Cannabis News Round-Up

What has changed in states that have legalized marijuana—and what hasn’t.

Oregon has a marijuana surplus and officials aren’t happy. What can California expect after five years of legal marijuana? Five years after legalization, Colorado struggles to test marijuana impairment for drivers.

Fifteen Maine cities and towns opt into legal pot; more expected.New Yorkers seek legal weed in Massachusetts after lawmakers fail to legalize. Plenty of blame to be passed around after New York failure to legalize. New York City marijuana dealers see bowl half full after Albany fails to legalize cannabis. What’s next for marijuana in New Jersey?

Illinois marijuana legalization impacts company policies. As Illinois determines whether to limit potency of legalized pot, drug gets increased scrutiny after link to psychosis. Cannabis will be legal January 1st; how will Illinois employers handle the change? Morton, Illinois makes a choice regarding marijuana sales.Illinois law legalizing marijuana could threaten Iowa fledgling medical cannabis industry.

Legalizing pot will create “carnage” on Pennsylvania roads, judge opines. Pennsylvania marijuana report expected by month’s end. Indiana and marijuana prohibition. What to know about Michigan new recreational marijuana rules.

Arizona marijuana business expanding ahead of planned drug legalization effort in 2020. Group pushes to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona.

US lawmakers look to legalize pot in “historic” marijuana reform hearing. The debate over how, not whether, Congress should legalize marijuana is heating up. Marijuana Justice Coalition asserts statement of principles on federal marijuana reform. Congressional Democrats tout pot legalization in election campaign petition. Why members of the right should embrace marijuana legalization. Examining Joe Biden on marijuana legalization. Fox News still anti-pot.

Monetizing the munchies: How legal marijuana use is affecting the US snacking industry. The global legal pot market size is expected to reach $66 billion in 2025. Weed tourism is on the rise. Pot growers finally finding some banks open to holding their cash. New study shows legalizing pot might discourage teen use.

Cannabis News Round-Up

Cory Booker said he’s “absolutely disappointed” marijuana legalization wasn’t discussed in first 2020 Democratic debate. Breaking down Congress’s vote to protect legal marijuana states from federal enforcement. Equity must be at the heart of marijuana legalization. Slow down on marijuana, Trump’s surgeon general says.

South Side Chicago neighborhoods hurt by war on drugs will get economic boost. Black entrepreneurs in Illinois worry new weed law will leave them behind, too. Illinois cannabis bill is first to incorporate “reparations.” Despite legalization, public marijuana use remains prohibited in Illinois. Car insurance premiums could rise as a result of Illinois legal marijuana. Recreational marijuana will be legal in Illinois. Some North Shore officials are apprehensive. How four “marijuana moms” led fellow lawmakers to legalization in Illinois. Where marijuana can and can’t be used once Illinois law goes into effect. A turning point for Illinois cannabis banking.

What do Iowans need to know about Illinois legalizing marijuana.
Iowa police prepares for effects of legal marijuana across the border.
Indiana governor keeping watchful eye on Illinois legalization.Want to grow or sell legal weed in Michigan? Wait till your 21st birthday.
Michigan towns and cities have three months left to ban recreational marijuana.

Using Oregon data to inform states considering legalization. Oregon has too much cannabis; two laws may help the state manage its surplus. Marijuana is legal in Oregon, but the illegal market still exists. Colorado reefer madness or pot paradise? The surprising legacy of the place where legal weed began.

Want to hold a concert and sell legal marijuana in Massachusetts? Don’t start planning yet.

Why Arizona will probably legalize recreational marijuana in 2020. Maryland task force begins work on potential pot legalization.

What’s next in New York and New Jersey? Marijuana business experts weigh in. New Jersey state’s attorneys react to Illinois marijuana law changes. New York advocates vow to fight to legalize marijuana in 2020.

Most states legalizing marijuana have yet to grapple with energy demand. Business owners describe the many and frustrating hurdles the feds throw at them. Rockefeller University doctor says reports claiming marijuana can curb opioid abuse are “not credible.” Sheriffs: Legal marijuana causing more crime, accidents.

