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New York Governor Calls for Marijuana Legalization in State of The State Address
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday outlined his plans for addressing the Empire State’s budget woes in his annual State of the State Address.
A press release from the governor’s office says that legal marijuana will “create more than 60,000 new jobs, spurring $3.5 billion in economic activity and generating more than $300 million in tax revenue when fully implemented,” according to Marijuana Moment.
His new plan, as briefly described last week, calls for the establishment of a new Office of Cannabis Management to regulate the state’s marijuana and hemp industries.
Arizona Prepares to Accept Marijuana Applications Next Week
Marijuana Moment reports that Arizona is one step closer to launching legal marijuana sales, with state regulators releasing new draft regulations as well as application forms for cannabis business licenses that will be accepted starting next week.
The state Department of Health Services, which issued an earlier version of proposed rules for the market in December, recently released its second iteration, with finalized regulations expected in the coming weeks.
Industry stakeholders have been encouraged by the expediency of the department’s rulemaking, which is required since voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to legalize adult-use marijuana during November’s election.
Applications for existing medical cannabis operators who want to enter the recreational market will open on January 19 and close on March 9. This is a significant development, as it signals that once rules are finalized, approved applicants could start selling marijuana to all adults over 21 as early as next month.
Kansas Lawmakers Push to Legalize Medical Marijuana In 2021
In Kansas, which has already authorized hemp production and the sale of cannabidiol products without tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the next step is legalized medical use. A report from the Kansas Reflector notes that although such legislation has failed in the past, advocates are confident perception is shifting enough to see a bill through the House and Senate.
Erin Montroy, co-president and CEO of the Kansas Cannabis Business Association, said a bill will be filed in the first week or so of the legislative session. She said the bill would likely lean toward the conservative end of the spectrum in the early going and could be modified as the session progressed.
In the 2020 Kansas Speaks survey by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University, 66.9% of respondents “strongly supported” or “somewhat supported” legalizing recreational marijuana for individuals 21 and over to allow taxation by the state.
North Dakotans May Vote on Legalizing Marijuana In 2022
Proponents of legalizing recreational marijuana in North Dakota are embarking on another petition effort after missing the signature cut-off for their measure to appear on last year’s ballot.
Supporters of the measure, which would amend the state Constitution to legalize personal possession of cannabis, submitted their petition to Secretary of State Al Jaeger on Monday, Jan. 11, seeking approval to appear on the 2022 general election ballot.
The Grand Forks Herald reports that if Jaeger approves the measure, backers can begin collecting the 26,904 signatures needed to appear on the ballot.
The new measure is the same as the one that circulated ahead of last year’s election, according to the measure’s chairwoman Jody Vetter, and focuses strictly on the personal growth and possession — not the sale — of cannabis for residents 21 and older.
Last year, Vetter’s measure came up some 2,000 signatures shy of qualifying for the ballot.
Foreign Visitors Face Ban from Amsterdam’s Cannabis Cafes
Non-residents face being banned from Amsterdam’s cannabis coffee shops as part of wide-ranging plans to discourage organized crime and cut back on marijuana tourism.
The Guardian reports that the city’s mayor, Femke Halsema, has tabled proposals allowing only Dutch residents to enter its 166 marijuana-selling coffee shops, with the measure likely to come into force sometime next year.
Government research showed 58% of foreign tourists who visit Amsterdam come mainly to consume marijuana, Halsema said, while another study showed the city would support fewer than 70 coffee shops if only locals were served.
Joachim Helms of the coffee shop owners’ association BCD said the plans risked driving the soft drugs trade on to the street. “People want to smoke their joint. If that can’t happen in a coffee shop, then they will buy it on the street.”