Marijuana-Related Legal News from The Blunt Truth - May 25, 2021

This feature, from the Seyfarth Shaw law firm’s blog The Blunt Truth, summarizes news from the world of legalized marijuana.

The Mississippi Supreme Court struck down the state's medical marijuana ballot initiative. Alabama, moving in the opposite direction, legalized medical cannabis. On the federal level, Republicans proposed decriminalizing marijuana. The DEA moved forward on cannabis research (really!). 

MISSISSIPPI

Legal medical marijuana had a short life in Mississippi.  Approved by the voters in November 2020, it died this week in the state's Supreme Court, where the justices declared that it was based on conditions that no longer exist.  The ballot initiative process requires that at least 20% of all signatures to put an initiative on the ballot come from each of the state's five Congressional districts.  The problem is that, in the 2000 census, the state lost a seat, so there are only four districts.  The state never updated the rules, so it is now impossible to follow them.  Will the legislature enact a bill to legalize medical cannabis?  Possibly, but maybe they should do something about their ballot initiative conundrum first.

ALABAMA

In other news from the Deep South, Alabama's governor Kay Ivey (R) signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana.  The law establishes a Commission to run the program and license providers. The bill had bipartisan support, as Republican opposition to legalization waned, as it has in many states across the country.  The law goes into effect immediately.

FEDERAL DECRIMINALIZATION

If you need further proof that Republican views are changing as regards cannabis, look no further than the Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Medical Professionals Act.  This bill, introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH), would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, effectively decriminalizing it.

RESEARCH

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been dragging its feet on marijuana research for years now, as we've previously reported.  At long last, we can see signs of movement.  The agency announced that it has awarded a "Memorandum of Understanding" to several applicants to study cannabis. 

 

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