Cannabis News Round-Up

Is France about to legalize cannabis? French economists make the case for legal marijuana. Public cannabis consumption now allowed in Colombia: Is full legalization next? China says US legalization of marijuana is a “threat to China”.

Congress votes to block feds from enforcing marijuana laws in legal states.

Final push to legalize pot fails in New York. Progressive groups respond to Cuomo‘s defection from legal pot promises.

Governor Janet Mills expected to sign pot rules into law, put Maine on track for retail sales next year. Maine is legalizing marijuana, but where will you be able to buy it? Many expected Rhode Island to legalize recreational marijuana this year: what happened?

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker expected to sign marijuana legalization bill next week. After Illinois, these states could legalize recreational marijuana next. Illinois law enforcement has no way to roadside test for stoned driving as legalization looms. Employer insights: Recreational marijuana in Illinois. Illinoistruckers held to high standard as state prepares for marijuana legalization.

Testing of sewage confirms rise in Washington marijuana use: “the proof is in the pee.” Want cannabis cafes? Washington lawmakers say fat chance. Colorado made $1 billion in marijuana tax revenue: What could this mean for federal legalization?

Is California cannabis boom killing wild salmon? New California PSA targets black market marijuana. West Hollywood original marijuana dispensaries fear city will leave them behind. California to give struggling cannabis businesses more time on provisional permits. Eager for edibles? Here’s what you need to know about the new California regulations. California marijuana laws get weird when you’re in jail.

Michigan struggles with legal pot. Michigan picks up pace of reviewing and awarding marijuana business licenses.

Ohio Governor Mike deWine not a fan of Cincinnati‘s marijuana decriminalization. No Ohio marijuana legalization measure on the 2019 ballot. South Dakota officials debate merits of legalized marijuana. Indiana has its work cut out for it trying to stop interstate marijuana trafficking.

Another crappy cannabis day in New Jersey. Look for the union label, when you puff on that New Jersey legal weed.
Strong majority of Florida voters support legal marijuana.

The untold story of marijuana legalization: How billionaire George Soros and a few of his friends gave us bongs full of legal weed. Marijuana should be legal, but there are still good reasons to curtail pot advertising. Marijuana industry wants to prove it’s socially responsible. Lessons learned from state marijuana legalization. States that legalize marijuana should set a minimum age of 25. Legal weed is a danger to dogs. Here’s how to know if your pup got into pot. Potent pot, vulnerable teens trigger concerns in first states to legalize marijuana. Cannabis power list: the 100 most influential voices in the pot debate. Veterans who work in the legal cannabis industry are being denied benefits.

Cannabis News Round-Up

Former anti-pot politicians are lining up to profit off the end of their war on drugs. Marijuana industry wants Los Angeles to crack down on illegal pot shops. Democrats urge tougher penalties for black-market sales in New York marijuana legalization bill. The $160 billion cannabis industry, much of it still illegal, makes for a “beautiful opportunity”. Behind Oregon’s blockbuster marijuana deal: a Russian billionaire, cannabis consolidation. Marijuana industry could surpass NFL in revenue by 2020. Could Big Cannabis overrun California?

New study: Making medical marijuana legal does not prevent fatal opioid overdoses.

Nevada becomes first state to ban pre-employment marijuana drug testing. Nevada to try limited banking for cash-heavy pot industry. Nevada US Attorney says marijuana prosecutions possible. Oregon hopes to be an interstate marijuana supplier. Portland, Oregon invests cannabis tax dollars into black-owned businesses. California prisoners can legally possess marijuana, appeals court rules.

Colorado touts reaching $1 billion in cannabis taxes but the industry is stagnating. Colorado still exporting black-market cannabis because it makes tons of money in other states. Colorado hard seltzers want to take over legal weed, too. Can Colorado micro-business licenses diversify the marijuana industry?

