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

We start out west, where California may not wait for the feds to act on CBD.  The state is in the process of legalizing the use of CBD and permitting the sale of hemp-derived CBD in food, beverages and cosmetics.

And it’s not just the states who want in on legal CBD.  Kroger is now selling CBD topicals (which are legal, unlike CBD-infused food, drink, cosmetics, etc.) in 17 states.

In New Mexico, lawmakers have added opioid addiction to the list of conditions allowing the use of medical marijuana.  But is there any proof that medical cannabis can help to reduce opioid addiction?  A study that gave a tentative “yes” as an answer to that question, has been expanded and now seems to indicate the answer is “no.”  For those of you brave enough to read the actual Stanford study, it’s posted here.

But could marijuana help with treatment for metabolic disorders?  UC Riverside has just received a grant for a three-year study to find out.  Let’s not make any predictions until all the data is in.

Will Delaware be the next state to legalize recreational cannabis?  As we’ve reported before, a bill to do so is moving through the legislature, but the governor opposes it, so it’s definitely not a sure thing.

In Alabama, a study group has been authorized by the governor to look into legalizing medical marijuana.  While it’s unlikely that any action will result in 2019, 2020 may be a big year in that regard.

Turning our attention to Europe, a committee of senators in France have agreed in principle to approve medical cannabis.  Nothing’s final yet, but indications are that this will happen.  Meanwhile in Italy, despite a ruling against “cannabis light,” the low THC market continues to flourish.

See you next week!

 

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign a comprehensive recreational cannabis bill.  While the “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act” contains extensive provisions preserving an employer’s right to ban cannabis and otherwise have a “zero tolerance” substance abuse policy, there are potential traps for the unwary and, thus, employers should carefully consider how the new law will impact their existing substance abuse and drug testing policies and procedures.  Continue Reading Half Baked: Illinois Legislature Includes Some Employer Protections in New Recreational Cannabis Law – But Beware the Traps

Federal trademark registrations are now possible to obtain for some hemp-related trademarks.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) recent guidance, Examination Guide 1-19  “Examination of Marks for Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Goods and Services after Enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill” issued on May 2, 2019 (Guide 1-19), clarifies the procedure for examining applications for marks covering cannabis and cannabis-derived goods and services in light of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334 (also known as the “2018 Farm Bill”).  Guide 1-19 does not change the requirements for obtaining a trademark registration, but instead explains that hemp-related federal trademark registrations (in certain instances) are not barred as a matter of law.  Continue Reading USPTO Allows Hemp-related Trademarks on or after December 20, 2018

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

First, a point of personal pride.  The Blunt Truth started in February 2016, with the slightly crazy idea that a BigLaw firm could talk about marijuana on a regular basis.  As of this week, we’ve reached our 300th post.  Thanks to all of you loyal readers, and rest assured, we’re good for another 300!

We predicted last week that Illinois would be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana.  We were right.  As of this posting, the governor still needs to sign the legislation, but since he’s indicated his support, we’ll go ahead and call it.

Other big news this week included the Food and Drug Administration’s first-ever hearing on CBD.  There was no shortage of speakers, from all walks of life, and those in favor of regulating the industry stressed the need for quick action.  Among those waiting for the agency’s guidance: Ben & Jerry’s.

The latest piece of cannabis banking (cannabanking?) news is that protections for banks serving the legal marijuana industry have made their way into a Congressional spending bill.   Stay tuned for more on this, as it’s a long way from enacted.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to weigh in on the scheduling of cannabis.  It is holding a case challenging the prohibition of marijuana in abeyance, rather than affirming the lower court’s dismissal.  This is so that the court can take action against the DEA, which has (in the court’s opinion) a “history of dilatory proceedings,” should the agency fail to change the legal status of cannabis in a reasonable period of time.

In our continuing series, “Where Do the Candidates Stand on Marijuana”? today’s installment concerns Kirsten Gillibrand.  She has a plan to legalize cannabis if elected.

See you next week!

