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For a third time, Alabama regulators announce licensees.
The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission met on Friday to, yet again, name the licensees that would grow and sell medical cannabis in the state.
You can read the full list here.
“We received applications and presentations from applicants who would make terrific licensees, which made our job of selecting a limited number of them challenging. However, I trust this Commission’s wisdom and discretion in selecting the best applicants to serve as licensees in Alabama’s newest industry,” said Commission chair Rex Vaughn in a statement after the meeting.
One more batch of licenses will be announced on Dec. 12 for entities that are “integrated,” meaning they will both grow and sell their own cannabis.
The road to this moment has been long and tumultuous since it began in June, as Cannabis Wire has reported in this newsletter. It remains to be seen whether the Commission will face any more legal challenges over its process and decisions.
New York: Injunction officially lifts, and regulators schedule a meeting.
On Friday, the New York State Supreme Court officially lifted the preliminary injunction that, since August, blocked regulators from processing or reviewing new CAURD licenses.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul celebrated the news.
“Our top priority is to grow and expand New York’s legal cannabis industry while cracking down on the illicit storefronts that continue to plague communities. With this settlement behind us, hundreds of new licenses can now move forward, new stores will open, and consumers can legally buy safer, legal, tested cannabis products from New York-based entrepreneurs and small businesses,” Hochul said in a statement.
“Now, we’re putting the illicit storefronts on notice: competition from legal dispensaries is about to skyrocket, and we won’t hesitate to crack down on bad actors who break the law.”
Regulators also scheduled a meeting for Friday, Dec. 8. This could be the meeting where some of the MSOs that make up the medical use market get approval to transition.
For context, the docs filed as part of the settlement referenced above required a meeting by Dec. 8 “that includes” the Cannabis Control Board’s “intention to consider a resolution approving” the Registered Organizations’ “application for transition to ROD licenses and/or ROND licenses.”
Virginia’s medical cannabis is too expensive and consolidated, report says.
The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority met last week and discussed a new 77-page report that found that the price of medical cannabis in the state is “categorically higher” compared to other states. The General Assembly asked that the survey of past-year cannabis consumers be conducted.
One of the top takeaways was that high prices for medical cannabis products are encouraging patients to source from the illicit market. The result, the report notes, is that 90% of patients buy their cannabis from “sources other than the Virginia medical market, with the largest proportion of grams being obtained from an unregulated, but not necessarily illicit, market.”
Virginia’s messy cannabis landscape is due in part to shifting political winds. In 2021, Virginia lawmakers passed a bill to legalize cannabis for adults. But, critically, while the law allowed for adults to cultivate four plants, and possess up to an ounce, it delayed retail sales until 2024. In other words, the legislature never created a regulatory framework for sales, as Cannabis Wire reported in a deep-dive analysis. This November, Democrats took back the legislature, spelling promise for cannabis law reform.
But, until something concrete is passed, the cannabis market is wobbling in Virginia. Roughly 12% of patients are traveling to Washington, DC or Maryland, “where prices are much lower,” to buy cannabis.
Another issue is that the existing consolidated market isn’t serving patients, either.
“Virginia’s restrictive license cap and atypical Health Service Area framework support a marketplace owned by a limited number of large operators who have regulated market domination over their designated portion of the state,” the report noted. “Facing little regulated competition, Pharmaceutical Processors likely have minimal incentive to increase supply and decrease prices.”
The report suggested five pathways for regulators and lawmakers, and a strong emphasis that “any pathways considered by the Virginia General Assembly should include extensive stakeholder engagement with patients and existing licensees and thoughtful implementation planning.”