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

Vermont moves closer to legalized cannabis sales.  The House delayed a vote on the MORE Act.  The DEA faces a lawsuit over their hemp rule.  Plaintiffs dropped a suit over Illinois’ marijuana licensing.  Will descheduling appear on the Supreme Court’s docket?  The USDA’s relief aid program opens to hemp growers.  The Alliance for Sensible Markets wants to set up interstate commerce for cannabis.  And finally, Martha Stewart has a new CBD product.

vermont

It’s all up to the governor now.  The Vermont Senate passed a bill allowing sales of cannabis in the state.  As we reported last week, the governor could go either way on this legislation.  Once again, further bulletins as events warrant.

more act

We have another update on a story from last week.  House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) removed the MORE Act from this weeks’ House floor schedule, and a vote may have to wait until after the election.  Marijuana Business Daily has a look at what the future may hold for the legislation.

dea regulations

We reported last month that the hemp industry is less than delighted at the DEA’s new rule.  Now, they’re suing.  Late last week, the Hemp Industries Association and a South Carolina CBD manufacturer filed suit in DC federal court.  They want the court to throw out the rule, claiming that it criminalizes a part of the extraction process.  We’ll be keeping an eye on this.

illinois

The road to social equity in cannabis may run a bit smoother in future.  Several unsuccessful business license applicants filed suit in federal court, claiming the state’s system discriminated against minority applicants.  They’ve now dropped that suit after Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) announced changes to the system this week.

supreme court

Will marijuana appear on the high court docket this term?  The National Cannabis Industry Association and the Arcview Group hope that it will.  They’ve filed an amicus brief, asking the court to hear Marvin Washington, et al., Petitioners v. William P. Barr, Attorney General, et al.  Follow the action on the case at the court’s website.

relief for hemp farmers

The USDA expanded its virus relief program for farmers, and hemp growers are now eligible for funds.  They were initially deemed ineligible, as prices did not decline sufficiently between January and April.  Now, they can apply for relief under a new “flat-rate” crop category.

alliance for sensible markets

A new group is calling on governors of states where cannabis is legal or “soon to be” legal to join a group establishing interstate commerce.  This would allow states with excess marijuana to export to states that don’t have enough to meet demand.  The group’s organizers also believe it would increase investment in the industry and spur legalization in other states.

and finally

Martha Stewart has come out with a new line of CBD pâte de fruit (fruit-flavored gummies) under the Canopy Growth Corporation line.

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.

It’s the end of the road for Nebraska’s medical marijuana ballot initiative.  Vermont seems likely to legalize cannabis sales.  The MORE Act vote may be postponed.  The IRS issued tax guidance for marijuana companies.  The EU may classify CBD as a narcotic – an industry group is not happy.  The wildfires are consuming cannabis farms, and many farmers lack insurance.  And finally, marijuana legislation appeared in an answer on Jeopardy.

nebraska

It was a roller coaster for Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, but the state’s Supreme Court has stopped the ride.  The court ruled late last week that the measure was unconstitutional, thus it will not appear on the November 2020 ballot.  The initiative would have both legalized medical marijuana and set up a system to manage it, and the justices decided that this violates the state’s single subject rule.  Advocates announced that they will craft a new initiative for the 2022 ballot.

vermont

In other state news, Vermont looks likely to legalize marijuana sales.  Home use and cultivation of cannabis became legal in 2018, but the law established no system for sales.  Legislation currently moving through the legislature would set up such a system.  Although the bill is expected to pass, the governor’s views on the subject are unknown at present.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

more act

Turning our attention to the federal government, supporters of the MORE Act anticipated no problem in voting to remove federal penalties for marijuana just a short time ago.  Now, however, that vote may be delayed.  Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), long an opponent of hemp’s “illicit cousin,” has effectively tied the vote to virus relief legislation, saying that supporters of the bill are more interested in marijuana than aid to those suffering during the pandemic.  The Act remains on the September schedule, but House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) says legislation to keep the government open and deal with COVID are more important.

tax guidance

For those in the cannabis industry, paying taxes can be quite a hassle.  Now, the IRS has released guidance to make those payments less difficult.  Topics covered include income reporting, cash payments, estimated tax and record keeping.

