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

Medical marijuana will be on the ballot in Nebraska.  We’ve got lots of news from California.  Florida has legalized medical marijuana edibles.  On the federal level, the MORE act will get a vote in the House.  There’s now CBD for elephants.  And speaking of CBD, Seyfarth has a program coming up on that topic.

nebraska

Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen approved a medical marijuana initiative to appear on the November ballot late last week.  Evnen said the measure met all legal requirements, but he expected a legal challenge from cannabis opponents.  In fact, Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner filed a petition with the Nebraska Supreme Court the next day.  And he’s not the only unhappy Nebraskan.  Governor Pete Ricketts recently declared that there is no such thing as medical marijuana.  Further bulletins as events warrant.

california

It’s been a busy week for the Golden State.  The legislature approved two marijuana measures.  Assembly Bill 1827 freezes tax rate increases until July 2021.  Assembly Bill 1525 allows cannabis banking under California state law.  A bill which would have set new rules for the hemp industry, was not passed.  Since it faced opposition from hemp farmers and others in the cannabis industry, that may be for the best.

In other news, a federal court ruled that the state must turn over information concerning three marijuana businesses to the DEA.  California argued that the agency did not adequately explain the need for the information.  The DEA said it was necessary for an investigation into the illegal import and transport of marijuana oil from Mexico.  Ultimately, the judge sided with the agency.

florida

The big news in Florida is the approval of medical marijuana edibles.  No sooner did the state’s Department of Health publish new rules, than Trulieve started making them available in their dispensaries.

the more act

There’s also news on the federal level.  Rep. Jerry Nadler’s (D-NY) MORE Act will come up for a vote this month.  The bill would decriminalize cannabis and expunge the criminal records of nonviolent marijuana offenders.  The legislation is both historic, and likely doomed to failure in the Senate.

elephants and cbd

The Warsaw Zoo is offering its three African elephants CBD in hopes of relieving their stress over the death of their alpha female. The CBD will be administered through their trunks.  Zookeepers hope to study the effects of the CBD on the elephants and make the findings public.

and finally

If CBD for humans is more your speed, Seyfarth will be hosting a webinar, “CBD News You Can Use: FDA’s Progress and Other Updates” on October 1, 2020.  More information and a link to register will be available shortly.

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

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

Pennsylvania’s governor is supporting cannabis legalization.  Arizonans will have a chance to vote on legalization in November.  Vermont is considering expungement and decriminalization.  The DEA has a new hemp rule.  Senator McConnell is promoting hemp face masks.  And traffic lights go green.

pennsylvania

We’ve reported before on Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s full-throated support for cannabis legalization.  Now, the governor has joined the chorus.  Governor Tom Wolf (D) is calling on the legislature to pass a legalization bill, indicating that the proceeds for sales will help ease the financial strain of the pandemic on small businesses.

arizona

Meanwhile, in Arizona, legalization is on the ballot.  Recreational use would be legal for those 21 or older, with the sales tax revenue going to community colleges, public safety, health and roads.  A similar initiative failed to pass four years ago, and advocates are focusing their efforts on changing the minds of those who opposed the measure then.

vermont

Vermont decriminalized possession of up to 1 oz. of marijuana in 2018.  Now, the legislature is considering a measure that would automatically expunge all criminal records for possession of up to 2 oz. of cannabis, and decriminalize possession of that amount.  A larger bill, that would allow sales of marijuana, is also under consideration.  Proponents of the expungement bill hope to pass it, regardless of what happens with the sales measure.

dea hemp rule

The Drug Enforcement Administration released an interim final rule last week that has the industry up in arms.  The rule makes illegal the production of “wet hemp,” a necessary part of the hemp extraction process that results in a temporary increase in THC.  Comments on the rule are due by October 20.

hemp face masks

The Senate’s biggest hemp booster, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), recommends the use of hemp face masks during the pandemic.  He also indicated, in an interview at a Kentucky hemp plant, that he hopes to delivery another “infusion of cash” for the industry.  He did not address the DEA’s new rule and its effect on the industry’s survival.

and finally

If you’re looking to proceed through an intersection in Spokane, WA, a cannabis leaf will give you the go ahead.  A  person called the “Mad Signtist” used cardboard to change the green lights into marijuana leaves in the North Spokane area.

