This week, the House Financial Services Committee approved the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act, which would ensure that state-legal cannabis business can access basic banking and financial services. Elsewhere, CVS and Walgreens both announced plans to sell CBD products in select stores.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: By a vote of 45-15, the House Financial Services Committee approved the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act Thursday, which is aimed at ensuring state-legal cannabis businesses are able to access basic banking and financial services. It is the first time a bill related to cannabis banking has been approved by a congressional committee. Read more
- CVS Pharmacy will begin selling hemp-derived CBD products in 800 stores across eight states. The national drug store chain will market the topical cannabidiol products, such as creams, sprays and roll-ons, as “an alternative source of relief,” CVS said in a statement to NBC News. Read more
- Walgreens also has plans to sell CBD products, announcing Wednesday that it will sell CBD creams, patches and sprays in nearly 1,500 stores in select states. “This product offering is in line with our efforts to provide a wider range of accessible health and wellbeing products and services to best meet the needs and preferences of our customers,” Walgreens spokesman Brian Faith said in an email to CNBC. Read more
- Illinois: Illinois could permanently legalize medical marijuana under a new proposal that would also expand the state's pilot program to include more common conditions for which the drug could be prescribed. State lawmakers approved the pilot program in 2013, and it was later expanded through mid-2020. Read more
- New Jersey: New Jersey lawmakers canceled their March 25 vote on a bill to legalize adult-use cannabis, citing lack of support in the Senate. Now, legislative efforts will likely be postponed until after the November elections, when all 80 seats in the Assembly are on the ballot. Read more
- Connecticut: Lawmakers voted Monday to advance the first of a package of bills that would legalize recreational marijuana, a step they lauded as necessary to begin upending decades of inequality in arrests and convictions against minority communities. The bill, which was approved by the legislature’s General Law Committee, would lay the foundation for a marijuana industry in Connecticut by establishing a licensing process for growers, manufacturers and retailers of the drug, among other things. Read more
- Guam: Guam took a big step closer to legalizing recreational marijuana use by adults, as senators on Wednesday night voted 8-to-7 to send a cannabis bill to the governor for action. If Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signs Bill 32 into law, Guam would join a dozen states and territories, including the CNMI, in legalizing marijuana for recreational and medical use. Read more
- West Virginia: Gov. Jim Justice signed a medical marijuana banking bill into law Tuesday, allowing bidding for financial institutions to provide banking services related to the state’s medical marijuana program. The legislation, House Bill 2538, also establishes the Medical Cannabis Program Fund for collecting fees related to the program and the Treasurer’s Medical Cannabis Fund allowing the state treasurer to collect monies for banking services. Read more
- New Hampshire: In a 14-6 vote, the state House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday recommended passage of a bill that would end marijuana prohibition and regulate cannabis for adult use in New Hampshire. HB 481 was referred to the committee for further consideration of the proposed regulatory system and tax structure after it was initially approved by the full House in a 209-147 vote on Feb. 27. The House must approve it again before the April 4 crossover deadline for it to be considered in the Senate. Read more
- Maine: Gov. Janet Mills signed a law Wednesday allowing CBD to be added to food products, treating the wildly popular cannabis extract as a food rather than a medicine. Rep. Craig Hickman (D-Winthrop) introduced the emergency bill after state consumer and community health inspectors began warning retailers to pull foods, beverages and tinctures containing CBD off the shelves in January, citing both state and federal laws as the reason. Read more