New York cannabis entrepreneurs defy cease and desist orders, Costa Rica passes new medical cannabis legislation, and a Massachusetts man is in “life threatening” condition after an extraction gone wrong.
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.
Michigan: Dried Flower Now Available For Medical Cannabis Patients
As of March 1, 2022, those with medical cannabis cards can now apply to obtain cannabis flower for their treatment.
Though medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 2014, options have previously been limited to a “liquid, pill, or vaporized delivery method” that does not require using dried leaves or plant material.
Both patients and lawmakers are hopeful the change will drive down prices for those eligible. According to Chris Tholkes, director of the Minnesota office of medical cannabis, “The number one complaint we have heard from patients over the years is […] the price point. [Flower is] cheaper because it’s not concentrated like wax pens.”
Currently only two dispensaries in the state are licensed to sell dried flower; state lawmakers are expected to eye full recreational sales of cannabis in the coming years.
New York: Cannabis “Gift” Businesses Threatened With Cease and Desist Orders
As New York state officials continue to work on long-promised cannabis regulations, cannabis retailers exploiting a quasi-legal loophole in the system find themselves in a tough position – and some are unwilling to back down.
Cannabis legalization was passed in the state in 2021, but no licenses for retail sales have yet been issued. Local establishments have been skirting this law by offering cannabis “gifts” with the purchase of other goods; “People have come up with ideas that if they do a third party type transaction, like ‘I’ll buy a t-shirt for $400 and I’ll give you a free bag of cannabis with that.’ It’s a disguised transaction,” as per David Holland, co founder and president of the NYC Cannabis Industry Association.
Despite legal pressure some outlets remain certain the law is on their side, and they are taking steps to ensure their businesses stay open. One such organization, the NYC-based Empire Cannabis Club, claims that their profit comes from selling “membership fees” that allow members to enter the club and then freely select from a range of cannabis products at no additional charge.
The original cease and desist letters were sent on Tuesday, February 8 to over two dozen local businesses – since then, no arrests or forced closures have been made related to the announcements.
Costa Rica Passes Medical Marijuana Initiative
Costa Rican Congress members passed legislation on Tuesday that would legalize both medical marijuana and industrial hemp cultivation within the country. An earlier attempt had been vetoed by President Carlos Alvarado, who has been enthusiastic about the newer effort, calling it “of great benefit to Costa Rica.”
Though the bill will allow for medical marijuana use, cultivation and sale of cannabis for recreational purposes is still prohibited. President Alvarado is expected to sign the new bill into law within the first half of March.
Virginia: State GOP Leaders Block Recreational Sale Legislation
Despite passing a Democratic-controlled state senate, attempts to allow recreational sales of cannabis have been voted down by Republican lawmakers this week in Virginia.
Laws allowing state citizens to possess and grow cannabis were passed last year, but legislation to put a plan in place for licensing retail outlets to sell marijuana-related goods has fizzled out since, leaving cannabis in a situation not too dissimilar from New York, where state citizens are allowed to grow or gift marijuana to others, but not purchase over-the-counter.
Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) was quoted as saying “House Republicans missed an opportunity to crack down on the illicit market,” effectively blocking the issue for the remainder for 2022. Despite not advancing the framework legislation for cannabis sales, House Republicans did pass a bill which would make sales of other
Massachusetts: Man Injures Self After Causing Cannabis Extraction Explosion
An explosion in Pittsfield, Massachusetts has left one injured after an alleged illegal attempt to extract cannabis oil in an industrial area.
The explosion and injuries were not reported to authorities until notification came through via a report by the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System, a system requiring all major burn injuries to be reported to the state Fire Marshal.
Police and Fire Department investigators on the scene reported a “large number” of marijuana plants and melted plastic containers located within the building. Authorities are keeping the individual’s information private for the time being; his injuries are being reported as “life-threatening.”