The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a final rule today, building off the interim final rule it issued in October 2019 and incorporating both public comments and the agency’s takeaways from the 2020 growing season. In general, the final rule makes modest adjustments to the interim final rule in order to make it less onerous for producers to grow hemp while imposing stricter requirements on how crop must be tested.

Most importantly, the final rule recognizes that growers may accidentally produce crop that contains more than 0.3 percent THC and raises the limit for negligently doing so from 0.5 percent to 1 percent, but requires that producers test for total THC levels in crop, rather than for delta-9 THC levels. Testing for total THC levels makes it more likely a crop could exceed the legal limit for THC in hemp. Continue Reading USDA’s Final Rule Makes Hemp Easier to Grow, Harder to Test

If you’re looking for a landslide in the 2020 elections, look no further than the undisputed winner—marijuana. In each of the ballot initiatives up for consideration, voters said yes to expanded liberalization in cannabis-related laws by undeniably wide margins. Voters from across the political spectrum in red and blue states alike approved medical and recreational cannabis laws, including the legalization of medical cannabis in Mississippi and South Dakota and the legalization of cannabis possession by adults in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. Legislatures will soon enact laws in conformance with these ballot initiatives. A total of 35 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, 15 of which allow adults to legally use the drug for recreational use as of November 2020. Continue Reading What Financial Institutions Need to Know About Banking Legal Cannabis Companies

On December 22, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued five warning letters to companies selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD). In a statement, the FDA’s Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner, explained that the agency remains “focused on exploring potential pathways for CBD products to be lawfully marketed while also educating the public about these outstanding questions of CBD’s safety,” and that the agency “will continue to monitor and take action, as needed, against companies that unlawfully market their products—prioritizing those that pose the greatest risk of harm to the public.” Continue Reading FDA Issues 5 Warning Letters Targeting Unsupported CBD Health Claims

In our latest podcast, Perkins Coie partner Barak Cohen is joined by Andrew Kline, Director of Public Policy for the National Cannabis Industry Association, the youngest—and largest—cannabis trade association in the U.S. and the only organization representing state-sanctioned cannabis-related businesses at the federal level. Among other things, Barak and Andrew discuss key policy and legal issues faced by the cannabis industry as it confronts federal legalization, an economy-crippling pandemic, and the fallout of the Drug War.

Listen to The Shape of Things to Come: A Conversation with Andrew Kline, Director of Public Policy for the National Cannabis Industry Association on Spreaker.

Note that all episodes are available on AppleGoogle and Spotify.

On December 7, 2020, cannabis industry leaders, former federal government officials, and leading state regulators met for a Virtual Public Policy Summit, a policy discussion among key leaders in the cannabis industry that was co-hosted by the Marijuana Policy Project and the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA). Participating industry leaders discussed how to define and address key issues to help advance the cannabis industry in 2021 and beyond. To help facilitate candid discussion, the event was closed to the media (likewise, comments made and positions taken described below have not been ascribed to particular speakers). Continue Reading Striving to Reach Consensus on a Regulatory Framework for the Emerging Cannabis Industry

Today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Operation CBDeceit, a suite of six settlements that herald the FTC’s ongoing efforts to monitor the marketplace regarding misleading cannabidiol (CBD) product claims. In a statement, FTC leadership said the six settlements “send a clear message to the burgeoning CBD industry” to avoid making “spurious health claims that are unsupported by medical science.” The FTC noted that companies, particularly CBD product manufacturers, “that represent expressly or by implication that what they sell can prevent, treat, or cure serious medical conditions will be held to the highest substantiation standards and marketers can expect careful scrutiny of those promises.” Continue Reading FTC Announces Crackdown on Unsupported CBD Marketing

Proposition 65 warning requirements announced last year are set to be enforced starting January 3, 2021; if your business is selling cannabis products in California, now is the time to ensure that your labeling complies with state requirements.

Last year, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) added Δ9‑tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as “THC,” to the list of chemicals requiring specific labeling for retail sale in California. Better known as Proposition 65, California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, requires businesses selling consumer products—including food and cannabis goods—to notify Californians about certain chemicals that are in those products. THC is the cannabinoid most associated with a marijuana-related “high.”

Read the full article on our update page.

 

Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (“MORE”) Act.  The MORE Act would remove marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and would eliminate criminal penalties for the manufacture, distribution, and possession of marijuana.

The MORE Act also makes other changes to existing law, such as making Small Business Association loans and services available to cannabis-related business and service providers; requiring the Bureau of Labor Statistics to public demographic data on cannabis businesses owners and employees; creating a reinvestment program to administer services to individuals and communities adversely affected by the War on Drugs, and prohibiting the denial of federal public benefits on the basis of cannabis-related conduct or convictions. Continue Reading House Passes MORE Act, Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana

On November 17, a California court tossed a challenge to a statewide rule allowing delivery of cannabis to any jurisdiction in the state. The state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) issued a regulation that “[a] delivery employee may deliver [cannabis] to any jurisdiction within the State of California.” 16 C.C.R. § 5416. Many local jurisdictions in California have regulated or limited the sale and delivery of marijuana within their borders. Fearing that the regulation would preempt their local ordinances, a group of these jurisdictions brought suit challenging the BCC’s rule. Continue Reading California Court Dismisses Pot Delivery Challenge