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Jean has dedicated her entire career to the cannabis sector, helping growers, dispensaries, investors, receivers, and other stakeholders achieve their business goals and prepare for unexpected issues. She has extensive experience with medical marijuana, retail marijuana, hemp, and CBD products, and helps clients as they establish their businesses, mitigate risk, and resolve disputes. Known for responding to clients within 24 hours or less, Jean is also a go-to advisor for a wide range of day-to-day operational issues.

I. Today’s Marijuana Landscape

Despite marijuana’s continued federal classification as a Schedule I controlled substance,[1] 26 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws at least partially decriminalizing marijuana possession and recreational use.[2] A majority of Americans now live in states where marijuana is legal for recreational use,[3] and nearly three-quarters of Americans live in states that have legalized marijuana for either recreational or medical sales and use.[4] Currently, 14 states have only legalized medical use,[5] while 24 states and the District of Columbia have implemented regulatory schemes for both medical and recreational use.[6] Of the remaining 12 states where marijuana is still illegal, possession is decriminalized in two states.[7] The map below illustrates these categories.[8]Continue Reading The Path and Politics of Marijuana Legislation: State-by-State Progress and Future Directions

The federal rescheduling of marijuana has been a topic of conversation within the marijuana industry since President Biden’s statement requesting that the secretary of health and human services (HHS) and the attorney general (AG) “initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.”[1] However, the Supreme Court’s recent decision overturning the Chevron doctrine adds an additional layer to an already complicated process. While the exact impact of Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo[2] on the cannabis industry remains to be seen, this article explores the way in which it may impact the pending rescheduling.Continue Reading Navigating the New Legal Landscape: The Impact of Loper Bright on Federal Marijuana Rescheduling

On May 16, 2024, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) related to the transfer of marijuana from schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to schedule III, consistent with the recommendation provided by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in August 2023. The CSA requires that

Among the two most widely reported federal changes to cannabis regulation are the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) proposed regulation for the federal rescheduling of marijuana (the Proposed Rescheduling) and amendments to the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (the Farm Bill). The Proposed Rescheduling would result in the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I[1] of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to Schedule III[2] of the CSA.[3] The proposed amendments to the Farm Bill would change the definition of “hemp” to remedy a loophole currently utilized by hemp manufacturers who manufacture and sell intoxicating cannabis products.Continue Reading Bridging Federal and State Cannabis Laws: Understanding the Impact of Proposed Changes and North Carolina’s Legislative Actions

The rapid evolution of intoxicating cannabinoids has brought forth significant changes and challenges to both the agricultural and commercial cannabis sectors across the U.S. These new cannabinoids have exposed gaps in state and federal regulatory frameworks, allowing intoxicating substances to be marketed without the stringent level of oversight applied to state-legal cannabis products. These hemp-derived cannabinoids are often sold in gas stations and convenience stores, posing significant risks to consumers, especially minors. The lack of clear federal guidelines has left state attorneys general (AG) grappling with this gray market, leading to calls for legislative action to address the issue comprehensively.Continue Reading The Miller Amendment: Redefining Hemp to Protect Public Safety and Fair Competition in the Cannabis Industry

Introduction

The medicinal and recreational use and popularity of marijuana has continuously grown throughout the U.S. since Oregon became the first state to decriminalize marijuana in 1973. To date, thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have implemented medical marijuana programs, twenty-five of which have also expanded into adult-use.Continue Reading Advising a Cannabis-Related Business: The Importance of Attorneys in Navigating the Marijuana Regulatory Framework and Licensing Scheme

Only one day after reports surfaced that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will proceed with rescheduling cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) reintroduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA or the Act), a nearly 300-page bill that would create a framework for the comprehensive regulation and taxation of cannabis in the United States. Then, on May 16th, the Department of Justice issued its notice of proposed rulemaking to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III. Administrative and legislative approaches to cannabis reform each have their own strengths and weakness that must be carefully considered. In addition, these competing approaches offer an opportunity to highlight the political differences between administrative and legislative policy reform at the federal level.Continue Reading The Enemy of the Good: Comparing Administrative v. Legislative Approaches to Cannabis Reform

Just before the close of the Colorado legislature’s 2024 session, lawmakers approved a bill aimed at streamlining several deficiencies in the state’s regulation of marijuana businesses. While not all the bill’s intended fixes were passed, certain provisions will facilitate significant changes for businesses, including for licensing processes, contaminant testing protocols, reporting obligations, compliance procedures, and operations management practices. Several notable changes are discussed below.Continue Reading Key Regulatory Changes in Colorado’s Marijuana Industry – What Businesses Need to Know

A recent lawsuit in Alabama, challenging the award of medical cannabis licenses by regulators, underscores the potential pitfalls in licensing regimes where applicants are selected based on specific enumerated factors. Below, we examine the Alabama lawsuit in greater detail and consider the alternative policy of utilizing a lottery system to award licenses.Continue Reading Awarding Medical Cannabis Licenses: Takeaways From Recent Alabama Lawsuit

Recent developments in the Massachusetts cannabis industry, significant legislative changes, and legal actions have spotlighted the contentious issue of so-called community impact fees. These fees, which are intended to offset municipal costs associated with hosting cannabis businesses, have sparked debate regarding their fairness and implementation.Continue Reading Massachusetts Cannabis Firms Contest Alleged Misdocumentation of Community Impact Fees