July 2023 Regional News Update: PA Inches Closer to Legalization, More Dispensaries Open in NY 

A close up of a set of hands trimming cannabis plants

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Exciting developments are shaking up the Northeast as we witness progress in cannabis market expansion. In Connecticut, cannabis enthusiasts are celebrating the state approval of home cultivation, while New Yorkers are watching new dispensaries crop up left and right. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the gears are turning toward legalization, with lawmakers introducing adult-use cannabis-related bills in the state. Get ready for the latest updates and insights into the evolving cannabis landscape in the Northeast region. 

Connecticut adults are now permitted to grow cannabis at home 

Connecticut adults ages 21 and older are now officially permitted to grow their own cannabis plants for personal use. The state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) published a notice to remind the public about the policy change, detailing the rules and encouraging people who choose to participate to cultivate cannabis “responsibly.”

Here’s what you need to know about Connecticut home grow: 

  • Adults 21 and older may cultivate up to six cannabis plants (only three of which can be mature) for personal use
  • The household plant limit is maxed out at 12 (no matter how many adults live in your household)
  • Plants must be grown indoors, outside of public view, and in a secure location that’s inaccessible to underage people and pets
  • Cannabis should be stored in child-resistant packaging post-harvest 

Home grow is a contentious aspect of cannabis legalization, prevailing in some states and remaining prohibited in others. Advocates argue that home grown cannabis can stymie the unlicensed market and is no different than cultivating your own tomatoes, while opponents often feel it may adversely impact dispensary sales and also create health risks related to contamination of improperly grown cannabis.

Bipartisan Pennsylvania senators announce a new legalization bill

Bipartisan Pennsylvania senators have introduced a new bill to legalize cannabis in the state. The proposed legislation by Senators Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D) sets the minimum consumption age and provides “appropriate deterrence to keep marijuana out of the hands of anyone under 21.”

“Legalized adult use of marijuana is supported by an overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians and this legislation accomplishes that while also ensuring safety and social equity,” Laughlin said in a statement. “With neighboring states New Jersey and New York implementing adult use, we have a duty to Pennsylvania taxpayers to legalize adult-use marijuana to avoid losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax revenue and thousands of new jobs.”

If passed, the bill would legalize recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and older. Additionally, registered medical marijuana patients would be allowed to grow up to five cannabis plants for personal use. Home cultivation of recreational cannabis would not be permitted. 

More adult-use dispensaries open in NYC and Western New York

The first adult-use cannabis dispensaries have opened in the Bronx and Long Island. The Bronx dispensary, called Statis Cannabis Co, opened on July 6th with support from the New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund. The Fund is a program established by Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to help CAURD licensees meet the costs of establishing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries. Shortly after, Strain Stars LLC opened on July 8th in Long Island. These dispensaries join a growing number of retailers in Manhattan and the other New York boroughs.

Western New York’s first licensed cannabis dispensary, Dank Dispensary, also opened its doors on July 18th, making waves in the region’s emerging cannabis market. Owner Aaron Vancamp became one of the first to receive a dispensary license in Western New York after spending six years incarcerated on a conviction of cannabis-related charges. Van Camp told Spectrum Local News that the store has plenty of products including “beverages, edibles, vapes, and flowers,” and will continue to stock more products regularly.

Another dispensary, Herbal IQ, is gearing up to open its doors in Depew as well, according to the store owner. The arrival of these dispensaries reflects the expanding landscape of cannabis in Western New York and the growing demand for safe and regulated access to cannabis products. 

New bill in PA could loosen advertising laws for cannabis doctors 

According to current Pennsylvania law, individual physicians or those working in small practices in Pennsylvania can face severe penalties for engaging in certain advertising activities or even mentioning on their website that they can provide state-certified medical marijuana cards. 

However, a recent bill that cleared the state Senate Law and Justice Committee by a 10-to-1 vote aims to eliminate the current advertising restrictions. This comes after the state’s advertising ban was investigated by Spotlight PA, which found that “the restriction and its inconsistent enforcement gave an advantage to largely unregulated certification businesses that stand to rake in millions of dollars each year through courting Pennsylvania medical marijuana patients.” 

If passed, the measure permits doctors to publish short advertisements in local newspapers to advertise that they provide medical marijuana card registration. 

Stay in the know with CWCBExpo

The cannabis industry in the Northeast is undergoing extensive transformation, and CWCBExpo is here to keep you informed every step of the way. Stay tuned to our regional and national news updates for comprehensive coverage and insights into the latest developments shaping the region. Additionally, our annual B2B expo is perfect for networking and building connections with other industry professionals. Together, we can uncover the opportunities that lie ahead in the evolving industry. 

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