Why Illinois legalization law is different from all others. The economic impact of recreational marijuana in Illinois. What’s legal weed gonna cost in Illinois? A lot. Legal weed could send millions of dollars to Illinois violence prevention groups. Illinoisresidents see benefits in legalization, but concerns persist. Legal pot in Illinois means concerns in Iowa. Want to work in the Illinois legal pot industry? Here’s who’s hiring right now.

New York Farm Bureau backs marijuana legalization. Majority in New York back use of recreational marijuana. So many reasons to legalize cannabis in New York. Will New York legal marijuana go up in smoke before June adjournment? Chairman to New York Senate Democrats: Don’t vote on marijuana this year.

Washington DC is one step closer to recreational marijuana dispensaries. Will Delaware legalize marijuana this year? New Jersey medical marijuana expansion stalls, expungement reform advances amid legal weed protest.

Maine can have say about new recreational marijuana rules. Maine marijuana rules up for important committee vote. Rhode Island marijuana legalization probably dead this year.

In Michigan‘s Upper Penninsula, weed is a lonely pursuit for its one and only dispensary.

Democratic presidential candidates mostly agree on marijuana legalization. The exception? Joe Biden.

Canada blew its chance to be the world’s pot leader. Veteran cannabis company Harborside joins wave of US firms listing on Canadian exchange.

Why legal weed in United Kingdom may be a pipe dream.

Cannabis News Round-Up

How Illinois became the first state legislature to legalize marijuana sales. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker vows to sign recreational pot bill heading to his desk. Illinois poised to enact historic marijuana bill that could clear convictions for 770,000. Legalizing marijuana is a victory for freedom in Illinois. Illinois legalization: How did your legislators vote? Will legalizing marijuana and sports betting solve Illinois budget problems? What you need to know about legalization in Illinois. Illinois is close to legalizing recreational marijuana: here’s what that means for Indiana. Marijuana legalization leader: Illinois just made New York and New Jersey look like dorks.

New York pot legalization bill sponsor questions Cuomo’s commitment to effort. Cuomo on New York marijuana legalization: “I don’t think it’s feasible at this point.” New top New York GOP leader is open to legalizing marijuana. New York legalization a few votes short in Senate, hung up on New York City suburbs. With New York marijuana legalization pending, enforcement gets murky. With marijuana legalization in doubt, will New York take baby steps? New York pot legalization opponents exaggerate dangers. Cannabis oil prompts debate about New York marijuana legalization. Symposium to tackle New York marijuana legalization’s impact on public health.

Impact of Illinois legalization on Wisconsin. Wisconsin should take cue from Illinois and legalize marijuana. Wisconsin will soon become an island surrounded by legal weed. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer promised to expunge marijuana-related criminal records in Michigan: those convicted are still waiting. Michigan is blowing its lead as the first state in the Midwest to legalize pot. Recreational marijuana movement takes root in Midwest but efforts elsewhere have stalled. Coalition406 is taking a thoughtful approach to Montana legalization.

Oregon, awash in marijuana, takes steps to curb production. Last year’s harvest alone may give Oregon a surplus of more than 1 billion joints. How legal weed is killing Humboldt County, California marijuana farmers.
Medicine Man agrees to buy country’s largest outdoor marijuana farm in Colorado. Marijuana has been legal in Colorado for five years. Business is booming, but there’s a dark side. Gov. Hickenlooper touts Colorado marijuana legalization measure he opposed to raise money on Instagram.

Massachusetts governor leads governors in asking Congress to leave marijuana laws up to states. Maine tries again to enact marijuana rules before 3-year anniversary of legalization vote. As Connecticut General Assembly passes on pot, a new poll shows majority of residents support legal marijuana, expunging criminal records. Delaware marijuana legalization bill clears first legislative hurdle.

Marijuana advocates hit unexpected roadblocks. Bipartisan governors team up to demand federal marijuana reform. Congressional funding bill protects cannabis banking and lets DC legalize marijuana sales. Kirsten Gillibrand unveils wide-ranging marijuana plan.

