California is looking to bolster its struggling cannabis market, Australia made psychedelic history, and Pennsylvania inched toward recreational legalization.
Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.
California Puts a Spin on Cannabis Cafes
California is well on its way to becoming the Amsterdam of the West. Late last week, Assembly Member Matt Haney introduced legislation that would make it easier for cannabis dispensaries to sell food, drinks, and tickets to events.
The bill is Haney’s solution to California’s struggling cannabis industry. As it currently stands, high taxes and a mix of other factors have made it difficult for legal dispensary owners to keep up with the low prices of the illicit market. The bill, Haney says, would allow dispensaries to diversify their businesses and draw in curious visitors who may not come otherwise.
Haney’s bill already has the support of many in the state, like San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman. “I think those (current) restrictions don’t make sense and they’re not helpful to the lounges,” Mandelman said. The Supervisor sees a future where the bill makes dispensaries more enjoyable spaces and in turn allows for further economic developments.
A handful of California cities like West Hollywood and Palm Springs have already passed ordinances legalizing cannabis cafes if the state permits them. If Haney’s bill were to pass, these cities would be the first to benefit. Still, nothing is certain, as Gov. Gavin Newsom ultimately gets the final say on the bill.
What do you think of Haney’s proposed “cannabis cafe” bill? Would something like this make you more interested in visiting a dispensary? Let us know in the comments!
Australia Becomes First Nation to Legalize MDMA and Psilocybin
Late last week, Australia became the first country to approve MDMA and psilocybin for medical use. Starting July 1, authorized psychiatrists will be able to prescribe the substances to patients dealing with certain mental health issues, like PTSD.
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The move comes as researchers have gathered increasing evidence that shows both MDMA and psilocybin’s therapeutic properties. A 2022 study, for example, found that psilocybin can help patients struggling with treatment-resistant depression. A separate study found that MDMA can help reduce the odds of psychological distress and suicidal thoughts.
With Australia breaking the barrier, more countries are expected to follow suit. In the U.S., experts predict that MDMA could gain FDA approval and be available in hospitals as soon as 2024.
What do you think of Australia’s history-making move? When do you think we’ll see something like this in the U.S.?
Legal Experts Eye Pennsylvania as Next Recreational State
Lastly, a group of legal experts says Pennsylvania could be the next state to legalize recreational cannabis.
The report comes from Clark Hill, an international team of business-focused legal advisors. The report notes a number of contributing factors that have positioned the state to enter the recreational cannabis sphere.
One of the biggest factors is the state’s recently elected Democratic governor, Josh Shapiro. With the previous governor also being a Democrat, the report speculates momentum could continue to build to legalize cannabis and other cannabis-adjacent industries. Better yet, incoming Gov. Shapiro has already vocalized his full support for the hemp industry.
Beyond politics, the report also noted Pennsylvania’s ever-growing medical cannabis program as another sign the state may be ready for more. In its first year alone, Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program earned $132 million in sales and $2 million in tax revenue. Since then, the program has only gotten bigger, amassing $900 million in sales between 2020 and 2021.
Make sure to check in with Veriheal to stay up to date with the latest cannabis news out of Pennsylvania.