Recent Cannabis-Legal Developments

Recent Cannabis Legal Developments

Well, after the last few months of 2018, which saw massive movement on the cannabis front such as passage of the Farm Bill, the commencement of Canadian sales, huge business deals centered in Canada, the commencement of Massachusetts recreational sales, a NY legalization bill (January, actually), news has certainly slowed. There are a few recent cannabis legal developments but they are just not as earth-shaking as before.

For example:

  • Ex-Massachusetts Gov. William Weld announced last week that he would run in the Republican primary against Trump in 2020. The connection to cannabis? He is on the Board of Directors of Acreage Holdings (along with John Boehner.) Not that a pro-pot, pro-choice, moderate Massachusetts Republican has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the Republican nomination. But we can expect at least that Governor Weld’s presence  may make cannabis part of the Presidential primary conversation.   
  • Looks like Colorado has tabulated its cannabis sales (medical and recreational) since 2014, and they have surpassed the $6bln mark. See the article on Colorado cannabis here.  And that doesn’t count industry-adjacent revenue. That’s an economic boon by anyone’s counting.

It’s interesting to note that Colorado recreational sales have increased as medical sales have decreased. That could be folks abandoning the pretense of medical use for their true desire: recreational use. But the true concern is that resources nationwide will slowly be diverted from the profitable recreational side from the compelling medical side.  

  • Looks like New Jersey removed a major stumbling block on the march towards recreational use, and that was how to tax cannabis. Most states tax as a percentage of sales. New Jersey will tax on weight – $42/ounce. Read more about how NJ lawmakers reach tax consensus here. Will NJ now leapfrog past NY?
  • Lastly, at least for this week, it looks like California will be diverting State National Guard resources—360 troops—towards eliminating illegal growing operations.  Read more about how the National Guard will combat illegal growers here. Alas, the black market still thrives in The Golden State. While some blame the resilience of the black market on overbearing taxes on legit producers, the suffocating regulatory regimen may also be to blame.

And speaking of California, it seems like two-thirds of municipalities have chosen to preclude commercial recreational cannabis activity in their jurisdictions—in California! Ouch! Read the whole story here  

Hmmm!  Maybe the breathless anticipation of quick achievement in 2018 is giving way to a grind-it-out approach in 2019. Stay tuned. 

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