The Week in Weed: May 2020 #5

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.

The news is mostly happening in the states this week. Oklahoma is having some medical marijuana issues. Massachusetts recreational shops reopened. Virginia decriminalized marijuana. Ohio may not put cannabis on the ballot this November. In federal news, the marijuana banking provisions in the latest relief bill may not be dead on arrival. And you can now buy face masks made out of hemp.


Governor Stitt vetoed medical marijuana reform legislation late last week, and the legislature decided not to override that veto. The bill would have allowed deliveries to patients and prevented the Department of Health from sharing patient information with other agencies. The bill had bipartisan support, but it lacked the votes for an override.


It wouldn’t be “The Week in Weed” without a look at Massachusetts. As we all know, the state allowed medical marijuana dispensaries to remain open during the pandemic, but recreational shops were forced to close. Now, those shops have reopened. Customers order online and pickup curbside, and the demand is intense. So if you need to buy cannabis in Massachusetts, bring your patience with you.


Regular readers will recall that we reported last month on Virginia decriminalization. And yet, we are reporting on it again. Governor Northam signed the original bill in April, with amendments. Those amendments went back to the legislature for a vote, and now the governor has signed the bill again. If you’re as baffled by this system as I am, have a look at this diagram from the University of Virginia.


It’s been a roller coaster ride for ballot measures in Ohio recently. Proponents of decriminalizing marijuana won more time and the right to use e-signatures at the federal district court. Their hopes were dashed by the Sixth Circuit, which stayed the lower court order, pending appeal. So now the original deadline of July 1 remains, and e-signatures are not allowed. I suspect we’ve not heard the last of this – further bulletins as events warrant.


We expressed some doubt last week as to the success of the SAFE Banking provisions in the latest pandemic relief bill. Saphira Galoob, executive director of the National Cannabis Roundtable, is more optimistic. Her reasons? Cannabis banking’s strong bipartisan support and the view that it’s both a public safety issue and an economic boost.


If you’re looking for face masks (and who isn’t?), have a look at some hemp products. Comfortable and sustainable, they just need a few more stylish designs.

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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