We missed last week’s blog because of some technical difficulties but we are back in action now as usual! Hopefully, you had a happy 4/20 holiday this week like we did. With that said, here are your most important cannabis news and updates from the last two weeks.
VA Hospitals Changing Restrictions
At this time, doctors working in VA hospitals across the country are not allowed to discuss medical marijuana with their patients. This is a terrible restriction since many patients, especially veterans, use marijuana to treat their ailments and stay off of more harmful, legally-prescribed drugs.
Now, a bill has been introduced to lift the federal ban on doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The bill would also create a five-year safe harbor protection for both veterans who use medical marijuana and their doctors.
The stars are aligning and this is another sign that federal legalization is on the horizon.
SAFE Banking Act Approved in Congress
Even bigger news comes in the form of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which has been approved by the House of Representatives for the fourth time. The Act will allow banks and credit unions to work with cannabis companies so they don’t have to work with cash for their transactions. This makes filing taxes tricky and the industry has grown so large over the years that the sheer volume of cash is difficult to process, let alone store.
The SAFE Banking Act has been approved three times before and needs to be sent to the Senate for consideration. Now that the Senate majority is held by the Democratic party, there is optimism that the Act will pass there too. It should be noted that there has been bipartisan support from both Republicans and Democrats. Twenty state governors sent letters to the House supporting the legislation.
Florida House Bill 1455 is an attempt to cap the THC levels of medical marijuana in that state. The maximum level of THC would be 10% by volume, which doesn’t make much sense since THC is usually approximated as a percentage of weight. Anyhow, the bill appears to be dead and will not reach the state’s House of Representatives for a possible vote. Florida’s Health and Human Services committee did not care to clear the bill, thus blocking it from further advancement.
Meanwhile, two Florida medical marijuana companies are suing the city of Miami for not creating any laws regarding allowing dispensaries to open in the city. Miami decided that since marijuana is still illegal federally, they do not have to accept the amendments to the Florida constitution legalizing marijuana in 2016. Now, the companies are forcing the city’s hand in a lawsuit to allow them to open dispensaries in the city. Both companies want to open on the same block and if they are allowed to do so, the block would become a very popular spot for purchasing marijuana.
The Louisiana medical marijuana program does not allow patients to smoke, only vaporize and consume by mouth. That could change, however, as the House Health and Welfare Committee voted 12-1 for an expansion to the program allowing patients to smoke.
The bill will need to pass a number of other steps before letting patients smoke. The way the law stands, patients are unable to even purchase flower form of cannabis. This is in contrast to states like Pennsylvania, where patients are also not allowed to smoke cannabis but flower is still available. This raises the question, if states like Pennsylvania sell flower, which is primarily smoked, are they condoning smoking despite banning it?
Louisiana will debate the proposed expansion to their laws in their House of Representatives and if it passes there, the governor says he is likely to allow it.
Uber May Deliver Cannabis
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was interviewed on CNBC and told the press that if the federal government legalizes cannabis, his team will consider delivering cannabis as part of Uber. Imagine using the Uber app to order your Maui Wowie or OG Kush! That’s what we can look forward to when the government finally legalizes cannabis.
Stay tuned for more cannabis updates and news and check back next week! If you enjoy this blog and find it useful, please share our posts on facebook! Thanks!