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

Following up on last week’s look at an expungement proposal in California, this week we note that Delaware has enacted such a statute.

Expungement is mandatory but not automatic; eligible individuals still need to apply and pay a fee.

When we wrote about North Dakota’s effort to legalize recreational cannabis, we thought that was pretty surprising.  We had no idea that Mississippi was looking to put medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot.

A group in Mississippi, one of the country’s most conservative states, is aiming to put what looks to be a business-friendly medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in 2020.

Not all the action is on the state level; new legislation on the federal level would allow veterans access to medical marijuana.

Veterans Affairs doctors are currently prohibited from prescribing the drug by federal law.

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

Most employers are wary of union organizing, but a marijuana retailer in Washington is supportive of the idea.

A cannabis retailer led efforts to have his employees join a union in an unusual labor organizing drive in Washington.

Once recreational marijuana in legal in a state,  what does the state do about criminal records?

A measure passed by the legislature would require a review of all marijuana-related crimes in the state between 1975 and 2016, when pot was legalized in California.

Not everyone is in favor of expanding access to medical marijuana; the Mormon Church is opposed to allowing MMJ in Utah.

The Mormon church ramped up its opposition this week to a proposal that would allow medical marijuana in Utah, even as faith leaders insisted they support patients using it under strict controls.

Finally, just because you’re seizing someone’s illegal cannabis plants doesn’t mean you can’t also have a sense of humor about it.

Police in Marlborough, New Hampshire confiscated 25 cannabis plants growing on private land and then did something unexpected —they joked about it, reports The Boston Globe.

Just two years ago, North Dakota voters passed medical marijuana legalization with 64 percent support. Now, North Dakota could join a number of sanctuary states legalizing recreational marijuana.

Through an effort called Legalize ND, proponents of recreational marijuana submitted more than the required 13,452 valid petition signatures to get a measure on the November 2018 general election ballot.

If passed, the measure would legalize the cultivation, possession, use, and distribution of marijuana and authorize the state, counties, and other municipalities to tax the sale of marijuana at no more than 20 percent. The measure would also remove penalties related to marijuana use from state law.

However, voters should expect an uphill battle. Opponents argue that legalization will create a lot of problems with regard to regulations and will increase crime. But if passed, one thing’s for sure, if you can smoke it there, you may well be able to smoke it anywhere.

So how will this affect employers? It’s a bit hazy. The measure does not have any specific provisions impacting an employer’s right to drug test or to make employment decisions based on a positive drug test.

However, based on North Dakota’s medical marijuana provisions which provide that the statute does not prohibit an employer from disciplining an employee for possessing or consuming usable marijuana in the workplace or for working while under the influence of marijuana, one can assume the same may apply if North Dakota legalizes recreational marijuana.

Stay tuned for all the growing developments in North Dakota.

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

As long time readers of this blog know, banking for cannabis companies is problematic to say the least.  California has decided not to pursue allowing state banks to handle the industry’s money.

California lawmakers deferred a plan that would have allowed private banks to handle the money being generated by the legal cannabis industry.

In other Golden State news, revenues from marijuana sales have been disappointing.

Why is California’s tax revenue from legal marijuana not meeting expectations?

Meanwhile, in Louisiana,  medical marijuana planting has begun.

Louisiana’s first legal crop of medical marijuana can be planted this week. Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain, whose agency regulates the burgeoning industry, loosened a regulatory logjam that created a months-long delay.

Finally, one of the more surprising additions to our list of politicians (or in this case, government entities) who have changed their mind on marijuana:

The anti-drug agency is moving to more than quintuple the amount of cannabis that can legally be grown in the U.S. for research purposes—from roughly 1,000 pounds in 2018 to more than 5,400 pounds next year.

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

At the risk of turning this into the “Week in Oklahoma Weed,” here’s the latest on what happening in the Sooner State.

A group that wants to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma has submitted signatures to qualify the measure for a statewide vote after saying it may not have enough to qualify for the November ballot.

And for further proof it’s not just the coasts that are thinking of legalizing recreational cannabis, we have this news from the Upper Midwest.

North Dakota will vote on whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use after a measure was approved for the November ballot on Monday.

North Dakotans will vote this November on a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana, state officials announced Monday.

You will doubtless recall that the FDA approved a CBD medication recently.  We now know what the price tag will be.

GW Pharmaceuticals has revealed the expected consumer price for Epidiolex, the first cannabidiol-based medication to be approved by the FDA, according to a Business Insider report.

While marijuana possession and use continue to become legal in many U.S. states, either for strictly medicinal purposes or for any purpose at all, it can still be a basis for denial of immigration benefits, such as temporary visas, legal permanent residency, and/or naturalization, or for revocation of existing immigration benefits.  This can even be true where the possession and/or use never resulted in either a criminal charge or conviction.

