NY MedMJ Dispensaries Can Now Sell Smokeable "Whole Flower," SD Panel Calls for Legal Weed, More... (10/28/21)

An asset forfeiture battle pits Kansas deputies and federal prosecutors against Missouri medical marijuana companies, a South Dakota legislative panel recommends the state legalize marijuana (after voters already did so last year with an initiative now tangled up in court), and more. 

New York medical marijuana patients can now buy and smoke buds like his one. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

South Dakota Legislative Panel Recommends Marijuana Legalization. As the state awaits for the state Supreme Court to decide whether or not voters legalized marijuana at the polls last November, the legislature's Marijuana Interim Study Committee on Wednesday wrapped up its work and formally recommended that the state end marijuana prohibition. The panel also recommended setting a 15 percent sales tax on legal marijuana and establishing a system of licensed grows, retail outlets, and testing facilities. The panel did not recommend allowing home grows. The recommendations now go to the full legislature for consideration.

Medical Marijuana

New York Dispensaries Call Now Sell Buds. Finally, smokeable "whole flower" marijuana buds are now on sale in dispensaries in the state. Smokeable marijuana had been banned at the insistence of then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) when the state's medical marijuana law passed in 2014. But after the state passed marijuana legalization last year, the ban on smokeable medical marijuana no longer made any sense, according to state Sen. Diane Savino (D), one of the bill's authors. "We knew restricting access to whole flower was going to drive up the cost of the product, because it costs more money to process it into non-smokable forms," Savino said. "And for a lot of patients, the fastest delivery method to really obtain relief is through smoking."

Asset Forfeiture

Sheriff's deputies in Kansas's Dickinson County in May seized $160,000 in cash medical marijuana receipts from dispensaries in Missouri, where medical marijuana is legal, and federal prosecutors in Kansas are moving to seize the money under asset forfeiture laws used to target drug traffickers. A federal magistrate ruled last month that there was probable cause to seize the money because it was derived from illegal drug sales—illegal under federal, not state, law, that is. The firm that was transporting the cash receipts from Missouri to Colorado, Empyreal, is challenging the seizure, arguing that the money came from legal transactions. A hearing on the case is set for January 4.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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