Officials in Kansas continue to discuss cannabis legalization
Wednesday afternoon, Topeka, Kansas, played host to the latest state-sponsored cannabis policy meeting, attended by a handful of Kansas state representatives, policy makers, and influential stakeholders.
With Missouri introducing a robust, expansive market that’s expected to open by 2021, the statewide meetings have received a breath of new life, with a handful of democratic Kansas-based officials recently expressing the need to craft a medical cannabis market, at minimum.
With Gov. Laura Kelly endorsing a medical market, the main-focus of these policy meetings has been to craft the details of what a regulated market may look like – with officials debating potential zoning restrictions, license categories, qualifying conditions, and taxing proposals.
Following Wednesday’s meeting, officials briefed the local press on a new Cannabis Compliance Agency, which will oversee the rule-making and licensing process if MMJ or adult-use cannabis is to be legalized in Kansas.
“I think lawmakers really need to stop pushing this issue to the back of the table and say ‘we’ll get to it someday.’ Someday is now. It needs to be this year,” stated Lisa Sublett. Sublett is the president of Bleeding Kansas, a leading cannabis-reform advocacy group in the Sunflower State.
Adult-use legalization would create more than 100,000 new jobs in Florida, says recent study
New Frontier Data, considered to be the leader in reporting cannabis-related analytics, reported Tuesday afternoon that the Florida cannabis and hemp industry would create more than 100,000 new jobs – only if adult-use legalization is approved by 2020.
To make an accurate estimate, the global data-firm gathered annual retail figures from dispensaries, as well as statistics from higher-learning institutions and government entities; comparing current market-demand with expected trajectory growth.
The number may seem lofty and ambitious, but the state of Florida currently features one of the most rapidly growing markets, which includes more than 270,000 medical cannabis patients – making it the the 2nd fastest growing market in the US, behind Oklahoma.
With more than 60% of the general Florida population supporting an adult-use market (one of the higher figures in the US), and a rapidly growing MMJ market, its not difficult to envision a blossoming recreational market that could lead to the creation of more than 100,000 new jobs.
Mexico unveils (some) rules surrounding adult-use program
Technically speaking, adult-use cannabis has been legal in Mexico since last November, when the Supreme Court ruled that the current ban on the use and possession of adult-use cannabis was unconstitutional.
But since then, officials have struggled with crafting a regulated market, leading to a number of gray-areas inside what has become a muddled market.
To clear the confusion, officials have begun slowly rolling out a handful of details surrounding the program – with an expected official set of rules and regulations to surface sometime within the next year.
Earlier this week, officials released details surrounding consumption, packaging, and age restrictions; announcing that the legal age of consumption will be 18+, packaging will be ‘very strict’, and that all cannabis must be consumed on private-property in the confines of individuals residencies.
While rules continue to be finalized, officials are still debating licensing for interested international businesses; but so far, low-income farmers, indigenous people, and groups most impacted by the War on Drugs appear to be the top-priority.
US Senate holds cannabis hearing
Wednesday morning, Senators in DC gathered for a meeting titled “Marijuana and Americas Health: Questions and Issues for Policy Makers”.
The bulk of the meeting addressed how the federal government should respond to the growing number of states introducing a medicinal and/or adult-use cannabis program – with pro-reform policy markers urging their colleagues to at the very least consider the descheduling of cannabis, which would free up US-based researchers and allow for higher-learning institutions to receive federal grants for cannabinoid-related research.
“Much of what we know about marijuana is anecdotal, that’s due in part to the fact that marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug makes it difficult to research, and it’s my belief that science should inform our policy, ” stated panel co-chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein during Wednesday’s meeting.
Relating to cannabis reform, it projects to be a busy end of the year for the US Senate, which is still expected to hold hearings on the US Safe Banking Act, which recently received a majority approval in the US House – albeit an uphill battle, if the cannabis-banking reform bill were to be approved in the Senate, it would mark the first time in US history that the federal govt. approved of a federal cannabis reform bill.