Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
We start off today with Pennsylvania. Could it be the next state to legalize? First, the state’s attorney general announced that he is in favor. Meanwhile, the governor asked the Pardons Board to speed up applications for those with low-level marijuana offenses. Plus, a new bill would legalize cannabis with state-run stores.
What about other states? In Arizona, supporters of legalization have changed their ballot initiative language. The new wording limits potency, increases the number of people eligible for expungement of past convictions, and adds a social equity component.
In Minnesota, lawmakers are conducting “Be Heard on Cannabis” discussions, so that citizens can share their views on legal marijuana. In Florida, there are two ballot initiatives; one of which is facing criticism for being too “corporate.”
It’s not just Arizona that is working on social equity. Illinois has released a map showing disproportionately impacted areas for social equity applicants. And Michigan is expanding the number of communities eligible for its social equity program.
And in our latest installment of “Where Do the Candidates Stand on Marijuana?” we have Senator Kamala Harris. She has sponsored the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, but she also faces criticism for her work as a California prosecutor.
There was lots of action on the medical marijuana front this week. A judge in Montgomery County prevented the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission from issuing more licenses, saying the application process was flawed. In other judicial news, a judge in New Mexico ruled that the state must accept non-residents into its medical marijuana program.
Also in New Mexico, growers of medical cannabis are suing the state over limits on plant-count. They maintain that the limits will put constraints on the amount of marijuana available to patients.
In the never-ending saga that is Utah‘s medical cannabis program, the latest twist is that dispensaries could be looking at large operating fees under one state proposal. In Connecticut, meanwhile, the state may add chronic pain to the list of conditions eligible for treatment with medical marijuana. And in Missouri, those who receive welfare will no longer lose their benefits if they also have a medical cannabis card.
GW Pharmaceuticals and Montefiore Medical Center in New York are teaming up to study the use of a cannabis compound on autism.
In the world of hemp, Senator Mitch McConnell has directed the DEA to figure out how to distinguish hemp from marijuana. Note that McConnell still refers to marijuana as hemp’s “illicit cousin.” Since the CBD industry is projected to surpass $20 billion by 2024, those tests might come in handy.
And finally, if you’re looking for an alternative to picking your own apples or berries, you might want to try picking your own hemp.
See you next week!