cbd and the eu

As we’ve reported before, a European Union Commission has reached a “preliminary conclusion” that CBD and other hemp extracts are narcotics.  The European Industrial Hemp Association is now fighting that conclusion, writing letters to the EU’s commissioner for health and food safety and to the European Parliament.

wildfires

We’ve all seen the devastation facing Western states as wildfires rage out of control.  Cannabis farmers have not escaped; even if they are spared the flames, the smoke in the air can ruin marijuana crops.  To add insult to injury, many are uninsured, as cannabis is still illegal under federal law, regardless of the fact that it’s legal in Washington, Oregon and California.

and finally

You know you’ve hit the mainstream when your product appears on Jeopardy!

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

For those interested in cannabis industry events, Seyfarth attorneys will be participating in the following webinar programs and we invite you to join.

Thursday, October 1 – “CBD News You Can Use: FDA’s Progress and Other Updates” hosted by Seyfarth

This program offers an overview of the distinction between cannabis, hemp, marijuana, and CBD; a look at FDA’s regulatory activity over the past year; the FDA and FTC’s 2020 enforcement activity and consumer driven litigation; status of states’ regulation of CBD; CBD products in the marketplace; and Federal legislation and lobbying activity related to CBD.

Find more information and register for the webinar here.

 

Wednesday, October 21 ­– “Trade Secrets in Cannabis” hosted by the California Lawyer’s Association

The program aims to help cannabusinesses and their counsel identify the potential trade secrets in this industry and learn how to protect them, including in these COVID-19 times. Speakers will also discuss some of the more recent and significant trade secrets cases involving the cannabis industry to illustrate key takeaways.

Find more information and register for the webinar here.

 

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

The USDA is allowing more comments on its new hemp rule.  The House voted to allow marijuana research.  We have an update on the Nebraska situation.  Illinois’ social equity program comes under fire, while Maryland’s program is cleared of bias.  And cannabis is falling from the sky in Israel.

usda hemp rule

Regular readers will doubtless recall the general unhappiness over the USDA’s hemp rule, published in October 2019.  The agency responded this week by reopening the comment period.  It now runs until October 8, 2020.

marijuana research

In other federal news, the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2019 advanced out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by unanimous voice vote this week.  The bill would facilitate production of marijuana for use by researchers and expressly forbids interference by the Department of Justice or the Attorney General.

nebraska

As we’ve reported before, Nebraska’s medical marijuana initiative has had a rocky road to the ballot.  The state’s Supreme Court heard oral arguments late last week on whether to allow the measure to proceed to the voters.  The court could rule any day, so look for more on this subject next week.

illinois

In other state news, Illinois’ social equity program faces accusations that it shut out the very people it exists to help.  The program grants those who live in an area disproportionately affected by cannabis laws in the past or have past convictions additional points on applications for business licenses.  Now a lawsuit has been filed that claims places in the lottery system that will distribute licenses have gone to well-connected insiders.

maryland

Illinois isn’t the only state answering questions about its licensing process.  Unsuccessful applicants in Maryland claimed the state’s process lacked transparency and was subject to undue influence.  An investigation recently found “no evidence of bias.”

and finally

Call it manna from heaven.  Bags of cannabis fell from a drone over Rabin Square in Tel Aviv last week.  Sponsored by a group supporting the legalization of recreational marijuana, this may be the first of many “deliveries,” as COVID limits in-person contact.  Keep watching the skies!

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.

Medical marijuana will be on the ballot in Nebraska.  We’ve got lots of news from California.  Florida has legalized medical marijuana edibles.  On the federal level, the MORE act will get a vote in the House.  There’s now CBD for elephants.  And speaking of CBD, Seyfarth has a program coming up on that topic.

nebraska

Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen approved a medical marijuana initiative to appear on the November ballot late last week.  Evnen said the measure met all legal requirements, but he expected a legal challenge from cannabis opponents.  In fact, Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner filed a petition with the Nebraska Supreme Court the next day.  And he’s not the only unhappy Nebraskan.  Governor Pete Ricketts recently declared that there is no such thing as medical marijuana.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

california

It’s been a busy week for the Golden State.  The legislature approved two marijuana measures.  Assembly Bill 1827 freezes tax rate increases until July 2021.  Assembly Bill 1525 allows cannabis banking under California state law.  A bill which would have set new rules for the hemp industry, was not passed.  Since it faced opposition from hemp farmers and others in the cannabis industry, that may be for the best.

