Updated October 2018
Cannabis Developments Keep Coming
News from the legal marijuana business world
Canada. After 95 years of prohibiting the sale
and use of cannabis, Canada’s Senate and House of Commons have approved
legalizing recreational dried cannabis sales to begin in mid-October 2018.
Regulations involving edibles and infused products should follow next year.
Adults will be able to possess up to 30 grams (one
ounce) of dried cannabis in public. Some provinces will permit consumption by 18
year olds (the federal age), and others 19 years of age. Guidelines on the sale,
packaging, branding, health warnings and the like will be established by
Canada’s federal government, but the provinces will have the power to set other
limits, such as where cannabis can be consumed.
United States. In June 2018, U.S. Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)
and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced a states’ rights bill that
would permit states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and federally
recognized tribes to determine their own policies and procedures regulating
cannabis, without interference from the federal government.
Aptly named the “Strengthening the Tenth Amendment
Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act,” the bill would amend the Controlled
Substances Act so that a person acting in compliance with his/her local law on
cannabis would not be violating federal law. In addition:
Industrial hemp would be excluded from the definition of “controlled
The Act would strengthen the cannabis industry’s ability to
obtain and maintain banking relationships by excluding compliant
transactions from prohibitions on trafficking and unlawful transactions.
Cannabis businesses would be taxed as other businesses are
taxed and permitted to claim typical business deductions.
States would be prohibited from permitting the distribution of
cannabis to persons under age 21 except for medical purposes.
Sen. Warren stated in her sponsor statement that “the
federal government needs to get out of the business of outlawing marijuana.”
Sen. Gardner remarked that this “bipartisan common-sense bill ensures the
federal government will respect the will of the voters ― whether that is
legalization or prohibition ― and not interfere in any state’s legal marijuana
industry.” Three other major marijuana bills are pending on Capitol Hill.
In October 2018, California Republican Representative
Dana Rohrabacher said that he has been holding talks with President Trump and
his cabinet concerning federal marijuana reform, focusing on medical marijuana
use. Rep. Rohrabacher stated that the Trump administration has made a “solid
commitment” to reforming federal laws as early as spring 2019, with formal talks
beginning after the November mid-term elections. This development is indicative
of the wave of pro-marijuana initiatives across the U.S.
Arizona. On May 23, 2018, the Arizona Supreme
Court ruled that public college students with valid patient identification cards
cannot be criminally prosecuted for possessing marijuana on campus. It is still
illegal to possess cannabis on campus if the possessor does not have the
state-issued patient card. State of Arizona v. Andre Lee Juwaun Maestas,
No. CR-17-0193-PR, filed May 23, 2018.
If you have questions concerning this development,
please contact marijuana business attorney Janet Jackim at 480-425-2616 or by email.