Latest Update on MMJ Laws

June 20, 2017

The Trump administration has built its brand partly around deregulation and draining the proverbial political swamp – something one might think of as positive for states hoping to pass cannabis legislation. The reality, though, is anything but - with a (typically anti-cannabis) Republican majority on Congress, the situation remains nebulous at best, and could easily result in cannabis remaining a DEA Schedule I  drug on par with LSD and ecstasy insofar as either science or regulation goes.

 

So where do states now stand in terms of legislation for the legalization of cannabis? Here are the latest legislative moves currently taking place.

 

The American Legion is pushing for cannabis research in regard to treating post-traumatic stress disorder among military veterans. According to the American Legion national director of vet affairs and rehab Louis Celli, “There is overwhelming evidence that [cannabis] has been beneficial for some vets. The difference is that it is not founded in federal research because it has been illegal.”

 

However small the sponsoring group of Congressmen/Congresswomen might be, they demonstrate that there is Bipartisan support for the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act they brought to the Capitol. If passed, this bill would remove cannabis from Schedule I drug classification, and place it on the same legal level as alcohol.

 

Nearly 500,000 Florida residents may be eligible for MMJ if Amendment 2 is passed in October. This timeline depends on whether Governor Rick Scott (R) chooses to veto portions of the budget, or if the legislature delays the development of associated regulations.

 

In Hawaii the MMJ industry is in full swing, and the first crops have been harvested. Medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to open by the summer. No word on the Maui Wowie trademark.

 

An MMJ delay in Maryland as Circuit Judge Barry Williams has banned the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission from doling out licenses. The ban was initially for 10 days, but it could be extended due to a lack of racial diversity among license holders. It’s possible the entire process can begin anew as a focus is placed on diversity of licensees.

 

Oregon altered marijuana regulations to require MMJ cultivators and dispensaries to provide information with Oregon Health Authority regarding product in-house. All product must be tracked via bar code or computer chip, and recorded in an electronic database. 

 

The City Council of Cleveland, Ohio opens up to MMJ cultivation. The move would allow growing operations, as well as processing facilities and dispensaries, to be opened by September 2018.

 

Judge Richard A. Licht ruled Darlington Fabrics Corp. was in violation of the Hawkins-Slater Medical Marijuana Act for firing an employee due to her use of MMJ (using her state-issued permit card to obtain MMJ from Rhode Island-licensed dispensaries) to treat migraines. Judge Richard A. Licht ruled that, “Employment is neither a right nor a privilege in a legal sense, but protection under the law is.”

 

Vermont residents will not be eligible to legally purchase recreational marijuana yet, as Governor Phil Scott (R) has vetoed legislation. Yet this may not be the end, as Scott adds, “I’m not philosophically opposed to ending the prohibition on marijuana.”

 

And to the south, Mexico officially recognized MMJ as President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a bill legalizing it. Viva Sativa!

Dan Ogden is a 20+ year veteran of the executive search industry, having covered operations, regulatory and consulting verticals within capital markets as well as data science, data analytics and, more recently, the cannabis industry within search firm and internal corporate HR leadership roles. Dan is Principal of the practice at Delta 9, the Western Hemisphere's' only dedicated cannabis industry executive search firm. To find out how Delta 9's proprietary, trademarked end-to-end recruiting methodology can help you find the key executives to make your company thrive and grow in the cannabis industry, shoot us an email, or give us a ring at 212.390.8190.

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