Wednesday, September 27, 2023

By 14-9 vote, Senate committee finally advances marijuana banking bill

No-SAFE-Banking-On-The-NDAAAs reported here by Marijuana Moment, the "Senate Banking Committee has approved a bipartisan marijuana banking bill with amendments, sending it to the floor."  Here are some details:

On Wednesday, members voted to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act, sponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT), in a 14-9 vote. This comes one week after it was filed with revisions that were meant to bolster its bipartisan buy-in....

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT), the lead GOP sponsor of the SAFER Banking Act, emphasized that he does not view the legislation as a step toward legalization, which he opposes. But “the current all cash model of legal cannabis businesses makes him targets for theft, for tax evasion and for organized crime,” he said. “The key to addressing this risk is by ensuring that all legal businesses have access to the banking system,” Daines said....

The road to Wednesday’s vote has been bumpy. While the House has passed earlier versions of the legislation several times, this marks the first time the Senate has taken the lead—and bipartisan negotiations have proved trying.

Leadership aimed to move the bill through committee in July, but disagreements over provisions related to broad banking regulations shot that timeline down. Then, over the August recess, lawmakers drafted a revised version, with a slightly updated title and new language that earned some praise from both sides of the aisle.

But the amended SAFER Banking Act that was finally released last week is likely not in its final form. Beside amendments adopted during Wednesday’s markup, there are additionally plans to amend it on the floor. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants to use that opportunity to incorporate legislation on incentivizing state-level cannabis expungements, as well as protecting gun rights for marijuana consumers.

September 27, 2023 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Campaigns, elections and public officials concerning reforms, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 21, 2023

DEPC event: "Will of the Voters?: The Future of Adult-Use Marijuana in Ohio"

C0225049-6f1a-4f06-b835-9d499dad5ca1I am pleased to spotlight another great Drug Enforcement and Policy Center (DEPC) event taking place next month titled "Will of the Voters?: The Future of Adult-Use Marijuana in Ohio."  Here is how this online event, which is on October 23, 2023 from 12 noon to 1:15 p.m. EDT, is described on this page (where you can register):

To date, 23 states have legalized adult-use cannabis for recreational purposes.  In November of this year, Ohioans will have a chance to voice their views on whether the Buckeye state should follow in their footsteps. While the Ohio initiative is similar in many ways to other states’ reforms to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use, Ohio’s cannabis reform history and the particular details of the ballot proposal’s approach to legalization give a unique Buckeye character to this effort. Also, as initiated legislation (rather than as a proposed constitutional amendment) the Ohio General Assembly will be able to modify any parts of the initiative if it passes.

Join the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center for a panel discussion featuring experts as well as former and current legislators.  The event will explore this initiative’s structure, and its expected implementation, and how this initiative could impact the state’s existing medical marijuana market.  It will also delve into the chances of passage given the off-cycle election year and other political dynamics related to how the Ohio General Assembly might respond to the outcome of the election.


State Representative Josh Williams, Ohio District 41

John Carney, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

Jason Ortiz, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Last Prisoner Project


Douglas A. Berman, Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law; Executive Director of the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center

September 21, 2023 in Initiative reforms in states, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Tulsa Law Review examining "Contemporary Cannabis: Wading Through a Post-Prohibition Era"

I was asked to post this call for papers, which I am happy to do:

Tulsa Law Review, in conjunction with the University of Tulsa College of Law and the University of Tulsa, is hosting a Symposium on Cannabis Law and Policy on March 1, 2024.

Theme: Contemporary Cannabis: Wading Through a Post-Prohibition Era

Tulsa Law Review invites interested parties to write and submit relevant articles for publication consideration in our 2024 Symposium Issue.  One panel will focus on evidentiary and interdisciplinary issues with the increasing legalization of cannabis at the medical and recreation level.  The other panel will discuss legalization at the state level and its effects on corporate and banking spheres.

