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

Cannabis banking hitches a legislative ride on the National Defense Authorization Act.  Chicago’s new zoning restrictions allow more dispensaries.  Michigan considers tightening restrictions on caregivers.  Adult-use marijuana could become legal in Italy.  And finally, is the NJ Weedman about to go legit?

banking

Stop me when this sounds familiar.  Earlier this week, the House of Representatives voted to add the SAFE Banking Act as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.  The House still needs to vote on the Act itself, but it looks as if cannabis banking is headed to the Senate.  Exciting?  Not really.  Proponents of federal legalization oppose the bill, as being too narrow.  Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) put it this way, “I will lay myself down to do everything I can to stop an easy banking bill that’s going to allow all these corporations to make a lot more money off of this, as opposed to focusing on the restorative justice aspects.”

chicago

If you’d like to open a cannabis store in Chicago, that just got easier to do.  The City Council voted this week to ease limits on where stores can open and lift the cap on the number of marijuana zones in the city.  Some restrictions still remain, but retailers will now be able to open a store without regulatory approval.

michigan

Lawmakers in the Wolverine State look to crack down on medical caregivers, in an effort to limit illicit sales.  Several bills now making their way through the legislature would limit the number of patients each caregiver can treat and the number of plants they can grow.  Proponents of the legislation believe this would reduce the unregulated supply of cannabis in the state.  Opponents insist that caregivers are not the source of the problem.

italy

Supporters of adult-use cannabis in Italy gathered 500,000 signatures in just a few days on a petition to legalize marijuana in the country.  The measure now goes to the country’s Supreme Court of Cassation.  Assuming it passes muster there, a referendum could happen in early 2022.

and finally

The NJ Weedman, Ed Forchion, is about to join the system.  For years, he flouted the state’s drug laws, and initially, he was suspicious of how legalization would play out.  But after reading the new cannabis rules, he’s thinking of going the legal route.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

Upcoming PLUS Webinar: “SPAC and Related IPO Litigation as it has Evolved & The Current State of SEC Regulation of Disclosure”

Thursday, September 23, 2021

 

Join leading securities partners Greg Markel and Gina Ferrari for a complimentary webinar put on by the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) next week. The program “SPAC and Related IPO Litigation as it has Evolved & The Current State of SEC Regulation of Disclosure,” will be moderated by Greg Markel, and the panel will include Gina Ferrari, Kieran Hughes of McGriff, Kevin LaCroix of the D&O Diary, and Deirdre Martin of Sompo International. 

It is going to be an interesting session and we hope you are able to join us!

For further information and to register, click here.

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

New York adds more members to its cannabis board.  California proposes new marijuana rules.  Cannabis may be on the 2022 ballot in Nebraska.  And finally, veterinarians in Nevada can now prescribe CBD to their patients.

new york

As we reported last week, New York’s new governor added new members to its Cannabis Control Board.  Now, the state Senate and General Assembly have followed suit.  Once the board is fully populated, work on rules for the new industry can begin.

california

The Department of Cannabis Control issued new proposed rules, which are set to take effect later this month.  Changes include new regulations regarding product samples, a change to the definition of cannabis business owners in the state and a loosening of rules around the sale of branded merchandise.

nebraska

Could cannabis be on the 2022 ballot in Nebraska?  Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana certainly hope so.  The group filed language for two ballot measures recently, and hope to start gathering signatures later this month.  The first measure would protect doctors and patients from criminal penalty, and the second would direct the Legislature to set up a system to allow the sale of medical marijuana.

and finally

Why should Fido and Rover be left out of the CBD craze?  In Nevada, veterinarians will soon be able to discuss and prescribe cannabidiol with their patients patients’ owners.  Although many CBD products are available for pets, owners have questions about how to administer them and their overall safety.  Under Nevada’s new law, vets can answer those questions without fear of repercussion.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

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

We have an update on New York’s cannabis agencies.  Illinois has problems with their lottery (not a surprise).  South Dakota says no to medical cannabis home grow.  Nevada will open cannabis lounges in 2022.  The DEA would like to increase the production quota for marijuana used for research.  And finally, Sacha Baron Cohen is suing a cannabis company for copyright infringement.

new york

We mentioned last week that New York’s new governor appointed members to the Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board.  The state Senate confirmed them immediately.  We’re still looking at a 2022 rollout of adult-use sales.

illinois

We’ve described the Illinois cannabis licensing problems as a never-ending saga, and with good reason.  Today’s installment brings us news of a “corrective” lottery that will make up for the errors in the previous three lotteries.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

south dakota

It’s been a while since we visited the Mount Rushmore State – let’s see what they’ve been up to in the last few weeks.  A legislative subcommittee recommended that the state’s medical cannabis regulations prohibit home grow.  In case you’re wondering where adult-use marijuana stands, the state Supreme Court has yet to issue a ruling in the legal challenge.

