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Legislation to Cap THC Potency in Washington State Stalls, California Cannabis Regulators Launch Grant Program to Incentivize Retail Marijuana Expansion, and Voters in Oklahoma Reject Recreational Cannabis Measure

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Legislation to Cap THC Potency in Washington State Stalls

Lawmakers around the country have expressed concern about the impact of high-THC cannabis products in recent months. Legislators in one of the first recreational cannabis markets in the U.S. – Washington state – introduced two bills to cap the potency of THC. The first bill would limit cannabis products with THC content above 35% to the medical market. The second bill would impose stricter advertising regulations, levy higher taxes, and create a public health campaign to bring awareness to consumers about the potential negative effects of high-THC cannabis products. The second piece of legislation would also restrict cannabis products above 35% THC to consumers aged 25 and older. However, a House committee heard both bills but chose to take no further actions, effectively leaving them to die. 

California Cannabis Regulators Launch Grant Program to Incentivize Retail Marijuana Expansion

California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is launching a $20 million grant program called the Local Jurisdiction Retail Access Grant. Regulators are touting the grant as the first of its kind in the U.S. The goal of the program is to provide resources and incentivize local jurisdictions to expand access to legal marijuana products in areas that are currently underserved. The grant will also focus on markets that support social equity opportunities in their communities. Nicole Elliott, director of the DCC, said in a press release, “Expanding access to California’s retail cannabis market is an important step towards protecting consumer safety and supporting a balanced market.”

Voters in Oklahoma Reject Recreational Cannabis Measure

In a special election, Oklahoma voters rejected an adult-use cannabis measure. Interestingly, the largely conservative and Republican state has one of the most free-wheeling and business-friendly models for their medical marijuana program. But, law enforcement agencies and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (ONB) have been vocal about their opposition to the current MMJ program and any further cannabis reform. The agencies have said their concern is that legal cannabis draws out criminals and those who seek to exploit the market – despite mountains of evidence in other states with recreational cannabis programs that shows the exact opposite. Michelle Tilley, the spokesperson for the Yes on 820 campaign, said in a statement that the activist group will try again.