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Week in Review: Florida Greenlights Adult-Use Cannabis Referendum

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Current Events

Week in Review: Florida Greenlights Adult-Use Cannabis Referendum

ICYMI: Catch up on the week’s latest news from across the cannabis spectrum.

In this week’s cannabis news round-up, Florida Supreme Court greenlights adult-use cannabis referendum;Hawaii House Finance Committee halts progress on cannabis legalization bill; delinquent payments in US cannabis industry surpass $3.8 billion; and Flower by Edie Parker partners with The Cannabist Company for multi-state expansion.

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Florida Supreme Court Greenlights Adult-Use Cannabis Referendum

In a decision opposing Governor Ron DeSantis, the Florida Supreme Court authorized a constitutional amendment for the legalization of adult-use cannabis, Amendment 3, to be included on the state-wide ballot in November 2024.

This is a significant achievement as similar proposals were rejected in 2021.  Floridians can now determine the fate of adult-use cannabis in the state, building on the widespread support for medical cannabis since its approval in 2016. 

The proposed amendment, supported by Smart & Safe Florida, will legalize adult-use cannabis for adults aged 21 or older. The law would allow the possession of up to 3 ounces of cannabis, with a maximum of 5 grams of concentrate. The approval of the amendment is subject to the agreement of 60% or more of voters in the Sunshine State.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody contested the cannabis referendum ballot measure, alleging it to be misleading and providing undue advantages to Trulieve, the state’s largest medical cannabis operator, which reportedly invested over $40 million in the Amendment 3 campaign.

“We are thankful that the Court has correctly ruled the ballot initiative and summary language meet the standards for single subject and clarity,” said Trulieve’s CEO Kim Rivers. “We look forward to supporting this campaign as it heads to the ballot this November.”

Hawaii cannabis legalization
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Hawaii House Finance Committee Halts Progress on Cannabis Legalization Bill

Efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis in Hawaii faced a setback this current legislative session as the House Finance Committee stopped SB3335 from proceeding any further. House Rep. David Tarnas (D) and Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole (D) initially presented the bill earlier this year following Attorney General Anne Lopez’s 2023 commitment to work with lawmakers and stakeholders to advance cannabis law reform.

The legislation would have established a Hawaii Cannabis Authority to regulate the industry, oversee licensing and impose a 10% tax on adult-use cannabis sales in addition to the state’s 4% sales tax.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the House Finance Committee Chair addressed the decision, citing the divisive nature of the legalization debate and expressing concerns over the bill’s implementation and “the challenges of managing the largest wildfire recovery efforts in Hawaiʻi’s history.”

“The path to legalizing adult-use cannabis has been a deeply divisive issue. This year marked its furthest progression, with SB3335 narrowly passing its second reading,” said committee Chairman Kyle Yamashita (D). “Due to numerous concerns regarding the bill’s implementation, the House has decided against further deliberation in the House Finance Committee. This decision is strengthened by the prevailing ‘no’ votes from committee members expressed on the House floor.”

Acknowledging the concerns, Rep. Tarnas remains hopeful about future prospects. He’s promised to address public safety and budgetary considerations in collaboration with the Attorney General’s office. He plans to reintroduce a revised bill in the next legislative session.

Cannabis Market Spotlight: California
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Delinquent Payments in US Cannabis Industry Surpass $3.8 Billion

Whitney Economics, a leading consulting firm specializing in cannabis and hemp businesses, has released its highly anticipated report on payments in the US. The report reveals that over $3.8 billion is owed in delinquent payments by medical and adult-use cannabis operators—and it’s expected to exceed $4.2 billion in 2024 without regulatory intervention. 

The Whitney Economics 2023 US Cannabis Delinquent Payments Report is based on comprehensive data collection efforts, including surveys, direct interviews and data validation and offers crucial insights into the financial challenges faced by cannabis operators and ancillary businesses. Amidst declining revenues and intensified competition, cannabis operators grapple with cash flow constraints, compelling them to prioritize financial liquidity. 

Cannabis cultivation is notably the hardest-hit sector within the supply chain, contrasting with relatively lower impacts observed in retail. Smaller and minority operators are disproportionately affected, with 44% facing challenges in servicing debt and 34% struggling to meet tax obligations. Additionally, 57.3% of respondents emphasize that delinquent accounts receivables present a more significant obstacle to their cannabis businesses than federal tax code 280E.

“The pressures created by current macroeconomic factors and regulatory policies have incentivized operators to stop paying their suppliers,” Beau Whitney of Whitney Economics said in a press release. “This data further affirms the fact that the cannabis industry is struggling. Unless there is some form of federal and state regulatory intervention, the issues associated with the lack of payments will only get worse.”

Image courtesy of Flower by Edie Parker

Flower by Edie Parker Partners With The Cannabist Company for Multi-State Expansion

The Cannabist Company recently announced an exciting new collaboration with Flower by Edie Parker. The partnership will bring high-quality cannabis lifestyle products, including pre-rolls, vapes and edibles to Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida and Virginia. 

Revered for its fusion of fashion and cannabis, Flower by Edie Parker’s launch in these markets will feature signature items like the “Petal Puffer” all-in-one vape, 510 thread vape carts, “Best Buds” Twin Pack Pre-Rolls and a selection of edibles. Furthermore, The Cannabist Company will debut a new line of cannabis-infused edibles in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. With this expansion, Flower by Edie Parker products will be available in a total of 14 states.

“Following our growth across the Northeast and Midwest last year, I’m eager to bring our cannabis products to six more incredible cannabis communities,” said Brett Heyman, founder and creative director of Flower by Edie Parker. “The Cannabist Company is a leader in the industry and we could not have found a better partner as we embark on our latest journey. Together, I am confident that we will bridge the gap between culture, fashion and cannabis in new ways for cannabis enthusiasts across the country.”

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