This week, the U.S. Conference of Mayors – which represents the 1,400 U.S. cities with populations of 30,000 or more – passed a resolution urging Congress to pass the SAFE Banking Act of 2021, the MORE Act and the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA), which has yet to be formally introduced.
The House of Representatives has passed both the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act and the MORE Act at least six times in recent years but the Senate has yet to take these bills to a vote. Per the resolution, the SAFE Banking Act would “provide financial security for cannabis dispensaries and related companies and enhance public safety” while the MORE Act and/or the CAOA would “legaliz[e] the medicinal use of cannabis and the adult use of recreational cannabis.” Continue reading “U.S. Mayors Call on Congress to Pass Cannabis Reform”
Last week, my colleague Seth Goldberg and I published a client alert highlighting a series of cases filed in Oregon federal court against Curaleaf for allegedly mislabeling THC products as containing only CBD, which allegedly caused consumers of those products to experience and unwanted “high” resulting from ingestion of the products. A consumer class action lawsuit seeking $200 for each consumer who purchased the products was filed by the same Plaintiffs’ counsel. This class action lawsuit further highlights the fact that cannabis manufacturers need to ensure that proper SOPS, protocols, and measures of compliance are in place to ensure the safety of their products, and it demonstrates the types of claims that can be asserted when cannabis product safety issues, such as labeling discrepancies, arise. Class action claims, given the number of potential class members who may potentially recover, raise the stakes of litigation resulting from product safety issues. In addition, there also may be regulatory action taken and statutory fines imposed.
The Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC) is conducting an ongoing investigation into Curaleaf regarding an alleged mislabeling of a nonpsychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) product, which actually contained psychoactive delta-9 tetrahydracannabinol (THC). Curaleaf operates 101 retail cannabis dispensaries in 16 states. The OLCC investigation revealed that the alleged mislabeling resulted from an employee’s confusing the CBD bottles with the THC bottles in preparing the Curaleaf cannabis products at issue. The incident caused consumers ingesting those products to have experienced a “high” they did not anticipate, and ultimately led to the recall of approximately 500 bottles of tincture from the Oregon market. At least three of those consumers went to the emergency room due to the high, one consumer was hospitalized and one consumer’s estate brought a claim for wrongful death.
Seth Goldberg is a Team Lead of Duane Morris’s Cannabis Industry Group, a cannabis business advisor, and a trial attorney with experience in products liability and consumer fraud claims. Ethan Feldman is an associate in the firm’s Trial department, with experience in products liability and consumer fraud.
The NJ Assembly passed two bills, 1897 and 4269 that would decriminalize possession of certain amounts of cannabis, while reducing penalties for what would still be deemed to be an arrestable/convictable offense.
The measures, which were introduced at the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee on Monday, passed by a 63-10 vote.
Per NJBIZ, a Senate version (Senate Bill 2535) was introduced on March 16 to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but has not moved since introduction.
There will still be work to do to reconcile the Assembly bills with Senate Bill 2535 which was introduced on June 4th and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee but much of the same language was used in both the Assembly and Senate versions.
One the key difference between the Senate and Assemble versions is the treatment regarding possession of up to a pound of marijuana. Yes, you read that right – a POUND.
Under the Senate bill, possession of up to a pound of cannabis will no longer be an arrestable offense, replacing it with a written warning for first offenses and a $25 civil penalty or community service for any afterward.
The Assembly bills instead call for a reduced penalty for possession of up to a pound and thereby lowers a first-time offense from 18 months to 6 months of imprisonment, and fines from $10,000 to $1,000. Any subsequent offenses would be met with the current level of punishment.
Possession of up to 2 oz. of cannabis, under current state law, has sentencing guidelines for up to 18 months in jail and fines of up to $10,000.
Under current law, possession of between 1 pound and 5 pounds is punishable with imprisonment between 3-5 years or fines up to $25,000, or both.
These bills come a few months before the upcoming 2020 presidential election, where voters will decide whether recreational marijuana should be legalized for adult-use. Currently, polling has support for legalization at 67% among NJ residents.
Duane Morris has a robust Cannabis Practice Group to assist clients in all facets of the cannabis arena including formation, licensing, fund raising, regulatory, real estate, and intellectual property. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.
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If you have any questions about this post, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Paul Josephson or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.
Beverages infused with cannabis are becoming increasingly popular categories in both the beverage and cannabis industries. However, the regulatory regime resulting from the federal prohibition of cannabis inhibits the growth of this category in unique ways. Seth Goldberg, a Duane Morris trial partner and Team Lead of the Cannabis Industry Group, was a guest of the popular alcohol industry broadcast “On & Off” to discuss the current state of the cannabis industry, the rising popularity of cannabis beverages, and unique aspects of cannabis beverage regulation.