Pot Prohibition Leads To Misconceptions, Clean Slate For Arizonians With Convictions And More Regs

New Hampshire Lawmakers Will Again Consider Marijuana Legalization 

House members will tackle the issue of recreational cannabis later this year after the chamber's Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee took no action on a new amendment from Chairman John Hunt (R) at a meeting on Tuesday, reported Marijuana Moment.

Policymakers are expected to consider legislation under which the state Liquor Commission would operate adult-use marijuana shops statewide this fall to have it ready for a possible floor action in 2024. It would also permit adults to possess a maximum of 4 ounces (113.4 grams) of marijuana or 20 grams of concentrated cannabis products, such as hashish and vape cartridges.

Hunt suggested that members should consider adding an amended change to the bill, which provides a combined sales approach, thereby surmounting the conflicting language that resulted in the recent effort's failure.

In early May, Senate members voted against a House-approved marijuana legalization measure from a bipartisan duo, Majority Leader Jason Osborne (R) and Minority Leader Matthew Wilhelm (D). Governor Chris Sununu said that legislation was not offering the right path for the state, as among many other proposals, it was imposing a 12.5% tax on final products sold to retailers.

Instead, he proposed a new path toward regulating marijuana that includes avoiding "marijuana miles," or cannabis stores densely concentrated within one city or town, prohibiting marketing, allowing towns to opt out and maintaining the industry tax-free.

Clean Slate For Arizonians With Marijuana Conviction, Judge Rules

In Arizona, those with prior convictions and arrests for the sale of marijuana are now eligible for expungement under Proposition 207, following the Arizona Court of Appeals' ruling, reported AZCentral.

In State v. Sorensen, Appeals Court Presiding Judge Brian Furuya concluded that Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) stipulates that "sale-related marijuana offenses" and marijuana convictions are eligible for expungement. With the move, Judge Furuya overruled the lower court's denial of the petition for expungement that was submitted by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office (MCAO) on behalf of the litigant.

Arizonians voted "yes" for recreational cannabis in 2020, allowing people 21 and over to possess and use recreational marijuana as well as expunge marijuana offenses.

Activist Wants Protection Of Local Weed Companies As MSOs Try To Dominate Market

A Connecticut medical pot patient, advocate and volunteer lobbyist warned that the nascent recreational marijuana industry is in danger of being taken over by multi-state cannabis operators swooping in to dominate and exclude local businesses.

Louis Rinaldi told Green Market Report that multi-state cannabis operators like Acreage Holdings, Inc. ACRHF, Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. CURLF, Green Thumb Industries Inc. GTBIF and Verano Holdings Corp. VRNOF have put in motion "equity joint ventures" statewide allowing them a 50% license discount if they team up with a qualified social equity applicant.

The Connecticut Social Equity Council, Rinaldi said, has been "essentially co-opted by the Connecticut Chamber of Commerce as well as Acreage Holdings … and possibly others, other MSOs, to help advance their legislative agenda in the state." He added that "this agenda is in service to maintaining and maximizing market share, at the expense of local small business owners."

Connecticut's legal adult-use cannabis market launched in January. The first day of recreational cannabis sales was January 10.

Marijuana Prohibition Leads To Misconceptions, New Report Shows

According to a recent report by the data analytics company New Frontier Data, cannabis consumers continue to equate potency with quality and default to flower as their product of choice.

This is because of federal marijuana prohibition according to the report, "Cannabis Trends in 2023: Products, Consumers, and the Impact of Prohibition on the Industry." 

The report examined trends and how the history of prohibition continues to impact the industry as a whole.

Other highlights include:

  • Potency and effect continue to dominate product purchase decision-making in regulated markets.
  • States are funding technical assistance and education for equity applicants and businesses as they move away from fee waivers and early access to licensing offered in earlier programs.
  • Cannabis lounges are addressing inappropriate consumption, public health and safety concerns, and the needs of the emerging cannabis tourism market.
  • Hemp-derived cannabinoids like Delta-8 THC are most known and used in illicit markets due to the lack of access to natural, regulated cannabis products.

Photo: Courtesy of Sharon McCutcheo and cottonbro by Pexels

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