The Week in Weed: August 2020 #3

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.

Pennsylvania’s governor is supporting cannabis legalization. Arizonans will have a chance to vote on legalization in November. Vermont is considering expungement and decriminalization. The DEA has a new hemp rule. Senator McConnell is promoting hemp face masks. And traffic lights go green.


We’ve reported before on Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman’s full-throated support for cannabis legalization. Now, the governor has joined the chorus. Governor Tom Wolf (D) is calling on the legislature to pass a legalization bill, indicating that the proceeds for sales will help ease the financial strain of the pandemic on small businesses.


Meanwhile, in Arizona, legalization is on the ballot. Recreational use would be legal for those 21 or older, with the sales tax revenue going to community colleges, public safety, health and roads. A similar initiative failed to pass four years ago, and advocates are focusing their efforts on changing the minds of those who opposed the measure then.


Vermont decriminalized possession of up to 1 oz. of marijuana in 2018. Now, the legislature is considering a measure that would automatically expunge all criminal records for possession of up to 2 oz. of cannabis, and decriminalize possession of that amount. A larger bill, that would allow sales of marijuana, is also under consideration. Proponents of the expungement bill hope to pass it, regardless of what happens with the sales measure.


The Drug Enforcement Administration released an interim final rule last week that has the industry up in arms. The rule makes illegal the production of “wet hemp,” a necessary part of the hemp extraction process that results in a temporary increase in THC. Comments on the rule are due by October 20.


The Senate’s biggest hemp booster, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), recommends the use of hemp face masks during the pandemic. He also indicated, in an interview at a Kentucky hemp plant, that he hopes to delivery another “infusion of cash” for the industry. He did not address the DEA’s new rule and its effect on the industry’s survival.


If you’re looking to proceed through an intersection in Spokane, WA, a cannabis leaf will give you the go ahead. A person called the “Mad Signtist” used cardboard to change the green lights into marijuana leaves in the North Spokane area.

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

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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