CBD and Cannabis News Update

COVID-19 continues to stall legislation on legalizing marijuana in various states.

April 14, 2020

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—NACS publishes periodic roundups of news and information on cannabis and CBD to help update Daily readers on the fast-moving products and their legality. Here are the topics in the news for the week of April 12-18, as the CBD and cannabis industry responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. Federal Activity

  • Pandemic Upends Pot Legalization. What was supposed to be a banner year for marijuana legalization is becoming a bust. Advocates are pushing ballot referendums in nearly a dozen states, ranging from Idaho to New Jersey. Governors and state lawmakers who failed to pass legalization last year—most notably in New York—vowed that 2020 would be different. But social distancing has put ballot drives on pause, and state lawmakers are overwhelmed with addressing the crisis at hand. (Source: Politico)
  • FDA Cracks Down on Three CBD Companies Making COVID-19 Claims. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to three more CBD retailers for making COVID-19 claims. Letters were sent to Indigo Naturals and Native Roots Hemp last Monday, and to CBD Online Store last Wednesday. The FDA warned them to stop making claims linked to the coronavirus or else risk legal action, including seizure and injunction. (Source: Hemp Industry Daily
  • Marijuana Lobby Calls for Relief From States. The cannabis industry lobby urged governors to provide state-based loans for their businesses because cannabis companies are not eligible to receive funds from the coronavirus relief package. Six groups, including the National Cannabis Industry Association and National Cannabis Roundtable, wrote a letter to state treasurers and governors to ask for their help last Thursday. (Source: The Hill)
State and Local Activity
  • Groups Want Arizona Court to Allow for Online Petition Signatures. Groups trying to put measures on the November ballot are asking the Arizona Supreme Court to let them gather the remaining signatures they need online. In a new lawsuit last Thursday, attorneys for four initiative campaigns argued that COVID-19 has made it effectively impossible for them to make contact with individuals and get them to sign the petitions. So they are asking the state’s high court to declare that they have the same right as political candidates to have people use the existing E-Qual system to get the signatures they need. (Source: Tucson.com)
  • Phoenix Marijuana Dispensary Hawks COVID-19 “Immunization Stabilizer;” State Orders It to Stop. A Phoenix marijuana dispensary stopped just short of saying it had a COVID-19 cure. But YiLo Superstore did say it had a coronavirus "immunization stabilizer tincture" that you could mix with water "should you come down with a life-threatening virus." (Source: AZ Central)
  • Recreational Marijuana Shops Sue Gov. Baker Over Shutdown. A group of marijuana dispensaries have sued Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker over his decision to shut down recreational pot operations in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The lawsuit filed last Wednesday asks the court to allow recreational pot shops to reopen, saying the closure will cause serious harm to the industry. (Source: WBUR)
  • OLCC Will Temporarily Accept Expired State of Oregon Issued ID. Oregon regulators are allowing marijuana businesses to accept expired in-state driver licenses or identification cards during the coronavirus outbreak. (Source: Oregon.gov)
  • New York Governor Signs Budget With $11B in Borrowing, No New Taxes. New York's governor has signed a budget that doesn’t legalize and tax cannabis, authorizes $11 billion in borrowing, doesn’t raise taxes on the wealthy and doesn’t include proposals to cut taxes for farmers or small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Source: Law360
  • D.C. Delegate Wants Next Coronavirus Relief Bill to Let District Legalize Marijuana Sales. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s sole representative on Capitol Hill, said D.C. was denied $750 million in federal assistance because it was classified in the last coronavirus relief bill as a territory rather than a state, resulting in a shortfall the Democrat proposed overcoming by allowing D.C. to legalize and tax retail marijuana sales. (Source: Washington Times)
  • FBI Policy on CBD Use by Agents Is “Under Review.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is apparently looking into changing internal policy when it comes to the use of CBD products by its agents and other employees, the agency said last week. (Source: Marijuana Moment)
NACS has prepared a fact sheet (for members only) to help you navigate what’s legal and what’s not for CBD retailing.