Learn about recent and upcoming cannabis regulation news.
In this edition of our Cannabis Regulation Watch, we have information on the historic MORE Act vote to federally de-schedule cannabis, multiple states’ efforts to legalize cannabis, updates on Arizona and New Jersey’s implementation of their adult use programs, and a breakdown of the new cannabis delivery laws in the Colorado cities of Denver and Aurora.
Read on to see the most important updates to regulations our research team has discovered. Also…
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December 9th, 2020 – MORE ACT, Arizona and New Jersey Adult Use Implementation, Denver and Aurora Cannabis Delivery
In a historic vote on December 4th, the United States House of Representatives voted 228 to 164 in support of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove cannabis from the country’s list of controlled substances.
In addition to removing federal penalties for cannabis, the MORE act would be instrumental in social justice reform, expunging past convictions of people arrested for cannabis related charges at no cost to the individual, and placing a five percent federal tax on cannabis products to fund fund criminal and social reform projects, including an Office of Cannabis Justice within the Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, responsible for administering grants to aid communities negatively affected by the war on drugs.
Proponents of the bill argued it would ensure the federal government could not discriminate against people because of cannabis use, including earned benefits or immigrants at risk of deportation and would open the door to research, better banking and tax laws, and help fuel economic growth as states are looking for financial resources.
While the MORE Act is unlikely to pass through the senate as it is currently composed, this first house vote is a historic step forward for cannabis legalization and is emblematic of the widespread popular support for cannabis legalization in the United States.
In addition to the MORE act, the House of Representatives voted in support of Medical Marijuana Research Act to reduce barriers and expand scientific research into medical cannabis. Most notably, this bill allows medical research facilities to source cannabis products directly from state-legal markets in order to study their medicinal properties.
Arizona Adult – Use Implementation
This week, the Arizona Department of Health Services released a timeline for implementation of their adult-use cannabis program after residents voted to legalize adult-use cannabis in the 2020 election.
The ADHS expects to release final zoning, application, and enforcement guidelines at some point in mid-December, followed by an initial early application period beginning on January 19th, 2021 and ending on March 9th 2021. This early application period will be exclusive to entity seeking to operate a marijuana establishment in a county with fewer than two registered Nonprofit Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and existing Nonprofit Medical Marijuana Dispensaries that are registered and in good standing with the Department.
Once rules are drafted, the rules will be available on the Administrative Counsel & Rules page.
New Jersey Adult-Use Implementation
After weeks of stalled discussions, lawmaker in New Jersey have reached a compromise on a bill that will launch a legal marijuana industry in New Jersey, clearing a path for the bill to pass later this month.
The two main changes made to the bill include provisions to place a limit of up to 37 cultivation licenses will be issued during the first two years of the adult-use program with an exception for micro-licenses to businesses with 10 or fewer employees and a commitment to using 70% of the sales tax revenue as well as revenue from a grower tax for programs aiding communities and individuals disproportionately affected by the war on drugs. The programs will include mentoring, legal aid and health care.
New Jersey is expected to have a vote on the implementation bill on December 17th, and if passed, will form a Cannabis Regulatory Commission to formulate and implement the final framework of the state’s adult use program.
Nebraska senators and activists announced they will collect signatures to put a recreational marijuana legalization initiative—in addition to a separate medical cannabis measure—on the state’s 2022 ballot. The state joins Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Florida, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Missouri as likely states to have cannabis legalizations on the 2022 ballot.
Denver, CO Marijuana Delivery Program
Denver’s city council approved an ordinance this week to allow cannabis businesses to operate in the city. Beginning July 1, 2021, local marijuana delivery permits may be issued to a medical or retail marijuana store or a medical or retail marijuana transporter in order to deliver regulated marijuana to private residences of customers and patients. These permits will be made exclusively available to social equity candidates until July 1st, 2024.
In order to engage with the community and fully explain this new program, the city will be holding two informational workshops next week.
- Stakeholder Feedback Session #1: Community Stakeholder Feedback Session
- Anyone is welcome to join this feedback session. Stakeholders representing public health, public safety, social justice, neighborhoods, and youth-serving organizations are encouraged to attend this session as it will address broader issues of interest to these groups.
- Tuesday, December 15 from 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. (central mountain time)
- Join the session on Zoom
- Access the presentation on the city’s website
- Industry Feedback Session #2: Marijuana Industry Stakeholder Feedback Session
- Stakeholder Feedback Session #1: Community Stakeholder Feedback Session
Aurora, CO Marijuana Delivery Program
At nearly the same time as Denver, the city of Aurora Colorado, also held a first vote this week on an ordinance to allow cannabis delivery in the city. The city is the third largest in the state, with a population of around 375,000 residents. Unlike Denver, which will be issuing delivery-only permits, Aurora will only be allowing delivery from retail storefront cannabis businesses.
In a commitment to social equity, for the first 36-months of this program, city transporter license and delivery permit granted to a retail marijuana transporter shall only go to social equity applicants through a program to be established by the City Manager. After the 36-month period expires, any applicant qualified under the state and local rules may apply for and receive a transporter license and delivery permit from the city. In addition, the city will establish a grant program to fund 75% of the application fees for social equity licensees.
Contact For Denver and Aurora Cannabis Applications
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