Earlier this year, Pennsylvania enacted its Medical Marijuana Act, and had until this autumn to promulgate temporary regulations.  Two sets of such regulations have been published, one set governing growers and producers, and the other involving dispensaries.  These revised rules were promulgated after receiving nearly 1,000 comments from citizens across the state, as well as those involved in the medical marijuana business.
Continue Reading Weeding Between the Lines: PA Issues Temporary Regulations for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Growers, and Producers

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB” or the “Board”) recently affirmed two refusals to register trademarks:

1) an intent-to-use trademark application for POWERED BY JUJU for “smokeless cannabis vaporizing apparatus, namely, oral vaporizers for smoking purposes; vaporizing cannabis delivery device, namely, oral vaporizers for smoking purposes”, initially refused based on a lack of bona fide intent to use the mark in lawful commerce; and

2) a use-based application for JUJU JOINTS for “smokeless marijuana or cannabis vaporizer apparatus, namely, oral vaporizers for smokers; vaporizing marijuana or cannabis delivery device, namely, oral vaporizers for smoking purposes”, initially refused based on lack of lawful use in U.S. commerce.
Continue Reading Bad JuJu: No Federal Trademark Protection for Marks Covering Marijuana Vaporizers

Yesterday sparks flew as word was out that the DEA would be making some important announcements relating to the treatment of marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Today, the excitement died down as the DEA issued a 180-page denial (inclusive of attachments; the actual denial is only three pages long) of a petition to
Continue Reading DEA Buzzkill: Marijuana Remains Illegal Under Federal Law

Since Pennsylvania Senate Bill SB3 passed on April 17 (codified as P.L. 84, No. 16, otherwise known as “Act 16”) new issues regarding pot use have sparked.  As discussed in my previous post, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania proposed amendments to PA Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 to contemplate legal advice rendered concerning the legalized use of medical marijuana. Though the comment period ended on June 3, it appears that the Disciplinary Board has not yet adopted the amendments to the rule.  We will provide updated information as it becomes available.
In addition to the proposed changes to PA legal ethics rules, certain other developments have arisen since April.  Perhaps the most exciting update is that medical marijuana patients under the age of 18 now have access to the drug, pursuant to the first temporary regulation published under Act 16.  Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy indicated the legislature’s intent in assisting ailing children through the passage of the law, and as such, patients under the age of 18 are the first in line to reap the benefits of the law.

Continue Reading PA Residents Keep Their Buzz Going: Pot Law Developments Continue to Spark Interest

As some Pennsylvanians are breathing sighs of relief in light of the recent passage of House Bill SB3, which legalizes certain forms of marijuana for medicinal purposes, there has yet to be an official change to the Pennsylvania state legal ethics rules that would instruct and ultimately protect lawyers advising clients in the medical marijuana industry.
Continue Reading Legal Advice and Marijuana Clients in PA: Clearing the Ethical Weeds

On April 17, surrounded by supporters from both sides of the aisle, Governor Tom Wolf (D) signed into law Senate Bill SB3, which legalizes the use of medical marijuana. SB3, primarily sponsored by Senator Mike Folmer (R), gained much bi-partisan support, as it was co-sponsored by current Senators Leach (D), Teplitz (D), Ferlo (D), Fontana (D), Farnese (D), Wiley (D), Blake (D), White (R), Yudichak (D), Scarnati (R), Boscola (D), Yaw (R), Argall (R), Costa (D), Wagner (R), Bartolotta (R), Williams (D), Tartaglione (D), Vulakovich (R), Schwank (D), Rafferty (R), Stefano (R), Wozniak (D), McGarrigle (R), Browne (R), and Dinniman (D).  “We stopped being liberals and started being problem solvers, and we stopped being conservatives and started being compromisers,” said Senator Leach. “And we stopped being politicians and started being human beings.”
Continue Reading High Point for Pennsylvanians: Medical Marijuana Now Legal

Two years after Colorado amended its constitution to legalize and regulate the recreational use of marijuana, in December 2014, the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma filed a motion in  the U.S. Supreme Court for leave to file a complaint against the state of Colorado, ultimately seeking to invalidate portions of Colorado’s constitutional amendment concerning marijuana and to enjoin its implementation.

Upon request by the Supreme Court, the United States submitted an amicus brief in support of its views on the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) in states wherein the sale and distribution of marijuana has been de-criminalized.  After citing to memoranda from 2009 and 2013—in which the Department of Justice provided instructions in reviewing the prosecution of CSA violations related to marijuana use in these states—the DOJ expressed the view that the Plaintiff states’ motion should be denied.  The United States proposed denial of the motion because the case was not “appropriate… for the exercise of [the Supreme Court’s] original jurisdiction” and “[e]ntertaining the type of dispute at issue here—essentially that one State’s laws make it more likely that third parties will violate federal and state law in another State—would represent a substantial and unwarranted expansion of [the Supreme Court’s] original jurisdiction.”

The United States continued by citing Supreme Court precedent related to the Court’s original jurisdiction in disputes between or among states.  “The model case for invocation [of such] is a dispute between States of such seriousness that it would amount to casus belli if the States were fully sovereign” (emphasis added).  The United States rejected the idea that the case at bar fell into the above category, and provided examples where original jurisdiction was found (e.g., claims that an agent of the defendant state was engaging in environmental harms against plaintiff state).  Further, the United States argued that original jurisdiction is proper only where one state’s actions amounted to the direct cause of harm to another state.  Essentially, the United States argued that the Supreme Court should hear cases only where one state’s actions were the direct cause of another state’s harm.  The Plaintiff states’ contention that the de-criminalization of the sale and distribution of marijuana in Colorado would increase the amount of third-party crime in their states simply did not meet the referenced standards as Colorado did not direct or authorize such action, the United States argued.

Moreover, the United States appeared unpersuaded by the Plaintiff states’ assertion that the Supreme Court was the only venue in which they could sue Colorado.  However, the United States pointed out that the states could engage in suit at the district court level, and noted that two suits raising the issues at bar were pending in the District of Colorado courts. 
Continue Reading Marijuana Controversy Not a High Priority for Supreme Court