Keep Up With Cannabis Laws: Vets Get Free MMJ Cards, New Yorkers Say Weed Safer Than Booze & More

As the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference returns to Miami (April 11-12) bringing together top CEOs, investors, leaders, advocates and politicians, let's scroll through the latest regulatory changes in the space.

Arizona Veterans To Get Free Medical Marijuana Cards Thanks To Senate Approval

A measure seeking to slash the cost of a medicinal cannabis card to $50, as opposed to the current $150, both first-time patients and those renewing the card payment was passed by Arizona Senate members last week.

Under Senate Bill 1466, veterans could become card holders for free, reported AZ Marijuana. The legislation also added PTSD and autism to the list of conditions to qualify for a medical marijuana (MMJ) card. The next stop for the bill is in the House of Representatives.

Ann Torrez, executive director of the Arizona Dispensaries Association said that allowing veterans access MMJ is an important step.

"We felt it was really important to provide the veterans in the state access to medical marijuana as they see needed," she said. "And, in addition to that, with the change in medical conditions to include post-traumatic stress disorder, we just thought that this now is the right time to make sure that the access becomes even more available."

Medical cannabis has been legal in Arizona since 2010; recreational use became legal in 2021 after a ballot initiative was passed in 2020. In February, Arizona broke a marijuana sales record as residents spent more than $1.4 billion on weed during the first year of sales.

New York Survey Finds Marijuana Safer Than Alcohol

Meanwhile, New Yorkers seem to be embracing cannabis as well. According to a recently published annual chronic disease survey by the NY Department of Health, more New Yorkers consider alcohol consumption to be a more severe health problem than marijuana use, reported Marijuana Moment.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said alcohol use is a somewhat or very serious public health concern, while only 46 percent feel the same about cannabis. The survey was conducted from January 3-20, 2022.

"This data will help the Department know where to best target our efforts and what issues matter most to people living in New York State," NY Health Commissioner James McDonald said.

Georgia House Passes Measure To Solve Medical Marijuana Gridlock

Georgia lawmakers passed a bill seeking to expand the production of medical cannabis by allowing a total of 15 cannabis production licenses in the state in addition to increasing transparency. The measure also puts an end to lawsuits that delayed the issuance of additional medical cannabis production licenses.

House Bill 196 from Rep. Alan Powell R-Hartwell was approved by the House members in a 170-2 vote on Monday, reported Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The General Assembly first legalized medical cannabis oil use in 2015. However, it took some four years for lawmakers to pass legislation allowing commercial businesses to cultivate cannabis indoors and sell the product at their dispensaries.

Under that law, the state commission issued six licenses to two winning bidders, including two Class 1 licenses awarded to Botanical Sciences LLC and Trulieve Cannabis Corp. TRUL TCNNF and four Class 2 which have not been awarded to date due to the ongoing court cases.

"Let's fix the system," Powell said. "Let's get it moving and go forward." The next stop for the bill is the state Senate.

Arkansas Senate Votes To Increase County Requirements for Ballot Measures, Here's How

GOP lawmakers in Arkansas are aiming to place more restrictions on the process required to put an initiative on the state ballot – a move that could delay regulatory changes in marijuana's status, reported GreenwichTime.

On Monday, the bill that would raise the number of counties that need to submit at least 50 signatures from registered voters was sent to governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders after passing the House last month.

"The purpose of this would be to ensure that we're getting representation from all across the state, not just large urban areas but rural counties as well, and having a lot of input into the process," Sen. Jim Dotson, a sponsor of the measure, told the Senate members before the vote.

Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

The most successful cannabis business event in the world, the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is being held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel in Florida on April 11-12.
This is the place where DEALS GET DONE, where money is raised, M&A start and companies meet investors and key partners  Don’t miss out.
Secure your tickets now before prices go up.

Photo: Courtesy of succo, mrkukuruznik5 by Pixabay

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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

Get your tickets now on – Prices will increase very soon!