In other news, a federal court ruled that the state must turn over information concerning three marijuana businesses to the DEA.  California argued that the agency did not adequately explain the need for the information.  The DEA said it was necessary for an investigation into the illegal import and transport of marijuana oil from Mexico.  Ultimately, the judge sided with the agency.

florida

The big news in Florida is the approval of medical marijuana edibles.  No sooner did the state’s Department of Health publish new rules, than Trulieve started making them available in their dispensaries.

the more act

There’s also news on the federal level.  Rep. Jerry Nadler’s (D-NY) MORE Act will come up for a vote this month.  The bill would decriminalize cannabis and expunge the criminal records of nonviolent marijuana offenders.  The legislation is both historic, and likely doomed to failure in the Senate.

elephants and cbd

The Warsaw Zoo is offering its three African elephants CBD in hopes of relieving their stress over the death of their alpha female. The CBD will be administered through their trunks.  Zookeepers hope to study the effects of the CBD on the elephants and make the findings public.

and finally

If CBD for humans is more your speed, Seyfarth will be hosting a webinar, “CBD News You Can Use: FDA’s Progress and Other Updates” on October 1, 2020.  More information and a link to register will be available shortly.

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.

Pennsylvania’s governor is supporting cannabis legalization.  Arizonans will have a chance to vote on legalization in November.  Vermont is considering expungement and decriminalization.  The DEA has a new hemp rule.  Senator McConnell is promoting hemp face masks.  And traffic lights go green.

pennsylvania

We’ve reported before on Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s full-throated support for cannabis legalization.  Now, the governor has joined the chorus.  Governor Tom Wolf (D) is calling on the legislature to pass a legalization bill, indicating that the proceeds for sales will help ease the financial strain of the pandemic on small businesses.

arizona

Meanwhile, in Arizona, legalization is on the ballot.  Recreational use would be legal for those 21 or older, with the sales tax revenue going to community colleges, public safety, health and roads.  A similar initiative failed to pass four years ago, and advocates are focusing their efforts on changing the minds of those who opposed the measure then.

vermont

Vermont decriminalized possession of up to 1 oz. of marijuana in 2018.  Now, the legislature is considering a measure that would automatically expunge all criminal records for possession of up to 2 oz. of cannabis, and decriminalize possession of that amount.  A larger bill, that would allow sales of marijuana, is also under consideration.  Proponents of the expungement bill hope to pass it, regardless of what happens with the sales measure.

dea hemp rule

The Drug Enforcement Administration released an interim final rule last week that has the industry up in arms.  The rule makes illegal the production of “wet hemp,” a necessary part of the hemp extraction process that results in a temporary increase in THC.  Comments on the rule are due by October 20.

hemp face masks

The Senate’s biggest hemp booster, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), recommends the use of hemp face masks during the pandemic.  He also indicated, in an interview at a Kentucky hemp plant, that he hopes to delivery another “infusion of cash” for the industry.  He did not address the DEA’s new rule and its effect on the industry’s survival.

and finally

If you’re looking to proceed through an intersection in Spokane, WA, a cannabis leaf will give you the go ahead.  A  person called the “Mad Signtist” used cardboard to change the green lights into marijuana leaves in the North Spokane area.

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.

