Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
We’ve got lots of state news this week – South Dakota, Alabama, and Kentucky all took action on adult-use marijuana. On the federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court asked the Justice Department to weigh in on reimbursements for medical cannabis. Meanwhile, this week saw the publication of the first National Hemp Report. And finally, if you’re a senior in DC, today’s the last day to promise that you’ll use marijuana for medical purposes only.
We begin with good news and bad news for adult-use marijuana in South Dakota. To start with the bad news, a House bill that would have decriminalized, regulated and taxed cannabis went down to defeat this week. Those voting against the bill said the bill didn’t fully consider the ramifications of legalizing marijuana. That seems a hard argument to make, since cannabis has been a major story since the ballot initiative passed in November 2020; you’d think everyone’s had ample time to ponder what legalization would mean. But all is not lost for legalization advocates – a similar bill just passed the state Senate. Further bulletins as events warrant, and they always seem to warrant in the Mount Rushmore state.
Late last week, an Alabama Senate committee approved a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis. S.B. 160 would allow up to 2 ounces of cannabis; any larger amount would still be considered unlawful. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Democrats introduced bills in the House and Senate that would legalize adult-use marijuana in the state. The legislation would expunge misdemeanor convictions and fund substance abuse treatment programs. A Cannabis Control Board would manage the industry.
So, suppose you’re injured on the job, and you get prescribed medical marijuana in a state where that’s legal. If your employer refuses to cover the cost of the cannabis, does federal law protect that decision? Different courts have answered that question differently, and now the dilemma has landed in the lap of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court asked the Solicitor General to file a brief opining on this matter – a significant development. Stay tuned!
national hemp report
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the first National Hemp Report, and it’s full of data on the industry. Demographics on growers, yield numbers by state, pricing data – all available here.
It’s “Senior Week” in the District of Columbia. If you’re 65+, you can self-certify that your marijuana use is for medicinal purposes only. That means you don’t need a doctor’s approval to purchase cannabis at one of the District’s dispensaries. So you’ll be all set for the District’s marijuana tax holiday, which runs from April 15 – 24, 2022.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!