Majority of Americans Want Cannabis Legalized

Cannabis Legalization
Cannabis Legalization

The results of a nationwide poll conducted earlier this year show that a majority of Americans want cannabis legalized for recreational use. The survey participants came from across the United States, suggesting that there is strong support for cannabis legalization throughout the country. What could this mean for future legalization efforts? And how might this affect cannabis operators looking to expand into new territories? Keep reading to find out.

CBS Poll Finds Most Americans Want Their Home States to Legalize Marijuana

In the 2020 election, the voters expressed overwhelming support for cannabis legalization: ballot measures to legalize marijuana for adult use passed in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Since the 2020 election, states like New York, New Mexico, and Minnesota have also legalized recreational marijuana. The trend is clear: more Americans than ever want marijuana to be legal. And now a recent CBS poll on marijuana legalization confirms that a majority of U.S. adults would like to see their home states either decriminalize or legalize marijuana for personal use.

According to polling data, 55% of all Americans want their home states to pass laws making recreational marijuana legal. Among people who live in states like Colorado and North Dakota that have already legalized cannabis for adult use, 60% of state residents support the status quo where recreational marijuana can be bought legally from dispensaries. There is also a clear age divide on the question of whether to legalize cannabis: most seniors over the age of 65 oppose legalization, while younger adults support legalization.

These results are not entirely unexpected given the recent trend toward legalization in many states, but it is noteworthy that very few of the survey participants consider themselves to be “regular consumers” of cannabis. Less than 10% of Americans acknowledge using marijuana on a regular or semi-regular basis, with more than 80% of Americans saying that they almost never use marijuana.

Strong Support for Expungement of Past Marijuana Convictions from Criminal Records

Poll results also show support for allowing individuals with prior convictions for marijuana possession to be given an opportunity to move on with their lives. The CBS polling data indicates that 59% of respondents are in favor of state laws to expunge criminal records related to low-level marijuana arrests and convictions, with just 37% of respondents saying that a marijuana conviction should stay on the person’s record forever. An expungement is an official government action that would essentially remove the arrest and/or conviction from the offender’s permanent record. This would have the effect of giving these individuals a new lease on life because, in many cases, they would no longer have permanent criminal records, and they would likely have greater success when applying for jobs, public housing, and government loans in the future.

Legalization of Cannabis Providing Major Boost to State Economies

As legalization efforts ramp up in more states, the effect on the cannabis industry could be profound. Major cannabis operators are already expanding their reach into new regions where marijuana is approved for either recreational or medical use, and this is likely to continue in the months and years ahead. The economic impact of legal cannabis sales is well documented: states like Colorado, California, and Oregon have generated hundreds of millions of dollars from their local cannabis economies. The CBS poll found that almost half of Americans believe legalization of marijuana in additional states will be good for those state and local economies as well.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate

Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund based out of Colorado, and the fund includes properties throughout the United States. If you are a cannabis company looking for financing or operational assistance, send us an email.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

Louisiana Decriminalizes Marijuana

Louisiana Decriminalizes Cannabis
Louisiana Decriminalizes Cannabis

Louisiana residents will no longer be arrested and imprisoned for possessing small amounts of marijuana after state legislators passed a bill to decriminalize pot. The push for decriminalization came from lawmakers who agreed that possessing marijuana should not result in someone being sent to prison or having to spend the rest of their life as an ex-felon. With marijuana possession now effectively decriminalized, many are now wondering when Louisiana might officially legalize cannabis for recreational use and open the state to cannabis operators. Keep reading this blog to learn more.

Louisiana Legislators Pass Bill to Decriminalize Possession of Small Amounts of Pot for Personal Use

It is now legal for Louisiana residents to possess small amounts of marijuana for their personal use. That’s because state lawmakers officially endorsed a bill to effectively decriminalize the possession of marijuana in most instances. The bill, known officially as House Bill 652, was sponsored by Democratic Rep. Cedric Glover, and it received enough bipartisan support to pass through both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature. Glover modeled the state law after a local ordinance in Shreveport. Glover then reached across the political aisle to get support from Rep. Alan Seabaugh, a Republican who represents that heavily populated city.

Governor John Bel Edwards has now signed that bill into law, which means that Louisiana residents will no longer have to worry about facing criminal charges for possession of marijuana in most cases. Gov. Edwards, a Democrat, said that he gave the measure serious thought before deciding that it was simply not right for the state to continue to incarcerate individuals “for minor legal infractions…that can ruin lives and destroy families.” Edwards added that marijuana possession and use are already legal in many other states, including neighboring Mississippi.

Cannabis Possession No Longer Results in Jail Time in Louisiana

The new law officially went into effect on August 1, 2021. Technically speaking, the law doesn’t actually “decriminalize” marijuana possession. The effect of the law, however, is the same as decriminalization since arrest and incarceration will no longer be options for law enforcement. Instead, anyone caught with a small amount of marijuana can be issued a ticket by police and subsequently face a relatively minor monetary fine. In fact, the maximum fine that can be imposed under the law is just $100, and jail time is no longer a penalty that can be sought by prosecutors and handed down by judges.

