Last week in cannabis news, Vermont announced a new task force to study legalization a few months after the governor vetoed a measure to legalize possession of small amounts. In Nevada, the distribution issue becomes less confusing. Find out about this and more in our weekly marijuana legislative roundup.
Governor Phil Scott announced last week that he was creating a commission to study recreational marijuana legalization. The commission will research the impacts of legalization in states such as Washington and Colorado, and make recommendations to the legislature.
Governor Scott vetoed a legalization measure passed by the legislature in June, citing public health and safety concerns. The bill would have allowed adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow up to six plants at home, and formed a commission tasked with producing a regulatory blueprint for recreational cannabis production and retail. Recreational marijuana sales are set to begin in neighboring Maine and Massachusetts next year.
On Monday, Governor Kate Brown released a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which Sessions expresses serious concern over the effectiveness of Oregon’s recreational marijuana regulation. The letter draws on an Oregon State Police report, which listed illegal cannabis trafficking, an increase in emergency room visits, and “pervasive illicit cannabis cultivation in the state” as major law enforcement concerns.
Related Story: Just How Harmful Is Jeff Sessions To Cannabis Legalization?
Sessions’ letter to the Oregon governor follows the release of similar letters addressed to the governors of Washington and Colorado the prior week, leading to mounting fears that the Justice Department is preparing a crackdown on states where recreational marijuana has been legalized. Sessions has expressed grave doubts over ability of states to abide by the conditions laid out in the Cole Memo, which was the foundation of the Obama administration’s largely hands-off approach to state legalization efforts.
On Thursday, the Nevada Department of Taxation voted to begin issuing cannabis distributor licenses to non-liquor wholesalers in order to meet overwhelming demand since the July 1 start of recreational sales. Under a provision of the ballot measure passed by voters in November, distributor licenses may only be granted to liquor wholesalers for the first 18 months.
Related Story: Las Vegas Marijuana Tour Buses Hit Legal Speed Bump
However, the Department determined earlier this year that insufficient interest existed among liquor wholesalers to meet demand, leading to a legal challenge by a group of wholesalers seeking to maintain their monopoly on distributor licenses.
After a Carson City judge sided with the liquor wholesalers, the state issued a set of emergency regulations to address the judge’s procedural concerns. The Department of Taxation will now begin reviewing about 80 applications it has received from cannabis dispensaries and other businesses seeking the right to transport marijuana from growers to retailers.