2021 marked a significant year for cannabis reform. Federal legalization seems possible as more states have, at the very least, adopted laws permitting the sale and cultivation of medicinal cannabis.
There are still ways to go until nationwide legalization is put in motion, but that is not stopping plenty of states from establishing their legislatures surrounding cannabis.
On January 1, there will be many changes across the country, according to Marijuana Moment. In Montana, for example, cannabis consumers will finally have access to retail products for adult use. The state legalized medical use in 2004 before voters pushed for adult-use sales in 2020. Montana officials are nearing to debut a new drug court that will only review and delete past cannabis-related convictions.
Louisiana also takes a big step within the medical cannabis industry. Currently, medical patients are limited to a few items, mainly using vaporizing methods. On New Year’s Day, Louisiana medical patients will finally have access to an array of flower products.
Along with Louisiana and Montana, places like California, Colorado, and Arkansas also have a few new changes coming at the top of 2022. Below, we have shared a brief breakdown of everything you need to know about the new laws taking effect across the country on January 1.
Over the past few months, cannabis operators and lawmakers alike in Montana have been anxiously awaiting the launch of recreational sales.
On January 1, brick-and-mortar storefronts for recreational cannabis sales will officially launch. Adults aged 21 and older can purchase upwards of an ounce of cannabis at a time.
A 20% tax will be imposed on cannabis products statewide, though certain jurisdictions and counties have added a 3% tax. Producers will have to adhere to compliance packaging rules, such as child-resistant containers for edibles or concentrates.
It has been an upwards battle towards finalizing cannabis since Gov. Greg Gianforte signed legalization into law this past March.
Following several back-and-forths and objections between lawmakers, state officials established a framework for regulations the past few weeks as cannabis operators scrambled to set up shop in time. Economic experts expect that adult-use legalization could pull in millions in tax revenue for the state.
Cannabis reform in the South has been slower than in other regions across America.
Fortunately, there is still progress for medicinal cannabis patients, including in the state of Louisiana. The state’s medical cannabis program will see an extensive expansion on January 1, when patients will finally have access to cannabis flowers. Those with a medical card can only access products via a “metered-dose inhaler” – a vaporizing method.
It is a slight advancement in the state’s cannabis industry but an integral one overall. There have been several discussions in the last 12 months regarding cannabis legalization.
Unfortunately, nothing materialized. One bill stalled in House once members of the Chamber disagreed on regulations surrounding the taxation of adult-use recreational cannabis. Still, Gov. John Bel Edwards is hopeful that the state will enact cannabis reform laws “eventually.”
California’s remained a leader in cannabis legalization across the country, practically establishing a blueprint for other states to follow. However, there’s still room for improvement, especially since the illicit cannabis market continues to keep pace with the legal market.
California will allow certain medical patients access to cannabis products within hospitals in the latest update to current laws. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill in September that assures certain medical patients access to cannabis products.
Democratic Senator Ben Hueso sponsored the bill and remained committed to helping terminally ill patients access and consume cannabis in medical facilities.
Before Newsom signed off, there was hesitancy due to federal laws prohibiting hospitals from allowing cannabis consumption on these premises.
Several advocacy groups have joined forces to ensure that hospitals across the state are preparing for the new law to take effect on New Year’s Day.
California and Louisiana might be preparing to create a more accessible system for medical marijuana patients, but Colorado has done the opposite. Medical patients in Colorado will be limited to the number of concentrates they purchase.
The 40-gram purchasing threshold will be significantly reduced to only 8 grams per day starting January 1. Of course, medical patients can exceed these limits with a doctor’s certification and a primary dispensary to acquire medicine.
Despite adopting a medical program in the last decade, the shift on January 1 aims to limit consumers from purchasing high-potency products. Concerns arose in early 2020 over the high THC dosages with cannabis products on the market, especially since they are vastly more potent than the cannabis that was available during prohibition.
Dispensaries must issue more blatant warnings on the effects of cannabis to patients regarding the consumption and potency of concentrates. Plus, medical cannabis companies will not be permitted to advertise products to people between 18 to 20. The advertisements for concentrates must include a message regarding the risks of overconsumption.
Advocates are still pushing for Arkansas to establish a legal cannabis market. The medical cannabis programs are slowly but surely expanding, providing a bit of hope for the future.
On January 1, two new cannabis-related laws will take effect across the state. For one, non-Arkansas residents will finally be able to access the state’s medical cannabis for upwards of 90 days. Secondly, medical professionals can provide medical marijuana recommendations via telehealth services.
Cannabis remains illegal for recreational use across Pennsylvania. However, specific changes in its most prominent city signal significant changes for the future.
On January 1, Philadelphia employers will not be allowed to test job applicants for cannabis as a condition of their employment. Lawmakers across Philadelphia aim to push forward with cannabis reform laws through local policies such as this.
It is similar to states like New York and cities like Oakland who have implemented similar rules.
There are a few exceptions to the new drug testing laws. Those who work in law enforcement, drive commercial vehicles or provide care for patients, children, or people with disabilities will still be subject to drug tests at their employer’s discretion.
Philly’s latest law comes after a referendum last month that voted towards cannabis legalization.