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New Hampshire says no to legalization — for now

Plus, the AMA supports decriminalization

Friday, June 14, 2024

Good morning.

Yesterday, our friends in the Live Free or Die state couldn’t get legalization over the finish line. But as the only hold out in New England, it’s not if it will happen, but when.

Let’s get to it for the end of the week.

-CB & JR

This newsletter is 1134 words or about an 7-minute read.

💡What’s the big deal?

Live free, but the bill died

Driving the news: New Hampshire will remain — for now — the lone non-legal cannabis state in New England after a “compromise bill” died on the House floor yesterday

Rewind: Adult-use cannabis is legal in five of New England’s six states. As the lone hold-out, New Hampshire is the outlier, instead preferring to see valuable tax dollars from cannabis sales going to out-of-state purchases. 

A bipartisan bill was introduced in the New Hampshire House earlier this year with broad support. When it was introduced, one of the bill’s primary co-sponsors, Democrat Anita Burroughs, told Cultivated Live that they’re seeing, “...a conga line of cars going over the border everyday to get product...” 

The House bill was written to have a market-driven approach to legalization in New Hampshire versus the state-controlled model that the state’s Senate and governor support.

But: But New Hampshire politics can be rough and tumble. 

The lame duck governor, Republican Chris Sununu, voiced his unmovable desire to have New Hampshire run cannabis like they run alcohol sales — with tight and direct state control

And the Republican-led Senate took the governor’s lead. They passed a legalization bill much to the governor’s liking, and a compromise bill was sent back to the House.

And then the House said no to the compromise bill.

What they’re saying: The Executive Director of the ACLU in New Hampshire Devon Chaffee spoke about the impacts of continued prohibition in New Hampshire. “Marijuana legalization is not just a political squabble about the economic benefits…The war on marijuana has real-life impacts.

What’s next? Which brings us back to where we started the year: New Hampshire will remain — for now — the lone non-legal cannabis state in New England. 

Until next year New Hampshire cannabis friends.


💬 Quote of the day

“It’s not just the cost of doing business anymore. They’re going to feel this,” Sheriff Anthony Miranda told the New York Times in an interview talking about New York City’s crackdown on unlicensed cannabis shops.  

In the past, unlicensed cannabis stores could reopen within hours of being shut down while authorities went to get court orders to close the shop indefinitely. 

However, the Sheriff’s Office now has the power to close shops immediately for up to a year by declaring them an “imminent threat to the public,” cutting off the income previously used to absorb the cost of the violations. 

While some shops evade enforcement by warning one other of the presence of inspectors or shifting to delivery services, many have stopped selling cannabis or shut down altogether. 

The city closed 311 stores, seized $10.4 million in product and issued $23.4 million in fines between May 7 and June 3. 

However, critics argue authorities are violating constitutional rights by shutting down businesses before the court can hear the case.

You should really listen to your doctor

What happened: The American Medical Association (AMA) formally endorsed the decriminalization of drug possession for personal use at its annual House of Delegates meeting in Chicago, where AMA delegates voted 345-171 in favor of the proposal. 

Speakers at the meeting highlighted the failure of the long-standing "war on drugs" and emphasized the need for new strategies that effectively address substance use issues. 

"We have tried for decades to criminalize our way out of a substance use crisis in this country, and it has not worked ... We need to move to something different and better, something that actually works,” said Ryan Englander, an MD/PhD candidate from Hartford, Connecticut, speaking on behalf of the New England delegation.

Rewind: The delegates originally backed the AMA Board of Trustees report which suggested continuing to monitor the legal and public health effects of reclassifying drug possession offenses rather than endorsing outright decriminalization. 

Why it matters: The AMA’s stance is part of a broader push for evolving drug policy reforms: advocating for psychedelics research, opposing the criminalization of kratom, supporting equal sentencing for crack and powder cocaine, and continuing cannabis metabolites testing in employment contexts. The AMA also supports expunging past convictions in states where cannabis is legal.

The proposal reflects a growing recognition within the medical community of the need to shift from punitive measures to more supportive, health-oriented interventions in drug policy.


Quick hits

Pennsylvania lawmakers are intensifying efforts to pass a legalization bill, with a strong focus on social justice. Rep. Chris Rabb stressed that successful legalization must address the historical racial injustices associated with cannabis prohibition. Sen. Sharif Street emphasized the importance of expunging past cannabis convictions and ensuring that marginalized groups have opportunities in the emerging industry. Read more

Vermont’s medical cannabis program is expanding to allow retail stores to sell medical cannabis, which can be higher in potency and exempt from sales tax. This law passed without Governor Phil Scott's signature and addresses issues of accessibility, according to Vermont Public.

Retail and wholesale prices for adult-use marijuana in Ohio are initially expected to be higher than medical cannabis. This anticipated price increase is due to early low supply and high demand. Prices should stabilize after a year once supply increases. Read more.

📊 Chart of the day

At the New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) board meeting on Tuesday, the CCB reported that cannabis sales will reach $200 million in June 2024, well-exceeding 2023’s totals. 

🤝🏻 Deals, partnerships, launches

Indiva Limited faces financial difficulties and has sought legal protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) to restructure its business. Indiva aims to stabilize and reorganize its financial affairs, potentially by selling major parts of its business. Read more.

High Tide Inc. secured a $15 million loan to pay off existing debts and fund its expansion, including opening new Canna Cabana stores across Canada. CEO Raj Grover said the company is “underleveraged” given its low debt-to-income ratio and believes this financing reflects confidence in High Tide amidst the industry's challenges. Read more.

📰 What we’re reading

Michigan Cannabis Sales Slow Again | New Cannabis Ventures

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