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PA Lawmakers Discuss Cannabis Social Justice at Latest Hearing, Ohio Marijuana Sales Could Start in Mid-June, and Oregon Governor Signs Bill to Extend Moratorium on Cannabis Business Licenses

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PA Lawmakers Discuss Cannabis Social Justice at Latest Hearing

Lawmakers in Pennsylvania held the latest hearing on marijuana reform in a series of discussions that has spanned the last few months. The hearing on Thursday occurred just days after Representative Amen Brown introduced new legislation to legalize cannabis. He describes the bill as “grounded in safety and social equity.” The House Health Subcommittee on Health Care listened to testimony from representatives of the cannabis industry and advocates as they focused on social justice and equity issues that surround legalizing marijuana. Representative Dan Frankel, chair of the House Health Committee, said, “The reality is, we can either continue to have an illicit marketplace that doesn’t promote public health and that ignores the social justice issues or we can try and be prepared to put together a framework that promotes public safety, promotes social justice and promotes a revenue arrangement that benefits the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its taxpayers.”

Ohio Marijuana Sales Could Start in Mid-June

In November of 2023, Ohio voters passed Issue 2, the measure to legalize recreational cannabis for the state. Original estimates from regulators put the launch of sales sometime in the fall or winter of 2024. However, state Representative Jamie Callender told a local news outlet that they hope to have retail licenses awarded to businesses by mid-June and sales could begin before July 4th. Ohio’s Department of Cannabis Control continues to move forward through the process of enacting specific rules and regulations to govern the industry. Lawmakers have been unable to agree on whether Issue 2 needs to be changed, so it seems that the bill will go into effect as it was originally passed by voters now.  

Oregon Governor Signs Bill to Extend Moratorium on Cannabis Business Licenses

Oregon has a current moratorium on new marijuana business licenses set to expire this month. But Governor Tina Kotek signed House Bill 4121, which will extend the existing pause. Many in the industry support the bill becoming law, including the Cannabis Industry Alliance of Oregon, because of the high saturation of marijuana businesses in the state. HB4121 prevents the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission from accepting new licenses until specific thresholds are met, which are based on the number of licenses per state residents aged 21 and older. For example, for marijuana business licenses for retail and production, there can be no more than one active license per 7,500 residents age 21 and older.