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.

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.

The big news this week is that hemp legalization is on its way to the President’s desk.  Noted hemp supporter Sen. Mitch McConnell even signed the bill with a hemp pen.

In other federal news, the Surgeon General has come out in favor of rescheduling cannabis.  He believes the current placement of marijuana in Schedule I has prevented research into the drug.

In California, the Bureau of Cannabis Control has finalized its regulations.  They will now make their way to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review.  Marijuana Business Daily has a nice summary of the provisions and what they will mean for businesses in the state.

But the action on the state level is not just on the West Coast.  The inter-state rivalry between Michigan (which just legalized adult-use cannabis) and Illinois continues, as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks out in favor of legalizing marijuana.  In other Midwestern news, Minnesota might also consider legalization, but, don’t hold your breath, votes may not be taken until 2020.

And for the latest on the Utah situation, see Jinouth Vasquez’s post which describes the state of play there, at least as of yesterday afternoon!

See you next Friday!

What a year it’s been in legalizing cannabis—from conservative states legalizing medical marijuana—to city ordinances imposing cannabis requirements. Changes in Cannabis laws are definitely creating a buzz for SF and Utah employers.

Background Checks SF. San Francisco, known for its forward progress in the cannabis space, has done it again. Effective October 1, 2018, employers are prohibited from “inquiring about, requiring disclosure of, or basing employment decisions on convictions for decriminalized behavior, including the non-commercial use and cultivation of cannabis.” The ordinance restricts employers from asking questions about pot convictions and, instead, authorizes the City to impose penalties on employers who violate the ordinance. Some of the penalties include a private right of action for the victim and monetary payment.

Notably, in conformance with California’s Fair Chance Employment Act, the ordinance does allow employers to ask about convictions after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Under the Act, employers can deny an applicant a position of employment because of the conviction, but the employer must make an individualized assessment of whether the applicant’s conviction history has a direct and adverse relationship with the specific duties of the job which justify denying the applicant the position. In making the assessment, the employer must consider the nature and gravity of the offense or conduct; the time since the offense; and the nature of the job held or sought.  For more information on what else an employer is required to do when contemplating denying employment to an applicant, contact your favorite Seyfarth cannabis attorney.

Could Utah’s cannabis legalization be up in smoke? As previously reported, Utah legalized medical marijuana this midterm through Proposition 2. Proposition 2 failed to include important provisions in its initiative, including what rights employers would have.

However, Utah’s House of Representatives held a special legislative session whereby lawmakers changed Proposition 2 and adopted more restrictive provisions in what is being called the medical cannabis compromise. These restrictive provisions include employer protections. For example, a draft of the medical cannabis compromise states that an employee may not “be under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol during work hours” nor can the employee “refuse to submit to a drug or alcohol test.” (Section 67-19-33).

The compromise also states that employees cannot manufacture, dispense, possess, use, or distribute a controlled substance if: (1) the activity prevents state agencies from receiving federal grants or performing under federal contracts of $25,000 or more; or (2) the activity prevents the employee from performing his “services or work for state government effectively as regulated by the rules of the executive director.”

Although Utah lawmakers tried to clear the haze left by Proposition 2, a pair of advocacy groups have since filed a lawsuit to block the medical cannabis compromise. The groups argue that the compromise is unconstitutional and interferes with what the voters enacted. The group asked the Utah Supreme Court to allow a referendum on the legislature’s action and allow them to go before voters to challenge the medical cannabis compromise. Alternatively, they seek to overturn the compromise and instead, keep Proposition 2 as the law.

While this lawsuit may be a long shot because the legislature has the legal authority to modify or replace ballot initiatives, you’ll want to stay tuned for further updates as this story develops.

And if you’d like to get a preview of what 2019 may have in store for California and cannabis, check out “Pot-Protective Employment Laws Loom in 2019” in the Los Angeles Lawyer magazine.

 

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

Here at The Blunt Truth, we are well aware of the difficulties cannabis businesses face in obtaining financial services.  It turns out, even political groups that support marijuana legalization can face a problem with banks.

A new cannabis political action committee, Californians for Sensible Regulation of Adult Use, is looking to raise $300,000 by 2020 to support industry-friendly candidates for public office in key jurisdictions of the state.

In the latest installment of “people changing their minds on marijuana,” the Mormon Church and cannabis advocates have reached a compromise on legalizing medical marijuana ahead of next month’s election, which features a ballot initiative to allow MMJ.

Those behind the campaign to legalize medical marijuana and some of its most vocal opponents have reached a tentative agreement on what medical marijuana policy should look like in Utah, the Deseret News has learned.

As we reported last weekthe Food and Drug Administration has allowed the sale of Epidiolex, which contains CBD derived from cannabis.  Apparently, that’s not the only move on marijuana the agency has made recently.

FDA officials have put out a call for public comment about the potential rescheduling of cannabis and several other substances.

Despite Michigan’s prohibition against cannabis-infused beverages, alcohol companies are actively pursuing the market.

A former Molson Coors exec will head its cannabis-drinks JV, called Truss. New Age Beverages is fielding requests for its CBD drinks.

And this just in: the Border Patrol has revised its lifetime ban against Canadians involved in cannabis.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) has announced that Canadians who work in the legal cannabis industry will generally be allowed to enter the United States.

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

Things in New Jersey have changed considerably with the end of Chris Christie’s term as governor, especially as concerns marijuana.

New Jersey’s top lawmaker has set a new date for at least one house of the state Legislature to vote legalizing recreational marijuana in the Garden State: Oct. 29.

Banking issues are a constant theme of this email, as the lack of financial services impedes the industry’s growth and states call on the federal government to step up.

Hawaii’s top banking regulator joined the growing chorus of state leaders urging Congress to consider banking solutions for the cannabis industry.

Meanwhile, in California, expungement is about to get much easier.

Hailed by advocates as a chance for people to “reclaim their lives,” a new California law will soon make it easier for people with past marijuana convictions to get their records expunged completely, or their sentences significantly reduced.

And finally, if you’re intrigued at the thought of a marijuana/beer mashup, you won’t be able to try it in Michigan.

Legislation that would prohibit the use, possession or sale of cannabis-infused beer, wine, liquor and mixed drinks in Michigan was approved by the state House on Tuesday by a 101-4 vote.

In a split decision last Thursday, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of Morro Bay marijuana dispensary owner Charles Lynch and remanded the case to the district court for a factual determination as to whether Lynch’s activities were in strict compliance with California law. [Link to case here.] Continue Reading Appropriations Rider Gives Sliver of Hope For California Dispensary Owner Caught Between Conflicting State and Federal Laws

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.