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Hochul ramps up her rhetoric. 

As we reported in this newsletter earlier this week, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul told Spectrum 1 in Buffalo that she was “fed up” with how long it was taking for adult use licenses to be issued.

Now, Hochul said in an editorial board meeting with The Buffalo News that the adult use rollout is “a disaster” that she will “not defend” for “one second.” 

It’s worth noting that this is a striking level of candidness from a governor on this issue.

She got even more granular and pointed out the establishment of a Cannabis Control Board within the Office of Cannabis Management

“So, inherently, conflict was built in as to who’s the ultimate decider. That didn’t go well,” she said. (It’s unclear what, specifically, she was referring to. However, as Cannabis Wire recently reported, there was discord between these two entities at a meeting in late December.)

And then there’s the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), which was tasked with raising funds, and finding real estate, for “justice-involved” licensees. Nearly two years later, they told lawmakers they had just over two dozen leases, as Cannabis Wire reported in October. Hochul called their involvement with the rollout a “bad idea.”

So, what will Hochul do about this? As we reported in this newsletter last week, her budget proposes a few changes, around enforcement and taxation. But will she go further? Will there be any regulatory shakeups? It remains to be seen.

Jensen strikes against social equity again, this time in Maryland. 

CaliforniaWashingtonNew York, and now, Maryland. In each state, lawyer and cannabis business owner Jeffrey Jensen has filed lawsuits against regulators’ approach to social equity. 

Jensen’s argument in the Maryland suit is similar to his position in the other states: the requirements to qualify for priority licensing (usually some kind of residency requirement that excludes Jensen or his client) are in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause and therefore unconstitutional. (It’s worth noting that in each state, the specific plaintiffs vary, but each one involves Jensen.)

As Cannabis Wire recently reported in this newsletter, regulators from coast to coast have now pointed out this pattern of litigation. 

In Washington, regulators flagged that the suit was not “the first challenge” that the plaintiffs “brought to a marijuana Social Equity licensing law on this same legal theory.” 

Research: Cannabis consumption alone isn’t linked to “higher odds” of a car crash. Co-use is. 

Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University conducted a study that aimed to examine the “relationship between cannabis and alcohol use and occurrence of motor vehicle collision” among patients who needed to visit an emergency department. Researchers used a combination of blood samples and breathalyzer tests, as well as interviews. 

Results showed that “cannabis alone was not associated with higher odds” a crash, but co-use of cannabis and alcohol were “both independently associated with higher odds.”

“Alcohol use alone or in conjunction with cannabis was consistently associated with higer odds for [motor vehicle collision],” researchers concluded, adding that the relationship between “measured levels of cannabis” and crashes was “not as clear.”

“Emphasis on actual driving behaviors and clinical signs of intoxication to determine driving under the influence has the strongest rationale,” researchers concluded. 

This research was published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

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