Lobbyists switch focus to the MORE Act

The Cannabis Trade Federation, a major industry group, said it is putting its efforts behind lobbying for the MORE Act instead of the STATES Act. The MORE Act would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and expunge some records. The STATES Act is a bill that would not change cannabis's federal legal status but would provide states that do legalize cannabis more protections. The STATES Act seemed like it would have a stronger chance of passing, but now Democrats want to advance a bolder and more comprehensive bill that fully removes federal penalties rather than one that protects states' legal status. There is currently a vote planned on the MORE Act in the House of Representatives during the lame-duck session after the Nov. 3 election. Senator Kamala Harris is the sponsor of the MORE Act. A sweeping Democratic victory in the coming election would very likely lead to pro-cannabis legislation passing, but it would also take years to implement.

California cracks down on competition

California’s annual campaign against illegal marijuana cultivation resulted in more than 1.1M plants destroyed at 455 grow sites. The 13-week campaign led to the arrests of 140 people. California’s legal marijuana businesses have not been as successful as many proponents hoped in part due to lower-priced competition from illicit operators. Crackdowns take on another meaning when the targets are competing with the state.

Maine is open for recreational

Maine allowed recreational cannabis sales on Friday, four years after voters approved it. Retail sales began at six stores across the state, with two more slated to open later. Despite the long wait, there is a shortage of supply and selection. The prices were also about twice as much as medical dispensaries’ prices. More than 100 growers are waiting for a final state review to meet the expected demand, which would then lower prices. Currently, the retailers are getting their supply from double-taxed medical plants. Maine’s medical market had $111M in sales last year, with 87,000 holders of medical marijuana cards. Maine’s experience is a reminder of how long the legalization process takes.