It is important to note that the cannabis decriminalization law does have certain limitations. For example, the new law only applies when a person is found in possession of 14 grams or less of marijuana, which is the rough equivalent of half an ounce. Anyone with more than 14 grams of marijuana must be able to show a valid medical marijuana ID card that allows them to have that amount of pot. This means that criminal charges – as well as penalties which may include jail time – could still be filed when someone is found carrying a large amount of cannabis in Louisiana. Additionally, the new cannabis law does not apply when a person is accused of distributing marijuana. Since drug distribution offenses are typically classified as felonies, this means that offenders could be subject to significant prison time if convicted.

What Is the Future of Marijuana Legalization in Louisiana?

At present, marijuana is legal for medical use by Louisiana residents. However, even with the recent passage of a decriminalization law, Louisiana remains one of a few states – including several Southern states – that have not yet legalized marijuana for recreational use. Earlier this year, a Republican senator in the State Senate proposed a bill that would have legalized cannabis across the board, but the legislation did not receive enough support from members of the State House of Representatives.

The good news for proponents of marijuana legalization is that there is growing enthusiasm for similar efforts not just in Louisiana, but across the country. In the 2020 election, voters in five (5) states showed overwhelming support for legalization measures. Since then, New Mexico, Virginia, and Minnesota have all made marijuana legal for recreational use. Cannabis industry observers believe that it is only a matter of time before Louisiana joins the rest of the country and creates its own legal cannabis market.

Contact Scythian Real Estate for Information on Cannabis Sale-Leaseback Deals

Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that works with major cannabis companies throughout the United States. Scythian provides capital to cannabis operators through sale-leaseback transactions involving retail dispensary properties. If you are a cannabis operator thinking about expanding into a new market, email Scythian today.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

Colorado Restricts Sale of Marijuana Concentrates

Colorado Cannabis Concentrate Law
Colorado Cannabis Concentrate Law

Colorado dispensaries will soon be required to limit the total number of purchases of marijuana concentrates. That’s because state lawmakers recently passed legislation to place restrictions on certain high-potency concentrates considered unsafe for children and teenagers. What effect could this have on Colorado’s thriving cannabis market? And how will the state’s cannabis operators adjust to the new regulations? Keep reading this blog to find out.

New Law Will Place Daily Limit on Purchases of Cannabis Concentrates from Colorado Dispensaries

For as long as recreational marijuana has been legal in Colorado, there have been debates about the physical and mental health effects on users, with a particular focus on young people who might have access to marijuana through either legal or illegal sources. Now, the Colorado General Assembly has taken action by passing legislation to restrict the amount of marijuana concentrates that can be purchased in a single day. The legislation, officially known as HB21-1317, received bipartisan support from legislators and was quickly signed into law by Governor Jared Polis. The action represents the most significant government regulation imposed on legal marijuana sales in Colorado since cannabis first became legal for recreational use in 2012.

Previously, Colorado dispensaries were allowed to sell up to 40 grams of cannabis concentrates or extracts to anyone over the age of 21. The daily purchase limit on concentrates has now been reduced to just eight (8) grams per day for most people, and just two (2) grams per day for anyone between the ages of 18 and 20. Moreover, all dispensaries must be connected to the state database that monitors concentrate sales in real time to ensure that no one goes “dispensary shopping” to make multiple purchases at different dispensaries. (This is a tactic that law enforcement agencies referred to as “pharmacy shopping” when the opioid epidemic exploded across the country.)

Colorado Legislators Pass Bill to Limit Access of Teenagers to High-Potency Marijuana Products

The stated purpose of the lawmakers who cast their votes in support of the legislation was to reduce the ability of children and teens to access potentially dangerous marijuana products. Concentrates are believed to pose greater risks because they contain much higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels than traditional marijuana products. Some of the most popular cannabis concentrates among consumers include crumble, kief, live resin, shatter, and wax. These types of marijuana products have become staples on dispensary shelves in recent years as more and more people look for alternative ways to consume cannabis.

Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo sponsored the bill and said that it was a necessary step to ensure that teenagers can’t easily get their hands on highly concentrated marijuana products, which might then be sold or given to children who would not otherwise be allowed to buy them.

In addition to restricting daily purchases of concentrates, there were a number of other provisions included in the Colorado cannabis law, most of which have the goal of shielding minors from dangers that might be posed by marijuana use. Those provisions include the following:

  • Cannabis products must come with packaging or labels that clearly state the suggested serving sizes.
  • Medical marijuana advertising can no longer target anyone under the age of 21.
  • Marijuana concentrate advertising must include an explicit warning about the risks of overconsumption of marijuana with high levels of THC.
  • People between the ages of 18 and 20 will have to meet additional requirements before they can be approved for medical marijuana cards. For example, the applicant must have an in-person consultation with more than one physician, and the patient must show up for additional appointments every six (6) months.
  • The Colorado School of Public Health, based out of Aurora, will launch an educational campaign aimed at raising awareness among young people about the effects of marijuana use, especially products containing high levels of THC.

