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.

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 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.

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.

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.

When it comes to legalization news, Oklahoma is the state that keeps on giving.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Wednesday signed into place strict emergency rules for medical marijuana that pot advocates say are intentionally aimed at delaying the voter-approved use of medicinal cannabis.

Two pro-cannabis group filed lawsuits in Oklahoma accusing regulators of improperly imposing rules aimed at curbing the growth of the state’s MMJ industry.

Turning our attention further west, California has released proposed cannabis regulations.

California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) released a proposal on Friday, July 13 outlining permanent cannabis industry regulations for the state.

Get your comments in now or forever hold your peace.

And those regulations are more than just red tape.  They have a real impact on the marketing and sale of cannabis.  What they don’t always do is make a lot of sense.

These unusual restrictions on legal marijuana show that the U.S. cannabis industry has a long way to go before becoming fully accepted.

As previously reported, Oklahoma’s medical marijuana laws dictate that an employer cannot discriminate against a person in hiring or termination, or otherwise penalize a person due to the person’s status as a medical marijuana holder or as a result of a positive drug test. So now that Oklahoma has gone green and created such limitations on employers, how will that impact employer drug testing policies?

To put it bluntly, nothing in the new law seems to specifically prevent or impact the general testing statute which allows for random testing. As an initial matter, to have any protections under the new law, an employee needs to have a medical marijuana license; thus, without the license employees are not protected.

Second, while the law states that an employee cannot be terminated simply because he or she possesses a medical marijuana card or because he or she tests positive for marijuana in a drug screen, the law does not prevent employers from taking into consideration other factors such as any negligent work behavior or bad performance, any injuries the employee has caused in the workplace, or what type of work is being performed. With that said, employers who choose to follow this path, are in for a hazy ride. If employers refuse to hire an applicant or choose to terminate or otherwise penalize a pot-licensed employee, the employer puts itself in the difficult position of having to prove that the employer is not relying solely on the test results when making employment decisions.

Third, as previously reported, while the new law provides a carve out for employers – an employer may take action against an employee if it stands to lose a monetary or licensing benefit as a result of employee usage, if federal laws prohibit use of drugs (“DOT”), and if the license holder “uses” or “possesses” marijuana while at work or during hours of employment – the challenge with this statute and other similar ones is proving “use” while at work. Use is difficult to prove because drug tests do not show when employees use marijuana or are under the influence of marijuana. It’s possible that a drug test could show up positive but be as a result of an employee’s off-duty use of marijuana.

Lastly, nothing in the law discusses whether a collective bargaining agreement may waive any rights in the new law. The Oklahoma general testing law does expressly state that any CBA must have basic protections. However, it is still unclear whether a Union can waive the protections in the law in a CBA.

Accordingly, while nothing in the new law seems to prevent or impact the general testing statute, employers should review their drug-testing policies to ensure compliance with the new laws. And of course, marijuana remains an illegal drug under federal law—so there may be potential preemption issues when it comes to testing.

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

Last week, we focused on Vermont’s legalization of recreational marijuana; this week we (re)turn our attention to Oklahoma.

Cultivators selected for Oklahoma’s emerging medical marijuana industry may face a challenge in starting up operations, particularly when it comes to obtaining seed.

Hot on the heels of Oklahoma’s successful medical cannabis vote, advocates in the state are collecting signatures to put adult-use legalization on the November ballot, Oklahoma’s News 4 reports.

In other state cannabis legalization news, you may recall the roller coaster ride of marijuana in Maine.  Here’s the latest twist in the story.

Governor LePage has lost this battle.

Banking for the cannabis industry is a major problem, as regular readers of this blog know.  Legislators on both the state and federal level are trying to change that.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed the state’s Department of Financial Services (DFS) to provide guidance to support the safe and sound provision of banking services for medical marijuana and industrial hemp businesses.

For financial institutions interested in banking state-legal marijuana businesses, 2018 has been a rollercoaster.  See our take on the STATES act here.

And in case you feel the need to keep up with the new names for marijuana, the DEA has got your back.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has updated its list of slang terms for 2018, with some amusing results.

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

It was a big news week, with Oklahoma voters allowing medical marijuana, and movements on the federal level as well.

First, a look at the Oklahoma vote:

‘I respect the will of the voters in any question placed before them to determine the direction of our state,’ says Oklahoma governor.

Voters on Tuesday in Oklahoma — Oklahoma! — became the latest in the US to approve broad access to marijuana when they approved one of the most permissive medical marijuana initiatives in the country.

Information that patients, growers and sellers need to apply for medical marijuana licenses will be available online by July 26, state Health Department officials said Wednesday.

See yesterday’s TBT post for more details on the law itself.

On the federal level, the FDA approved a drug derived from cannabis.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a CBD drug – a landmark decision that will trigger the health agency to seek rescheduling from the DEA.

U.S. health regulators on Monday approved the first prescription drug made from marijuana, a milestone that could spur more research into a drug that remains illegal under federal law, despite growing legalization for recreational and medical use.

In other federal news, the Senate has approved medical marijuana protections for veterans, but the House still needs to sign on.

U.S. military veterans would be allowed to receive recommendations for medical marijuana from government doctors under legislation approved by the Senate on Monday.

And finally, you may want to consider the possibility that legal marijuana in Canada may be a gateway to other Canadian behaviors.

The Late Show host says newly legalized Canadian marijuana is a gateway drug to other Canadian behaviors.

Going in to this election, the possession and use of medical marijuana was illegal in Oklahoma. However, arguments against cannabis legalization have now gone up in smoke. The Oklahoma voters have spoken by enacting State Question (SQ) 788, which now makes it legal to grow, sell, and use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Under the law, adults with a medical marijuana license would be authorized to, among other things, possess up to three ounces of marijuana on their person, six flowering plants, seventy two ounces of edibles, and one ounce of concentrated marijuana derived from the plant. SQ 788 will go into effect 30 days from June 26, 2018. Continue Reading Oklahoma Creates a Buzz by Legalizing Medical Marijuana