Pharma

Cannabis News 04/23/21

We missed last week’s blog due to some technical issue, but we’re back in action now as usual! Hopefully you had a lovely 4/20 vacation like us this week. With that in mind, here are your top cannabis news and updates from the past two weeks.

Federal

VA hospitals changing restrictions

Currently, doctors working in Virginia hospitals across the country are not allowed to discuss medical marijuana with their patients. This is a terrible limitation as many patients, especially veterans, use marijuana to treat their ailments and to stay away from more harmful, legally prescribed drugs.

Now a bill has been introduced to lift the federal ban on doctors in the US Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill would also create five-year Safe Harbor protection for veterans who use medical marijuana and their doctors.

The stars are aligning and this is another sign that federal legalization is in sight.

SAFE Banking Act approved in Congress

Even bigger news comes in the form of the SAFE Banking Act (Secure and Fair Enforcement), approved for the fourth time by the House of Representatives. The law allows banks and credit unions to work with cannabis companies so they don’t have to work with cash for their transactions. This makes filing taxes difficult, and the industry has grown so large over the years that it is difficult to process, let alone store, the sheer volume of cash.

The SAFE Banking Act has already been passed three times and must be submitted to the Senate for review. Now that the Senate majority is held by the Democratic Party, there is optimism that the law will be passed there too. It should be noted that both Republicans and Democrats have provided bipartisan support. Twenty state governors sent letters to the house supporting the legislation.

State Laws

Florida

Florida House Bill 1455 is an attempt to limit THC levels in medical marijuana in the state. The maximum THC content would be 10% by volume, which makes little sense as THC is usually approximated as a percentage by weight. Anyway, the bill seems dead and won’t reach the state House of Representatives for a possible vote. Florida’s Health and Welfare Committee was not interested in clearing the bill, blocking it from further progress.

Meanwhile, two Florida medical marijuana companies are suing the city of Miami for failing to legislate to open pharmacies in the city. Miami ruled that since marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, it doesn’t have to accept the changes to the Florida Constitution to legalize marijuana in 2016. Now, in a legal battle, the companies are forcing the city to open pharmacies in the city. Both companies want to open on the same block, and if they are allowed to, the block will become a very popular place to buy marijuana.

Louisiana

Louisiana’s medical marijuana program does not allow patients to smoke, only to vaporize and consume them orally. That could change, however, as the House Health and Welfare Committee voted 12: 1 to expand the program to allow patients to smoke.

The bill must go through a number of other steps before patients are allowed to smoke. Under current law, patients cannot even buy flower form of cannabis. This is in contrast to states like Pennsylvania, where patients are also banned from smoking cannabis, but flowers are still available. This begs the question: when states like Pennsylvania sell flowers that are primarily smoked, do they condone smoking even though they prohibit it?

Louisiana will discuss the proposed expansion of its laws in its House of Representatives, and if it is passed there, the governor says he will likely allow it.

Corporate news

Uber can deliver cannabis

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber, was interviewed on CNBC and told the press that his team will consider supplying cannabis as part of Uber if the federal government legalizes cannabis. Imagine ordering your Maui Wowie or OG Kush using the Uber app! We can look forward to it when the government finally legalizes cannabis.

Stay tuned for more cannabis updates and news, and check back next week! If you like this blog and find it useful, please share our posts on Facebook! Many Thanks!

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Beth Edmonds