Who’s going to be the next state following New Mexico and New Jersey to take action and legalize medical or adult-use cannabis? There are more candidates than you may think, with legislative actions being scheduled to take place before year-end. As a whole, this amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars in new business opportunities. Here’s a summary:
SOUTH CAROLINA: While it’s been seven years since the subject was first broached in the legislature, the time may have finally come for a baby step into medical cannabis. The Senate passed a bill that is rife with restrictions, and the House is getting ready to vote on an amended bill. Only oils, salves, patches and vaporizers would be allowed, and a limited number of “therapeutic cannabis pharmacies” would be licensed. But it’s a start.
RHODE ISLAND: Recreational adult-use cannabis is on the table, with identical bills in both the Senate and House thanks to a negotiated agreement. Existing medical cannabis cultivators would be utilized, and new retail licenses would include social equity applicants and worker‑owned cooperatives. Governor Dan McKee has included his own similar recreational cannabis proposal as part of his 2023 budget.
DELAWARE: With a prior bill failing in the House by only two votes, adult-use legalization is back again with a new House bill to provide 30 retail licenses, 30 processor licenses and 60 cultivation licenses; existing medical cannabis operators would be able to apply. A portion would be reserved for social equity and microbusiness applicants. Activists are very hopeful about getting a measure passed in 2022.
NORTH CAROLINA: A Senate bill allowing medical cannabis in the state, the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, is expected to move out of committee and onto the floor this year. There would issue 10 medical licenses, with each holder able to open up to four dispensaries.
KANSAS: Medical cannabis legislation has been introduced in the Senate, but is yet to come up for a vote. The bill is supported by Governor Laura Kelly.
MINNESOTA: The House passed a recreational legalization bill in 2021, but the Senate has yet to take action. Progress is expected before year end.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: The House recently passed a somewhat restrictive recreational cannabis bill that would allow for adult-use sales only at stores run by the state Liquor Commission. The bill has been sent forward to the Senate.
PENNSYLVANIA: It’s worth noting that while no adult-use legislation has yet been introduced, Governor Tom Wolf is running out of patience — as sales have begun in neighboring New Jersey. As he recently tweeted, “Pennsylvania is ready and waiting … let’s get it done.” So recreational cannabis is most definitely on his front burner.