Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
We’re starting out this week with state news. We’ll visit Montana, Illinois, California and Massachusetts. On the federal level, there’s some support for cannabis to be part of the next stimulus bill. And there’s an issue with marijuana research. Our friends at Weedmaps have a new interactive map of state cannabis laws. Finally, we look at New Zealand’s move to legalize marijuana.
Let’s begin in Big Sky Country. You’ll recall that there was a controversy over electronic signatures, and whether they should count for purposes of putting legalization on the ballot. A state judge ruled against New Approach Montana, saying that only in-person signatures will count.
On to the Land of Lincoln, where 75 new cannabis dispensary licenses were due to be awarded on May 1. Sadly for the applicants, the state announced that it will delay issuing the licences until the governor’s disaster proclamation expires. Governor Pritzker recently extended the order until May 30.
Meanwhile, in the Golden State, the Department of Food and Agriculture released proposed rules for organic cannabis certification. Comments are due July 7.
Which brings us back to the Bay State, the source of so much marijuana news. As you all know, marijuana businesses are ineligible for federal stimulus funds. Now the hope is that Massachusetts will enact a state-level equivalent of the PPP that will extend loans to the cannabis industry. The state allows medical marijuana dispensaries to conduct business, but closed all recreational stores, due to COVID-19.
Speaking of the federal stimulus plans, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) is still optimistic that cannabis can get some help from the federal government. The bill that would allow the industry to receive funds has had no action taken since it was introduced on April 23.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel released a memo finding that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s cannabis research program is non-compliant with international drug laws. Oops. This may provide some context for the DEA’s recent proposed rules overhauling its research program.
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New Zealand released a final version of legislation that would legalize recreational cannabis. It will be voted on in a national referendum in September. If it is passed, the incoming government will be able to introduce the legislation to Parliament.
Staying in New Zealand, not everyone is happy about the prospect of legalization. One MP used oregano to voice her displeasure.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!