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Canada’s Competition Bureau Makes Suggestions to Further Displace the Illicit Marijuana Market, Texas Cannabis Decriminalization Bill Dies in the State Senate, and Minnesota Officially Becomes the 23rd State to End Cannabis Prohibition

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Canada’s Competition Bureau Makes Suggestions to Further Displace the Illicit Marijuana Market

Canada’s Federal Competition Bureau released a report that contains its recommendations for making the country’s legal cannabis market a more competitive industry. If the recommendations are implemented, the bureau feels that the illicit cannabis market could be further eroded and the legal market would receive a needed boost. The Competition Bureau presented its report as a formal submission to Health Canada and the official Expert Panel that is currently reviewing the federal cannabis laws. The agency suggests making three specific changes, which include increasing the amount of allowable THC in cannabis edibles and eliminating some of the regulations surrounding the promotion, packaging, and labeling of marijuana products so that producers are more prepared to compete and be innovative in the legal market.   

Texas Cannabis Decriminalization Bill Dies in the State Senate

The Texas House of Representatives recently passed several cannabis-related pieces of legislation. HB 218 was created to make the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor. This change in classification eliminates any jail time for the offense and instead imposes a fine of up to $500. The bill would have removed jail time for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. Instead, those found in violation would be cited and released. HB 2018 would also allow any individual with a criminal record for possession of up to two ounces of cannabis to seek expungement through the court system for a fee of $30. The second bill, HB 1805, would have allowed medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids for chronic pain patients and updated the state’s THC limit. However, both measures died in the Senate and likely won’t be revisited until the next legislative session in 2025.

Minnesota Officially Becomes the 23rd State to End Cannabis Prohibition

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a bill to officially legalize cannabis, making it the 23rd state to end prohibition. The governor has been supportive of plans to legalize marijuana, saying that “prohibition does not work.” Former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura was also an outspoken supporter of cannabis legalization for the state and delivered testimony at various legislative committee hearings detailing the unfortunate steps he and his wife had to take to illegally obtain medical cannabis for her severe epilepsy. HF 100 makes it legal for adults 21 and older in Minnesota to possess up to two ounces of cannabis and grow up to eight plants at home beginning August 1, 2023. State officials expect it will take 12-18 months for business licenses to be issued and legal sales to begin.