CannaBeat is a curated biweekly selection of top news stories impacting business, research, and culture in the cannabis industry, crafted by Emerge Law Group.
Emerge’s Hot Take
Twitter Becomes First Social Media Platform To Allow Cannabis Ads In U.S.
On February 15, 2023, Twitter became the first major social media platform to remove their prohibition on the marketing and advertising of cannabis brands and products. Twitter’s announcement describes how they look to expand the opportunities for one of the most influential markets that utilizes its platform for the exchange of ideas, experiences, and overall business development. Naturally, the new opportunity comes with a list of rules and restrictions which can be found on their updated Cannabis Ad Policy. For example, the cannabis business must have the proper license, prohibit targeting anyone under 21, must not use characters, celebrities, or other icons appealing to minors, and can only target jurisdictions where they are legally allowed to operate. The most restrictive and slightly counter-intuitive rule states “advertisers may not promote or offer for sale of cannabis.” This could prove difficult to navigate but not impossible.
Even with these restrictions, Emerge Attorney Delia Rojas believes that “cannabis businesses will seize this opportunity while most other large social media competitors still flat out ban cannabis advertising and deactivate accounts.” It is unquestionable that social media plays a huge role in any businesses’ advertising plan. Forbes reported that some estimate 20 million tweets about cannabis topics were posted in the past year. With 37 states passing some form of cannabis regulatory structure, and more states looking to join the club in 2023, this is a long overdue and applauded step forward.
Other Noteworthy News
WA Senate Passes Bill to Bar Hiring Discrimination For Cannabis Use
Washington employers would be prohibited from refusing to hire a potential worker solely because of a drug test showing they had used cannabis under a bill that passed the state Senate on Wednesday. Washington voters approved recreational marijuana in 2012 through Initiative 502. More than a decade later, though, as more states have moved to legalize the drug, Washington employers can still screen out applicants who use cannabis. If Senate Bill 5123 becomes law, Washington would join several other states that have enacted laws shielding employees from workplace penalties for off-duty cannabis use. The bill passed the state Senate on a 28-21 vote Wednesday, sending it to the House for further consideration. In 2019, Nevada became the first state to stop employers from rejecting an applicant because of a drug test showing cannabis use. Last year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill barring discrimination in hiring, firing and other conditions of employment if a worker uses cannabis while off duty.
Legalized Marijuana Proposal Unveiled By Iowa Democrats
Marijuana would be legal for recreational use, previous convictions for non-violent possession charges would be removed from an individual’s criminal record, and the state’s medical cannabis program would be expanded under legislation introduced Tuesday by Democratic state lawmakers. The proposal is not likely to become state law any time soon, since Republican state lawmakers in leadership and Gov. Kim Reynolds have in the past opposed any efforts to legalize marijuana in Iowa. Nationally, 21 states have legalized recreational marijuana, including Iowa neighbors Missouri and Illinois. Minnesota state lawmakers are considering legislation to legalize marijuana there. “It is time,” said Iowa Rep. Jennifer Konfrst, a Windsor Heights resident and leader of the minority-party House Democrats. Konfrst argued that legalizing marijuana would keep sales tax revenue in Iowa instead of sending it to other states, it would preserve state resources that currently go toward enforcing marijuana laws, and it would increase the quality of life for Iowans with chronic illnesses.
North Carolina Senate Panel Approves Medical Marijuana Bill
A North Carolina legislative committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. The measure, known as the North Carolina Compassionate Care Act (Senate Bill 3), was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee with little debate among senators, according to media reports. The bipartisan bill was filed on January 25 with sponsorship from Republican Sens. Bill Rabon and Michael Lee and their Democratic colleague Sen. Paul Lowe. If passed, the bill would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis for patients with one or more specified qualifying serious medical conditions such as cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and others. Unlike the more comprehensive medical marijuana programs in many other states, however, the bill does not authorize the use of medical marijuana by patients living with chronic pain.
Delta-8 Brouhaha Creates Marijuana Opportunity In Next Federal Farm Bill
If Congress can’t (or won’t) bundle marijuana reform with the F-35 fighter jet and nuclear submarines, why not food stamps and corn subsidies? Among the pressing items on federal lawmakers’ 2023 to-do lists is renewing the Farm Bill. Every five years, the sprawling, multipart, $428 billion monster that deals with nutrition and rural development as well as what American farmers grow and how they grow it is revamped. And the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp and triggered the boom in delta-8 THC and other intoxicating hemp-derived cannabinoids expires in September. Federal marijuana prohibition means the American cannabis industry still exists separately from federal farm programs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Despite this, and despite the many other loud and needy lobbies competing for attention, there’s a growing push in Washington DC for Congress to consider marijuana reform during Farm Bill discussions, according to multiple lobbyists and a federal lawmaker who spoke with MJBizDaily.
The Cannabis Experience Becomes First Marijuana-Licensed Consumption Bus
The Cannabis Experience in Denver has become Colorado's -- and the nation's -- first marijuana-licensed consumption bus. As the cannabis industry continues its blazing trail, local marijuana users can enjoy safe, legal cannabis tours, airport transportation and private cannabis-friendly party buses. The Cannabis Experience will offer transportation services to Denver International Airport along with private party bus rentals with food and art themes such as "Toking and Tacos," and "RiNo Mural Tours." The service also provides tours of the city and tourist attractions. "The Cannabis industry is extremely regulated and not diverse. It took us almost a year to become operational, so we are excited to be the country's first safe, legal, licensed mobile hospitality business," Sarah Woodson said. "We are social equity and African American. We will have amazing tours, and grow our fleet over the next 24 months and work on expanding into other local cities such as Aurora. We are helping move the needle forward in the legalization fight. We are proud to be in the cannabis industry." Visits to cannabis grows and dispensaries are also included in the services as bookings are being accepted now for the grand opening, which is set for March 1.
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CannaBeat by Emerge Law Group
CannaBeat is a weekly brief on news, business, and culture in the cannabis industry curated by members of Emerge Law Group's distinguished Cannabis Industry Group.