The wheels of cannabis legalization reform keep on turning but there continue to be a few bumps along the way. In Oregon, there is a temporary hold on new business licenses. Meanwhile, in two Midwest states, medical marijuana programs are being upgraded. Find out more in our weekly marijuana legislative roundup.
On Wednesday, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission announced that it will stop processing new applications for recreational cannabis business licenses until at least 2019 in order to work through a backlog of applications. The freeze, which takes effect June 15, is designed to address the state’s oversupply in recreational marijuana.
Oregon has for years experienced a glut in the legal cannabis market that has made it difficult for businesses, and in particular growers and distributors, to sell all of their product. According to law enforcement reports, this has resulted in the diversion of some recreational cannabis stock onto the black market and into neighboring states, raising the ire of the Department of Justice as well as local officials.
Related Story: Oregon To ‘Pause’ Acceptance of Marijuana Applications
On Thursday, the Illinois Senate passed legislation that would allow patients to consume medical marijuana in place of opioid painkillers. If enacted, SB0336 would create a pilot program under which patients could apply for authorization to use medical marijuana to treat any condition for which opioid drugs would otherwise be prescribed, and ease regulations on cannabis producers accordingly, through June 30, 2020.
The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature, where he has 60 days to either sign or veto the measure before it automatically becomes law. Gov. Bruce Rauner has consistently opposed cannabis reform measures, although it is possible that the depth of the opioid crisis may sway him to sign on to this particular bill.
On Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced a three-month extension to implement a recent medical marijuana reform measure. The extension will allow existing medical cannabis businesses to continue operating under prior rules until September 15. The original cutoff was July 15.