Arizona voters will decide whether to legalize cannabis in November,  Senator Schumer opposes new USDA hemp rules.  The American Heart Association has some thoughts on cannabis.  Pitt will start researching marijuana.  A bill to legalize cannabis is on its way to South Africa’s Parliament. Senator Harris’ views on cannabis differ from those of Vice President Biden.   And even grandmothers should not take hemp to Disney World.

arizona

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs cleared the signatures gathered by Smart and Safe Arizona this week.  This means the question of whether to legalize adult-use cannabis will appear on the state’s November ballot.  If passed, Arizona would become the 12th state to allow recreational marijuana.

hemp rules

Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week, asking that the agency delay implementation of final rules on hemp until 2022.  Schumer cited industry unhappiness with Interim Final Rules published in October 2019.  He also raised concerns over harvesting upheaval caused by COVID-19.

american heart association

The American Heart Association (AHA) released a report last week that provided both good and bad news to the cannabis industry.  The group came out in support of removing marijuana from Schedule I, to allow scientists to study it.  The problem is that they believe it may cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.

pitt research grant

Speaking of research, the University of Pittsburgh will study the possible benefits of medical marijuana with a 10-year, $3 million grant from cannabis company Parallel.  The initial focus of the research will be sickle cell disease.  Anxiety disorders and chronic pain are also on the agenda.

south africa

South Africa’s Cabinet approved a bill allowing adult-use cannabis last week.  The legislation now goes to Parliament for consideration, and it will face a public consultation process before it can be enacted.

senator kamala harris

On Wednesday, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) officially joined the Democratic ticket.  Where does she stand on cannabis?  We examined her record back in October, noting both her sponsorship of the MORE Act, and her work as a prosecutor in California.  It appears that she is more open to legalization than Vice President Biden, but it seems doubtful that her addition to the ticket will bring marijuana to the fore in the election.

and finally

If you’re planning a trip to Disney World, leave your CBD oil at home.  An attorney representing Hester Burkhalter, a 69-year old grandmother from North Carolina, filed suit against Disney and the Orange County Sheriff for wrongful arrest.  Burkhalter was carrying CBD oil in her purse, and when Disney employees tested it for THC, one of two tests came back positive.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll be off next week, but we’ll be back on August 28.

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

The House of Representatives passed this year’s version of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.  Senator Mitch McConnell expressed his opposition to protections for the cannabis industry.  The World Health Organization’s recommendations on rescheduling cannabis met some opposition at the United Nations. The European Commission said that hemp is a drug.  The Idaho medical marijuana ballot initiative appears to be dead.  Marijuana sales in Maine may start by the end of 2020.  And Uncle Bud has a new celebrity sponsor.

blumenauer amendment

As we predicted last week, the House of Representatives passed the Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton-Lee amendment by a vote of 254 to 163.  The amendment would protect state legal marijuana companies, both medical and recreational, from federal interference.  For a detailed examination of who voted how, see Marijuana Moment’s rundown here.

Mcconnell opposition

The House is one thing; the Senate, of course, is another.  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) opposes marijuana legalization, so the chances of this surviving a Senate vote seem slim.  Recently, McConnell has been quite vocal about his unhappiness over the inclusion of cannabis banking provisions in the latest COVID-19 relief bill.

international news

The World Health Organization recommended some changes to cannabis scheduling, including adding a footnote to the cannabis entry in Schedule 1 of the 1961 Single Convention to clarify that preparations containing predominantly CBD and up to 0.2% THC are not under international control.  Opposition to the measure came from some members of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, but the cannabis industry remains hopeful that the measure will ultimately pass.

Meanwhile, things are looking grim for the European hemp industry.  The European Commission released a preliminary conclusion that industrial hemp extracts are drugs under EU legislation.  Obviously, the European Industrial Hemp Association opposes this conclusion and will be lobbying hard against its confirmation.

idaho

A measure that seems doomed to failure is Idaho’s medical marijuana ballot initiative.  The United States Supreme Court reinstated Idaho’s restrictions on signature collection, nullifying a lower court decision.  The court prohibited a school funding group, Reclaim Idaho, from using electronic signature collection in order to get enough signatures for their initiative.  The Idaho Cannabis Coalition had hoped that Reclaim Idaho’s success would lead to their own, but it was not to be.

maine

In other state news, recreational marijuana sales in Maine may begin as soon as the end of 2020.  The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy stated that a formal announcement would come later this month and that they expect tax revenues from adult-use sales this year.

and finally

Regular readers will doubtless recall our report that Jane Fonda is now a spokesperson for Uncle Bud’s Hemp and CBD products.  She’s now been joined by Magic Johnson, who swears by their lotion for pain relief.

