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

After last week’s dizzying amount of news, it’s nice to settle down a bit and have more of a “regular” news flow.  Not that things haven’t been happening; the elections have led to new initiatives surrounding marijuana.

For instance, there’s some speculation that the new governor of Illinois will seek to follow Michigan’s example and legalize cannabis.

And speaking of Michigan, politicians there are talking about expungement of criminal records related to marijuana use.

In Texas meanwhile,  there’s discussion of legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis.

But the news isn’t all with the states; things are happening on the federal level as well.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising that industrial hemp will appear in the farm bill.  And veterans interested in medical marijuana will be happy to know that proposed legislation to loosen restrictions at the Veterans Administration has been announced.

And for those of you thinking about changing careers, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is looking for some professional joint rollers.

See you next week!

Michigan becomes the tenth state to legalize cannabis on a recreational level, and Missouri and Utah now join thirty-one other states who have legalized medical marijuana. But what’s next and how will this affect employers?

Here is a quick summary of some of the major issues employers may face now that cannabis is legal in Michigan, Missouri, and Utah.

Michigan. Employers can rejoice in that the recreational bill leaves their right to refuse to hire or to discharge an employee intact. The act “does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for violation of a workplace drug policy or for working while under the influence of marijuana. This act does not prevent an employer from refusing to hire, discharging, disciplining, or otherwise taking an adverse employment action against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of that person’s violation of a workplace drug policy or because that person was working while under the influence of marijuana.”

Compared to some of the other recreational bills that have been passed, this one gives employers some leeway in allowing them to refuse to hire, refuse to accommodate, or discharge an employee simply for violating their drug policies. In order to obtain the protections afforded by this bill, employers that operate in Michigan must confirm that they have adequate anti-drug policies prohibiting the use of marijuana in the workplace.

Missouri. Amendment Two passed by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent. What this means is that qualified patients who have approval from their physicians will receive identification cards from the State that will allow them to consume marijuana.

The bill affords some level of protection to employers. The bill states that a person cannot bring a claim “against any employer, former employer, or prospective employer for wrongful discharge, discrimination or any similar cause of action or remedy” based on the employer “prohibiting the employee, former employee, or prospective employee from being under the influence of marijuana at work … or for attempting to work while under the influence of marijuana.”

While this bill in theory provides employers some protections, the difficulty employers face is testing for intoxication and determining if the employee is under the influence at work. THC accumulates and slowly releases overtime, such that chronic users may test positive even after many days of abstinence. Further, the way the body metabolizes THC makes it possible that the effects of marijuana continue long after the drug ceases to be detectible via blood tests. Thus, employers need to make sure they train their supervisors on how to properly detect cannabis use. Examples include looking for visible signs of cannabis use, such as, slowed productivity, weed odor, and blood shot eyes.

Utah. Interestingly, the Utah Medical Cannabis Act is silent as to what protections employers are afforded. While current law allows employers to drug screen applicants and allows existing employees to engage in drug testing for investigative purposes, the bill seems to imply that it may allow medical card users more protections in the employment context. Under the “Nondiscrimination” section, the bill states that cannabis use does “not constitute an illegal substance.” That section also prevents landlords from refusing to lease or from penalizing a person simply for being a marijuana card holder. Oklahoma had a similar landlord provision, and there, employers could not discriminate against a person in “hiring or termination or from imposing any term or condition of employment or other penalize a person based upon their status as a medical marijuana card holder or the results of a positive drug test.” Thus, it’s likely that Utah may adopt a similar provision. However, until Utah clears the smoke, employers remain in a haze as to what protections they have. Stay tuned for growing developments.

 

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.  And what a week it was!

Michigan legalized recreational cannabis, Utah and Missouri voted yes on medical marijuana, and several pro-legalization candidates were elected as governors.  Meanwhile, North Dakota voted against legalization and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (sponsor of the legislation to prevent the DOJ from enforcing federal law against medical marijuana dispensaries) lost his seat.

And Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who made no secret of his opposition to cannabis for any purpose, was forced out of the administration.  So yeah, a lot’s been going on.

For our round-up of marijuana-related election results, see yesterday’s post.  For more analysis, see articles from the National Cannabis Industry Association, Ganjapreneur, and Marijuana Business Daily.

For Sessions news, see here, here and here.

But, has anything else important happened lately?  I’m glad you asked, because the answer is yes.

It’s not just Canada that’s legalized marijuana.  The Mexican Supreme Court has just ruled that the nation’s ban on cannabis is unconstitutional.

Speaking of Canada, they’ve got a pot shortage.  Apparently, you need to stock up more than you think when you legalize.  Mexico: take note.

Back in the U.S., the first cannabis-based drug approved by the FDA is now available by prescription.

See you again next Friday!

Welcome to a special post-Election Day edition of The Blunt Truth.  Marijuana was on the ballot last night, and just like the other races, the final result was a mixed decision.

Four states were deciding whether to allow recreational or medical marijuana.  Three of them voted yes. Continue Reading Weeding Out the Results–How Did Cannabis Fare in the Election?

A Colorado federal jury sided with the owner of a state-licensed cannabis cultivation business last Wednesday in a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) suit brought against him by his neighbors.

In 2015, Michael and Hope Reilly brought a federal RICO lawsuit in Colorado against Parker Walton and his cannabis cultivation operation that neighbored their property. The Reillys claimed that the smells and sounds from the cannabis facility caused damage to their property. The trial court dismissed their complaint on the grounds that they failed to prove any cognizable injury stemming from the RICO violation. The Reillys appealed to the Tenth Circuit.

