A look at some recent news that we are following:
- There has been a lot of action in state legislatures towards legalization of cannabis for medical use, recreational use, or both. A recent Boston Globe article addresses the ten states where legalization is most likely this year. New York state appears to have had a setback in getting the legislation to legalize recreational use passed, though the delay appears to be based on the difficulty in ironing out all the details before a budget is due rather than an outright unwillingness on the part of the legislature to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
- The ban on smoking cannabis in Florida’s medical cannabis law was defeated in a trial court and is under appeal by the state. However, the new governor, Ron DeSantis, has said he will drop the appeal and has given the legislature until mid-March to revise the statue accordingly. Governor DeSantis has also signaled an interest in relaxing the caps on numbers of permits and required vertical integration for the production and sale of medical marijuana, though he does not appear as focused on this as on the smoking ban. In addition, Florida’s agriculture commissioner, Nikki Fried, has created a Director of Cannabis position to oversee the medical cannabis program.
- William Barr, the nominee for the next Attorney General, has put in writing the pledge made during confirmation hearings to “not go after” companies growing or manufacturing marijuana in compliance with state laws and the Cole Memorandum (a memo issued by former Attorney General Cole and revoked by Attorney General Sessions that directed federal prosecutors to not prosecute for marijuana related crimes if a person was in compliance with state law and certain other Department of Justice priorities, like preventing revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs, or cartels were not triggered). Mr. Barr has not committed to reinstating the Cole Memorandum, but marijuana advocates are heartened by his stance and willingness to commit his position to writing. For more, see the Forbes article or many others published on the topic.
We will continue to monitor these and other news items related to cannabis.