Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana. This week, we see the rocky road to a retail market in New York continues to be, well, rocky. Alabama is having problems of its own in dealing with cannabis licensing. Ohioans will vote on adult-use cannabis in November. South Dakota is issuing a lot of medical marijuana cards. The news is not all on the state level, however. Could cannabis move from Schedule I to Schedule III – that’s what HHS is proposing. And finally, what’s that aroma wafting over the U.S. Open?
So two weeks ago, we noted that New York had put a temporary hold on cannabis licensing. Last week, a judge indicated that some licensees would be exempt from the hold. This week, the judge has reversed himself, saying the Office of Cannabis Management failed to comply with a court order regarding the exemptions. So now, licensing has ground to a halt for everyone. Going forward, requests for exemptions from the licensing ban will be heard on a case-by-case basis.
Things are going no better in Alabama. We looked at that situation two weeks ago as well, and we found that medical cannabis licensing had been put on hold and was the subject of a lawsuit. The hold has now been extended, although it is not expected to be indefinite. The situation is frustrating, for sure.
Now we’ve gotten everybody fired up in the state about medical cannabis, and everybody’s been wondering ‘when am I going to get my card,’ and now we can’t even answer that question.Chey Garrigan, president of the Alabama Cannabis Industry Association
When last we examined the situation in Ohio, advocates of a ballot initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis were 679 signatures short of the number they needed to put the measure to voters. Now, additional signatures have been gathered, and the Ohio Ballot Board has certified a ballot summary of the measure. A recent poll shows strong support for the measure.
Has South Dakota’s medical cannabis program been too successful? Some lawmakers, concerned that the 12,000 cards issued by the state’s MMJ program is nearly double original projections, are calling for closer monitoring of the process. Proposed rules for the program could be introduced in the legislature later this year.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) this week that cannabis be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III. While this is not the legalization that many advocates want, it would allow cannabis businesses to take federal tax deductions for business expenses, and might make financial services easier for the industry to obtain. The DEA need not follow HHS’s recommendation, so this is in no way a done deal.
As tennis enthusiasts well know, the U.S. Open is underway at New York’s Flushing Meadows. Apparently, pot smoking is also underway at a nearby park. It’s been described as a “Phish concert” and like “Snoop Dogg’s living room.”
Be well and we’ll see you next week.