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

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

Arizona voters will decide whether to legalize cannabis in November,  Senator Schumer opposes new USDA hemp rules.  The American Heart Association has some thoughts on cannabis.  Pitt will start researching marijuana.  A bill to legalize cannabis is on its way to South Africa’s Parliament. Senator Harris’ views on cannabis differ from those of Vice President Biden.   And even grandmothers should not take hemp to Disney World.

arizona

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs cleared the signatures gathered by Smart and Safe Arizona this week.  This means the question of whether to legalize adult-use cannabis will appear on the state’s November ballot.  If passed, Arizona would become the 12th state to allow recreational marijuana.

hemp rules

Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week, asking that the agency delay implementation of final rules on hemp until 2022.  Schumer cited industry unhappiness with Interim Final Rules published in October 2019.  He also raised concerns over harvesting upheaval caused by COVID-19.

american heart association

The American Heart Association (AHA) released a report last week that provided both good and bad news to the cannabis industry.  The group came out in support of removing marijuana from Schedule I, to allow scientists to study it.  The problem is that they believe it may cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.

pitt research grant

Speaking of research, the University of Pittsburgh will study the possible benefits of medical marijuana with a 10-year, $3 million grant from cannabis company Parallel.  The initial focus of the research will be sickle cell disease.  Anxiety disorders and chronic pain are also on the agenda.

south africa

South Africa’s Cabinet approved a bill allowing adult-use cannabis last week.  The legislation now goes to Parliament for consideration, and it will face a public consultation process before it can be enacted.

senator kamala harris

On Wednesday, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) officially joined the Democratic ticket.  Where does she stand on cannabis?  We examined her record back in October, noting both her sponsorship of the MORE Act, and her work as a prosecutor in California.  It appears that she is more open to legalization than Vice President Biden, but it seems doubtful that her addition to the ticket will bring marijuana to the fore in the election.

and finally

If you’re planning a trip to Disney World, leave your CBD oil at home.  An attorney representing Hester Burkhalter, a 69-year old grandmother from North Carolina, filed suit against Disney and the Orange County Sheriff for wrongful arrest.  Burkhalter was carrying CBD oil in her purse, and when Disney employees tested it for THC, one of two tests came back positive.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll be off next week, but we’ll be back on August 28.

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

The House of Representatives passed this year’s version of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.  Senator Mitch McConnell expressed his opposition to protections for the cannabis industry.  The World Health Organization’s recommendations on rescheduling cannabis met some opposition at the United Nations. The European Commission said that hemp is a drug.  The Idaho medical marijuana ballot initiative appears to be dead.  Marijuana sales in Maine may start by the end of 2020.  And Uncle Bud has a new celebrity sponsor.

blumenauer amendment

As we predicted last week, the House of Representatives passed the Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton-Lee amendment by a vote of 254 to 163.  The amendment would protect state legal marijuana companies, both medical and recreational, from federal interference.  For a detailed examination of who voted how, see Marijuana Moment’s rundown here.

Mcconnell opposition

The House is one thing; the Senate, of course, is another.  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) opposes marijuana legalization, so the chances of this surviving a Senate vote seem slim.  Recently, McConnell has been quite vocal about his unhappiness over the inclusion of cannabis banking provisions in the latest COVID-19 relief bill.

international news

The World Health Organization recommended some changes to cannabis scheduling, including adding a footnote to the cannabis entry in Schedule 1 of the 1961 Single Convention to clarify that preparations containing predominantly CBD and up to 0.2% THC are not under international control.  Opposition to the measure came from some members of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, but the cannabis industry remains hopeful that the measure will ultimately pass.

Meanwhile, things are looking grim for the European hemp industry.  The European Commission released a preliminary conclusion that industrial hemp extracts are drugs under EU legislation.  Obviously, the European Industrial Hemp Association opposes this conclusion and will be lobbying hard against its confirmation.

idaho

A measure that seems doomed to failure is Idaho’s medical marijuana ballot initiative.  The United States Supreme Court reinstated Idaho’s restrictions on signature collection, nullifying a lower court decision.  The court prohibited a school funding group, Reclaim Idaho, from using electronic signature collection in order to get enough signatures for their initiative.  The Idaho Cannabis Coalition had hoped that Reclaim Idaho’s success would lead to their own, but it was not to be.

maine

In other state news, recreational marijuana sales in Maine may begin as soon as the end of 2020.  The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy stated that a formal announcement would come later this month and that they expect tax revenues from adult-use sales this year.

and finally

Regular readers will doubtless recall our report that Jane Fonda is now a spokesperson for Uncle Bud’s Hemp and CBD products.  She’s now been joined by Magic Johnson, who swears by their lotion for pain relief.

