The Week in Weed: July 2020 #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.

Ballot initiatives make news in several states. The Food and Drug Administration released guidance on marijuana research. Two state officials publicly support legal marijuana. We’ve got yet another report on the National Defense Authorization Act. And there’s a new ad campaign for hemp with a familiar face.


We’ll start in Arizona, where officials began verifying signatures this week. Polls show legalization is much more popular now than it was in 2016, when a legalization initiative was defeated. Not everyone supports legalization, however. Arizonans for Health and Public Safety has filed suit against the initiative.

Meanwhile, in Idaho, the Secretary of State rejected activists’ request to collect electronic signatures. The campaign threatened a lawsuit – further bulletins as events warrant.

Next door, in Montana, legalization proponents beat the odds (and the pandemic) to gather enough signatures to put two initiatives on the ballot. One legalizes adult use and one sets up a system to regulate and tax cannabis.

Mississippi also offers two ballot initiatives to voters, but these are competing, not complementary. Initiative 65A is more restrictive than Initiative 65.


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published draft guidance on marijuana research this week. The guidance does not establish any regulations, but does ask for public comment. It also fails to mention the CBD market.

In other cannabis research news, PA Options for Wellness and Penn State medical school announced that they will research medical marijuana over the next ten years. They will operate under Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis research program.


New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy voiced his support for legal cannabis in the state in a recent radio interview. He believes that legalization would boost the state’s economy, currently flagging due to the pandemic. Activists in the state also support legalization, but their concern is more focused on issues of social justice and ending the War on Drugs.

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman spoke out this week on Twitter in favor of legalization. Citing jobs and revenue, Fetterman stated that prohibition is a minority view in the state.


An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act allows members of the military to use hemp and CBD products. Sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), the provision overturns the Defense Department’s previous ban on all hemp or CBD use. This comes on the heels of another provision that allows veterans to return to service if they used marijuana while separated.


You knew it was only a matter of time. Jane Fonda is selling hemp. The actress and activist promotes Uncle Bud’s Hemp and CBD products. The campaign, called “I’m FONDA Hemp and CBD,” will appear on a billboard in Times Square later this year.

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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