U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley Co-Sponsors Marijuana Justice Act, Judge Halts Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Research: Week In Review

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley Co-Sponsors Marijuana Justice Act, Judge Halts Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Research: Week In Review

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

May 25, 2018

This week in the cannabis industry, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) became the fifth senator to announce co-sponsorship of the Marijuana Justice Act, a judge placed a hold on Pennsylvania’s plan for medical marijuana research, opponents in Oklahoma and Utah moved to block medical marijuana initiatives, court decisions allowed Ohio’s medical marijuana program to move forward as the state’s Board of Pharmacy postponed awarding dispensary licenses, West Virginia legislators pushed for a special session on medical marijuana banking and more.

  • Federal: U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced his co-sponsorship of the Marijuana Justice Act in a Facebook Live video on May 23. He is the fifth U.S. senator to sign on as a co-sponsor, joining U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris. U.S. Sen. Cory Booker originally introduced the bill in August 2017. Read more
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma’s Question 788 would legalize medical marijuana in the state if passed by voters, but non-profit organization Vote No OK SQ788 is against SQ788, despite supporting the legalization of medical cannabis. The group has issue with how the bill could legally be interpreted once it becomes law and feels there are not enough regulations included in the legislation. They also disagree with how much marijuana a licensed person could legally own. Read more
  • Utah: Opponents of a medical marijuana ballot initiative in Utah filed a lawsuit to block it from going on the November ballot. Drug Safe Utah sued Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, making a long list of arguments about why the ballot initiative should not be approved and alleging he cannot approve it because it would violate federal anti-marijuana laws. Read more
  • Oregon: Oregon’s U.S. Attorney Billy Williams said his top priorities in enforcing cannabis laws in the state will be threats to public safety and interstate trafficking fueled by overproduction of marijuana since the state legalized it for medical and recreational use. He said his office has five priority areas of enforcement, which include public health concerns and the illicit market’s organized crime. Read more
  • Ohio: Judges ruled against stopping Ohio’s medical marijuana program, siding with state regulators and patients who said any further delay in the program would prevent sick people from getting their medicine. Unsuccessful applicants to grow medical marijuana wanted the court the pause the program while state regulators considered their appeals. Read more
  • The Ohio Board of Pharmacy postponed its medical marijuana dispensary announcement, canceling a special meeting scheduled for May 23 and planning to instead announce dispensary license winners at its regular meeting June 4-6. Board spokesman Cameron McNamee said all applications have been scored but the board is still waiting on background check information and verifying whether applicants have met the necessary objective criteria. Read more
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission wrapped up its review of priority applicants for recreational marijuana businesses May 22. The commission received 320 applications for priority status—205 were approved and 115 were denied due to missing the April 16 deadline or failing to meet the requirements for consideration. Read more
  • West Virginia: West Virginia legislators concluded a two-day special session May 21 without addressing legislation to direct the state treasurer to set up a banking system needed to transact payments under the state’s medical marijuana law. Legislators then moved to petition themselves into an additional special session. Read more
  • New York: New York State Democrats seek to legalize and tax marijuana, with an executive committee passing a resolution May 23 that calls for legalization. They argue that millions could be added to state coffers if it were taxed like alcohol at an excise tax rate of 13 percent. Read more
  • Pennsylvania: A judge put a hold on plans to implement the research provision of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law May 22, siding with dispensaries and growers who challenged the Health Department’s approach. Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough issued a preliminary injunction that halted the agency's regulations pertaining to handing out additional licenses to growers and dispensaries that partner for research with medical schools, saying that the regulations may go beyond provisions of the law and circumvent its detailed method of licensing growers and dispensaries. Read more

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