The governor of California unveiled an updated budget proposal on Friday that calls for the elimination of the state’s marijuana cultivation tax and revised cannabis tax revenue allocations.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) May revised budget would take steps intended to combat the illicit market and make the legal industry more competitive, in large part by zeroing out the cultivation tax that marijuana businesses currently incur.
It’s a move that stakeholders have been pushing for, especially as businesses have struggled to keep up with rising inflation and reduced demand compared to peak coronavirus pandemic levels. The governor emphasized on Friday that he was specifically committed to exploring ways to minimize the influence of illicit growers and sellers on undercutting legal, licensed businesses.
And while one might assume that removing the cultivation tax would hamper revenue streams for the state, a recent analysis from the Reason Foundation actually found that monthly tax revenue would increase by 123 percent by 2024 if the policy change was enacted.
Eliminating the cultivation tax would allow farmers and licensed cannabis retailers to lower prices, making California’s legal marijuana market fare more competitive with illicit markets. https://t.co/817c6Oj0Nr
— Reason Foundation (@ReasonFdn) May 13, 2022
The report said that ending the cultivation tax would mean lower costs for consumers and, therefore, increased legal purchases that would more than offset any revenue losses over time.
Newsom’s proposal on its own isn’t binding, however. It would need to pass the legislature with at least a two-thirds majority in order to be implemented.
*proposed to eliminate the cultivation tax*.
2/3 of the California Legislature has to approve this proposal so time to turn your attention, energy and advocacy to them.
— Nicole Elliott (@NicoleElliottCA) May 13, 2022
“We’ve been working very closely with legislative leaders, and we’ve made tremendous progress,” the governor said at a briefing on Friday. “We haven’t finalized any of that, so I want to be careful not to disrupt that progress.”
The revised budget also includes updated estimates on tax revenue allocations for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The state is expecting to distribute $401.8 million for education, youth substance misuse treatment and school retention; $133.9 million for environmental clean-up and remediation related to illicit cannabis manufacturing and $133.9 million for law enforcement purposes.
“These figures reflect a total increase of $74.7 million compared to the Governor’s Budget estimate,” the revised budget summary says. “These estimates also reflect the proposed statutory changes to restructure the cannabis tax framework and maintain a baseline level of funding for this allocation.”
Separately, the governor’s plan would involve shifting “the point of collection and remittance for excise tax from distribution to retail on January 1, 2023,” while maintaining the 15 percent excise tax rate on marijuana sales.
The budget further calls for the creation of a one-time “cannabis local jurisdiction retail access grant program” to support the development and implementation of local retail licensing efforts. The $20.5 million for that program would come out of the state general fund. Localities that license equity applicants could receive additional funding.
Newsom said the goal of the initiative is “addressing the persistent issue that is exactly what we anticipated would be a persistent issue—and that’s dealing with the black market, going after the illegal growers and the illegal operators.”
“This is beginning of a process,” he said. “From my humble perspective, in terms of my thinking, this will be a multi-year process to get that black market, get it on the retreat—not the ascendancy—and to get the retail and responsible adult-use market on steady ground.”
Meanwhile, California officials announced in January that the state had awarded $100 million in funding to help develop local marijuana markets, in part by getting cannabis businesses fully licensed.
The state Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) distributed the funds to 17 cities and counties where there are a disproportionate number of provisional marijuana licenses, rather than full-year licenses. The department first announced that applications for the Local Jurisdiction Assistance Grant Program had opened in October.
Also last year, the state said it was awarding about $29 million in grants to 58 nonprofit organizations, with the intent of righting the wrongs of the war on drugs. The funding is being provided through the California Community Reinvestment Grants (CalCRG) program.
Grants are being awarded to qualifying nonprofits to support programs aimed at providing job placement, mental health treatment, substance misuse treatment and legal services for disproportionately impacted communities. The program was first announced in April 2020, and applications for those grants were initially opened in September 2020.
Officials with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife also said last year that they were soliciting concept proposals for a cannabis tax-funded program aimed at helping small marijuana cultivators with environmental clean-up and restoration efforts.
Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.
