As more states legalize cannabis, growth in job opportunities rises. However, with more jobs, the greater the risk of employment related lawsuits at the hiring stage. While there are a host of issues cannabis companies need to consider at the hiring stage (i.e. background checks, policies, benefits, payroll, etc.), this blog post focuses on salary histories.

Salary history bans at the State level. Many states and municipalities have enacted bans that prevent employers from asking applicants about their prior salary information.

For example, California employers cannot ask applicants for prior salary histories and, if the applicant shares this information voluntarily, employers cannot use the information to determine pay. San Francisco goes a step further and adds that employers cannot disclose a current or former employee’s salary without their consent unless it’s publicly available, required by law, or subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

New Jersey, where voters approved a cannabis legalization referendum, prohibits employers from requesting prior wages, salaries, or benefits. But employers can confirm pay history and consider pay history in determining the applicant’s salary, benefits, and other compensation if such history is voluntarily disclosed.

Oregon, which recently decriminalized drugs, prohibits employers from asking prospective employees about their compensation history until after an offer is made. Employers are also prohibited from paying employees who perform comparable work different pay rates because of their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability, or age.

Other states with similar salary bans (where cannabis has been legalized in some form) include: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Vermont, and Washington.

The Federal government could soon invoke a salary history ban. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to sign the Paycheck Fairness Act (Sec. 10) during his term, which, among other things, would create a federal ban on requesting a job applicant’s prior salary history.

Specifically, the Act would make it illegal for employers to use wage history to decide whether to hire a prospective employee. It would also prohibit employers from relying on or seeking prospective employees’ pay histories to determine their wages, and prevent employers from taking any adverse action against any employee or prospective employee for refusing to provide salary histories. There is one exception though: “an employer may rely on wage history if it is voluntarily provided by a prospective employee, after the employer makes an offer of employment with an offer of compensation to the prospective employee, to support a wage higher than the wage offered by the employer.”

Employers who violate the Act may be subject to civil penalties and individual and collective/class actions.

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

What will Democratic control of the Senate mean for legalizing on the federal level?  How much do we know about Merrick Garland’s views on cannabis?  What did the FDA say about CBD?  How are things progressing in New Jersey?  What’s going on in the Dakotas?  Are there problems with Illinois’ social equity program?  Did you know Mexico legalized medical marijuana?  And finally, would you get a COVID vaccine if it meant you could get free cannabis?

democratic control of the senate

After both of the Georgia Senate runoff races went to the Democrats, the Senate is now under Democratic control.  The cannabis industry likes their chances of passing reform, with stocks rising and industry leaders predicting that some version of the MORE Act or cannabis banking could pass.  Of course, the majority is as slim as it can be, with the chamber divided 50-50 and Vice President-elect Harris casting the tie-breaking vote.  And the Senate has some other business on its agenda.  We’re thinking chances are better for reform, but we’re not predicting federal legalization in the next two years.

merrick garland

The Attorney General doesn’t write marijuana laws, but the Department of Justice has a lot to do with enforcing them.  Former AG Jeff Sessions encouraged the Department to enforce federal law, even in states where cannabis was legal.  Former AG William Barr backed off on that stance.  So what will Judge Garland do, assuming he’s confirmed?  That’s an open question.  He’s not written very much on marijuana, so there’s not much to go on.  Cautious optimism seems to be the current mood in the industry.

fda on cbd

Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration released a report on CBD, stating that more real-world data (RWD) is needed in order to evaluate the safety of the product.  The agency plans to “develop and refine its research projects” in order to better assess the benefits and risks of CBD.

new jersey

We’re still waiting for for that implementing legislation.  Last week, we reported that a clean-up bill might be the solution to this impasse.  Nope.  That’s now been delayed.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

north and south (dakota)

These two states are moving in different directions on marijuana.  South Dakota legalized in 2020, but now Governor Noem is working to overturn that vote.  She issued an executive order late last week allowing a challenge to the constitutionality of the amendment.

Meanwhile, North Dakota cannabis supporters submitted a 2022 ballot initiative to the Secretary of State.  It would legalize adult-use marijuana in the state.  We’ll be watching both of these situations, never fear.

social equity in illinois

We’ve reported before on the problems with Illinois’ social equity program.  State lawmakers hope to resolve some of these issues by expanding the number of new cannabis licenses.  The intent is to allow additional pathways for minority and poor applicants to enter the system.

mexico

If your view of Mexican legalization is that it never seems to happen, we can’t blame you.  However, medical marijuana is now legal.  Earlier this week, industry regulations appeared in the country’s Federal Official Gazette.  There have been delays along the way (the regs were supposed to be promulgated in 180 days, and that was three years ago), but they’re here now.

and finally

You have doubtless heard reports of people reluctant to obtain COVID vaccines.  D.C. Marijuana Justice has a solution to that problem.  They’re planning to hand out free cannabis outside vaccination centers in the District, as soon as the general public is eligible to get the shot. The program is called Joints for Jabs.

