The centuries of enslaving people of color and the overwhelming racism against and systemic mistreatment of Mexicans and other Hispanics in this country were and in many respects to this day remain horrid and indefensible. This has been no more apparent than in the U.S. “War on Drugs.” We can recount at length the original criminalization of cannabis in the 1930s and again in 1970 as almost purely racist, political and economic. It was a way, among other things, to lock up Mexicans and blacks and stop their efforts to hurt opposition candidates or take jobs away from “real” Americans. Leaders from those times have all but, and in some cases directly, admitted as much.
Gov. Phil Murphy and legislative leaders reached agreement on key provisions to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use, including how to tax and regulate it, and expunging past low-level marijuana offenses for certain users as a step toward social reform per reporting from Dan Munoz.
Per a press release issued by key Assembly Senate and the Governor’s office, we should expect to see the introduction of a cannabis bill within days.
Under the terms of the agreement:
• Adult-use marijuana would be subject to an excise tax of $42 per ounce, which will be imposed when marijuana is cultivated.
• Municipalities that are home to a cultivator or manufacturer would receive the revenue from a 2 percent tax on the product within their jurisdiction.
• Municipalities that are home to a wholesaler would receive the revenue from a 1 percent tax on the product within their jurisdiction.
• Municipalities that are home to a retailer would receive the revenue from a 3 percent tax on the product within their jurisdiction.
To start to address social equity concerns, the revised legislation will likely provide an expedited expungement process for individuals convicted of low-level marijuana offenses, and a separate expungement process that would automatically prevent certain marijuana offenses from being taken into account in particular areas such as education, housing and occupational licensing.
Additionally, there are a number of provisions that aim to ensure broad-based participation for women owned and minority owned businesses, low and middle-income individuals, and disadvantaged communities.
Under the proposed legislation, adult-use marijuana would be governed by a Cannabis Regulatory Commission, composed of 5 members—three appointed directly by the Governor to serve terms of at least 4 years, and 2 appointed by the Governor upon the recommendations of the speaker and Senate president.
The commission would be tasked with promulgating all regulations to govern the industry and overseeing applications for licensing of adult-use marijuana dispensaries.
-Brad A. Molotsky, Esq.
David Feldman, a Duane Morris partner and team lead of the firm’s Cannabis Industry Group, was quoted in the Corporate Counsel article, “With Gottlieb Leaving FDA, Uncertainty Over CBD and Hemp Regulation Remains.”
“There is tremendous confusion in the marketplace right now concerning what is and isn’t legal in hemp and CBD,” Feldman said. “We are comfortable as to knowing what we know is true. There is a lot of uncertainty as to what operators can and can’t do.”
Feldman said he is telling clients that there will be a path for legal hemp and legal CBD products, but that path does not yet exist. He said there is a process in place already for companies seeking approval for drugs with CBD in them, however there is still a question of what the approval process will be for food and beverages containing CBD.
To read the full article, visit the Corporate Counsel website (subscription required).
With many billions of dollars of business and tax revenue and many jobs at stake, as well as an emerging national debate about legalization, the U.S. cannabis industry has received quite a bit of media coverage. This has been especially true since Colorado and Washington were the first U.S. states to legalize cannabis adult use in 2012, and has morphed into a crescendo of content since California fully legalized in January 2018. And yes, in many cases, in today’s super-competitive world of selling words, at times it seems more about the punny headlines than the substance underneath.
A two-hour special program, “Cannabusiness: The Marijuana Industry,” will be broadcast on Sirius XM’s Business Radio, Channel 132. Duane Morris partner Seth Goldberg will be interviewed on the program. The program will be re-broadcast at the following times:
Tuesday, February 26 from 2 to 4 pm ET
Tuesday, February 26 from 8 to 10 pm ET
Wednesday, February 27 from 1 to 3 pm ET
Thursday, February 28 from 2 to 4 pm ET
Friday, March 1 from 5 to 7 pm ET
Saturday, March 2 at Midnight and then again from 7 to 9 pm ET
Sunday, March 3 at 8 am ET and then again from 6 to 8 pm ET
Earlier this week, Governor Murphy, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-3rd District, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, D-19th District, reached a tentative agreement on key pieces of adult use marijuana legislation, overcoming one of the key sticking points of how to tax the product sales, reaching a collective consensus of a $42 an ounce tax.
