This Week in Cannabis: Florida Patients Rightfully Upset Over Latest Medical Cannabis Measure

Industry Johnny Green 6/25/2019

It was another big week for cannabis news.

Some progress, lots of drama, and major developments to keep your eye on...

Is a cap on THC coming to Florida's medical cannabis program?

What happened: A committee in Florida's House of Representatives passed a measure that would cap cannabis flower's potency at 10%.

The bill now moves to the House floor where it's unclear at this time what the chances are of it passing.

Why it matters: The battle to allow sales of cannabis flower went on for a long time in Florida, with Florida's Governor lifting the ban on cannabis flower less than a month ago.

A cap on high-potency cannabis flower could prove to be harmful to some patients who prefer to consume cannabis flower and need higher potency.

New Jersey Governor demands adult-use legalization by May

What happened; New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has set a May deadline for lawmakers to pass a cannabis legalization measure.

If the New Jersey Legislature cannot get such a measure passed, Governor Murphy plans to expand the state's medical cannabis program via executive action.

Why it matters: When Phil Murphy campaigned to be Governor, he made it very clear that he wanted New Jersey to join the list of legal cannabis states.

However, the effort to legalize in New Jersey has experienced a series of setbacks, which has demonstrated that even with a pro-reform Governor legalization is not necessarily guaranteed.

Police in the UK are given more discretion on cannabis enforcement

What happened: Law enforcement across the UK have been given greater discretion in how to handle situations in which they catch someone with cannabis.

Police in the country can now recommend treatment instead of arresting a suspect for cannabis, or they can let them go altogether. It's up to the officer's prosecutorial discretion.

Why it matters: Only time will tell how many officers decide to waive arrest and prosecution, but the fact that they have the option to do so if they want to is a big deal.

Hopefully, this move saves resources and allows cops to focus on fighting real crime, and leads to full legalization sooner rather than later.

Congressman predicts that the U.S. will never have another anti-cannabis president

What happened: Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) stated in an interview this week with Marijuana Moment that he thinks the U.S. will never have another anti-cannabis president.

"I don’t think there will ever be another president who will be anti-cannabis. It won’t happen,” Blumenauer told the news outlet.

Why it matters: It wasn't that long ago when supporting cannabis reform was considered to be political suicide. Remember former President Bill Clinton's famous 'I didn't inhale' statement?

Zoom forward to today, and the opposite is true. Now opposing cannabis reform is considered to be political suicide given the enormous level of support for reform among voters.

U.S. Attorney General elaborates on his stance on federal cannabis policy

What happened: United States Attorney General William Barr has been testifying in front of a Senate Committee this week.

During his testimony, he stated that while he supports federal cannabis prohibition nationwide, he thinks the feds should leave it up to the states if states are going to legalize on their own.

Why it matters: AG Barr's comments are not as embracing of cannabis reform as some would hope, but his stance is significantly better than his predecessor Jeff Sessions's views on cannabis.

Obviously, the current situation of states legalizing cannabis in defiance of federal prohibition is not going to change in the future. States are moving forward, not backward.

In a perfect world, the federal government would embrace cannabis reform, but in a less perfect world, the feds would at least take a hands-off approach to federal cannabis enforcement.

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