Colorado Cannabis Market Is Thriving and Setting Record Highs

The new laws restricting some types of cannabis concentrates will not go into effect until January 1, 2022, so cannabis operators will have plenty of time to adjust their marketing and sales approaches in response to the changes. Despite the looming restrictions on concentrate sales, the Colorado cannabis market is expected to continue flourishing. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, legal marijuana sales in Colorado were on a steady upward trajectory. Since the pandemic, the cannabis market has exploded: marijuana sales at state-licensed dispensaries set an all-time record in the first three months of 2021, topping more than $560 million in revenues for the quarter.

Contact Denver-Based Scythian Cannabis Real Estate

Scythian Real Estate is a Denver-based cannabis real estate fund that provides assistance to sophisticated cannabis operators in the form of financing, resources, and advice. Scythian works with several major cannabis companies in Colorado, including The Green Solution (Columbia Care), Kaya Cannabis, and LivWell Enlightened Health. If you are looking to add capital to your cannabis company, email us today.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

Marijuana Expungements Difficult in New Jersey

NJ Marijuana Expungements
NJ Marijuana Expungements

As soon as marijuana became legal for recreational use in New Jersey, one of the first questions that a lot of people asked was: What about those individuals who were previously convicted of marijuana possession? Now, the NJ Supreme Court has weighed in and set forth guidelines for anyone who wants to get a prior conviction for simple possession of marijuana removed, or “expunged,” from their permanent record. To find out more, keep reading this blog.

NJ Cannabis Decriminalization Law Allows for Expungement of Past Marijuana Convictions

It used to be illegal for anyone to have any amount of marijuana in New Jersey. A person found in possession of marijuana could be arrested and charged with a drug crime that carried the very real possibility of jail time. Worse yet, anyone found by law enforcement with a large quantity of marijuana on their person or under their control could be charged with the crime of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, an offense that often resulted in significant prison time. Much of that changed, however, when the state officially legalized marijuana for recreational use in February 2021. Now, it is no longer against the law for individuals to possess small amounts of cannabis for personal use.

One thing that NJ lawmakers gave plenty of consideration to when creating the rules and regulations for the state’s new cannabis economy was what to do about the hundreds of thousands of people who have previously been convicted of simple possession of marijuana. After all, given that cannabis possession was now legal, it seemed unfair to continue to punish individuals who still have to explain their criminal records for a prior marijuana-related conviction.

The types of marijuana offenses that used to be prohibited by the NJ Criminal Code included the following:

  • Simple possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana
  • Selling less than 1 ounce of marijuana
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Driving under the influence of marijuana
  • Possession of marijuana in a motor vehicle

A drug crime conviction can do real damage to a person’s life, especially when that person applies for a job, attempts to get housing, or seeks student loan assistance. That is why other states, like Colorado and Illinois, have specifically allowed for prior marijuana convictions to be expunged from permanent records.

NJ Supreme Court Says Marijuana Charges Can Be Removed from Criminal Records

The good news for anyone who has been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a marijuana offense is that they should have the ability to get the drug offense removed from their permanent records. That’s because the NJ Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that reiterates what state lawmakers already stated in the marijuana decriminalization bill: that certain marijuana offenses are supposed to be automatically expunged from people’s records now that cannabis is legal. The court noted that as many as one million people may be in line to have marijuana charges expunged under the guidelines established by the cannabis decriminalization law.

The court’s ruling could have an effect not only on individuals who were already convicted of marijuana crimes, but also people who are currently moving through the NJ criminal justice system with pending charges for marijuana possession, as well as people presently incarcerated in a state or county correctional facility on marijuana charges.

NJ Automatic Expungement Process for Cannabis Convictions Still Not Ready

The bad news for anyone with a previous marijuana arrest or conviction is that the process for clearing a marijuana offense from a person’s criminal record can be complicated and time-consuming, not to mention expensive if the assistance of an attorney is needed. That’s because the process for clearing any criminal conviction, guilty plea, or arrest from a person’s record is hard. Expungement applications typically take more than a year to work their way through the legal system before they are approved and implemented. And even when the application has been approved, the assistance of a qualified attorney may be required in order to notify all the relevant government agencies so that they can seal the individual’s records.

Although the decriminalization legislation included provisions mandating “automatic expungements” for marijuana convictions, the automatic expungement process for marijuana convictions has not yet gone into effect. Moreover, it is unknown when that process might be ready for implementation because “technological modifications” are still needed for the courts’ case management systems. This means that, at least for the foreseeable future, someone who wants to get their marijuana arrest, conviction, or guilty plea removed from their record will have to file an expungement application and then wait patiently for that application to be granted.