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.

A new year brings an old question: which states will legalize in the next 12 months?  One of the top contenders to join the list of states where cannabis is legal is New York.  Even once the voters have spoken, their message can have a hard time getting through.  In New Jersey, the road to legalization has been bumpy since the election.  And In South Dakota, marijuana companies may have a hard time finding legal counsel.  In Mississippi, medical marijuana is facing a lawsuit.  And finally, a nail salon in Oklahoma welcomes medical marijuana users.

who’s next?

2020 was a big year for state legalization – what will 2021 bring?  In addition to New York (more on them below), states as diverse as South Carolina, Minnesota, Connecticut, New Mexico and Virginia are strong candidates to legalize.  No guarantees, obviously, but we feel pretty safe predicting that there will be more “green” states at the end of 2021 than there are now.

new york

One of the most likely states to get on the cannabis bandwagon is New York.  Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is strongly in favor.  The close proximity to the New Jersey market means New York lawmakers may see their constituents travel next door to purchase marijuana.  And there are plenty of legalization plans to choose from.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

new jersey

Of course, legalization is not the end of the road.  Voting, whether by citizens or legislators, is a big step, but not the last one.  In New Jersey, legislation to enact legalization has yet to be passed, two months after Election Day.  But help may be on the way in the form of a “clean up” bill now in the works.

south dakota

One of the services that all businesses need from time to time is legal counsel.  Cannabusiness is no different – if anything, the industry probably needs more than the average amount of attorney assistance.  In South Dakota, that assistance may not be forthcoming.  The State Bar announced that its members may not ethically advise companies in the marijuana space.

mississippi

Readers will doubtless recall that the Magnolia State legalized medical marijuana in November.  A lawsuit filed in October by the Mayor of Madison, MS seeks to overturn that decision.  State officials are divided on the issue, with the Attorney General and Secretary of State backing the initiative, and the state’s Health Department and Municipal League siding with the Mayor.

and finally

Looking for a manicure in East Tulsa, OK, but not sure if you can bring your medical marijuana with you?  That’s no problem at the Hybrid Nail Salon!  Owner Elizabeth Brown says, “They can bring their own vapes, a bong, a hookah, bowls, any edibles…all is welcome here.”

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

Welcome back to The Year In Weed, our annual roundup of cannabis-related stories.  As usual, we’ll adopt Dave Barry’s Year in Review format and look at stories month by month.  Last year, I predicted that “…much will happen in 2020.”  Little did I know in December 2019 just how true that would turn out to be.  Whether you think that 2020 was the worst year ever, or only the worst year in your lifetime, no one is sorry to turn the page on the past 12 months.

So let’s get this “Goodbye and Good Riddance to 2020” party started.

High hopes characterized January, when it looked as if both New York and New Mexico would legalize adult-use cannabis this year.  Neither of them did.

In February, marijuana was a topic of conversation at the Democratic Presidential debates.  Ideas ranged from legalization on  day one (Sanders) to decriminalization and expungement (Bloomberg).  How the Biden administration will proceed is an open question.

And then came March, the beginning of the COVID Times.  In many states, cannabis stores and dispensaries were considered essential businesses.  That allowed them to remain open, which was good, as federal relief money was not forthcoming.

In April, South Dakota (more on the Mount Rushmore State later!) legalized hemp, despite the governor’s lack of enthusiasm.  Massachusetts decided that medical dispensaries could remain open, but recreational shops had to close. This was the beginning of a months-long saga.  Virginia decriminalized marijuana.  And Montana (more on that state later too!) was just one of several states facing problems with signature collection.

Which brought us to May.  The FDA cracked down on CBD companies making bogus claims about their products.  Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) objected to including cannabis banking in federal relief programs.  Republicans would use marijuana legislation as a talking point against the Democrats all year long.  Recreational shops reopened in Massachusetts.

And so on to June, the month of graduation celebrations, parties for Dad and summer vacations.  Just kidding – it’s 2020, so none of that.  What did happen?  The United Nations began the process of rescheduling cannabis.  A legalization campaign began in South Dakota.

