It was an eventful week for marijuana reform last week, with California releasing draft permanent regulations for its new recreational marijuana market, North Dakota advocates turning in more than enough signatures to place legalization on the November ballot, and Maine and New York making significant changes to their medical marijuana regulations. Learn more in this week’s Roundup!
On Friday, the three state agencies tasked with regulating California’s new recreational cannabis market released a draft set of permanent regulations for public comment. The proposed rules would keep much of the present emergency regulatory framework intact while making some significant changes to address concerns raised by cannabis businesses and other stakeholders.
Under the proposal, cannabis products could be delivered into any jurisdiction in California, expanding the delivery area of businesses and providing access for those who live in jurisdictions that have not allowed retailers to operate within their boundaries. The regulations also clarify the forms in which distributors can package and sell cannabis, for example, whether they would be allowed to roll and sell marijuana in the form of joints, which they would be under the new rules. Other changes involve child resistant packaging, advertising, and similar issues.
On Monday, the Maine Legislature voted to override Governor Paul LePage’s veto of two bills to significantly reform the state’s medical marijuana system, paving the way for them to become law. The reform legislation will eliminate the list of qualifying conditions and allow doctors to write marijuana prescriptions for any condition they deem suitable, lift the cap on the number of dispensary licenses, allow dispensaries to operate as for-profit businesses rather than requiring them to be nonprofit, allow them to deduct expenses like other types of businesses, and make many other changes to . LePage vetoed the bill the week before, as he has with every other piece of marijuana legislation during his tenure, most notably the implementation legislation for the recreational cannabis law passed by voters in 2016.
On Monday, supporter of recreational cannabis in 18,700 valid signatures to place legalization on the November ballot this year, well in excess of the 13,452 signatures required by law. If enacted, the measure would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults 21 and older, while also creating a new class of non-felony crimes for those under the age of 21. Marijuana paraphernalia would be legalized and those with prior marijuana convictions for offenses made legal by the referendum would have those records expunged.
On Thursday, the New York State Department of Health approved an emergency rule allowing marijuana to be prescribed in place of opioids. The new rule is the first of its kind in the nation and is intended to help combat the opioid abuse epidemic.