Marijuana Decriminalization Expected to Create Burgeoning Cannabis Economy in New Jersey

The main reason that marijuana convictions are now eligible for automatic expungement is that recreational marijuana is finally legal in New Jersey. Industry observers expect the state’s new cannabis economy to generate hundreds of millions of dollars. The regulated industry is already attracting major cannabis operators who see an opportunity to get in on the ground floor, so to speak, and establish a strong presence in the Tri-State Area, especially now that recreational marijuana is also legal in neighboring New York.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate

Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that has strong relationships with several of the country’s top cannabis operators, including Grassroots Cannabis (Curaleaf) and The Green Solution (Columbia Care). If you are a cannabis operator interested in adding capital through a sale-leaseback transaction, or if you are looking for assistance with entry into a new cannabis market, Scythian may be able to help you. Send us an email today.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

Mexican Supreme Court Legalizes Marijuana

Mexico Cannabis Legalization
Mexico Cannabis Legalization

Marijuana is now legal for recreational use in Mexico after the Mexican Supreme Court declared that the country’s ban on marijuana is unconstitutional. The ruling came after years of delays by Mexico’s legislators to pass a cannabis reform law. What effect will marijuana legalization have on the Mexican economy? And just how quickly will international cannabis operators be able to gain entry into this emerging cannabis market? Keep reading this blog to find out.

Mexico’s Supreme Court Declares Ban on Marijuana for Personal Use “Unconstitutional”

In 2018, Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered the nation’s lawmakers to reform existing law and figure out a way to implement a new national policy on marijuana possession. The deadline for implementing those reforms kept getting pushed back, as the Mexican Legislature repeatedly got stuck trying to sort out the details and logistics of legislative proposals that advanced through the Congress but ultimately stalled. For example, the Senate passed a bill at the end of 2020, but by the time the bill was revised by the Chamber of Deputies and then sent back to the Senate, legislators determined that the amended legislative proposal was unacceptable.

The most recent deadline imposed by the Supreme Court was April 30, 2021, and that deadline came and went without official action by legislators. That’s when the Mexican high court stepped in to effectively legalize cannabis. Justices on the nation’s highest court, also known as the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, voted to strike down the ban on marijuana possession and cultivation by an 8-3 margin. The ultimate effect of the court’s ruling is expected to be the decriminalization of marijuana possession by individuals, as well as the legalization of marijuana cultivation for personal use.

Mexican Lawmakers Expected to Pass Comprehensive Cannabis Reform

Although enthusiasm is high in the wake of the court’s ruling, there is belief among industry observers that legislators must take action in order to ensure that the sale of marijuana is regulated. In fact, the Mexican Legislature is still expected to get involved during a special legislative session and pass a law, or multiple laws, to more comprehensively regulate cannabis possession, distribution, and cultivation. The good news is that Mexico lawmakers will have the advantage of seeing the problems that other countries, such as the United States and Canada, have run into with cannabis legalization: lack of equity for minority and economically disadvantaged communities; the stigma attached to prior convictions for possession of marijuana; different ways of defining “cannabis,” “marijuana,” and “hemp”; and conflicts with local laws and regulations.

In the absence of any action by elected officials, Mexico’s Ministry of Health is expected to have limited regulatory powers when it comes to residents who plan to grow marijuana in their homes. Previously, anyone who wanted to grow a small number of marijuana plants at their residence needed to fill out a lot of paperwork and submit an application to the government agency.

What Is the Future of the Cannabis Economy in Mexico?

Ricardo Monreal Avila, the Senate Majority Leader, has previously said that a ruling like this one by the Supreme Court would cause “chaos” because lawmakers might then feel pressured to make quick and imprudent revisions to cannabis laws. The reality is that Mexico lawmakers may now take a closer look at previous iterations of the legalizations measures that stalled on their way through the Congress. For example, the most recent proposal included a provision that would allow anyone over the age of 18 to legally buy and possess up to 28 grams of marijuana. Another provision would allow Mexican residents to grow and cultivate as many as six (6) cannabis plants, as long as those plants were being grown for personal use only. What remains to be seen in any future legislative proposals is how the government would regulate the commercial cannabis market, including how cannabis licenses would be granted, as well as what limits might be placed on quantity and potency of cannabis sold at retail dispensaries.

