Friday, September 29, 2023

The Fresh Toast Marijuana Legislative Roundup: August 28

Last week in cannabis news, Nevada officials continue to wrangle over distribution. Meanwhile regulators in Alaska and Denver continue looking at the possibility of cannabis lounges. Find out about this and more in our weekly marijuana legislative roundup.   


On Monday, the Department of Taxation announced that it will not issue cannabis distribution licenses to any businesses other than liquor wholesalers until after it hears an administrative appeal from a group of wholesalers on August 29. A unique provision of Nevada’s marijuana legalization law gives exclusive rights to transport marijuana to liquor wholesalers. However, the Department of Taxation decided earlier this year that there was insufficient interest among liquor wholesalers to meet demand for recreational cannabis. After a lengthy judicial process that threatened supplies for Nevada’s booming marijuana industry, a Carson City judge ruled the prior week that the Department could proceed in offering distributor licenses to non-liquor wholesalers in order to meet demand. However, the Department of Taxation has agreed to delay issuing licenses until the formal appeal is heard. Supply shortages have led to an estimated 20-30 percent decline in marijuana sales since the initial boom following the July 1 start of recreational sales.   


Last week, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board began accepting public comment on a draft regulatory proposal to allow adults to consume marijuana at licensed facilities. The draft rules would allow marijuana businesses to operate lounges at which the plant could be consumed, but not purchased or sold. Municipalities would be able to protest the granting of a license to any applicant within their jurisdiction. Cannabis retailers and the City of Anchorage have been advocating such a measure to allow tourists to consume marijuana without fear of legal repercussions. The public comment period closes on October 27.  


Last week, Denver regulators began accepting applications from businesses seeking to allow public marijuana consumption on their premises. Last November, voters approved a measure to allow certain businesses to operate marijuana lounges, where cannabis could be consumed but not sold. Implementation was delayed due to the state legislature’s passage of a bill banning marijuana consumption on the premises of businesses with a liquor license. The four-year pilot program will be the first of its kind in the nation, though it will be restricted to coffee shops, yoga studios, and certain other businesses.  


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