Texas is joining the states weighing whether to expand legalized uses of marijuana, with state legislators filing almost a dozen bills related to marijuana use in advance of the legislative session, which began on January 8.  (In Texas, the state legislature meets biannually for a 140-day session.)  Texas first established a limited compassionate use program for medical marijuana in 2015, and three dispensaries are currently in operation under that program.  However, due to limitations in the conditions for which medical cannabis can be prescribed, less than 1,000 people have been able to avail themselves of the program. (Under the Texas compassionate use program, in order to receive a legal prescription for low-THC CBD oil, a patient must (i) have intractable epilepsy, (ii) have already failed at least two other legally prescribed therapies and (iii) have approval from two state-recognized specialized neurologists.)

Certain bills would expand the list of conditions for which medical cannabis can be prescribed, including glaucoma, cancer, Alzheimer’s, autism, Crohn’s disease and PTSD.  Another bill, which would institute more sweeping changes, decriminalizes possession of less than one ounce of marijuana.  The Harris County (which contains the City of Houston) District Attorney’s office, has, for the past year, experimented with a diversion program for individuals who possess less than four ounces of marijuana.  Individuals who participate in the program, which was created by the county because of expenditures on enforcement efforts with a limited public safety benefit, can avoid arrest, court dates or criminal records if they agree to participate in an education program.  The prospects for these bills remain uncertain given the lack of support from key state leaders, particularly Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who leads the Senate.

Additional uncertainty remains given that cannabis remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law.  The Obama administration Department of Justice (DOJ) had shown some flexibility on state efforts to legalize uses of cannabis; however, Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded that guidance.  With Sessions’ resignation in November 2018, and the AG position currently vacant, it is unclear what the future will hold, although a return to the more flexible Obama-era policy is unlikely.

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

After last week’s dizzying amount of news, it’s nice to settle down a bit and have more of a “regular” news flow.  Not that things haven’t been happening; the elections have led to new initiatives surrounding marijuana.

For instance, there’s some speculation that the new governor of Illinois will seek to follow Michigan’s example and legalize cannabis.

And speaking of Michigan, politicians there are talking about expungement of criminal records related to marijuana use.

In Texas meanwhile,  there’s discussion of legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing possession of small amounts of cannabis.

But the news isn’t all with the states; things are happening on the federal level as well.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is promising that industrial hemp will appear in the farm bill.  And veterans interested in medical marijuana will be happy to know that proposed legislation to loosen restrictions at the Veterans Administration has been announced.

And for those of you thinking about changing careers, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is looking for some professional joint rollers.

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 latest entry in our “politicians now supporting marijuana” category is Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX).  And no, he’s no relation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The move would be a full 180 for Sessions, who has personally blocked dozens of cannabis policy amendments and bills from consideration on the floor of the House via the Rules Committee, which he chairs.

Not all government officials are in favor of legalization, however.  The former attorney general of North Dakota is actively working against the ballot initiative.

As North Dakota voters look to decide whether to approve adult-use cannabis in the state’s November general election, opposition is mounting.

Apparently, it’s not just young people using cannabis.  Older Americans are lighting up as well.

Boomers are experimenting with marijuana more than ever before.

Finally, when Canada legalized marijuana, it was only a matter of time before the National Hockey League had to issue a statement.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the NHL does not expect to change its rules on marijuana with the legalization of cannabis in Canada coming on Oct. 17.

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 comes from north of the border, as Canada moves one step closer to cannabis legalization.

In a 52-29 vote on Tuesday afternoon, the Senate advanced bill C-45 for the last time, accepting changes put forward in the House of Commons and sending the bill onwards for Royal Assent.

Recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in Canada after the Senate passed a “historic” bill on Tuesday with a vote of 52-29.

But there was also some news here in the U.S., as New York City changes the way it will handle people smoking marijuana in public and New York State is looking at legalizing recreational use.

By September 1st, the majority of New Yorkers found smoking in public to receive criminal summonses which will help reduce marijuana arrests by about 10,000 per year.

A broad turnaround on the issue by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo could pave the way for New York to join a roster of states that have already legalized the drug, including California and Colorado.

And in our continuing look at politicians who support marijuana, we turn our attention to Texas.

Texas Republicans have come out in support of marijuana decriminalization in their official party platform.

 

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

Epilepsy patients in Texas will be able to purchase low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana at a dispensary beginning in December, one of the state’s three licensees announced this week.

The Oregon Democrat and longtime champion of medical marijuana made the remarks in testimony before a U.S. House Subcommittee on Health hearing on proposals for ending the opioid crisis.

California marijuana growers north of San Francisco faced mandatory evacuation orders and potentially tens of millions of dollars in crop damage and loss of the state’s first legal cannabis harvest.

And in case you were wondering what impact the legalization of marijuana has had on the fast food industry:

Legal marijuana might do for flagging sales at the Golden Arches what McDonald’s marketing hasn’t.

Something we missed that everyone needs to know?  Give us a shout in the comments.

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

The city’s lawmakers are legitimizing and regulating marijuana businesses before the state fully legalizes recreational marijuana use in January 2018.

Authorities in Bexar County, Texas, which includes San Antonio, are seeking to have misdemeanor offenders found with marijuana receive a citation, not jail.

Chuck Rosenberg, who has been the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration since 2015, said Tuesday he’ll be leaving the job. That means President Donald Trump will get to appoint a successor.

And finally, if you’re thinking that brick and mortar sales are a bit old-fashioned, Maine is way ahead of you.  My question: can you get fries with that?

Where the winters are very long, the law might allow for the legal purchase of marijuana without leaving home, or at least your car.

Something we missed that everyone needs to know?   Give us a shout in the comments.

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

When career business executive Steve Hoffman was appointed the state’s marijuana czar last week, pot proponents reacted with immediate skepticism. But Hoffman, it turns out, isn’t quite the caricature of a corporate stiff they imagined.

Texas has given the green light to one of three planned CBD producers in the state, but the program remains severely constricted.

The GOP-led House Rules Committee rejected a number of marijuana-related amendments from a federal appropriations bill, most notably Rohrabacher-Blumenauer.

And those traveling to Nevada for some cannabis tourism will have to wait until they’ve left the airport.

Recreational marijuana may be legal in Nevada, but add McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas to the list of places including casinos where pot is still banned.

Something we missed that everyone needs to know?  Give us a shout in the comments.

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

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — With legal marijuana sales underway in Alaska, growers will soon be submitting their first tax payments to the state.

The Colorado measure will permit private businesses to allow marijuana use by adults in designated areas with certain exceptions.

In what could be the start of a string of post-2016-election ripple effects, a pair of cannabis legalization bills have been introduced in the Texas Legislature – one to allow medical marijuana and another to legalize adult use.