More Than 6 In 10 Missouri Adults Support Legalizing Cannabis As Initiative Heads Toward Ballot, New Poll Says
With cannabis legalization on track to be on Missouri’s November ballot, a newly released poll indicates strong support in the state. Of those surveyed, 62 percent said they support legalizing marijuana, while 25 percent said the drug should remain illegal. Another 13 percent said they weren’t sure.
Support for legalization was strong across party lines. Though majorities of Democrats and independents have long favored the policy change more than Republicans, the new poll also that more GOP voters support legalization (49 percent) than oppose it (38 percent).
The survey comes on the heels of activists at Legal Missouri 2022 earlier this month turning in what they said are more the double the required number of signatures needed to qualify a legalization initiative. Provided the signatures are validated by elections officials, the measure would go before voters in November.
The new SurveyUSA poll, conducted on behalf of TV stations across the state between May 11 and May 15, asked 2,175 Missouri adults questions about various policy issues, including law enforcement and public schools.
Across nearly every demographic group—including race, gender, age and party identification—more respondents favored legalization than opposed it.
On aggregate, a greater proportion of men (66 percent) than women (58 percent) said they support legalizing marijuana. Younger respondents, such as those in the 18-34 and 35-49 age groups (both of had 71 percent support) were also more likely to favor the policy change than older groups in the 50-64 (59 percent) or 65+ (46 percent) age groups.
Black and white respondents showed near-equal levels of support for legalization, at 62 percent, but white people also were more likely than Black respondents to say cannabis should remain illegal (27 percent and 14 percent, respectively). Among people who said they belong to another racial group, 57 percent favored legalization, 19 percent opposed it, and 24 percent—more than any other group—said they weren’t sure.
Strong majorities of Democrats (76 percent) and independents (66 percent) also said marijuana should be legal. By contrast, only 49 percent of Republicans said they support legalization—but that’s still more than the 38 percent of Republicans who oppose it. And 13 percent of GOP respondents remain undecided.
The only groups that had more people opposing legalization than in favor were those who identified as “very conservative” or who said abortion should always be illegal.
The campaign manager for the adult-use legalization push, John Payne, previously led the successful 2018 ballot effort in Missouri to legalize medical cannabis. If Legal Missouri 2022’s proposal becomes law, it would allow all adults 21 and over to possess and consume cannabis.
Here’s what Legal Missouri 2022’s reform initiative would accomplish:
Adults 21 and older could purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis.
They could also grow up to six flowering marijuana plants, six immature plants and six clones if they obtain a registration card.
The initiative would impose a six percent tax on recreational cannabis sales and use revenue to facilitate automatic expungements for people with certain non-violent marijuana offenses on their records.
Remaining revenue would go toward veterans’ healthcare, substance misuse treatment and the state’s public defender system.
The Department of Health and Senior Services would be responsible for regulating the program and issuing licenses for cannabis businesses.
Regulators would be required to issue at least 144 microbusiness licenses through a lottery system, with priority given to low-income applicants and people who have been disproportionately impacted by drug criminalization.
Existing medical marijuana dispensaries would also be first in line to start serving adult consumers with dual licenses.
Regulators could create rules around advertising, but they could not be any more stringent than existing restrictions on alcohol marketing.
Public consumption, driving under the influence of cannabis and underage marijuana use would be explicitly prohibited.
A seed-to-sale tracking system would be established for the marijuana market.
Local jurisdictions would be able to opt out of permitting cannabis microbusinesses or retailers from operating in their area if voters approve the ban at the ballot.
The measure would further codify employment protections for medical cannabis patients.
Medical marijuana cards would be valid for three years at a time, instead of one. And caregivers would be able to serve double the number of patients.
Legal Missouri 2022’s initiative is backed by the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association as well as ACLU of Missouri; St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County chapters of the NAACP; NORML chapters in the state and Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. However, certain advocates and stakeholders have pushed back against the campaign.
Some advocates and stakeholders have raised concerns about the largely industry-funded proposal and pushed for legislative reform instead, like a legalization bill from Rep. Ron Hicks (R). That measure moved through the committee process, but failed to advance to a floor vote before the session adjourned on May 13.
