Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
Hemp was in the news quite a bit this week. The 2019 edition of the Hemp and CBD Industry Factbook released figures that show retail sales of CBD topping $1 billion this year, and predicted that number could hit $10 billion by 2024.
But there are some hiccups on the way to that big number. First, the federal government is seizing hemp imports at the border despite legalization. Innovative Nutraceuticals LLC has brought suit in California federal court to stop this practice.
Meanwhile, the FDA and FTC are cracking down on one company’s medical claims. Rooted Apothecary received this letter from the agencies telling it to stop selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated claims.
And South Dakota still has problems with hemp. A Colorado man has been indicted by a grand jury for transporting the product through the state to Minnesota. Granted, it’s much longer to go through Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota to get to Minnesota from Colorado, but it would still be shorter than serving a 15 year prison sentence.
It wasn’t all about hemp this week. You will doubtless recall that last week we reported that two of Rudy Giuliani’s associates were trying to involve themselves in the Nevada marijuana industry. Turns out, they were trying to get into cannabis in Florida as well.
In federal tax news, the U.S. Tax Court ruled this week that the tax code ban on business deductions by medical marijuana companies is constitutional. The case is Northern California Small Business Assistants Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, docket number 26889-16.
And of course, there’s news from the states. Let’s start in the northeast, where the governors of four states (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania) met to discuss coordinating their states’ cannabis policies. All four are supporters of adult-use legalization. Maybe Colorado should convene something similar to get South Dakota on board with hemp?
Speaking of Connecticut, the state just added several conditions to the list of permissible uses of medical marijuana. Tourette syndrome and intractable neuropathic pain are now eligible for treatment with medical cannabis.
Rhode Island was not at the governors’ meeting, perhaps because the governor and the legislature are involved in a lawsuit. The governor says the legislature is trying to veto executive regulations; the legislators say they will remove the provision from the law.
The news wasn’t entirely from the East Coast. New Mexico’s legalization task force has released its final report. It would allow for expungement of low-level marijuana convictions, but would not permit home growing.
Cannabis research was also a big topic. The University of California San Diego has just gotten state approval to research the medicinal value of marijuana (particularly CBD) as of January 1, 2020. This will likely please former VA Secretary David Shulkin, who recently called for more research into medical marijuana. And Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) voiced his support for further research at a Congressional hearing this week. Which is cold comfort for the Scottsdale Research Institute (subscription required), which saw the D.C. Circuit Court refuse to involve itself in the company’s fight with the DEA over cannabis research licenses.
Finally, what on earth is going on in Oklahoma? The General Counsel of the state’s Department of Health sent herself threatening messages, purporting to be from cannabis advocates. What a long, strange trip it has been.
See you next week!