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Connecticut House Speaker says Cannabis Legalization is “Inevitable”

Marijuana Legalization in CT

Marijuana Legalization in CT “Inevitable”

Matt Ritter, the incoming Connecticut House of Representatives speaker said on Tuesday that cannabis legalization is “inevitable.” Due to Connecticut surrounding jurisdictions enacting changes in their marijuana legalization policies. This is a good news for marijuana legalization in CT.

During a recent briefing, Matt Ritter (Democrat), House Speaker-designate, was asked about strategies to encourage economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic and specifically whether legalizing marijuana to create tax revenue would be a part of their strategy.

Ritter stated, “Look, I really don’t want to get into policy discussion. We’ve got a caucus we have to have, but marijuana has been a long time, I have said I think it is inevitable at some stage, particularly when your neighboring states do it.” Ritter also said, “we do not have earnings yet so it’s quite tough to say where we are going to be.”

While Ritter stopped short of committing to a deadline to pass legalization legislation, the opinions bode well for the prospects of marijuana legalization in CT reform in 2021.

Ritter confessed that surrounding states are implementing cannabis policy changes, which is adding pressure to Connecticut to pass similar legislation so revenue opportunities don’t go out of state. There has been ongoing talks about the need to organize legalization plans from a regional viewpoint. Those talks are being ramped up since New Jersey voters approved a marijuana legalization referendum this past week.

Connecticut Governor, Ned Lamont (Democrat), said last week that marijuana legalization in CT will improve public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic by preventing cannabis tourism to surrounding states. Lamont also stated that officials have “got to think regionally in regards to how we deal with the pandemic and I believe we need to think regionally in regards to cannabis legislation.”

Lamont and other policymakers in surrounding states also said last week that the passing of marijuana legalization in New Jersey underscores the need for their own states to progress marijuana legalization reform in a regionally coordinated fashion .

Connecticut’s state legislature increased the already Democrat majority in last week’s elections. This helps increase the changes of marijuana legalization in CT in 2021. Lamont stated the reform is “on the table” and that it should bring in needed tax revenue for Connecticut.

Be sure to check out: MORE Act set for House Vote in December

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Cuomo Continues Push to Legalize Marijuana in New York

Andrew Cuomo Supports Marijuana Legalization

Andrew Cuomo supports marijuana legalization in New York and surrounding states. The New York Governor is renewing his push for marijuana legalization in 2021, and plans to issue fresh CBD rules in New York.

Canopy Growth recently launched a video series, “Under The Canopy“. In a discussion from that series, Axel Bernabe, one of Cuomo’s top cannabis advisers, told David Culver, an executive with Canopy Growth, that Cuomo intends to add adult-use cannabis legalization in New York’s 2021-2022 budget, which takes effect April 1.

Bernabe also disclosed that Cuomo intends to issue fresh CBD rules to regulate how the chemical is manufactured and marketed in New York state, including how it could be infused into beverage and food items, which is now prohibited.

Cuomo mentioned that New Jersey may get there first with the legalization referendum on their ballot next month.  Cuomo stated, “We’re watching New Jersey closely. We’ve always been confident that we get to this before New Jersey, so if they pass the referendum they still have to have agreement between the governor the Senate over there. We’re working on this. We’re going to reintroduce this in our budget in January. We think we can get it done by April 1.”

Governor Cuomo supports marijuana legalization and pushed for adult-use marijuana legalization in 2019 and 2020, with a legalization bill stalling in the state legislature in 2019 and another legalization proposal cut from the New York’s budget earlier this season. In 2019 Cuomo signed a cannabis decriminalization bill into law as well as had meetings with the governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut to have initial conversations around a coordinated adult-use cannabis legalization plan.

The Governor also signed a hemp extract bill into law last year to create a regulatory framework for processing and growing hemp in New York. However, the legislation didn’t include the regulation of CBD in food or beverages at the time and is an issues that Cuomo would like to address as soon as possible due to the rapidly increasing popularity of the industry and the health and safety of consumers.