Critics of the proposed initiative say its lack of language specifically prohibiting a licensing cap on businesses means that any market that emerges will be neither open nor competitive. Some have also raised concerns about the measure’s provisions to give medical cannabis dispensaries a head start in serving the adult-use market.
While Legal Missouri 2022’s measure appears to be headed for the ballot, those advocates aren’t the only ones who’ve called for legalization be decided by voters. Rep. Shamed Dogan (R) also introduced a GOP-led joint resolution this session that sought to put the matter on the state ballot. That measure cleared a House committee as well but did not see floor action.
A different campaign, Fair Access Missouri, separately explored multiple citizen initiatives this year with the hopes of getting at least one on the ballot.
Also this year, Republican Rep. Jason Chipman (R) filed a joint resolution this session that would let voters require additional oversight over how medical cannabis tax revenue is distributed to veterans. And another state lawmaker filed a bill late in February to decriminalize a range of drugs including marijuana, psilocybin, LSD, MDMA and cocaine.
In March, a Missouri House committee held a hearing on a GOP-led bill to legalize a wide range of psychedelics for therapeutic use at designated care facilities while further decriminalizing low-level possession in general.
Nearly 1 in 10 jobs that created in Missouri last year came from the state’s medical marijuana industry, according to an analysis of state labor data that was released by a trade group last month.
Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan
Just Announced – High Times Cannabis Cup Alaska: People’s Choice Edition 2022
The High Times People’s Choice competition has been accepted with open arms across the country in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Oklahoma, Oregon, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, and Southern California, and now we’re proud to announce that our newest cannabis cup competition will be uniting the many unique products in Alaska! The state is already home to a burgeoning cannabis industry, and it’s a verifiable gold rush of unique products to experience.
Products can be submitted for consideration at Enlighten in Anchorage, Alaska between August 10-12. Kits will be sold starting on August 27 (first come, first serve availability). Judges will have until October 9 to check out and review everything Alaska cannabis companies have to offer, and the winners of the cup will be announced on October 16 through a digital awards show.
For those who want to submit their products for competition, one entry is set at $250, and two entries will be $100 each—both of which are non-refundable. However, three or more entries is $100 each and refundable when all entries are successfully submitted.
High Times Cannabis Cup Alaska: People’s Choice Edition 2022 will feature 10 categories: Indica Flower (28 total slots available; maximum three entries per company), Sativa Flower (28 total slots available; three per company), Hybrid Flower (28 total slots available; three per company), NON-Infused Pre-Rolls (14 total slots available; two per company), Infused Pre-Rolls and Infused Flower (14 total slots available; two per company), Concentrates (14 total slots available; two per company), Vape Pens & Cartridges (14 total slots available; one per company), Edibles: Gummies (28 total slots available; three per company), Edibles: Non-Gummies (28 total slots available; three per company), and Topicals + Tinctures + Capsules (11 total slots available; two per company).
But of course, there are certain requirements to keep in mind for all submission categories. Flower must be submitted as one gram in weight as individually packaged and labeled units (we will not accept any 3.5 gram submissions). Pre-rolls should be individually packaged and labeled, with non-infused pre-rolls capped at a 2g flower-equivalency each. Infused pre-rolls and infused flower should also be individually packaged and labeled, with infused products being capped at 1 gram net weight and a maximum of 400mg THC each. Concentrates and Vape Pens must be .5 grams, each individually packaged and labeled (no 1 gram units will be accepted) and batteries are required for carts. Finally, Edibles should be individually packaged and labeled, and contain no more than 50mg of THC (100mg THC entries will not be accepted).
Once the judges have submitted their feedback, we’ll announce the first place winners that have earned themselves the renowned High Times Cannabis Cup trophy—an honorable award that proves that their product rises above the rest of the competition. The trophy, which was designed by Alex and Allyson Grey, is made of zinc and 24K gold plating. First place winners will also be given a full page advertisement in High Times magazine, a complete report of the competition scores and comment feedback, winner decals to place on your product packaging, a mention in our online article featuring the winners of the High Times Cannabis Cup Alaska: People’s Choice Edition 2022 (as well as being recorded as a winner on cannabiscup.com) and of course, inclusion of the winning brands for each category on High Times social media channels (shared on the High Times timeline, story and story highlights).
