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The Week in Weed: May 29, 2020

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

The news is mostly happening in the states this week. Oklahoma is having some medical marijuana issues.  Massachusetts recreational shops reopened.  Virginia decriminalized marijuana.  Ohio may not put cannabis on the ballot this November.  In federal news, the marijuana banking provisions … Continue Reading

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

The news is mostly happening in the states this week. Oklahoma is having some medical marijuana issues.  Massachusetts recreational shops reopened.  Virginia decriminalized marijuana.  Ohio may not put cannabis on the ballot this November.  In federal news, the marijuana banking provisions in the latest relief bill may not be dead on arrival.  And you can now buy face masks made out of hemp.

oklahoma

Governor Stitt vetoed medical marijuana reform legislation late last week, and the legislature decided not to override that veto.  The bill would have allowed deliveries to patients and prevented the Department of Health from sharing patient information with other agencies.  The bill had bipartisan support, but it lacked the votes for an override.

massachusetts

It wouldn’t be “The Week in Weed” without a look at Massachusetts.  As we all know, the state allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open during the pandemic, but recreational shops were forced to close.  Now, those shops have reopened.  Customers order online and pickup curbside, and the demand is intense.  So if you need to buy cannabis in Massachusetts, bring your patience with you.

virginia

Regular readers will recall that we reported last month on Virginia decriminalization.  And yet, we are reporting on it again.  Governor Northam signed the original bill in April, with amendments.  Those amendments went back to the legislature for a vote, and now the governor has signed the bill again.  If you’re as baffled by this system as I am, have a look at this diagram from the University of Virginia.

ohio

It’s been a roller coaster ride for ballot measures in Ohio recently.  Proponents of decriminalizing marijuana won more time and the right to use e-signatures at the federal district court.  Their hopes were dashed by the Sixth Circuit, which stayed the lower court order, pending appeal.  So now the original deadline of July 1 remains, and e-signatures are not allowed.  I suspect we’ve not heard the last of this – further bulletins as events warrant.

banking

We expressed some doubt last week as to the success of the SAFE Banking provisions in the latest pandemic relief bill.  Saphira Galoob, executive director of the National Cannabis Roundtable, is more optimistic.  Her reasons?  Cannabis banking’s strong bipartisan support and the view that it’s both a public safety issue and an economic boost.

and finally

If you’re looking for face masks (and who isn’t?), have a look at some hemp products.  Comfortable and sustainable, they just need a few more stylish designs.

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

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Arizona

The Week in Weed: May 22, 2020

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

The news getting the most attention this week is the reopening of Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana shops, scheduled for May 25.  Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) criticized the cannabis banking provisions in the latest stimulus bill, while state Attorneys General wrote a letter … Continue Reading

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

The news getting the most attention this week is the reopening of Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana shops, scheduled for May 25.  Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) criticized the cannabis banking provisions in the latest stimulus bill, while state Attorneys General wrote a letter supporting them.  Arizona and Nebraska legalization efforts are hit by the pandemic.  And finally, you can now buy hemp at Petsmart.

massachusetts

As everyone knows, when COVID-19 hit, Massachusetts allowed medical dispensaries to remain open.  Recreational shops, however, had to close.  Now that the state is looking at a phase one reopening,  those shops would be able to offer curbside pickup, beginning on Monday, May 25.  Any spike in cases could cause a new shutdown.

cannabis banking

The marijuana industry was optimistic about the inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the HEROES bill last week.  This week, there’s rain on that parade.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly stated his strong opposition to the measure.  Although much of his criticism centers around a call for research into women and minority-owned businesses, it seems unlikely that cannabis banking will be part of any final legislation.

state attorneys general

Not everyone is on McConnell’s side in this matter.  Attorneys General from 34 states and territories sent a letter to Congressional leadership this week, detailing their support for cannabis banking.  Notably, the state of Kentucky was not among the signatories.  Among their concerns is the use of cash, which could place consumers and business owners in greater risk of exposure to the virus.

