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2019 Cannabis Election Updates

23 Nov 2018 10:14 AM | Miranda Weigler (Administrator)

The November Election - was terrific for Oregon's cannabis industry with six Oregon cities voting to legalize recreational cannabis businesses. Democrats won super-majorities in the House and Senate and we have strong supporters in party leadership positions. There are a lot of challenges before us but 2019 is looking really good for cannabis legislation in Oregon.

Additionally, Rep. Carl Wilson was elected as Minority Leader by the House Republicans.  Wilson served on the "Joint Committee" for its duration and understands the importance of cannabis to Oregon's Economy. With a Republican leader who understands the nuance to cannabis policy, we are in a strong position of achieving our goals.

1 in 4 Americans now lives in a state where cannabis is fully legal and 68% live in a state with medical cannabis. In total ten states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while 33 states allow medical marijuana. The real question now is not if but when states will go fully legally.

California - A recent decision in California Tax Court against Harborside Health Center may have impacts throughout the cannabis industry. The IRS successfully argued that the business was a for-profit entity and not entitled to deductions because of their status as a 280e business. This decision establishes a very narrow definition for Cost of Goods Sold. The decision may be appealed to the Ninth Circuit which covers Oregon. We will keep you updated on the issue as it unfolds. In the meantime, cannabis businesses might want to check-in with their accountants to find out how they could be affected. 

Connecticut - Governor Ned Lamott has indicated cannabis legalizationwill be among his top priorities in the 2019 session.

Massachusetts - Is now open for business with three recreational shopsnow open. Although, patients were asked to book a time to ease traffic concerns. Early sales have already produced $7m.

Michigan - Woo Hoo! With 56% of the vote, Michigan has joined The Legal Rec Club! The first state to do so in the Mid-West, the law took effect December 6 and allow citizens to cultivate, possess, and consume cannabis. Adults can cultivate up to 12 plants and possess up to 10 oz in their home. However, its expected they won't have licensed retail shops until 2020.  

Missouri - Voters overwhelmingly voted to legalize medical cannabis by 32% margin of victory. Lawmakers haven't missed a beat and have already introduced bills for full legalization and to block feds access to patient info.  

Nebraska - will bring a 2020 ballot measure to a vote for both medical and recreational use.

New York - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that he will push to legalize recreational cannabis in 2019 with a focus on redressing imbalances in criminal justice application.

North Dakota - Sadly rejected a ballot measure to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes. 

Rhode Island - is considering recreational cannabis as other New England states quickly evolve their policy. Opinions remain divided, with public safety and revenue the main considerations.  

South Carolina - Legislators have already pre-filed four pro-cannabis bills this week for decriminalization and to legalize medical cannabis.

Texas - Legislators have been busy filling twelve cannabis bills covering everything from decriminalization to a ballot measure for full legalization!  

Utah - Voters legalized medical cannabis with 53% but the State legislature is complicating the issue and the specifics of how legalization will unfold is still a major question.

State Cannabis legalization - Is definitely on a roll and picking up speed. The focus of the industry now needs to be on proactively shaping its policies and regulations.  We all must be politically engaged to ensure that we get the actual industry we want when everything is said and done.

If you want to help ORCA do just that please become a member and add your voice to the fight.  You can sign up in less than a minute and membership starts at just $35.00 a month.

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