In California, the LA Times examined the mixed bag of viewpoints now that the legislative session has ended. Gov. Newsom angered some in the industry by refusing to allow cannabis in hospitals and outlawing its use on tour buses and limousines. Another result of this legislative session is steeper fines for illegal cannabis operators. Industry members that believed illicit businesses were not facing stiff enough penalties obtained a small win in California.
The FBI is investigating suspected corruption involving Sacramento cannabis businesses and public officials. The report about the probe came after Sacramento officials called for an investigation into cannabis dispensary licensing, including the decision to grant eight dispensary permits to a group that includes a Ukrainian-born businessman indicted last week for allegedly violating federal campaign finance laws. The federal court detailed how four men and an unidentified foreign national missed a September 2018 recreational marijuana license application deadline in Nevada and decided they would need the attorney general to change the rules to let them apply.
The Massachusetts legislature's Joint Committee On Cannabis policy will hold a hearing on several marijuana and hemp bills on Tuesday, including requirements for reasonable potency limits for each type of marijuana product sold by licensees and reasonable potency or dosing limits for edible marijuana products.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the creation of a multi-agency task force to root out criminal influences in the state’s legal cannabis market, spurred by federal charges filed against two businessmen with ties to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. “The governor is outraged by yesterday’s news that a foreign national attempted to influence Nevada’s elections through a million-dollar laundering scheme in order to gain a marijuana license and enter our legalized market,” according to Sisolak’s statement. The Governor also called on the task force to immediately investigate “ongoing issues” such as “serious allegations of manipulated lab results, and a licensing process mired in litigation…”
Nevada regulators have been performing surprise inspections on marijuana testing labs and are putting an indefinite freeze on processing applications for sale or transfer of cannabis business licenses. The inspections follow allegations of marijuana testing manipulation and concerns over how cannabis products with unsafe levels of mold, yeast, and other microbials were able to pass inspection and make it to the retail market in recent months.
The Oregon Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay against regulators ban on flavored nicotine vaping products, however, the ban related to marijuana vaping products remains in effect. Separately, the OLCC approved marijuana licensee stipulated settlements.
Governors and other state officials from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Rhode Island hosted a Regional Cannabis Regulation and Vaping Summit last Thursday to discuss legalization efforts across the Northeast. The states went over a number of issues including cannabis taxes, recreational regulations, supply chain, and social equity initiatives. An agreed upon principle was that aggressively punitive regulations will only prove to be more divisive and, ultimately, will drive the illegal operators away from becoming compliant. Shortly after the session concluded, Gov. Cuomo’s (NY) office sent out a 32-bullet declaration of “core principles” among the four governors in attendance. These are elements they all would like to see in their respective states’ future legislative packages, leading to a “coordinated” regional approach to regulating vaping and marijuana.
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