Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

With thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at stake, it’s a burning question: Is Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions preparing to mess with voter-approved sales of recreational marijuana?

An independent national organization that supports state legislatures has again voiced its support for federal descheduling of cannabis.

After 17 years of waiting, Hawaii dispensaries began selling medical marijuana Tuesday.

And, just in case you were wondering what the astrophysical view of marijuana legalization is:

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, among the most well-known living scientists, said that “there’s no reason for [marijuana] to ever have been made illegal.”

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While Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to put the marijuana industry on edge with his recent efforts to clamp down on the “hands off” policies of the Obama-era Department of Justice, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) has introduced an ambitious piece of legislation that would change the landscape of how marijuana is addressed at the federal level.

The Marijuana Justice Act proposed by Senator Booker would remove marijuana from its current classification as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  Schedule I drugs are the most serious category of illegal substances – which along with drugs such as heroin, LSD, and MDMA – have the highest potential for abuse and purportedly have no currently accepted medical use.  Meanwhile, drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamines, and opiods all fall under the Schedule 2 classification and are considered less dangerous under the CSA.

Unlike prior attempts to legalize marijuana and change its classification under the CSA, such as those from Senator Bernie Sanders, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), and Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA), the Marijuana Justice Act appears to be rooted in social justice and seeks to “retroactively expunge people who have been convicted of use and possession of marijuana,” “[create] incentive[s] for states to change their laws, which will stop them from enforcing the law in an unjust manner,” and “[give] communities devastated by marijuana laws [the ability] to apply for reinvestment funds, to help pay for community centers, public libraries, youth centers, and other infrastructure and social needs.”

Notably, the law would withhold federal funds for law enforcement and prison construction for states that have a disproportionate percentage of minority and low-income individuals arrested for marijuana-related offenses and would create a reinvestment fund for communities most affected by the war on drugs, with grants in areas such as job training, expenses related to the expungement of convictions, public libraries and health education programs.

Whether rooted in progressivism or simply political ambitions for 2020, Senator Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act (which has yet to have a co-sponsor) will face an uphill battle in Congress, despite public support for legalization being at an all-time high.  Indeed, notwithstanding its populist appeal, this legislation would leave unanswered a whole host of questions, such as whether the U.S. government would play any role in the regulation of marijuana at the federal level or would leave regulation of marijuana entirely up to the states?  What about states which do not yet have their own regulatory framework?   What type of marijuana convictions would qualify for expungement?

It is unlikely that these questions will ultimately be answered with the current legislation, but the Marijuana Justice Act could open up further debate about whether marijuana should be declassified as a Schedule I drug under the CSA, which would potentially open doors to medical marijuana research and banking services for those in the marijuana industry.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Senator Booker said he wants to correct an “unjust system” that largely impacts communities “of color.”

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Billions of dollars are expected to flow through California’s legitimate marijuana industry next year when recreational pot becomes legal, but most of those businesses won’t be able to use banks.

Nearly 100 groups and businesses in North Dakota have shown interest in producing or dispensing medical marijuana.

The venerable lawn-and-garden giant’s leap into hydroponics, an ancillary sector of the cannabis industry, continues to bolster its top line.

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Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

GOP lawmakers stripped an amendment from a bill Wednesday that would have allowed doctors in the Department of Veteran Affairs to recommend medical marijuana to veterans for pain treatment in states where it’s legal.

An 11-year-old girl who suffers from epileptic seizures, former New York Jets player Marvin Washington and an Iraq war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder are among five plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed this week against the federal government.

Los Angeles’ City Council president wants to establish a municipal bank to serve marijuana businesses, including providing financing.

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Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Colorado has made more than half a billion dollars from taxing marijuana since recreational sales became legal in the state three years ago.

Next week, Uruguay will begin sales of legal marijuana for adult residents.

The first municipality in Arkansas has granted formal approval to local rules that will govern medical marijuana companies that operate within its borders, setting the stage for the rest of the state to follow suit.

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On July 17, 2017, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”), the highest state court in Massachusetts, held that an employer could be liable for disability discrimination by declining employment based on an individual’s off-duty medical marijuana use. This is a landmark decision, which has major implications for employers with drug testing programs and drug-free workplace policies. Continue Reading Is Medical Marijuana A Reasonable Accommodation? Mass. Court Says … Possibly

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Because having zero licensed distributors could kill the industry’s high projections.

If Massachusetts legislators are unable to reach a compromise over regulations for the state’s recreational marijuana industry, it may be time to implement the voter-approved law as it currently stands, Gov. Charlie Baker said.

Cannabist Special Report:  “I’ll try whatever I can to help her.” Veterinarians at Colorado State University and beyond are spearheading clinical studies on the effectiveness of cannabidiol in treating canine ailments.

And in honor of Bastille Day:

It is not the election of a centrist president that has the French breathing a bit easier. Marijuana reform is finally coming to France.

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On May 23, 2017, in Callaghan v. Darlington Fabrics Co., a Rhode Island Superior Court issued a unique decision regarding employer obligations to medical marijuana users.  The Judge who penned the decision began his analysis by quoting a 1967 lyric from The Beatles’ song “With A Little Help From My Friends”: “I get high with a little help from my friends.”  In the 32-page opinion following this witty opening, the Court held that an employer’s refusal to hire an individual based on her medical marijuana use violated Rhode Island’s medical marijuana statute, and the employer’s conduct may have amounted to disability discrimination under the Rhode Island Civil Rights Act (“RICRA”).  Continue Reading Refusal to Hire Medical Pot Users Just Got Riskier–At Least In Rhode Island

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Recreational marijuana becomes legal to buy Saturday in Nevada, but that doesn’t mean anything goes in the place where most people think anything goes.

The nation’s first licensed marijuana clubs likely will roll out in Denver in a few months after regulators finalized rules governing the pilot program.

It’s meant to complement the possible passage of House Bill 110. The 23-person task force will hold its first meeting by Sept. 7.

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As of January 2017, 29 states have legalized medical marijuana.  However, marijuana remains a Schedule l substance under the Controlled Substances Act.  Substances in Schedule l are determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have no medical use, and states that allow the use of marijuana for medical use violate federal law. Continue Reading Food and Drug Administration’s Regulation of Cannabis