Cannabis Regulatory Update: New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia,

New Mexico: Adult-Use Legalization Bill Fails To Pass, But May Reach A Special Session

Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of a motion to legalize cannabis in New Mexico.

The expected Senate floor vote, however, was postponed past the Saturday noon deadline and further passing to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

Governor spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett revealed Friday that Grisham would likely push for a special session of the legislature if the bill didn’t pass.

“The governor is prepared to call a special session to get cannabis done and done right,” Sackett wrote in an email. “It’s important enough and we’re close enough that the governor firmly believes it will be worth an extra effort.”

Emily Kaltenbach, Senior Director for Resident States and New Mexico for the Drug Policy Alliance, applauded Grisham "for acknowledging this cannot wait and indicating she will take up legalization in a special session.”

Kaltenbach further added that they are very pleased that the bill was crafted in a way that is “prioritizing racial justice and equity provisions, public health safeties, and medical cannabis patient protections in their legislation. It is clear why HB 12, out of many other pieces of legislation, was the cannabis legalization bill that made it the farthest this session.”

Per the report, a recreational cannabis market in New Mexico could yield $125 million in sales in its first full year. Adult-use sales would commence In April 2022, as per the latest version of the bill.

Mayor Candidate Andrew Yang Supports Psilocybin And Cannabis Legalization

U.S. Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang — now one of many NYC mayor candidates — revealed during a campaign forum that he favors psilocybin and cannabis legalization, writes Marijuana Moment.

Yang also backs ceasing the criminalization of people who use specific opioids, and explained that the war on drugs was actually a war on people.

“I’m for the total decriminalization of cannabis and marijuana, and we have to make sure that communities of color actually participate in the economic gains that are going to result from legalization,” he said. “I’m for the decriminalization of many of these prescription opiates that, frankly, the drug companies have generated billions of dollars of blood money from.”

Yang pointed out that many people start with prescription drugs only to move on to other forms of opiates, and “then we’re criminalizing that behavior even though it was induced by this corporate behemoth that made billions of dollars. To me this is not so much like a criminal activity problem as it is a public health problem.”

The candidate was also asked about his stance on decriminalization of all illegal substance, about which he said that the police “should not be pursuing people for possession” and added that he is “for legalization of psilocybin mushrooms,” and “open to the public policy impact of legalizing other substances.”

Rhode Island Governor Favors Cannabis Expungements

The governor of Rhode Island, Daniel McKee, revealed Friday he is in favor of cannabis expungements, even though he didn’t include this policy in his recent proposal, writes Marijuana Moment.

During an interview with WPRI-TV’s Newsmakers, the governor talked about his previous stance on legalization, which was opposing. McKee explained that “the landscape has changed”, further noting that other states, and some of those being in the neighborhood, have already legalized cannabis.

According to the outlet, the governor’s budget proposal for fiscal 2020 contained language legalizing recreational cannabis, and it was released just a few days after legislative leaders presented their bill to regulate cannabis taxation and sales.

With his proposal not having an expungement policy, McKee said he supports an expungement proposal from Rep. Anastasia Williams and highlighted that it’s “one of the equity pieces” for cannabis reform, writes Marijuana Moment.

“Either way is fine with me,” he said. “I mean, I think that they just need a path towards that if in fact it’s no longer a crime today than it was then—that shouldn’t be part of their record.”

McKee proposes that 25 marijuana retailers get licensed each year for the first three years of implementation on a lottery basis, and five of those businesses will be minority-owned. Sales would be scheduled to commence in 2022.

Virginia Governor Northam Signs Botanical Medical Cannabis Bills

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam approved legislation House Bill 2218 and Senate Bill 1333 to enable the manufacturing and dispensing of botanical cannabis products, reports NORML.

This measure is supposed to take effect on July 1st, with products expected to be accessible in September.

Currently, licensed growers in Virginia must process cannabis into non-herbal formulations, like tinctures and oils, and with the new measure legal products would also count those crafted from either “cannabis oil or botanical cannabis,” writes the outlet.

“Botanical cannabis remains the most popular formulation among consumers and among older consumers in particular,” Jenn Michelle Pedini, Executive Director for Virginia NORML, said. “Limiting patients’ options to extracted oral formulations is not in their best interests. Botanical cannabis contains more than 100 distinct cannabinoids, many of which act synergistically with one another, producing an effect many scientists believe is necessary in order for patients to achieve maximum therapeutic benefit.”

Governor Northam — a pediatric neurologist by occupation — also signed an operational improvements bill, House Bill 1988, to secure medical cannabis access to hospitalized patients.

Another proposal for the legalization of cannabis possession by adults and licensing its retail sale is yet to be approved or denied by the governor, who many times openly shared his support for the legislation, reports NORML.

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