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New York Approves First Cultivation Licenses, Congressional Bill Would Lessen Marijuana Penalties for Military Personnel, and New Jersey Plans to Launch Legal Sales on 04/21

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New York Approves First Cultivation Licenses

It has been about a year since adult-use legalization became law in New York. Last week, state regulators voted to approve the first conditional cannabis cultivation licenses. The conditional licenses were granted to existing hemp operators in the hopes of giving them a headstart on growing cannabis to meet the demand of the impending industry. To be granted a conditional license, the hemp cultivators must have been approved by the state’s Department of Agriculture to grow hemp by December 31, 2021. They must also have grown hemp crops for two to four years. In this first round, the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) granted 52 conditional licenses. Over 150 applications were submitted thus far, and the CCB plans to review additional applications on a rolling basis. 

Congressional Bill Would Lessen Marijuana Penalties for Military Personnel

Last week, Democratic Representative Anthony Brown filed the Restoring Equity for Offenses Related to Marijuana (REFORM) Act. This bill would amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to make penalties related to marijuana use and possession more in line with the penalties for alcohol use. Currently, the punishment for possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis is a maximum penalty of “dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for two years.” Being drunk while on duty, by comparison, faces a maximum sentence of nine months of confinement, a bad conduct discharge, and forfeiture of pay and allowances. Under the REFORM Act, all branches of the military would need to provide annual reports to Congress regarding drug testing and evaluation programs.

New Jersey Plans to Launch Legal Sales on 04/21

Last Thursday, New Jersey’s Governor Phil Murphy announced the official April 21st launch date for the start of recreational cannabis sales for the state. While many are excited about the much-anticipated start of sales, others have serious concerns that there may not be enough supply to meet the demand of recreational consumers while still serving the needs of the current medical marijuana patients. Earlier in the week, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission approved seven medical marijuana operators to begin adult-use sales. Of those seven who received approval, six plan to officially begin sales on 04/21. They also have plans in place to ensure that medical cannabis patients are given priority if cannabis supplies get low. 

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