Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Starting off in the international sphere, the European Parliament has passed a resolution recommending the descheduling of cannabis.  The hope is that this could lead to the establishment of bloc-wide medical marijuana laws.

In South Korea, medical marijuana will be legalized in March.

Among the states moving towards legalization of cannabis or medical cannabis are: Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Vermont (which currently has a “DC-style” system: you can grow it and you can use it, but you can’t buy it or sell it).

New Jersey’s move to legalize had been held up by tax considerations.  Now that those have been worked out, look for a bill to be introduced in the legislature in the near future.

The New Mexico Senate has approved a bill allowing the use of medical marijuana in schools.  The legislation now moves to the House.

Lawmakers from Maryland have formed a bipartisan group to study legalizing recreational cannabis in 2020.  The state currently allows the use of medical marijuana, which has generated $100 million in sales in its first year.

And speaking of sales, Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program brought in $132 million in its first year.

One of the difficulties facing cannabis businesses  is the lack of access to financial services.  Alaska’s Credit Union 1 seeks to change that next month.

The United Parcel Service is less than happy over the logo used by United Pot Smokers.  The first UPS is suing the second UPS in federal court for trademark infringement.  If High Times suggests it’s time to drop the “sassy parody brands,” it probably is…

Finally, from the “I Could Have Told You That” files, researches have discovered a correlation between recreational marijuana laws and junk food sales.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Possibly the biggest news this week was the first ever Congressional hearing on cannabis banking.  From the hearing’s webpage, you can watch the hearing, read the committee’s memorandum and read the witnesses’ prepared statements.   The committee memorandum has a great graphic of state marijuana laws – only three states allow no marijuana consumption in any form.

And speaking of state laws, several jurisdictions are moving forward with some form of legalization.  A full legalization bill was introduced in the Illinois legislature; a full legalization bill was passed out of a Senate committee in Hawaii; a House committee in New Mexico has passed another such bill, but more committees will need to weigh in before the full chamber votes.

In New Yorkthose in favor of legalization are pushing for changes to Gov. Cuomo’s bill introduced last month.   And the City of Baltimore has decriminalized marijuana possession, even though recreational cannabis is not legal in the state of Maryland.

Although no bill has yet been introduced, the Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania meanwhile has embarked on a listening tour to gather input on whether that state should legalize.

And the federal bill with the easy-to-remember number has now been introduced in the Senate.  S. 420 is a companion bill to H.R. 420 introduced last month.

One of the arguments used in favor of legalization is the amount of sales (and sales tax) generated by legal cannabis.  Colorado is looking at $6 billion in sales in 2018, and Oklahoma‘s medical marijuana program saw over $4 million in January 2019.

Since people are starting to throw their hats in the ring for the 2020 Presidential election, here’s the first in what will doubtless become a series: “Where the Candidates Stand on Marijuana.”  Kamala Harris (D-CA) has indicated that she is in favor of legalization.

And finally, the Massachusetts marijuana industry may be getting some publicity from an unlikely source: billboards in Connecticut.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Let’s start off this week’s post with some international news.  The World Health Organization is recommending that cannabis should be removed as a controlled substance under international treaties.  The recommendations will come up for a vote in March of this year.

Banking for the cannabis industry is a subject we watch closely.  In California, it’s been revealed that a credit union has surreptitiously (until now) been providing financial services to several marijuana businesses for the past year.

Turning our attention to the Midwest, which does seem to be the latest hotbed of cannabis activity, we find that Ohio medical marijuana sales have been very strong.  Illinois is now allowing those prescribed opioids to obtain temporary certification for medical cannabis.  Yet another indication that full legalization is in the cards?

Following up on our Tennessee coverage, the legislature is now considering validating out-of-state medical marijuana cards for use in the Volunteer State.  And Arkansas has now licensed 32 medical cannabis dispensaries, with sales possible by April.

New York looked as if it was on the verge of full legalization, but that may have changed.  Governor Cuomo’s budget does not include any additional money for law enforcement dealing with a new set of circumstances after legalization.  We’ll keep our eye on this situation, obviously.

