Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana. This week, we check in on the New York dispensary situation. We see that Kentucky has set up a lottery to distribute medical marijuana licenses. We note Rep. Blumenauer’s prediction about cannabis re-scheduling. And finally, you know a holiday has hit the big time when it’s been commercialized by big business.

NEW YORK

As regular readers know, New York’s cannabis rollout has been a bit bumpy. There are very few licensed dispensaries and innumerable unlicensed ones. This has been frustrating for officials, including for Governor Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D). The state has been trying to get the situation under control, but to no avail. In part, this is due to an appeals process that allows businesses to continue operating while under investigation. Now, however, the padlocks are coming out. A new plan, which is part of the state’s budget, would allow cannabis authorities to shut down businesses immediately if they are found to be selling marijuana illegally. In addition, landlords can face penalties if they fail to evict tenants who are violating the law. Will this shut down the illicit market? We’ll keep you posted.

KENTUCKY

About a year ago, Kentucky legalized medical marijuana. Now, the state has announced that it will hold a licensing lottery in July of this year. This puts the state on track to open their marketplace in 2025. That marketplace will be tightly controlled, with a limited number of conditions eligible for cannabis treatment, and constraints on how cannabis can be ingested (spoiler alert: no smoking). Outdoor grows are also prohibited, which may make it very hard for the state’s hemp farmers to participate.

RE-SCHEDULING PREDICTION

As Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-CO) spends his last few months in Congress, he has a prediction concerning cannabis re-scheduling.

This is the year that I think we can break the federal logjam. One thing is certain: This is the last 4/20 celebration that cannabis will be on Schedule I.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-CO)

How did the Representative spend the 4/20 holiday this year?

Every day is like 4/20, but unfortunately I’m here voting in our nation’s capital so it takes a little bit of the edge off.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-CO)

AND FINALLY

Since at least 1965, when Charlie Brown bemoaned the commercialization of Christmas, businesses have sought to profit from major holidays. It seems that 4/20 is no different. Marijuana Moment has a nice rundown on all the deals surrounding this year’s celebration.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week.