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

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

The FDA started the process of issuing guidance on CBD products.  Democrats said no to legalized marijuana in their party platform.  There’s a way to test products for cannabis levels.  Missouri is having problems with its medical marijuana program.  Support for state-legal cannabis programs made its way into House appropriation bills.  And finally, do not say Clint Eastwood uses your CBD product, because he doesn’t.

cbd guidance

The Food and Drug Administration sent enforcement guidance for CBD products to the Office of Management and Budget for review late last week.  What does the guidance contain?  No one knows.  When will the guidance be made public?  No one knows.  As soon as we know, we’ll let you know.

party platform

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his supporters may have pushed former Vice President Biden to the left on some issues, but legalizing marijuana is not one of them. Platform committee members rejected a proposal to legalize cannabis by a vote of 105 to 60.

marijuana testing

Mislabeling in the CBD industry is a major problem.  Scientists at The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are trying to fix that.  NIST’s Cannabis Quality Assurance (CannaQAP) program will send samples of hemp oil products to participating labs.  The labs will measure the concentration of CBD, THC and other compounds and report back to CannaQAP.  The goal is to help those labs produce consistent results and recommend best practices to the industry so that labeling will be accurate.

missouri

Missouri’s medical marijuana program has been plagued by controversy.  Earlier in the year, some companies submitted duplicate license applications, and received multiple licenses, amid accusations of conflicts of interest.  Late last week, the state merged the duplicate licenses and issued five additional licenses.  Will this be enough to prevent lawsuits?  Only time will tell.

house appropriations bills

Since 2014, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment barred the Justice Department from enforcing federal law on state-legal medical marijuana businesses.  A broader version of this provision, that would bar enforcement against state-legal adult-use marijuana businesses, was added to this year’s Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill. Its chances of passage in the House seems pretty good, but if history is any guide, it won’t make it through the Senate.

and finally

Clint Eastwood filed suit against several CBD companies recently.  The actor claims they are using his name and likeness to sell their products.  No word yet on whether the companies feel lucky.

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

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

Ballot initiatives make news in several states.  The Food and Drug Administration released guidance on marijuana research.  Two state officials publicly support legal marijuana.  We’ve got yet another report on the National Defense Authorization Act.  And there’s a new ad campaign for hemp with a familiar face.

ballot initiatives

We’ll start in Arizona, where officials began verifying signatures this week.  Polls show legalization is much more popular now than it was in 2016, when a legalization initiative was defeated.  Not everyone supports legalization, however.  Arizonans for Health and Public Safety has filed suit against the initiative.

Meanwhile, in Idaho, the Secretary of State rejected activists’ request to collect electronic signatures.  The campaign threatened a lawsuit – further bulletins as events warrant.

Next door, in Montana, legalization proponents beat the odds (and the pandemic) to gather enough signatures to put two initiatives on the ballot.  One legalizes adult use and one sets up a system to regulate and tax cannabis.

Mississippi also offers two ballot initiatives to voters, but these are competing, not complementary.  Initiative 65A is more restrictive than Initiative 65.

marijuana research

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published draft guidance on marijuana research this week.  The guidance does not establish any regulations, but does ask for public comment.  It also fails to mention the CBD market.

In other cannabis research news, PA Options for Wellness and Penn State medical school announced that they will research medical marijuana over the next ten years.  They will operate under Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis research program.

state officials back legalization

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy voiced his support for legal cannabis in the state in a recent radio interview.  He believes that legalization would boost the state’s economy, currently flagging due to the pandemic.  Activists in the state also support legalization, but their concern is more focused on issues of social justice and ending the War on Drugs.

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman spoke out this week on Twitter in favor of legalization.  Citing jobs and revenue, Fetterman stated that prohibition is a minority view in the state.

cbd in the military

An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act allows members of the military to use hemp and CBD products.  Sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), the provision overturns the Defense Department’s previous ban on all hemp or CBD use. This comes on the heels of another provision that allows veterans to return to service if they used marijuana while separated.

and finally

You knew it was only a matter of time.  Jane Fonda is selling hemp.  The actress and activist promotes Uncle Bud’s Hemp and CBD products.  The campaign, called “I’m FONDA Hemp and CBD,” will appear on a billboard in Times Square later this year.