July brought us news of legalization advocates in Arizona submitting enough signatures to put cannabis on the November ballot.  Pennsylvania’s Governor and Lt. Governor emerged as legalization supporters.  One place there was no call for legalization was the Democratic Party platform.

I’d call them the dog days of August, but in 2020, they’re ALL dog days.  Arizona’s legalization initiative made it on to the ballot.  The DEA released an interim hemp rule that the industry hated.  A lot.

With the crisp autumn air of September came the possibility of medical marijuana in Nebraska.  Spoiler alert: it didn’t happen.  Cannabis farmers suffered losses in the wildfires, their troubles compounded by their lack of insurance.  And the DEA’s hemp rule brought on litigation.

As homeowners set up candy chutes for trick-or-treaters in October, Vermont legalized marijuana sales, to start in 2022.  Maine, which legalized in 2016, started sales this month.  The DEA hemp rule continued its unpopularity.  Montana’s ballot initiative survived its many challenges, bringing the numbers of states voting on marijuana to five

And we all know what happened in November.  There was an election, and the winner was weed.  All five states where marijuana was on the ballot voted in favor.  Sure, one of them was the reliably blue New Jersey, and newly purple Arizona, but the others were South Dakota, Montana and Mississippi.

Which brings us, at long last, to December.  The United Nations voted to reschedule cannabis. New Jersey passed legalization legislation, but the Governor didn’t sign it.  On the federal level, both the House and the Senate passed marijuana research bills, but neither of them became law.   And the House voted for the MORE Act, which would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances list.  That didn’t become law either.

So finally, we come to the end of 2020.  It’s been our pleasure to bring you the news each week, even if so much of it this year was about COVID.  Let’s all hope for better things in 2021!

On Thursday, December 17th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it was taking action against six companies selling CBD-based products.  These companies faced administrative actions by the FTC for “making a wide range of scientifically unsupported claims about their ability to treat serious health conditions,” such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and pain relief.  The six actions have been resolved by consent orders, each of which call for the companies to immediately stop making unsubstantiated health claims about their products, as well as notify their customers of the FTC’s order by a form letter.  Five out of the six companies also had to pay a fine to the FTC, ranging from $20,000 to $85,000—the first monetary sanctions issued by the FTC against CBD product manufacturers and sellers.

In quick succession, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday, December 22nd, that it issued five warning letters to companies for selling products containing CBD in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). The warning letters address the illegal marketing of unapproved CBD products claiming to treat medical conditions. The warning letters include CBD products that are “especially concerning from a public health perspective due to the route of administration, including nasal, ophthalmic and inhalation.”  In addition, they address violations relating to the addition of CBD to food, and the impermissible marketing of CBD products as dietary supplements. Two of the letters also concern CBD products illegally marketed for pets, including a product for use in the eye.

In its announcement of the warning letters, FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D assured, “The FDA’s first priority is to protect the health and safety of Americans. Many questions remain regarding the science, safety, effectiveness and quality of products containing CBD,” and further stated, “We remain focused on exploring potential pathways for CBD products to be lawfully marketed while also educating the public about these outstanding questions of CBD’s safety. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor and take action, as needed, against companies that unlawfully market their products — prioritizing those that pose the greatest risk of harm to the public.” In its announcement, the FDA further reminded the public that it has not approved any CBD products other than one prescription drug for the treatment of seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome (DS) in human patients. CBD has not been approved as a food additive and does not meet the statutory definition of a dietary supplement.

In an industry that has been described as “the Wild West,” the FTC and FDA are trying to establish some structure and lessons through enforcement measures, with the FTC having “upped the ante”:

  • Need for Substantiation. All six FTC consent orders contain similar language in regards to the standards of evidence required to make certain health-based claims about products: there must be “human clinical testing” to support the claims made regarding prevention, treatment, and safety claims, and “competent and reliable scientific evidence for other health-related product claims.” “The six settlements announced today send a clear message to the burgeoning CBD industry: Don’t make spurious health claims that are unsupported by medical science,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  Commissioner Wilson also commented: “Although I support these cases, I hope that the Commission’s actions here, which challenge wholly unsubstantiated disease claims, do not discourage research into the potential legitimate benefits of CBD and a wide array of other products. In addition, going forward, I urge the Commission to focus our scarce resources on marketers that make strong, express claims about diseases and serious health issues with little to no scientific support and engage in deceptive practices that cause substantial consumer injury.”

