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💰 Show Missouri courts the money (for expungements)

The Show Me State can’t stop/won’t stop cannabis expungements

TGIF Cultivated readers.

Sometimes there’s a bright spot on the cannabis landscape. Today that bright spot comes from Missouri, where expungements are happening at such a pace that the courts need more money.

Enjoy the weekend.

A 5.5 minute read from JB and JR

💡What’s the big deal?

Missouri is expunging so many cannabis records, courts need more money

Driving the news: Part of Missouri’s 2022 successful vote for legalization was the expungement of thousands and thousands of cannabis-related criminal records. This tracks with many other jurisdictions’ attempts to right the wrongs of the failed War on Drugs. 

Similarly, President Biden has initiated the pardoning of those charged with non-violent federal cannabis offenses. 

What’s the issue? Missouri’s program has been wildly successful. The state has expunged the records of over 100,000 individuals previously convicted of cannabis-related crimes.

While that’s great news for cannabis justice, it appears to be blowing a hole in court budgets in Missouri. 

What’s next: The Missouri legislature needs to show courts the money to make Missouri the model for cannabis expungements in legal jurisdictions.

🥊 Quick hits

The American Nurses Association applauded the HHS’s recommendation to move cannabis to Schedule III.

Canopy Growth announces a $35 million private placement.

Plans evolving for 4/20 advocacy push during Cherry Blossom season

What’s happening? With the conversation around rescheduling and SAFER Banking happening in the midst of a federal election, Last Prisoner Project has announced a pre-4/20 event in DC to rally the cannabis troops to push for change.

The details: Known as the 420 Unity Day of Action, LPP notes the goal of the bi-partisan rally is:  “...to put public pressure on Congress and the President to take action on the full descheduling of cannabis and the necessary retroactive relief measures.” 

Who else?: LPP is pulling in all the big guns - and not everyone on their list sees eye-to-eye on key federal policies. 

According to their press release, other participating groups include: Marijuana Justice Coalition (MJC), the Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) Reason Foundation, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, National Cannabis Festival, National Craft Cannabis Coalition, National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA), Indigenous Cannabis Industry Association (ICIA), Asian Cannabis Roundtable, and National Association of Black Cannabis Lawyers (NABCL).

Wisconsin is following Minnesota’s lead. Or are they?

What’s happening?: The stars seem to be aligned for Wisconsin to legalize cannabis in some form or fashion. Voters want it. The Democratic Governor wants it. Wisconsin Republicans seem to understand they need to move, too. 

This month, Republicans put forward a restrictive medical cannabis plan of action they say is modelled after Minnesota’s medical cannabis plan. (Recall that Minnesota is in the process of figuring out their adult-use roll-out.)

Calling in expert: While Wisconsin legislators say that their proposal is based on Minnesota’s, Jason Tarasek – an expert in both Minnesota’s cannabis laws and what is being proposed in Wisconsin – shared his thoughts with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

(Tarasek also shared his thoughts with us during Cultivated Live from Las Vegas recently.)

WI vs. MN: Compared to Minnesota’s medical program, Wisconsin has fewer medical conditions where cannabis can be authorized. Unlike Minnesota’s medical plan, Wisconsin’s proposed plan does not include dry flower for patients. Minnesota has privately-owned and operated medical cannabis dispensaries, whereas Wisconsin’s proposed plan includes five state-run dispensaries. 

What’s next? Wisconsin needs to figure out its path forward. The five state-run dispensaries do not appear to have full Republican support. While the governor has indicated he would support an incremental approach, where does he draw the line with such a slow-go approach? 

Also, Wisconsinites can already buy legal cannabis in neighboring Illinois and Michigan and soon-ish in Minnesota, so the clock is ticking to put a viable Badger cannabis plan in place.

🎒 What we’re reading

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