Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
Arizona has already started sales of adult-use marijuana. In contrast, New Jersey still hasn’t passed legislation allowing sales. Virginia is making progress on its legalization bill. On the federal level, the USDA’s hemp rule may face a freeze. Meanwhile, the FDA withdrew its CBD guidance. And finally, there’s weed in the City of London.
Recreational marijuana sales start today in Arizona, a mere three months after the state fully legalized. Starting with existing medical marijuana dispensaries that have already been through a vetting process made the system more efficient than the years’ long process we’ve seen in other states. Additional licenses are expected to be approved starting in the spring.
In the Garden State, however, we have a completely different picture. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) and the legislature set to work on legislation to legalize back in November, but so far, have nothing to show for it. Penalties for underage possession dominate the disagreement, and the impasse seems likely to end in a veto.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, a legalization bill passed the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Subcommittee this week. The bill now moves to additional committees, so we’re a long way from final passage. The Governor’s goal is to establish legal sales in 2023.
As we reported last week, the USDA issued its final hemp rule. As we also reported, new administrations sometimes take a second look at rules finalized in the waning days of previous administrations. Although there is no official “freeze” on the hemp rules, they meet the standard for reopening the comment period. For a look at the rules, see our take here.
fda & cbd
The FDA is facing the same scenario with its document on CBD. It submitted guidance to the Office of Management and Budget last March, and the industry has been waiting for it to emerge ever since. It appears the wait will continue, as the FDA officially withdrew the document, in light of the new administration’s instruction to pull pending rules.
City of London police discovered a cannabis factory set up next door to the Bank of England building in the heart of the City. The presence of over 800 plants created a “strong smell of cannabis,” leading to the raid. No word on what this might mean for cannabis banking!
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!