Topic: Legislation

Access Granted: Colorado’s Thriving Cannabis Market Now Open to Outside Investors

When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, it prohibited publicly traded cannabis companies from operating in the market. This created a unique Colorado marijuana market populated by a diverse group of smaller, local operators. That is about to change; Governor Jared Polis recently signed into law HB19-1090, a measure that will allow larger, out-of-state investors to enter Colorado’s market effective November 1, 2019.

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Nevada Bans Employers from Refusing to Hire Applicants that Test Positive for Marijuana

Starting January 1, 2020, employers in Nevada will be prohibited from failing or refusing to hire a prospective employee because of a positive test for marijuana. Assembly Bill No. 132 was signed into law by Governor Steve Sisolak on June 5, 2019, making Nevada the first state to enact such a prohibition (while Maine forbids employers from discriminating based on marijuana usage, it has no law specific for pre-employment drug testing).

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Connecticut Joins Other Northeast States in Failing to Pass Recreational Marijuana Legislation in 2019

We recently wrote about the failure of state legislatures in New York, New Jersey, and Vermont to pass recreational marijuana legislation this year, despite initial optimism. You can now add Connecticut to that list. But unlike those other states, where there is at least hope for legislation in upcoming sessions, proponents of legalization in Connecticut are anticipating a protracted fight.

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The Green Rose of Texas? The Lone Star State Expands Medical Marijuana and CBD Access

On June 10, 2019, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 1325, a law that will immediately allow for hemp farming and the production of low-THC hemp and cannabidiol (“CBD”) products. Although some CBD products were already available throughout the state, their legal status was—at best—unclear. Now with the new law, CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC can be legally bought and sold.

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Breaking News: Illinois to Become the 11th State to Legalize Adult Use Marijuana

It’s all over but the shouting. The Illinois House today passed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, two days after the same billed passed through the Illinois Senate. Governor Pritzker is expected to sign the bill shortly, making Illinois the 11th state to approve marijuana for adult use, and the first to create an adult-use marijuana market via legislation. Marijuana will be legal for adult recreational use on January 1, 2020.

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High Wire Act: States Struggle to Balance Expertise and Social Equity in Marijuana Markets

Utah issued a proposed rule (R68-27) for its recently approved medical marijuana program that calls for the issuance of ten cultivation licenses with fees of $10,000 per application and $100,000 per license (the rule does not address the sale of medical marijuana). A recent Salt Lake Tribune article addressed the steep cost (which does not include all the other start-up costs, including legal fees) and at least implicitly raised the question that is vexing states from coast-to-coast—how high should the barriers to entry be?

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California Passes SB 51 to Create a Non-Federal Banking Alternative for the Cannabis Industry

On May 23, 2019, the California Senate passed Senate Bill 51 (“SB 51”) on a 35-1 vote to establish limited state-chartered banks and credit unions to serve the cannabis industry. The bill, which was introduced by state Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), along with eight other bipartisan cosponsors, allows cannabis businesses to create accounts with certain chartered banks and credit unions for specific cannabis business-related purposes. For instance, cannabis businesses will now be able to deposit funds into these accounts and write “special purpose checks.”

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West Virginia Passes SB 1037 to Streamline the Medical Marijuana Market

On May 20, 2019, the West Virginia Legislature passed Senate Bill 1037 (“SB 1037”) to streamline and encourage West Virginia’s nascent medical marijuana market. The bill passed the Senate 23-7 and the House 81-17 during a special session. This comes two years after Governor Justice signed West Virginia’s medical cannabis bill, Senate Bill 386, making West Virginia the 29th state to legalize medical marijuana.

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