Cannabis Knowledge & Insights

Maine & Missouri Update Cannabis Laws and Restrictions

Missouri House Passes Bill to Eliminate Medical Cannabis License Caps

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The Missouri House has approved a bill that would remove the cap on medical cannabis licenses in the state and would essentially allow any business owner to secure a license if they meet the minimum state requirements.

The amendment was introduced by state Rep. Ben Baker after listening to the investigation hearings by the House special committee.

Baker did not vote to legalize medical cannabis in the state but told KSHB that he introduced the proposal because he doesn’t support monopolies.

“It was very clear it hasn’t been fair process, it hasn’t been transparent, and definitely not a competitive process. It’ll be better in a lot of ways. It drives costs down and it helps to suppress the black market. And especially in a time when people are scrambling for jobs, it’s a job creator.” – Baker to KSHB.

KC Stark, a local cannabis advocate and CEO of Cannabis Startup Incubator, said the amendment may be too little too late as rejected licensees had already spent thousands of dollars hoping for a license.

The Missouri House investigation is focused on reports of irregularities in how the license applications were scored and claims that the rules were changed in the middle of the process.

A review by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found that some two dozen groups, which each won five or more licenses, had ties to out-of-state cannabusinesses or the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association.

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Marijuana Banking Access Included In Next Coronavirus Relief Bill

House leadership unveiled a coronavirus relief bill on Tuesday that includes provisions to protect banks that service marijuana businesses from being penalized by federal regulators.

Advocates, stakeholders and lawmakers have been pushing for some form of cannabis reform to be inserted into COVID-19 legislation. And this round, they were successful, with the language of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act making the cut.

“The purpose of this section is to increase public safety by ensuring access to financial services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses and service providers and reducing the amount of cash at such businesses,” the text of the provision, which is attached to the 1,815-page coronavirus relief package, states.

A summary of the legislation says the banking section would “allow cannabis-related legitimate businesses, that in many states have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic as essential services, along with their service providers, to access banking services and products, as well as insurance.”

“This section also requires reports to Congress on access to financial services and barriers to marketplace entry for potential and existing minority-owned cannabis-related legitimate businesses,” it continues.

The stimulus bill has not yet been approved as there is a fair amount of negotiating that needs to happen, but it’s hopeful to see that the voice of the cannabis industry is being heard!

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Maine drops adult-use marijuana residency requirement after legal challenge

Maine regulators said they will stop enforcing recreational marijuana residency requirements, a move that came after counsel determined the state is unlikely to win a legal challenge over the matter.

The Wellness Connection and Wellness and Pain Management Connection of Delaware, subsidiaries of High Street Capital Partners of Delaware, filed the lawsuit against the state last month arguing that the residency requirement violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution which forbids restrictive and discriminatory commercial regulations between the states.

The decision will allow out-of-state investors into the state’s budding – but much delayed – recreational cannabis industry. Maine’s current law requires every officer, director, and manager of an adult-use cannabis business, and a majority of its ownership, to live and file taxes in Maine for at least four years. That mandate would have sunset in June 2021, but it would have given locals an advantage at the outset of the new market.

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