Cannabis Regulatory Update: Delaware's Marijuana Legalization Bill, NY Approves More Cultivator Licenses, New Hampshire

Delaware House Green Lights Marijuana Legalization Bill, Next Stop - Senate

The Delaware House of Representatives gave the green light to a bill to legalize cannabis possession and sharing between adults, reported Marijuana Moment.

Sponsored by Rep. Ed Osienski's (D), the measure was approved in a 26-14 vote. The pair of complementary bills to legalize marijuana and set up regulations for cannabis commerce were previously passed in separate House committees.

Osienski is taking a two-track approach to reform after a comprehensive bill that would have accomplished both goals was killed after failing to receive the required three-fifths supermajority vote on the floor last month.

"This bill ends over 50 years of prohibition and criminalization in Delaware and allows adults over the age of 21 to legally possess, consume and freely share under one ounce of marijuana for personal use," Osienski said before the vote.

The basic legalization measure HB 371, which requires a simple majority to pass, which would allow adults 21 and older to possess and share up to an ounce of cannabis,  passed the House Health & Human Development Committee earlier.

The other bill, HB 372, would set up a specific regulatory framework for the recreational cannabis market.

New York Announces Second Batch Of Applications For Rec Marijuana Growers

Last month New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Cannabis Control Board has approved 52 adult-use Cannabis Conditional Cultivator Licenses across the state.

These were the first adult-use cannabis licenses granted in the Empire State.

On Thursday, New York regulators approved an additional 36 cultivator licenses for existing hemp businesses as part of the state's seeding opportunity initiative, Marijuana Moment writes.

By granting the adult-use cannabis licenses in New York, the regulators are essentially allowing hemp growers to supply the state's adult-use cannabis industry, which is slated to launch later in 2022. 

In March, the state's Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced it would give approximately the first 100 operator licenses to drug war victims and their families. They join existing select hemp farmers and the state's ten medical LPs receiving first-wave access.

The policy is part of a concerted effort to assure that early business owners in New York's projected billion-dollar marijuana industry will be members of communities that have been affected by the nation's decades-long war on drugs.

"Through the seeding opportunity initiative, these farmers are cultivating the first products that will be sold in dispensaries owned by justice-involved New Yorkers by the end of the year," OCM executive director Chris Alexander said. "I think we have another 100 or so [cultivator licenses] that will come along the pipeline."

New Hampshire Lawmakers Are Not Giving Up On Marijuana Legalization

Despite last week's debacle in the Senate, when two House-passed bills that would have legalized marijuana were struck down, lawmakers intend to continue to push forward.

Noncommercial legislation from Rep. Carol McGuire (R) was defeated in a 9-15 vote following a heated discussion on an amendment that would have removed the home-grow option and added a per se THC limit for impaired driving.

The other legislation - from Rep. Daryl Abbas (R) - that would have set up an adult-use market run by the state's Liquor Commission was also defeated by the chamber's members on a voice vote.

Now, the House wants to give the chamber "another chance" to review the policy change, reported Marijuana Moment.

Despite being skeptical on the issue, cannabis advocates support the plan of putting additional pressure on the Senate to hold members accountable.

On Wednesday, the House advanced the amendment to attach the text of cannabis bill HB 629 to SB 299 - a bill related to criminal justice reform that had already moved through Senate. The body then approved the amended bill on a voice vote.

"Frankly, if you're like me and you're tired of hearing about cannabis bills, let's send this one more time and be done with it," Rep. Terry Roy (R) said on the floor on Wednesday.

"This term, all of us on both sides have put a lot of work into bills and where we convinced the majority of 400 people [in the House] to pass a bill only to have it die for no apparent reason [in the Senate]," Roy said. "So we're going to send it again to give them another chance. This bill passed by two to one majority in this House."

Photo: Courtesy of Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

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