Cannabis: In Focus
- SAFE Banking Gets a Senate Hearing
- Representative Nancy Mace Is Promised a Hearing on her Descheduling Bill
- CLAIM Act Reintroduced in Congress
- Hawaii Federal Judge Says 11th Amendment Protects State’s Choice to Define Hemp
- Maryland Governor Signs Cannabis Regulation Bill
SAFE Banking Gets a Senate Hearing
The Senate Banking Committee has scheduled a hearing on May 11 for the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. The hearing will involve both Republican and Democrat supporters who have urged swift action on the issue.
Various iterations of the bill have been approved in the House over the last few years, but the Senate has consistently blocked its passage. A point of contention in previous negotiations has been the lack of a law enforcement perspective, but the Policy Center for Public Health and Safety has announced the formation of a law enforcement coalition in direct response to this concern.
Representative Nancy Mace Is Promised a Hearing on her Descheduling Bill
Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC) has been granted a markup on her States Reform Act, a bill that would deschedule cannabis at the federal level and allow states to choose their own regulatory paths. Rep. Mace is an ardent supporter of cannabis reform; however, she acknowledges that a Republican Congress is not the easiest environment in which to achieve meaningful progress. However, she has found some success in negotiating for support for a hearing in exchange for her vote in favor of her party’s debt-ceiling package.
CLAIM Act Reintroduced in Congress
On April 27, bipartisan legislators reintroduced the Clarifying Law Around Insurance of Marijuana CLAIM Act, which would provide a safe harbor for insurance companies working with cannabis-related businesses. The bill was introduced in the Senate by Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and in the House by Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), among others.
The bill would prohibit insurers from limiting or canceling policies based solely on the fact that the policy insures a cannabis-related business. Similarly, the bill would restrict the ability of federal agencies to penalize insurance companies, brokers, and agents who insure cannabis-related businesses solely because of the businesses’ involvement in the cannabis industry.
Hawaii Federal Court Dismisses Challenge to State’s Definition of “Hemp”
On April 28, the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii dismissed a suit brought by a hemp seller against the state department of health on sovereign immunity grounds. The company alleged that the state had violated state law when it redefined “hemp,” and the state did not have the authority to redefine “hemp” to contradict the 2018 Farm Bill.
The court dismissed the suit on the grounds that the Eleventh Amendment barred the suit because the state had not waived its sovereign immunity. The court granted leave to amend certain claims, with an amended complaint due on or before May 22, 2023.
Maryland Governor Signs Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation Bill
On May 3, Maryland Governor Wes Moore (D) signed a bill to regulate marijuana sales. Last November, voters approved a referendum to legalize adult-use cannabis, and legislators reached an agreement on the legislation last month. The law will take effect July 1, 2023.