Each state has specific and unique regulations for medical cannabis. And, some states have made their laws about cannabis much more restrictive than others. For example, some states have decriminalized possession and use of cannabis, made it legal for medical purposes, or have decided to legalize it for all purposes.
In 2017, since the state of California legalized the use of marijuana, over 30 other states have allowed medical marijuana use with varying restrictions. The 2017 election saw a few states legalize recreational use as well. Even though it is still against the law, many states allow cannabis with varying restrictions.
Across the country, cannabis regulations change daily. Some areas of legislative change are more radical than others, but every small step forward is important. Currently, five states are eligible because, first, they are making significant progress or, second, they are conservative states that many expect to keep the ban in place longer.
This week we focus on the East Coast and Deep South, with news from Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont (D), along with other legislators, has reached a compromise on an adult-use cannabis law that will likely take effect in late spring of 2022. This bill finally lays the groundwork for retail to begin in the state. MJBizDaily estimates that revenue from the recreational market in Connecticut could exceed $250 million in the first year alone and reach about $725 million in the fourth year. However, Senate Bill 1118 has only just been drafted and has yet to be voted on in the House and Senate. Opponents may still try to intervene, which could prompt Governor Lamont to call a special session on the issue this summer. It’s hard to say if this will also delay the start of recreational sales. One of the main points of this agreement is that applicants for social assistance are given priority. Under the bill, to be eligible for social justice, a person must have lived in a disproportionately impacted area, defined by an unemployment rate greater than 10% or a historically high rate of drug convictions, for the past five out of 10 years. To 1. By July 2024, municipalities will be allowed to have only one marijuana dealer and one micro grower per 25,000 residents.
Tennessee is a relatively conservative state, but the influx of new residents from blue states on the east and west coasts may already be having an impact. Last month, Republican Governor Bill Lee passed a limited medical cannabis bill that would bring many changes to businesses in the state. Once introduced, the law will legalize possession of CBD oil containing up to 0.9% THC for patients with a medical certificate. This is three times the 0.3% limit set by the federal government. In addition, the bill, as currently drafted, would add the following diseases and conditions to the existing list of eligibility requirements: Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, cancer, inflammatory bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and sickle cell disease. Individuals must carry proof of their medical condition when possessing cannabis oil. Moreover, there is still no place in the state where these products can be purchased legally. So while it is now legal to own these weapons, they will have to be purchased illegally or out of state. Further legislation will be needed to regulate the production and distribution of cannabis products.
Louisiana’s medical cannabis program has been heavily criticized by industry advocates for making access to the drug nearly impossible for patients. Over-regulation, coupled with high prices and limited cultivation permits (only two permits for the entire state), meant that patient numbers were extremely low, as were profits. Nevertheless, the number of participants in the program is expected to increase significantly next year when Bill 391 is passed and pharmacies are allowed to sell smoking cigarettes. In many established markets, flowers account for about 50% of total sales, and recent surveys show that demand for smokes is also high in Louisiana. As it should be, patients will have a purchase limit, although it is quite flexible, allowing up to 70 grams (2.5 ounces) per 14 days. Eligible conditions include cancer, HIV status, AIDS, cachexia or wasting away syndrome, epilepsy, spasticity, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, Parkinson’s disease, severe muscle spasms, excruciating pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and certain symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders.
Cannabis legislation– Alabama
Last month, Governor Kay Ivey officially signed the medical marijuana bill that we have been following closely. That makes Alabama the 37th highest ranked state. State in the United States legalizing medical marijuana. Patients who meet certain conditions – including cancer, depression, epilepsy, panic disorder, chronic pain or another chronic illness – can enroll in the state’s medical program. After signing Senate Bill 46, Governor Ivey issued the following statement: The signing of SB 46 is an important first step. I want to thank Senator Tim Melson and Representative Mike Ball again for their hard work over the past several years and their willingness to address legitimate concerns. It’s certainly a sensitive and emotional subject that keeps coming up. At the state level, he added, we have a research group looking at this issue, and I’m interested in the potential benefits of medicinal cannabis for people with chronic illnesses, or what it can do to improve the quality of life for people in the last days of their lives.
Interestingly enough, it all started in Mississippi, where the University of Mississippi received the first grant to grow and study medical cannabis in 1968. Nevertheless, until recently, consumer legislation was not very progressive. Last week, Senate lawmakers discussed the possibility of legalizing medical cannabis in the state, but not before Governor Tate Reeves (R) called a special session. It still looks like changes will be made before the end of the year. Reeves told Biloxi television station WLOX that passing a medical marijuana law is necessary to respect the will of voters. The initiative is good for business, but it also gives municipalities some power if they want to use zoning to waive medical cannabis programs. There is also some opposition to the proposed 2.5-ounce purchase limit every 14 days, which some conservatives say is too generous and should be lowered.
Cannabis legislation – final considerations
Progressive legislation is also in the works in states that have already legalized or decriminalized cannabis, such as Nevada and New Mexico. There are also notable changes in some of the more stringent states, such as Wyoming, Texas, Idaho and Kansas.
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