U.S. House Introduces Bill to Protect Legal Cannabis States While Berkeley, Calif., Becomes ‘Sanctuary City’: Week In Review

U.S. House Introduces Bill to Protect Legal Cannabis States While Berkeley, Calif., Becomes ‘Sanctuary City’: Week In Review

We’ve rounded up our top 10 articles to keep you up-to-date on the latest industry news.

February 16, 2018
CBT Staff

In the past week, a top White House official has decided to leave his position to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy; travel writer and television host Rick Steves briefed Congress on marijuana policy; a bipartisan bill was introduced in the U.S. House to protect legal cannabis states; Berkeley, Calif., became a “sanctuary city” for cannabis; Arizona introduced a decriminalization bill; the Utah House passed a bill allowing terminally ill patients the ability to try medical marijuana and more.

  • The push to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan got a boost when a deadline for opposition groups to challenge petition signatures passed and no one stepped up. Now, the secretary of state will review a 500-signature sample of the 362,102 signatures that were turned in by the Committee to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol in November to determine whether there are enough valid signatures from registered voters to qualify for the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Read more
  • White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Carroll is expected to leave his position to helm the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He could become the administration’s drug czar as early as Feb. 16. Read more
  • Legislation introduced by Arizona Rep. Paul Mosley (R- District 5) to reduce possession of 3.5 grams of marijuana or less from a felony to a misdemeanor is receiving positive feedback and support from both major parties. Rep. David Stringer (R- District 1) and Rep. Kirsten Engel (D- District 10) are among other major proponents of this bill, and they have obtained 36 co-sponsors, including 18 Democrats and 18 Republicans, to support it. Read more
  • The Utah House of Representatives passed a bill allowing terminally ill patients the ability to try medical marijuana. House Bill 195, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw (R-Orem), passed on a 40-26 vote and now goes to the Senate. Read more
  • Travel writer and TV host Rick Steves addressed marijuana prohibition to a gathering of members of Congress and their staff on Feb. 13. Steves said he is motivated to speak in favor of legalization because of its impact on civil liberties. Read more
  • Attorney Bob Hoban offered oral arguments on Feb. 15 in support of his plaintiff clients in Hemp Industries Association v. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The crux of the lawsuit is the DEA’s stance toward industrial hemp and whether it conflicts with language in the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill. Read more
  • The Virginia Senate passed a bill that would allow someone charged with possession of marijuana for the first time to later pay $150 to have the charge expunged. Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) said he opposed the bill because it did nothing to stop the racially disparate criminal enforcement of marijuana laws, and Sen. Tommy Norment acknowledged his measure was not a decriminalization bill but said it “makes a substantial step forward.” Read more
  • Cannabis users and providers in Berkeley, Calif., got an added layer of protection Feb. 13 when the city declared itself a sanctuary city for marijuana. The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to prohibit city agencies and employees from turning over information on legal cannabis activities and assisting in enforcing federal marijuana laws. Read more
  • Oral arguments were provided in federal court Feb. 14 in response to the federal government’s motion to dismiss Washington v. Sessions, a civil lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act and its definition of cannabis as a Schedule I substance. Its lead plaintiffs are 12-year-old Alexis Bortell, whose family moved from Texas to Colorado to treat her epilepsy with medical cannabis, and former NFL player Marvin Washington, who has advocated for football players’ access to medical cannabis. No decision has been reached as of Feb. 16. Read more
  • A bipartisan bill was offered in the U.S. House Feb. 15 seeking to circumvent attempts by Attorney General Jeff Sessions to encourage stricter enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where cannabis is legal. Reps. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) introduced the “Sensible Enforcement Of Cannabis Act,” which would mirror an Obama-era memo that relaxed enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal. Sessions rescinded the memo last month. Read more

Top image: © Seth Ryan | Adobe Stock