Second place winners will receive a silver medal made of pewter and a silver ribbon with your winning category inscribed on it, as well as a half-page advertisement in High Times magazine, second place art assets for product packaging (along with all of the aforementioned judge’s report, and inclusion of the win online and on social media).
Third place winners will receive a bronze medal, made from pewter and bronze plating, with a matching bronze ribbon and the winning category inscribed on it, and a half-page advertisement in High Times magazine as well.
Even the products that do not win first, second, or third place in their respective categories can win in other ways. All products and brands will be included and tagged on social media in order to support Alaskan cannabis companies and everything they bring to the table. During our Awards Show, we also do a shout-out and thank all competitors for participating in our competition. Best of all, the High Times Report is available upon request, should you like to learn more about what the judges thought of your product, and where it is ranked through our scoring system.
All products must be licensed by AMCO and we cannot accept caregiver product.
Exclusiva – Ministro Kulfas Sobre Ley de Cannabis: ‘Le Va a Dar Mucho Bienestar a la Argentina’
En diálogo exclusivo con El Planteo, el ministro de Desarrollo Productivo de la Nación, Matías Kulfas, se refirió a la ley de desarrollo de la industria del cannabis medicinal y cáñamo industrial que fue aprobada el pasado jueves.
“Le va a dar mucho bienestar a la Argentina”, aseguró Kulfas, hablando sobre normativa que se sancionó con 155 votos a favor, 56 en contra y 19 abstenciones en la Cámara de Diputados del Congreso Nacional.
Contenido relacionado: Argentina: Aprueban Ley Cannabis Medicinal y Cáñamo Industrial
Con esta nueva ley, se buscará crear un marco regulatorio para la inversión pública y privada de la naciente industria del cannabis y completar la normativa actual de cannabis medicinal (Ley 27.35o).
Además, se creará una agencia de regulación, la ARICCAME (Agencia Regulatoria del Cáñamo y del Cannabis Medicinal). Esta regulará la importación, exportación, cultivo, producción industrial, fabricación, comercialización y adquisición de semillas, de la planta de cannabis y de sus productos derivados con fines medicinales o industriales.
¿Qué dijo el ministro Matías Kulfas sobre la nueva ley de cannabis?
En conversaciones con Javier Hasse, CEO de El Planteo, Kulfas celebró la sanción de la normativa: “Muy contento, la verdad que fue un esfuerzo muy grande”.
Entretanto, el ministro de Desarrollo Productivo agradeció el trabajo de todas y todos los que hicieron que la ley fuera posible.
“Primero, reconocer la lucha de muchos años de las organizaciones, de Mama Cultiva, de todos los productores que vienen trabajando justamente para darle visibilidad a este tema”, comenzó.
Y siguió: “A mis compañeras diputadas, Carolina Gaillard y Mara Brawer y a mucha gente que se puso este tema al hombro. A todo el equipo del Ministerio de Desarrollo Productivo que trabajó intensamente para armar el proyecto y sus fundamentos. A Andrés López, un gran investigador de la UBA, que armó ese documento base que nos sirvió muchísimo. Y bueno, a todo el trabajo político y, por supuesto, agradecer a todos los diputados y diputadas, sin distinción de banderas políticas, porque la verdad que logramos una mayoría importante“.
Asimismo, el economista del Frente de Todos subrayó la importancia que tendrá la iniciativa en el sector productivo del país. “Este es un proyecto para Argentina, no es un proyecto para un sector político. Está orientado a la producción nacional, al trabajo argentino y a la industria. Se trata de un proyecto federal que va a tener muchísima representatividad en diferentes provincias”.
“Esperamos que sea el inicio de un nuevo sector industrial que le va a dar mucho bienestar a la Argentina y le va a dar soluciones terapéuticas a la gente que las necesita y también opciones productivas con el cáñamo”, concluyó Matías Kulfas.
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