Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
COVID-19 continues to dominate the news – no surprise there. Whether it’s federal relief or state legalization roadblocks, the virus is everywhere. But there is some other news: the IRS seems likely to increase auditing of marijuana businesses, and Epidiolex has been removed from the controlled substances list.
All eyes are on the next stimulus bill, as the cannabis industry hopes it will get some relief. Industry groups are advocating that marijuana businesses be included in that legislation. Small Business Administration loans would be most welcome and some Senate Democrats are pushing to include the industry in that program.
Aid or no aid, the Internal Revenue Service is looking to ramp up investigations of marijuana businesses. A recent report details the agency’s plans to take a much closer look at possible violations of Section 280E, which prohibits business deductions by companies dealing in illegal drugs. For our most recent take on this particular section, see here.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has removed Epidiolex from the Controlled Substances list. It had been on Schedule V, the least-restrictive list, but its removal entirely will make it easier for patients to access it. Note that this decision applies only to Epidiolex, and not to any other CBD product.
Legalization efforts across the country continue to fall victim to the coronavirus. This week, North Dakota joins the ranks of those states that seem unlikely to see cannabis on the ballot. As does Idaho, where social distancing measures have made signature collection all but impossible.
Even in states where cannabis is legal, the virus is causing problems. Massachusetts is a prime example. Although the state’s medical dispensaries are open, recreational shops are closed. Owners of those shops filed a lawsuit against Governor Charlie Baker (R) this week.
In Canada, cannabis businesses are eligible for federal government relief. Although originally excluded from assistance, industry groups appealed for help from government ministers, resulting in their inclusion in the program.
In New Zealand, the Medicinal Cannabis Agency is now prepared to accept applications for business licenses. COVID-19 is not expected to interfere with the application process.
handy dandy chart
Nothing’s harder than keeping up with the changes in state laws as a result of the virus. See the Marijuana Policy Project’s chart to keep up-to-date on what’s happening where.
It’s not often that the worlds of Antiques Roadshow and cannabis collide, but it’s happened at least once. The moral of this story: keep your siblings out of your antique medical cabinets.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!