The District of Columbia is one of only two jurisdictions (the other is Vermont) which have legalized possession of recreational marijuana but where sales remain illegal.  Wait, what?  That’s correct; in your nation’s capital, you can use recreational MJ, but you can’t buy or sell it.  Continue Reading DC Mayor Begins Effort to Legalize Recreational MJ Sales

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

In the race to be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana, Illinois has pulled ahead.  The state Senate has passed an adult-use cannabis bill, which now moves on to the state House.  The legislation is supported by the governor, so it looks as if this will happen.

New York, which looked ready to legalize earlier this year, has had some difficulties of late.  But things may be starting to turn around.  Lawmakers have made some tweaks to legislation that would allow recreational use.

Meanwhile, legislators in North Dakota are taking a pro-active approach to the question, by studying the implications of legalization.  Although an initiative to approve recreational use was defeated last year, the question may appear on the 2020 ballot, and legislators want to be ready if it is approved.

As for medical marijuana, the Texas legislature has approved an expansion to the state’s program.  New Jersey has also approved expansion.  The news was less good in Alabama, where a bill to legalize medical cannabis seems to have stalled in the state House.  And, despite strong support in the legislature, the Iowa governor has vetoed medical marijuana expansion in the state.

From the “well, that’s unexpected” files, the governor of Utah took the federal government to task over its treatment of medical marijuana and banking specifically.  “They ought to be ashamed,” he said.  And this from someone who originally opposed medical cannabis in his state.

And while we’re on the subject of politicians, you may be wondering what former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is doing, now that he’s no longer in Congress.  Wonder no longer: he’s now a shareholder and advisory board member at BudTrader.

See you next week!

 

As a number of states and the District of Columbia have moved to permit possession, use and sale of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes and the business of legalized cannabis distribution has grown exponentially, federal law banning such activity remains unchanged.  Deeming the trend in state law irrelevant, federal immigration authorities have in fact moved in the opposite direction.  Last month, on April 19, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced policy guidance “to clarify that violations of federal controlled substance law, including violations involving marijuana, are generally a bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization, even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law.” (uscis-issues-policy-guidance-clarifying-how-federal-controlled-substances-law-applies-naturalization-determinations) Continue Reading Too Natural for Naturalization: Even Decriminalized Marijuana Can be a Bar to US Citizenship

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

Let’s start, as we so often do, with the states.   Nebraska has decided against legalizing medical marijuana.  Texas is moving towards legalizing hemp.  Iowa is one step ahead of them – hemp cultivation will begin in 2020.

Delaware lawmakers have introduced a recreational legalization bill, but since the governor is opposed, that doesn’t seem terribly likely to succeed.  And speaking of Delaware, Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D – Del.) has come out in favor of decriminalizing marijuana but has not indicated support for legalization.

From the “here we go again” files, New York has a new marijuana legalization bill to consider.  Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, a marijuana legalization bill has been sent back to committee for further study.

The big news on the federal level is the number of comments on CBD products and how they should be regulated.  737 as of Wednesday morning, and with the deadline set for early July, there will doubtless be many more.  In other federal news, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin has said he’s open to the idea of legal cannabis banking, but does not think marijuana businesses should be eligible for opportunity zone tax breaks.

Banking is one of our favorite topics; this week we learn that California is considering the creation of special banks to handle marijuana income.  But it’s not just the Golden State that wants cannabis banking; all 50 state banking associations have signed on to a letter to the U.S. Senate urging the legalization of banking services for marijuana businesses where they are legal.

And the National Football League is now looking into cannabis for pain management.  That would represent a shift from their current policy.

See you next week!

 

The Illinois General Assembly has been working on a marijuana legalization bill this session.  The Senate Bill would protect employer rights to ban marijuana and discipline employees for use.

Across the country, states are moving to legalize medical and recreational marijuana.  In states that legalize recreational marijuana, employers and drug testing services have seen significant increases in positivity rates for marijuana metabolites.  Wider marijuana use will require employers to take action to ensure safe work environments for their employees, especially in safety sensitive settings.  Drug policies must be updated and must address discrimination concerns.  To that end, we are closely monitoring new forms of discrimination claims from medical marijuana users and regarded-as disabled employees.  See our recent blog concerning a related Arizona court decision. Continue Reading Illinois Marijuana Legislation Update: Senate Bill Would Protect Employers’ Rights