USA Wrap: Law Firms, USA Food Safety Consortium, McConnell, Congress, Ohio, Rhode Island


Title:  No Legalization Yet, But ‘Shift’ Sees NJ Firms Firing Up Cannabis Practices. As the dialogue about possible legalization of marijuana in New Jersey once again ramps up, a number of firms have announced the formation of cannabis law practice groups.


Date: 16 May 2018



As the dialogue about possible full legalization of marijuana in New Jersey once again ramps up, a number of firms have announced the formation of cannabis law practice groups.

There seems to be something of a blueprint: Lawyers who have experience with cannabis clients—or at least those whose practices are pertinent to the current market for medical marijuana, or the potential market for recreational marijuana—are brought together. Like any business, marijuana businesses generate a range of legal needs: land use, licensing and regulatory, to name a few.

Also ranging widely are the levels of experience that lawyers offer. Some say they’ve been advising on marijuana-related issues since New Jersey’s medical cannabis movement began years ago, while some have seen clients ask an increasing number of questions about an evolving, and apparently lucrative, industry.

In recent years, there’s been a “shift in midsize and big firms, and how they’re going to embrace cannabis practice,” and “people are trying to create full-service practices,” according to Shabnam Malek, a co-founder of the National Cannabis Bar Association and an Oakland, California-based attorney at virtual law firm Brand & Branch, which handles intellectual property law and represents numerous cannabis industry clients.

“It’s not just one area of law,” she said, adding, “Firms that are trying to grow cannabis practices really fast” run the risk of “ending up in situations where the wrong attorney is working on the wrong matter.”



Title: Cannabis Track Added to 2018 Food Safety Consortium

Author: Cannabis Industry Jnl

Date: 16 May 2018



The 6thAnnual Food Safety Consortium Conference & Expo has announced a series of talks focused on cannabis. In addition to the categories such as Operations, Detection, Compliance and Supply Chain, theCall for Abstracts now includes a fifth category in this year’s program: Cannabis Quality.

The Cannabis Quality series will feature presentations by subject matter experts in the areas of regulations, edibles manufacturing, cannabis safety & quality as well as laboratory testing. The Food Safety Consortium itself is hosted by our sister publication, Food Safety Tech, but the Cannabis Quality series will be co-hosted by Cannabis Industry Journal as well.


Title: McConnell Still Opposes Marijuana Legalization At National Level

Author: Cannabis Now

Date: 16 May 2018



When McConnell was asked last week whether he would get onboard with a measure designed to end Uncle Sam’s tired anti-marijuana laws, he confessed he would not. “I do not have any plans to endorse the legalization of marijuana,” McConnell said, according to The Hill.

Although the Senate majority leader, who is sometimes referred to as the “Swamp Captain,” is all about giving the hemp plant back to American farmers, he wants nothing to do with getting the nation high.



Title:  Congressional Republicans Block Votes On Hemp Amendments

Author: Marijuana Moment

Date: 16 May 2018



In the latest development in a series of anti-cannabis moves, congressional Republican leadership has blocked consideration of several industrial hemp amendments.

Supporters were seeking to attach the measures to the large-scale Farm Bill, which sets food and agriculture policy for the country, but the House Rules Committee on Wednesday decided that the proposals cannot be considered on the floor.

The anti-cannabis chairman of the panel did, however, reveal that a broader deal for industrial hemp might be in the works.

One of the measures the committee killed, submitted by Reps. James Comer (R-KY) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), along with a bipartisan list of cosponsors, would have legalized hemp and made it eligible for crop insurance.

“Hemp is a crop with a long and rich history in our country,” Comer said in introducing his amendment before the committee. “It was grown by many of our founding fathers.”

Comer, who is a former Kentucky agriculture commissioner, said his state’s existing industrial hemp research program, which is authorized under a previous Farm Bill enacted in 2014, “has been a great success.”

He also spoke about the economic potential of the plant. “Times are tough in rural america,” he said. “For rural Kentuckians, industrial hemp has provided a new crop and business opportunity.”

But in a party-line move, the committee voted 8 to 3 to reject a motion to add Comer’s amendment to the list of proposals approved for floor consideration.

Another hemp amendment, filed by Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Jared Polis (D-CO), would have removed hemp from the list of federally banned substances.

A third proposal, submitted by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), sought to create “a safe harbor for financial institutions that provide services to hemp legitimate businesses” that operate under state-authorized research programs.



Title: House Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Protections

Author: MPP Blog

Date: 17 May 2018



The House Appropriations Committee voted Thursday to continue blocking the Justice Department from interfering in state medical marijuana laws.

On a voice vote, the committee approved an amendment offered by Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) to the base FY2019 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations bill, prohibiting the Justice Department from using funds to interfere in the implementation of state laws that allow the cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill will now be considered by the full House.

Such a provision has been in effect since 2014, but this is the first time it has been added to the base CJS Appropriations bill in committee. In previous years, the measure, which was known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment (and subsequently the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment), was added to the bill as a floor amendment, but last year Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) blocked it from receiving a floor vote.




In February, the Ohio Department of Commerce staff identified a scoring error that affected a batch of 10 Level 1 applications. For one of these applicants – PharmaCann Ohio – the scoring error meant that even though the company was actually the eighth highest scorer, it did not receive a provisional license on November 30, 2017.

The Department’s Special Counsel, Squire, Patton, Boggs, has brought on Ernst & Young (EY) to analyze the scoring process and the scores awarded to applicants. EY’s work has involved an analysis of the information contained on each of the Level 1 consensus score sheets and a recalculation of the indicated score for each application. Based on these recalculations, PharmaCann Ohio was the eighth-highest score and no other applicant moved into the highest 12 scores. The Department has therefore determined that PharmaCann Ohio is entitled to a provisional license.

Ohio Administrative Code 3796:5-6-01 authorizes the Director to “exercise any other power or duty” authorized by statute or rule when it is “necessary for the program’s administration, implementation and enforcement.” Taking an administrative action – such as awarding an additional license – to remedy an error made in the licensing process falls under the authority granted in this rule.

All recipients can be found by clicking here.


Adult-Use Cannabis Bill Introduced in Rhode Island


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