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

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

Let’s start off with a look at Joe Biden – what’s the campaign’s view on cannabis legalization? How is the FDA handling the mislabeling of CBD products?  Will Pennsylvania legalize marijuana?  Will Oklahoma enforce their medical cannabis rules?  What’s the latest on the Idaho ballot?  And finally, did you know the marijuana industry is worth more than the NBA?

where do the candidates stand on marijuana?

Vice President Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders formed a “Unity Task Force” in an effort to bring the party together on various issues.  One of them is cannabis.  The task force report discusses marijuana on pages 9 and 59.  The recommendation is for federal decriminalization of recreational use, federal legalization of medical use and expungement of all past convictions for use and possession.  Basically, it’s Biden’s long-time position.

cbd mislabeling

The Food and Drug Administration reported to Congress on rampant mislabeling in the CBD industry.  Spoiler alert: those labels are not as accurate as one would like.  Hemp Industry Daily reports: “Of the 102 products tested this year that were labeled as having CBD, 18 had less than 80% of the amount indicated, while another 46 were within 20% of the amount advertised. Thirty-eight products had more than 120% of the CBD indicated.”

pennsylvania

Moving on to the states, Pennsylvania’s Lt. Governor and a group of Senate Democrats are in favor of full legalization.  Lt. Gov. John Fetterman thinks it will bring in tax revenue.  Read the Senators’ letter to the governor and legislative leaders here.

oklahoma

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, nothing focuses the mind like impending litigation.  Oklahoma’s assistant solicitor general indicated that the state will not enforce its regulations governing residency requirements and location limitations for medical marijuana dispensaries.  The regulations could have forced some stores out of business.

idaho

As regular readers will doubtless recall, efforts to put medical marijuana legalization on the ballot in Idaho have been met with difficulty.  The pandemic forced them to stop collecting signatures.  The deadline to turn them in passed while a stay-at-home order was still in effect.  However, a school funding group was able to continue their campaign online.  Surely, the same process would apply to the Idaho Cannabis Coalition, right?  It may take a lawsuit to find out.

and finally

Retail sales of cannabis in 2019 (both recreational and medical) surpassed the revenue of the NBA.  Projections for 2024 show more money spent on legal marijuana than on craft beer.  The times they are a-changin’ for sure.

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

 

 

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

We’ve got an update on the Arizona ballot measure.  Federal appropriation legislation includes some cannabis provisions.  In international news, Bermuda is looking at legalization.  And we close out with Oklahoma, where the state is enforcing testing rules, and slushies are not a thing.

arizona

Smart and Safe Arizona submitted over 400,000 signatures to place a recreational marijuana measure on the November ballot.  If approved, it would allow use by adults 21 and over.  Although a similar initiative lost at the ballot box in 2016, proponents believe support for legalization is stronger now.

appropriations

Cannabis provisions have made their way into several new funding bills.  The National Defense Authorization Act, which we mentioned last week, includes a provision allowing veterans to return to military service even if they’ve used marijuana while separated.  Other measures would allow cannabis banking, marijuana sales in D.C., and cannabis research by universities.  Keep in mind, none of these provisions are final – when it comes to appropriations, there’s many a slip between the cup and the lip.

bermuda

Turning our attention abroad, Bermuda is considering legalization of cannabis for adult-use.  Legislators introduced a previous plan last December, but the pandemic’s economic toll (and need for additional cash) makes it more likely this will pass.

oklahoma

The Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has always required that cannabis be tested, but as of this month, samples must go to an OMMA-licensed lab.  The deadline for enforcement had been delayed due to a lack of testing facilities, but now 21 of them are operational, allowing the state to implement the regulation.

and finally

It’s been a busy time for OMMA.  In addition to the testing regulations, they’ve also release what they’re calling a “slushy-machine guidance memo.”  There’s a phrase I never expected to type!  You would think a product that provides medical marijuana in a way designed to beat the Oklahoma heat would be a no-brainer for approval, but no such luck.

