This week was full of marijuana news, both positive and negative, with mixed results across the globe. Here’s some international news in addition to plenty of U.S. legislation changes:
While Pennsylvania has offered medical marijuana to patients since 2016, the original legislation legalizing its use did not provide for any home growing. Now state senators are trying to address that gap in coverage with a new bill for the 2022 session. Previous attempts at introducing a provision for home growing just for medical patients failed as recently as the summer of 2021. But there is growing support within the state that may help this next round of legal changes pass. Many patients in Pennsylvania are located in rural areas that lack dispensaries, making it hard for some licensed users to access the marijuana they need to treat their conditions.
On November 17th, Michigan’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued a massive recall that ended up involving around 70% of the raw cannabis flower on the commercial market. While that fact alone was headline news, the story has become quite a bit more complicated now in the second week of the recall. Now Viridis Labs, Michigan’s largest testing company, is accusing the regulatory agency of having ulterior motives in ordering such a large recall. The recall was initiated when the agency became concerned about the company’s testing procedures that dated all the way back to August. A lawsuit was filed this week by Viridis Labs claiming the recall was designed to shutter their company rather than to protect consumers.
Many states have maintained a “plain smell law” to allow cops to perform warrantless searches based on the claim they smelled marijuana. Illinois has become one of the latest states to drop this law and rule that it’s not enough evidence to justify a search. The state legalized recreational and medical marijuana in 2020, but numerous citizens have still undergone warrantless searches since then. Now the law is no longer accepted as precedence for new cases, ensuring that citizens of Illinois have a little more privacy when traveling with marijuana in their vehicle for legal reasons.
On the global scale, Germany has finally signaled its intent to legalize adult recreational marijuana after years of decriminalization. Germany’s incoming coalition government has signaled that part of their reform platform will include provisions for adult use beyond the current medical allowances. They also plan to review the impact of the new policy four years after the change, allowing for changes at that time if needed. However, the plan does call for far more restricted advertisement than other countries, not only on marijuana but also tobacco and alcohol products.
While voters in South Dakota may have shown enough support at the polls to pass an amendment to the state constitution that would have legalized recreational marijuana, the state’s Supreme Court has struck it down over technical violations. The fight to strike down the amendment was brought by the Republican state governor, who opposed the legalization efforts. The Supreme Court noted that the law was too far-reaching, including hemp and marijuana legalization efforts in the same amendment. Despite citizen support, residents of the state will continue to wait for access to the same products that are already legal in the states around them.
For years, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs has pursued a strategy of denying support for studying and expanding access to medical marijuana for veterans in particular. However, they may be changing that position now that the head of the department has announced meetings with the White House to drop restrictions holding the agency back. If the current restrictions on the VA are lifted, they could possibly start prescribing marijuana for veteran patients, at least within states where it’s already legal. Due to federal regulations, any VA-affiliated doctors can’t officially recommend it as a treatment since it’s still a scheduled substance.