• The Latest: CBD and Cannabis

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    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Each week, NACS brings you a round up news and information on cannabis and CBD to help you stay updated on the fast-moving products and their legality.  Here are the topics in the news for the week of Feb. 23 to March 1:

    U.S. Federal Activity

    • FDA Plans First Public Hearings on CBD for April 2019. The FDA will hold its first public hearings on CBD in April as the agency weighs rules allowing companies to add the popular cannabis-based compound to food, according to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. While testifying before Congress, he offered some options as to how such regulation could work. For example, high concentrations of CBD might be regulated as a drug that has more stringent oversight, while lower concentrations could be categorized as food products that come with an easier review process. That said, Gottlieb warned that it would not be a “straightforward” process and may require more consultations with (and potentially assistance from) Congress. (Sources: CNBCPoliticoBusiness Insider)
    • Washington Has Work to Do on Hemp. Industry representatives are pushing USDA to churn out federal guidance so state legislatures can draft their own hemp rules this year. Hemp lawyers specifically want speedy answers from USDA about insurance, organic certification and banking services. (Source: Politico)
    • Fed Chair Seeks Clarity from Congress on Marijuana Banking. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell acknowledged before the Senate Banking Committee that conflicting federal and state laws on the sale of marijuana and other cannabis products put bank supervisors in a “very difficult place” and noted that it would “be great to have clarity” to provide to financial institutions. (Source: CNBC
    Members of Congress Introduce Marijuana Legalization Legislation.
    • Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) reintroduced his bill—the Marijuana Justice Act—to legalize marijuana for recreational use nationwide. The bill would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances, expunge previous marijuana-related federal convictions, and establish a fund to invest in communities affected by mass incarceration due to marijuana-related arrests. (Source: The HillWashington Post)
    • Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced three wide-ranging marijuana bills that would tackle an array of cannabis-related issues. The legislation would end the federal cannabis prohibition, bar the federal government from using funds to interfere in state-legal marijuana programs, and encourage reform policies to help communities of color participate in the legal market. (Source: Marijuana Moment
    U.S. State and Local Activity
    • Marijuana Legalization Bills Advance in Several States. This month alone, bills to legalize and regulate adult-use marijuana have advanced through key committees in at least four states. In New Mexico, three separate House and Senate committees have approved two different legal marijuana bills; in New Hampshire, the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee advanced a marijuana legalization bill (which was subsequently approved by the entire state House of Representatives); in Hawaii, the Senate Judiciary unanimously voted to approve cannabis legalization; and in Vermont, three Senate committees have voted to approve a system that would facilitate legal marijuana sales in the state. (Source: Forbes
    • Alabama Health Department Warns Against Counterfeit CBD Products. Alabama’s Department of Public Health has issued a notice cautioning the public to avoid using any “untested, unregulated, and potentially dangerous products,” including CBD. The notice further clarifies the current state of play under Alabama law with respect to CBD and, more generally, cannabis. (Sources: NBC15Alabama Department of Public Health)
    • Georgia House Passes Hemp Farming Bill. The Georgia House overwhelmingly passed the Georgia Hemp Farming Act, which would—among other things—enable the Department of Agriculture, licensees, and universities to promote the cultivation and processing of hemp (tied to the federal definition) and the commercial sale of hemp products. (Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution)
    • Local Iowa Police Department Reminds Retailers of CBD’s Illegality. The Mount Pleasant Police Department released a statement on social media reminding residents that the open sale of CBD products is illegal in Iowa. (Source: KTVO)
    • Michigan Looks for Advice to Develop Rules for Legal Marijuana. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is looking for volunteers to help with the development of rules and regulations that will govern the recreational marijuana market. The state has until December to come up with the rules and then will begin to hand out licenses. Commercial sales of marijuana are expected to begin sometime early next year and pot for recreational use will be available to people who are at least 21. (Source:Detroit Free Press)
    • Nearly 300 Michigan Towns Nix Marijuana Businesses. Less than three months after Michigan voters approved legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use, many of the state’s cities, townships, and villages are not high on pot. As part of the state’s ballot proposal, communities have to take a vote to ban recreational marijuana businesses from operating within their borders, and nearly 300 communities across Michigan have voted to prohibit those businesses, according to an unofficial list compiled by the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Department. (Source: Detroit Free Press)
    • North Carolina Says It’s Cracking Down on CBD Shops, but Targets Distributors Instead. Despite saying they would send letters warning retailers about what CBD products they can and can’t sell, there’s no evidence that North Carolina officials are sending any such letters. Instead, distributors/processors have received the guidance. (Source: Fox46)
    • South Dakota Lawmakers Push Forward on Industrial Hemp Licensing, Despite Opposition from Governor. A South Dakota Senate panel approved a bill 7-2 that would make it legal to grow industrial hemp. If approved by the full chamber without any changes, the measure would go to Governor Kristi Noem (R), who has asked lawmakers not pass such a bill this year. (Source: AP
    Miscellaneous
    • Don’t Expect a National Cannabis Brand Anytime Soon. Cannabis branding is at the “national anthem” stage, meaning there’s a lot of activity and anticipation, and all the players are suited up and ready to go, but the real game hasn’t started—yet. Some expect, however, that when the time comes, Starbucks may be the first “big chain” to launch cannabis-infused drinks. (Source: ForbesForbes)
    • Martha Stewart Teams Up With Cannabis Company. Canopy Growth—a publicly traded Canadian vendor of marijuana, oils, and other products for medical and recreational use—announced that Martha Stewart will advise the company as it develops and markets a broad line of CBD products derived from hemp for consumers. (Sources:CBS NewsLA Times)
    • Cannabis: Coming to a Mall Near You. Cannabis is not just going mainstream. It’s going upscale. The plant is showing up in luxe beauty products, sparking an array of glamorous accessories and becoming the focus of Wall Street investors. More than 100 shops selling lotions, balms and other personal care products infused with the cannabis extract CBD will be opening this year in premium centers owned by the nation's largest mall owner, Simon. (Source: USA Today)

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