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The New York State Association of Counties calls for passage of adult use legislation.
This week, the Association released a report with 80 recommendations “for overcoming the budget crises facing the state and local budgets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Among them? Cannabis legalization.
They write: “Legalizing adult-use cannabis will provide the state and counties with resources for public health education and technical assistance. Counties should be allowed to apply their local sales tax rate on these transactions. In addition, the cannabis cultivation tax should be shared with the county in which the product is grown.”
+ ICYMI:Cannabis Wire’s extensive and unmatched coverage of efforts to legalize cannabis for adult use in New York.
Maine issues first batch of licenses.
This week, the Office of Marijuana Policy announced that Maine’s first five active licenses for adult use cannabis establishments had been awarded. Beginning on October 9 (but not before), these active license holders are able to begin selling cannabis to consumers age 21 and older. The application process will continue, as OMP plans to issue additional active licenses on a “rolling basis, increasing the number of establishments authorized to conduct retail sales next month.”
“Maine will have the unique distinction of being the only state to launch its adult use marijuana program during a pandemic,” OMP director Erik Gundersen said in a statement. “The initial market will likely be limited in both accessibility and product availability, but the industry will evolve responsibly and provide safe, convenient access to adult use marijuana over the coming weeks and months.”
Here are the newly licensed entities (you can continue to track Maine’s license holders here). The three active cultivation license holders are Room 5, LLC, Gele, LLC, Grassroots Marijuana, LLC, and the two shops are Theory Wellness of Maine, LLC, Sweet Relief Shop, LLC, and one testing facility was licensed, Nelson Analytical, LLC.
+ Read Cannabis Wire’s coverage of Maine’s long road to legal sales.
USDA reopens public comments on hemp for one month.
The United State Department of Agriculture has announced that it will, as of this week, allow an additional 30-days of public comment on its interim final rule on hemp, which is set to go into effect at the end of October.
That date has received significant pushback from the hemp industry and hemp regulators who say they need more time to comply with the new regulations, and who are asking for the USDA to not only allow for the extension of their hemp pilot programs, but also to reconsider some aspects of the proposed regulations. For example, there is intense focus on the proposed method of testing for THC, and what happens to non-compliant crops, as well as on interstate transport.
As we noted in a recent newsletter, at the end of August, Senator Cory Gardner joined the growing chorus of voices calling for more time, which also includes lawmakers like Senator Chuck Schumer of New York (read his letter here), and regulators, like the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (read NASDA’s letter, along with the National Industrial Hemp Council, here).
Gardner’s letter called for the USDA to “delay the final implementation of the [interim final rule] and work directly with state regulators and the industry to ensure workable rules that allow the industry to thrive.”
That the hemp industry has reached this point is no surprise. Since the release of the interim final rule, about which Cannabis Wire wrote a detailed analysis, we saw extensive public comments, which we covered, and heard calls for flexibility from ag regulators, which they spoke about with us as well. In other words: this moment was a long time coming.
Some in the hemp industry, including NIHC, hope the reopening of the comment window indicates a willingness to delay the enforcement of the interim final rule. “We certainly hope that today’s announcement is an indication that USDA is moving in the direction of extending the hemp pilot program for another year,” Patrick Atagi, NIHC’s board chairman, said in a statement.
Nonetheless, the USDA notes in its extension announcement: “USDA is committed to issuing the final rule expeditiously after reviewing public comments and obtaining additional information during the initial implementation.”