This week, we cover updates on CBD regulations by the FDA, a perplexing gun advisory by the DOJ, legalization progress in Mexico, and a cannabis involvement stipulation from the MLB. As always, we will also provide updates on legalization developments at the state level.
FDA Provides CBD Enforcement Update To Congress
After months of tension, the Food and Drug Administration gave congress a long-anticipated update regarding CBD policy. With CBD receiving federal legal status almost two years ago, questions remain regarding the FDA’s role in enforcing it.
In an announcement to congress, the FDA assured that they are currently assessing options for allowing the marketing of CBD as a dietary supplement or food and beverage additive. They also announced the decision to reopen a public docket that will solicit scientific information regarding CBD.
MLB Forbids Players From Financial Involvement In Cannabis Industry
Back in February, the MLB announced that it would no longer include cannabis on its list of banned substances. It was one in a series of developments regarding the loosening of cannabis policies in professional sports.
Now, the MLB is further refining cannabis standards for its players. According to a recent memo, the organization is forbidding its players from being sponsored by (or investing in) cannabis companies.
Doctors are also forbidden from prescribing cannabis products, although the MLB claims to currently be in the process of vetting certain CBD products.
DOJ Advisory Intends To Prevent ‘Habitual Marijuana Users’ From Purchasing Guns In Michigan
The Department of Justice released an advisory that requires Michigan gun dealers to run federal background checks on gun buyers. The DOJ claims that current policies in the state allow disqualified individuals to purchase firearms. They specifically mentioned “habitual marijuana users” as one of the disqualified groups slipping through the cracks.
Because cannabis is a Schedule I drug, cannabis users are technically forbidden from possessing or transporting guns under federal law. The DOJ made no mention of how the new policy would affect gun purchases by cannabis users.
Cannabis Legislation Passes Through Multiple Mexican Senate Committees
This week, Mexican senate committee members gathered to discuss, amend, and vote on a cannabis legalization bill. After revising the legislation, the committee members approved the bill in a 26-7 vote.
After revision, the bill allows for adults 18 and over to possess and cultivate cannabis for personal use. This goes against the wishes of President Obrador to have the legislation focus on medical use only.
The bill also permits public consumption of cannabis in areas that are not 100 percent smoke-free. Now, the bill will make its way to the Senate floor for a full vote.
Treasury Director Refuses To Directly Address The Cannabis Industry’s Banking Issues
For the US cannabis industry, few issues loom larger than that of bank availability. Because of cannabis’ Schedule I status, banks are wary of dealing with cannabis companies. The worry is that accepting money from cannabis sales will put the banks in violation of federal anti-money laundering laws.
The ongoing issue has spurred many demands for the federal government to intervene. According to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, however, that responsibility will fall directly to congress. During a federal sub-committee hearing, Mnuchin stated that the treasury department will not be taking administrative action.
Mnuchin admitted that he views the cannabis banking conflict as a serious issue in need of resolution. However, he believes that it should be the role of congress to initiate such a resolution.
Continued Coverage Of State-Level Cannabis Decriminalization and Legalization Developments
In past months, the spread of cannabis decriminalization and legalization progress throughout the United States has been at a fever pitch. New developments seem to surface on a daily basis, and several states are likely to implement recreational legalization in 2020.
On Tuesday, Hawaii’s senate approved a bill that will remove felony charges for low-level drug possession offenses. Currently, the possession of any controlled substance can lead to a felony charge and a year in jail. However, even if the bill passes, a misdemeanor possession charge could still result in jail time.
In the Cornhusker State, two advocacy groups are joining forces to obtain ballot access for a cannabis bill. Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, a cannabis advocacy group, announced their partnership with ADOPT, a coalition seeking lower property taxes. According to the two groups, tax revenue from the medical cannabis bill could alleviate the pressure on Nebraska property owners.
In January, Illinois recorded a record-breaking month of sales, exceeding $40 million in their first month of legalization. In February, Illinois continued the strong performance with profits from cannabis sales exceeding $35 million. According to state officials, over 25 percent of those sales came from non-residents.
According to a recent poll, a majority of Louisiana residents are in favor of legalizing cannabis. Despite this, state lawmakers have shown little interest in expanding what is currently a significantly restricted medical cannabis system.
However, one lawmaker has introduced a measure that could give individual cities the ability to establish their own cannabis policies. If the measure passes the house and senate, voters will get the chance to vote on the bill in November.
This week, cannabis advocates in Ohio submitted a recreational cannabis legalization measure for approval. If the measure receives approval, advocates would then have until July 1 to gather over 440,000 signatures. With sufficient signatures, the measure would then appear before voters on the November ballot. The bill would allow Ohio residents 21 and over to possess, purchase, and cultivate cannabis for personal use.
A historic ballot measure in Oregon seeking to decriminalize drug possession has gathered 125,000 signatures. Although the signatures have yet to be validated, this amount of signatures would qualify the measure for access to the November ballot. Apart from drug decriminalization, the measure would channel tax revenue from cannabis sales to fund substance abuse treatment programs.