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Cannabis Briefs for January 14, 2020

January 14, 2020

•New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged to legalize cannabis this year in his recent State of the State Address. While the proposal largely mirrors the policy specifics that Cuomo put forward when he pushed for legalization last year, the plan includes a heavy emphasis on fostering social and racial equity in the industry and reversing wrongs perpetuated by the war on drugs. Negotiations with the state legislature broke down last year in large part over where to allocate the tax revenue gained from legalization. The plan would also create the SUNY Global Cannabis Center to facilitate cannabis research. An estimated timeline wasn’t released, but the governor’s office continues to estimate that legalization would generate approximately $300 million in annual tax revenue.

•Bellevue, Washington-based Squad Drone has pledged to begin delivering cannabis via flying drone by March. The program will be limited to deliveries from producers to retailers, rather than delivering to consumers. The company’s fleet of six drones has a range of approximately 6 miles and can carry approximately 90 pounds. Squad Drone believes that drone-based deliveries will reduce logistics and security costs associated with wholesale deliveries by 80%. All flights will be monitored by a command center in Seattle and operated by a licensed pilot, the company says.

•South Dakota will vote on legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis on the same ballot this year, a first in the U.S. South Dakota is one of three states remaining that does not allow cannabis consumption in some manner; the other two are Idaho and Kansas. The recreational initiative takes the form of a state constitutional amendment that would legalize and impose a 15% sales tax, among other now-standard considerations. Efforts are also underway to place a ballot initiative in Arkansas.

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