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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 CanPro tracker also archives everything we’ve published, serving as a permanent record of these historic developments.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Federal updates

State-by-state updates

AlaskaCaliforniaConnecticutFloridaHawaiiIllinoisLouisianaMaineMinnesotaMissouriNebraskaNew HampshireNew MexicoNew JerseyNew YorkNorth DakotaOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaVermont

Most recent update...

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.

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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.

If the bill passes, New Jersey would join the District of Columbia and 10 other states.

The bill calls for a tax of $42 per ounce, sets up a five-member regulator commission and would offer expedited expungements to people with marijuana-related offenses.

Federal developments

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.

State-by-state

  • Yes
  • No
  • Limited

Medical

Recreational



Alaska

  • 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.

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– Associated Press

California

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
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.

Connecticut

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal (possession of small amounts has been decriminalized)
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.

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Florida

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
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.

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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

Hawaii

  • 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.

Illinois

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Illegal
Jan. 31: Legal cannabis regime takes shape

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

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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

Louisiana

  • 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.

Maine

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
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

Minnesota

  • 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

Missouri

  • 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.

Nebraska

  • Medical: Illegal
  • Recreational: Illegal
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.

CP

  • 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

Nevada

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
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
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
March 18: Lawmakers advance bill to legalize recreational marijuana

New Jersey lawmakers advanced a measure allowing adults to use cannabis.

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
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
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

Oklahoma

  • Medical: Legal (with a license)
  • Recreational: Illegal
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

Oregon

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Legal
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

Pennsylvania

  • 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

Vermont

  • Medical: Legal
  • Recreational: Ilegal
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

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