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 the DEA. On Monday, they released a proposed rule to expand marijuana research. For the first time, more than one institution would be permitted to register with the agency and grow cannabis. The comment period runs until May 22, 2020, and then final rules will appear – no timeline for those. So this isn’t happening in the near future.
And we might also be waiting a while for state voting on cannabis use. In Ohio, a ballot initiative was rejected because it had too few valid signatures. A Nebraska campaign to put medical marijuana on the ballot has suspended operations due to the coronavirus. In Florida, the issue won’t come before the voters in 2020, but may go before the state’s Supreme Court. New Approach South Dakota, a group supporting legalization in that sate, is urging state residents to use absentee ballots, fearing that coronavirus may keep voters from the polls.
In international news, Mexico is expected to delay its vote on marijuana and hemp legalization. Although the delay is not expected to be lengthy, even once cannabis is legalized, regulations will need to be put into place, so don’t hold your breath.
And now on to the coronavirus news. As we detailed last week, cannabis companies are not eligible for the relief provided other industries. Industry leaders wrote a joint letter (no pun intended) to Congress, asking to be included in the stimulus measures, but to no avail. Politico (subscription required) is reporting that aid may make its way into future legislation; guess that’s another thing we need to wait and see.
One piece of good news for marijuana dispensaries and retailers is that some states are classifying them as essential businesses. This means they are permitted to remain open for business, even in areas where most shops are closed. Marijuana Business Daily has a map that shows which states grant recreational and medical cannabis suppliers this status. Massachusetts has decided that medical dispensaries can remain open, but recreational shops must close.
And finally, you know you’ve truly entered the mainstream when you get skewered on “The Simpsons.” In last Sunday’s episode, Highway to Well, both Marge and Homer enter the world of cannabis sales, and hijinks ensue.
See you next week!