Ohio adult use sales could begin in June • CANNRA calls for Farm Bill clarity on hemp cannabinoids • Minnesota expunges nearly 60,000 cannabis records • & more …

Wed, May 15

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In a brief and uneventful meeting Monday, Ohio’s Joint Committee On Agency Rule Review approved a set of regulations that will allow existing medical cannabis operators to apply to expand into adult use sales next month.

Voters approved adult use at the ballot box in November, as Cannabis Wire reported at the time.

While broader licensing isn’t set to begin until September, as laid out in the new law, Gov. Mike DeWine has pushed for a sooner start. DeWine opposes legalization, but since adults are already allowed to home grow and possess legally, he wants legal sales to begin as soon as possible to ensure unlicensed operators don’t sprout up to meet demand. 

+ Want to go deeper? You can see the regulations that were approved on Monday here.

The Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA) wrote a letter to Congress on Monday to call for language in the 2024 Farm Bill that will “reaffirm and clarify existing state authority to establish and enforce laws regulating activity involving hemp and hemp products within their jurisdictions.”

The letter notes that “states are facing litigation alleging that state efforts to regulate activity involving hemp and hemp products—including their production, manufacture, and sale —are somehow preempted by federal law. To be clear: these arguments are not supported by existing law. But the ongoing threat of litigation (regardless of its merits) risks delaying or chilling state responses to a fluid and emerging regulatory and public health issue.”

+ Context: In a handful of states, including Virginia and Arkansas, state efforts to rein in hemp products have been met with vigorous litigation in which hemp stakeholders have said they are protected by the 2018 Farm Bill. These cases are slowly making their way through the courts at the same time that there is a push, via groups like CANNRA, to have the issue clarified through the 2024 Farm Bill.

+ More: You can read the full CANNRA letter here.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced that it has expunged 57,780 cannabis records that qualified for automatic expungement under the state’s new adult use law, and that it did so “almost three months ahead of schedule.”

Next, the state’s Cannabis Expungement Board will assess felony cannabis records to “consider whether resentencing or expungement are appropriate under the law,” however, since “each record must be considered individually, this process could take several years to complete.”

“We are quickly moving forward to build a team to accomplish the work,” the Board’s executive director James Rowader said in the announcement. “It is very encouraging to see that misdemeanor cannabis criminal records are moving toward expungement now. These actions together will have a lasting and significant equity impact on communities throughout the state of Minnesota.”