Subscribe to email alerts

Cannabis Industry News 26/07/2019

State Lines: Cannabis Tracker – July 22


Our Cannabis Tracker is a biweekly rolling update on cannabis legislation in individual states. For an update on federal cannabis legislation, click here for the latest analysis from Cowen Financial Services Policy Analyst Jaret Seiberg. For more granular tobacco and cannabis industry news, click here for Cowen’s most recent Cigarette & Cannabis Circular.

What’s New and Noteworthy (Eric Assaraf – Cowen Washington Research Group)

  • A bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in Hawaii became law.
  • Ohio lawmakers sent a bill legalizing hemp and CBD to the desk of Gov. Mike DeWine (R).


On June 10, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) signed a substitute medical marijuana bill to further study the issue rather than legalize it. On May 8, a state House committee narrowly defeated a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Source: Marijuana Business Daily.

Analysis: Gov. Kay Ivey (R) has indicated she would consider signing a medical cannabis bill if it’s tightly controlled and limited.


Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) signed new regulations into law on March 12 that will allow Alaska residents to consume cannabis at licensed dispensaries later this year. Source: Marijuana Moment


On June 7, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed a bill (SB 1494) that requires product testing for contaminants under its medical marijuana program. Meanwhile, activists and cannabis businesses in the state are seeking to launch a campaign to get marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2020. Source: Phoenix News Times


On April 8, the Arkansas Senate unanimously passed a bill that seeks to limit the appeal of medical marijuana to children by adding restrictions to the manufacture and processing of edibles and regulating marijuana advertising. A House bill (HB 1972) was also introduced on April 1 that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Source: Miami Herald


On June 14, California’s Senate Health Committee approved a bill regulating CBD in food products. On May 21 the California Senate approved a bill to create a state-chartered bank to serve the marijuana industry. On May 13, hemp legalization and a number of cannabis bills involving banking, pets, transparency, and statewide delivery, cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee. Source: Marijuana Moment

Analysis: California currently follows FDA’s stance banning hemp-derived CBD in food and dietary supplements. The legislation would expressly permit the sale of hemp-derived CBD in foods, supplements, and topical applications.


On May 29, Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed bills allowing marijuana hospitality establishments and marijuana deliveries from licensed dispensaries. The governor also signed a bill opening the state’s cannabis industry to outside investors. Source: Colorado Sun


On June 4, state regulators accepted five new conditions for medical marijuana. On May 8, Connecticut lawmakers sent a bill to the governor’s desk allowing hemp cultivation. On May 1, the state Senate Finance Committee approved a bill legalizing recreational marijuana with associated taxes; however, the Senate President has indicated a floor vote will likely be pushed to a special session after June 5. Source: Hartford Courant

Analysis: Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has previously signaled support for marijuana legalization and would likely sign such a bill if it reaches his desk.


On June 5, the state’s House Revenue & Finance Committee cleared a recreational marijuana bill (HB 110) by an 8-3 vote, advancing it to the full chamber. The legislation would legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21 with a 15% tax at the point of sale. Source: Marijuana Moment

Analysis: A similar legalization bill failed in the House last year and Gov. John Carney (D) has expressed skepticism on such legalization.

District of Columbia

On May 2, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced she’s sending a bill to legalize recreational marijuana sales to the District Council. The plan is contingent upon congressional Democrats removing a rider blocking cannabis reform. Source: Forbes


On June 26, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a hemp and CBD regulation bill into law. The state’s House Appropriations Committee approved a bill to cap THC levels in medical marijuana at 10% on April 9. On March 18, Gov. DeSantis signed a bill that eliminates the state’s ban on smokable medical cannabis. Source: Miami Herald


On May 10, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed legislation that allows Georgia farmers to begin growing hemp. On April 17, the governor signed a bill into law that allows in-state production and sale of low-potency medical marijuana oil. Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution


On July 8, a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana became law. On May 1, the state Department of Health advised consumers and businesses on the illegality of cannabis-derived products including CBD. However, the effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Hawaii stalled after a legalization bill did not meet a March 1 deadline to be considered by the state Senate. Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser

Analysis: Hawaii’s legalization bill made it further than in past sessions, but the effort is now essentially shelved as a ballot initiative is not an option in Hawaii.


