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Welcome Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota & Mississippi

States with Legal Weed

States with Legal Weed

We are thrilled to welcome you to the recreational cannabis club.  It’s not easy getting into this club, but you guys did it. A special welcome to Mississippi as well for getting medical cannabis legislation passed in your state.  You can all now proudly say your are now one of the growing number of states with legal weed. Depending on your state’s certification process and the timeline for passing cannabis decriminalization legislation, the road to the day when dispensaries open in each state differs considerable from the first of 2021 all the way until January of 2022.  It seems like a long time for some states, especially Montana but it will pass quicker than you think and before you know it dispensaries will be popping up in your city or town.  No doubt cultivation licenses as well dispensary licenses and permits have been applied for or soon will be in all four recreational states.  Once dispensaries start to open there will be a period of time when the industry in your area experiences some growing pains.  It’s normal and will settle down usually within six months but there are certain things you can expect to encounter.

Limitation on Cannabis

Each state has their own laws regarding how much cannabis an individual can purchase within a 24 hour period.  Your state’s laws may be slightly different but generally speaking you can purchase up to one ounce of flower, 7 grams of concentrates, 18 ounces of edibles or 72 ounces of liquids.  As many people purchase multiple types of cannabis in one dispensary trip, it is up to the dispensary to make sure you don’t exceed the legal limits.  So expect a little confusion about how this all works but remember you can’t go from one dispensary to another and buy up to the limit in one or more types of cannabis because when you show your ID to get in the door, your purchase will be tracked and most dispensaries require you to show your ID a second time as you are making your purchase.  So no gaming the system please.  Also prepare for there to be cannabis shortages and additional limits placed on the amount of cannabis you can buy in the first few weeks or months of dispensaries opening their doors.  This seems to happen in all states with legal weed so you would think the industry would be prepared for the demand, they never seem to be but fear not as this problem is always short-lived.

Give Your Budtenders a Break

The requirements for budtenders are different depending on the state but all budtenders are required to know or learn about not just the different strains of cannabis and various cannabis delivery methods but the entire cannabis industry as well as have good sales and people skills.  For cannabis consumers, a job as a budtender may seem like a dream come true but it’s not as easy as you might imagine to be a great budtender.  When dispensaries begin to open in the newly legal states, don’t expect your budtenders to know everything on day one.  It takes time, and even additional training for budtenders to grow into their roles and shine.  If you have specific knowledge about a product and feel like sharing it with your budtender, they usually appreciate this, especially when things are still so new.  Anecdotal information is normally welcome by most budtenders.  Above all, be nice and patient, they are new at their jobs and the learning curve can be steep.

Prepare to Wait

Once the dispensaries open, unless there has been some citywide coordination there will be one dispensary that opens first, and then week by week others will open.  Imagine being the only dispensary open in a city that has been waiting years, well decades really, for cannabis to become legally available.  To say it will be crowded is a vast understatement.  Expect long lines at those first few recreational marijuana dispensaries for a few weeks. Be super chill and patient because if the security personnel sense any trouble you will likely be asked to leave.  No weed for you which would be tragic after such a long wait. The other issue that will increase wait times is that dispensaries will be practicing social distancing so that will drastically limit the number of people allowed into a dispensary at a time.  Dispensaries don’t like to rush their customers so they allow plenty of time for questions and menu browsing, which adds additional wait time for others.  Of course it’s all worth it when it’s your turn and hopefully you made good use of the wait time by checking out the dispensary’s online menu so you have a general idea of what you want to buy or at least what questions to ask.  It’s all part of the dispensary experience in states with legal weed, coming to your state soon!

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Marijuana Legalization Candidates Outraised Opponents 36-1 in 2020.

Marijuana Legalization Candidates

Marijuana legalization candidates have gained significant momentum in 2020. Proponents of state ballot measures have outraised opponents this year by nearly 36-to-1, a gigantic increase from the last presidential voting year, when advocates outraised their opponents by only 4-to-1.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, candidates supporting marijuana legalization in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota have raised approximately $19.6 million in 2020, compared with just $546,000 raised by opponents.

Adult-use legalization is back on the ballot this year in Arizona, and there is a good chance that it gets approved this voting period. A poll conducted at Monmouth University in New Jersey at the beginning of October showed 56% supported the measure with 36% opposed and 8% undecided. Marijuana legalization candidates have outraised competitions 11-to-1 in 2020. Up to now, Smart and Safe Arizona, the committee behind the measure, has raised more than $5 million while opponents have only earned $459,000.

29% of the supporting Arizona contributions came from the Marijuana Policy Project in 2016. The deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) , Matthew Schweich, stated that while the organization supports the Arizona and New Jersey ballot measures, its staff has been more focused on the Montana and South Dakota campaigns in the recent voting cycle. Schweich also stated, “That’s where our assistance can make the biggest difference.” MPP has given $84,330 in cash and in-kind donations to the two states, a much smaller amount compared with the $1.69 million it gave Arizona in 2016.

Other marijuana businesses, including Massachusetts-based Curaleaf, Arizona-based Copperstate Farms and Illinois-based Cresco Labs, have contributed a combined $1.3 million to support passing marijuana legalization in Arizona.

New Jersey marijuana legalization candidates received $800,000 from Scotts Miracle-Gro, a leading company in the lawn and garden industry. which possesses Hawthorne Gardening, a hydroponics subsidiary for cannabis growers.

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Cannabis Legalization is on the Ballot in Five States in November and the Impact is Big

recreational cannabis legalization

Recreational cannabis legalization and/or medical cannabis is on the ballot this November 3rd for these five states. If you live in one, here are the details that will help educate you on what exactly you’re voting on and what the positive impacts could be if passed.

