11 April 2024

The Week In Weed: April 5, 2024

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Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what's happening in the world of legalized marijuana.
United States Cannabis & Hemp
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Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what's happening in the world of legalized marijuana. This week, Virginia Governor Youngkin took action on the retail market bill. The Florida Supreme Court handed down their decision on a ballot initiative. The Kansas legislature determined how to proceed on a medical marijuana measure. Federal legislators asked the Department of Justice to develop a successor to the Cole Memorandum. And finally, there's a new reality series in the works that involves cannabis.


In news that should come as a surprise to no one, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) vetoed legislation that would have set up a retail market in the state. Advocates of the measure had hoped the bill might become a bargaining chip in the debate over a new stadium complex in Northern Virginia, but that was not to be. Now, it appears that a retail market will have to wait until a new governor is elected in 2025. Virginia's governors cannot serve consecutive terms, so someone other than Youngkin will take over. Of course, there's no guarantee that person will be interested in signing such a bill, or that the legislature will pass one in the first place.


A ballot measure seeking to legalize adult-use cannabis in Florida will appear on the November ballot. The state's Supreme Court decided this week to allow voters to weigh in on legalization, over the objections of the state's Attorney General, who argued that voters might forget that cannabis is illegal on the federal level. The measure will need at least 60% of the vote in order to pass, so there's no guarantee that the measure will meet that threshold.


Virginians aren't the only ones who will have to wait until 2025 for action on cannabis. The Kansas Senate decided to delay action on a medical marijuana proposal until the next legislative session. Although the law would have been extremely restrictive, legislators cited fear of organized crime and violence in rejecting the bill. Proponents of legalization were also dissatisfied with the measure, as it would have allowed for only four licensed producers.


Regular readers will doubtless recall the Cole Memorandum, a Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance that protected state-legal marijuana markets from federal interference. You will also recall that this guidance was repealed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2018. Now, Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have written a letter to current Attorney General Merrick Garland asking him to reinstate those protections for state-legal programs. We'll have to wait and see if their correspondence meets with a favorable answer.


If you're a fan of reality television, Jimmy Kimmel has a show in the works that may be your new favorite binge-watch. High Hopes follows the ups and downs of two brothers running a cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles. The show will appear on Hulu, and it premieres on...wait for it...April 20.

Be well everyone – we'll see you next week.

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