A bill that would create permits for interstate hemp shipments cleared the Senate on April 9 and the House on April 5. However, a separate bill to legalize industrial hemp appears doubtful as changes in the Senate version has caused some House members to withdraw their support. Source: Associated Press

Analysis: Gov. Brad Little (R) has signaled support for the hemp bills if amendments sought by law enforcement officials are approved.


On June 25, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill making Illinois the 11th state to legalize sale and use of recreational marijuana. Also awaiting the governor’s signature is a bill that would make medical marijuana permanently legal and would expand the list of qualifying conditions. Additionally, the state Senate cleared a bill on April 4 that would permit banking services for cannabis. Source: Herald & Review

Analysis: Illinois is the first state to legalize adult-use cannabis sales through legislation rather than a ballot measure.


On April 24, the state House cleared a bill (Senate Bill 516) legalizing industrial hemp. The measure now heads to governor’s desk where it is expected to be signed into law. Source: Indianapolis Star


On May 24, Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) vetoed a bill (House File 732) that would have expanded the state’s medical CBD program. On May 13, the governor signed a law enabling industrial hemp production. On April 1, the state Senate cleared a bipartisan bill that would reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana by a vote of 40-8. Source: The Gazette


On May 21, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed a bill allowing low-THC cannabis oil for life-threatening medical conditions. On April 15, the governor signed a bill into law allowing the cultivation of industrial hemp. Source: Pratt Tribune


On March 6, Kentucky’s House Judiciary Committee voted 16-1 to advance a bill that would legalize medical cannabis in the state. The bill, which has 43 co-sponsors out of the chamber’s 100 total members, would establish a medical cannabis program under a newly named Department for Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control. The bill now advances to the Rules Committee before it is forwarded to the floor for a full House vote. Source: Marijuana Moment


On June 18, Gov. Jon Bel Edwards (D) signed a bill allowing inhalation of medical marijuana. On June 6, the governor signed a hemp legalization bill that places a 3% excise tax on retail sales of industrial hemp and CBD products, in addition to sales taxes. More than a dozen other marijuana-related bills have been filed by Louisiana legislators for this year’s session. Among them, House Bill 509 by Rep. John Bagneris (D) would legalize adult-use recreational marijuana. Source: The News-Star

Analysis: Gov. Edwards has not shown support for legalization of recreational marijuana.


On June 28, Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill creating a framework for legal marijuana sales. On March 26, Gov. Mills signed a bill allowing CBD to be added to food products. As an emergency measure, the law goes into effect immediately. Source: Portland Press Herald


Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill into law legalizing edible medical-marijuana products on May 13. Source: Washington Post


On May 16, the state Cannabis Control Commission voted to approve a “social consumption” pilot program in up to a dozen Massachusetts cities and towns. State lawmakers would have to sign legislation for the pilot to move forward. Source: Boston Globe


On March 29, Michigan’s Bureau of Marijuana Regulation (BMR) and the Michigan Dept. of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) issued joint guidance regarding CBD (cannabidiol) and industrial hemp. The guidance follows FDA’s stance banning hemp-derived CBD in food and dietary supplements. Source:


On March 11, a Minnesota Senate committee rejected proposals to legalize marijuana and create a task force to study the issue. Source: MPR News


On May 15, the state House of Representatives gave final approval to an industrial hemp expansion bill, sending it to the governor’s desk for signing. On April 17, a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana failed in the Missouri House after it had previously cleared the House Special Committee on Criminal Justice. A separate bill limiting medical marijuana edibles cleared the state Senate on April 23. Source: Associated Press


On April 15, the state House Appropriations Committee cleared a bill to reform Montana’s medical marijuana law. Among the measures is a provision directing excess revenue to a special account to fund pain management education. Meanwhile, a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults over the age of 18 failed to advance a state House committee on March 28. Source: Associated Press


On May 30, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed a bill permitting cultivation of industrial hemp. On May 10, the Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee cleared a medical marijuana bill by a vote of 5-1, advancing it to the full Legislature. Source: Associated Press

Analysis: The Nebraska Legislature and Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) have historically opposed medical marijuana programs, so a ballot initiative may stand a better chance.