If the measures are successful, this could have big impacts on immediate surrounding states as well as states across the nation in upcoming efforts to legalize recreational and medical cannabis.

ARIZONA

Measures on Ballot: Proposition 207, recreational marijuana

State Population: 7.3 million

First-Year Sales Projection: $375 million-$400 million

2024 Sales Projection: $700 million-$760 million

Business Impact:

  • Existing medical cannabis operators would automatically win entry into the adult-use market with successful recreational cannabis legalization.
  • State would award 26 social equity licenses.
  • Retail marijuana sales would face a 16% tax.

MISSISSIPPI

Measures on Ballot: Initiative 65, 65A, medical marijuana

State Population: 2.9 million

First-Year Sales Projection: $240 million-$265 million

2024 Sales Projection: $750 million-$800 million

Business Impact:

  • Regulators would be prevented from limiting the number of MMJ licenses.
  • Licenses would be issued no later than Aug. 15, 2021.
  • The state sales tax (currently 7%) would apply to retail MMJ products.

MONTANA

Measures on Ballot: Initiative 190, recreational marijuana

State Population: 1.1 million

First-Year Projected Sales: $217.2 million (University of Montana study)

2024 Projected Sales: $234 million (University of Montana)

Business Impact:

  • License holders would be required to be Montana residents.
  • Existing medical cannabis operators would get a 12-month head start.
  • Prospective MMJ companies wouldn’t face a license cap.
  • The business license application process would start by October 2021.

NEW JERSEY

Measures on Ballot: Public Question 1, recreational marijuana

State Population: 8.9 million

First-Year Projected Sales: $375 million-$400 million

2024 Projected Sales: $850 million-$950 million

Business Impact:

  • Lawmakers and regulators decide on the number and type of marijuana business licenses available, but existing MMJ operators would most likely get first shot at the recreational cannabis legalization market.
  • Adult-use products would face a 6.625% sales tax.
  • Municipalities could pass ordinances to charge local taxes of up to 2%.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Measures on Ballot: Amendment A, recreational marijuana; Measure 26, medical marijuana

State Population: 884,659

First-Year Projected Sales: $1.5 million-$2 million*

2024 Projected Sales: $10 million-$12 million*

(*Projections are for a medical marijuana market only.)

Business Impact:

  • Medical marijuana: A local government wouldn’t be able to ban MMJ but could establish the number of establishments allowed in its jurisdiction.
  • Recreational marijuana: Regulators would have to issue “enough licenses to substantially reduce the illicit production and sale of cannabis throughout the state.” But regulators also would be directed to limit licenses to “to prevent an undue concentration” in any municipality.

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

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Nug News – Weekly Cannabis News Update September 20, 2020

Cannabis News Update September 20

Weekly Cannabis News Update September 20, 2020

The Five States with Cannabis on the Ballot in November

First up is New Jersey, who came close in the past to legalizing recreational marijuana but with the general support at about 68% of polled voters, the legislation, strangely called Public Question 1, which is actually a state constitutional amendment legalizing the use, sale, possession and production of cannabis for anyone over 21 seems destined to pass.

Another state with a good chance of passing marijuana legalization is Arizona with Proposition 207.  Similar legislation came to close in 2016 but came up just short with a little over 48% of the votes needed.  The second time will surely be the charm as the public support for legalization of marijuana is over 60% of polled voters.  The states plans to tack on some serious taxes, 16% in addition to regular sales tax so passage of this proposition will be a massive economic boost to the state.

Montana has a somewhat complex approach to the legalization process come November.  The first constitutional amendment would set the age of use, sale and possession of marijuana at 21.  The second initiative is much more specific, setting guidelines, taxes and most importantly, addresses those who have previously been convicted of marijuana related crimes.  Whether Montana passes both the amendment and initiative is uncertain as public support there is hovering at 50%.

South Dakota will also be making its first attempt to pass marijuana legalization and is going big with both medical marijuana and recreational on the ballot separately.  The medical marijuana legislation, Measure 26, is fairly narrow in terms of what conditions will be covered but has good support in a fairly conservative state.  The Constitutional Amendment A which establishes the laws and general guidelines for recreational use does not have as much support but 2020 has never been predictable so it’s up to the voters in South Dakota to make the call.

Mississippi, one of the most conservative states in the US is moving forward with a two part question style initiative regarding the legalization of medical marijuana.  First voters in Mississippi will choose whether they generally support legalizing medical marijuana and regardless of how they answer that question, they will then be asked to choose either Initiative 65 or Alternative 65A.  Initiative 65 is pretty broad in terms of what medical conditions it allows medical marijuana to be used to treat.  It also includes a sales tax element.  The much more limited Alternative 65A only allows medical marijuana to be used by terminally ill patients and requires heavy medical oversight.  A very complicated way to put this important question to the voters or Mississippi but the true test will come in November.

To read more about this topic, click here:

Weekly Cannabis News Update September 20, 2020

Congress Delays MORE Act Vote until After November Election

The long anticipated vote that was scheduled to take place in the US House of Representatives this week has been delayed until after the November 3rd election.  The path of the MORE (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement) Act now faces an uncertain future.

Despite considerable bipartisan support in the House, the vote has been delayed because of more pressing legislation that Congress wants to take up before the election.  There will be a vote on the MORE Act after November 3rd, when Congress returns for a lame duck session.  Whether the considerable momentum this piece of legislation currently has will carry over into a post-election environment remains to be seen.  The path forward for the MORE Act will depend heavily on the outcome of not just the presidential election in November but essentially all down ballot elections as well.  It’s certainly possible for the legislation to fly through the House and end up in what may be a very different looking Senate next year.

Be sure to check out: MORE Act Vote Update and to stay up to date on this important legislation, click here.