On May 20, 2019, the West Virginia Legislature passed Senate Bill 1037 (“SB 1037”) to streamline and encourage West Virginia’s nascent medical marijuana market. The bill passed the Senate 23-7 and the House 81-17 during a special session. This comes two years after Governor Justice signed West Virginia’s medical cannabis bill, Senate Bill 386, making West Virginia the 29th state to legalize medical marijuana.
Earlier this year, California Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced Assembly Bill 1356 (“AB 1356”) in an effort to increase the number of cannabis dispensaries across California. The bill requires any city or county that voted 50% or more in favor of Proposition 64 (the California voter initiative that legalized adult-use cannabis) to issue one cannabis retail license for every six onsite liquor consumption licenses or for every 15,000 residents, whichever is less.
The news for legalization proponents has been consistently good for the past several years, but recent developments in the Northeast should perhaps take the optimism down a notch. Recreational legalization proposals in the deep-blue states of New York, New Jersey, and Vermont all appear destined to fail in 2019, raising new questions regarding the path forward for recreational use.
A 69-year-old great-grandmother was arrested at a Disney World checkpoint by an Orange County deputy that found CBD oil in her purse. While the Farm Bill legalized CBD at the federal level in December 2018, the Florida Legislature has not yet removed the product from its state controlled substances list.
The Oregon Senate recently voted in favor of a bill that will freeze marijuana production at its current level for the next two years. The bill would also suspend the issuance of any new cultivation licenses while allowing currently licensed growers to renew their licenses during the temporary freeze. Oregon’s House of Representatives will now take up the bill for consideration.
Last week, a bipartisan group of attorneys general from 33 states and five U.S. territories sent a letter to congressional leaders urging passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act (the “SAFE Banking Act”). The SAFE Banking Act would generally immunize banks and other financial institutions from legal consequences for doing business with marijuana-related businesses.
Alabama has taken a significant step toward legalizing medical marijuana. Last week, the Alabama Senate passed a bill by a 17-6 vote that would create a process for prescribing medical marijuana to patients with certain enumerated conditions. The bill will now go to the Alabama House of Representatives.
Michigan continues to struggle mightily in its regulation of the marijuana industry. Judge Stephen Borrello recently described Michigan’s licensing approach for medical marijuana dispensaries as “apt to sudden change, freakish, or whimsical.” Not a comforting assessment.