New York officials begin crackdown on cannabis “gift giving” prior to retail licenses being distributed, South Africa looks to fast track cannabis legalization, and one place you won’t be seeing weed? The Super Bowl.
There can be a lot to keep track of when it comes to the fast-paced world of cannabis information and news. Our roundup has everything you might have missed from the last week and more.
New York: State Officials Begin Warning Against Cannabis “Gifting”
New York state officials are finally cracking down on the “gift giving” of cannabis that has sprouted up since recreational weed was legalized in the state. The practice, wherein “enterprising entrepreneurs” would sell items such as t-shirts, stickers, or other unrelated goods and include a marijuana “gift” with the purchase, sprung out of the delay the state has had in issuing licenses for sale.
This gift-giving practice went unchecked for several months prior to February 8th, when state officials from the Office of Cannabis Management sent letters to over two dozen stores, demanding that they cease giving away cannabis or “risk the opportunity to get a license in the legal market”, as well as facing fines and other possible charges.
Retail sales were slated to begin in 2021, but various delays have held the process – and licenses – back; there are no currently announced plans for when retail sale licenses will be distributed.
Colorado: New Legislation Would Block Employers From Firing Over Cannabis Use
A newly proposed piece of legislation would prevent Colorado employers from firing workers over cannabis use. In addition to personal/recreational use, HB22-1152 would further require businesses to allow employees to use medical marijuana on work premises during work hours if so directed by medical personnel.
The bill does face opposition from some, including the Colorado Mining Association, which says that “Mining […] is an inherently dangerous job,” and that the best way to to reduce harm is via a “zero-tolerance drug policy”. The bill, which is similar to a 2020 bill that failed to pass, will face its first hearing in the House soon.
Arizona: $1.9b Generated From Retail Cannabis Sales In 2021
Arizona has reported nearly $2b worth of sales generated from cannabis industries within the state.
The study, which looked solely at recreational and medical consumer sales, showed that marijuana bud itself was the most popular purchase, with over 46% of the total purchases made over the state – “Vapor pens” came in second, with 23.7% of the state’s retail sales.
Dispensaries Prepare For Super Bowl Rush
The Super Bowl is just around the corner, and cannabis retail outlets are gearing up for the big weekend.
A recent report shows cannabis sales spiked upward of 33% in February of 2021, with an additional 22% increase on the day before the big game – Before dropping a full 28% on Super Bowl Sunday itself, accounting for “the worst Sunday in all of February and March”.
California: Sheriff’s Department Legally Allowed To Seize Cannabis Funds
A San Bernardino Sheriff’s department has repeatedly used civil forfeiture to take legally-earned money from armored cars – And there seems to be no recompense in sight.
Eympyreal Logistics, a Pennsylvania-based organization, claims that over $1m in cash was seized over the course of three incidents in the area, with violations such as “premature activation of [a] turn signal” cited as reasons for the traffic stops.
Empyreal filed for a temporary restraining order against County Sheriff Shannon Dicus, arguing several violations in process and the seizure itself, but was denied in a ruling by a district judge, claiming the company did not meet the “high burden” required for a restraining order.
NFL Says “No” To Marijuana Advertising
If you’re looking for television ads about marijuana, don’t look to the Super Bowl.
Though the exact contents remain unknown, the NFL’s “restricted category” includes cannabis, meaning no advertisements for any weed-related products will be shown during the 2022 Super Bowl.
The Verge goes into detail about what types of products have – and haven’t – made it to the big game.
Israel: Justice Minister Announces Further Plans For Cannabis Decriminalization
Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar recently announced a proposed list of new legislation that would further decriminalize cannabis use within the country.
Recreational use of cannabis has been partially decriminalized since 2017, but new rules would remove the risk of prosecution for cannabis use “other than in exceptional cases”, limiting fines and removing the current “four strikes” policy.
South Africa: President Promises “Fast Tracking” For Cannabis Regulations
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the government will seek to fast-track cannabis regulations in the area. President Ramaphosa was quoted as saying “We are going to fast-track policy and regulations for the use of cannabis for medicinal use, especially in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.”
The “Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill” would eliminate most restrictions on private, personal cannabis use; the legislation was introduced to parliament in September of 2020 and is still seeking final approval.