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Senators in NY Approve Bill to Require Insurance Companies to Cover MMJ, California Tax Collectors Are Cracking Down on Cannabis Businesses, and North Carolina’s Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Legislation

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Senators in NY Approve Bill to Require Insurance Companies to Cover MMJ

On Wednesday of last week, New York’s Senate approved legislation that would mandate medical marijuana health insurance coverage. The bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Diane Savino, would require public health insurance programs to cover the cost of medical marijuana. The measure would also allow private insurance companies to cover medical marijuana expenses for patients. SB S8837 passed in the Senate with a vote of 53-10. The goal of the bill is to remove one of the barriers to accessing medical cannabis for many patients, which is the out-of-pocket expense for the plant medicine. 

California Tax Collectors Are Cracking Down on Cannabis Businesses

Licensed and unlicensed cannabis businesses in California owe the state almost $200 million in unpaid taxes. Over the last few months, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration has targeted efforts on underground and legal cannabis businesses that have avoided paying taxes. The measures taken by the CDTFA include raids and property seizures of unlicensed operations and increased enforcement for legal cannabis businesses. The agency sells the seized properties to recoup unpaid tax revenue. The hope is that the targeted enforcement actions will “level the playing field” for legal marijuana operations. 

North Carolina’s Senate Approves Medical Marijuana Legislation

Last week, the North Carolina Senate approved medical marijuana legalization by a vote of 35-10. The bill, known as SB 711 or the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, is a fairly restrictive measure with limited licensing. If the bill becomes law, it would create a medical marijuana commission for the state that would issue 10 vertically integrated medical marijuana “supplier” licenses. The vertical structuring has raised some concern among activists concerned that only multi-state operations would have the funds necessary to participate.

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