On June 6, Gov. Steve Sisloak (D) signed a bill creating a pilot program for marijuana banking and disallowing employers from refusing job applicants with failed marijuana tests. On May, 1 the Las Vegas City Council voted 4-1 to approve new licenses for marijuana consumption lounges, which must be at least 1,000 feet from casinos, schools, and churches. Source: Daily Mail

New Hampshire

On June 26, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) vetoed a bill to let cannabis dispensaries operate as for-profit companies, but signed a bill allowing physician assistants to recommend medical cannabis. On June 16, state lawmakers advanced a number of marijuana bills to the governor’s desk including home cultivation of medical marijuana. On May 30, the state Senate voted to delay action on recreational marijuana until late December or early next year. Source: Associated Press

Analysis: While Gov. Chris Sununu (R) has vowed to veto recreational cannabis legalization, House Speaker Steve Shurtleff (D) feels there is enough support in the House to override a veto.

New Jersey

On July 2, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed legislation expanding the state’s medical cannabis program. On May 20, an Assembly committee cleared a bill to decriminalize marijuana. On May 15, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (D) announced that the legislature was unable to work out differences on a recreational marijuana legalization bill, likely moving the issue to the state’s 2020 ballot. Source: Marijuana Moment

New Mexico

On April 1, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed legislation (House Bill 581) that clears a path for legal hemp production. Meanwhile, New Mexico’s House of Representatives narrowly passed a recreational marijuana bill (House Bill 356) on March 7 by a margin of 36-34, with significant modifications. The bill also passed out of the first Senate committee on March 9 but stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. However, a bill to decriminalize marijuana was signed into law. Source: Albuquerque Journal

Analysis: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) supported legalization of marijuana during her gubernatorial campaign, though it appears that the measure will likely have to wait until the 2020 legislative session.

New York

On June 21, state lawmakers sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) a bill to expand marijuana decriminalization, while the Senate approved hemp legislation. The New York Senate and Assembly previously included Gov. Cuomo’s marijuana legalization proposal in their budget bills on March 12; however, the legalization proposal wasn’t included in Cuomo’s budget on April 1. Source: Forbes

North Carolina

On June 18, the North Carolina Senate passed agricultural legislation containing hemp provisions. On May 30, the state’s Senate Agriculture Committee amended a bill to delay a ban on smokable hemp until Dec. 1, 2020. On April 17, four state representatives filed a bill (HB 766), which would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Another bill filed in March (HB 401) would legalize medical marijuana in the state. Source: High Times

North Dakota

On May 2, Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed a bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana. The governor also signed two bills on April 23 – one removing a requirement that health providers certify that medical marijuana will help a patient and instead certify there is a qualifying condition. Another bill adds a dozen qualifying conditions, including autism, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety disorder, and migraines. On March 25, North Dakota’s Senate joined the House in approving a bill to regulate hemp production. Source: Inforum


On July 17, the Ohio House of Representatives sent to the governor’s desk a bill (SB 57) that sets up a framework for regulating hemp in light of the state’s recent crackdown on CBD. The state Senate previously cleared the bill with a unanimous vote. Source:


On May 15, Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a bill allowing the sale of hemp-derived CBD. On May 7, the governor signed legislation expanding the pool of physicians able to recommend marijuana licenses. Source: The Oklahoman


On June 11, the Oregon House cleared a bill that would allow interstate transfer of marijuana, but would require federal action before going into effect. On April 29, the state Senate cleared a bill to freeze Oregon’s marijuana production at current levels for two years. Source: Marijuana Moment


On March 18, state Sens. Daylin Leach (D) and Sharif Street (D) introduced a bill (Senate Bill 350) that would allow recreational use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, possession of six marijuana plants, home delivery of marijuana, and on-site cannabis use businesses. Source: CBS Pittsburgh

Analysis: Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has shown lukewarm support for recreational marijuana, but the bigger obstacle is the Republican state legislature, in which the Senate leader has opposed the effort.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees and House Finance Committee held hearings on legalization of recreational marijuana during the week of March 18. Source: Providence Journal

Analysis: While Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) included legalizing recreational marijuana in her budget plan, there still appears to be considerable pushback in the legislature.

