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!

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

Let’s start off with a look at Joe Biden – what’s the campaign’s view on cannabis legalization? How is the FDA handling the mislabeling of CBD products?  Will Pennsylvania legalize marijuana?  Will Oklahoma enforce their medical cannabis rules?  What’s the latest on the Idaho ballot?  And finally, did you know the marijuana industry is worth more than the NBA?

where do the candidates stand on marijuana?

Vice President Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders formed a “Unity Task Force” in an effort to bring the party together on various issues.  One of them is cannabis.  The task force report discusses marijuana on pages 9 and 59.  The recommendation is for federal decriminalization of recreational use, federal legalization of medical use and expungement of all past convictions for use and possession.  Basically, it’s Biden’s long-time position.

cbd mislabeling

The Food and Drug Administration reported to Congress on rampant mislabeling in the CBD industry.  Spoiler alert: those labels are not as accurate as one would like.  Hemp Industry Daily reports: “Of the 102 products tested this year that were labeled as having CBD, 18 had less than 80% of the amount indicated, while another 46 were within 20% of the amount advertised. Thirty-eight products had more than 120% of the CBD indicated.”

pennsylvania

Moving on to the states, Pennsylvania’s Lt. Governor and a group of Senate Democrats are in favor of full legalization.  Lt. Gov. John Fetterman thinks it will bring in tax revenue.  Read the Senators’ letter to the governor and legislative leaders here.

oklahoma

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, nothing focuses the mind like impending litigation.  Oklahoma’s assistant solicitor general indicated that the state will not enforce its regulations governing residency requirements and location limitations for medical marijuana dispensaries.  The regulations could have forced some stores out of business.

idaho

As regular readers will doubtless recall, efforts to put medical marijuana legalization on the ballot in Idaho have been met with difficulty.  The pandemic forced them to stop collecting signatures.  The deadline to turn them in passed while a stay-at-home order was still in effect.  However, a school funding group was able to continue their campaign online.  Surely, the same process would apply to the Idaho Cannabis Coalition, right?  It may take a lawsuit to find out.

and finally

Retail sales of cannabis in 2019 (both recreational and medical) surpassed the revenue of the NBA.  Projections for 2024 show more money spent on legal marijuana than on craft beer.  The times they are a-changin’ for sure.

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’ve got an update on the Arizona ballot measure.  Federal appropriation legislation includes some cannabis provisions.  In international news, Bermuda is looking at legalization.  And we close out with Oklahoma, where the state is enforcing testing rules, and slushies are not a thing.

arizona

Smart and Safe Arizona submitted over 400,000 signatures to place a recreational marijuana measure on the November ballot.  If approved, it would allow use by adults 21 and over.  Although a similar initiative lost at the ballot box in 2016, proponents believe support for legalization is stronger now.

appropriations

Cannabis provisions have made their way into several new funding bills.  The National Defense Authorization Act, which we mentioned last week, includes a provision allowing veterans to return to military service even if they’ve used marijuana while separated.  Other measures would allow cannabis banking, marijuana sales in D.C., and cannabis research by universities.  Keep in mind, none of these provisions are final – when it comes to appropriations, there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.

bermuda

Turning our attention abroad, Bermuda is considering legalization of cannabis for adult-use.  Legislators introduced a previous plan last December, but the pandemic’s economic toll (and need for additional cash) makes it more likely this will pass.

oklahoma

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has always required that cannabis be tested, but as of this month, samples must go to an OMMA-licensed lab.  The deadline for enforcement had been delayed due to a lack of testing facilities, but now 21 of them are operational, allowing the state to implement the regulation.

and finally

It’s been a busy time for OMMA.  In addition to the testing regulations, they’ve also release what they’re calling a “slushy-machine guidance memo.”  There’s a phrase I never expected to type!  You would think a product that provides medical marijuana in a way designed to beat the Oklahoma heat would be a no-brainer for approval, but no such luck.

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.

State and local news dominates this week.  Los Angeles will change its cannabis licensing program.  Colorado’s governor signed a law that allows pardons for minor marijuana offenses.  A school funding initiative’s court battles may have implications for marijuana in Idaho.  Medical marijuana patients in New Jersey now have home delivery as an option.  There was federal news as well.  A group of senators has added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would promote cannabis research.  FinCen released new guidance on hemp banking.  Will Vice President Biden support marijuana legalization?  And finally, we have a look at the dogs of cannabis.

los angeles

The Los Angeles City Council approved changes to its marijuana licensing program, in an effort to expand opportunities for victims of the war on drugs. Opponents of the previous program said that it was riddled with loopholes that allowed wealthy, well-connected people to obtain licenses.

colorado

Governor Jared Polis signed a bill this week allowing the pardon of thousands of citizens convicted of minor cannabis offenses. The bill also establishes a system for social equity licenses; the state is seeking to bring more diverse people into the cannabis industry, which is currently 75% white.