With the recent announcement of the US Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III substance, we are excited to facilitate a thoughtful discussion and a variety of papers surrounding this timely topic.

Questions and paper proposals should be submitted to Cameron Skinner, Tulsa Law Review symposium editor, [email protected]

September 12, 2023 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical community perspectives, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate | Permalink | Comments (0)

"A Prescription for Progress? Would a Schedule III Reclassification of Psychoactive Cannabis Help or Hurt State Operators?"

The title of this post is the title of this timely new paper now on SSRN and authored by Benton Bodamer, who is a member of Dickinson Wright PLLC and an Adjunct Professor of Law at OSU and affiliated with the Drug Enforcement Policy Center. Here is its abstract:

On August 30, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concluded a scheduling review of psychoactive cannabis and recommended that the Drug Enforcement Administration “reschedule” psychoactive cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.  The next 6 to 12 months could be among the most transformative for the U.S. cannabis industry, but progress is unlikely to come without regulatory confusion, conflicts of federal laws, and unintended consequences.  This paper aims to answer major questions that remain following the release of HHS’s statement, including why psychoactive cannabis was on Schedule I given its medical uses, whether a move to Schedule III effectively legalizes existing state-compliant cannabis companies, if relief from 280E tax or advertising restrictions are likely, and whether a move to Schedule III opens up banking for existing cannabis companies.  The paper ends with a look at the road ahead.

September 12, 2023 in Business laws and regulatory issues, Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, History of Marijuana Laws in the United States, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Recreational Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Some press accounts of impact of marijuana possible movement to Schedule III of the CSA

As noted in this prior post, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is officially recommending that marijuana be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III under federal law.  A number of media outlets and other sources have done useful  reviews of what this means for marijuana law and policy, and here is a round up of some pieces:

From the AP, "US regulators might change how they classify marijuana. Here’s what that would mean"

From Foley Hoag, "The Cannabis Rescheduling Recommendation: What it Means and What’s Next"

From Forbes, "What Would The Reclassification Of Marijuana Mean For The Industry?"

From Harris Bricken, "Three Myths and Three Facts on the HUGE Marijuana Rescheduling Recommendation"

From Marijuana Moment, "Moving Marijuana To Schedule III Could Have Sweeping Impacts For Businesses, Federal Employees, Research And More"

From MSNBC, "What the federal 'rescheduling' of cannabis would (and wouldn't) mean"

From Vox, "Marijuana could be classified as a lower-risk drug. Here’s what that means."

From the Washington Post, "Possible easing of marijuana restrictions could have major implications"

September 5, 2023 in Federal Marijuana Laws, Policies and Practices, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (1)

"Prosecutor-Initiated Record Relief in Ohio: A Survey of Prosecutorial Plans to Seal and Expunge Low-Level Controlled Substance Offenses"

The title of this post is the title of this new paper available via SSRN from multiple authors including Jana Hrdinova, Dexter Ridgway and Peter Leasure. Here it is abstract:

Ohio Senate Bill 288 (134th G.A.) created Ohio Revised Code Section (2953.39) to allow prosecutors to initiate sealing or expungement actions on behalf of defendants previously convicted of low-level controlled substance offenses.  After passage of this new law, the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center at The Ohio State University surveyed all elected or appointed prosecutors in Ohio to gauge their office's interest and willingness to initiate record sealing or expungement applications on behalf of people who have been previously convicted of a low-level controlled substance offense.  Overall, about 12% of respondents stated that they were willing to pursue prosecutor-initiated sealing for low-level controlled substance offenses.  For those who reported that they were unlikely to pursue prosecutor-initiated sealing, common explanations for not doing so included the lack of staffing resources, the lack of financial resources, the lack of data, the belief it is not the responsibility of prosecutors, and the sufficiency of the defendant-initiated system.

September 5, 2023 in Criminal justice developments and reforms, Who decides | Permalink | Comments (0)