Regardless of what form the cannabis legalization law in Mexico takes, the global cannabis industry is certainly paying close attention. The move by the Mexican Supreme Court to legalize cannabis has been met with a great deal of excitement among those who have long advocated for full legalization. The expectation is that the legal sale of marijuana for recreational use will create a booming cannabis economy, which should have a positive impact on the national economy. Cannabis operators are already looking at Mexico as a major opportunity to make inroads in a burgeoning market and lay the groundwork for additional opportunities as the Latin American nation’s cannabis economy inevitably grows and expands in the years ahead.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate Today

While the recreational cannabis industry is just getting started in Mexico, there is already a thriving cannabis market north of the border in the United States. Scythian Real Estate is a Denver-based cannabis real estate fund that helps cannabis operators in states where marijuana is legal for recreational and/or medical use, including Colorado, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. If you are a cannabis company looking to expand into a new region or territory, email Scythian today for more information.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

Billions in Tax Revenues for Legal Cannabis

Cannabis Sales Tax Revenues
Cannabis Sales Tax Revenues

A new study found that legal cannabis sales have generated billions of dollars in revenues for state and local governments. This won’t come as a surprise to proponents of cannabis legalization, many of whom have long argued that legalizing marijuana for recreational use would benefit state economies. As more people come to recognize the economic advantages of legalization, more states may look to legalize marijuana as a way to increase tax revenues. What effect could this have on the U.S. cannabis industry? Keep reading to find out.

Recreational Marijuana Sales Boost State Economies

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the nation’s top organization dedicated to legalizing cannabis in the United States, recently published the research results of a study of the economic impact of legal marijuana sales. That study found that state governments in Colorado, Washington, and other states where recreational marijuana use is allowed have officially reported around $8 billion in tax revenues coming directly from legal cannabis sales.

In addition to the $7.9 billion in state tax revenues coming from legal marijuana sales, the MPP study also found that local city and town governments have generated several hundred million dollars in tax revenues from recreational cannabis sales at dispensaries.

These figures are remarkable, especially considering that adult-use cannabis is not yet legal in most states. Moreover, many of the states where adult-use cannabis is legal only recently created their cannabis markets.

The Colorado Cannabis Economy

The creation of a viable cannabis economy, including the infrastructure necessary to sustain that economy, can take time. For example, in Colorado, adult-use cannabis was legalized in 2012, but sales at dispensaries did not start to occur until 2014. Since then, Colorado has generated more than $1.5 billion in tax revenues from legal cannabis sales. The sales tax rate on adult-use cannabis is 15 percent, which applies to both wholesale and retail. Since this does not include any local taxes on cannabis sales, some municipalities have generated additional revenues from retail cannabis sales: the MPP study found that Denver has collected more than $210 million.

The high tax rate for recreational marijuana sales, coupled with booming business for Colorado dispensaries, has had a profound effect on several important areas of state and local government. For instance, the MPP study shows that $404.5 million of the Colorado cannabis tax revenues have gone toward funding improvements of the state’s public school system.

Washington, Oregon, and Alaska Among States Generating Cannabis Sales Tax Revenues

Colorado is not the only state that has been financing major public policy programs and other parts of state and local government with revenues from the legal sale of adult-use cannabis. States like Washington, Oregon, and Alaska have also been setting records for recreational marijuana sales, which has led to record tax revenues. In Washington, where the retail sales tax rate on cannabis is incredibly high, more than $2.5 billion in tax revenues have come from dispensary sales since 2014. In Oregon, where legal recreational marijuana sales did not start to happen until 2016, more than $540 million in tax revenues have been generated. And in Alaska, annual cannabis sales tax revenues set a record of $27 million in 2020.

Since the November 2020 election, several states have passed new laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. More states could soon join them, as state legislatures across the country debate marijuana legalization measures. This would likely have a significant effect on the economies in those states by creating a lot of jobs, in addition to providing the states with a boost to tax revenues.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate Today

Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that has established relationships with the top cannabis operators in the country, including The Green Solution (Columbia Care), Grassroots Cannabis (Curaleaf), and LivWell Enlightened Health. If you are a cannabis operator looking to add capital, Scythian may be able to assist you. For more information, send us an email.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

Minnesota House Votes to Legalize Cannabis

Minnesota Cannabis Legalization
Minnesota Cannabis Legalization

The push to legalize cannabis for adult use in Minnesota gained a great deal of momentum when the Minnesota House of Representatives voted in favor of legalization. Now the marijuana legalization effort will head to the Minnesota State Senate, where it will probably face an uphill battle. Could recreational marijuana soon be legal in Minnesota? And what would this mean for large cannabis operators who are looking to expand their operations into new states? Keep reading this blog to find out.

New Law Would Make It Legal to Possess Cannabis in Minnesota

In May, a cannabis legalization measure came up for vote in the Minnesota House. Since that part of the state legislature is divided almost evenly along party lines – with a slight majority of Democrats over Republicans – the vote was expectedly close. Ultimately, the House voted 72-61 to pass the measure, representing a major step forward for legalization efforts in the state.

The proposed law would allow Minnesota residents over the age of 21 to possess as much as two (2) ounces of cannabis outside their homes. This would effectively eliminate the prosecution of most misdemeanor marijuana possession cases since the vast majority of these cases tend to involve the possession of a small amount of cannabis. Additionally, the proposed legislation would allow Minnesotans to have as much as 10 pounds of marijuana inside their homes. Importantly, however, the law would still not make it legal to grow, cultivate, or manufacture large amounts of cannabis without a state-issued license to do so.

