Cannabis companies are facing a slew of class action lawsuits under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibits unwanted automated calls and text messages. In Facebook, Inc. v. Duguid et al., the U.S. Supreme Court provided some clarity that stakeholders have been awaiting since 2015 by adopting a narrower interpretation of the term “autodialer” for purposes of the TCPA. The Court reversed an expansive interpretation of “autodialer” adopted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that had fueled a firestorm of litigation against Cannabis businesses and other businesses and nonprofits, and that the Court noted would have prohibited even many commonplace uses of cell phones by consumers.

The Court found that for a dialing system to constitute an autodialer, it must have the capacity to either store or produce a telephone number using a random or sequential number generator. This narrower interpretation comes as a relief to a broad range of businesses, including cannabis businesses, that believed the Ninth Circuit’s broad interpretation unfairly ensnared legitimate communications practices that did not harm consumers.

Read the full article on our update page.

On March 3, 2021, Perkins Coie partner Barak Cohen moderated a panel to discuss the future of the cannabis industry. Panelists included Michelle Rutter Friberg, Deputy Director of Government Relations at the National Cannabis Industry Association, Steve Hawkins, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, Yoko Miyashita, Chief Executive Officer of Leafly, and Andrew Kline, Senior Counsel of Perkins Coie and former public policy director for the National Cannabis Industry Association. Our latest podcast provides a recap of the discussion related to the federal perspective.

Listen to The Future of Cannabis: Federal Perspective (MORE Act, SAFE banking, 280E) on Spreaker.

Note that all episodes are available on AppleGoogle and Spotify.

On March 22, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released two warning letters to U.S. companies selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD). These warning letters highlight the FDA’s continuing vigilance on marketing of products containing CBD.  Without having undergone rigorous testing and FDA review and approval, it remains a violation of the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetics Act (FD&C Act) to sell products containing CBD that make specific health claims related to the treatment or prevention of disease or other conditions or the function or structure of the body. This includes claims on a product’s label and applies to any marketing material in any form.

In these letters, the FDA highlights that “a nonprescription drug product containing CBD cannot be legally marketed without an approved new drug application, regardless of whether the CBD is represented on the labeling as an active ingredient or an inactive ingredient.”  In other words, a drug manufacturer cannot add CBD to a non-prescription over-the-counter (OTC) pain cream, even if CBD is listed as in “inactive ingredient.” Continue Reading CBD Regulation: Recent FDA Enforcement Casts a Wider Net Over CBD Products

On March 23,  Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Or.) and Steve Daines (R-Mt.) re-introduced the SAFE Banking Act. As noted previously here, the SAFE Banking Act would increase access to banking services for cannabis-related businesses. The bill would provide safe harbor and other protections under federal law to financial institutions and insurers that provide services to cannabis-related legitimate businesses. While the bill passed the House last September, it ultimately failed in the Senate. Continue Reading SAFE Banking Act Reintroduced in Senate

California regulators have proposed new tailored Proposition 65 warnings for cannabis products. These proposals would create new warning requirements for such products sold to California consumers containing THC or exposing consumers to cannabis smoke and—taken together with other proposed regulations—indicate that the Proposition 65 landscape may see some significant changes in the coming months.

Read the full article on our update page.

As the dust continues to settle on New Jersey’s legalization and decriminalization of cannabis, employers should take note of the laws’ significant employment implications. While forthcoming regulations will better define the contours of the new requirements, below are the most pressing takeaways for New Jersey employers. Continue Reading What New State Cannabis Legalization Means for New Jersey Employers

Perkins Coie is pleased to announce that its fifth annual Food Litigation Year in Review, in coordination with the expansion of the firm’s practice, has been broadened and renamed the Food & Consumer Packaged Goods Litigation Year in Review. With this rebranding, we have featured a section on the latest cannabis litigation trends. Continue Reading Food & Consumer Packaged Goods Litigation Year in Review 2020

In our latest podcast, Perkins Coie’s Cannabis Law Chair Barak Cohen interviews Bryan Passman, founder of two talent acquisition firms that focus on the cannabis industry. Barak and Bryan discuss the critical need for strong leadership in the industry, particularly during the ongoing pandemic. They also discuss some of the unique issues that cannabis businesses face, as well as recent cannabis legislation and what it portends for the industry and its leadership.

Listen to Growing Talent: A Conversation with Bryan Passman, Cannabis Industry Executive on Spreaker.

Note that all episodes are available on AppleGoogle and Spotify.

Leafly and Whitney Economics have issued an annual jobs report reflecting updated jobs and revenue numbers for the state-legal cannabis industry in 2020. While 2020 will be remembered as the year that a deadly pandemic shuttered thousands of small businesses, it should also be remembered as the year that set the cannabis industry on a path to become a leading economic contributor to the U.S. economy. Continue Reading Leafly Releases Job Report: Cannabis Job Growth “Astonishing”