The Week in Weed: June 2020 #4

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[author: Susan Ryan]

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

We begin with the claim that the Justice Department brought antitrust actions against cannabis companies due to Attorney General Bill Barr’s antipathy towards the industry. The state of New Jersey is contemplating decriminalization, and Montana may have cannabis on the ballot. The city of Denver gets into the R&D business. Should the FDA issue a CBD rule quickly? Some consumer groups say no. Medical marijuana is now permitted to those on parole or probation. And finally, we have an update on the Oklahoma fake email story!

ANTITRUST AND MARIJUANA

DOJ attorney John Elias testified this week that the department was improperly investigating cannabis companies for antitrust violations. Video of the hearing is available here. Written testimony is available here. The DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility looked into the matter earlier this month and found no evidence of wrongdoing. The memorandum is available here (subscription required).

NEW JERSEY

New Jersey is considering decriminalizing marijuana possession. The state Assembly recently passed a bill substituting a fine for arrest for possession of up to two ounces of marijuana. The bill now moves to the state Senate, where opinions against the legislation have recently shifted.

MONTANA

New Approach Montana submitted over 130,000 signatures in support of two ballot initiatives to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis in the state. This is far above the number of signatures needed to put the measures before the voters, so it seems likely that they will make the November ballot.

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

The city of Denver awarded its first license for medical marijuana R&D. MedPharm hopes to start work on its first project, studying marijuana’s effect on Alzheimer’s and dementia, by the end of 2020.

CBD RULE

For years, the hemp and CBD industries have been waiting impatiently for the Food and Drug Administration to issue regulations on cannabidiol. Now several consumer groups are suggesting they need to wait a bit longer. The groups sent a joint letter to members of Congress, urging them not to push the FDA to issue regulations, as their attention has been diverted due to the pandemic.

PENNSYLVANIA

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a county law forbidding the use of medical marijuana by those on probation or parole. The unanimous decision applies throughout the state.

AND FINALLY

Regular readers of this column will doubtless recall that the general counsel of the Oklahoma Department of Health sent herself threatening emails, which she claimed were from cannabis advocates. She’s now been suspended from practicing law (subscriptoin required) for one year. You just can’t make this stuff up.

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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