According to a recent Monmouth University Poll, 6 in 10 New Jersey adults support legalizing recreational marijuana. The February poll interviewed 604 New Jersey adults between Feb. 8 and 10, found that 62% of respondents favored legalizing small amounts of marijuana for personal use, compared to 32% of adults who said no to the prospect of legal marijuana in New Jersey.
68% of respondents said it would support the state economy, while 40% of respondents who support legal cannabis said it would boost tax revenue for New Jersey.
From an age perspective, 81% of millennials (i.e., ages 18 to 34), support legalizing marijuana, compared to 74% of adults ages 35 to 54, and 67% of adults 55 and older.
One of the other bones of contention that was overcome involved who will control the oversight commission. The current agreement would create a 5-member Cannabis Regulatory Commission to oversee the state’s marijuana industry, and Governor Murphy would be able to appoint 3 of the members without requiring Senate approval.
A earlier New Jersey marijuana legalization bill that was advanced by Assembly and Senate commitees in the fall of 2018 included a 12% sales tax. Under the Monday compromise, adult use marijuana purchasers will pay the same tax rate no matter what amount they purchased – meaning, $42 for an ounce, $21 for a half-ounce, $10.50 for a quarter-ounce or $5.25 for an eighth-ounce.
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee vote was 7-4 in favor, while the Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 7-3 to advance the bill. If legislation is moved, the “Marijuana Legalization Act” would allow users 21 years old and up to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.
The Parliament of the European Union is calling for a formal EU policy for the manufacture and use of medical cannabis and targeted funding for scientific research.
A number of EU states have legalised the use of certain forms of cannabis or cannabinoids for medical purposes and others are in the process of debating similar changes to their legislation.
However, the rules on which products are allowed and their permitted usage varies widely from state to state and at present no EU country authorises the smoking or home-growing of cannabis for medical purposes. Continue reading EU Parliament Vote Supports Medical Cannabis
Last year was a record year for cannabis. Canada passed the Cannabis Act, making adult-use cannabis legal there. The FDA approved a cannabidiol-based medicine, Epidiolex. And the President signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, aka the 2018 Farm Bill, into law on December 20, 2018.
While the 2018 Farm Bill granted the U.S. Department of Agriculture the ability to regulate hemp, it also preserved the right for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. The FDA regulates products such as human and animal drugs, biological products, cosmetics, food and animal feed, among other things. So any inclusion of cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, like CBD, in any of those types of products would be regulated by the FDA. The FDA has stated that this is true regardless of the source of the cannabis substance, be it hemp or marijuana.
The first public hearing on New Hampshire House Bill 481, which would legalize the adult use of cannabis in the state, is scheduled for February 5, 2019. The bill outlines how New Hampshire would regulate cannabis products, including recreational “adult use” products, the licensing and regulation of sales establishments, and the taxation scheme.
Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont all have legalized the “adult use” of cannabis, leaving New Hampshire as the only state in northern New England that has yet to do so. New Hampshire’s economy is very integrated into the New England and Metro Boston economies and serves as a valuable new market for the cannabis industry.
The February 5 public hearing will begin at 1:00 p.m. at Representatives Hall in the State House before the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The committee will amend the bill the following day, vote on the bill on Thursday, February 7, and send the bill to the floor of the New Hampshire House for its consideration in February.
Although Governor Christopher T. Sununu has said he will veto the bill, the bill is receiving bipartisan support and is expected to easily pass the House and Senate in the coming weeks, setting the stage for a potential veto override. It is also anticipated that the legislative effort will take a couple of months. Duane Morris will continue to follow these developments.
Most analysts are predicting no longer whether, but when, cannabis will become federally legal for adult use in the United States, as it has in Canada, Uruguay and a few other countries, with others such as Mexico expected to soon follow. It may come in the form of the government itself removing cannabis as a scheduled drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). It may come in the form of the current STATES Act pending in Congress, which would remove state-legal compliance from being subject to the CSA, or through other Congressional action. It may come through court action, such as the current constitutional challenge to the CSA as it applies to cannabis, whose initial dismissal was recently argued on appeal.
To read the full text of this article by Duane Morris partner David Feldman, please visit the Green Entrepreneur website.