What Is the Future of Marijuana Legalization in Minnesota?

States like Virginia and New York have legalized adult-use cannabis since the 2020 election. Could Minnesota be next? Now that the Minnesota House has expressed its support for adult-use cannabis legalization, the bill moves to the state Senate. However, that is likely where the measure will die. That’s because there is a clear GOP majority in the Senate, and Republican lawmakers have historically opposed efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

Prior to voting on the legislation, the House held a dozen hearings to discuss and shape the proposed law. By contrast, the Senate called for exactly zero hearings on cannabis legalization before ending its session on May 10. The lack of a debate on the Minnesota Senate floor certainly does not bode well for the cannabis legalization bill in later sessions since Republicans would need to call for a vote for the measure to even have a chance of becoming law.

What Are the Economic Benefits of Cannabis Legalization?

The hope among supporters of cannabis legalization efforts in Minnesota is that those currently objecting to the proposed law will eventually see the benefits of allowing adult-use cannabis sales. One of these benefits is economic: states where cannabis has been legalized for both recreational and medical use have generated billions of dollars in annual tax revenues. With that in mind, lawmakers who drafted the latest version of Minnesota’s cannabis legalization measure included provisions that would establish a Cannabis Management Board to implement, oversee, and enforce the new regulations. This would include oversight of tax revenues from the legal sale of marijuana in licensed dispensaries.

The author of the bill, House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, said that now is the time to change outdated laws criminalizing possession and use of marijuana. Winkler added that the legislation approved in the House would “right the wrongs of the criminal prohibition of cannabis that has failed Minnesota.”

Contact Scythian Real Estate for Information on Cannabis Sale-Leaseback Transactions

Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that works with some of the most sophisticated cannabis operators in the United States. Scythian provides capital to cannabis companies through sale-leaseback deals involving properties used for retail dispensaries. If you are a cannabis operator looking to expand into new markets, or if you are interested in securing financing for existing operations, email Scythian today.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

Denver Allows Cannabis Delivery

Denver Cannabis Delivery
Denver Cannabis Delivery

Cannabis delivery is now legal in Denver, Colorado. The move by the Denver City Council is expected to open up the cannabis market to new customers who can now place orders online and over the phone, in addition to having marijuana delivered right to their front doors. What kind of impact could these recent changes to local regulations have on the Denver cannabis economy? And how significant will the benefit be to Denver cannabis operators? Keep reading this blog to find out.

Denver Overhauls Marijuana Laws to Allow Weed Delivery

Denver has one of the oldest and most well-established recreational cannabis markets in the United States, with Colorado becoming one of the first states to legalize adult-use cannabis in 2012, and Denver now boasting more than 200 marijuana stores. Now the city is making major changes to its regulation of recreational marijuana. The Denver City Council, which has 13 council members, unanimously approved the measure to allow for marijuana delivery. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock later signed the marijuana legislation, which is considered by many to be the biggest change to the city’s marijuana laws since adult-use cannabis first became legal in Colorado.

After Mayor Hancock approved the new law (on April 20, or “420 Day”), proponents of expanding the Denver cannabis market voiced their approval. Ashley Kilroy, the executive director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, called the new law “historic” and noted that it would help to modernize Denver’s cannabis rules and regulations. Until now, weed delivery had been banned in Denver.

In addition to allowing recreational marijuana deliveries, the new legislation will also make drive-thru services at dispensaries a permanent feature. The drive-thru option was temporarily allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to protect customers against the spread of the virus indoors.

Denver Cannabis Operators Must Apply for Marijuana Delivery Licenses

Denver cannabis operators who want to offer delivery services will need to apply for a transporter license. In fact, during the first three (3) years of the new marijuana delivery program, retail cannabis stores will be required to use licensed transporters for delivery services. According to Eric Escudero, the spokesperson for the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, businesses will be able to start applying for marijuana delivery licenses in the summer of this year.

For the first six (6) years, new transporter licenses will be limited to social equity applicants, which allows minority-owned cannabis businesses and people in low-income communities to gain access to a market in which they have been disproportionately represented in the past. This is in line with Denver’s current rules that limit applications for new store, cultivation, and manufacturing licenses to social equity applicants.

Restrictions on Denver Marijuana Delivery Services

The new law does place restrictions on not just who can offer marijuana delivery services, but also on the way in which those services are provided. In fact, recreational marijuana transporters will be subject to a number of strict rules:

  • Transporters must have dash cameras on their motor vehicles.
  • Transporters must use ID scanners to check the IDs of customers and ensure that the correct person is receiving the marijuana.
  • Transporters will be limited in the amount of cannabis product that they can carry in their vehicles.
  • Marijuana deliveries can only be made to residential addresses, not businesses.