The Tenth Circuit reversed the dismissal in 2017, reasoning that a cannabis cultivation operation, which is illegal under federal law, amounted to racketeering activity in violation of RICO section 1962 and that the Reillys had made legally sufficient allegations in their complaint. The suit went to trial last Monday and the jurors heard from various experts on whether the cannabis cultivation operation was releasing a smell and if so, how such smell impacts the value of a neighboring property. Ultimately, the jurors rendered a verdict in Walton’s favor, unconvinced that the cannabis cultivation operation had diminished the value of the Reillys’ land.

Industry players have been paying close attention to this case as the revival of the suit by the Tenth Circuit has spurred other RICO suits against cannabis operations. Because cannabis cultivation is still illegal at the federal level, the Reillys were able to transform their state law nuisance cause of action into a federal RICO action. However, this jury verdict highlights the difficulty for plaintiffs in a RICO action to not only allege but prove an injury to their business or property. This verdict, along with the high costs to litigate such racketeering lawsuits, will likely curb the eagerness to bring these lawsuits in the future.

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

The big news this week comes from Colorado, where a cannabusiness has come out on the winning side of a lawsuit over declining property values.

The marijuana business had been sued for damages under anti-racketeering laws. The case was seen as a major threat to the state’s cannabis industry.

In Thailand, medical marijuana may be on the way to legalization.

“Thailand has the best marijuana in the world.”  So claims Jet Sirathraanon, chairman of the country’s National Legislative Assembly’s standing committee of public health, who is pushing to legalize cannabis for medical use.

In our latest installment of politicians supporting (some form of) cannabis, Speaker Paul Ryan recently had some good things to say about both CBD and industrial hemp.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) gave a surprise endorsement on Tuesday to industrial hemp and cannabidiol (CBD), the widely-touted cannabis ingredient that is growing increasingly mainstream as an alternative medicine.

And speaking of politicians, there’s an election next Tuesday in the United States, and marijuana is on the ballot.  The National Cannabis Industry Association has a summary of the state initiatives.

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

You may recall that the Food and Drug Administration is asking for comments on rescheduling cannabis.  Many times, agency requests for comments are met with a deafening silence.  This is not one of those times.

It’s not every day that the federal government requests public input on international marijuana laws, but that’s exactly what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did last week. And the comments are pouring in.

In Massachusetts, there’s finally been some movement towards setting up recreational sales.

Massachusetts regulators on Thursday issued final licenses to two marijuana-testing laboratories, paving the way for the launch of the Bay State’s much-delayed recreational cannabis program.

And in Seattle, the city is vacating convictions for marijuana possession, citing concerns about disparate impact.

Critics of drug-possession prosecutions often argue that they unfairly target people of color. Seattle, where recreational use of marijuana was legalized in 2012, is doing something about it.

Finally, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Canada.

A 9-year-old Canadian girl quickly sold out of the cookies she was selling for the Girl Guides by setting up shop outside a marijuana store.

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

O Canada!  Obviously, the big news this week is that marijuana is now legal in Canada.

The B.C. government is touting the success of the province’s online cannabis store, which went live shortly after midnight.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says coming legislation will waive the waiting period and fee for those seeking a pardon for possession offences.

Unlikely as it seems, Canada’s first day as the world’s largest legal marijuana marketplace turned out to be pretty much just another day.

Recreational marijuana is legal as of today, but the vision of what a pot-permissive Canada looks like remains somewhat hazy.

The National Hockey League (NHL) will maintain its neutral stance on pro players’ cannabis use after legalization takes effect across Canada this Wednesday, according to a Yahoo Sports report.

 

 

With just under four weeks until Election Day, the push to legalize medical marijuana in Utah continues to progress. After years of failed efforts in the state legislature, the issue is being presented directly to voters by way of Utah Proposition 2, the Medical Marijuana Initiative. If the referendum passes, it will legalize medical cannabis for individuals with qualifying conditions. Eligible conditions include autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and chronic pain where the patient is unable to use opiates, among several other ailments. Continue Reading Give and Toke: Utah Reaches Compromise Agreement on Proposed Medical Marijuana Policy

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

Here at The Blunt Truth, we are well aware of the difficulties cannabis businesses face in obtaining financial services.  It turns out, even political groups that support marijuana legalization can face a problem with banks.

A new cannabis political action committee, Californians for Sensible Regulation of Adult Use, is looking to raise $300,000 by 2020 to support industry-friendly candidates for public office in key jurisdictions of the state.

In the latest installment of “people changing their minds on marijuana,” the Mormon Church and cannabis advocates have reached a compromise on legalizing medical marijuana ahead of next month’s election, which features a ballot initiative to allow MMJ.

Those behind the campaign to legalize medical marijuana and some of its most vocal opponents have reached a tentative agreement on what medical marijuana policy should look like in Utah, the Deseret News has learned.

As we reported last weekthe Food and Drug Administration has allowed the sale of Epidiolex, which contains CBD derived from cannabis.  Apparently, that’s not the only move on marijuana the agency has made recently.

FDA officials have put out a call for public comment about the potential rescheduling of cannabis and several other substances.

Despite Michigan’s prohibition against cannabis-infused beverages, alcohol companies are actively pursuing the market.

A former Molson Coors exec will head its cannabis-drinks JV, called Truss. New Age Beverages is fielding requests for its CBD drinks.

And this just in: the Border Patrol has revised its lifetime ban against Canadians involved in cannabis.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has announced that Canadians who work in the legal cannabis industry will generally be allowed to enter the United States.