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New Mexico Governor calls for cannabis legalization in 2020; bill introduced.
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham this week announced her agenda for the 30-day legislative session, which begins next Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, cannabis is on the list.
Under economic priorities is “Legalizing the use of recreational cannabis in New Mexico and establishing a regulatory framework for its use, including public safety considerations, public health safeguards, and the protection of the state’s existing medical cannabis program.”
It continues, “Supported by 75 percent of New Mexicans in a recent poll, the legalization of recreational cannabis is projected to create 11,000 New Mexico jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.”
The governor also wants to prioritize legislation that would limit the state’s medical cannabis program to residents.
The next day, and adult use legalization bill was introduced (NM SB115), and it’s packed with some noteworthy provisions, including: automatic expungement of cannabis possession convictions; nixing the medical cannabis sales tax; allowing for microbusiness licenses; and an emphasis on protecting natural resources.
Legalization included in Rhode Island Governor’s FY 2021 budget.
Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo is again trying to get cannabis legalized by budget, but she faces stiff opposition in the state legislature.
Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of her plan is state-control, which is not an approach taken by any other state, though it has been proposed as recently as last year in Pennsylvania. (In Canada, several provinces have government-run cannabis businesses.) The state’s Department of Business Regulation Office of Cannabis Regulation would have licensed contractors running the shops, which is somewhat vague. Three licenses would be created: cultivator, processor, and retail contractor. Localities would get 10% of any revenue. And $3 million would go toward “social equity and community reinvestment.”
The budget, which you can read in full here, also assumes initial revenue to the state of $21.8 million, with stores opening by March 2021. The plan would create 19 jobs, and send $4.9 million to state agencies for administering the program, research, prevention, and law enforcement.
Dozens of cannabis orgs push key lawmaker on SAFE Banking Act.
Yesterday, a group of more than 30 cannabis industry groups sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo, urging his support of the SAFE Banking Act, which would remove many banking hurdles faced by cannabis business owners.
Background: In December, as Cannabis Wire covered, Sen. Crapo laid out his “significant concerns” about the SAFE Banking Act, suggesting a 2% THC cap on products eligible for financial services.
In response, the letter, which is signed by groups like National Cannabis Industry Association, Cannabis Trade Federation, and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), reads, “the suggestion that banking services might only be made available to businesses that sell cannabis products that test below 2% THC is one that would completely undermine the purpose of the legislation, making profitable operations by state-legal cannabis businesses nearly impossible.”
Read the full letter here.