nevada

If you’re planning a trip to Nevada, you may want to wait until 2022.  Under a new state law, lounges allowing consumption of cannabis should be up and running next year.  The state’s tourists currently have no place to consume their marijuana purchases, as public consumption is against the law.  Soon, however, that problem will be a thing of the past.

research

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) called for an increase in marijuana production.  They need to ramp up research to aid in the development of new FDA-approved drugs.  More research means a lot more product.  The agency would like to produce 2 million grams of cannabis, an increase of 500,000 grams over its initial quota for this year.  Talk about Reefer Madness…

and finally

We’ve said this time and time again: do not say that celebrities are endorsing your cannabis product if they are not.  Sacha Baron Cohen is the latest famous person to go to court over phony endorsements.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

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

We have the latest news on the Ohio ballot initiative, along with a look at medical marijuana in North Carolina.  A new governor in New York brings new energy to setting up a cannabis market.  The Ninth Circuit opines on rescheduling marijuana.  And finally, did The Bard smoke weed?

ohio

As we reported earlier, the Ohio ballot initiative legalizing adult-use cannabis has had its up and downs.  It’s now on another upswing.  The state Attorney General has approved the initiative’s revised language, meaning it now moves on to the state’s Ballot Board.  This group will determine if the initiative contains one subject or many, and as we’ve seen in other states, that’s something you want to get right.

north carolina

Medical marijuana is on the move in the Tarheel State.  The North Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee recently advanced a bill that would allow medical cannabis.  It added language concerning requirements doctors would have to meet before prescribing marijuana to patients.  But we’re a long way from the finish line – the bill has to get through two more committees before a floor vote.

new york

With a new governor has come some new movement regarding legal cannabis.  In an extraordinary session of the state legislature which started this week, the Governor announced her appointments to the state’s Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board.

ninth circuit

The Ninth Circuit has dismissed a petition asking the court to review whether the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) should reschedule marijuana.  The court did not rule on whether cannabis should be rescheduled or not.  Instead, they held that the plaintiffs had not exhausted their administrative remedies.

and finally

Researchers examining fragments from William Shakespeare’s pipes think the playwright may have smoked cannabis, and possibly referenced it in his Sonnet 76.  Frankly, the evidence seems pretty shaky, but it’s fun to speculate…

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!

Earlier this month, plaintiff Bright Side, LLC dba Herbal Edibles, a manufacturer of cannabis edibles, filed a lawsuit in New Mexico state court to enforce a 3-year non-compete and enjoin the misappropriation of its trade secret cannabis recipes by one its former bakers, Christina Johnson.

Based on the complaint, Ms. Johnson had been employed by Herbal Edibles as a baker for less than one year when she was terminated. Ms. Johnson allegedly started her own competing business, selling cannabis edibles such as “psychedelic sugar cookies” through Instagram and an open air market.

According to Herbal Edibles, Ms. Johnson’s competing business is based on the use of Herbal Edibles’ recipes. Herbal Edibles sued Ms. Johnson for both breach of a Confidentiality Agreement – Non-Compete Agreement, as well as misappropriation of trade secrets under the New Mexico Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

Continue Reading Cannabis Baker’s Plans of Own Business Potentially Put On Backburner

As previously reported here, on February 22, 2021, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed A21, the “New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act” (CREAMMA), which is enabling legislation for the amendment to the New Jersey Constitution making lawful the recreational use of marijuana in the state.

While the new law, among other things, allows employers to conduct numerous forms of drug testing for marijuana, the law limits an employer’s ability to rely on a positive marijuana test result in making employment decisions.  The law requires that a drug test include both a “physical evaluation” and “scientifically reliable objective testing methods and procedures, such as testing of blood, urine, or saliva.”  The “physical evaluation” must be conducted by an individual certified to provide an opinion about an employee’s state of impairment, or lack of impairment, related to the use of marijuana. The law tasked the Cannabis Regulatory Commission with adopting standards for a “Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert” (WIRE), who must be trained to detect and identify an employee’s use or impairment from marijuana or other intoxicating substances and to assist in the investigation of workplace accidents.

On August 19, 2021, the Commission published its “Personal Use Cannabis Rules,” which say virtually nothing about employer drug testing practices.  That said, according to the Commission, until it “develops standards for a Workplace Impairment Recognition Expert certification” in consultation with the Police Training Commission, “no physical evaluation of an employee being drug tested in accordance with [the new law] shall be required.”

