Cannabis Legal Report - September 2022 #2

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Perkins Coie

[co-author: Hanna Barker Mullin]

Cannabis: In Focus

  • Nevada State Judge Rules Classifying Cannabis as a Schedule I Drug Unconstitutional
  • Federal Bill Could Allow Farmers To Ship Cannabis Directly to Consumers

Cannabis as Schedule I Substance Violates State’s Constitution

On September 14, 2022, Clark County District Judge Joe Hardy Jr. ruled that the Nevada Board of Pharmacy’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I substance violated the state constitution. The original petition was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the Cannabis Equity and Inclusion Community and Antoine Poole, a man convicted of felony possession of a controlled substance after cannabis was legalized in the state.

The judge sided with the ACLU’s argument that because cannabis is legal and Nevada’s constitution was amended to account for the legalization, the medical value of cannabis is enshrined in state law, and therefore, the Board of Pharmacy must remove cannabis from its list of Schedule I controlled substances. The court deferred until October its ruling on who has authority to regulate cannabis: the Nevada Board of Pharmacy or Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board.

Cannabis has been legal in Nevada for medicinal use since 1998 and for adult use since 2016. Advocates for cannabis reform praise this as a significant step towards a fairer judicial process. Removing cannabis from Schedule I substances is expected to have an equitable effect for Nevadans of color, who are more likely to be convicted on drug charges and also sentenced more harshly.

Federal Bill Could Allow Farmers To Ship Cannabis Directly to Consumers

Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced the Small and Homestead Independent Producers (SHIP) Act, a new federal bill that would allow small cannabis farmers to ship their products across state lines directly to consumers via the postal service or other commercial shipping companies, but only after cannabis is federally legalized.

At present, legal cannabis markets are confined within state borders, so when federal prohibition eventually ends, the introduction of interstate commerce will bring even more competition. Under those circumstances, the SHIP Act is intended to level the playing field for farmers and small businesses.

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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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