In mid-September California lawmakers passed the state’s most significant medical-marijuana legislation in almost two decades. The legislation paves the way for a regulatory framework for the state’s multibillion-dollar medical cannabis industry. The California Senate and Assembly voted to approve the historic Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, which will require licenses for cannabis dispensaries and create a new state agency, called the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, to oversee the industry. Although California residents voted to approve medical marijuana in 1996, a regulatory plan has eluded policymakers until now. Legislators finally reached a compromise on three bills, which have been sent for final approval to Gov. Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign them into law.
On November 3, Ohio voters will have the chance to decide whether marijuana should be legalized for both medicinal and recreational use. The Marijuana Legalization Amendment would allow adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana for medicinal or recreational use and to grow four plants for personal use. The ballot measure sets up a network of 10 authorized growing locations around the state and lays out regulatory and taxation guidelines for cannabis. Should the ballot measure pass, it would make Ohio a rare state to legalize, in a single vote, marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use.
For the first time in history, a state has generated more annual revenue from taxes imposed on marijuana than from taxes imposed on alcohol. According to the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state collected nearly $70 million in marijuana-specific taxes and just under $42 million in alcohol-specific taxes from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015, the Marijuana Policy Project based in Washington, D.C., reported. Marijuana tax revenues jumped from $25 million in the first five months of 2014 to $44 million in the first five months of this year.
Euphoria Wellness, Clark County’s first legal medical cannabis dispensary, opened during the last week of August. Located at 7780 S. Jones Blvd., Euphoria received final state and county approvals to be the first dispensary to open its doors in Southern Nevada. During its first week, Euphoria had six strains available to patient cardholders: Kosher Kush, Strawberry Cough, Blue Dream, RKS, Cheese, and San Fernando Valley. Euphoria is not the first dispensary to open in Nevada. Silver State Relief, located in Sparks, Nevada, claimed that distinction, opening July 31st.
New York City’s first medical marijuana dispensary will open in January 2016. The dispensary located on 14th Street between Second and Third Avenues will be operated by Columbia Care, one of five companies awarded licenses by the state in July to open medical marijuana shops. The other four licensees include Bloomfield Industries, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain, and Pharmacannis. Each license allows for the operation of one manufacturing facility and four dispensaries, all of which must be based in New York State. New York’s medical marijuana laws only allow for liquid and oil preparations.