The Week in Weed: February 2024 # 4

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. This week, we have an update on the New York licensing situation. We travel abroad to check in on Germany and Ukraine. We note that medical marijuana legalization is not happening this year in Wisconsin. And finally, could cannabis make an appearance in Madison Square Garden?


New York’s rollout of a retail cannabis market has been bad. Feel free to insert your own saltier adjective! But at long last, the state’s Cannabis Control Board issued 109 new licenses. Does this mean it’s all smooth sailing going forward? No, no it does not. There are still thousands of applicants, who will now have to wait until the next licensing window opens up, and there is no date scheduled for that. And the illegal market continues to flourish.


The German legislature is set to decriminalize cannabis today; the law is set to take effect on April 1. (C’mon – shouldn’t that have been April 20??) Home grow will be legal, as will nonprofit cannabis social clubs. A full retail market is not part of the legislation, due to criticism within the European Union. The German cannabis industry could grow to over $4 billion.


Many jurisdictions around the world have struggled mightily to legalize both medical and adult-use cannabis. Feelings run high on this issue, and both ballot initiatives and legislation can take a long time to work their way through their respective systems. However, this week we see that Ukraine has legalized medical marijuana. The legislature voted in favor last December, and President Zelensky signed the measure into law late last week. The law could take effect as early as August, and distribution will be handled by approximately 200 pharmacies across the country.

All the world’s best practices, all the most effective policies, all the solutions, no matter how difficult or unusual they may seem to us, must be applied in Ukraine so that Ukrainians, all our citizens, do not have to endure the pain, stress and trauma of war

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky


Turning our attention back to the United State, we see medical cannabis will not be legalized any time soon in Wisconsin. A Republican measure in the State Assembly was too liberal for some Senate Republicans and too conservative for Democrats. Perhaps they can find something that’s “just right” in the next session?


Could cannabis be coming to the “World’s Most Famous Arena”? Well, maybe… Damian Fagon, Chief Equity Officer at the New York Office of Cannabis Management says eventually they’ll be selling weed at Madison Square Garden. But don’t smoke ’em if you got ’em just yet. MSG is covered by the New York 2003 Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits cannabis smoking in pretty much all public indoor spaces.

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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