idaho

Supporters of an Idaho school funding ballot initiative have won a victory in federal district court that could have implications for marijuana in the state.  The state’s stay-at-home order stopped signature gathering and was not lifted until after the deadline for submitting signatures passed.  The court mandated that the state either certify the question immediately or allow supporters more time to gather signatures.  The Idaho Cannabis Coalition hopes the decision will apply to them as well.

new jersey

New Jersey medical marijuana dispensaries may now deliver cannabis to their patients’ homes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dispensaries need to submit a plan to the Department of Health before beginning deliveries.

marijuana research

We don’t discuss defense spending much in this column, but this year’s National Defense Authorization Act is different.  A bipartisan group of Senators introduced an amendment to promote cannabis research.  It would also protect doctors who discuss marijuana with their patients, and encourage FDA-approved cannabinoid drugs

hemp banking

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released guidance on Monday for banks wishing to serve hemp-related businesses.  Banks need not file Suspicious Activity Reports because hemp is federally legal and no longer on the controlled substances list.  Hemp businesses should be treated like any other business.

vice president biden

Vice President Joe Biden has called for the decriminalization of marijuana on the federal level, but has so far stopped short of supporting legalization.  Could his position change as concerns about the disparate impact of the war on drugs on communities of color take center stage?

and finally

June 26 was National Take Your Dog to Work Day, and “Hemp Industry Daily” published a slideshow of the “top dogs” of marijuana.  Of course, this year, everyday is Take Your Dog to Work Day here at the editorial offices of The Week in Weed.  Sherlock takes a keen interest in all things related to cannabis news.

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 begin with the claim that the Justice Department brought antitrust actions against cannabis companies due to Attorney General Bill Barr’s antipathy towards the industry.  The state of New Jersey is contemplating decriminalization, and Montana may have cannabis on the ballot.  The city of Denver gets into the R&D business.  Should the FDA issue a CBD rule quickly?  Some consumer groups say no.  Medical marijuana is now permitted to those on parole or probation.  And finally, we have an update on the Oklahoma fake email story!

antitrust and marijuana

DOJ attorney John Elias testified this week that the department was improperly investigating cannabis companies for antitrust violations. Video of the hearing is available here.  Written testimony is available here.  The DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility looked into the matter earlier this month and found no evidence of wrongdoing.  The memorandum is available here (subscription required).

new jersey

New Jersey is considering decriminalizing marijuana possession.  The state Assembly recently passed a bill substituting a fine for arrest for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.  The bill now moves to the state Senate, where opinions against the legislation have recently shifted.

montana

New Approach Montana submitted over 130,000 signatures in support of two ballot initiatives to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis in the state.  This is far above the number of signatures needed to put the measures before the voters, so it seems likely that they will make the November ballot.

research & development

The city of Denver awarded its first license for medical marijuana R&D.  MedPharm hopes to start work on its first project, studying marijuana’s effect on Alzheimer’s and dementia, by the end of 2020.

cbd rule

For years, the hemp and CBD industries have been waiting impatiently for the Food and Drug Administration to issue regulations on cannabidiol.  Now several consumer groups are suggesting they need to wait a bit longer.  The groups sent a joint letter to members of Congress, urging them not to push the FDA to issue regulations, as their attention has been diverted due to the pandemic.

pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a county law forbidding the use of medical marijuana by those on probation or parole.  The unanimous decision applies throughout the state.

and finally

Regular readers of this column will doubtless recall that the general counsel of the Oklahoma Department of Health sent herself threatening emails, which she claimed were from cannabis advocates.  She’s now been suspended from practicing law (subscriptoin required) for one year.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

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

As we previously reported, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a trademark examination guide last year, broadening the class of cannabis-related goods for which cannabis companies could register their trademarks. The examination guide explained that, because certain hemp-based products with less than 0.3% THC–including CBD–are no longer controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), companies could apply to register trademarks in connection with those goods.

The examination guide included a caveat that this expansion only included hemp-based products, and that CBD derived from marijuana was still unlawful under federal law. Furthermore, the USPTO warned that because CBD use as a food additive is still under investigation by the FDA, the use of CBD in foods or dietary supplements is still unlawful and marks seeking registration for such use should be refused.

The USPTO has now issued refusals of several applications for marks that are used in connection with CBD oils. These refusals offer some clarification of the examination guide. The USPTO generally takes the position in these refusals that CBD oils are flavored and in most cases designed to be added to food and drinks, and therefore the goods are unlawful. Because the goods are unlawful, the USPTO will not issue a registration in connection with those goods.

One popular CBD company appealed their refusal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) recently, but the TTAB affirmed the refusal in a precedential opinion, finding that, even if the CBD has less than 0.3% THC, it is unlawful to offer CBD as a dietary supplement. The TTAB acknowledges that the hemp-derived product applicant produces may well be lawful, but once CBD is sold as a dietary supplement or added to “food” under the definition of the Food, Drug & Cosmetics Act, it becomes unlawful. Accordingly, whether an applicant’s CBD is derived from hemp or marijuana seems to be irrelevant if the product is designed to be added to “food.” The TTAB also noted that, so long as there are “substantial clinical investigations of CBD” ongoing, the USPTO will consider CBD oils to be unlawful for purposes of federal trademark protection.

