Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana. This week, there’s been a lot of activity in New York as regards cannabis regulation. New Hampshire’s Senate has taken up a cannabis legalization bill. Minnesota’s Legal Marijuana Now party is no longer a major party in the state. Ohio could start adult-use sales this summer. And finally, Steven Van Zandt has launched a marijuana brand.

NEW YORK

When New York legalized adult-use cannabis, many in the industry thought the state would become a major market, with many dispensaries and lots of tax dollars flowing into state coffers. Well, it hasn’t worked out exactly that way, as regular readers know. The latest twist in the story is that Governor Kathy Hochul (D) has decided a major shake-up of the state’s Office of Cannabis Management is warranted. And the staff changes aren’t limited to a few people at the bottom of organizational chart. Executive Director Chris Alexander will step down at the end of his three-year term in September. While no one would argue that change isn’t needed, the decision to oust Alexander has not been without its critics. The Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition strongly opposes this move.

The fact that the head of one of the state’s few Black-led agencies has been scapegoated for all the challenges identified in the OGS report is unconscionable.

Shekia Scott & Cat Packer, Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition

NEW HAMPSHIRE

“Live free or die” is New Hampshire‘s state motto, and you see it proudly displayed throughout the state. One thing you’re not free to do there is use cannabis, except for medical purposes. Alone among states from Maine to New Jersey, there is no adult-use market. Some in the state legislature are seeking to change that, and a legalization bill is currently under debate in the state Senate. An amendment to bring the proposal more in line with what Governor Chris Sununu (R) would like to see is the latest action. Will 2024 be the year that prohibition falls? Possibly…

MINNESOTA

Minnesota’s Legal Marijuana Now party has lost its “major party” status. This is probably not surprising, considering that the state has, well, legal marijuana now. What this means as a practical matter is that the party’s candidates will no longer have automatic ballot access. If their candidates wish to remain on the November ballot, they’ll need to collect signatures. The party says they’ll appeal the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

OHIO

Ohio could see adult-sales of cannabis as early as next month. Regulators are putting the finishing touches on rules that would allow medical dispensaries to open to the general public. Turnaround time for dual license approvals is expected to be quick, and stores are gearing up for an influx of new customers.

AND FINALLY

Steven Van Zandt, founding member of the E Street Band and co-star of The Sopranos, is adding cannabis entrepreneur to his list of accomplishments. Silvio’s Stash is the name of the brand, trading off the name of Van Zandt’s Sopranos character. The brand will be available at Michigan dispensaries in limited quantities.

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