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Virginia is advancing towards legalizing marijuana sales for adults over 21, with significant legislative progress. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee approved Senate Bill 448, spearheaded by Senator Aaron Rouse (D), to create a regulated market with licensed retailers, expected to start in 2025. This bill allows cities to opt-out via voter decisions.

Concurrently, the House subcommittee endorsed HB 698, led by Del. Paul Krizek (D), which allows medical dispensaries and select businesses to sell cannabis from January next year, focusing on a phased market introduction and social equity incentives.

Rhode Island Introduces Overdose Prevention Center

Rhode Island is launching the nation’s first state-regulated overdose prevention center in Providence to curb overdose deaths through supervised drug consumption. This pioneering harm reduction effort received unanimous backing from the Providence City Council and is financed by state funds and an opioid lawsuit settlement.

Oklahoma Sees Drop in Cannabis Licenses

Oklahoma has experienced a significant decrease in active cannabis licenses, attributed to an oversupplied market and stringent regulatory measures. Active cannabis licenses dropped 27.4%, indicating a market correction and the effects of a permit moratorium, reflecting challenges in the industry and a decrease in medical patient registrations.

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South Carolina’s Medical Marijuana Bill Stalls

The medical marijuana legalization bill failed to advance in the Senate, falling short of the required supermajority vote. The proposed legislation outlines specific qualifying conditions for treatment and sets regulatory frameworks for cannabis businesses.

Biden’s Pardons, Veterans’ Gains, And Policy Debates

The Justice Department is seeking to update its process for issuing marijuana pardon certificates under President Biden’s expanded clemency proclamation, reflecting a broader move towards decriminalization at the federal level.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s cannabis sales have significantly benefited veterans, with projected revenues of nearly $20 million this fiscal year and $22 million the next, if the governor’s budget recommendations are accepted. These funds, generated from both medical and adult-use marijuana sales, are earmarked for veterans’ services, including healthcare and housing.

In Maryland, legislators are debating bills that could allow vehicle searches based on marijuana odor and aim to safeguard gun rights for medical cannabis patients, reflecting diverse approaches to marijuana policy across states.

Benzinga Cannabis Conferences are coming to Los Angeles. Join the Benzinga Cannabis Market Spotlight: California, and unlock the future of cannabis at the premier networking event in Culver City on February 22. Connect with top industry leaders, gain insider insights into the investment landscape, and shape the evolving markets in California and beyond. Don’t miss this chance to be at the forefront of the cannabis industry’s growth and innovation! Join now

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