Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
State legalization bills are the topic of the week. We return to South Dakota to see how a legalization bill is progressing (or not). Maryland also has a legalization bill moving through its legislature. Virginia’s bill on adult-use sales seems to have died. Rhode Island joins the legalization wave. And finally, South Park takes a look at the Colorado cannabis industry and social equity.
Things looked bleak for an adult-use cannabis bill in South Dakota, but never say never! All seemed lost when a House committee dismissed the bill early in the week. And then, using a procedure called (and I’m not making this up) a “smoke out,” the House resuscitated the bill! As I seem to say every time we discuss the Mount Rushmore State, further bulletins as events warrant.
Two bills are making their way through the Maryland legislature. One, HB 837, would legalize possession of marijuana by adults and allow home-grow. This bill would go into effect if the other passes. That’s HB 1, a legalization ballot measure for the November 2022 election. Both bills passed the state House late last week, with strong support, although largely on party lines. The bills now head to the Senate.
Oh, what a difference an election makes. Staying in the mid-Atlantic region, we see that Virginia has problems enacting its state sales legislation. A bill to open the state’s retail industry passed the Democratic-controlled Senate earlier this month, but has now died in the Republican-led House. Adjournment is a little over a week away, so it’s highly unlikely anything will happen this session.
Rhode Island is surrounded by states where marijuana is legal; could this be the year they join their neighbors? Lawmakers introduced bills to allow adult-use cannabis in both the House and the Senate this week. As we’ve seen over the years, that’s merely the first step in a long journey, but the prospects look good right now.
South Park has featured cannabis-themed plotlines for a while now; one of the characters owns a weed business. Recently, the show took a look at the Colorado market and the issue of racial equity in the industry. Showrunners have also announced that the fictional business, Tegridy Farms, will come out with actual cannabis products in the future.
Programming note: I’ll be on vacation next week, so the next issue of The Week in Weed will appear on March 18.
Until then, stay safe and be well everyone!