Career pot-demonizer John Boehner stands to make millions off marijuana. Elizabeth Warren says she has always supported making recreational marijuana legal, but is that true? The No. 1 reason adults are interested in legalized cannabis (it’s not to get high). Americans spend roughly the same amount on legal weed and Taco Bell. Joint effort? Breweries add cannabis to their beer to fight rise in popularity of legal marijuana.

Cannabis News Round-Up

Fourty-two people arrested across metro Denver in massive black market marijuana bust. Largest pot bust in Colorado history claims over 80,000 plants. Colorado marijuana industry opened to outside investors. Marijuana banking bill advances in U.S. House Committee. In a world of legal weed, Michael Thompson languishes in prison for selling it in 1994. Five questions that legal pot and Colorado face about stoned driving. New Colorado marijuana law addresses future of drug-sniffing dogs.

Legal pot sales coming to Michigan, but finding a store could wreck your high. Michigan recreational pot market to rival Colorado. With marijuana now legal in Michigan, Movement fest dances to a slightly different beat. Mom and dad, I’m going to Northern Michigan University cannabis school. Michigan governor: Smoking tons of weed could fix our terrible roads.

Illinois on the precipice of legalizing marijuana. As a deadline for legalizing marijuana in Illinois approaches, a new poll finds strong public support. Illinois legalization proposal unclear on what information about pot companies could be kept secret. The Illinois legalization debate: Who’s afraid of a little home grow? If pot is legalized in Illinois, what happens to medical marijuana? Illinois marijuana market could rival Colorado in the coming years, report finds.

Cuomo cites New York marijuana legalization as a top priority. Why civil rights advocates say New York decriminalization of marijuana isn’t enough. Would your county opt out of marijuana sales in New York? Unions come out in support of New York marijuana legalization bills. Drug Policy Alliance statement on Illinois State Senate passing legislation to legalize marijuana. Hundreds of drug dogs could face an uncertain fate if marijuana is legalized in New York.

New Jersey marijuana legalization: Legislature goes “back door” on pot. A wise pause on New Jersey and New York marijuana legalization. Recreational marijuana laws put on hold by New Jersey and New York: what’s that mean for Pennsylvania? Legalizing recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania still unclear. Home grow issue divides some Delaware marijuana legalization advocates.

No will in Connecticut legislature for legal marijuana. Connecticut lawyers react to failed marijuana legalization efforts. We must move forward on Connecticut marijuana legalization. Three years after voters legalized marijuana, Maine develops plan to begin sales. New Hampshire Senate votes to delay recreational marijuana legalization bill.

Marinette County, Wisconsin board formally opposes legalized recreational marijuana. Lawmaker’s “lonely ship” filling up as support for Wisconsin legalizing cannabis grows. What happened at the Minnesota Capitol with medical and recreational pot.

Louisiana marijuana legalization shot down in House committee. Tennessee needs to get a clue about cannabis and update its laws. Look inside bills directed at legalizing marijuana in North Carolina.

More cannabis shops in “weed desert” cities? California lawmakers just sank that idea. Plan to create special cannabis-friendly banks moves forward in California. Where does California cannabis tax money go? You might be surprised. Oregon brewery wants to become the unofficial beer of legal marijuana.

Snoop Dogg is right: Legal weed would benefit from more accurate dosing information. How the cannabis industry is revolutionizing the beverage sector. Legal weed can raise the roof on home prices. When pot legalization fails: Plan Bs and “consolation prizes”. For military members, cannabis still off limits despite growing legalization. Marijuana marketing is often far from mellow.

Implications of possible Mexico pot legalization. Legalizing cannabis in the United Kingdom will leave the working classes behind – just as we’ve seen in America.

Cannabis News Round-Up

California Senate passes legislation to create state-chartered cannabis banks. California lawmakers already want to roll back a key promise of marijuana legalization. California marijuana industry is a mess, new data shows. How legalization changed Humboldt County, California. Marijuana sales in east poised to rival western markets including Colorado, California.

Social equity becomes a key question in New Jersey, other states. With New Jersey legal pot on hold, is decriminalization next? New Jersey lawmakers forge ahead with trio of pot bills. Money messed up New Jersey marijuana legalization’s justice angle. Plan to stop most weed arrests in New Jersey just advanced, but there’s a lot more work to do.