Importantly, the FDA, has not approved a marketing application for cannabis for the treatment of any disease or condition and thus has not determined that cannabis is safe and effective for any particular disease or condition.  While both the FTC and FDA are aware that several states have either passed laws that remove state restrictions on the medical use of cannabis and its derivatives, including CBD, it maintains that manufacturers are responsible for conducting medical research into the safety and effectiveness of cannabis products through adequate and well-controlled clinical trials.

  • Actions Speak Louder Than Words. The FTC’s activity demonstrates that the agency is prepared to move beyond warning letters and assess fines against violating companies, as well as require notices be issued to customers. This goes beyond a “slap on the wrist,” as companies face serious consequences that can be debilitating to operations.  This summer, the FTC filed its first action against a CBD marketer and its owner, but it did not result in any financial fine.  Consistent with that action, however, the FTC has once again demonstrated that it will pursue individuals under the appropriate circumstances so owners and operators cannot evade liability.
  • More to Come. Prior to this month, the FTC and the FDA had sent warning letters to CBD companies regarding their use of unsubstantiated health-based claims in the same vein as those made by the six companies being sanctioned. By taking the next step beyond warning letters and imposing financial sanctions, the FTC has demonstrated that it will hold CBD-based products to the same standard of any other product claiming to prevent, treat, or cure medical conditions, regardless of its recent entry into commercial markets. As Director Smith warned other CBD manufacturers and retailers, absent medical support, “don’t be surprised if you hear from the FTC.”

Once again the FDA and FTC have made a mark that COVID-19 is not enough to distract them from continuing to monitor the CBD market and take action when necessary to protect consumers.  FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra addressed the overlap between CBD and COVID-19 in his concurring statement with the FTC’s actions: “…COVID-19 and the resulting economic and social distress are fueling new concerns about substance use disorders. In particular, there are signs that the pandemic is leading to greater dependence on opioids. It is critical that the FTC take steps to prevent exploitation of patients seeking treatment for substance use disorders.”  Accordingly, where CBD products raise health concerns, the FTC and FDA will be watching.

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

The Senate passed a marijuana research bill.  Weedmaps went public.  New Jersey worked on legalization legislation.  Mexico stopped working on legalization.  Ole Miss retained its cannabis monopoly.  Arizona crafted marijuana rules.  Lawmakers introduced a medical cannabis bill in South Carolina.  CBD goes great with strawberries.

medical marijuana research

Never say never in 2020.  Much to our surprise, the Senate passed a medical marijuana research bill this week.  This is a different bill than the one the House recently passed.  It’s a tight time frame to get legislation to the President’s desk, but who knows?

weedmaps

Weedmaps announced a merger with Silver Spike Acquisition Corporation and a listing on the NASDAQ.  The company is valued at $1.5 billion.  Silver Spike’s stock price jumped on the news.

new jersey

The New Jersey Assembly and Senate plan to vote on legalization legislation.  New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) is expected to sign the bill.  70% of tax revenues from cannabis sales will go to communities disproportionately affected by marijuana arrests.

mexico

Meanwhile, there’s yet another delay in Mexico’s move to legalize.  According to Mexico’s President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, small drafting errors are to blame.  The new deadline is April 30, 2021, although one might be well-advised not to hold one’s breath on that.

ole miss

Speaking of research, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NDIA) proposed continuing the University of Mississippi’s monopoly on growing marijuana for research purposes.  The NDIA believes that Old Miss is the only supplier who can meet their needs.  Researchers who have filed suit to expand their supply options believe differently.

arizona

As we all know, successful ballot initiatives are only the first step in legalizing cannabis.  After Election Day, the rulemaking starts.  Arizona’s Department of Health Services has let no grass grow under their feet!  They announced draft rules on December 10, and the comment period ended yesterday.

south carolina

South Carolina may be the next state to legalize medical marijuana.  Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) prefiled the South Carolina Compassionate Care Act earlier this week.  Supporters believe the legislation could pass next year.

and finally

Who among us has not brought home delicious strawberries from the grocery store or farmer’s market, only to see them go bad before we have a chance to eat them?  CBD oil to rescue!  Put some of that elixir on your fruit and extend its shelf life.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll be off next week, but will return on 1/1 with our Year in Weed post.  Happy Holidays!

