Welcome to the 4/20 edition of Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

It’s been a big week for Republicans embracing legal marijuana or marijuana-related products.  Donald Trump, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have all moved to embrace the plant.

President Donald Trump will lift his administration’s plans for a possible crackdown on states that have legalized marijuana after talks with a Colorado senator, the White House said on Friday, an action that undercuts U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The former House speaker once said he was “unalterably opposed” to legalization. Now, after joining a cannabis company’s board, he is arguing for change.

Today, the Senate Majority Leader has made good on his words. Mitch McConnell has officially filed his promised hemp farming bill.

But it’s not just the Republicans who are giving cannabis a second glance.  Both candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the New York governor’s race are speaking about legalization.

A week after telling two interviewers her support for legalizing recreational use of marijuana in New York was revenue-based, Democratic candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon said Wednesday that it’s now foremost a racial justice issue for her.

Is the governor paving the way to legalizing recreational marijuana in New York?

In non-political news, it looks like the FDA is going to approve the use of an epilepsy drug made from the marijuana plant.

The medication would treat seizures that typically affect children.

GW Pharma spiked to an 11-week high Tuesday after an internal review hinted at the likelihood the FDA will approve its cannabis-based anti-seizure drug.

Happy 4/20 everyone!  In case you’re wondering about the origins of this celebration, check out Leafly’s article here: The Origin and Meaning of the 4/20 Holiday.

As previously reported here, on November 8, 2016, Maine voters approved “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana” (“the Act”), which allows for, among other things, the recreational use of marijuana. The Act became the first law of its kind in the nation to protect employees and applicants from adverse employment action based on their use of off-duty and off-site marijuana.

Simply stated, the Act prohibits employers from refusing to employ or otherwise taking any adverse action against any person age 21 or older based on that individual’s off-premises marijuana use. However, the Act permits employers to bar the on-premises use and possession of marijuana and to discipline employees for being under the influence of marijuana in the workplace. Employers may no longer test job applicants for marijuana. Moreover, according to the Maine Department of Labor, for purposes of a reasonable suspicion drug test, an employee’s positive drug test, by itself, will not be sufficient to prove that the employee is “under the influence” of marijuana.

Continue Reading Maine Employers Receive Little Guidance From Department of Labor on New Recreational Marijuana Law

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

California, Oregon and other marijuana-friendly states are seeking a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in hopes of resolving the conflict between federal and state laws that has left the nation’s cannabis industry in legal limbo.

The chief executive of one of Canada’s largest banks said it would weigh financing cannabis companies after legalization takes place later this summer. TD Bank CEO Bharat Masrani said the Toronto-based financial institution is studying the issue, and any potential clients in the cannabis industry should have a presence only in countries where recreational or medical cannabis remains legal on a federal level, according to the Canadian Press.

Experts have proposed using medical marijuana to help Americans struggling with opioid addiction. Now, two studies suggest that there is merit to that strategy.

Can employers deny employment to people who use cannabis under a medical prescription authorized by state law? In more and more states, the answer is now “No.”

Changes in cannabis laws are creating a new haze for employers. What follows is a quick summary citing some (not all) states that now require employers to think twice before denying employment to individuals because they tested positive for the use of marijuana that they are ingesting for state-authorized medical reasons. Continue Reading Budding Development: States Requiring Employers to Tolerate Medical Cannabis Use

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

Protections for medical marijuana programs were included in the recently passed budget bill.

The amendment to protect state-approved medical cannabis programs, known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, has been included in the federal omnibus funding package, which would keep the programs safe from federal interference until at least September.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be prohibited from going after state medical marijuana growers, retailers, and patients for at least another fiscal year.

Hot on hemp? Senator Mitch McConnell wants to remove it from the controlled substances list.

While in his home state of Kentucky, McConnell announced he will introduce a bill to legalize hemp as an “agricultural commodity.”

The head of the U.S. Senate announced on Monday that he will soon be filing a bill to legalize industrial hemp and allocate federal money for cultivation of the crop.

Thinking of majoring in marijuana in college?  You can do that in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has released application rules for universities and hospitals in the state interested in researching medical marijuana.

On March 9, 2018, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission (“CCC”) filed its much anticipated recreational marijuana Regulations with the Massachusetts Secretary of State.  According to the CCC, the Regulations are on track to be published in the Massachusetts Register on March 23, 2018.  The Regulations will become effective upon publication.  While the Regulations are comprehensive in many ways, for most employers the Regulations are most notable for what they lack, namely guidance regarding employer-employee rights and responsibilities. Continue Reading Massachusetts Recreational Pot Regulations Offer Little Guidance To Employers

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

Legal recreational marijuana was on the ballot in Illinois this week, and Chicagoland is strongly pro-pot.

Cook County voters overwhelmingly came down in favor of making weed completely legal Tuesday.

Voters in the largest county in Illinois overwhelmingly approved a ballot question calling for the legalization of marijuana on Tuesday.

Voters in dozens of suburbs outside Chicago took on ballot questions Tuesday including sales tax increase requests, referendums on whether video gaming should be legalized and various school building proposals.

“Don’t Tread on Me” may be New Hampshire’s slogan, but the phrase can also apply to the Alaska House.

State legislators send a clear message to the Trump administration.

The Alaska House is asking the federal government not to interfere in state-authorized marijuana businesses.

 

 

In a noteworthy decision, the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit overturned a dismissal of a bankruptcy case, which the lower court had dismissed based on its belief that the landlord debtor was receiving rental income from a marijuana dispensary.  The decision is significant because it holds that a bankruptcy cannot be dismissed simply because of the mere presence of a marijuana business or related proceeds in the case.  Rather, under this decision, the dismissal of a bankruptcy must be supported by specific factual findings that demonstrate that the debtor violated federal law or that the bankruptcy trustee would be required to administer proceeds of a (federally) illegal business. Continue Reading Dismissal of “Marijuana” Bankruptcy Not Automatic as Bankruptcy Appellate Court Overturns Dismissal of Bankruptcy Case of Landlord Debtor with Dispensary Tenant

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

It’s no secret that Attorney General Sessions is not a fan of marijuana.  So his statement that law enforcement would not be pursuing small cases came as a bit of a surprise.

Federal prosecutors won’t take on small-time marijuana cases, despite the Justice Department’s decision to lift an Obama-era policy that discouraged U.S. authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Saturday.

Law enforcement lacks resources to take on ‘routine cases’ and will focus on gangs and larger conspiracies, attorney general says.

California has a beef with Weedmaps and their listings of unlicensed dispensaries on their website.

Weedmaps apparently doesn’t plan to drop its listings for unlicensed California marijuana businesses any time soon.

“We note at the outset that Weedmaps is a technology company and an interactive computer service which is subject to certain federally preemptive protections…of the Communications Decency Act,” the company’s letter to Bureau of Cannabis Control chief Lori Ajax stated.

New Jersey has a new governor, and one of the big differences between him and the old governor has to do with marijuana.

Murphy, a Democrat who took office in January after eight contentious years of Republican Governor Chris Christie, said that he wanted to raise taxes on millionaires, close loopholes for hedge funds and big businesses, legalize recreational marijuana and phase in free community college.

Gov. Phil Murphy wants state lawmakers to pass legislation legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana in New Jersey by the end of the year — despite a lack of widespread support from lawmakers in his own party.

California—already famous (or infamous) as a sanctuary in the immigration area—could soon become a sanctuary for medical marijuana users. A proposed bill would protect medical marijuana users from employment discrimination. Continue Reading Into the Weeds: Will California Employment Law Protect Medical Marijuana Users?