Marijuana Regulatory Roundup: Updates from Rhode Island, North Carolina, and Texas
The more we see tax revenue expand essential services, education, and infrastructure in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana products, the more new initiatives and policies are being introduced. Other states are either jumping on the bandwagon and creating state-compliant packaging regulations or bucking the trend by becoming even more strict on their anti-cannabis laws.
As part of our commitment to providing custom printing packaging fully compliant with the state of our valued clients, we want to offer the resources you need based on what is happening in your area. That is why we are kicking off our national updates on current marijuana policy based on three states Rhode Island, North Carolina, and Texas.
In May of 2022, Governor McKee of the great state of Rhode Island signed new legislation formally legalizing cannabis. This made it the 19th state in America to allow recreational marijuana alongside Massachusetts and Connecticut.
To start, consumers are able to purchase cannabis products in child-resistant packaging from the initial 5 state-approved dispensaries. At the time of signing, there were already 28 more dispensaries, including one specially reserved for social equity applicants preparing to open their doors for business. That is on top of the numerous pre-existing medical cannabis cultivators, distributors, and growers in the state.
This will work in Rhode Island because there will be a Cannabis Control Commission consisting of three appointed members who will handle the regulatory system managing all the various retail locations. Most cities and towns inside RI are passing or have passed local referenda determining whether or not they will allow such a business in their areas. However, this isn’t what you might think. They are not doing this to prevent the industry but to encourage adoption so they can get a portion of the almost guaranteed high tax revenue.
There is currently a bill and case in front of the Rhode Island legislature and Judiciary that seeks to implement a provision inside the 2022 signed-in law requiring the automatic expungement of low-level cannabis possession convictions. How far back this will go retroactively is still to be determined if the insertion is approved. The current estimate is about 27,000 people that could have their crimes overturned or expunged based on the case law that will be ironed out.
As of right now, Rhode Island has yet to move to compostable or recyclable products. All retail marijuana products must follow state-compliant packaging, which means opaque, neutral colors, and light-resistant options while also fully enclosing the product in child-resistant packaging that can be resealed.
You can possess up to one ounce of recreational marijuana from a legal dispensary. In addition, you can smoke in any public area where tobacco is permitted.
While you can purchase pretty much anything you want regarding free speech, the second amendment, or owning land, you’re out of luck concerning recreational cannabis products, regardless of child-resistant packaging. Without any legislative sessions available in 2022, reformers are focused on the 2023 year to try and make some changes. However, both the current Governor and Lt. Governor are roadblocking any decriminalization efforts.
All of this activity is in stark contrast to a record 83% of Texans that support at least medical cannabis and 60% who would love to see recreational use approved. The good news is when you visit certain cities in the state. For example, Austin voters decriminalized personal possession of cannabis in May of 2022. Other towns have watched closely and followed suit because of this crop's massive benefits to state budgets.
There is a current House Bill 1937 being proposed by Rep. Jessica Gonzales of Dallas that would allow all counties and municipalities to make up their own minds about recording recreational use. So much division in Texas, no one on the same page but could you imagine the lack of control if the laws are different by County. There has to be a better answer. They already have alcohol dry counties it doesn't slow down the drinker. So unnecessary and out of control even though It would allow adults to possess and transport up to 2.5 ounces and impose a 10% tax on all cannabis products. There would also be an oversight committee that would impose regulations on child-resistant packaging, compostable packaging, and marketing of any cannabis products. The possibility of this bill getting passed is not high, given the conservative party pushback.
It will be interesting to watch whether the powerful financial resources of the largest Texas cities can impact the massively well-known political efforts of top Republicans in the state.
North Carolina is one of the most strikingly beautiful states in America. It has a sprawling coastline and incredible hiking that offers visitors all kinds of fantastic outdoor opportunities. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to enjoy a toke while experiencing the great outdoors.
As of right now, North Carolina is one of the only 13 states to have not enacted any form of medical cannabis within the country. Even though there is massive public support to the tone of 73% of residents wanting medical cannabis, the state continues to fail to pass legislation. Those numbers jumped to 82% in 2022 after more research showed the positive impacts of cannabis products on cancer patients, veterans, and more.
In June of 2022, a new bill SB 711, was introduced titled the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act, sponsored by Sen. Bill Rabon. Essentially this was shot down by the Republican-led majority stating more studies would be needed before they could approve such a legal move. This is a bit of a surprise, seeing how there was a task force in 2020 convened by Gov. Cooper to study how decriminalizing marijuana possession could drastically improve the states legal system.
There is a new push for Sen. Rabons bill to pass right now. It has already made it through the state senate again in a vote of 36-10 on both days of debate. All that is left now is for the state house to pass, where there is rumored to be enough support. This will be an interesting state to watch if it finally allows medical use.
Packaging Requirements of These States
The challenge for companies like ours at MSN Packaging Inc is keeping a close eye on the regulations each state will impose on cannabis products. We know plenty of oversight boards require fully child-resistant packaging that uses compostable packaging materials rather than plastic.
Rhode Island is the only one of these three requiring strict child-resistant packaging options. They have not moved into the compostable options. They have issues with custom printing unless it fits the “opaque or neutral colors” provisions which our professional team is happy to accommodate.
Hopefully, as new legislation is passed in Texas and North Carolina, they will also consider the benefits of compostable packaging that eliminates single-use plastics and improves the environment while also opening doors to recreational and medical marijuana use.
If you want to stay on top of the latest developments concerning state laws, new legislation, news, and state-compliant packaging, be sure to follow our page linking every states updates. This is an exciting time to live in, where innovation and research are unlocking all kinds of fascinating possibilities concerning medical, recreational, and other growth opportunities in the cannabis industry.
For all your other marijuana packaging needs, explore our shop of state-compliant packaging you can customize to match the branding and message of your dispensary, cultivation business, or retail establishment. We at MNS Packaging Inc are fully committed to keeping your products safe with a wide range of options from unique sizes to compostable packaging.
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