Hemp regulations are being finalized across the country
This week, governors in Iowa, Georgia, and Wisconsin signed separate bills into-law relating to the cultivation and production of hemp, allowing local farmers to begin the application processes involved with the sale of the super crop.
The bills approved in Iowa and Wisconsin include low-entry costs associated with licensing fees, similar to states like Kentucky, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. But in Georgia, lawmakers have placed a $100,000 price tag on the program.
The introduction of a hemp program could potentially help lawmakers introduce & regulate a medical or adult-use cannabis in the near future; in Wisconsin, prohibition is still fully enforced, while extremely-limited medical programs exist in Iowa and Georgia.
Since the passing of the 2018 US Farm Bill, 41 states have now approved & introduced robust hemp programs – leaving some experts to believe the U.S. hemp market could be worth more than $1.65 billion by 2021.
Lawmakers reintroduce De-scheduling bill
Democrats in D.C. have reintroduced an edited bill that would remove cannabis as a Schedule 1 Drug from the Controlled Substances Act.
The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, originally introduced last June, has regained steam thanks to the recent wave of states introducing adult-use and medical cannabis programs in 2019.
Ultimately, the bill is designed to let states create their own separate rules and regulations relating to cannabis; without having to fear federal interference. It would also open up safer-banking practices, while making it easier for more universities & professional researchers to secure federal-grants for cannabinoid-related research.
Representatives like Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are hopeful recently applied pressure will result in an actual vote; but a definitive timeline has yet to be announced.
New Jersey voters set to vote on legalization in 2020
For the past year-and-a-half, the state of New Jersey has found itself in a slew of articles with headlines that read something similar to The Next State to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis, but lawmakers have failed to meet these expectations, despite constituent demand and public pressure.
This week, doing their best damage-control, top-ranking democrats announced a cannabis referendum to be included in 2020’s general election – allowing voters in New Jersey to simply vote YES or NO on a 21+ adult-use market.
Many believe New Jersey’s bill failed because of it’s “overly” progressive policies, which included the lowest tax percentage in the country while simultaneously introducing a social equity program that would ensure at least 35% of all businesses were owned and operated by individuals or communities most impacted by the War on Drugs.
If the bill is approved, lawmakers could find themselves rehashing old debates as the current referendum is a simple Yes or No question, not including specific details relating to licensing, social equity, or criminal justice reform.
Medical cannabis program taking shape in Utah
Wednesday morning, regulators in Utah announced a handful of rules and regulations for the state’s Medical Cannabis Program that was approved last November.
Included are protections that ensure health care workers won’t face any sort of state or federal prosecutions for recommending medicinal cannabis. Also included is wording that could potentially protect employees from being discriminated against or fired for using medicinal cannabis in the safety of their own homes.
“If a private employer fires somebody and it’s because you use cannabis, as state law we say look, that’s a legal use of cannabis and clearly that creates a right of action for an employee to say, ‘Look, you can’t fire me just because I’m using a medically prescribed product,” explained Rep. Brad Daw to Fox13 News.
This Summer, lawmakers plan to accept applications for 10-15 new licenses and are hoping that product will be ready to sell as soon as January 1, 2020