The Week in Weed: October 2020 #2

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.

Vermont’s governor allowed marijuana sales. Illinois faces another lawsuit over its licensing program. Colorado’s governor expunged criminal records. The Supreme Court denied cert in a cannabis pay case. The 9th Circuit may hear a challenge to the DEA’s marijuana scheduling. And finally, Silent Bob has his say on cannabis in New Jersey.


The big news this week is Vermont’s legalization of retail sales of marijuana. Governor Scott (R) allowed the bill to become law without his signature on Wednesday. Commercial sales will begin in 2022.


As we’ve reported in the past, Illinois’ cannabis licensing program has had some problems. First, the state faced a lawsuit by unsuccessful applicants. That suit was dropped after the governor announced changes to the process. Now, it’s the finalists who are suing, saying the changes are not allowed by law. Further bulletins as events warrant!


This has been a big week for state governors. Colorado’s Gov. Polis (D) issued an executive order pardoning over 2,700 people with low-level marijuana offenses. The pardons are automatic, and individuals can check a new state website to see if they’ve been pardoned.


The United States Supreme Court declined to hear a case involving overtime pay for cannabis security workers. The employees alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The company argued that since marijuana is illegal under federal law, the FLSA does not apply. The case will return to federal district court. That court will decide whether the company’s action constitutes an FLSA violation. For more on this case, see our take here.


In other federal court news, scientists and veterans’ groups filed a brief to the 9th Circuit. They challenge the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug. The groups argue that state legalization of medical marijuana invalidates the idea that cannabis has no therapeutic value. The DEA’s brief in response is due late next month.


Filmmaker Kevin Smith, best known for his portrayal of Silent Bob in the 1994 movie “Clerks,” is speaking out on New Jersey’s ballot question. Urging a YES vote, he says, “Only you can make the Garden State truly green!”

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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