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NC & SC medical cannabis bills advance (Newsletter: February 22, 2023)

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Where presidential candidate Nikki Haley stands on marijuana; MN legalization measure clears another committee; OK cannabis campaign ads

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The North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

The South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Committee advanced legislation to legalize medical cannabis.

The Minnesota House Health Finance and Policy Committee approved a marijuana legalization bill, while the Senate Health and Human Services Committee adopted amendments to a companion measure but postponed a final vote until a subsequent meeting. Former Gov. Jesse Ventura testified before both panels.

Oklahoma marijuana activists are airing a new TV ad and engaging in door-knocking efforts to build support for the legalization initiative on the state’s March 7 ballot.

Marijuana Moment compiled a look at where presidential candidate Nikki Haley stands on marijuana and drug policy.

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Rhode Island’s Marijuana Industry Is Stepping Up Its Political Savvy With More Campaign Donations To Politicians

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“You never know when there is going to be a year where big decisions are made and you want to be able to talk to these people and express your point of view.”

By Nancy Lavin, Rhode Island Current

Spencer Blier was expelled from his first college for smoking weed, then spent the next decade as a perpetual University of Rhode Island student while growing marijuana for state medical patients in his on-campus log cabin.

Not a promising start, but the 35-year-old Warwick native and cannabis cultivator ended 2023 with the third-highest sales among the state’s 60 licensed growers: $2.2 million, according to information from the Rhode Island Office of Cannabis Regulation.

As his company, Mammoth Inc., blossomed, so did Blier’s political savvy.

He donated $1,000 apiece to the campaigns of House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi (D) and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (D) in the fall of 2023, according to state campaign finance reports. Blier is not expecting major law changes this year, as the nascent industry scored major wins, including expansion to recreational use, with a 115-page bill passed in 2022.

“Just letting them know we’re here,” Blier said of his recent campaign contributions. “You never know when there

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New Jersey Marijuana Sales Officially Top $2 Billion Since 2018, Top Regulator Says, While Encouraging Lawmakers To Explore Home Grow

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New Jersey’s top marijuana regulator says the state has officially surpassed $2 billion in medical and recreational marijuana sales since 2018, and he also encouraged lawmakers to explore the possibility of giving medical cannabis patients a home grow option.

Jeff Brown, executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (NJ-CRC), made the comments during a marijuana-focused hearing before the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee on Thursday.

“Today I’m also proud to announce another milestone. Since we started this work in 2018, cumulative sales of both medicinal cannabis and recreational cannabis have eclipsed $2 billion,” Brown said, adding that the “vast majority” of those sales have come over the past two years since New Jersey’s adult-use marijuana market launched.

“But as of as of yesterday at noon, we were about to $2,000,500,000 in total cannabis sales,” he said. “I would love for the CRC to take credit for this, but it’s really the entrepreneurs who have been putting their money, their lives and their dreams on the line to make this happen.”

Brown—who recently predicted that the state will “reach and surpass” a $1 billion annual cannabis sales milestone this year—also responded to a committee member’s question about

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Maryland Senate Approves Bill To Protect Medical Marijuana Patients’ Gun Rights

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The Maryland Senate has passed a bill that’s meant to protect gun rights for medical marijuana patients under state law, sending it to the House of Delegates.

In a 43-2 vote on Tuesday, the Senate approved the legislation from Sen. Mike McKay (R), without discussion. This comes about one week after it cleared the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

If enacted, the measure would protect the rights of registered medical cannabis patients to buy, own and carry firearms under Maryland law, even though they are still restricted from doing so under federal statute.

The Maryland legislature also took up the issue around this time last year, with the House Judiciary Committee holding a hearing on a separate but related measure to ensure medical marijuana patients’ gun rights are protected.

The issue has been raised in multiple state legislatures and federal courts in recent years, as marijuana and gun rights advocates challenge the constitutionality of the federal ban that currently prevents cannabis consumers from owning firearms.

Last month in neighboring Pennsylvania, for example, a district attorney filed suit against the Justice Department over the ban that he says violates the Second Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients such as himself.

A Republican senator in

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