Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
It looks like marijuana banking will not be part of the NDAA. Lawmakers introduced a bill to require the FDA to regulate CBD. Medical cannabis could become part of veterans’ healthcare. Federal assistance with state expungement programs might be on the table. And finally, there’s an area to smoke marijuana at the New York State Fair.
Advocates of allowing the banking industry to serve cannabis businesses have seen many opportunities to enact legislation come and go. The latest idea to crash and burn was adding the SAFE Banking Act to the National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass military spending bill. The House Rules Committee put an end to that plan this week. Although many are disappointed, including Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), some see this as an opportunity to enact more sweeping legislation later. Further bulletins as events warrant.
CBD products are increasingly popular, but their legality is less clear-cut. New legislation would change that. The CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act of 2021 would mandate that the Food and Drug Administration regulate CBD as a food ingredient and establish labeling requirements and other standards. The bill has bipartisan support in the House, so perhaps it may get some traction.
medical cannabis for veterans
There’s some evidence that marijuana helps to treat PTSD symptoms, according to a researcher at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The problem is that the VA can’t prescribe medical cannabis for veterans suffering from the condition. The chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus want to change that. They sent a letter to the VA, asking the department to allow veterans to access marijuana legally, and to do so quickly. We’ll see what sort of answer they get to their correspondence.
Many states have expungement programs for those convicted of non-violent marijuana crimes. Now, there’s a bill that would appropriate federal dollars to fund those programs. Introduced by Dave Joyce (R-OH) and co-sponsored by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), the bill would give $20 million to the Justice Department to assist state and local governments in carrying out review and expungement of criminal records.
In yet another sign that cannabis is increasingly mainstream, the New York State Fair will set up designated areas for smoking in 2022. After complaints about the smoke at this year’s event, the director is working on a way to allow those who wish to avoid the smell to do so, without harshing anyone’s buzz.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!