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U.S. Senate Approves Cannabis Research Legislation, MMJ Caregivers in Maine Can Resume Pre-roll Sales, and NY Cannabis Regulators May Issue First Licenses on Monday

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U.S. Senate Approves Cannabis Research Legislation

The U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan bill to eliminate some of the restrictions surrounding medical cannabis research. The legislation will now go to President Joe Biden for his signature. The bill, known as the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act, passed the House in July. While the legislation didn’t see an actual vote in the Senate, it passed via a process known as unanimous consent. The Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act received the support of Senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein – a duo who have long been considered staunch opponents of cannabis reform. The bill will allow private businesses and research universities to apply for licenses from the DEA to grow cannabis for research purposes. The legislation is a response to years of criticism that the cannabis currently available for research is of poor quality. 

MMJ Caregivers in Maine Can Resume Pre-roll Sales

In October, Maine’s Office of Cannabis Policy issued a document stating that cannabis pre-rolls fell under the umbrella of tobacco products. Therefore, anyone selling pre-rolls must have a retail tobacco license. But state Attorney General Aaron Frey dismissed this guidance, saying that the current law is unclear and for now, his office will not prosecute medical marijuana caregivers for selling cannabis pre-rolls. Frey also suggested that lawmakers review the issues in their 2023 session. The October ruling drew criticism from medical and adult-use business owners in the state, as pre-rolls tend to be among their top-selling products. But, the CEO of Theory Wellness, Brandon Pollock, told the AP that the guidance document from October shouldn’t affect adult-use cannabis retailers as they are “already licensed for tobacco.”

NY Cannabis Regulators May Issue First Licenses on Monday

A spokesperson for New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) said that officials may be issuing the first round of recreational cannabis retail licenses this Monday. The state’s Cannabis Control Board is scheduled to consider the first group of potential licensees that day. According to the OCM, as many as ten licenses could be issued. Even though New York legalized cannabis in March 2021 and cultivator’s inventory continues to grow, no retail cannabis licenses were awarded yet. But the demand for cannabis products in the state persists, and as such, black and gray market retailers are thriving. State regulators have issued warnings to these businesses, making them aware that selling unlicensed cannabis could lead to the denial of any legal license to sell cannabis in New York. But gray market sales continue to grow.