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Kansas’ Medical Cannabis Woes, TikTok’s Cannabis Content, & Rhode Island’s Recreational Legalization

May 27, 2022 08:00 am ET

A Kansas medical cannabis bill fell short, a new study broke down TikTok cannabis content by the numbers, and Rhode Island legalized recreational cannabis.

Let’s dive into this week’s cannanews.


Kansas Medical Cannabis Bill Delayed…Again

Kansas residents will have to wait until at least 2023 to get their hands on some medical cannabis. The news broke earlier this week when Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee (SFSAC) Chairman Robert Olson (R) issued a press release stating that medical marijuana would not be getting “across the finish line this session.”

According to Olson’s press release, he believes the SFSAC was not able to “fully take into account the complexities presented by all the potential patients, experts…and agencies that will be responsible to regulate the recommendation, cultivation, production, distribution and safe consumption of substances that come from the cannabis plant.”

This marks the second time that a medical cannabis bill has stalled in the Kansas legislature since 2021. The previous bill cleared the House of Representatives but lost momentum when a bicameral committee failed to get it to the governor’s desk.

Kansas legislators are now expected to work through the summer to create a more “complete” medical cannabis bill. The re-worked bill will feature key provisions shared by both the 2021 House and 2022 Senate medical cannabis initiatives, along with a couple of compromises.

Some examples of compromises that will have to be reached include: deciding how restrictive the language regarding qualifying conditions should be, deciding how many years of Kansas residency are needed to obtain a medical marijuana business license, and hashing out the specifics around licensing fees.

The hope is that these compromises will make the re-worked bill more palatable to both parties by the time it’s reintroduced early next year.

Do you think Kansas’ Senate and House will be able to compromise enough to get medical cannabis back on the table by 2023? Let us know in the comments!

Study Finds TikTok Cannabis Content Overwhelmingly Positive

TikTok is a tough place for cannabis content creators. Almost any mention or even allusion to cannabis will result in a ban. Despite this, some creators on the platform have still been able to find an audience, which begs the question—is there a “secret sauce” to becoming a successful TikTok cannabis content creator?

That’s exactly what a new study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review hoped to find out. The study analyzed a sample of 881 cannabis-centric TikTok videos with 100 million-plus views and categorized them based on their subject matter among other factors.

The study found that videos portraying cannabis in a positive light garnered the most views—417 million in the sample group. Videos portraying cannabis in a neutral or negative light, meanwhile, only garnered 331 million and 28 million views respectively. 

71.7% of the videos examined in the study were humor- or entertainment-based. The next most popular categories were “experiences” (42.9%), “lifestyle acceptability” (24.6%), and “informative/how-to” videos (7.5%).

Unfortunately, the study also highlighted some of the serious shortcomings of TikTok’s racially biased algorithm. Of the 881 cannabis videos with more than 100 million views, a majority featured white males between the ages of 25 and 50 as the subjects of the video. 

What do you think of the study’s findings? Does your For You page on TikTok match the patterns outlined by researchers? Let us know in the comments!

Rhode Island Legalizes Recreational Cannabis

Rhode Island (RI) made history on Wednesday when its Governor Dan McKee officially signed recreational cannabis into law. With RI’s addition, there are now 19 states in the U.S. with legalized recreational cannabis.

RI House Finance Committee Chairman Marvin Abney raved about the legalization bill’s carefully crafted composition. “This bill represents a solid foundation for the regulation of the cannabis industry within our state,” Abney said, adding that it took “months of intense negotiation and collaboration” to put it together.

Thanks to the parity of the legalization bill’s content, the measure passed with overwhelming support in both RI’s House (55-16 vote) and Senate (32-6 vote). The bill’s landslide approval is even more impressive when considering the heavy presence of law enforcement officials silently expressing their opposition during the voting processions.

Going forward, the state’s three existing medical cannabis dispensaries will convert to hybrid retailers by Dec. 1. These hybrid retailers will be joined by six additional license lottery winners—though it is not clear how many of these establishments will be ready by the December deadline.

The bill also establishes a Cannabis Control Commission that will oversee and regulate the new industry. One of the commission’s most important duties will be deciding on the recipients of the state’s coveted 33 dispensary licenses.

What do you think of Rhode Island’s recreational cannabis legalization? Let us know in the comments!

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