Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
This week, we find many people would like to get into the cannabis business in New York. Legal sales begin in Vermont. Marijuana legalization is popular in Kentucky. And finally, the police are throwing a pot party in Maryland.
President Biden announced yesterday that he will pardon all person in federal prison for simple marijuana possession. In addition, he is calling on all state governors to do the same for those in state or local facilities. Finally, he is calling on the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to reschedule cannabis.
If you’ve applied for a license to run a cannabis business in New York, you’ve got a lot of competition. The state’s Office of Cannabis Management recently closed its application period, and over 900 businesses have applied for a license. These companies are run by people who have a marijuana conviction or whose direct family members have marijuana convictions.
Adult-use cannabis has been legal in Vermont since 2018, and medical cannabis was first allowed in 2004. Now, you can buy and sell cannabis in the Green Mountain State. Alone among states where marijuana is legal, Vermont had no regulated market. (DC is another story.) Now, Middlebury, Rutland and Burlington have dispensaries up and running.
Views on marijuana differ in the state of Kentucky. Governor Andy Beshear (D) supports legalizing medical cannabis in his state. The legislature, however, not so much. And we’re all familiar with U.S. Senator McConnell’s views on hemp’s “illicit cousin.” A bill made it through the House, but got nowhere in the Senate. This prompted the governor to consider issuing an executive order to legalize. Part of his plan is gathering public opinion on the topic. According to the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee, the majority of people they asked supported the measure. The governor also signed a law establishing a cannabis research center at the University of Kentucky.
If the polls are correct, adult-use marijuana is coming to Maryland. The ballot initiative enjoys strong support in the state, and the legislature is already working a framework for the industry, as we reported back in August. This has prompted the police force in Montgomery County (the largest county in the state) to educate themselves and the local community on how to spot impaired drivers. They invited local cannabis users to come to a police station and get high, in the interests of public safety. Said one participant,
Honestly, just for the opportunity to smoke in front of the cops without anything happening to me. It’s a little strange, but I’m also used to doing strange things because I’m a strange person.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!