CannaBeat is a curated biweekly selection of top new stories impacting business, research, and culture in the cannabis industry, crafted by Emerge Law Group.
Emerge’s Hot Take
During this year’s midterm election, two states approved recreational cannabis use. At this point, 39 states, and the District of Columbia (“DC”) have legalized cannabis for medical use, and 21 states and DC have also legalized recreational use; leaving 11 states banning cannabis altogether. See current map provided by MJ Biz Daily HERE. As the country awaits Congressional action on the sale and use of cannabis, these numbers beg the question… “what about interstate commerce?” Currently states limit cannabis sales within state lines under their state cannabis laws. These state-level restrictions are separate and aside from the federal controlled substances act and some commentators have asked whether such state restrictions are constitutional in the face of the dormant commerce clause. Multi-state operators must have complete and separate businesses in different states that cannot conduct business between each other in most circumstances. What now? Could an Oregon lawsuit push things forward?
Other Noteworthy News
In Face Of Reports That Marijuana Banking Won’t Make It In Spending Bill, Lawmakers And Stakeholders Make Final Push
Amid swirling reports that marijuana banking provisions may be excluded from a yet-to-be-filed omnibus spending bill, some lawmakers are pushing back, while advocacy groups and industry stakeholders are stepping up their calls for action in what’s left of Congress’s lame duck session. To be clear, the text of the final appropriations package has not been released and negotiations are ongoing. But it was reported on Tuesday that appropriators have reached an agreement on a “framework” for the legislation. What’s troubling for supporters, however, is a brief post from a Punchbowl News reporter saying that the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking “will not be included” in the package. This comes on the heels of comments from the GOP Senate whip who said he’s not expecting the cannabis proposal to be attached to the spending bill, either. And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who applauded the exclusion of SAFE Banking from a must-pass defense bill last week, has repeatedly signaled that he’d fight against attempts to advance it through appropriations as well. In his latest comments on the spending package on Wednesday, McConnell said that “poison pills…will need to stay away from the process.” “Even then, the calendar will still make this a challenging sprint,” the minority leader said. “If a truly bipartisan full-year bill without poison pills is ready for Senate passage by late next week, then I’ll support it… Otherwise, we’ll be passing a short-term continuing resolution into the new year.”
DOJ Official Details Plans To Provide Presidential Marijuana Pardon Certificates Through 10 Minute Application Process
U.S. Pardon Attorney Elizabeth Oyer said on Tuesday that the Justice Department will soon give people the opportunity obtain certificates for presidential marijuana pardons through a soon-to-be-launched application process that they expect will only take 10 minutes to complete. The official also weighed in on the fact that the President Joe Biden’s mass pardon excluded immigrant with citizenship status issues, saying it’s still possible for them to receive relief if they apply through the traditional, individualized clemency process. During a panel discussion organized by Ohio State University’s Mortiz College of Law, Oyer talked about the practical and symbolic impact of the president’s cannabis clemency, the limitations of the relief, plans to certify eligible pardons and her office’s current priorities. Oyer, who said over the summer that it was ultimately up to the president to facilitate large-scale cannabis clemency, emphasized that Biden’s recent pardon for roughly 6,500 Americans was “self-effectuating,” meaning that they were officially forgiven the moment that the proclamation was signed in early October. But even so, the proclamation gave DOJ a directive to follow-up on the pardons with a certification process.
NORML Issues Report Highlighting 2022 State Legislative Victories
Lawmakers and voters enacted over 40 laws liberalizing cannabis policies in over a dozen states in 2022, according to a report issued today by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Three states — Maryland, Missouri, and Rhode Island — enacted laws legalizing adult-use marijuana possession and regulating retail cannabis markets. In total, 21 states — comprising nearly one-half of the US population — now have laws on the books regulating adult use marijuana production and retail sales. Lawmakers in several states, including California, Colorado, Illinois, and Oregon, continued to take steps to provide relief to those with past marijuana convictions — either by providing mass pardons or by enacting laws facilitating the mass expungement of prior convictions. Calculations by NORML estimate that some 2 million people have had their marijuana-related convictions either pardoned or expunged in recent years following the adoption of these policies.
The CannaBeat Podcast
Senator Scott Weiner and SB 1186 – Medical Access
It’s estimated that 75% of cannabis transactions in California occur outside the regulated market. Dwell on that for a moment: Most cannabis transactions in California fall outside the regulated market. We use euphemisms to describe this: illicit, illegal, grey market, unregulated, legacy. Proposition 64, which created a regulated California cannabis market, passed in 2016, and now, almost 6 years later, three in four cannabis sales avoid the system Proposition 64 created. Why? Most jurisdictions ban the system that Prop. 64 created. Even though Prop. 64 passed, two-thirds of California cities prohibit what Prop.64 created: cannabis manufacture, distribution, retail, cultivation, and testing.
Listen to our discussion with Senator Weiner on his newly chaptered SB 1186 which requires local jurisdiction to allow for medical delivery within the jurisdictional lines, even if they ban overall commercial cannabis activities.
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CannaBeat by Emerge Law Group
CannaBeat is a curated selection of top new stories impacting business, research, and culture in the cannabis industry, crafted by Emerge Law Group.