Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana. In what’s probably the biggest news in cannabis since Canada legalized, the Drug Enforcement Administration has decided to move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III. But that’s not all! Kansas will not be legalizing medical marijuana. New Mexico’s governor is less than delighted with the federal government. A North Dakota ballot initiative has been cleared for signature gathering. And finally, there’s a display of bongs in a San Francisco art museum.

DEA RESCHEDULING

As you’ve doubtless already heard, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has decided to move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III. And this is HUGE news. But, if you’re thinking that change will show up next week sometime, you may want to adjust your expectations. The DEA will recommend to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that the rescheduling take place. OMB will take this under advisement and review the proposal – that could take months. Then, the DEA will publish its proposed rescheduling in the Federal Register. There will then be a public comment period – that could also take months. Finally, the DEA will come up with a final version of the rescheduling which will appear in the Federal Register, and give a date when the rescheduling will take place. Perhaps that will be right away, but perhaps there will be a delay there as well. And, keep in mind, this scenario does not include the possibility of litigation, which could gum up the works even more. So is this a big deal? Absolutely yes. Is it a big deal right this minute? Not so much.

KANSAS

Moving on to other, non-rescheduling news, we see that Kansas has decided against legalizing medical marijuana. A vote to bring the proposal to the Senate floor failed in committee by a margin of 12-25. Kansas is one of the few states without a medical marijuana program.

NEW MEXICO

Federal Border Patrol agents have been seizing cannabis at highway checkpoints in southern New Mexico. Although cannabis is legal in the Land of Enchantment, it is still a Schedule I drug (see first news item above), and so federally illegal. New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is not happy about this situation.

NORTH DAKOTA

Could adult-use marijuana be coming to North Dakota? Possibly. A ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for those 21 and older has been cleared by the Secretary of State. This means that signature collection can begin. Backers of the initiative need 15,582 signatures by July 8 to get the measure on the 2024 ballot. If they don’t meet that deadline, they have until April 25, 2025 to make the 2026 ballot.

AND FINALLY

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has a new display in its gift shop – ceramic bongs. These items are perhaps more artistic than functional, but they are certainly high class.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week.