Notwithstanding contrary state laws, marijuana continues to be deemed a Schedule I narcotic as defined at 21 U.S.C. § 812((b)(1), meaning it has been found to have “a high potential for abuse”, “no currently accepted medical use in treatment” or a lack of “accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.” 21 U.S.C. § 812((b)(1)(A)-(C). 21 U.S.C. § 844 makes illegal under federal law simple possession of any Schedule I substance.  Current Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded prior Obama-era Department of Justice guidance accommodating State laws on marijuana, particularly those allowing its possession and use for medical purposes.  As such, the Department of Justice has returned to an aggressive posture  on narcotics enforcement with respect to marijuana.

While the agency has not issued any new guidance or disclosed any changes in adjudication policy, the Department of Justice’s approach is likely to be mirrored in the consideration of such conduct by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”)

8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(II) makes inadmissible to the United States a foreign national:

“convicted of, or who admits having committed, or who admits committing acts which constitute the essential elements of . . . a violation of (or a conspiracy or attempt to violate) any law or regulation of a State, the United States, or a foreign country relating to a controlled substance (as defined in section 802 of title 21)

At the risk of stating the obvious, lying on an immigration application is also a basis of inadmissibility, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(c)(i), so it is neither here nor there if a violation was denied, where USCIS has in its possession evidence showing the existence of a crime.

8 U.S.C. § 1182(h)(1) does provide for a  narrowly available waiver, at the discretion of USCIS, of this inadmissibility in the case of simple possession. That waiver is available where the disqualifying conviction occurred more than fifteen years prior to the application,  the admission of the applicant “would not be contrary to the national welfare, safety or security of the United States”, and the applicant “has been rehabilitated.” 8 U.S.C. § 1182(h)(2) provides for a waiver where a showing is made that “denial of admission would result in extreme hardship to the United States citizen or lawfully resident spouse, parent, son, or daughter of such alien.”

Also 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(1)(A)(i) makes inadmissible someone determined to be a drug abuser or drug addict, a determination which would be made by a civil surgeon acting under designation by USCIS. See, USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 8 (Admissibility), Part B Health-Related Grounds of Inadmissibility, Drug Abuse or Drug Addiction (updated July 26, 2018).  This ground becomes waivable where a civil surgeon certifies that the applicant is rehabilitated.

While marijuana gains greater legal and cultural acceptance in the U.S., it still presents a considerable hazard for those seeking to obtain or maintain immigration benefits.  Given the Federal government’s turn away from Obama-era policies with respect to marijuana-related law enforcement, great care should be exercised in addressing marijuana possession and use issues when seeking immigration benefits.  For some, it may in fact turn out to be a disqualifier.

 

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

Remember when Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed restrictive medical marijuana rules?  Well, times have changed.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed off this week on the do-over in Oklahoma’s emergency medical marijuana regulations – rules that revert to more business-friendly MMJ provisions.

And it looks like New York may be serious about legalizing recreational cannabis.

Weeks after a report he commissioned recommended the legalization of recreational pot in New York, Gov. Cuomo on Thursday announced a work group to come up with legislation to do so.

The first patent infringement lawsuit involving cannabis has now been filed.

Golden-based UCANN’s lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting Pure Hemp from copying its formulas.

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

Although tracking politicians’ changing views on marijuana has become something of a regular feature here on The Week in Weed, one public official who is unlikely to change his stance is Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The Attorney General remains steadfast in his dedication to cracking down on cannabis.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision in January to rescind the Cole Memo hasn’t had a big impact on the U.S. cannabis industry, but it could.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the United Kingdom has legalized medical marijuana.

British doctors will be able to prescribe marijuana plant-derived medicine to patients beginning this fall, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Thursday.

And the Republic of Georgia legalizes cannabis consumption.

The nation of Georgia officially legalized the consumption of cannabis this week in a Constitutional Court ruling, according to an RFE/RL report. The ruling, however, does not legalize the sale or cultivation of the plant.

 

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

In our continuing look at politicians now in favor of legalized cannabis, this week we spotlight Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH).

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is calling for marijuana to be legalized in all 50 states.

The year Donald Trump was elected President, more Americans were arrested for marijuana possession than for all violent crimes combined.

Lebanon is looking at legalizing medical marijuana for economic reasons.

Lebanon is looking for ways to grow its economy.

While cannabis companies in Israel await export approval, neighboring Lebanon is reportedly considering turning to MMJ to improve its economy.

The U.K. has just legalized medical marijuana.

Medicinal cannabis products will be available by prescription in the United Kingdom this fallafter the government relaxed drug laws surrounding the plant’s chemical compounds this week, The Independent reports.

And finally, a new twist on the old “This is your brain on drugs” ad.

A PSA that aims to take the stigma out of using legal marijuana.