Cannabis: In Focus
- VA Continues to Prohibit Doctors from Prescribing Cannabis to Veteran Patients
- NY Judge Issues Court Order to Halt Cannabis Business Licensing
- DEA Email Suggests DEA Considers Delta-8 THC a Controlled Substance
- THC Testing Class Action Claims Proceed against Cannabis Company
VA Continues to Prohibit Doctors from Prescribing Cannabis to Veteran Patients
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a directive, consistent with a previous directive released in 2017, which prevents denial of a veteran’s VA benefits solely because of participation in state-legal cannabis programs, prohibits VA clinicians from recommending or referring veterans for medical cannabis, and revises the definition of marijuana to distinguish legal hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill guidelines. Under this guidance, clinicians are permitted to discuss the “relevant clinical information” regarding the use of cannabis with veteran patients who request such information and VA scientists are allowed to conduct research on the benefits, risks, and potential for abuse of regulated cannabis.
NY Judge Issues Court Order to Halt Cannabis Business Licensing
On August 7, a New York state court issued a temporary restraining order against the state’s Office of Cannabis Management and other cannabis regulators, preventing them from issuing further conditional cannabis retail licenses. This temporary injunction was extended on August 11 for an additional two weeks.
State law, specifically the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, defines “social and economic equity applicants” as people from communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement, minority- and women-owned businesses, and service-disabled veterans. The suit alleges that initial licenses were improperly limited to some “social and economic equity applicants” over other groups, namely, service-disabled veterans.
DEA Email Suggests DEA Considers Delta-8 THC a Controlled Substance
A recently revealed email from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) indicates that the agency considers all delta-8 THC derived from cannabidiol (CBD) “synthetic” and not exempted by the 2018 Farm Bill. In this email, a DEA official wrote that “any quantity of delta-8-THC obtained by chemical means is a controlled substance.”
THC Testing Class Action Claims Proceed against Cannabis Company
On July 31, 2023, a California state court allowed claims to survive against a cannabis company alleged to have misrepresented the potency of the THC in its products. The plaintiff alleges that the company’s cannabis products have overstated their THC content by 37 percent. In the opinion, the state court found that the plaintiff had sufficient standing under California law to proceed with the suit in state court.