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As 2021 comes to an end, the cannabis industry continues its growth and has a promising future in 2022. In December 2021, state and global legalization initiatives moved forward, expanding new and existing cannabis markets. Here are the top cannabis legalization developments this month.
Cannabis Legalization Update – December 2021
Mexico Supreme Court Approves Low-THC Cannabis Production
On December 1, the Mexico Supreme Court ruled in favor of Xebra Mexico against the federal Commission for the Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS), the national health agency. The decision now prevents the health agency from blocking low-THC cannabis (under 1%) production outside of medical or scientific purposes. A lower court must now ensure the health agency implements the ruling.
Florida Begins Accepting Black Farmer MMJ License Application
Florida regulators will begin accepting license applications for the state’s black farmer medical marijuana license from March 21 through March 25, 2022. The new license was established in 2017 based on a 1981 case that sought to address discrimination against Black farmers.
Florida regulators must issue 19 additional permits at some point in the future to meet the increasing demand.
NJ Adds MMJ Dispensaries and Accepts Adult-Use Applications
This month, state regulators in New Jersey approved 30 new medical marijuana dispensary licenses. In October, the state added 10 grower permanent and four vertically-integrated licenses.
The state also began accepting online license applications for growers, manufacturers, and testing labs for its adult-use market. Within four hours of the application period, the state had collected over 500 applications. The state will begin accepting applications for its retail licenses on March 15, 2022.
Vermont Regulators Deny THC Potency Cap and Strict Labeling
In December, a group of Vermont doctors urged regulators to place a THC cap of 15% on products. However, the state board decided against the recommended THC cap or restrictive warning labels on the health effects of marijuana, including psychosis or impaired driving.
Under the proposed rules, cannabis companies must have labels warning customers that the product “contains THC,” is “not safe for kids,” and to “keep out of reach of children.”
The label will also say, “cannabis can be habit-forming and can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. Persons 25 years and younger may be more likely to develop harm to the developing brain.”
Over 1,500 Social Equity License Applications Received in AZ
In December, Arizona opened up its social equity license application period with a deadline on December 14 despite a pending lawsuit arguing that regulations don't do enough to ensure the 26 social equity licenses go to qualified applicants.
The state ended up receiving over 1,500 applications. The winners will be decided by lottery early in 2022.
New Mexico Opens Up Adult-Use Cannabis License Applications
New Mexico’s Cannabis Control Division (CDC) began accepting license applications for all business types, including retail and manufacturing, and approved three producer licenses. New Mexico allows for an unlimited amount of permits to be issued. Sales can start by April 1, 2022, based on the state regulations passed this year.
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Minnesota Approves Edibles for MMJ Patients
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) approved using cannabis-infused “gummies and chews” for medical marijuana patients. The new ruling will become effective on August 1, 2022. In March 2022, patients will be able to buy dried, raw smokable marijuana, which gained approval in 2021.
Regulators are currently determining the regulations concerning the packaging, labeling, and testing of edibles and smokable cannabis. Currently, Minnesota MMJ patients can purchase cannabis capsules, vape oils, liquids, topicals, powders, and orally dissolvable products like lozenges.
“Expanding delivery methods to gummies and shoes will mean more options for patients who cannot tolerate current available forms of medical cannabis,” the Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said in a press release.
Malta Is First in EU to Legalize Cannabis Home Cultivation
Europe is a promising cannabis market, although most countries have not passed significant adult-use regulations. In December, the island country of Malta became the first in the European Union to legalize some forms of personal cannabis use and production.
Under the new law, people over 18 years old can possess up to 50 grams of dried marijuana at home and grow up to four plants per household in a place that is not visible to the public. While cannabis retail will be prohibited, non-profit cannabis clubs will grow and distribute to up to 500 members.
Legal Cannabis Campaign in Ohio Submits Required Signatures
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) has gathered and submitted 206,943 signatures, above the required 132,887 signatures. Now, the initiative for recreational cannabis can be passed by state legislators within four months of the signature certification process.
If the initiative isn't passed, the campaign can collect another 132,887 signatures to get on the 2022 ballot.
Montana Prepares for Launch of Adult-Use Market on Jan. 1
Montana regulators are preparing to launch the recreational cannabis market on January 1, 2022. Under the latest rules, THC in flower will be capped at 35%. Edibles’ THC percentage is capped at 100 milligrams per package. Cannabis sales will have a 20% tax with an additional optional local tax of 3%.
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Washington State Rolls Out New Traceability System
This month, Washington state’s government-run traceability system replaced a system they had been using from a third-party vendor, Leaf Data System, for over five years. During the holiday rush, however, many companies experienced bugs and issues with the system.
The state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board said that “as with any new system, there can be challenges that arise when using a new technical resource.” The agency said it “appreciates the patience and partnerships happening now as employees and licensees move forward on the new reporting system.”
Online Cannabis Sales Coming to Alberta in March 2022
A bill allowing private cannabis retailers in Alberta to sell cannabis online and offer delivery will take effect on March 8, 2022. In the second-largest cannabis market in Canada, online sales are currently provided by the state’s Alberta Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis (AGLC) agency.
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