As the cannabis industry goes through its growing pains, it continues to confront issues with how and where it will allow people to sell or buy marijuana.
Limited-licensing in some states is one of those issues.
Limited-licensing states cap the number of licenses given to companies that want to operate in the state. There are currently 27 states with limited-licensing.
Last week, Cresco Labs (CRLBF) announced plans to purchase Columbia Care (CCHWF) for $2 billion. This week, there are indications that the company is preparing to sell off assets due to overlapping operations.
Cresco could sell off between $250 million and $500 million worth of marijuana cultivation and retail licenses.
The Chicago-based MSO “will likely” divest assets in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio due to overlapping operations with New York-based Columbia Care in limited-license markets, executives told analysts, according to MJBizDaily.
But limited-licensing has faced ongoing criticism from some community stakeholders who say it freezes out minority-owned and small operators, who can’t compete with big companies like Cresco.
With that in mind, here is what is happening in cannabis news this week.
Biden: Cannabis Friend or Foe?
When President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, the pro-cannabis lobby rejoiced. Democrats are traditionally more pro-marijuana than their counterparts across the aisle.
But a little more than a year into his presidency, Biden’s budget proposal for fiscal 2023 attempts to continue blocking Washington, D.C., from legalizing marijuana sales in the city.
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The move has left some Biden supporters confused, to say the least.
“I have a hard time reconciling the administration’s strong support for D.C. statehood, which would give D.C. not only voting representation in Congress but also full local self-government, with a budget that prohibits D.C. from spending its local funds on recreational marijuana commercialization,” Rep. Elanor Holmes Norton said (D-DC).
“With Democrats controlling the White House, House and Senate, we have the best opportunity in over a decade to enact a budget that does not contain any anti-home-rule riders.”
House Vote on Federal Legalization
As the House of Representatives prepare to vote on a federal marijuana legalization bill this week, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are filing proposed amendments.
The House Rules Committee meeting that will determine which amendments will either be blocked from further consideration or receive further consideration was pushed back from Monday and will now take place on Wednesday.
Last week, lawmakers released a nearly 500-page report on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act that has been sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).
This week’s scheduled vote would be just the second time in congressional history that a marijuana bill reached the floor for debate.
South Dakota’s Marijuana Paradox
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) vetoed legislation this week that would automatically expunge marijuana convictions from a person’s background check for marijuana-related offenses.
The veto comes after Noem signed legislation allowing limited home cultivation for patients and legislation to protect patients’ rights.
“It also essentially codifies a convicted person’s ability to be dishonest about their previous arrest and conviction by not requiring disclosure of the prior drug conviction … This bill is also retroactive, which is bad precedent for criminal justice issues where fairness is paramount,” Noem said in a statement.