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A report from a patient advocacy group found the future of medical cannabis in the states is hazy unless costs are decreased, product safety standards are improved, and civil rights are strengthened for patients and prescribers.
Americans for Safe Access issued its annual State of the States report on Thursday. The organization, a nonprofit, has put out the document to advocates and state policymakers since 2014, as a tool to “assess and improve medical cannabis programs.”
Cresco Labs is expected to sell off $250 million-$500 million worth of marijuana cultivation and retail licenses largely to meet state license limits as part of its planned $2 billion acquisition of rival Columbia Care.
Company executives told analysts that Chicago-based multistate operator Cresco “will likely” divest assets in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio because of overlapping operations with New York-headquartered Columbia Care in limited-license markets.
What is expected to be America's largest cannabis market is still stuck in limbo as New York legislators hammer out the details.
When will consumers be able to walk into a store and buy cannabis?
"We don't know, we don't know," Patrik Jonsson, northeast regional president at Curaleaf, told Insider. "And not just on the timeline, but also what we're going to be allowed to do," he said.
Wednesday was the first meeting of a legislative panel tasked with sorting out issues related to legalizing recreational marijuana use in Maryland. State House Speaker Adrienne Jones has said to expect a referendum on whether to legalize the drug in the 2022 election.
WYPR’s Rachel Baye watched the meeting and joins Nathan Sterner with some details.
What was the meeting designed to accomplish?
A Maryland appeals court has ruled police officers can no longer stop people based on the smell of marijuana alone, further limiting when the distinctive odor can justify police actions.
In a decision issued this week, Maryland's second-highest court found that a whiff of marijuana does not give police a legal reason to stop and investigate someone.
Police need "reasonable suspicion" that a crime is being committed before they can detain someone for even a short period of time.
More than 40 percent of Americans now live in states — 18 in total — that have embraced full legalization. Roughly two-thirds of American back legal weed, according to polls.
The acceptance of legal weed by governors and state lawmakers in 2021 — without the explicit blessing of voters — marks a turning point. Until this year, only two states had legalized recreational marijuana programs through the legislature: Illinois in 2019 and Vermont in 2020.
Today, more than two-in-three Americans support marijuana legalization, including 49 percent of respondents who self-identify as “conservative,” according to Gallup’s 2020 polling. Even in a historically conservative state like Texas, nearly two-in-three respondents, 64 percent, supported legalizing and taxing marijuana in the 2021 Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation Poll.
In the span of eight short years, the number of states in the U.S. allowing adult-use marijuana has gone from zero to fifteen. Most of these efforts have happened via state-wide ballot initiatives.
Voters approved a slew of marijuana legalization initiatives during November’s election—in states around the country and across the political spectrum—but activists aren’t slowing down. They expect that 2021 will see another surge of reform in state legislatures.
Recreational marijuana legalization victories at the ballot box in Arizona and New Jersey this month have set the table for adult-use legalization in a handful of nearby states in 2021 – with more than $6 billion in business opportunities possibly up for grabs within a few years.
“New York, Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico are ripe for 2021” to legalize recreational use through their legislatures, said Steve Hawkins, executive director of the Washington DC-based Marijuana Policy Project.
Some cannabis businesses are closing their doors – by choice or order – and they’re relying more on drive-thru windows as a way to better serve customers and avoid spreading coronavirus.
It’s yet another example of how retailers are adapting to cope with the pandemic and keep their marijuana sales on track.
Edgewater, Maryland-based Mana Supply Co., which closed its doors Sunday, spent about $100,000 converting a former bank drive-thru into a secure drive-thru for its dispensary, said Christopher Jensen, the medical marijuana company’s co-founder and CEO.