The Week in Weed: August 2020 #2

Seyfarth Shaw LLP

[author: Susan Ryan]

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

Arizona voters will decide whether to legalize cannabis in November, Senator Schumer opposes new USDA hemp rules. The American Heart Association has some thoughts on cannabis. Pitt will start researching marijuana. A bill to legalize cannabis is on its way to South Africa’s Parliament. Senator Harris’ views on cannabis differ from those of Vice President Biden. And even grandmothers should not take hemp to Disney World.


Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs cleared the signatures gathered by Smart and Safe Arizona this week. This means the question of whether to legalize adult-use cannabis will appear on the state’s November ballot. If passed, Arizona would become the 12th state to allow recreational marijuana.


Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue this week, asking that the agency delay implementation of final rules on hemp until 2022. Schumer cited industry unhappiness with Interim Final Rules published in October 2019. He also raised concerns over harvesting upheaval caused by COVID-19.


The American Heart Association (AHA) released a report last week that provided both good and bad news to the cannabis industry. The group came out in support of removing marijuana from Schedule I, to allow scientists to study it. The problem is that they believe it may cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.


Speaking of research, the University of Pittsburgh will study the possible benefits of medical marijuana with a 10-year, $3 million grant from cannabis company Parallel. The initial focus of the research will be sickle cell disease. Anxiety disorders and chronic pain are also on the agenda.


South Africa’s Cabinet approved a bill allowing adult-use cannabis last week. The legislation now goes to Parliament for consideration, and it will face a public consultation process before it can be enacted.


On Wednesday, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) officially joined the Democratic ticket. Where does she stand on cannabis? We examined her record back in October, noting both her sponsorship of the MORE Act, and her work as a prosecutor in California. It appears that she is more open to legalization than Vice President Biden, but it seems doubtful that her addition to the ticket will bring marijuana to the fore in the election.


If you’re planning a trip to Disney World, leave your CBD oil at home. An attorney representing Hester Burkhalter, a 69-year old grandmother from North Carolina, filed suit against Disney and the Orange County Sheriff for wrongful arrest. Burkhalter was carrying CBD oil in her purse, and when Disney employees tested it for THC, one of two tests came back positive.

Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll be off next week, but we’ll be back on August 28.

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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