Is there enough political support for New York legalization? Activists want Westchester, New York to just say no to legalized marijuana. New York marijuana legalization bill could prevent police searches of cars based on smell of pot. What New York can learn from Mexico about marijuana legalization.

As Connecticut marijuana legalization falters, supporters eye constitutional amendment. Maine hopes to avoid pitfalls during marijuana legalization push.

Legal weed bill is back in Delaware, and a battle is brewing.

Most of Illinois says marijuana should be legal. Opinions on legalizing marijuana mixed in DeKalb County, Illinois. Illinois should take the slow road on marijuana. Illinois marijuana legalization proposal unclear on what information about pot companies could be kept secret. Legalizing pot in Illinois will harm minority-owned businesses and communities. What does the legalization in Illinois mean?

North Dakota marijuana legalization group withdraws petition for rewrite.

Why pot legalization is dividing Democrats.Biden’s shift on marijuana came days before fundraiser with pro-legalization donor. Marijuana legalization goes mainstream with first-ever forum in Capitol complex. State treasurers group endorses marijuana banking legislation. Using marijuana revenue to create jobs. Let’s really talk about marijuana: I sold the stuff as a kid, and I’m proud to lead the push to decriminalize and end the stigma associated with pot records.

Cannabis News Round-Up

Two corporate weed giants are entering New Jersey market. What will that mean for mom-and-pop sellers after legalization? NAACP, Catholic Conference warn of commercialization of marijuana in Illinois. Pot opponents express concerns over safety, commercialization. Support builds for bill to allow banks to assist pot businesses. Without banking bill, federal pot legalization is a three-legged horse until 2021. Wall Street chokes on cannabis bank bill. Michigan Attorney General joins coalition for change to marijuana banking law. Joe Biden supports decriminalization, not legalization. In 1989, Joe Biden believed the difference between marijuana and alcohol is that one can be used responsibly. Cannabis stocks can be a lucrative—but risky—bet.

Efforts to legalize marijuana in New York are at an impasse. Cuomo retreats from legal marijuana promises. New York marijuana: What to know about cannabis jobs, pot college and immigrant weed workers. With recreational pot unlikely, New York medical marijuana program may grow. Columbia County, New York officials to block pot sales if legalized.

Weed smuggling arrests at LAX have surged 166% since marijuana legalization. Illegal marijuana grows in Pacific Northwest declined after legalization. Pot tax revenue welcome in Boulder. Cannabis lounges are coming to Las Vegas.

Vermont legal pot sales doomed this session. New Hampshire Senate committee votes to delay marijuana legalization bill to 2020. Legal pot hearing sure to draw huge crowd in Maine. Maine pot rules must protect kids, problem users. What will marijuana cafes and concerts look like if they become legal in Massachusetts?

Delaware legalization bill announced. Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor finally brought his listening tour to Pittsburgh—and most want legal weed. New Jersey lawmakers kill the bill, say voters should decide. Despite the doom-and-gloom around New Jersey legal weed efforts, some lobbyists still hold out hope. Booker bill would protect students with drug convictions from losing federal college aid.

Michigan to accelerate decisions on unlicensed pot shops, recreational market. Support for Illinois legal pot thinning. Illinois survey that supposedly shows support for legalization is dwindling actually shows it is rising. Marijuana bill may violate Illinois Constitution, prosecutors say. Growing at home might not be allowed after all under Illinois legalization proposal.

Hundreds march in Fort Worth for Texas legalization of marijuana. Why Kansas cops don’t want to legalize marijuana—medical or otherwise.

Women who love weed: can the industry free itself from stoner-bro culture? Retired NBA player Caron Butler to release documentary on pot industry. State-by-state legalization is a mess.

Canada black market is thriving—even after legalization.St. Kitts and Nevis court rules adults can legally use marijuana in private.

