[author: Susan Ryan]
Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
Mississippi continues its march (crawl?) towards legalizing medical marijuana. Ohio legalization advocates collect more signatures. A new governor in Virginia may mean changes in the state’s cannabis program. Could hemp help in the fight against COVID? And finally, marijuana makes its way into a political ad.
Regular readers know we’ve been following this situation with interest for some time now – if you need a quick recap, see here. This week, the Mississippi House passed an amended version of a bill to legalize medical marijuana. The bill now heads back to the Senate.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol turned in over 29,000 additional signatures in favor of an initiated statute legalizing adult-use cannabis. The group turned in more than 200,000 signatures in December, but recently learned it needed about 13,000 more. Once these signatures are validated, the statute goes to the legislature. If lawmakers don’t pass the statute as written, we’re looking at a ballot initiative. Stay tuned!
Lots has been written on what the Democrats’ defeat in Virginia means for the party’s chances in November’s elections. But what does it mean for Virginia’s budding cannabis industry? If some pre-filed bills are anything to go by, things could look much different than they do right now. The state’s social equity fund could be eliminated; retail sales might only be allowed in those areas that opt in, and law enforcement might be able to use the odor of marijuana to conduct a search without a warrant. None of these measures are law yet, but they indicate that the road ahead could have more twists and turns than supporters expected.
A study from Oregon State University indicates that hemp could prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering the human body. Good news, if true!
As cannabis becomes legal in more jurisdictions, we expected to see more discussion of it in political ads. We didn’t expect to see a candidate actually smoking on camera. Gary Chambers, a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Louisiana, lights up a blunt and lights in to the War on Drugs.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!