Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
What will Democratic control of the Senate mean for legalizing on the federal level? How much do we know about Merrick Garland’s views on cannabis? What did the FDA say about CBD? How are things progressing in New Jersey? What’s going on in the Dakotas? Are there problems with Illinois’ social equity program? Did you know Mexico legalized medical marijuana? And finally, would you get a COVID vaccine if it meant you could get free cannabis?
democratic control of the senate
After both of the Georgia Senate runoff races went to the Democrats, the Senate is now under Democratic control. The cannabis industry likes their chances of passing reform, with stocks rising and industry leaders predicting that some version of the MORE Act or cannabis banking could pass. Of course, the majority is as slim as it can be, with the chamber divided 50-50 and Vice President-elect Harris casting the tie-breaking vote. And the Senate has some other business on its agenda. We’re thinking chances are better for reform, but we’re not predicting federal legalization in the next two years.
The Attorney General doesn’t write marijuana laws, but the Department of Justice has a lot to do with enforcing them. Former AG Jeff Sessions encouraged the Department to enforce federal law, even in states where cannabis was legal. Former AG William Barr backed off on that stance. So what will Judge Garland do, assuming he’s confirmed? That’s an open question. He’s not written very much on marijuana, so there’s not much to go on. Cautious optimism seems to be the current mood in the industry.
fda on cbd
Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration released a report on CBD, stating that more real-world data (RWD) is needed in order to evaluate the safety of the product. The agency plans to “develop and refine its research projects” in order to better assess the benefits and risks of CBD.
We’re still waiting for for that implementing legislation. Last week, we reported that a clean-up bill might be the solution to this impasse. Nope. That’s now been delayed. Further bulletins as events warrant.
north and south (dakota)
These two states are moving in different directions on marijuana. South Dakota legalized in 2020, but now Governor Noem is working to overturn that vote. She issued an executive order late last week allowing a challenge to the constitutionality of the amendment.
Meanwhile, North Dakota cannabis supporters submitted a 2022 ballot initiative to the Secretary of State. It would legalize adult-use marijuana in the state. We’ll be watching both of these situations, never fear.
social equity in illinois
We’ve reported before on the problems with Illinois’ social equity program. State lawmakers hope to resolve some of these issues by expanding the number of new cannabis licenses. The intent is to allow additional pathways for minority and poor applicants to enter the system.
If your view of Mexican legalization is that it never seems to happen, we can’t blame you. However, medical marijuana is now legal. Earlier this week, industry regulations appeared in the country’s Federal Official Gazette. There have been delays along the way (the regs were supposed to be promulgated in 180 days, and that was three years ago), but they’re here now.
You have doubtless heard reports of people reluctant to obtain COVID vaccines. D.C. Marijuana Justice has a solution to that problem. They’re planning to hand out free cannabis outside vaccination centers in the District, as soon as the general public is eligible to get the shot. The program is called Joints for Jabs.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!