This week, California’s three cannabis licensing authorities announced that businesses with licenses expiring between now and June 30 may request a 60-day deferral of their licensing fee payments. Elsewhere, in Massachusetts, adult-use cannabis dispensaries may reopen on Memorial Day, with restrictions, as part of the governor’s plan to reopen the state.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: A bipartisan group of attorneys general for 34 U.S. states and territories sent a letter to Senate and House leadership May 19, urging them to include cannabis banking reform in upcoming coronavirus relief legislation. The U.S. House passed the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses to work freely with banks, on May 15 as part of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act, a $3-trillion relief bill aimed at the economic pressures of the coronavirus pandemic, although the Senate has yet to take any action on the bill. Read more
- California: The state’s three cannabis licensing authorities announced this week that businesses with licenses expiring between now and June 30 may request a 60-day deferral of their licensing fee payments in an effort to provide financial assistance to licensees affected by the coronavirus crisis. The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), California Department of Food & Agriculture (CDFA) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will immediately start accepting requests for fee relief, and with a deferral, licensing fees will be due 60 days from the date of expiration. Read more
- Louisiana: The Louisiana House of Representatives approved legislation this week that would expand the state’s medical cannabis program. House Bill 819, sponsored by Rep. Larry Bagley (R-Stonewall), would add nine qualifying conditions to the program, as well as allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any condition they deem “debilitating to an individual patient.” Read more
- Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) issued its first medical cannabis product recall this week, recalling vape cartridges and infused mints produced by Moon Mix after testing revealed concentrations of myclobutanil. Patients were advised to return the recalled products to the point of sale, with each dispensary issuing its own refund process. Read more
- Missouri: The Missouri House of Representatives has approved legislation that places restrictions on medical cannabis edibles, sending the bill to Gov. Mike Parson for his signature. The legislation prohibits certain forms of edible products in the state’s forthcoming medical cannabis market, including those resembling “the shape of a human, animal, or fruit, including realistic, artistic, caricature, or cartoon renderings.” Read more
- Massachusetts: Adult-use cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts that have been temporarily closed for the past two months as part of emergency orders to shut down nonessential businesses will be allowed to offer curbside pickup beginning Memorial Day. The plan is to reopen the economy slowly in phases, and as part of the first, retailers in the state can offer curbside pickup starting May 25. Read more
- Maine: Portland, the state’s largest city, opted in to hosting the cannabis industry and approved a local ordinance May 18 to create a licensing system, fee schedule and rules for businesses. Forty other Maine communities have agreed to host adult-use cannabis businesses, although Office of Marijuana Policy Director Erik Gunderson has warned that authorization from the state’s municipalities could be the next obstacle in launching the market, especially as many communities remain shut down due to the coronavirus. Read more
- Michigan: Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) has announced it is expanding its social equity program eligibility criteria, benefits and fee reductions. Effective June 1, MRA will again increase the number of “disproportionately impacted communities” in Michigan, this time from 41 to 184. Read more
- Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam has signed legislation to decriminalize cannabis into law, making Virginia the 27th state in the nation to decriminalize simple cannabis possession. With the governor’s signature, the law will take effect on July 1, 2020. Read more
- U.S. Virgin Islands: Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. has introduced a revised cannabis legalization bill based on public consultations and meetings with lawmakers. The legislation, called the Virgin Islands Cannabis Use Act, would allow adults 21 and older to purchase and consume cannabis, and would create a regulatory framework to license businesses for cannabis cultivation, processing and on-site consumption. Read more