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Vermont Legalizes Recreational Marijuana Market

Vermont Legalizes Recreational Marijuana Market

Vermont legalizes recreational marijuana market and becomes the 11th states to do so.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, announced he allowed legislation to regulate and tax cannabis earnings to become law without his signature, according to a press release yesterday from the governor’s office.

The news, which sets the stage for yet more expansion of the U.S. cannabis sector, was hailed by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) as a significant victory, particularly considering that Vermont is just the second state in the country to legalize adult use via the legislature rather than in the ballot box. Recreational earnings in Vermont aren’t expected to start until October 2022.

Though Vermont legalized the possession and use of recreational marijuana in 2018, lawmakers at the time declined to authorize any framework for the legal production and sale of recreational marijuana.

Steven Hawins, MPP Executive Director said in a recent press release, “The importance of Vermont’s decision to legalize and regulate cannabis sales, particularly in a state with a Republican governor and throughout the legislative process, can’t be overstated.”

“This is an historic move that increases the momentum of our motion and underlines its depth and breadth, and importantly, it comes as other state legislatures are positioned to seriously consider legalization in the future.”

Although Governor Scott declined to sign into law a bill that establishes a formal framework around the sale and production of recreational marijuana, he still allowed Vermont legalizes recreational marijuana market without a veto.

Scott said he declined to sign the bill because it did not address several concerns he has, for example:

  • An”inequitable playing field,” he said”will benefit Vermont’s present (MMJ) dispensaries.” (Protesters gathered last weekend at the capitol to draw attention to the absence of a social equity program.)
  • The allowance of marijuana vaping products when he is not satisfied that vaping doesn’t pose a danger to public health.
  • Adding stricter advertising restrictions to guarantee marijuana is not made appealing to minors.
  • An”aggressive” timeline for the appointment of marijuana management board members by Jan. 8, 2021.
  • Increasing law enforcement funding and training to manage a possible uptick in impaired drivers.

Now that Vermont legalizes recreational marijuana market and with the Vermont decriminalization bill approved, the legalization movement will continue to grow momentum around the nation.

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New Jersey Governor says Voting For Cannabis Legalization Supports Social Justice

cannabis legalization supports social justice

New Jersey Governor, Phil Murphy (D) wants voters to know that approving approving cannabis legalization supports social justice and voters should approve the referendum that will appear on the ballot in November.

In his most recent remarks, delivered to the Bloomberg Surveillance program on Sunday, Murphy emphasized that the principal objective of enacting the policy shift would be to promote social equity, and he also recognized that it represents a possible source of significant tax revenue for the state.

“I wish we could’ve gotten it done through a legislative process,” Murphy said, referencing lawmakers’ inability to progress a legalization bill last session. “We just could not find the last couple of votes, so it is on the referendum. I am strongly supporting it first and foremost for social justice reasons.”

“Low-end drug crimes are the biggest reason that we’ve got young persons of color, particularly young men of color, in our criminal justice system,” he added. “Beyond that, this is a potential significant, over time, revenue item for the state and a source of job growth, which are also advantages. I hope we will see it pass in November.” The focus continues to be that cannabis legalization supports social justice.

Last week, Murphy likewise called on New Jersey voters to support the proposal in an email blast that was circulated by the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.

“Legalization would correct those wrongs while also driving massive economic growth opportunities, job development, and new tax revenue,” Murphy said. “Now, we’ve got the opportunity to do this and eventually legalize adult-use marijuana here in New Jersey, and I want your help to make it happen.”

Legislators attempted to enact the policy change during the previous session, but when negotiations stood still, they chose to put the question to voters by utilizing a referendum. If the measure is approved this November, the legislature will then need to pass implementing legislation containing details for how the legal cannabis industry and market should operate.

A poll by the law firm Brach Eichler released last month shows that 65 percent of voters are in favor of the policy change. That is consistent with the results of a survey the company published in August, signaling that support is steady.

