Montana dispensaries see boom over first weekend of recreational sales, Montreal looks to require vaccination passports at marijuana dispensaries, and an attempt to answer the question of why America can’t just legalize weed already.
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.
Montana: First Weekend of Recreational Sales Earns Over $1.5m
Montana opened the doors to recreational cannabis sales on Jan. 1st, 2022 and are already reporting big numbers.
Many dispensary store owners reported much larger crowds than normal at what were previously medicinal-only shops, and over $1.5m in confirmed sales were registered on opening weekend alone – With a 20% state sales tax rate on recreational cannabis, that equals $300k+ in state revenue generated over the two day period, likely leaving state lawmakers very happy.
Curaleaf Settles Several Lawsuits Over THC-Tainted CBD Products
Curaleaf, one of the nation’s largest cannabis-related companies, has agreed to settle several lawsuits in Oregon, where the company sold CBD tinctures accidentally tainted with copious amounts of THC.
At least ten cases have been settled so far – one to the tune of a $50k payout – but several others still remain, including a wrongful death suit brought about after an Oregon man passed away after taking the mislabeled drops (worth noting, said individual passed away several weeks post-consumption, and was also infected with COVID-19 at the time of death).
State regulators have begun an investigation into the incident, and say they are nearing the conclusion of their research.
Louisiana: Citizens Experience Sticker Shock Over Newly Legal Flower Sales
Louisiana finally added the ability for medical marijuana patients to purchase raw, smokable cannabis flower as of the new year, but many residents found themselves experiencing sticker shock at the checkout counter.
Reports show prices varying through-out the state, with areas such as Lake Charles charging $35 per 1/8th while the same amount cost $80 in New Orleans; one location, area not disclosed, reportedly offered a base price of $440 per ounce.
A local citizen, comparing the price of store-purchased cannabis to marijuana available on the street, was quoted as saying “I feel like we were lied to.”
Texas: Beto O’Rourke Reaffirms Support For Legalization
Ahead of a gubernatorial run, Beto O’Rourke (D) reiterated his cannabis support in Texas at a recent Austin rally.
O’Rourke has been a vocal supporter of marijuana legalization since 2009, and has been an integral part of several (ultimately unsuccessful) attempts at decriminalization, legalization, medical access, and social justice reform; the former state representative is challenging incumbent Governor Greg Abbott (R) in the 2022 Texas state elections.
Rep. Nancy Mace Urges Republican Colleagues To Support Cannabis Reform
Representative Nancy Mace (R, S.C.) recently penned an op/ed letter to the Wall Street Journal, strongly urging Republican colleagues to join in supporting her “States Reform Act”.
The proposed SRA legislation seeks to regulate cannabis similarly to existing substances such as alcohol or tobacco, allowing for interstate trade while respecting state-based regulations.
New Hampshire House Passes Cannabis Decriminalization Yet Again
New Hampshire keeps trying to legalize cannabis use but can’t quite seem to get it across the finish line. State House Representatives recently passed legislation decriminalizing personal possession amounts of cannabis to the state Senate; problem is, this isn’t the first time.
Both in 2019 and 2020 the House passed bills that attempted some fashion of legalization only to have them shot down in the state Senate – This bill is also set to face staunch opposition, as Governor Chris Sununu (R) has gone on the record as an opponent of cannabis reform.
UK: London Mayor Moves to Decriminalize Personal Drug Possession For Youths
In the UK, London citizens under the age of 25 caught with small amounts of certain substances will be offered counseling instead of an arrest.
News outlet The Telegraph reports that Mayor Sadiq Kahn is preparing to unveil plans to extend amnesty to those caught in certain London boroughs with “personal use” amounts of drugs including cannabis, speed, and ketamine.
Mayor Kahn is likely to face tough opposition from current UK government leadership, who have recently released a top-level strategy promising to “crack down on recreational drug use and ensure those who break the law face consequences” and to “name and shame” middle-class drug users.
Ireland: Prosecution For Cannabis Down Over Previous Year
Meanwhile, reports from Ireland show prosecution for personal use amounts of cannabis have dropped by roughly half after decriminalization efforts take hold.
“Personal possession” allowances were added to Ireland’s Adult Cautioning Scheme, essentially allowing law enforcement to decide case-by-case whether a citizen deserves prosecution or a citation.
Mexico: Oaxacan Populations Turning To Cannabis Over Corn
Indigenous populations in Oaxaca, Mexico are looking to replace corn crops with cannabis fields as the Mexican national government moves toward legalization.
Ten communities in the area have begun the process of obtaining growing permits for cannabis and hemp production, following a 2021 Mexican Supreme Court decision easing requirements for those looking to grow medical marijuana.
The Oaxacan region has long been known as a hub for drug-trafficking and cartel related activities; local residents hope this will both generate local job opportunities and end the stigma tying cannabis use to violent crime in the region.
Canada: Montreal Government Potentially Requiring Vaccination Passport At Dispensaries
In Montreal, QC, the provincial government is looking to expand it’s vaccination passport requirements to include liquor and cannabis stores.
Though no official word has yet to come down from the Quebec government, leaders have affirmed they are looking into the measure as a way to stop the spread of the aggressive Omicron variant of COVID-19.
“Legalizing Marijuana Would Be Rare Bipartisan Win for Congress, So What’s the Holdup?” (Op/Ed)
In an op/ed piece Newsweek asks the above and… yeah, we think that’s a great question.
Unfortunately after reading the article we’re still not sure what the answer is; if you can figure this mystery out, feel free to let us know (also maybe contact your local congressional representative while you’re at it and clue them in too).
Florida: 100lbs+ of Marijuana Confiscated Near Jacksonville Airport
And finally: Over 100lbs of cannabis were found crammed inside half a dozen suitcases seized during a routine traffic violation stop in Jacksonville, Florida.
Florida Highway Patrol pulled over the vehicle in question near the Jacksonville International Airport, due to window tinting that appeared outside of the legal limitations – Inside the trooper discovered three men, a “strong odor of cannabis”, and 108 vacuum-sealed bags filled with weed.
Notably troopers said there were baggage claim tickets connected to the luggage, meaning these buds had just gotten done flying the friendly skies, likely from somewhere along the west coast.
Investigators say there is a large demand for high-quality, imported cannabis in the area, claiming it is “more potent and provides a more intense high”; local sources estimate that the cannabis would have been worth roughly $250k if sold on the street.