The Week in Weed: February 2021 #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.

We have updates on the situations in New Jersey and Virginia. Many things happened in South Dakota this week. New Mexico starts the legalization process. A wide array of governors express support for cannabis. And finally, marijuana has some effect on brainstorming.


As promised last week, we have an update on the situation in the Garden State. There’s still no cannabis law. Talks broke down over underage possession penalties, which have been a stumbling block all along. The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), announced on Wednesday that he doesn’t have the votes for any measures other than the two that currently await the governor’s signature or veto. So will Governor Murphy (D) sign bills that contain language he doesn’t like? Will he veto them and fail to keep a campaign promise? We’ll just have to wait and see…


As we reported last week, lawmakers in Virginia’s General Assembly and Senate passed legalization bills. Legislators must reach a compromise by February 26 (next Friday) in order to present a bill to the governor to sign. And that’s where the heavy lifting comes in.


So much is happening in South Dakota, very little of it good for legalization. Regular readers will doubtless recall that South Dakota passed both recreational and medical marijuana ballot initiatives last November. Governor Noem (R) has already taken action against adult-use with a lawsuit. And the state’s Attorney General has indicated that he will not argue the law is constitutional if there’s an appeal to the Supreme Court. Now, Noem is moving against medical cannabis. A House committee passed a bill designed to delay implementation of the program for a year.


Things look a bit brighter for legalization advocates in the Land of Enchantment. The House Health and Human Services Committee passed legislation with a social equity component this week. Next stop: the House Tax Committee. The deadline to send a bill to the Governor, who supports legalization, is March 20.


Governor Noem’s stand against cannabis legalization may make her an outlier among her fellow governors. Chief executives from states as diverse as Kansas, Kentucky, Wisconsin and New York are all arguing in favor of reform, if not outright legalization.


In what we hesitate to describe as “news,” it turns out that marijuana use leads to business ideas that are more creative, but less feasible, than ideas generated without cannabis.

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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