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Lawmakers in Utah Seek Regulatory Reform for Medical Cannabis Program, U.S. House Votes to Include SAFE Banking Act in Defense Bill, and NY Regulators Approve More Cultivators and Finalize Retail Marijuana Application Rules

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Lawmakers in Utah Seek Regulatory Reform for Medical Cannabis Program

As the number of patients in Utah’s medical marijuana program grows, the need for a more unified regulatory system becomes more evident. Currently, the state’s medical cannabis program is overseen by two regulatory agencies. The Department of Health and Human Services oversees patients and pharmacies, while the Department of Agriculture and Food governs cultivators and processors. This split regulatory structure has caused supply chain issues. Senate Bill 153 was passed during the last legislative session, and it necessitates the creation of a working group to review the current system and make recommendations to bring the regulatory oversight of the medical marijuana program to one authority. 

U.S. House Votes to Include SAFE Banking Act in Defense Bill

Last Thursday, the United States House of Representatives voted to include the SAFE Banking Act in the 2023 defense budget legislation. The SAFE Banking Act, if finally passed, would allow financial institutions to work with state-legal cannabis businesses without fear of repercussions. According to U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter, a Colorado Democrat, the SAFE Banking Act has 180 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and 42 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate. The legislation has passed the House seven times, either as part of a larger spending bill or as a standalone bill. In a statement, Perlmutter said, “It’s time to get this done – and I will pursue any and all legislative avenues to do so.”

NY Regulators Approve More Cultivators and Finalize Retail Marijuana Application Rules

New York continues to make progress to advance the state’s legal cannabis market. Regulators approved the retail license application forms and accepted 20 additional applications for cultivation licenses. The state now has over 200 approved growers. The retail licenses will be part of New York’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which will provide those who have been negatively impacted by the failed War on Drugs with the first opportunities to access cannabis dispensary licenses.