Denver to Allow Public Consumption of Marijuana in Hospitality Establishments

The decision to allow dispensaries to deliver recreational marijuana was not the only important move made by the Denver City Council: the council also approved public consumption lounges in the city. The lounges are being officially referred to as “hospitality establishments,” rather than marijuana lounges.

Cannabis businesses that wish to operate a hospitality establishment will need to apply for, and receive, a marijuana hospitality license. Applications for the licenses are expected to be made available later this year. Any operator granted one of these licenses can legally permit people to smoke marijuana inside a designated space. Additionally, some hospitality licenses will allow cannabis operators to sell recreational marijuana as well.

Contact Denver-Based Scythian Cannabis Real Estate Today

Scythian Real Estate is a Denver-based cannabis real estate fund that works with the most sophisticated cannabis operators in Colorado, which has the nation’s most developed legal cannabis market. Some of Scythian’s partners in Colorado include The Green Solution (TGS) and LivWell Enlightened Health. Scythian provides TGS and LivWell with capital through sale-leaseback deals, as well as assisting the cannabis operators with tenant improvements, zoning requirements, and new license acquisitions. If you are a cannabis operator in Colorado, or in another emerging cannabis market, email us today to learn more.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

Virginia to Legalize Recreational Cannabis

Virginia Legalizes Marijuana
Virginia Legalizes Marijuana

Another state is legalizing recreational marijuana, as Virginia Governor Ralph Northam recently signed into law a bill to make adult-use cannabis legal. The legislation marks a significant step in the push to legalize recreational cannabis across the U.S., with Virginia becoming the first state in the South to do so. Now that Virginia is set to make it legal for state-licensed dispensaries to sell cannabis for recreational use, will sophisticated cannabis operators soon flock to the state? And when will commercial sales of adult-use cannabis officially be allowed in Virginia? Keep reading this blog to learn more.

Virginia Governor Signs Recreational Marijuana Law

Recreational marijuana is soon going to be legal in Virginia. Virginia legislators initially passed a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis in February of this year. However, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam was reluctant to sign the bill into law until lawmakers made some significant changes to the timeline for actually legalizing cannabis. In fact, Northam proposed several amendments to the bill. Once the Virginia General Assembly incorporated, and approved, those amendments, Northam agreed to formally approve the bill and affix his signature to the legislation. This comes just one week after New Mexico also legalized recreational cannabis.

When Will Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Be Allowed in Virginia?

Although Virginia will be legalizing marijuana for recreational use, there is still some question about exactly when different aspects of the new law will go into effect. For some time now, state lawmakers have been engaged in negotiations to potentially accelerate the timeline for allowing individuals to legally possess small amounts of marijuana without being subject to arrest and imprisonment. In fact, Virginia had already decriminalized marijuana possession. Even with Governor Northam having signed the new cannabis legalization bill, however, lawmaker negotiations remain in progress.

At present, the new law calls for marijuana possession to be officially legal on July 1, 2020. This means that all adults over the age of 21 will be able to legally possess up to one (1) ounce of marijuana. At the same time, it will also be legal for individuals to cultivate small amounts of marijuana (e.g., up to four cannabis plants) in their residences. Moreover, most individuals who have previously been arrested and/or convicted on marijuana possession charges in Virginia will be able to have their criminal records expunged. That’s because the bill includes language that “modifies several other criminal penalties related to marijuana, and imposes limits on dissemination of criminal history record information related to certain marijuana offenses.”

The commercial sale of recreational marijuana, however, will not be allowed until January 1, 2024. This is meant to give state and local officials time to vet applicants for licenses, as well as to create the conditions necessary for a thriving cannabis market in Virginia.

Social Equity Licenses for Cannabis Operators in Virginia

Licenses to sell recreational marijuana in Virginia will be approved by a state cannabis board. The board will be under strict guidelines to limit licenses to 400 retailers, 25 wholesalers, 450 cultivators, and 60 manufacturers.

Importantly, the Virginia recreational marijuana law also includes provisions that require the state to prioritize “social equity licenses” when deciding which applicants will be granted licenses to sell adult-use cannabis at dispensaries. This is important because many other states to legalize recreational cannabis have seen a disproportionate number of licenses go to white-owned businesses at the expense of local minority businesses.

Impact of New Law on Virginia’s Recreational Cannabis Market

Virginia already has a thriving medical cannabis market, and it is expected that recreational cannabis will eventually be made available for sale at the same dispensaries. The creation of a recreational marijuana market in Virginia could have huge implications for the cannabis market more generally – especially since Virginia is the first Southern state to open its doors to commercial cannabis sales.

The retail sale of cannabis products in Virginia is expected to generate up to $500 million in sales during the first year of legalization. That figure could rise to as high as $1.4 billion by the fifth year of legalization, according to cannabis industry experts.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate for Information on Sale-Leaseback Deals

Scythian Cannabis Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that helps cannabis operators get the financing they need through sale-leaseback transactions on properties used as dispensaries. Scythian works with some of the largest and most sophisticated retail cannabis companies in the United States. If you are a cannabis operator interested in adding capital, email Scythian today.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.

