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Hawaii Senators Discuss New Marijuana Legalization Bill In Committee, With Plans For Vote Later This Week

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A Hawaii Senate committee on Tuesday held a hearing on a bill to legalize marijuana—with multiple state agencies weighing in on the proposal in testimony.

The legislation from Sen. Joy San Buenaventura (D) was discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s one of two key legalization measures that advocates are tracking this session.

Members of the committee heard from a range of supporters and opponents on SB 669 on Tuesday, with the chair indicating that a vote could come on Thursday.

At the hearing, some witnesses raised concerns that the legislation goes too far in prioritizing existing medical cannabis licensees, and that it has a lack of equity provisions.

The state attorney general’s office submitted testimony opposing the reform, arguing that its enactment would conflict with federal law and that more time is needed to develop comprehensive regulations for the market.

“The Department has serious law enforcement concerns regarding preventing unlicensed activity, and notes that the bill has several provisions that could present confusion on what is intended to be permitted,” the attorney general’s office said.

The state Office of the Public Defender, meanwhile, voiced support for the legalization bill, pointing out that a “marijuana market already

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New York Bills Would Let People File Legal Actions Against Unlicensed Marijuana Businesses

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Newly introduced legislation in New York State would allow people in the state to bring legal actions against entities that violate state marijuana laws, potentially empowering ordinary individuals to sue unlicensed cannabis sellers or licensees skirting state law.

Identical companion bills, S.9441 in the Senate and A.10248 in the Assembly, were introduced in the legislature last week. The Senate bill, from Sen. Jeremy Cooney (D), has been referred to the Finance Committee in that chamber, while the Assembly measure, from Assemblymember John Zaccaro Jr. (D), will begin in the Judiciary Committee.

As written, they would enable private individuals to file civil lawsuits against anyone violating a part of the state’s cannabis law that prohibits unlawful cultivation, processing, distribution or sales of cannabis or cannabis products. Individuals would be able to bring the actions under the New York False Claims Act.

“Empowering everyday New Yorkers with tools against illegal cannabis operators, whose conduct is both unlawful and inundates our communities with untested, unregulated and potentially deadly cannabis, is vital as we continue our enforcement efforts to combat illegal cannabis,” a justification memo attached to the bill says.

“Illegal cannabis operators undermine the legal cannabis industry in New York, whose cannabis processors,

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Florida Marijuana Legalization Measure Has Enough Support To Pass In Internal Polling, CEO Of Company Funding Campaign Says

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The CEO of a top marijuana company is pushing back against recent surveys showing insufficient support to pass a Florida legalization ballot initiative this November, claiming internal polling shows the measure ahead by a comfortable margin.

After the state Supreme Court cleared the proposal for ballot placement, rejecting a constitutional challenge from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R), two polls came out indicating that the Smart & Safe Florida campaign didn’t have the required 60 percent support for passage.

But in an interview with Cheddar on Thursday, Tulieve CEO Kim Rivers dismissed the surveys, saying “don’t believe everything you’re hearing” when it comes to the two most recent polls “in particular.”

“We would not put our stock in those polls,” she said, adding that there are more “legitimate polls” from the past year that show the legalization measure “well over” the 60 percent threshold for passage.

Tulieve isn’t running the campaign, but it has been the main financial backer of the initiative, contributing nearly $50 million.

“Our internal numbers remain incredibly strong and closer to 70 [percent], actually than 60 [percent],” she said. “So [there’s] strong bipartisan support across the state.”

Rivers also said during Thursday’s interview that one recent

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Alabama Senator Calls State Medical Cannabis Commission A ‘Money Pit’ Amid Ongoing Litigation

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“I don’t know what the problems are, but we need to get that resolved over there or we are going to have to do something legislatively to correct this.”

By Ralph Chapoco, Alabama Reflector

The head of the Senate’s General Fund budget committee last week vented frustration at the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission’s legal woes.

Speaking at Thursday’s Contract Review Committee meeting, Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Atmore), the chair of the Senate’s Finance and Taxation General Fund Committee, said the ongoing litigation over the commission’s licensing process had turned it into a “money pit.”

“Right now, we are putting money into it,” he said. “Right now, we are having more and more and more suits coming in. I don’t know what the problems are, but we need to get that resolved over there or we are going to have to do something legislatively to correct this.”

Brittany Peters, a spokeswoman for the AMCC, said in a statement Monday that the commission’s “longstanding position” was seeing the state medical cannabis program “become fully operational as soon as possible.”

“With the priority of serving patients in the state who would benefit from medical cannabis, the commission is committed to defending against the lawsuits

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