In this week’s cannabis news round-up, the Nevada governor enacts cannabis reform bill and eases industry regulations; Vermont enhances home grow and access for medical cannabis patients and Twitch updates its branding policy to prohibit pot but allow alcohol promotions.
Nevada Governor Enacts Cannabis Expansion, Eases Industry Regulations
Changes are underway in Nevada’s cannabis landscape as Governor Joe Lombardo (R) signed a comprehensive cannabis bill into law this week. This new legislation brings significant improvements, including increased personal possession allowances and the removal of certain industry restrictions.
Sponsored by state Senator Dallas Harris (D), the bill immediately doubles the purchasing and possession limit for individuals. Now, residents can possess up to two-and-a-half ounces of cannabis flower, compared to the previous limit of one ounce. Similarly, the limit for cannabis concentrate has been raised from an eighth to a quarter.
The bill also introduces several adjustments to the Silver State’s cannabis industry regulations. Adult-use shops are no longer required to hold a medical license to serve medical cannabis patients. Starting from January 1, 2024, the issuance of new medical cannabis licenses will be prohibited, except in regions where adult-use sales remain prohibited.
Licensing and renewal fees have also been reduced under the new law, making it more accessible for individuals and businesses to participate in the cannabis industry. Additionally, it allows individuals with past felony convictions to apply for cannabis industry licenses, with approval subject to the Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board’s discretion. The board ensures that granting such licenses doesn’t pose a threat to public health, safety or the overall cannabis industry in the state.
The new law includes a provision that tasks the state’s Cannabis Advisory Commission with studying the effects of removing cannabis from federal and state-controlled substances acts. Additionally, officials must assess the environmental implications of future industry changes and establish measures to minimize any potential negative impacts.
These changes come at a time when Nevada’s cannabis industry is already flourishing, with retail sales reaching nearly $1 billion in 2022. The new legislation aims to further boost the industry’s growth and create a more inclusive and sustainable cannabis landscape in Nevada.
Vermont Enhances Home Grow and Access for Medical Cannabis Patients
Recent legislation has brought significant improvements to the Green Mountain State’s medical cannabis program, expanding patient rights and access to treatment options.
Under the new law, medical cannabis patients are now permitted to grow up to 12 plants, with up to six of them being mature plants. This change grants patients more autonomy and the ability to cultivate their medicine at home.
Additionally, the legislation raises the limit for THC content in medical cannabis products, allowing for a maximum of 100 milligrams per serving. This adjustment ensures that patients have access to more potent products, providing them with greater flexibility in managing their conditions.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will now be considered a qualifying condition for the medical cannabis program. This recognition acknowledges the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis in treating PTSD and expands access to individuals who may benefit from this alternative treatment.
While Governor Scott did not sign the bill, he expressed his concerns regarding the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) in a letter to lawmakers. He emphasized the need for oversight to prevent mismanagement, conflicts of interest and other potential harms associated with an independent CCB. Governor Scott intends to work with the CCB and legislators to develop legislation that clarifies the constitutional authority of the board while maintaining necessary checks and balances.
These positive changes demonstrate Vermont’s ongoing commitment to improving patient care and developing a responsible and effective medical cannabis framework in the state.
Twitch Updates Branding Policy: Prohibits Pot, Allows Alcohol
Twitch, the popular video game streaming platform owned by Amazon, recently made updates to its branding policy for streamers. The new policy includes a ban on the promotion of cannabis businesses and products, while explicitly allowing partnerships related to alcohol.
Although Twitch faced pushback from the gaming community on other aspects of the updated policy, the ban on cannabis-related promotions remains in place. The policy covers various forms of branded content, such as product placements, endorsements, sponsored gameplay, paid unboxing and branded channels. Streamers are not allowed to receive payment for promoting cannabis-related products, including vaping, delivery services and CBD.
However, there’s an exception for alcohol partnerships. Streamers can receive payment for promoting alcoholic beverages, if the content is marked as “mature content.”
In addition to cannabis, the branding guidelines also restrict promotions involving weapons, adult content, tobacco products, medical facilities and political content.
Twitch has not provided a comment on the distinction between its cannabis and alcohol rules, causing confusion among streamers. Some streamers are concerned about the impact this update will have on their ability to earn a living on the platform. It’s worth noting that Twitch made an inclusive move last year by exempting cannabis-related references from its list of banned usernames, like alcohol and tobacco.
Interestingly, Twitch’s parent company, Amazon, is actively supporting federal legalization legislation. The company has also implemented progressive policies internally, particularly regarding cannabis drug testing for its employees.