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On July 21, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued its draft guidance on clinical research for the development of drugs that contain cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds of botanical origin (as opposed to synthetic). The draft guidance isentitled “Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Compounds: Quality Considerations for Clinical Research, Draft Guidance for Industry.”  The guidance provides some clarity on the use of cannabis in clinical research in light of the changes made by The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115-334 (the…

The Department of Justice recently took the extraordinary step of releasing a previously confidential memo from its Office of Legal Counsel concluding that DEA’s long-standing policy on marijuana research violates federal law and U.S. treaty obligations. Why did DOJ do this? What does the memo mean for the future of marijuana research? In this podcast, Matt Zorn and Shane Pennington, the lawyers who litigated this case, explain how they got DOJ to release the memo and what it all means.…

In August, the FBI announced that it would be focusing on public corruption in state marijuana licensing. In September, the Mayor of Fall River, Massachusetts was indicted for extorting more than $250,000 in bribes from cannabis businesses in return for assistance with licenses.  In October, alleged Rudolph Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were indicted for, among other things, a scheme to make illegal campaign finance donations in connection with a planned recreational marijuana business in Nevada.  Last week,…

Adam Schleifer is a candidate for Congress in New York’s 17th congressional district. He previously worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles where he prosecuted violent drug cartels. In this podcast, he talks about why he believes that federal legalization of marijuana would be an effective means of combating drug cartels. Please join us for a fascinating discussion. Global Cannabis Compliance Podcast · Episode 4 – Legalization as a strategy to combat drug cartels?

The Great Depression and the need for tax revenue to fund the New Deal ended prohibition in 1933.[1] The economic fallout from the COVID crisis, according to some experts, could result in a “New New Deal,” and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) recently said that 2021 would, like 1933, have an “FDR moment.”[2] Just as the first “FDR moment” included the (re) legalization of alcohol, there are indications that the next may include the legalization of marijuana. The COVID crisis has…

The majority of states in America have legalized marijuana either for medical or recreational use—yet it remains illegal on the federal level. This poses regulatory challenges for financial institutions operating at the federal level and for some only operating in one state (because some are still subject to federal mandates, e.g., the Federal Deposit Insurance Act). Despite this disparate guidance, the multi-billion dollar U.S. cannabis market continues to expand. Dow Jones partnered with Baker McKenzie and FIBA, a nonprofit trade…

How to eliminate the marijuana black market? As the COVID-19 crisis continues to ravish state budgets, this question has become even more important, particularly in states like California, which have legalized marijuana but have not seen the expected tax revenues due to the persistence of the “tax exempt” black market. Increased enforcement would help, of course. But the best way to eliminate the illegal market is to support market entry by legitimate businesses. Several states have declared marijuana businesses “essential”…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) announced on February 27, 2020, that it would give hemp farmers a 20-month reprieve from a regulation requiring growers of hemp to have crop THC levels tested at laboratories registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”). The requirement had raised concerns in the industry that DEA-registered labs would be overwhelmed with crop samples at harvest time, leading to delays that could cost farmers sales. Delay in Requirement for DEA Lab Registration The 2018 Agriculture…

As popular as cannabis has become as a recreational and medicinal agent, that popularity and the nascent nature of the cannabis industry have created a difficult scenario whereby manufacturers and sellers of these products are being sued with increasing frequency. Without a doubt, the legal and regulatory landscape for cannabis is complex. Several dozen states have legalized marijuana for medicinal and/or recreational purposes, but marijuana remains a Schedule I drug at the federal level. The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018…

January 4, 2020 marked the two year anniversary of the “Sessions Memorandum” in which (then) Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded the Cole Memorandum and other Obama era DOJ guidance which essentially stated that DOJ would not prosecute state-compliant marijuana-related activity.  Many saw the statement as a declaration of a new “War on Drugs.” However, a review of DOJ cases brought over the last two years reveals that the Trump Justice Department has largely adhered to the Obama Administration’s enforcement priorities.…