New Mexico Legalizing Recreational Marijuana

New Mexico Legalizes Marijuana
New Mexico Legalizes Marijuana

New Mexico is the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana. The New Mexico governor recently signed legislation that will officially make cannabis legal for adult use in the state. What could this mean for the New Mexico economy, and for savvy cannabis operators who are looking to expand their reach into new markets? Keep reading this blog to learn more.

New Mexico Governor Signs Law to Legalize Adult-Use Cannabis

New Mexico is set to become the seventh state since the November 2020 election to legalize adult-use cannabis. The New Mexico state senate passed a cannabis legalization bill earlier this year, shortly after New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham called for a special legislative session to consider, among other things, the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. With previous opponents of legalization no longer in the state senate after the November election, the bill was quickly approved by legislators. Despite opposition from most Republican lawmakers in the state senate, some GOP senators grudgingly supported the measure as a way to regulate marijuana and ensure public health and safety.

Although Lujan Grisham signed the recreational marijuana bill into law on April 12, the possession and use of cannabis for recreational purposes won’t technically be legal for a few more months because state officials still need to work out some of the details. This includes evaluating and approving licenses for cannabis product testing labs, as well as establishing rules on product safety, qualifications for applying for a cannabis operator license, and standards for training employees who work as “cannabis servers” at dispensaries.

What Is New Mexico’s Recreational Cannabis Law?

Linda Trujillo, the superintendent of the New Mexico Regulation & Licensing Department, said that adults over the age of 21 can legally grow small quantities of marijuana – six (6) plants per person or 12 per household – at their residences beginning on June 29, 2021. Additionally, individuals will be allowed to possess up to two (2) ounces of marijuana outside their residences.

Some other important aspects of the new law include the following:

  • Cities and towns can’t ban cannabis businesses, but they can place limits on location and hours of operation.
  • Marijuana cultivation quantities will be capped for the first few years.
  • Marijuana must come in child-proof packages.
  • State lawmakers will have the ability to work with Native American tribal governments on separate cannabis deals.
  • Employers can still fire employees who use marijuana.

When Can Recreational Cannabis Be Sold in New Mexico?

Legal sales of recreational cannabis won’t happen until next year because cannabis operators will need to apply for state licenses. The legal sale of adult-use cannabis in state-licensed dispensaries is scheduled to start by April 1, 2022.

Although cannabis operators won’t be able to sell adult-use cannabis until 2022, they will be allowed to start cultivating marijuana several months in advance in order to meet what is expected to be significant demand for their products. There is already a robust market for medical cannabis in New Mexico: more than 112,000 patients, or roughly 5% of the state’s population, are currently enrolled in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program.

The Creation of a Cannabis Economy in New Mexico

Proponents of cannabis legalization in New Mexico have long argued that the creation of a legal cannabis economy within the state will help to generate jobs for residents, as well as revenues for state and local governments. New Mexico will impose a 12% tax on legal cannabis sales at the outset, with that tax rate steadily increasing to 18% as more time goes by. (These new taxes will not apply to medical marijuana sales.) The expectation is that New Mexico’s recreational cannabis market will thrive and provide the state with much-needed tax revenues in the future.

New Mexico Marijuana Reform Efforts and Social Justice

In addition to providing a huge boost to the New Mexico economy, the legalization of marijuana for recreational use could also change the state’s legal landscape. In fact, marijuana reform is something that NM Governor Lujan Grisham has long supported. After signing the cannabis law, she addressed the disproportionate arrests and convictions for marijuana possession among racial and ethnic minorities. According to Lujan Grisham, marijuana legalization will help to “bring about social justice in ways in which we have been talking about and advocating for, for decades.”

One specific way in which the new law could impact social justice is by leading to the release of more than 100 people who are currently incarcerated for low-level marijuana possession or distribution charges. Additionally, the new cannabis law includes a provision that will allow for thousands of New Mexico residents to automatically expunge past marijuana possession convictions from their records. Beyond that, law enforcement will no longer be able to use the odor of marijuana as justification for police searches of vehicles, residences, or other private property.

Contact Scythian Cannabis Real Estate Today

Scythian Real Estate is a privately held cannabis real estate fund that has strong relationships with the top cannabis operators in the United States. Scythian provides capital and other assistance to cannabis companies with dispensaries in states where marijuana is legal for recreational use. If you are a cannabis operator looking to add capital and/or expand your business into a new cannabis market like New Mexico, Scythian Real Estate may be able to help. For additional information, send us an email.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS BLOG IS NEITHER AN OFFER TO SELL NOR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY SECURITIES IN SCYTHIAN REAL ESTATE FUND.