arizona

The Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative was deal a severe blow this week.  The state Supreme Court ruled that all signatures for ballot initiatives must be collected in person.  The group hoped to use e-signatures, due to COVID-19.

nebraska

Supporters of medical cannabis in Nebraska are also dealing with safety concerns.  They are practicing social distancing while collecting signatures in person.  They need 125,000 signatures before July 2.  Perhaps they could provide some pointers to their counterparts in Arizona.

and finally

If Rover or Spot is feeling his years, you can now purchase CBD products at PetSmart in several states.  For now, the hemp extract is available in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, and Tennessee, but there are plans to expand by the summer.

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

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Arizona

The Week in Weed: April 3, 2020

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

Of course, what’s happening in the cannabis world is what’s happening everywhere else: the coronavirus.  We’ve got lots to report on how the pandemic is affecting marijuana, but let’s start with other news first.

SOUTH DAKOTA

We’ve talked quite a bit Continue Reading

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

Of course, what’s happening in the cannabis world is what’s happening everywhere else: the coronavirus.  We’ve got lots to report on how the pandemic is affecting marijuana, but let’s start with other news first.

SOUTH DAKOTA

We’ve talked quite a bit about South Dakota over the years; most recently, we’ve been watching the progress of their hemp legalization legislation.  Well, it’s finally happened.  Governor Kristi Noem has overcome her reluctance to allow any form of cannabis in her state, and signed a bill allowing the growth, production and transportation of hemp.  So now Idaho stands alone as the only state where no form of cannabis is legal.

DEA GUIDANCE

In other non-COVID news, the Drug Enforcement Administration released new guidance on expanding marijuana research, as we reported last week.  That guidance has prompted some commentary, and it’s been less than laudatory.  NORML calls the rules “unduly onerous, expensive and impractical.”  Ouch.  But that’s not all.  Scientists at the Scottsdale Research Institute have filed suit against the agency, claiming that the DEA has changed its interpretation of federal statutes and treaty obligations, without detailing how it arrived at its new view of the law.

CORONAVIRUS LAWS

Moving on to coronavirus news, the hemp industry was included in the recent stimulus package.  Our friends at “Hemp Industry Daily” have a nice roundup of what assistance is available here.  The rest of the cannabis industry was not so lucky.  The Small Business Administration has confirmed that marijuana business are NOT eligible for disaster relief, as the use of marijuana is illegal under federal law.  NORML (which has maintained a robust correspondence with federal entities this week) released a policy memo detailing ways in which the industry could be helped during the pandemic.

Many states have declared cannabis dispensaries and shops to be essential businesses.  Massachusetts has carved out a unique policy that allows medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open, but mandates that recreational shops close, although cannabis is legal for recreational use in the state.  The governor has declared the idea of designating recreational outlets as essential a “non-starter,” due to the out-of-state customers they would attract.  A member of the state’s Cannabis Control Commission has joined industry advocates in opposing this plan.

LEGALIZATION EFFORTS

Meanwhile, in New York, it seems highly unlikely that legalization will pass as part of this year’s budget bill, but supporters hope it may reappear later in the session.  Obviously, the state has much bigger problems to deal with right now.

It’s not just New York that has seen legalization take a back seat to the virus.  In addition to the states we reported on last week, COVID-19 is making it much harder to gather signatures for a Missouri ballot initiative. In Oklahoma, the state shut down signature gathering as part of a 30-day statewide emergency declaration.  All is not lost for legalization supporters, however, as Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R-Okmulgee) has indicated he will introduce a bill to legalize recreational cannabis in the state, in an effort to raise revenue.  In Arizona, however, advocates of adult-use marijuana indicate they have enough signatures to put their measure on the November ballot.

PITCHING IN

There’s been a lot of news surrounding distilleries producing hand sanitizer.  The cannabis industry is doing so as well.  Companies are making their own sanitizer to give away to their own employees and patients.  They’re donating supplies to health care workers in need.  And in Canada, cannabis labs have offered to assist in COVID-19 testing.

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

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