This week, Maine launched its long-awaited adult-use cannabis market, with a handful of dispensaries opening Oct. 9 for adult-use sales. Elsewhere, in Vermont, the governor allowed legislation to become law that will establish rules and regulations to oversee the commercial production and sale of adult-use cannabis.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- West Virginia: The Office of Medical Cannabis has issued 10 medical cannabis cultivation licenses, with plans to score processor and dispensary applications next. Regulators aim to launch medical cannabis sales in the spring of 2021. Read more
- Virginia: The state legislature has passed legislation that would prohibit police stops based on cannabis odor, sending the bill to Gov. Ralph Northam. Senate Bill 5029 and House Bill 5058 cleared the legislature in a special legislative session, and would limit the ability of law enforcement to conduct warrantless searches solely based on the smell of cannabis. Read more
- Nevada: Gov. Steve Sisolak has made the final two appointments to the state’s five-member Cannabis Compliance Board, Bryan Young, a Reno-based physician, and Riana Durrett, the former director of the Nevada Dispensary Association. The new members join former Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Douglas, former Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander and Las Vegas banking executive Jerrie Merrit on the board, which oversees the regulation of the state’s cannabis industry. Read more
- Illinois: Three finalists included in a lottery to win Illinois’ cannabis dispensary licenses have filed a lawsuit over the state’s decision to give applicants a second chance to qualify for the lottery. SB IL, Vertical Management and GRI Holdings IL, which all received perfect scores on their applications, are asking the Illinois Supreme Court to award the licenses without the recent changes to the process, which were announced late last month. Read more
- Another group of social equity license applicants in Illinois have filed a separate lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and Bret Bender, the deputy director of its Cannabis Control Section, for disqualifying their applications and not providing them the opportunity to participate in a process through which certain applicants can amend their applications and challenge their scores. The applicants, many of them veterans, are also asking the court to subpoena accounting firm KPMG to share details of its scoring process. Read more
- Michigan: The Michigan Regulatory Agency announced this week that it will allow cannabis businesses to apply for standalone adult-use licenses starting March 1, 2021, in an effort to combat the state’s illicit market. Regulators are removing a requirement that class B and C cultivators, as well as labs, processors, transporters and retailers, in the adult-use market must first hold a medical cannabis license, the news outlet reported, which translates to lower application and license fees for businesses that do not want to participate in the medical market. Read more
- California: The Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation will begin accepting applications for additional cannabis licenses on Tuesday, Oct. 20. Regulators will accept applications for delivery, distribution, non-volatile manufacturing and testing labs, with delivery licenses available only to the city’s previously verified Social Equity Applicants. Read more
- Vermont: Gov. Phil Scott announced this week that he would permit legislation, Senate Bill 54, to become law to establish rules and regulations overseeing the commercial production and retail sale of adult-use cannabis. Vermont lawmakers depenalized the possession and cultivation of small quantities of marijuana by adults in 2018, but that law did not legalize any commercial activities involving either cannabis production or sales. Read more
- Florida: The Florida Supreme Court heard a second round of arguments this week in a case that challenges the constitutionality of the state’s 2017 medical cannabis law. Tampa-based Florigrown LLC filed the lawsuit three years ago, alleging that the law improperly implemented a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical cannabis in the state, particularly when it comes to a requirement that all medical cannabis operators be vertically integrated. Read more
- Maine: Maine launched its long-awaited adult-use cannabis market this week, with a handful of dispensaries opening for adult-use sales Oct. 9. Cannabis Business Times and Cannabis Dispensary spoke with Theory Wellness, one of the dispensaries that launched sales on opening day, to find out more about its plans to serve the market. Read more