[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 look at the Justice Department’s action (or lack thereof) on cannabis. In other inaction news, the Supreme Court will not take up a medical marijuana case. Turning to the states, we see that Maryland is working on rules for a possible cannabis market. In Texas meanwhile, the state’s Republican party came out strongly against such action. And finally, election season has brought us “pot for potholes.”
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
We all know that cannabis is illegal on the federal level. We also know that the Justice Department has not emphasized enforcement in states where cannabis is legal. Different administrations have taken different stances on how clear that “hands-off” approach should be. The Obama Administration formalized it with the Cole Memorandum; the Trump Administration rescinded that guidance. So where does the Biden Administration stand? Attorney General Merrick Garland indicated recently that he did not view prosecution of low-level, nonviolent marijuana offenses as the best use of the agency’s time, regardless of state law. He also promised that the department would address the issue “in the days ahead.”
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear two cases involving reimbursement for medical marijuana treatment. The Minnesota Supreme Court had ruled that the Controlled Substances Act preempts state law on the issue. SCOTUS’s decision not to hear the cases means that ruling will remain the law of the land (of 10,000 lakes).
In November, Maryland voters will decide whether adult-use marijuana will be legal in the state. State lawmakers, assuming the answer will be “yes,” started gathering some information about the industry. The Maryland House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup met with John Hudak, a senior fellow and cannabis policy expert at the Brookings Institution. They asked questions concerning tax rates and application fees, among other issues.
The Texas Republican Party met recently to vote on its party platform. Cannabis/marijuana was mentioned in the document. The party supports moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II on the federal level. It also opposed the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Speaking of elections, not all Republicans are on board with the anti-legalization stance in Texas. C.W. Gardner, a GOP Senate candidate from Missouri, has a new ad out that advocates federal legalization. He’d like to take some of the tax revenue to fix America’s roads. Because, no matter your stance on pot, no one likes potholes.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!