In June, the state Assembly passed a cannabis decriminalization bill that would make possession of up to 2 ounces a civil penalty with no threat of jail time, though it has not progressed in the Senate.

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Marijuana Banking and Labeling Law Changes Approved by California Governor

California Marijuana Banking Laws

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a couple of marijuana bills into law on Tuesday, creating a series of small changes to the country’s largest legal marijuana system including import California marijuana banking laws. More sweeping proposals like overhauling the state’s cannabis regulatory structure might need to wait until next year, the governor said.

One of the greatest of the new changes are revisions to banking and marketing laws. While many legal cannabis companies are still not able to access financial services, Newsom signed a bill (AB 1525) to eliminate state penalties against banks that operate with marijuana clients.

“This bill has the potential to grow the terms of financial services to the legal cannabis industry,” Newsom wrote during a signing statement,”and because of this, I support it.”

Democrats in Congress, meanwhile, have been working for months to eliminate obstacles to these companies’ access to financial services at the national level. A coronavirus relief bill released by House Democratic leaders on Monday is the most recent piece of legislation to add cannabis banking protections. Past attempts to include such terms have been rejected by Senate Republicans so this is a big win for California marijuana banking laws.

During his signing statement on the banking bill, Newsom directed state marijuana regulators to set rules intended to protect the privacy of cannabis companies that seek financial services, advocating that information be kept confidential and can be used only “for the provision of financial services to support licensees.”

Another bill, (SB 67), the governor signed on Tuesday will eventually create a marijuana appellation program, meant to signal where cannabis is grown and how that may influence its character. The system is very similar to the wine industry and how wine areas are regulated.

With this new law, processors and growers will be prohibited from using the name of a town or other designated area in merchandise marketing unless all of the product’s marijuana is grown in this area. There are already similar protections at the county level.

For outside growers, this new law makes note of the value of terrior, which is the original combination of soil, sun and other unique environmental factors which could influence the character of a marijuana plant. It is also a way for indoor growers to represent specific hometown or regions reputation.

The majority of the other new changes that the governor signed into law are more minor and most customers will not notice them. For instance, one of the changes assembles in more wiggle room on the quantity of THC in edibles (AB 1458), while another new one would permit state-licensed marijuana testing labs to provide services to law enforcement (SB 1244). These are all on top of changes to the California marijuana banking laws.

On Tuesday, Newsom rejected the proposal (AB 1470) that could have enabled processors to submit unpackaged goods to testing labs, which industry lobbyists said would reduce overall costs. Newsom said the proposal”conflicts with present regulations that stop contaminated and dangerous goods from entering the retail sector.”

“While I support reducing packaging waste, allowing goods to be analyzed not in their final form could lead to consumer harm and have a disproportionate effect on small operators,” Newsom stated at a veto statement.

Those adjustments to the testing processes should rather be considered next year, Newsom said, as part of a pending plan to streamline California’s marijuana regulatory and licensing agencies.

“I’ve directed my administration to combine the state regulatory agencies that now apply marijuana health and safety standards to pursue all appropriate measures to reduce costs and unnecessary packaging,” Newsom wrote. “This proposal should be regarded as part of that procedure.”

Newsom also last week vetoed a bill (AB 545) that would have started to dissolve the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, which manages the legal industry. In a statement, the governor said that this legislation is “premature” given his strategies for wider reform and changes to the California marijuana banking laws.

“My Administration has proposed consolidating the regulatory authority now divided between three state entities into a single department,” Newsom wrote, “that we hope to attain next year in partnership with the Legislature.”

Newsom signed into law (AB 1872) earlier in the year. The law freezes state marijuana cultivation and excise taxes for the entire year of 2021. and is meant to provide financial stability for marijuana companies in California, where taxes on cannabis are among the highest in the country.

Be sure to check out: The Presidential Candidates Stance on Marijuana Legalization