One important takeaway here is that the TTAB’s practice is to presume the goods are lawful unless the application record indicates a violation of federal law or when the activities involve a per se violation of federal law. The latter was true in this case, but the TTAB seems to be signaling that there may be a path forward should the FDA ever carve out an exception for certain types of hemp-derived CBD.

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

We’ve got a wide range of news this week.  Members of the Cannabis Caucus asked for consideration of cannabis legalization in the policing reform bill.  Nevada is issuing pardons for marijuana offenses.  Minnesota has introduced a legalization bill, and South Dakota has started the campaign to legalize by ballot initative.  The United Nations will be evaluating its classification of marijuana in the near future.  And sparkling CBD water is now a thing.

policing reform

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to their fellow House members, asking them to consider marijuana reform as a means towards racial justice.  They support passage of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act.

nevada

Earlier this week, the Nevada State Board of Pardons Commissioners passed a resolution put forth by Governor Steve Sisolak pardoning those convicted of minor marijuana offenses.  Pardon documents will be free of charge and available online.

minnesota

Senator Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope) introduced a bill to legalize recreational cannabis late last week.  The Senator hopes that legalizing marijuana will allow for greater scientific research.

south dakota

The campaign to bring cannabis to South Dakota has officially started.  Voters will have two options on the November ballot: full legalization or medical marijuana.

united nations

The United Nations will meet next week to discuss the World Health Organization’s  cannabis recommendations.  This is the first in what is scheduled to be a series of meetings ahead of December’s vote to reschedule marijuana.

and finally

You knew it was only a matter of time.  Ocean Spray is testing a line of sparkling CBD water.  One flavor is called Elevate and one is called Descend, so you’re covered no matter which direction you want to go.  No word yet on when the beverages will be available in stores.

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

 

THC, CBD, CBN…the Cannabis industry is quite familiar with acronyms. But it’s another nasty little four letters, TCPA, that are – or should be – on the top of mind for every dispensary, delivery service, CRM platform, and private equity holding company. This as the US Supreme Court decides what the byzantine 30-year-old law will look like following a landmark decision expected by the end of June or July. Continue Reading Mass Texts: How the Cannabis Industry Must Deal with the Surge of TCPA Class Actions During Covid-19

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

Our big news this week is that the American Bar Association asked the Small Business Administration to make marijuana-related companies eligible for relief funds.  There’s plenty of state news also. Iowa votes to reform its medical marijuana program.  Maine faces lawsuits over its out-of-state licensing. New Jersey considers decriminalization.  We have a look at which states are most likely to legalize cannabis and there’s more on the Petsmart saga.  Plus, we have the latest on an Oklahoma trademark dispute.

aba/sba correspondence

As regular readers know, marijuana businesses, including what the SBA refers to as “indirect marijuana businesses” (non-plant touching businesses, such as law firms and accounting firms that provide advice and services to plant touching businesses)  are not eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) relief funds.  The American Bar Association would like to change that, at least for those law firms that advise cannabis companies.  The organization sent a letter this week to the SBA asking them to reconsider their policy barring companies that have any dealings with cannabis firms from receiving money under the PPP.  The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) supports a lawsuit to force the issue with the agency.

iowa

The Iowa Senate passed a bill making changes to the state’s medical marijuana program.  It sets a THC cap of 4.5 grams per patient over a 90-day period, which is more restrictive than the current limit.  Terminally ill patients could get a waiver.  It also broadens the number of conditions eligible for medical cannabis prescriptions.  There’s some question over whether Governor Reynolds will sign the legislation, as she vetoed a similar bill last year.

Maine

Maine recently dropped a residency requirement for ownership of recreational marijuana businesses.  This has been met with a lawsuit filed by the Maine Cannabis Coalition, arguing that the state had no right to eliminate the residency requirement absent action by either a court or the state legislature.

new jersey

Legislators introduced a decriminalization bill this week that would remove criminal penalties for crimes involving possession of less than one pound of marijuana.  It also includes expungement of past crimes and sealing of criminal records.  This move comes ahead of a vote on legalization this November.

where is legalization likeliest?

Speaking of New Jersey, it tops Motley Fool’s list of four states most likely to legalize cannabis in 2020.  Although they emphasize the “wow” factor of Mississippi showing up on the list, South Dakota’s appearance is even more surprising.  They and Idaho are the only states in the country that allow no form of cannabis whatsoever.  It will doubtless be an interesting Election Day.

cbd for pets

PetSmart has appeared more in this blog lately than one might have expected, given that it mostly sells pet food and supplies.  They attempted to branch out into the CBD oil market, but were met with two lawsuits, alleging their products did not work as advertised and were not approved by the FDA.  Both plaintiffs dropped their actions without prejudice (meaning we may not have seen the last of them) and without a reason.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

what’s in a name?

The dispensary formerly known as the Dank of Oklahoma will choose a new moniker.  The Bank of Oklahoma filed a trademark infringement suit against the company, alleging it tarnished the good name of the bank and confused customers.  No word yet on a new name.