Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana. This week, we see the official publication of the DEA’s rescheduling rule. If you’d like to offer your thoughts to the regulators, you can do that. Congress is busy dealing with the farm bill, which includes some hemp provisions. A legalization bill is progressing in the New Hampshire legislature. And finally, what exactly is growing amongst the tulips at the Wisconsin state capitol?

PROPOSED RULE ON RESCHEDULING

This week, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) officially published its proposed rule on rescheduling in the Federal Register. But wait, didn’t we report on this with breathless excitement a while back? Indeed we did – thanks for remembering! That was a press story indicating that the DEA would move to reschedule; now, they’ve actually done it. What’s important about this development is that the official publication sets in motion an administrative process that may/could/most likely will result in rescheduling. Keep in mind, lawsuits are already in the works, so this isn’t happening anytime soon.

COMMENTS

Do you have strong feelings about rescheduling, either for or against? Do you wish you could make those feelings known to the folks at DEA? Well, good news – you can! One of the steps in the regulatory process is a “comment period.” This is exactly what it sounds like – a time when people can comment on the rule that’s been proposed. And by people, we mean anyone. Sure, lots of comments are written by lawyers and lobbyists, but everyone can join in. Click on this link and push the blue “Comment” button. There’s lots of information available on the rule, in addition to the comment form. As of this writing, there are already almost 2,000 comments, and by the time you read this, there will be even more.

FARM BILL

Turning our attention away from the executive branch, we see that Congress is working on the latest iteration of the Farm Bill. When the last Farm Bill was passed, back in 2018, hemp was legalized. No less a person than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke in favor of the legalization.

By recognizing the difference in statute between hemp and its illicit cousin, we can remove much of the confusion facing farmers, producers and state agencies

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in debate over the 2018 Farm Bill

What lawmakers didn’t realize at the time is that hemp can be used to make intoxicating substances. Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) feels he and others who supported the 2018 bill got something other than what they bargained for.

I supported the last farm bill and I was okay with hemp being used for industrial use and things like that. I watched what happened after that, and a whole bunch of people got, I think, kind of hornswoggled.

Representative Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)

Now, a “family feud” has broken out between hemp growers and marijuana growers. On the hemp side, the wish is for the law to remain unchanged, as the “hemp loophole” suits them just fine. The marijuana industry takes the opposite view, and is pushing for that loophole to be closed. Stay tuned!

NEW HAMPSHIRE

The latest news from the Granite State is that the Senate Finance Committee has finished its work on a legalization bill and has sent the legislation to the full Senate for a vote. Sounds promising, right? Just remember, the Senate made a lot of changes to this bill, which originated in the House, and there’s no guarantee the House will go along with those. Again, stay tuned!

AND FINALLY

May in Wisconsin – spring has arrived, and with it warmer temperatures and bright flowers. Around the State Capitol building in Madison, the tulips are in bloom. And so is something else. Workers found a lot of cannabis (whether it’s hemp or marijuana is uncertain) growing in the tulip beds. It seems unlikely that it got there accidentally, since there was so much of it. In case you’re wondering, it’s now been removed.

Be well and stay safe everyone – we’ll see you next week!