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

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

State and local news dominates this week.  Los Angeles will change its cannabis licensing program.  Colorado’s governor signed a law that allows pardons for minor marijuana offenses.  A school funding initiative’s court battles may have implications for marijuana in Idaho.  Medical marijuana patients in New Jersey now have home delivery as an option.  There was federal news as well.  A group of senators has added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would promote cannabis research.  FinCen released new guidance on hemp banking.  Will Vice President Biden support marijuana legalization?  And finally, we have a look at the dogs of cannabis.

los angeles

The Los Angeles City Council approved changes to its marijuana licensing program, in an effort to expand opportunities for victims of the war on drugs. Opponents of the previous program said that it was riddled with loopholes that allowed wealthy, well-connected people to obtain licenses.

colorado

Governor Jared Polis signed a bill this week allowing the pardon of thousands of citizens convicted of minor cannabis offenses. The bill also establishes a system for social equity licenses; the state is seeking to bring more diverse people into the cannabis industry, which is currently 75% white.

idaho

Supporters of an Idaho school funding ballot initiative have won a victory in federal district court that could have implications for marijuana in the state.  The state’s stay-at-home order stopped signature gathering and was not lifted until after the deadline for submitting signatures passed.  The court mandated that the state either certify the question immediately or allow supporters more time to gather signatures.  The Idaho Cannabis Coalition hopes the decision will apply to them as well.

new jersey

New Jersey medical marijuana dispensaries may now deliver cannabis to their patients’ homes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Dispensaries need to submit a plan to the Department of Health before beginning deliveries.

marijuana research

We don’t discuss defense spending much in this column, but this year’s National Defense Authorization Act is different.  A bipartisan group of Senators introduced an amendment to promote cannabis research.  It would also protect doctors who discuss marijuana with their patients, and encourage FDA-approved cannabinoid drugs

hemp banking

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) released guidance on Monday for banks wishing to serve hemp-related businesses.  Banks need not file Suspicious Activity Reports because hemp is federally legal and no longer on the controlled substances list.  Hemp businesses should be treated like any other business.

vice president biden

Vice President Joe Biden has called for the decriminalization of marijuana on the federal level, but has so far stopped short of supporting legalization.  Could his position change as concerns about the disparate impact of the war on drugs on communities of color take center stage?

and finally

June 26 was National Take Your Dog to Work Day, and “Hemp Industry Daily” published a slideshow of the “top dogs” of marijuana.  Of course, this year, everyday is Take Your Dog to Work Day here at the editorial offices of The Week in Weed.  Sherlock takes a keen interest in all things related to cannabis news.

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

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

We begin with the claim that the Justice Department brought antitrust actions against cannabis companies due to Attorney General Bill Barr’s antipathy towards the industry.  The state of New Jersey is contemplating decriminalization, and Montana may have cannabis on the ballot.  The city of Denver gets into the R&D business.  Should the FDA issue a CBD rule quickly?  Some consumer groups say no.  Medical marijuana is now permitted to those on parole or probation.  And finally, we have an update on the Oklahoma fake email story!

antitrust and marijuana

DOJ attorney John Elias testified this week that the department was improperly investigating cannabis companies for antitrust violations. Video of the hearing is available here.  Written testimony is available here.  The DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility looked into the matter earlier this month and found no evidence of wrongdoing.  The memorandum is available here (subscription required).

new jersey

New Jersey is considering decriminalizing marijuana possession.  The state Assembly recently passed a bill substituting a fine for arrest for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana.  The bill now moves to the state Senate, where opinions against the legislation have recently shifted.

montana

New Approach Montana submitted over 130,000 signatures in support of two ballot initiatives to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis in the state.  This is far above the number of signatures needed to put the measures before the voters, so it seems likely that they will make the November ballot.

research & development

The city of Denver awarded its first license for medical marijuana R&D.  MedPharm hopes to start work on its first project, studying marijuana’s effect on Alzheimer’s and dementia, by the end of 2020.

cbd rule

For years, the hemp and CBD industries have been waiting impatiently for the Food and Drug Administration to issue regulations on cannabidiol.  Now several consumer groups are suggesting they need to wait a bit longer.  The groups sent a joint letter to members of Congress, urging them not to push the FDA to issue regulations, as their attention has been diverted due to the pandemic.

pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a county law forbidding the use of medical marijuana by those on probation or parole.  The unanimous decision applies throughout the state.

and finally

Regular readers of this column will doubtless recall that the general counsel of the Oklahoma Department of Health sent herself threatening emails, which she claimed were from cannabis advocates.  She’s now been suspended from practicing law (subscriptoin required) for one year.  You just can’t make this stuff up.

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