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AZ Bill Targets "Predatory" Moves on Social Equity Pot Licenses, NV First Weed Lounge Opens, More... (2/27/24)

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #1206)

A South Dakota bill would allow cops to investigate, search, and prosecute medical marijuana businesses; a Florida bill to cap THC content for adult use marijuana dies, and more.

Marijuana Policy

Las Vegas -- the next Amsterdam? (Creative Commons)
Arizona Bill Targets "Predatory" Tactics Toward Marijuana Social Equity Licensees. A bill that would give the state attorney general the ability to investigate claims of "predatory tactics to seize control of nearly all the lucrative licenses," Senate Bill 1262, has won two Senate committee votes and now awaits a floor vote in the upper chamber.

"The way this social equity license thing is supposed to work is that people that apply for it are supposed to maintain that 51% ownership," said bill sponsor and Senate Majority Leader Sonny Borrelli (R) "Technically, the people that are supposed to have a social equity license don't get it. The ones that do have the social equity license would not qualify for it in the first place."

The bill comes after the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting found that of 26 social equity licenses, only one licensee still owns the business and has opened a store, two have partnered with brands to open stores and have equity in their licenses, and 23 are owned by investors and corporations.

Because it amends a voter-approved initiative, to become law, the bill needs support from three-quarters of the votes in both the House and Senate.

Florida Bill to Cap Potency of Adult Use Marijuana Dies. A bill that would have set a cap on the potency of adult use if voters in the state choose to legalize it in November, Senate Bill 7050, is dead for this legislative session. The bill was sponsored by the Senate Health Policy Committee, which approved it earlier this month, but failed to get a hearing in the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee, whose last meeting was this morning.

Similar but not identical legislation, House Bill 1269, is poised for a House floor vote after making its way through various committees, but that effort is now moot. The House could pass the bill, and the Senate could take it up, but Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R) has said she wants a Senate committee to vet any House bills taken up, and at this late date in the session, there are no more Senate committee meetings scheduled that could hear the bill.

Nevada's First Marijuana Consumption Lounge Officially Opens. After years of rulemaking to allow a social consumption license, the state's first legal marijuana consumption lounge is officially open. The THRIVE Cannabis Marketplace in Las Vegas opened its doors to the public last Friday, with pro-marijuana Clark County Commission Chairman Tick Segerblom buying and toking up the first joint at 4:20pm.

"I have been waiting since the 60's for this day: legally smoking marijuana in public," Segerblom said. "Now Las Vegas is on its way to being the 'New Amsterdam' -- the marijuana capital of the world."

Regulators approved the first group of consumption lounge licenses in June but THRIVE is the first to open its doors.

"THRIVE has always been known for setting the bar for operational standards and quality cannabis experiences and we are thrilled to be at the forefront of this historic moment in Las Vegas as we continue to revolutionize the cannabis industry," said Mitch Britten, CEO of THRIVE.

Medical Marijuana

South Dakota Bill Would Strip Some Protections from Medical Marijuana Businesses. A bill that would allow law enforcement to inspect, search, and seize materials at medical marijuana businesses, as well as prosecute them, Senate Bill 71, has already passed the Senate, won approval in the House Health and Human Services Committee Tuesday, and is set for a House floor vote as soon as Wednesday.

Voters included protections for those businesses in the medical marijuana initiative they approved with 70 percent of the vote in 2020.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

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