And finally, if you had to pick a stock ticker symbol for a cannabis company, could you do any better than POT?

 

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

One of the states we  thought might legalize in the near future was Illinois.  The Cook County state’s attorney has come out in favor of cannabis legalization and the expunging of misdemeanor offenses.  That prediction is looking pretty solid.

Another state we’ve been watching is Minnesota.  We don’t think they’re likely to be the next state to legalize in the Midwest, but new legalization legislation (try saying that three times fast) has just been introduced.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, the governor of New Jersey has added opioid addiction to the list of conditions that are eligible to be treated with medical marijuana.  And the governor of Pennsylvania, seeing the trend towards legalization in nearby jurisdictions, is talking about recreational cannabis.

In our latest installment of “Places You Wouldn’t have Guessed Are Talking about Legal Marijuana,” West Virginia lawmakers are considering an adult-use cannabis bill.  Granted, its passage is a long shot, but they’re talking.  Plus, medical marijuana legislation is being drafted in Kansas, and decriminalization has been introduced in the Tennessee legislature.

In the city of Baltimore, marijuana possession will no longer be prosecuted.  And that’s regardless of the amount or the criminal history of the possessor.

And in news that brings cautious optimism to those in the cannabis industry, Attorney General nominee William Barr has indicated, in writing, that he will not be going after marijuana businesses in states where they are legal.  He has not stated that he will re-instate the Cole Memorandum, but promises to look into that question if confirmed.

 

 

 

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Arizona’s medical marijuana sales jumped a whopping 41% in 2018 – sales are estimated to have been $400 million.  Not chump change by anyone’s standards.

Regular readers will doubtless recall that Arkansas’ medical marijuana program was off to a sluggish start.  They have finally issued the first dispensary licenses and cultivation sites are now all under construction.

Connecticut is looking to legalize marijuana – a new legalization bill has just been introduced.  New England is rapidly giving the West Coast a run for its money as a leader in cannabis legalization.

Turning our attention to the Caribbean, Puerto Rico marijuana businesses are now without a banking option.  Not surprisingly, those in the industry are concerned about the safety issues inherent in operating in a cash-only environment.  Meanwhile, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, medical marijuana is now legal.  The hope is that this may spur additional tourism.

CBS has announced that it will not air a medical marijuana ad during the Super Bowl.  One wonders if this is the kind of decision that will provoke laughter in years to come.

And finally, if you’re a furloughed federal worker, check out the website offering free cannabis.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Although most people following AG Nominee William Barr’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary committee may have been listening for his views on the Mueller investigation, those of us with an interest in marijuana were wondering how he feels about legalized cannabis.  In an apparent break from his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, Barr said he would not go after cannabis companies.

In other federal news, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D. – Oregon) has introduced a new bill (H.R. 420, of course) that would legalize marijuana nationwide.

And in yet another sign that marijuana is becoming more mainstream, the Cannabis Trade Federation has hired 15 lobbyists to argue for major new cannabis legislation.  Because you’re not really a legit industry until you have lobbyists.

The governor of New York has a plan for marijuana legalization.  No new legislation has yet been introduced.  Rhode Island, meanwhile, perhaps feeling surrounded by its larger neighbors and their embrace of cannabis, is looking, albeit reluctantly, at legalization as well.

In Midwestern marijuana news, dispensaries have opened in Ohio, the new governor of Wisconsin has announced plans to begin legalizing medical cannabis, and a group in Minnesota is pushing for marijuana legalization there.  The slogan “Fix pot holes with pot taxes” may resonate in an area with long winters.

Finally, a beer company in South Africa is looking to capitalize on the recent legalization of marijuana in that country.  Poison City Brewing is pushing its latest Durban Poison cannabis beer into the market.

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

The big news this week is that the governor of Washington is going to issue pardons to those convicted of misdemeanors involving marijuana.  Known as the Marijuana Justice Initiative, the program has limitations on who is eligible for the pardon but is expected to effect over 3,000 citizens.

Further down the West Coast, times are changing in California.  This week marked the end of the state’s unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries.  They had been allowed to operate as medical cooperatives for a year after the issuance of guidance from the Bureau of Cannabis Control, but as of January 10, they need to get permits.

