On the domestic front, house lawmakers include the SAFE Banking Act, legislation that would allow banks to serve cannabis businesses without fear of federal prosecution, in the latest 3 trillion dollar coronavirus stimulus package. The measure had been stalled in the Senate after passing the House in September, with supporters hoping it will have better chances as part of a larger bill. Even if the House approves the package, however, the Republican-controlled Senate has warned that they won’t yet consider any more stimulus funding.
In Alaska, marijuana regulators walk back a policy enacted on April 15th, which allowed for the transportation of cannabis products to remote regions of the state by air or water. The original measure aimed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by limiting individual travel, while accommodating marijuana’s designation as essential during the crisis. The state’s Marijuana Control Board repealed the decision over worries of contradicting federal law, though whether it was actually in violation is unclear.
In Florida, the state’s Supreme Court hears arguments on two marijuana-related issues. The first disputes the constitutionality of the vertical-integration requirement for MMJ companies, arguing that it wasn’t a part of the 2016 voter initiative. The second matter up for consideration is the approval of a recreational marijauna legalization measure, which was originally intended for the 2020 ballot but is now gathering signatures in preparation for 2022. Opponents of the proposal claim the language is misleading because it doesn’t address the discrepancy of federal prohibition, though others argue that the same can be said for medical marijuana. Both issues are expected to be decided later this year.
In Louisiana, lawmakers advance legislation that could expand the state’s medical marijauna program. One would broaden the current 14 qualifying conditions to include any ailment that a physician deems debilitating, more closely aligning the requirements to those related to opioids. The other measure would make MMJ delivery permanent, a policy which has been temporarily permitted due to the coronavirus pandemic. After passing the state’s House Health and Welfare Committee, both bills now head to the full House for debate.
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