot proponents have come up against unexpected stumbling blocks in New Hampshire and Vermont.

In Vermont the recreational use of marijuana has been legal for almost a year, but the recreational marijuana law that took effect July 1 has no mechanism to sell the substance legally or to regulate the market. The Vermont Senate passed a tax and regulate proposal earlier this session, but it won’t be acted upon in the House before January. Meanwhile, a legalization bill in New Hampshire could end up similarly delayed.

Vermont, New Hampshire both could delay marijuana proposals

March 3: Vermont Senate passes marijuana retail sales bill

The Vermont Senate has given final approval to a bill to tax and regulate retail sales of marijuana. The bill now goes to the House.

People roll a marijuana joint.

Brian Snyder/REUTERS

Under the bill:

  • Retail sales would begin sometime in 2021.
  • Sales would be restricted to people 21 and older.

The Senate previously passed legislation to allow retail marijuana sales in 2016 and 2017, but both bills died in the House.

– Associated Press


  • Medical: Illegal (with exceptions)
  • Recreational: Illegal
April 8: CBD and THC-A oil dispensaries set to open across Virginia

Virginians with a doctor's recommendation soon will have access to CBD and THC-A oil dispensaries throughout the state. The Virginia Board of Pharmacy has approved five companies to open the dispensaries — one in each of the commonwealth's five health service areas.

The dispensaries will provide CBD and THC-A oils to approved patients only. The Board of Pharmacy met in private to review 51 applicants before selecting five: PharmaCann, Dalitso, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, Green Leaf Medical and Columbia Care. Background checks will be conducted before each company receives a license.

There are no scheduled opening dates for the dispensaries, but it's possible they could be operational by winter.

"Under the terms of their conditional approval, they all have to be open by the end of 2019," said Diane Powers, director of communications for the Virginia Department of Health Professions. The companies do not have to operate on any other specific timeline.

The dispensaries will offer welcome relief to patients suffering from a range of health problems, according to medical cannabis advocates. Legislation passed in 2018 allows medical practitioners to issue a certification for CBD or TCH-A oils for patients who would benefit from such substances. Dispensaries are only able to provide up to a 90-day supply at a time.

Each dispensary submitted an initial $10,000 application fee. The permit fee is $60,000 and a dispensary must pay an additional $10,000 per year to renew its license.

–Associated Press


Medical: Legal

Recreational: Legal

May 13: Marijuana conviction waivers to be allowed in Washington

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill Monday aimed at erasing old misdemeanor marijuana convictions, seven years after voters in the state approved an initiative that legalized the drug.

Under the new law judges are required to grant requests to vacate misdemeanor marijuana possession charges that occurred before the drug was legalized, provided the defendant was 21 at the time.

The measure goes further than an earlier marijuana pardon process announced by Inslee, which had stricter eligibility requirements.

The new law will take effect 90 days after the end of this year’s legislative session, which finished up on April 28.

When a conviction is vacated it is generally removed from a person’s criminal record, and isn’t used as part of the sentencing considerations for any future crime. People with vacated convictions are also not required to mention them on employment or housing applications.

Advocates have called having to list a prior misdemeanor conviction a major barrier to housing and employment, and part of a system of barriers that can make it difficult for people with even minor crimes to escape a cycle of joblessness and housing issues. – Associated Press


  • Medical: CBD allowed under tight controls
  • Recreational: Illegal
April 18: Marijuana advocates trying again for Wisconsin legalization

Marijuana advocates have hopes that a proposal to legalize pot in Wisconsin has a better chance of success than ever given growing public support.

Democratic state representative Melissa Sargent and other supporters on Thursday unveiled the latest proposal to fully legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. It comes after Democratic Governor Tony Evers called for legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing up to 25 grams of pot in his state budget.

The biggest hurdle for supporters of any form of legalization is the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Republican leader Assembly Speaker Robin Vos has said he would be open to a limited form of medical marijuana, but legalizing recreational pot will never happen.

But Sargent says she is optimistic because public support for legalization is at “an all-time high.”

Related stories:

As Wisconsin’s hemp industry blooms, will marijuana be next?

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