Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana. This week, we have an update on the SAFER Banking Act. We note that New York took a step towards issuing licenses for their retail market. We look in on the status of two other states that could legalize in the future. And finally, we see our neighbors to the north thinking of changing their rules around cannabis use.
Regular readers will doubtless recall that last week, the SAFER Banking Act emerged from a Senate committee, destined for a floor vote. The bill was amended by the committee, providing more time for the Treasury Department to issue updated banking guidance and making clear that financial transactions related to cannabis should not be considered proceeds from an unlawful activity. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) indicated that he would bring the bill to a floor vote soon, and attach significant social equity provisions to it. And since there is, at present, no government shutdown, it’s all smooth sailing ahead, right? Well, maybe in the Senate, but now the House of Representatives has no Speaker, so I wouldn’t count on any movement on that side of Capitol Hill anytime soon.
We’ve reported on New York’s problems in setting up a retail adult-use market more than once, most recently here. Well, at long last, the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) opened up an application window for a variety of different licenses to businesses wishing to serve this sector. Licenses are expected to be awarded beginning early next year.
FLORIDA & WISCONSIN
Two states that are pursuing different paths to legalization are Florida and Wisconsin. In the Sunshine State, legalization supporters have crafted a ballot initiative to legalize adult-use. The state’s Attorney General filed a challenge to the measure, arguing that the language could mislead voters into thinking that it would make cannabis legal at the federal level. The state’s Supreme Court will hear oral arguments next month.
Meanwhile, the Dairy State, confronted with legal markets in neighboring Minnesota and Illinois, is going the legislation route. Sponsored by Senate Democratic Leader Melissa Agard (D-Madison) and Rep. Darrin Madison (D-Milwaukee), the bill would legalize possession of up to 5 ounces of cannabis for those 21 and older. Tax revenue would help to fund community grants. Governor Tony Evers (D) is supportive of legalization, so if the bill can make it through the legislature, he’s likely to sign it.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) currently have a pretty strict policy around cannabis use, stricter than other police forces in the country. Now, the Mounties are thinking of relaxing those prohibitions, in an effort to attract more recruits.
Be well and we’ll see you next week.