During the last two weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives passed two bills aimed at reforming marijuana laws, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act) and the Medical Marijuana Research Act (MMJ Research Act).  Since neither bill will be considered by the Senate in the present session of Congress, they will have to be reintroduced and pass both the House (again) and Senate in the next session of Congress.  Will a new Congress be prepared to spend political capital on controversial marijuana reform with so many other important matters on the Congressional agenda?

Let’s assume marijuana reform is on a roll and the answer to that question is yes.  Let’s also assume the House passes both bills.  What then?  If the Senate is still controlled by McConnell as majority leader, the MORE Act will be dead on arrival.  Even if the Democrats take control of the Senate by winning both Georgia Senate seats in early January, passage of the MORE Act is not assured.  The MORE Act passed the House with a few members of each party switching sides.  Several Democrats voted against the bill and a handful of Republicans voted for the bill.  The same thing is likely to occur if the bill ever gets to a Senate vote.  For example, will Joe Manchin (D-WVa) vote for the bill?  Will Pat Toomey (R-Pa) vote against the bill? Who knows?

The future of the MMJ Research Act is more uncertain and may have a better chance of becoming law.  It passed the House by a voice vote and appears to have bipartisan support in both the House and Senate.  Unlike the MORE Act, which would remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the MMJ Research Act would not legalize or decriminalize marijuana, but would allow for expanded FDA approved research of medical marijuana.  Thus, it would allow members of Congress opposed to legalizing marijuana to vote for the bill.

Despite all the positive press heralding the passage by the House of the MORE Act and the MMJ Research Act, don’t get too excited.  If either or both of these bills is enacted into law, we could still be years away from a normalized marijuana industry.  Here’s why.  First look at hemp.  Hemp was descheduled in 2018 with the passage of the Farm Bill and here we are, almost three years later, with regulatory and legal uncertainty, truckloads of hemp in interstate commerce being seized by state police, and banks still very cautious about lending and providing financial services to the hemp industry.  In late June of this year, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen),  a bureau of the U.S. Department of Treasury, issued new guidelines for providing banking and financial services to the hemp industry.

Marijuana will be even more complicated.  If the MORE Act becomes law and marijuana is removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, there should be one immediate and positive impact, the removal of the burden of Section 280E of the Internal Revenue Code (to read about 280E go here).  Everything else will have to wait.  States, banking authorities, the FDA and other regulators will have to put in place statutes and regulations to govern the industry.  States that legalized marijuana are still struggling with legal and regulatory issues – look at California.

The MMJ Research Act would provide for expanded cultivation of legally sanctioned marijuana for research and would allow for FDA-approved research of marijuana.  Despite the development of a COVID-19 vaccine in warp speed, most medical research takes years.  Once research studies are completed, however, positive results can form the basis of legal and regulatory reform.

So will it matter that the House passed these admittedly historic pieces of legislation?  It’s certainly a first step on the road to full legalization, but there’s a lot of steps still ahead.

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

The House passed both the MORE Act and a bill on medical marijuana research.  New Jersey gets to work on cannabis legislation.  Lawsuits abound in states that just legalized.  Mexico’s move to allow marijuana hits a snag.  And finally, cannabis has been a part of winter holiday celebrations for a long time.

more act

As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the MORE Act, which would end the federal prohibition on the use of cannabis.  As monumental an achievement as this is, the bill has no chance of passage in the Senate, so it is a largely symbolic gesture.

medical marijuana research

It’s been a busy few days for the House and cannabis, as legislators passed a bill to expand research into medical marijuana this week.  Supporters of the legislation point to the DEA’s inaction as one reason the bill is needed.  The agency currently faces yet another lawsuit over its delays in approving proposals to study cannabis.  Although the Medical Marijuana Research Act attracted bipartisan support, this is another bill the Senate will not consider in the 116th Congress.

new jersey

Passing an initiative to allow marijuana use is only the first step in the process of legalization.  Then the hard work of crafting a bill to implement the will of the voters begins.  The New Jersey Senate is working on that part now.  After some back and forth over social equity provisions, the Judiciary Committee plans to take up a compromise bill later this month.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

lawsuits

The courts find themselves involved in legalization issues as well.  In South Dakota, a sheriff and the state’s highway patrol superintendent filed a lawsuit challenging the ballot initiative allowing marijuana use.  The suit claims that the initiative changed the state’s constitution, and therefore required a state convention to appear on the ballot.  The state’s attorney general defended the law, while Governor Noem supports the lawsuit – awkward.

Meanwhile, in Mississippi, the city of Madison told the state’s Supreme Court that the recently passed medical marijuana initiative qualified for the ballot unconstitutionally.  The state Secretary of State has until December 28 to file a brief in the case.

