Duane Morris’ David Feldman will be presenting at the Women Grow 2018 Leadership Summit in Denver on February 2, 2018. David’s presentation, on a panel entitled, “Know the Law,” will focus on the origins of US federal criminalization of cannabis and current challenges under continuing federal restrictions.
Women Grow was created to connect, educate, inspire and empower the next generation of cannabis industry leaders by creating programs, community and events for aspiring and current business executives. Founded in 2014 in Denver, Women Grow is a for-profit entity that serves as a catalyst for women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry as the end of marijuana prohibition occurs on a national scale.
Duane Morris partners Seth Goldberg and David Feldman, members of Duane Morris’ Cannabis Law Practice Group, were panelists for an ACG webinar, “Cannabis: Investing in One of the Fastest “Growing” Segments of the Life Sciences Industry” on May 9, 2017. You may view the webinar below.
Last week WV Governor Jim Justice (great name) signed into law a bill passed by the state legislature to permit the production and sale of medical marijuana in the state. This makes West Virginia the 29th US state to legalize medical marijuana. It is also one of the few states acting through legislation rather than requiring approval of the voters in a referendum.
It does seem that the legalization train is very much out of the station and it appears only a matter of time before most, if not all states permit at least medical marijuana. There is more and more evidence of the potentially wide range of help for illnesses and maladies well beyond simply helping chemotherapy patients reduce nausea. For example, earlier this year a case was studied seeming to indicate that cannabis extract can be used to treat serious wounds.
Our President and his spokesman both have indicated their support of legalizing medical marijuana. In the meantime, we continue to carefully monitor the interplay between the state and federal regimes.
Last week, in a both exciting and sobering press release, Canada announced a plan to fully “legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access” to cannabis in the Great White North. The release starts bluntly: “The current approach to cannabis does not work.”
The government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clearly favors both medical and recreational cannabis legalization. They retain strong concerns, however, about the ease with which teenagers are able to obtain marijuana, as well as alcohol and drug-impaired driving. Thus, their new plan, dubbed the Cannabis Act, will strengthen penalties for impaired driving and selling marijuana to minors.
The hope, as indicated in the press release, is to work with the legislature to implement full cannabis legalization by July 2018. A surprising number of great things were invented or developed in Canada: peanut butter, the egg carton, IMAX, the walkie-talkie, the baggage tag and even insulin. Maybe we can follow the lead of our friends to the North and move towards removal of federal restrictions in the US as well, because doing so would eliminate a good deal of confusion regarding applicable federal and state laws, which has inhibited the US cannabis industry. US cannabis industry participants are certainly urged to retain counsel with expertise in navigating the complex regulatory structure here.
In a major development for New York, its Department of Health officially approved a regulation, first proposed in December, to allow people with “any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability” that has lasted or is expected to last at least three months to access legal medical marijuana. The state separately also approved allowing physician’s assistants to prescribe medical cannabis under certain conditions.
New York State started with one of the smallest lists of ailments that can be treated with medical cannabis, taking a very limited approach at first. So this is a very positive step, though observers are hoping things like PTSD also would be added, as New Jersey recently did. New York also looked at Alzheimer’s, muscular dystrophy, dystonia, and rheumatoid arthritis but has not decided to add them yet.
One of the few maladies that has actually been researched, chronic pain has been shown to be meaningfully aided by cannabis and a much safer option than opioids, which are often addictive. Now what we need: more research! A lot is going on in Canada, Israel and other places, but hopefully the DEA will continue to ease restrictions on research here in the