On February 19, 2019, the Michigan Court of Appeals considered whether a job applicant rejected for a position due to a positive test result for marijuana could sue under the state’s Medical Marihuana Act (MMA). At issue was the following from the MMA:

A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with this act . . . .”

Continue Reading Court Finds No Private Right of Action Under Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign a comprehensive recreational cannabis bill.  While the “Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act” contains extensive provisions preserving an employer’s right to ban cannabis and otherwise have a “zero tolerance” substance abuse policy, there are potential traps for the unwary and, thus, employers should carefully consider how the new law will impact their existing substance abuse and drug testing policies and procedures.  Continue Reading Half Baked: Illinois Legislature Includes Some Employer Protections in New Recreational Cannabis Law – But Beware the Traps

Federal trademark registrations are now possible to obtain for some hemp-related trademarks.  The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) recent guidance, Examination Guide 1-19  “Examination of Marks for Cannabis and Cannabis-Related Goods and Services after Enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill” issued on May 2, 2019 (Guide 1-19), clarifies the procedure for examining applications for marks covering cannabis and cannabis-derived goods and services in light of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334 (also known as the “2018 Farm Bill”).  Guide 1-19 does not change the requirements for obtaining a trademark registration, but instead explains that hemp-related federal trademark registrations (in certain instances) are not barred as a matter of law.  Continue Reading USPTO Allows Hemp-related Trademarks on or after December 20, 2018

The District of Columbia is one of only two jurisdictions (the other is Vermont) which have legalized possession of recreational marijuana but where sales remain illegal.  Wait, what?  That’s correct; in your nation’s capital, you can use recreational MJ, but you can’t buy or sell it.  Continue Reading DC Mayor Begins Effort to Legalize Recreational MJ Sales

Welcome back to the The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

In the race to be the next state to legalize recreational marijuana, Illinois has pulled ahead.  The state Senate has passed an adult-use cannabis bill, which now moves on to the state House.  The legislation is supported by the governor, so it looks as if this will happen.

New York, which looked ready to legalize earlier this year, has had some difficulties of late.  But things may be starting to turn around.  Lawmakers have made some tweaks to legislation that would allow recreational use.

Meanwhile, legislators in North Dakota are taking a pro-active approach to the question, by studying the implications of legalization.  Although an initiative to approve recreational use was defeated last year, the question may appear on the 2020 ballot, and legislators want to be ready if it is approved.

As for medical marijuana, the Texas legislature has approved an expansion to the state’s program.  New Jersey has also approved expansion.  The news was less good in Alabama, where a bill to legalize medical cannabis seems to have stalled in the state House.  And, despite strong support in the legislature, the Iowa governor has vetoed medical marijuana expansion in the state.

From the “well, that’s unexpected” files, the governor of Utah took the federal government to task over its treatment of medical marijuana and banking specifically.  “They ought to be ashamed,” he said.  And this from someone who originally opposed medical cannabis in his state.

And while we’re on the subject of politicians, you may be wondering what former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is doing, now that he’s no longer in Congress.  Wonder no longer: he’s now a shareholder and advisory board member at BudTrader.

See you next week!

As a number of states and the District of Columbia have moved to permit possession, use and sale of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes and the business of legalized cannabis distribution has grown exponentially, federal law banning such activity remains unchanged.  Deeming the trend in state law irrelevant, federal immigration authorities have in fact moved in the opposite direction.  Last month, on April 19, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced policy guidance “to clarify that violations of federal controlled substance law, including violations involving marijuana, are generally a bar to establishing good moral character for naturalization, even where that conduct would not be an offense under state law.” (uscis-issues-policy-guidance-clarifying-how-federal-controlled-substances-law-applies-naturalization-determinations) Continue Reading Too Natural for Naturalization: Even Decriminalized Marijuana Can be a Bar to US Citizenship