Cannabis Law Update

Updates on Laws, Regulations and Trends Impacting the Cannabis Industry

On August 9, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law Assembly Bill 5322, establishing the state’s program for cultivation, handling, processing, transport, and sale of hemp.  The bill also repeals the New Jersey Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, which was passed in late 2018.  Here are some key takeaways from the new law: Under the new law, titled the New Jersey Hemp Farming Act, “hemp” is defined the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of…
CBD marketers can learn something from the food industry.  And it has nothing to do with the regulatory morass around whether CBD can be legally added to foods.  It’s about managing the risk of consumer false advertising litigation.  Lawsuits filed in California and New York help illustrate what kinds of cases are already being brought and suggest that broader food and beverage litigation trends are likely to be instructive. In Horn v. Medical Marijuana, Inc., plaintiffs, a truck…
We’ve written a lot about FDA’s current position on CBD in food and the ongoing process to evaluate a potential non-drug pathway for the ingredient that emerged seemingly out of nowhere to capture the attention of consumers, legislators, and regulators alike.  While we all wait for FDA to announce an update to its review, states continue to push forward… in seemingly divergent directions. On July 19, 2019, New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets (the “Department”) issued a …
As readers of this blog already may know, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently allows cannabis – consisting of the marijuana plant, with greater than 0.3% THC content – to be grown for research purposes at only one location: The University of Mississippi. This past June, the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) challenged this federally-imposed limitation in court.  SRI filed a Petition with the D.C. Circuit – the appellate court often charged with reviewing federal…
Last week, FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chief Information Officer Dr. Amy Abernethy released a series of tweets indicating that the agency is “expediting” its work towards addressing the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the regulation of hemp-derived CBD. Dr. Abernethy also stated that FDA plans to report on the agency’s progress around the end of summer or early fall. As we have discussed before, FDA has been receiving pressure from Senator Ron Wyden…
On June 25, 2019, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a letter urging Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless to take action by addressing the confusion and uncertainty surrounding the regulation of hemp-derived CBD. Specifically, Senator Wyden requested that FDA issue guidance announcing a formal enforcement discretion policy by August 1, 2019 and, pending publication of a permanent final rule, issue an…
On June 25, 2019, Governor Jay B. Pritzker signed the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (HR1438) (“Cannabis Act”) into law. When the law goes into effect on January 1, 2020, Illinois will be the second largest state (after California) to allow the use and possession of recreational cannabis for all citizens over age 21. Notably, Illinois is the first state to legalize recreational cannabis use through legislative action, rather than ballot initiative. Businesses in Illinois should have one simple question in…
As we’ve written about several times, the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp but specified that it must be done pursuant to a state or tribal plan, known as a 279B plan. Such a plan is not effective until approved by the Secretary of Agriculture. The USDA has not yet issued its own hemp plan, and has stated that it will not approve any state or Indian tribe’s plan until after it issues its own.…
On May 28, 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (“USDA”) Office of the General Counsel issued a Legal Opinion, which attempts to address open questions relating to interstate transport of hemp. While the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp production, the current state of the law as to whether it is legal to transport hemp through states that do not currently allow the production or sale of hemp is unclear. We recently published an article
Earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill by a vote of 29 to 21. The committee report accompanying the bill included notable language on CBD.  Specifically, it expressed concern regarding potential safety issues such as drug interactions, somnolence, liver toxicity, the presence of THC or other compounds, and aggressive health benefit claims.  These were among the many issues discussed…