Cannabis Client Alert - Week of February 15, 2021

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In this week’s edition:

  • Connecticut, Mississippi and Wisconsin consider proposals for legalization
  • Michigan-registered patients on probation no longer barred from using medical cannabis
  • New Jersey lawmakers seek changes to possession enforcement and penalties
  • Congressional Research Services publishes Controlled Substances Act legal overview
  • And more…

Federal

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA): A Legal Overview for the 117th Congress - The Congressional Research Service published a new report, “The Controlled Substances Act (CSA): A Legal Overview for the 117th Congress.” Among other things, the report discussed the status of continuing areas of federal concern including the so-called “marijuana policy gap–the increasing divergence between federal and state law in the area of marijuana Regulation”, as well as clinical research relating to the potential medical benefits of Schedule I substances such as cannabis.

California Man Can't Recover Confiscated Pot, Despite Court Order - A California resident who was arrested while driving with 10 pounds of medical cannabis in his car is unable to recover the seized cannabis, even after a court ordered the state to return it. In Ronald Evans’ suit against Trinity County, CA, and a deputy district attorney, Evans argued that California law protects his possession of cannabis. But US District Judge Troy L. Nunley held that Evans failed to show how his state-defined right rose to the level of a constitutionally protected interest.

Former Top DEA Agent Concedes, Cannabis Is Real Medicine - In an interview, former high-level DEA agent Bob Stuntman voiced his support for the rescheduling of cannabis and acknowledged that there are reasons to legalize cannabis, including to address “medicinal specific problems.” The entire hour-plus-long interview can be heard on the Marijuana Today podcast.

States

CT - Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s proposed state budget includes legalizing recreational cannabis. In support of the proposal, Adam Wood, co-director of the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana, pointed out that “[a] recent study done by the University of Connecticut shows legalization could bring about 19,000 new jobs, and it could generate about $200 million in year-end revenue.”

MI - The Michigan Court of Appeals held that the 2008 voter-passed Medical Marijuana Act “supersedes” conflicting laws that empower judges to restrict a wide array of legal activity, including alcohol consumption. Accordingly, registered patients on probation will no longer be barred from using medical cannabis.

MS - After initially failing to gain the needed three-fifths vote in a first try, the Mississippi Senate passed Senate Bill 2765, a legislative alternative to the medical cannabis program voters approved in November through Initiative 65. Among other things, SB 2765 would tax medical cannabis though a 4 percent excise at cultivation and a sales tax paid by patients. It would also levy licensing fees on growers and dispensary shop owners: $15,000 for growers and $5,000 for dispensaries.

MO - Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s budget plan for next fiscal year includes the proposed use of $4.7 million in medical cannabis proceeds on upgrades to Missouri veterans homes. The spending would go towards HEPA filter installation, virus-response training, and improved Wi-Fi to aid with telehealth and virtual family visits in veterans homes, among other projects.

NC - A new Elon University poll found that nearly two-thirds of North Carolina adults say they “do not believe marijuana use is morally wrong and support reducing penalties for marijuana.” Residents also noted the legalization would help boost the state’s economy. The poll also found 64 percent of residents believe legalization would help the economy, while 16 percent say it would hurt the economy. In addition, 45 percent of residents say crime would decrease as a result of legalization, and 48 percent say they are unsure about how legalization would impact motor vehicle accidents.

NJ - New Jersey lawmakers introduced a new proposal for penalizing those under 21 for the illegal possession of cannabis, including civil penalties such as warnings and fines. The bill also would limit the police’s ability to search an individual based on smell or detain them after issuing a fine or warning, require body cameras when interacting with underage persons, and require additional training to avoid implicit racial bias.

OH - Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Expert Review Committee agreed to continue its consideration of medical cannabis as a potential treatment for Huntington’s disease, terminal illness, restless leg syndrome and muscle spasticity under Ohio law.

SD - A South Dakota circuit judge struck down Amendment A, a voter-approved constitutional amendment that legalized recreational cannabis after Republican Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration challenged it. The judge ruled the measure approved by voters in November would have “far-reaching effects on the basic nature of South Dakota’s governmental system” and thus violated the state’s requirement that constitutional amendments deal with just one subject.

SD - Gov. Kristi Noem threatened that she would likely veto any bills allowing recreational cannabis use in South Dakota this year.

UT - Several bills have been introduced that would further develop Utah's medical cannabis program. The bills address several issues, including qualifying patients struggling to find physicians willing to recommend medical cannabis, the provision of state-issued medical cannabis cards, and the accessibility of authorized dispensaries.

WI - Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) is proposing the legalization and regulation of recreational cannabis, anticipating it could contribute upwards of $165 million in additional state revenue annually. Evers would use this money to fund community development, particularly in underserved areas. The proposal would establish regulatory authority within the state Department of Revenue and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. It would also limit residents to two ounces of cannabis and six plants, and would limit all cannabis sales to products grown inside the state’s borders.

WI - Wisconsin’s Republican leaders oppose Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ proposal to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis.

Hemp/CBD

US - Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture are studying ways to boost hemp production and profitability for growers, and are collecting the first national statistics on domestic hemp production, to be ready by 2022.

US - The National Cannabis Roundtable (NCR) named former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as an honorary co-chair, to join former US House Speaker John Boehner in leading the group.

Business

US Cannabis Council - With the federal government poised to consider major reforms in federal cannabis policy, a coalition of cannabis companies, advocacy organizations and other industry stakeholders launched the US Cannabis Council. The alliance will seek to bring a unified message to Capitol Hill.

Dixie Brands - A Texas geolocation company is suing multistate cannabis operator Dixie Brands in a Colorado federal court alleging a feature on Dixie Brands’ website that maps and routes customers to nearby dispensaries infringes on the plaintiff’s patented technology.

Parallel - Billionaire Beau Wrigley believes that his cannabis company, Parallel, will be “much bigger” than his family’s iconic chewing gum brand. Parallel already has 42 dispensaries across Florida, Massachusetts and Nevada, with new dispensaries in the works in Pennsylvania and Texas.

Medical/Health

Positive Effect of Cannabis Sativa L. Herb Extracts on Skin Cells and Assessment of Cannabinoid-Based Hydrogels Properties - A study found that certain hemp extracts can be a valuable source of biologically active substances that reduce oxidative stress, inhibit skin aging processes and positively affect the viability of skin cells. Similarly, the researchers found that hydrogels based on cannabis extracts can have a positive effect on skin hydration.

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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