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Massachusetts Legal Cannabis Sales Reach $4 Billion, Lawmakers in Virginia Advance Cannabis Bills, and Rhode Island’s Supreme Court Issues Executive Order for Marijuana Record Expungement

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Massachusetts Legal Cannabis Sales Reach $4 Billion

In 2018, Massachusetts became the first state on the East Coast to legalize recreational cannabis. From the start of sales to January 22nd of this year, the state has sold over $4 billion in retail marijuana products. The data is from Massachusetts’s Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) and takes into account 265 retail cannabis stores and 14 delivery businesses. Approximately a year ago, the sales figures for the state hovered around $2.5 billion, but officials believe that increasing the number of licensed retail locations throughout the state and expanding delivery services has helped drive sales. 

Lawmakers in Virginia Advance Cannabis Bills

State lawmakers in Virginia advanced two separate cannabis-related bills. The measures would allow retail cannabis sales to launch in 2024 and allow cannabis businesses in the state to utilize tax deductions that are currently prohibited under federal tax laws. While this may seem like a positive step, both pieces of legislation likely face scrutiny with a divided Legislature led by a Republican governor. Governor Glenn Youngkin has not been overtly supportive of the idea of establishing a regulatory framework for legal marijuana sales. When asked about whether he would sign a bill to permit legal cannabis sales, the governor said he is more concerned about possible legislation to better regulate hemp and delta-8 products.  

Rhode Island’s Supreme Court Issues Executive Order for Marijuana Record Expungement

Rhode Island’s State Supreme Court Chief Justice Paul Suttell released guidance on the expungement of cannabis-related offenses under the state’s legalization law. The executive order outlines the specifics for clearing the records of those individuals who have misdemeanor and felony cannabis possession convictions. The executive order places the task of identifying eligible cases for expungement and processing them to be cleared under the umbrella of the Superior and District Courts and the Traffic Tribunal. Officials estimate that the expungement will affect roughly 27,000 individuals in the state.