The constant flow of cannabis news can be daunting and keeping current can be a hassle. For this reason, Respect My Region keeps an eye out on your behalf, providing a weekly roundup of significant happenings in the world of cannabis and cannabis legislation.
This week, our continued cannabis coverage focuses on Alaska’s first dispensary with onsite consumption, a reprise of Biden’s bud blunder, hemp’s tanking selling price, and comprehensive coverage of state-level cannabis legalization news.
Alaska Approves First Dispensaries For Onsite Consumption
In early 2019, Alaska made waves when it put legal rules in place to allow for onsite cannabis consumption at dispensaries across The Last Frontier. While certain cities across the country have issued such permissions, Alaska is the first state to implement them statewide. Now, almost a year later, Alaska is beginning to give dispensaries the green light.
Dispensaries will have to abide by specific guidelines in order to qualify for onsite consumption. Such guidelines include a consumption area completely separated from the store, employee monitoring of onsite consumption, and forbidding the use of outside product.
Biden Doubles Down On Previous Claims Of Calling Cannabis A “Gateway Drug”
Back in November of 2019, presidential candidate Joe Biden came under fire for referring to cannabis as a potential gateway drug. Biden chose to back down from that term in the following weeks. However, an editorial interview in The New York Times shows that Biden’s sentiments remain largely the same. When asked why his views on cannabis were wildly more moderate than those of his presidential candidate opponents, Biden said “because science matters.”
He went on to outline a vague concern surrounding the effects of cannabis use accopmanying the use of other drugs. “What I’m arguing is there have been studies showing that it complicates other problems if you already have a problem with certain drugs.” Exactly what these “problems” were, Biden neglected to say.
Hemp’s Buying Price Tanks In Light Of Insufficient Demand For CBD
Following hemp’s legalization following the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, popular belief has maintained that the industry would have nowhere to go but up. The potential for CBD’s introduction into the United States marketplace excited traders, manufacturers, and consumers alike. However, it would seem that this level of excitement may have led to overzealous production of the plant.
According to Julie Lerner, a chief executive for the hemp industry’s first price provider, a surplus of hemp production in 2019 has caused its prices to drop dramatically. In July of 2019, hemp biomass was selling at a robust $40 per pound. However, following the 2019 hemp harvest, prices have plummeted to $10 per pound.
While overproduction played a role in the price drop, another contributing factor is a stale level of demand for CBD. Much of this lacking demand results from FDA regulation forbidding the use of CBD in beverages and dietary supplements. The potential market for CBD beverages is massive, with several apex beverage companies indicating their interest in utilizing the product. Until FDA regulations change, the demand for CBD will be missing a substantial source.
Continued Coverage Of State-Level Cannabis Legalization Developments
In past months, the spread of cannabis legislation progress throughout the United States has been at a fever pitch. New developments seem to surface on a daily basis, and several states are likely to implement recreational legalization in 2020. We’ve compiled a list of this week’s cannabis legislation news, allowing you to stay up to date.
As of now, Idaho has laws concerning cannabis that rank among the harshest in the country. Possession above three ounces is a felony, and convictions for selling cannabis can result in a decade prison sentence and $30,000 in fines. This makes it something of a surprise that Senator Grant Burgoyne of the Gem State has filed a bill to decriminalize drug possession. Burgoyne hopes for the bill’s passing to shift the state’s focus from punishment to treatment.
Of all the continued holdout states concerning cannabis legalization, New York has come as something of a surprise. Onlookers were shocked when New York failed to pass legislation in 2019. However, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo seems to have no intention to discontinue the legalization efforts. Cuomo announced that he will include recreational cannabis legalization in his 2020 budget proposal. While a similar effort failed last year, this time around benefits from a recent poll showing that nearly 60% of New York residents support legalizing recreational cannabis.
Of all the states looking at legalization in 2020, the Land of Enchantment has chances that are higher than most. Michelle Lujan Grisham, New Mexico’s governor, recently said that it was “high time” for the state to legalize cannabis. Gov. Grisham included legalization in her 2020 agenda, ahead of a 30-day legislative session that is currently underway. All indications seem to be that New Mexico will pass the legislation, and New Mexico will soon become the 12th state to legalize adult cannabis use.
Last year, cannabis legislation passed through multiple committess of Connecticut’s government. However, disagreements surrounding specifics of the legislation resulted in its failure to pass. This year, top government officials are saying that there is a high likelihood of meaningful legislature becoming law. While many legislators are calling for a votable ballot measure, this would delay legal sales until 2024. Connecticut’s governor, Ned Lamont, has stated that he finds this approach unacceptable. He intends to change state statutes directly, resulting in more immediate implementation.