Thursday, July 7, 2022

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Updates on Marijuana Legalization in a few States

With the floodgates opening on legalization, there are a number of states that are at some point on the road towards legalization. So it feels like a good time to catch up the status of some of these.

Hawaii

Marijuana is on its way to basically becoming legal for old people in the state. A Senate committee approved a bill that would allow anyone at or over the age of 65 to access medical marijuana independent of any condition or pain needed managing. It’s a unique way forward, but one similar to that which we’re seeing in Washington D.C. as well.

The bill will continue to be discussed in the state on its way to passing through.

Washington D.C.

And speaking of D.C., a bill was recently signed that would allow senior citizens to “self-certify” their conditions for needing medical marijuana. This bypasses the need for a doctor, and effectively legalizes marijuana for old people, just like Hawaii. But unlike Hawaii, this one is a sure thing, having passed the mayor’s desk.

The bill also does a very cool thing that incentivizes buying legally by stripping the 6% sales tax of medical marijuana during the week of April 15 to April 24 this year.

New Hampshire

Legislation just passed the House that would create State-run dispensaries and legalize the selling of marijuana out of them. It’s similar to how alcohol is sold in states like Pennsylvania, where a case of beer can only be obtained at state licensed beer or liquor stores. There was lots of pushback from both sides of the aisle, and the bill still has to get approved by a Finance Committee before then coming back to the full House for another vote before being sent off to the Senate, so it has a long road ahead.

Alabama

Alabama is on its way to relaxing its punishments on marijuana. A Senate committee voted in approval of a bill what would decriminalize possession, and even more exciting, would expunge the records of anyone in the state with prior possession convictions.

Any possession over 2 ounces would still be considered a misdemeanor, but even after 3 offenses, no jail time would be given. The bill is going to the full Senate for a vote.

New York

Ever since Kathy Hochul became Governor of this state, things have been moving full steam ahead on the marijuana front. This week, the state Senate approved a bill that puts the focus of licensing onto equity programs, making sure hemp businesses are first in line. License holders will be required to participate in an environmental sustainability program along with a social equity mentorship program. New York is doing this thing right.

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