New York doubles number of dispensary licenses …

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New York doubles number of dispensary licenses … but dispensaries still can’t open in the Finger Lakes Region

On March 2, New York State’s Cannabis Control Board announced it is doubling the number of retail dispensary licenses, upping the amount from 300 to 600. In the Finger Lakes Region, the number increased from seven to 14, according to Finger Lakes Daily News.

“With this expansion, more entrepreneurs will be able to participate in the first wave of this industry,” said Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright in a statement.

Currently, only 66 dispensaries have received licenses and four shops have opened – three of which are in the Big Apple. The Finger Lakes Region, along with Central New York, Western New York, mid-Hudson region and Brooklyn, remains blocked from opening recreational dispensaries.

U.S. Senate approves marijuana research bill

While there are several historical and anecdotal records across the decades on the medical benefits of cannabis such as reducing asthma, nausea, glaucoma and more, there have been very few clinical applications and research into its effects.

Marijuana research had a win in the first quarter of 2023.

On Feb. 16, the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved a bipartisan bill to promote marijuana research for military veterans. Titled the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, the bill was sponsored by Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK). The act is intended to “direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a study and clinical trials on the effects of cannabis on certain health outcomes of veterans with chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder, and for other purposes,” reads the bill text.

Two days earlier, U.S. House Reps. Lou Correa (D-CA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI) introduced a companion version.

While President Joe Biden remains opposed on federal cannabis legalization, he has voiced his support for marijuana research in the past. In December, he signed the Medical Marijuana and Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act into law. According to a Feb. 1 Forbes article, the law establishes “a new registration process to facilitate cannabis research… eases regulatory restrictions under the CSA, opening the door to further research and potentially even descheduling. This law also allows additional institutions such as universities, practitioners and manufacturers to distribute and possess cannabis for medical research.”

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