MMJ Dispensaries In Alabama, Cannabis In Ohio & Poland, Texas Decrim Debate, MI's Weed Testing Labs

Concern Over Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Mobile, AL

Officials in Mobile said they will support an ordinance that would allow the opening of a medical marijuana dispensary.

However, Mobile City Councilman Scott Jones believes the program, backed by Alabama state lawmakers in 2021, would mark the beginning of recreational marijuana legalization while increasing crime.

Following a meeting of the Public Services Committee, Jones admitted he doesn't have the votes to stop the council from approving the ordinance that would bring a medical marijuana dispensary to the city.

He further noted that the goal of the committee meeting was to provide input into a system that will make Mobile less secure while increasing the income of those invested in the state's emerging industry. “I’d like to have an honest discussion and debate,” Jones added.

His argument lies in the fact that not enough information has been provided on how the industry will be overseen once the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission,  launches the program.

Alabama became the 36th out of 37 states to legalize medical cannabis after the state legislature approved the measure and Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law in 2021. 

Jones said he anticipates the council voting on the ordinance on December 13.

Poland’s Medical Cannabis & Hemp Industry Could Bloom Next Year

If Germany or Czechia manage to launch into the emerging adult-use cannabis market by 2024, Poland would share a collective 800-mile border with legal cannabis nations.

However, while Poland is believed to have little chance of pushing through any legislation for cannabis legalization, the country already has one of Europe’s largest medical cannabis markets, and earlier this year made legislative changes set to ‘have a significant impact on the development of its cannabis market, reported the Business Cann.

Background: Cannabis for medicinal use was legalized in Poland in 2017 as a pharmaceutical raw material. However, an initial ban on the domestic cultivation of medical cannabis made Poland dependent on imports.

According to Prohibition Partners' latest European Cannabis Report, in the first nine months of 2021, doctors in Poland issued 28,076 prescriptions to 9,261 patients, making Poland one of the largest medical cannabis markets in Europe.

In August, Tilray Brands, Inc.'s TLRY Tilray Medical received approval to commercialize its branded medical cannabis products in Poland expanding its product offering and distribution across pharmacies in Europe.

Texan Cities Against Marijuana Decriminalization

Texas officials moved to overturn or undermine the local cannabis decriminalization ordinance that voters overwhelmingly approved on November 8th's ballot.

Although five cities in the state approved decriminalization ballot measures in the midterms, city councils and officials in at least three towns face criticism from advocates for their attempts to undermine the reforms, reported Marijuana Moment.

In Harker Heights, for example, the city council voted last week to repeal the ordinance entirely.

The campaign that spearheaded decriminalization ordinances, Ground Game Texas, plans to collect signatures for another local referendum to be presented to voters during the upcoming Harker Heights election that would effectively repeal the repeal.

Meanwhile, local officials in Denton challenged key provisions, saying the city is not authorized to order police to make policy changes.

Killeen City Council decided to pause implementation of the ordinance arguing that there are legal concerns lawmakers need to resolve before potentially passing it.

A responsive action: Since the Harker Heights City Council has already passed a resolution to repeal the ordinance, there is a particular urgency for advocates to take response action, which is shaping up to be a secondary referendum for the May 2023 ballot.

“Everything is in the city charter,” said Louie Minor, Bell County's commissioner-elect who worked on the Harker Heights and Killeen cannabis decriminalization campaigns. “A referendum would mean going out and getting signatures. We have a very short time period, though." 

A May 2022 poll conducted by The Dallas Morning News and University of Texas at Tyler found that 60% of respondents supported adult use legalization with 83% favoring medical use. Forty-two percent of Republicans identified supported adult use.

Finally, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said that he doesn’t believe people should be incarcerated over low-level marijuana possession. “Marijuana is now a Class C misdemeanor in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. Currently, in Texas, A Class C misdemeanor is punishable by a fine without jail time.

Marijuana Testing Lab in Michigan

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) questioned whether the THC potency results on the label are accurate, at least when Viridis Laboratories has provided the results.

What Happened: In November 2021, Michigan regulators issued a recall of marijuana products, impacting nearly 70% of the state's on-shelf cannabis products sold at more than 400 stores, the marijuana testing facility at the center of the debacle filed a lawsuit against the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA). According to the lawsuit, the recall resulted in an estimated $229 million disruption in the industry.

Moreover, the MRA reported having detected "inaccurate and/or unreliable results" of all products - excluding inhalable concentrate products, such as live resin, distillate, or vape carts - tested by Viridis Laboratories between Aug. 10 and Nov. 16, 2021.

Marijuana Potency Controversy: Some questions may be resolved when attorneys for the CRA and Viridis next meet in court. The parties were scheduled to appear for hearings at 9 a.m. on Nov. 29 and 30 though were canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date, reported a local news outlet.

However, Viridis recently announced its potency testing method received “certification” from the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) Research Institute. Additionally, Viridis said its labs are accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation.

Adult-Use Cannabis In Ohio

Supporters of a recreational marijuana legalization proposal in Ohio aim to submit the statute to voters in November 2023.

In the recent midterms, residents of five Ohio cities voted for and approved local cannabis decriminalization measures, joining 20 other jurisdictions that have already done the same.

As MSN reported, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CTRMLA), made up of marijuana business owners, issued a bill to legalize marijuana in April. The group raised $212,500 in the first half of 2022 and last year $1.3 million.

The campaign initially tried to get on ballots in November but delayed the campaign after a lawsuit and settlement with the state.

Research from Ohio State University revealed that recreational cannabis in Ohio could generate up to $375 million in annual tax revenue. Also, researchers estimated that Buckeye State could earn somewhere between $276 million to $375 million by the fifth year of operation.

Meanwhile, the General Assembly may pass a bill by the end of the current year that would allow marijuana to be used for any condition “that the patient’s symptoms may reasonably be expected to be relieved from medical marijuana.” However, patients have expressed frustration over the program’s limitations.

Get your daily dose of cannabis news on Benzinga Cannabis. Don’t miss out on any important developments in the industry.

Photo: Courtesy Of Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

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