Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
This week, we start overseas, in Germany, where the government unveiled a new plan to allow some marijuana consumption. Back in the US, there are five (count ’em *five*) federal bills dealing with cannabis. Interstate commerce is a hot issue in the Western states. And finally, Carl’s Jr. offers a $4.20 snack sack.
Enacting cannabis legalization is never smooth sailing, it seems. So many states in the US have done the “two steps forward, one step back” dance (just search “South Dakota” on this blog for an example), and the process in other countries can be quite similar. Take Germany, for example. Last October, the government submitted a plan for full legalization to the European Commission. After consultations, the plan changed. A lot. The scaled down version would allow the creation of cannabis clubs, non-profits that would be permitted to cultivate and distribute marijuana to its members. A small model project would allow commercial sales for a five-year trial period. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and whether other European countries will follow Germany’s lead.
So many new bills dealing with cannabis! Here’s a quick take on five ideas (note: some of them will look familiar).
- PREPARE Act: if the federal government should decide to legalize cannabis, what would the process for that look like? Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY) think we should start getting ready for that now. The PREPARE Act would establish a commission to decide how to set up legal marketplaces. The regulatory system would be modeled after current regulations governing alcohol.
- Small Business Tax Equity Act: Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) would really like to set up an exception to 280E of the Internal Revenue Code, so that state-legal cannabis businesses could take deductions, just like any other legal business. Hence, his introduction of the Small Business Tax Equity Act.
- HOPE Act: Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) would like to see states step up their marijuana expungements. The HOPE Act would provide money to states to help them process expungement requests more efficiently, in part by automating the process and funding legal clinics to assist those looking to clear their records.
- CBD Regulation bills: Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced two bills that would direct the Food and Drug Administration to regulate hemp and CBD.
- The Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2023 would make hemp, cannabidiol derived from hemp, and other hemp-derived products lawful for use as a dietary supplement unless otherwise directed by the FDA.
- The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act directs the FDA to regulate CBD as the agency would for other food ingredients, setting requirements for quality and labeling, among other areas.
Suppose you’re a state with a legal cannabis market, but you have too much (or too little) product. What do you do? If you were dealing with a federally legal item, you would turn to other states to sell (or buy) what you needed. Obviously, that’s not possible with marijuana. But that hasn’t stopped the West Coast states from preparing for a federally-legal future. Washington is about to join Oregon and California in allowing interstate commerce, once the feds give the OK.
As everyone reading this blog (or any other cannabis-related news source) knows, Thursday was the 20th of April, or 4/20. In honor of this “high holiday,” Carl’s Jr. offered a $4.20 snack sack.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week.