Lawsuits exist outside the United States as well.  In New Zealand, where voters recently defeated a referendum to legalize marijuana, a group asked the country’s High Court to nullify the vote.  Supporters of the referendum claim that voters were given misinformation about what the new law would allow.  The country’s Electoral Commission has until today to respond.

mexico

In the latest twist in an ongoing saga, Mexico’s lower house put off a vote on legalization until 2021.  As we reported last week, the Senate passed the bill, leading many to think the United States could be sandwiched between two countries where cannabis is legal.  Now, that won’t occur until at least next February.

and finally

Pagans marking the winter solstice used cannabis as part of their festivities.  From incense to holiday beers, marijuana helped people make merry at the darkest time of the year.

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.

The House will vote on the MORE Act today.  The United Nations voted to reschedule cannabis.  You can now get marijuana delivered in Massachusetts.  A group in Virginia released a report on how to legalize.  Mexico takes another step toward legalization.  And finally, cannabis supplies a host of pet names.

the more act

Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on Wednesday that the House will vote on the MORE Act today.  The legislation removes cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act.  Although most marijuana activists support passage, some fear the bill adds new taxes on the industry.  Since the likelihood of the Senate even considering this measure is nil, those who oppose the legislation can breathe easy.

united nations

The House isn’t the only body voting on cannabis this week.  The United Nations Commission for Narcotic Drugs voted to remove marijuana from Schedule IV of a 1961 treaty (the most restrictive category), and place it in Schedule I (the least restrictive category).  Meanwhile in Europe, CBD will not be treated as a narcotic drug.

massachusetts

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission approved regulations allowing home delivery of marijuana.  The regulations create two types of licenses. One covers delivery from a retailer or dispensary to the customer; the second covers wholesalers making deliveries from their own warehouse.

virginia

The Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group released a report on legalizing cannabis in the state.  Social equity issues featured prominently. Other considerations include: substance abuse, protections for young people, indoor clean air and data collection.

mexico

Mexico’s Senate passed a marijuana legalization measure recently, by a substantial margin.  The bill now proceeds to the lower chamber, and then must be signed by the President.  This has been a slow process, and will require regulatory action should the legislation become law.

and finally

If you’re curious about 2020’s pet name trends, Rover.com has you covered. The name Ganja is the top trending marijuana-inspired name for dogs, followed by Hash, Sativa, Haze and Dank.

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.

New Jersey is working its way through decriminalization and tax bills.  Virginia’s governor comes out in favor of legalization.  Other states showed some interest in getting on the bandwagon.  State cannabis regulators formed a group.  Mexico took a step towards legalizing.  Israel did too.  And finally, Andrew Yang thinks states that legalized are cool.

new jersey

The New Jersey Senate approved a decriminalization measure earlier this week.  The Assembly, however, has issues with psilocybin mushrooms.  And it appears that the governor and the President of the state Senate have agreed on taxes.

virginia

Not to be left out of the legalizing storm, Virginia Governor Northam (D) announced his support for legal marijuana.  Don’t expect to buy cannabis there anytime soon.  The process is expected to take at least 18 months.

rhode island/hawai’i

The Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee met this week to discuss the Governor’s budget proposal.  They focused particularly on a provision to legalize cannabis, through state-run stores.    As for Hawai’i, the state’s attorney general put together a team to advise lawmakers on how the state could legalize marijuana in 2021.  The idea has support among legislators, but faces strong opposition from law enforcement.

cannabis regulators association

With legalization on the rise, representatives from 19 states have joined the Cannabis Regulators Association (CANNRA).  The non-partisan group is designed to develop best practices and support consistent regulatory actions.  The group hopes that a formal organization will facilitate information sharing that has gone on informally between legalizing states for years.

mexico

Turning our attention to our southern neighbor, Mexico made some progress this week on legalizing marijuana.  A group of Senators gathered (virtually) and hammered out an agreement on industrial hemp and adult-use cannabis.  The legislation now needs to clear the full Senate.

israel

Israel has long been known as a leader in medical marijuana research.  Now, they’re looking at legalizing recreational cannabis.  Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn said earlier this week that Israel would have legal marijuana in 9 months.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

and finally

Former Democratic Presidential candidate Andrew Yang is optimistic about the possibility of marijuana legalization under the Biden administration.  “I think every time we have an election, there are going to be more states that want to join the ever-growing, cool states club.”

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll be off next week, so have a Happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you again on December 4.