South Carolina

On March 20, a Senate subcommittee passed the “Compassionate Care Act,” which would legalize medical marijuana by a vote of 5-1. The bill, authored by Sen. Tom Davis (R), made it to the House and Senate floor last year, but wasn’t debated before the end of the legislative session. On March 28, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed a bill into law expanding the state’s hemp program. Source: Associated Press

Analysis: While polling in South Carolina shows strong support for medical marijuana, passage of the Compassionate Care Act seems doubtful this year after missing a key deadline on April 10.

South Dakota

On March 13, Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who previously vetoed a hemp legalization bill, expressed openness to revisiting the issue after the USDA issues guidelines in fall 2019. In the meantime, state AG Jason Ravnsborg issued a statement on March 25 that industrial hemp and CBD remain illegal in the state. Source: Capital Journal


On March 27, Tennessee’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee reviewed a bill (SB260/HB234) that would allow possession of medical marijuana for valid cardholders in other states. A similar bill (SB256/HB235), seeks to decriminalize marijuana possession of less than one ounce. However, state lawmakers have apparently delayed all medical marijuana bills until 2020. Source: Tennessean


On June 10, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill allowing the production and regulation of industrial hemp and legalizing CBD. On May 24, the Texas House advanced a bill (HB 3703) to the governor’s desk expanding the state’s medical marijuana program for additional medical conditions. On April 28, the state House approved a bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. Source: Texas Tribune

Analysis: Texas’ legislative sessions only occur every other year (last session ended May 27) and the governor hasn’t shown much support for expanding medical cannabis in the state, though he is open to decriminalization. Additionally, as the Senate’s presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) can single-handedly block any bill from a vote in the chamber.


On May 2, the state House cleared a bill to tax and regulate recreational marijuana sales (current law allows low-level possession and home cultivation). The bill next heads to the state’s House Ways and Means Committee before heading to the House floor. Vermont’s Senate passed a similar bill on Feb. 27. Source: Cannabis Dispensary Magazine

Analysis: The Senate bill passed with a veto-proof majority (23-5), but faces a steeper climb in the House.


A bill signed by Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in late March expands Virginia’s medical marijuana program by allowing a range of different cannabis products including CBD and enabling nurse practitioners and physician assistants to distribute certifications. The Virginia Board of Pharmacy has given conditional approval for five dispensary-style pharmacies in the state. Source: WTVR


On April 15, the state Senate passed a bill legalizing industrial hemp. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee (D), where it is expected to be signed into law.

West Virginia

On March 26, Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed into law House Bill 2538, which “allows the State Treasurer to select, by competitive bid, one or more financial institutions to provide banking services for the fees, penalties, and taxes collected in association with West Virginia’s medical cannabis program.” Source: Marijuana Moment


On May 9, Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) budget proposal was rejected by the state Legislature’s joint finance committee by a vote of 11-4. The proposed budget would decriminalize possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana and allow recreational use. It also proposes legalization of marijuana for medical use for a wide range of health conditions. Source: Marijuana Moment

Analysis: Although there is some bipartisan support for Evers’ cannabis proposals, Republicans maintain control of both houses of the Wisconsin legislature and hold a 2-to-1 margin in the Assembly.

Cannabis Legalization Summary

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image006-1.png

Source: Cowen and Company

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image007.png

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image008.png

Any portion of this report prepared by a member of Cowen Washington Research Group is intended as commentary on political, economic or market conditions and is not intended as a research report as defined by applicable regulation.

Back to News

Related Articles

Cannabis Industry News

Recreational Marijuana Insights and Opportunities Report

14/06/2019 Read more
Cannabis Industry News

A society in transition, an industry ready to bloom – 2018 cannabis report

14/06/2019 Read more
Cannabis Industry News

Nurturing new growth Canada gets ready for Cannabis 2.0

14/06/2019 Read more
Cannabis Industry News

PwC Canada cannabis series: points of view on the cannabis industry in Canada

05/07/2019 Read more


Subscribe to email alerts