Meanwhile, is there a border skirmish going on involving Oklahoma and Arkansas?  Arkansas’ medical marijuana program is two years old, but no licenses have yet been issued to patients or dispensaries.  Patients interested in purchasing cannabis had been looking to neighboring Oklahoma, whose seven month old program has already issued multiple dispensary licenses and seemed eager to accept Arkansans as customers.

So what’s the hitch?  Customers from out of state need to have valid licenses from their own state in order to be able to buy marijuana in Oklahoma.  Happily, this week, Arkansas has issued licenses to medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.  But (and isn’t there always a but?), the governor of Arkansas has warned patients that transporting cannabis across state lines is still a crime.

In other Oklahoma news, the governor has given her OK (no pun intended) to new rules for medical marijuana edibles.

And in a new segment we’re calling, “Places You Wouldn’t Have Guessed Are Talking About Legal Marijuana,”  our first spotlight shines on Idaho, South Carolina, Kentucky and Virginia.  Clearly, it’s a big spotlight.

Finally, in a mash-up of cold brew and cannabis, one Missouri coffee company has a new product.  We at WIW are a bit confused as to exactly what this concoction is supposed to do.  To quote from High Times,  “Many have pointed out that the merger combines two substances with what may seem like contradictory effects, given CBD’s reputation as a relaxer.”

That’s all for this week – see you next Friday!

 

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Welcome also to a new year of Week in Weed; after the many cannabis-related events of 2018, one can only imagine what will be occupying our attention in 2019…

This week, saw the release of a disappointing report on the possibility of cannabis banks in California.  Not feasible, as they would face insurmountable hurdles.  Read the full report for yourself here.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the procedure for licensing medical marijuana businesses has come under question.  In addition to the constitutional issues, the dispute between the Department of Health and a circuit court judge centers around how many licenses can be issued and whether vertical integration should be required.  Stay tuned for more on this issue, as the case has been appealed.

And in Massachusetts, a state Senator has plans to introduce legislation that would prevent employers from firing workers for off-duty cannabis use.  We’ll be keeping our eyes on this as well.

After Michigan legalized marijuana, we speculated that Illinois or Wisconsin might be next.  A state that seems unlikely to follow their neighbor’s lead is Indiana, where the governor is not a fan.

One big state that hasn’t made a move on cannabis is Texas.  Could that change in the new year?  Only time will tell.

In international news, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has decriminalized marijuana.  And what about Ireland?  They’ve made noises about legalizing medical marijuana before; could 2019 be the year?

We’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2019 – see you next Friday!

Welcome to our end of the year wrap-up post for The Week in Weed; it’s hard to believe another year has come and (almost) gone, but the calendar doesn’t lie.  In what we are calling an homage to Dave Barry and his always hilarious Year in Review, we’ll organize these stories by month.

Without further ado, here’s a look at the stories that grabbed our attention in 2018. Continue Reading The Week, No Make that the Year, in Weed: 2018

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

In what may become another continuing feature, another “red” state appears poised to being the marijuana legalization process.  Member of the Nebraska legislature are looking to put medical cannabis on the 2020 ballot.

Meanwhile, if there were an award for best name of a marijuana store, the Gas N’ Grass in Portland, ME would win, hands down.

The fact that Michigan has legalized cannabis, but not the sale of cannabis is not problem for one entrepreneur, who has embraced a “gifting” model.

Although New Jersey is on our “states to watch” list, adult use legalization is not going to happen this year.  We’ll see what 2019 brings.

We reported last week that Minnesota was considering marijuana legalization.  For more info and some great analysis, see this blog post from the Minneapolis Criminal Law News.

Andrew Cuomo has appeared before in our “politicians coming around on marijuana” segment.  He’s now fully in support of full legalization.

In international news, New Zealand will have a binding referendum on cannabis legalization in 2020.  We promise to follow this news and report back in a future Week in Weed.

Sometimes it seems as if everyone is in favor of legal cannabis.  This is not true.  Take New Hampshire’s governor.

See you next Friday!