Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana. This week, we have news from several states, but we begin with a letter from several former U.S. attorneys about cannabis re-scheduling. Then, we have a follow-up on the Georgia medical marijuana situation. We note that New York’s cannabis licensing program is facing yet another lawsuit. And we check in on Virginia – how’s that retail market coming along? And finally, if Puma Clyde sneakers were the epitome of cool when you were growing up, you may be interested in their sneakers made with hemp.

UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS

Attorney General Merrick Garland and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram received a letter this week from several former United States Attorneys. If you’re thinking this was a card wishing them a happy holiday season, you’d be wrong. The letter urged Garland and Milgram to leave cannabis as a Schedule I drug. The letter raises concerns about the potential for abuse, a lack of medical treatment potential, and trafficking by criminal gangs. Cannabis advocates were quick to point out flaws in the letter’s reasoning. It seems likely that 2024 will bring a decision on re-scheduling, either for or against, so stay tuned for that.

GEORGIA

As we reported last week, Georgia independent pharmacies received a letter from the DEA telling them to stop selling medical cannabis products. The Georgia Access to Medical Cannabis Commission discussed the issue at their most recent meeting. They have not yet decided on how to respond to the letter, but they are keenly aware that it puts pharmacies between a rock and a hard place. They want to dispense medical cannabis to their patients, but they also don’t want to lose their DEA permit to dispense scheduled drugs. Look for more on this in 2024 also.

NEW YORK

At this point, no one can be surprised to hear that the New York cannabis licensing program is facing yet another lawsuit. This time, it’s in federal court and alleges the process unconstitutionally favors residents of New York state. Will this gum up the works of getting the state’s retail market off the ground? Too soon to tell, but it’s not great news for anyone hoping to see new dispensaries open quickly.

VIRGINIA

Remember when Virginia legalized adult-use cannabis? It was several years ago, and there’s been no movement toward setting up a retail market, so you can be forgiven for forgetting about it. Although the legislature is now in Democratic hands, the governor is a Republican, and not a fan of legal cannabis. So how can advocates of marijuana sales move forward? Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (D-VA) has an idea: tie approval of a stadium deal to move the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals to Northern Virginia to setting up a retail market.

While some people want sports stadiums, I want tolls to disappear from Hampton Roads *and* I want recreational sale of marijuana. Guess we will have to find compromises this session.

Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (D-VA)

AND FINALLY

PUMA is experimenting with compostable sneakers made of hemp. Our question: do they come in navy with a white stripe?

Be well everyone – we’ll see you next week, with our annual Year in Weed post!