It remains to be seen when the Commission will issue another set of regulations and whether they will clarify some of the law’s unanswered questions, most importantly how the law impacts employers with employees in safety-sensitive positions. Until then, New Jersey employers should consider working with experienced employment counsel to determine whether to (a) modify their drug testing practices, including the possibility of eliminating marijuana testing either pre-employment or for certain types of positions, (b) provide training to managers tasked with making reasonable suspicion determinations, and (c) determine the best person to serve as the employer’s WIRE. We will provide an update once the Commission adopts additional regulations.

Seyfarth Synopsis: In the first six months of 2021, several states legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, including New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and New Mexico.  States show no signs of slowing down.  On June 22, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill that legalized recreational marijuana use by adults 21 years and older.  Although provisions relating to possession are effective now (as of July 1, 2021), the employment-related provisions are not effective until July 1, 2022.  Because the new law will prohibit many employers from taking certain actions in the absence of clear policies addressing marijuana use or evidence of impairment, Connecticut employers that do not have written drug and alcohol testing policies should consider developing them in the near future and those companies that have policies in place should review and, if necessary, revise their current drug and alcohol testing policies.  In addition, all employers should consider training their managers on making reasonable suspicion determinations.

Can employers still maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace?

Yes.  Employers do not have to tolerate employees being under the influence of marijuana while they are working and they may prohibit employees from using and possessing marijuana during work hours and while performing their job duties or on company premises.  However, employers still must be mindful of the state law protections currently available to medical marijuana users including, among other things, not taking adverse action or otherwise discriminating against someone based solely on their status as a qualifying medical marijuana patient or their possession of medical marijuana.

Continue Reading Connecticut Becomes the 20th Jurisdiction to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

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

The FDA says CBD is not a dietary supplement.  California refuses to allow cannabis in prisons.  New Jersey marijuana rules will get a vote this week.  And finally, if you’d like to use your iPhone to buy cannabis, there’s an app for that.

the fda and cbd

The Food and Drug Administration this week refused to allow the sale of CBD as a dietary ingredient.  The agency approved CBD as an ingredient in Epidiolex as we reported here, and it removed Epidiolex from the Controlled Substances List, as we reported here.  But, in the agency’s view, that approval as an active ingredient in a pharmaceutical means it cannot approve it as a dietary supplement.  The industry now looks to Congress to legislate a solution.

cannabis in california prisons

If you’re behind bars in the Golden State, you can no longer posses marijuana.  Overturning a 2019 lower court decision that allowed prisoners to possess, but not ingest, cannabis, the California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 64 did not apply to prisoners.

new jersey

This week brings some regulatory clarity to New Jersey’s marijuana market.  The state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission meets to enact rules for the industry.  Legal sales must start within 180 days.

and finally

Do you use an iPhone to access Weedmaps?  Are you frustrated that you can only browse menus of your local retailers?  This week brings you good news, as you can now purchase cannabis directly from the app.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll be off next week, so we’ll see you again on September 3.

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

Ohio’s legislative proposal to legalize cannabis was rejected by the Secretary of State.  Veteran access to medical marijuana advanced this week.  Michigan announced the winners of its Veteran Marijuana Research grants.  New York’s new governor may mean changes in the cannabis industry.  And finally, marijuana got a shout-out at the NFL Hall of Fame ceremony.

ohio

As we reported last month, advocates in Ohio proposed legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state.  Secretary of State David Yost recently rejected the group’s summary of the legislation, stating that “In total, the summary does not properly advise a potential signer of a proposed measure’s character and limitations.”  Undaunted, a spokesman for the group says they plan to review the comments and resubmit.

medical marijuana

Veterans’ access to medical cannabis advanced through the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.  Proposed as an amendment to funding for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the measure would allow VA doctors to prescribe marijuana and prohibit any interference or denial of services to veterans who use cannabis in legal states.

research grants

In other veterans news, the state of Michigan announced the winners of their Veteran Marijuana Research grants.  Two groups, Wayne State University and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), will receive funding to study the efficacy of cannabis in treating medical issues among veterans and preventing veteran suicide.

new york

As you may have heard, the Empire State will have a new governor in the near future.  Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) will move into the governor’s mansion later this month, and the cannabis industry seems to be cautiously optimistic.  But there are concerns that a change in political leadership could lead to delays in the industry roll-out, hurting smaller companies.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

and finally

Turning to the world of sports, if you caught the NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony over the weekend, you may have noticed that Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions, wide receiver) called on the NFL, and the sports world generally, to accept the use of “plant medicines.”  I think we all know what he meant.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!