Texas House of Representatives Passes Bills to Expand Medical Marijuana Program and Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties

On April 29, 2021, the Texas House of Representatives approved Texas House Bill 1535 (“HB 1535”), a bill that would expand Texas’ medical cannabis program. The Senate must now pass this bill before it can be signed into law and further advance Texas’ marijuana reform legislation. On April 30, 202, Texas House Bill 441 (“HB 441”) was also passed by the Texas House of Representatives; however, this bill faces an uphill climb in the Senate. If HB 441 is passed by the Senate and signed into law, this bill would reduce the criminal penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana. These two bills indicate significant progress in Texas cannabis legislation but still face an uncertain fate in the Senate. Below, we break down what these reform bills mean for the marijuana community in Texas. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCTexas House of Representatives Passes Bills to Expand Medical Marijuana Program and Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties
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New York Becomes the 15th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

On March 30, 2021, New York lawmakers voted in favor of legalizing adult-use cannabis after hours of debate in the State Senate and Assembly. Approximately 12 hours after the legislation was approved, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill that legalizes marijuana for adults and expunges the criminal records of those previously convicted by actions that would now be legal under the new law. 

With the passing of this bill, New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in the U.S. Below, we break down the details of this significant marijuana legislation. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCNew York Becomes the 15th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana
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The Return of the SAFE Banking Act

On March 18, 2021, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (“SAFE”) Banking Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO). On April 19 (just before 4/20), the House approved the legislation again; this time by a vote of 321-101, which also includes a majority of voting Republicans. This reintroduction presents yet another opportunity for the cannabis community, and with a Democratic majority now in the Senate, the chances that this bill gets passed have significantly increased. Below, we take a closer look at the SAFE Banking Act to refamiliarize and reiterate its critical points and examine what this could mean for the hemp and cannabis industries.  

Ritter Spencer, PLLCThe Return of the SAFE Banking Act
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How Should Cannabis Executives and Employees be Compensated?

Toward the end of the year, business owners and executives analyze their end-of-year finances to determine the company’s success, as well as how employees should be compensated. Many marijuana and hemp employers utilize their profits to give some of their more essential employees, such as initial team members or transitional employees with substantial connections or irreplaceable expertise, extra pay for their hard work. Owners typically do this with cash bonuses or equity-based compensation. As a hemp business owner, it is critical to understand each of these compensation methods before making a choice. Below, we break down your primary considerations. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCHow Should Cannabis Executives and Employees be Compensated?
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New Jersey Officially Legalizes Marijuana After Years of Efforts

After several years of failed attempts and efforts, New Jersey finally legalized marijuana on Monday, February 22, 2021, when Governor Philip D. Murphy signed three bills into law. These bills permit and regulate the use of recreational marijuana in the Garden State (with some strict stipulations) and focus on community outreach for previous marijuana-related convictions. The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey comes after a long run of unsuccessful attempts and hopes to end the era of arrests and ambiguity. Below, we take a closer look at New Jersey’s path to legalization of marijuana, as well as the recently enacted legislation itself.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCNew Jersey Officially Legalizes Marijuana After Years of Efforts
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Can Cannabis Businesses File for Bankruptcy?

After a challenging year for many businesses, small businesses in particular, filing for bankruptcy may be the only viable option left. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact a range of markets, and filing for bankruptcy gives honest debtors a chance to rebuild. However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and hemp and cannabis businesses are commonly deemed ineligible for this recourse as federal bankruptcy courts cannot support either the possession or sale of illegal assets. 

While no business wants to consider bankruptcy as an option, commercial bankruptcy often provides a valuable lifeline for troubled companies, especially during an economic downturn. But what are some of the alternatives to bankruptcy for cannabis businesses? Have the events of 2020 set any new precedents for bankruptcy in the cannabis industry? Below we take a closer look at some of the options and recent developments for cannabis business owners. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCCan Cannabis Businesses File for Bankruptcy?
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What Does The MORE Act Mean for the Marijuana Industry?

As the marijuana industry grows and makes strides in the legalization of the substance, the legislation surrounding marijuana continues to significantly impact businesses in the market. Most recently, the House of Representatives voted to approve the MORE Act at the beginning of December 2020. As Ritter Spencer specializes in marijuana, cannabis, and CBD law, our experts explain what the MORE Act states and what it means for the marijuana industry. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCWhat Does The MORE Act Mean for the Marijuana Industry?
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Will Texas Legalize Marijuana in 2021?

In the 2020 elections, voters approved statewide ballot proposals to legalize medical and/or adult-recreational-use marijuana in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, Mississippi, and South Dakota. In total, medical marijuana is now legal in 36 states and recreational use cannabis is now legal in 15 states. Currently, marijuana legalization remains on the docket for Texas in 2021. While many lawmakers have high expectations for this year, loosening marijuana laws has been a long and grueling battle for the Lone Star State. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCWill Texas Legalize Marijuana in 2021?
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What to Expect from the Cannabis Industry in 2021

2020 was a monumental year for the cannabis industry, and experts predict the momentum will continue well into the future. Specifically, when businesses across the globe were forced to close amidst the worldwide spread of Covid-19, cannabis dispensaries were deemed an essential business and permitted to continue operations at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Cannabis activists across the country counted this as a significant win in the progress of our nation’s collective perception of the substance. As this fast-paced industry constantly evolves, expect to see continued strides made throughout the industry in the following year. Below we’ve included what to expect from the cannabis industry in 2021. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCWhat to Expect from the Cannabis Industry in 2021
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Mexico Publishes Regulations Regarding Marijuana For Medical Use

In early January, Mexico published regulations for the legal use of medical marijuana, marking a significant move forward in the cannabis space. This is a substantial step in cannabis reform for Mexico and will have a notable impact on the rest of the world as well. While some feel these regulations were long overdue, Mexico’s Ministry of Health’s rules were signed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCMexico Publishes Regulations Regarding Marijuana For Medical Use
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