Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s going on in the world of legalized marijuana.
We have a lot of government action this week – there’s news from Rhode Island, Mississippi, Delaware, South Dakota, North Carolina, and Missouri. But the federal authorities have also taken action and talked about taking action. In international news, the United Nations speaks out against cannabis advertising. Finally, you know that when NASCAR accepts its sponsorship, an industry has gone mainstream.
We have a lot of state news this week; some are approaching legalization, some are moving further away.
As we reported last week, the Senate passed a legalization measure, but the House of Representatives is moving more slowly. Three different bills are under consideration and the legislature may agree on a final language.
It looks like lawmakers will meet again this summer to pass laws to set up a medical marijuana program. The governor supports the idea of a special session but wants lawmakers to work out a language before it starts so that the session doesn’t drag on.
Perhaps 2022 will be the year of the first state to pass a cannabis law because it doesn’t go anywhere in 2021. Disagreements over equity funding are part of the problem, but the real difficulty lies in the fact that 75% of the House of Representatives should have supported it. Plus, the governor isn’t a fan of legalizations, so who knows what would have happened even if he’d passed a law?
Even if voters passed legalization, that doesn’t mean sales will start immediately. For every Arizona there is a South Dakota. While adult cannabis is being tried in court, medical marijuana is making headway. The state’s Department of Health released draft rules for a medical program this week. They go to the Legislature’s Rules Review Committee, which will most likely review them in September. The state’s medical cannabis program went into effect yesterday.
Medical marijuana was heard recently in North Carolina, with witnesses testifying to the value of cannabis in treating chronic pain and PTSD. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the law, which now moves to the Finance Committee.
After COVID puts an end to plans for a 2020 election initiative, advocates of adult use are looking to action in 2022. New Approach Missouri plans to release the language in the next few weeks and likes its chances at the ballot box.
FEDERAL (DISCUSSION) MEASURES
Has anything changed at federal level with all of these actions in the federal states?
A House subcommittee passed bill that would allow the District of Columbia to legalize the sale of marijuana and provide some protection to banks that work with cannabis companies. The bill now goes to the entire House Budget Committee. Dozens of groups signed a letter sent to lawmakers on both the House and Senate Committees of Representatives asking them to allow DC sales. Voters passed an initiative to legalize adult consumption in 2014, but sales were never legal.
If you could guess which Supreme Court judge would pronounce the federal government banning marijuana, would you join Clarence Thomas? Probably not. But he came out this week with a pretty tough assessment of the conflicting times we are in. As we reported last week, the Supreme Court refused to hear a case contesting Section 280E of the Tax Code. Judge Thomas contradicted this denial, in which he says: “This contradicting and unstable state of affairs weighs down the basic principles of federalism and hides traps for the inattentive.”
On international news, the United Nations called for a ban on cannabis advertising in its annual World Drugs Report. This is just a recommendation; the agency cannot enforce such a ban.
This weekend there is a race sponsored by a CBD company at Pocono Speedway.
Stay safe and stay safe everyone – see you next week!