This week, the cannabis industry celebrated two major votes as the U.S. House approved the MORE Act to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, and the UN voted to remove medicinal cannabis from Schedule IV of a 1961 treaty on narcotic drugs.
Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 headlines you need to know before this week is over.
- Federal: The enactment of statewide laws legalizing and regulating the use and sale of marijuana by adults are not independently associated with an uptick in cannabis use by young people, according to data published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. A team of investigators affiliated with Boston College analyzed marijuana use data from a nationally representative sample of more than one million high-school students over an 18-year period. Read more
- Aphria has closed its acquisition of SweetWater Brewing Company, a U.S.-based independent craft brewer, and now plans to introduce its adult-use cannabis brands, such as Broken Coast, Riff, Soleil and Good Supply, to the U.S. market as cannabis-free beverages through SweetWater products. In addition to establishing its own brands and growing its U.S. presence, Aphria will also introduce SweetWater’s beer and hard seltzer products to Canada. Read more
- The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the MORE Act, H.R. 3884, to remove cannabis from the U.S. Controlled Substances Act. It passed the House 228-164, and will now go to the U.S. Senate, where Congress members expect it will not pass. Read more
- New Jersey: A state appellate court has ruled that the state wrongly rejected applicants when it awarded six additional licenses in 2018, and the Department of Health must now establish a new scoring system. While the decision will not revoke the licenses of the state’s current medical cannabis operators, it could give other applicants a second chance at licensing in the future, as well as create a more transparent licensing process going forward. Read more
- New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has directed prosecutors to halt possession charges for small amounts of cannabis as the state’s lawmakers work on legislation to implement an adult-use cannabis program. Guidance distributed by Grewal on instructs all municipal, county and state prosecutors to put a hold on cases until at least Jan. 25, 2021, although the directive does not cover driving under the influence or order police to stop arresting people for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. Read more
- California: CanBreed, an Israeli cannabis genetics seed company, announced this week its acquisition of a 3.5-acre hemp farm in San Diego. The company is part of the Smart-Agro R&D Partnership, a publicly traded firm on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Read more
- Michigan: Detroit City Council has formally approved a plan to allow adult-use cannabis sales within the city after previously joining the 1,400 or so municipalities that had opted out of an adult-use cannabis market approved by voters in 2018. The new ordinance will give licensing priority to longtime residents who have lived in Detroit for 15, 13 or 10 of the past 30 years, and these residents will have the first crack at half of the 75 retail licenses. Read more
- Massachusetts: The Cannabis Control Commission approved delivery regulations this week that create a legal framework for home delivery in the state’s adult-use cannabis market with two new license types that are expected to launch next year. The new rules create “Marijuana Courier” and “Marijuana Delivery Operator” licenses, which will be available only to social equity applicants for the first three years. Read more
- Virginia: The Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group, which was tasked with studying the impact of adult-use legalization in the state, released its recommendations this week. The roughly 400-page report outlines guidelines for taxation, banking, criminal justice, licensing, regulation and consumer safety, and includes recommendations on five key principles that Gov. Ralph Northam wants to see in a final legalization bill: social, racial and economic equity; public health; protections for youth; upholding the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act; and data collection. Read more
- International: In a historic vote, the United Nations Commission for Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted narrowly Dec. 2 to remove medicinal cannabis from Schedule IV of a 1961 treaty on narcotic drugs. The CND, a commission based in Vienna with members from 53 different countries, voted on six different cannabis-related recommendations presented by the World Health Organization (WHO), which outlined protocol for internationally regulating the medical use of different parts of the plant, including cannabis as a whole, CBD and THC. Read more