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Two states split by the Hudson, two different approaches to cannabis in State of the States.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s first big speech of the year called out cannabis, but not the state of New York’s legal cannabis industry, or its strides on equity. Hochul only mentioned enforcement.
After mentioning illegal guns and retail theft, Hochul turned to cannabis.
“Let’s back our businesses, back our businesses and the workers with the full force of the law and punish those who think they can break the rules with impunity. And this extends to the illegal cannabis vendors who flagrantly violate our laws. We’ll empower localities to go after the unlicensed shops, prosecute businesses that sell to minors, and padlock their doors faster,” Hochul said.
And while the State of the State Briefing Book mentions “cannabis” 11 times, it was also only through the lens of enforcement. This year, Hochul will propose legislation to “strengthen enforcement authority to expedite the closure of unlicensed businesses and deter this illicit activity,” specifically including the ability for officials, including local government agencies, to “seal or padlock an unlicensed cannabis business.”
“These are necessary steps towards shutting down unlawful and unlicensed cannabis operations that jeopardize public safety and the integrity of the State’s legal cannabis market,” the Briefing Book highlighted. “Combatting the sale of unlicensed cannabis around the state is essential for achieving these goals. Retail sale of cannabis without a license slows the growth of the burgeoning market and creates a public health and safety concern that requires immediate action to protect New Yorkers.”
Additionally, Hochul will make capital funding available to “promote commercialization of
biobased products, such as those produced with industrial hemp.”
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy framed cannabis around ways that state leaders are helping workers develop skills to be more competitive, and “ultimately earn higher wages.”
“We have doubled the number of apprenticeship programs in new Jersey, in fields like the life sciences, addult use cannabis, home health care and renewable energy to pick just a few fields,” Murphy said.
Connecticut AG announces action against seven unlicensed sellers.
Looks like New York’s northeastern neighbor is also trying to ramp up efforts against unlicensed cannabis sales. Just last week, as we reported in this newsletter, AG William Tong sent cease and desist letters to HighBazaar and the Masonic Temple Day Spring Lodge in Hamden for hosting a sort of marketplace for unlicensed sales.
Now, on Tuesday, Tong announced that his office is “suing” seven entities. They are:
• Shark Wholesale Corp.
• Star Enterprise 74, LLC
• RZ Smoke, Inc.
• Greenleaf Farms
• Smoker’s Corner
• Anesthesia Convenience & Smoke
• Planet Zaza
“Cannabis is legal for adults in Connecticut, but it’s not a free-for-all—retailers must be licensed and legal cannabis products must comply with strict safety standards,” Tong said in the announcement. “We have multiple active investigations into additional retailers and wholesalers, and we will keep the heat on so long as these dangerous, illegal products are sold.”
Cronos expands into Australia.
Cronos announced that it is “expanding distribution into the Australian market with its first shipment of cannabis flower to Vitura Health Limited.” The company was previously called Cronos Australia, and Cronos owns ~10% of its common shares.
“Supplying the Australian market, which has grown significantly in the past three years, is a great milestone for Cronos as we aim to enter and expand within international markets,” said Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein, in the announcement.
Indeed, the number of medical cannabis patients in the country is growing, and, as we reported in this newsletter this week, it looks like adult use isn’t too far on the horizon.