Cannabis News Round-Up

Oregon Senate puts temporary freeze on marijuana production. Oregon marijuana surplus spurs senators to block new grower licenses. As legal marijuana booms, Denver votes on decriminalizing hallucinogenic mushrooms. Colorado senators lead way on national legalization of marijuana. Colorado pot czar: Legal marijuana not a “cash windfall.” San Fransciso’s Haight Street gets a new, legal king of weed.

Massachusetts makes history as first legal marijuana shops on East Coast open. Uxbridge, Massachusetts entrepreneur dreams of selling legal marijuana at a drive-through pot shop. Vermont House committee approves legal marijuana market. Follow-up on the legalization of marijuana in Connecticut.

New York Senator says fate of marijuana legalization depends on Cuomo’s willingness to use political capital. Is New Jersey legal weed fight being hurt by governor’s squabble with top Democrats over corporate tax breaks? Prospects for New Jersey legal weed bill looking grim, insiders say. Want cannabis jobs? Advocate for legalization, says New Jersey panel.

D.C. mayor wants Council to make marijuana sales legal in nation’s capital.

Illinois Governor introduces bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Illinois Representative on recreational marijuana: Not so fast. Opposition to recreational marijuana in Illinois mounts. Illinois legal pot opponents reject Pritzker’s social equity arguments. Police oppose marijuana legalization in Illinois, but want a bigger cut of the proceeds if law passes. Illinois marijuana legalization efforts leave questions for employers. Would Illinois legal marijuana bring dispensaries to DeKalb and Sycamore? Mayors weigh in.

The arc of legal weed bends toward injustice. Merger madness reshapes marijuana business. Attorneys General from thirty-three states urge pot banking reform.Republican congressman tells Democrats to end Trump obsession and focus on marijuana. Why Cory Booker cares so much about legal weed. TSA: “We’re cool,” and we’re not looking for your weed. Breaking the news to mom and dad: I’m selling weed (legally).

New Zealand Cabinet set to consider cannabis referendum. New Zealand government releases details of marijuana legalization referendum. Legalizing cannabis in Australia could create $1 billion in tax revenue.

How to legalize cannabis: the case of Maine

There’s more to legalizing cannabis than setting up a market. The extent of post-prohibition public-health and public-safety problems depends on the details, and especially on price.

One reason I distrust the state-by-state process of legalizing cannabis and prefer a national approach is that the people drafting the laws and writing the regulations tend to reason more or less along these lines:

“Cannabis and alcohol are both intoxicants. We know how to regulate alcohol, so we should handle cannabis the same way.”

There are two things wrong with that.

First, cannabis is like alcohol in some ways but unlike it in others, so it needs a different control regime. (E.g., it’s not clear that we should criminalize cannabis use in public, use by minors, or stoned driving; doing so risks a kind of “backdoor re-criminalization.” In each case the link to aggression and violence that is so marked with alcohol is weaker, or may not even exist, with cannabis.)

Second, the current alcohol control regime leads to an estimated 88,000 excess deaths per year, and incredible amounts of disease and misery. That doesn’t look like a successful policy to me, and applying that policy to cannabis would be a clear case of “Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.” If you were to ask a state alcohol regulator about the prevalence of Alcohol Use Disorder among high-school students, or the number of alcohol-involved murders or suicides, you’d mostly get a blank look. A liquor board usually understands its job as making sure the taxes are paid, that the premises are orderly, and that licensees don’t sell directly to minors. The impact of alcohol on public health is the province of the health department, while its impact on public safety is a problem for the police and the prosecutors.

So with cannabis. Most state regulators are more interested in creating an orderly legal market that can displace the illicit market than in serving a broader policy vision that includes minimizing the predictable bad side-effects of commercial legalization.

BOTEC Analysis was hired by Maine’s Office of Marijuana Policy to review a draft set of regulations, which were pretty much as we expected. 

The introduction to our comments, explaining what we were trying to do, is pasted in below the fold.  While the comments are linked to specific sections of the Maine regulations, some of the ideas might be of interest to regulators elsewhere, and to legislators and advocates drafting new legalization statutes. 

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