[author: Susan Ryan]
Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
The news getting the most attention this week is the reopening of Massachusetts’ recreational marijuana shops, scheduled for May 25. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) criticized the cannabis banking provisions in the latest stimulus bill, while state Attorneys General wrote a letter supporting them. Arizona and Nebraska legalization efforts are hit by the pandemic. And finally, you can now buy hemp at Petsmart.
As everyone knows, when COVID-19 hit, Massachusetts allowed medical dispensaries to remain open. Recreational shops, however, had to close. Now that the state is looking at a phase one reopening, those shops would be able to offer curbside pickup, beginning on Monday, May 25. Any spike in cases could cause a new shutdown.
The marijuana industry was optimistic about the inclusion of the SAFE Banking Act in the HEROES bill last week. This week, there’s rain on that parade. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly stated his strong opposition to the measure. Although much of his criticism centers around a call for research into women and minority-owned businesses, it seems unlikely that cannabis banking will be part of any final legislation.
STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL
Not everyone is on McConnell’s side in this matter. Attorneys General from 34 states and territories sent a letter to Congressional leadership this week, detailing their support for cannabis banking. Notably, the state of Kentucky was not among the signatories. Among their concerns is the use of cash, which could place consumers and business owners in greater risk of exposure to the virus.
The Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative was deal a severe blow this week. The state Supreme Court ruled that all signatures for ballot initiatives must be collected in person. The group hoped to use e-signatures, due to COVID-19.
Supporters of medical cannabis in Nebraska are also dealing with safety concerns. They are practicing social distancing while collecting signatures in person. They need 125,000 signatures before July 2. Perhaps they could provide some pointers to their counterparts in Arizona.
If Rover or Spot is feeling his years, you can now purchase CBD products at PetSmart in several states. For now, the hemp extract is available in Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon, and Tennessee, but there are plans to expand by the summer.
Stay safe and be well everyone – we’ll see you next week!