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 FDA started the process of issuing guidance on CBD products.  Democrats said no to legalized marijuana in their party platform.  There’s a way to test products for cannabis levels.  Missouri is having problems with its medical marijuana program.  Support for state-legal cannabis programs made its way into House appropriation bills.  And finally, do not say Clint Eastwood uses your CBD product, because he doesn’t.

cbd guidance

The Food and Drug Administration sent enforcement guidance for CBD products to the Office of Management and Budget for review late last week.  What does the guidance contain?  No one knows.  When will the guidance be made public?  No one knows.  As soon as we know, we’ll let you know.

party platform

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his supporters may have pushed former Vice President Biden to the left on some issues, but legalizing marijuana is not one of them. Platform committee members rejected a proposal to legalize cannabis by a vote of 105 to 60.

marijuana testing

Mislabeling in the CBD industry is a major problem.  Scientists at The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are trying to fix that.  NIST’s Cannabis Quality Assurance (CannaQAP) program will send samples of hemp oil products to participating labs.  The labs will measure the concentration of CBD, THC and other compounds and report back to CannaQAP.  The goal is to help those labs produce consistent results and recommend best practices to the industry so that labeling will be accurate.

missouri

Missouri’s medical marijuana program has been plagued by controversy.  Earlier in the year, some companies submitted duplicate license applications, and received multiple licenses, amid accusations of conflicts of interest.  Late last week, the state merged the duplicate licenses and issued five additional licenses.  Will this be enough to prevent lawsuits?  Only time will tell.

house appropriations bills

Since 2014, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment barred the Justice Department from enforcing federal law on state-legal medical marijuana businesses.  A broader version of this provision, that would bar enforcement against state-legal adult-use marijuana businesses, was added to this year’s Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill. Its chances of passage in the House seems pretty good, but if history is any guide, it won’t make it through the Senate.

and finally

Clint Eastwood filed suit against several CBD companies recently.  The actor claims they are using his name and likeness to sell their products.  No word yet on whether the companies feel lucky.

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.

Ballot initiatives make news in several states.  The Food and Drug Administration released guidance on marijuana research.  Two state officials publicly support legal marijuana.  We’ve got yet another report on the National Defense Authorization Act.  And there’s a new ad campaign for hemp with a familiar face.

ballot initiatives

We’ll start in Arizona, where officials began verifying signatures this week.  Polls show legalization is much more popular now than it was in 2016, when a legalization initiative was defeated.  Not everyone supports legalization, however.  Arizonans for Health and Public Safety has filed suit against the initiative.

Meanwhile, in Idaho, the Secretary of State rejected activists’ request to collect electronic signatures.  The campaign threatened a lawsuit – further bulletins as events warrant.

Next door, in Montana, legalization proponents beat the odds (and the pandemic) to gather enough signatures to put two initiatives on the ballot.  One legalizes adult use and one sets up a system to regulate and tax cannabis.

Mississippi also offers two ballot initiatives to voters, but these are competing, not complementary.  Initiative 65A is more restrictive than Initiative 65.

marijuana research

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published draft guidance on marijuana research this week.  The guidance does not establish any regulations, but does ask for public comment.  It also fails to mention the CBD market.

In other cannabis research news, PA Options for Wellness and Penn State medical school announced that they will research medical marijuana over the next ten years.  They will operate under Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis research program.

state officials back legalization

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy voiced his support for legal cannabis in the state in a recent radio interview.  He believes that legalization would boost the state’s economy, currently flagging due to the pandemic.  Activists in the state also support legalization, but their concern is more focused on issues of social justice and ending the War on Drugs.

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman spoke out this week on Twitter in favor of legalization.  Citing jobs and revenue, Fetterman stated that prohibition is a minority view in the state.

cbd in the military

An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act allows members of the military to use hemp and CBD products.  Sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), the provision overturns the Defense Department’s previous ban on all hemp or CBD use. This comes on the heels of another provision that allows veterans to return to service if they used marijuana while separated.

and finally

You knew it was only a matter of time.  Jane Fonda is selling hemp.  The actress and activist promotes Uncle Bud’s Hemp and CBD products.  The campaign, called “I’m FONDA Hemp and CBD,” will appear on a billboard in Times Square later this year.

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