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Our marijuana news recap for December 2020 covers the top cannabis industry stories of the month. As 2020 comes to a close, 2021 is set to see even more fast growth for cannabis businesses and employment. Let’s take a close look at how these stories will shape the marijuana industry at the start of the new year.
Minnesota Adds 2 MMJ Qualifying Conditions
State lawmakers are planning to add 2 qualifying conditions to the medical cannabis program. The state’s list of conditions will soon reach 17. The state health department announced that sickle cell disease and chronic vocal or motor tic disorder will be added effective August 2021.
Minnesota’s current list includes Tourette syndrome, which is characterized by motor and vocal tics. Now, patients can have either condition to get a medical cannabis prescription. Patient enrollment for these conditions will start in July 2021.
European Commission Declares CBD Is Not A Drug
The European Commission has revised its stance that CBD should be considered a narcotic. Now, the commission declares that hemp-derived CBD should not be classified as a drug. This means CBD now qualifies as a food. The change now opens up the door for innovative CBD food products across Europe.
Arizona Cities Restrict Recreational Cannabis Activity
Arizona voted for adult-use cannabis in the November election, but two big cities were planning to opt-out of the program. The cities of Chandler and Mesa planned to join the city of GIlbert to keep cannabis out of its jurisdiction.
Mesa’s city council voted to only allow medical cannabis dispensaries to sell recreational cannabis. Delivery is prohibited unless it’s from a licensed medical dispensary in the state. The city banned testing facilities.
Chandler’s city council voted to tentatively approve an ordinance in the regulation of adult-use cannabis. The ordinance allows the city to ban the consumption of cannabis on city property. It also prohibits retail sales and testing facilities.
Mexican Congress Delays Cannabis Legalization Bill
Over the next few years, Mexico is set to become the third country in the world to legalize recreational cannabis use. At the moment, the country’s legalization bill is being debated in the lower house of Congress. At the start of the month, however, legislators decided to delay debating the bill until the next legislative period, starting in February 2021.
Originally, Congress was expected to vote on the bill by December 15 based on a Supreme Court mandate. The court has extended the deadline twice over the course of more than a year. The lower house is working on substantial modifications to the bill. Once finalized, the bill goes back to the Senate for a vote and then presidential approval.
Mississippi and South Dakota Fights For Their Cannabis Programs
On the November ballot, South Dakota residents approved Constitutional Amendment A, allowing adult-use cannabis sales. A month after, a lawsuit was filed to overturn the adult-use amendment with support by Governor Kristi Noem.
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The state Attorney General's office argued against the motion and asked the judge to dismiss the case. The defendants argue that the lawsuit does not hurt the state. In addition, they are arguing that the lawsuit was filed too late.
Shortly before the November election, the mayor of Madison, Mississippi sued the state over its medical cannabis measure. Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler argued that Initiative 65 would prevent cities from regulating where cannabis businesses are located.
The state’s health department and municipal league support Butler’s lawsuit. The health department argues the initiative is too wide-ranging for them to create its regulations in less than 7 months.
The state’s attorney general and Secretary of State, both Republicans are actively fighting against the legal challenge. Mayor Butler’s updated lawsuit now claims the bill is not legitimate due to a technicality.
New Jersey Moves Forward With Cannabis Legalization Bill
In early December, state lawmakers passed a couple of bills to decriminalize cannabis possession and regulate a licensed industry. Recently, Governor Phil Murphy asked lawmakers to include provisions that would fine individuals under the age of 21 who possess and use cannabis.
Under these proposed provisions, individuals under the age of 21 caught with up to 1 oz of cannabis would receive a $250 fine. Possession of 1-6 oz of cannabis would carry up to a $500 fine. The fines would not come with an arrest.
Since election day, lawmakers have struggled to come to a compromise on certain provisions in the bill including social justice, cultivation, and employer’s rights. The governor’s refusal to sign the bill means the state won’t meet its January 1 deadline.
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Edibles Go On Sale In Missouri
On the last days of December, Missouri’s dispensaries began selling the first edible products in the state. The state’s medical program launched in October 2020, but shops have only been selling cannabis flower.
Clovr, the first state-approved manufacturer, started production earlier in the month of a range of products including beverages, gummies, vape pens, extracts, and pre-rolled joints. After a day of sales, the edibles were entirely gone, which shows the feverish demand.
To stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments, follow Cannabis Training University’s blog.