This week, Rep. Earl Blumenauer said the House will vote this spring on the SAFE Banking Act, which will allow banks to work with the cannabis industry. Elsewhere, Maine released draft rules for the state’s new adult-use market, more than two years after voters approved legalization.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said that the House will vote later this spring on legislation allowing banks to work with marijuana businesses in certain states. Blumenauer, who has long pushed cannabis legislation in Congress, said he has been in touch with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on timing for the bill, which was approved by the House Financial Services Committee in a 45-15 vote last month. Read more
- West Virginia: The state Treasurer’s Office hopes to have a request for proposal issued within the next month with the goal of hiring a financial institution to handle the money associated with the state’s medical marijuana program. State lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year, House Bill 2538, signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice, that opens the door for additional financial organizations, like credit unions, to bid for the job. Read more
- Montana: Coalition406 announced their intentions to create a 2020 state ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for adults in Montana and establish a system to tax and regulate it similarly to alcohol. Legalization efforts across the country have seen growing support in recent years with recreational use currently legalized in 10 states. Read more
- Texas: A bill that would expand Texas’ medical marijuana program passed through a House committee with unanimous support and will now be scheduled to be debated on the House floor. House Bill 1365, filed by Rep. Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) would expand the Texas Compassionate Use Program to include more qualifying conditions and would allow more doctors to work with patients in the program. Read more
- Meanwhile, the state House has passed a bill to allow farmers to grow hemp and legalize hemp products in Texas. The legislation now heads to the Senate. Read more
- Wisconsin: Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) for the fourth time introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use, going further than the plan put forward by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Sargent said she has the momentum to move her marijuana legislation forward despite an almost certain roadblock in the Republican-controlled legislature. Read more
- Vermont: State officials have created proposed rules for Vermont’s fast-growing hemp industry that will go out for public comment before becoming final. The state Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, which regulates the hemp industry, worked with a group of Vermont growers and processors to come up with the rules, which lay out a preliminary framework that covers the hemp cycle from grower to processor and set out what permits are required. Read more
- Maine: More than two years after residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana, Maine released draft rules Monday that detail how the state’s new adult-use market would be launched, monitored and regulated by the Office of Marijuana Policy. The regulations lay out how would-be growers, retailers and manufacturers will obtain the state licenses needed to operate in the Maine recreational marijuana market. Read more
- Nevada: Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez said Monday she’ll hear arguments next month on a bid by dozens of companies to freeze a second wave of licenses for the state’s lucrative marijuana sales market. She told more than a dozen lawyers in Las Vegas that she can’t officially consolidate seven lawsuits filed in Clark County District Court, and she has no jurisdiction over two lawsuits filed in Washoe and Lyon counties. Read more
- Michigan: Corporate medical marijuana growers took to the steps of the Lansing capitol building Wednesday, calling on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and officials to enforce the state’s marijuana laws and end the sale of untested caregiver marijuana. Michigan’s medical marijuana market is at a crossroads as regulators try to shift control away from caregivers and over to licensed businesses. Read more