Over 57% of Oklahona voters approved a strong medical marijuana ballot issue, June 26th, with an immediate call from GOP Gov. Mary Fallin for legislators to “scale it back.” Oklahoma’s new rules would allow home grows of 12 plants (6 mature), possession of up to 3 ounces outside the home, up to 8 ounces in storage, and a wide variety of qualifying conditions.
Beer giant Molson-Coors has told Bloomberg News that it is exploring the possible investment into a Canadian-licensed producer to allow the liquor maker an entree into selling new cannabis beverages. Observers see the best fit for Molson-Coors as grabbing a piece of Aurora Cannabis or possibly Aphria. Last year, Canada’s biggest LP, Canopy Growth, landed a $200 million investment into the company for a ten percent stake.
California‘s legal recreational market faces another possible shortage of legal cannabis, as the state’s tough lab-testing regime kicks off July 1st. Retailers ended June by busily marking down prices on cannabis (and infused products) in their inventory which had not been tested, and will no longer be legal for sale after July 1. There are 48 licensed California testing facilities which will be required to test for heavy metals, microbial impurities, foreign materials, mycotoxins, water and moisture activity, and residual solvents and processing chemicals.
With Colorado governor John Hickenlooper set to leave office in December, his likely Democratic replacement Jared Polis won the June 26th primary, with help from strong support of Colorado cannabis professionals. Last month, Hickenlooper — who actively campaigned against Amendment 64 in 2012 — seemed to be back at this “anti-pot” mood. From his final set of vetoes — 3 of 9 which negatively impacted the legal marijuana space in Colorado — including refusing to add “full-spectrum autism” to conditions treatable with MMJ, Hick infuriated much of the medical community. Likewise, Hickenlooper was moved by outgoing Republican AG Cynthia Hoffman’s pleading “not to let cartel money into Colorado,” and vetoed the measure which would have allowed public company investment into Colorado — much as Canada, Nevada and California allow. These are both measures which Polis has signaled he would support in the future. A third measure, to allow “tasting rooms” run by existing licensed cannabis stores was vetoed by Hickenlooper, even as it passed the House and Senate by wide margins. While not a huge backer of legal pot, Polis’ opponent, current Colorado state treasurer Walker Stapleton, has said, “I don’t think a repeal is a realistic option.”
In Maryland, a state which has recently considered passing recreational marijuana legalization, voters last Tuesday picked former NAACP leader Ben Jealous to be that state’s Democratic candidate for governor. Jealous is especially keen to roll back harsh drug sentences for ethnic/racial minorities.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has introduced a bill to take all cannabis off Schedule I, decriminalizing it nationally, in another bill unlikely to get a Senate hearing, but still signaling the rising support for change. Also co-sponsoring Schumers’ “Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act” are Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). The bill also provides funding to cannabis businesses owned by women and people of color through the Small Business Administration; funds studies on traffic safety, impairment detection technology, and health effects of cannabis; restricts advertising that could appeal to children; and sets aside $100 million over five years to help states develop streamlined procedures for expunging or sealing prior cannabis convictions.
Arizona medical marijuana took a blow as the state’s Court of Appeals decided nearly 40% of the cannabis product regularly consumed in the state were illegal. Ruling against most uses of concentrates and infused products, local activist Mikel Weisser says it will stifle the anticipated $440 milion annual sales. Arizona, along with Michigan, have the highest number of medical cardholders in states with no recreational rules.
Delaware‘s House of Representatives narrowly failed to pass a June 27th vote to move a marijuana legalization bill, voting in favor 21 to 15 (with 5 abstentions), but not enough votes for a required “super-majority” due to its financial changes. Governor John Carney, who last year flirted with support for a stripped-down legalization measure, said he opposed this years’ HB-110. Movement on several other legislative adult-use bills will likely get additional debate at the end of the summer in New Jersey, and also a slim potential for action from the Maryland legislature remains.
While not expecting a City Council vote until October, the City of Las Vegas (downtown, not the Strip) hosted about 100 interested social consumption planners, June 27. Circulating an 11-page draft for certain social consumption issues, city attorney staff suggested only allowing indoor consumption, arguing that patios and rooftops were subject to smoke intrusion on neighbors. The draft rules also want to explore allowing social lounge operators to sell alcohol and food, and to sell cannabis bongs and paraphernalia. To review the draft proposal, visit http://files. constantcontact.com/ f6efd289001/29cbe909-ea60- 4383-aeb0-85226195e162.pdf.
Using data from a recent survey of New York citizens, prohibitionists at Smart Alternatives to MJ have concluded that support for legalization is particularly low among Latinos (22% favor) and African Americans (24% support MJ legalization). SAM’s interpretation of the Emerson College survey reported 73% of New Yorkers were against public consumption, 76% were against cannabis advertising, and over half of the respondents did not favor sales of cannabis-infused edibles, like candies and gummies. Drug Policy Alliance and MPP have both cited many opposite findings from another Emerson study.
Smart Woman CEO Allison Ettel was previously known for her early 2016 promotion of CBD for pets from her company Treatwell Health. Last week Ettel resigned from the San Francisco maker of CBD tinctures after getting swallowed up in her rant against a black girl selling water outside a Giants baseball game. Reports said several California retailers dropped carriage of Treatwell products, and a statement from the company said Ettel’s actions were “not motivated by any racist intent whatsoever.”
Link of the Week: CNN stood up and took notice at the Oklahoma citizen vote for MMJ, asking if public sentiment passed the “tipping point” for cannabis legalization. CNN’s John King leads a discussion on the rising popularity of all stripes of voters’ supporting cannabis reform at