Cannabis Law & Policy Update

This blog provides news, discussion on relevant legal issues, and highlights on emerging trends in New England cannabis law as presented by the attorneys in Preti Flaherty's Cannabis Business practice group.

Recent Blog Posts

  • The Maine Department of Agriculture has begun its next phase restricting sales of CBD in the state. Readers will recall that, over the summer, the State took the position that CBD sold in Maine had to be derived from hemp grown in Maine. The reality, of course, is that only a small portion of CBD sold in Maine has its origins in Maine and that policy expired in September. Now, the State is... More
  • We’re hearing concerns from some farmers and CBD manufacturers that the proposed USDA hemp rules, released earlier this week, could make it much more difficult to provide high-quality CBD products in the U.S. The concern, as I can best articulate it since I’m not a farmer, is that full-spectrum CBD is largely available in plants that have a longer growth cycle, but these plants may also have THC... More
  • We haven’t seen a draft of the rules yet, but the latest news is that the White House has signed off on the proposed rules and they’ll be released any week now. Once the rules are released, a public comment period will begin. The USDA is still claiming that final rules will take effect before the end of 2019.  The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (which houses our... More
  • On October 2, 2019, the California Department of Business Oversight issued some really helpful guidance aimed at California banks and credit unions that are currently or are planning to bank marijuana-related businesses (MRBs). The guidance document consists of an extensive questionnaire that is used by California state bank examiners when they audit a bank or credit union’s MRB compliance... More
  • On September 25, 2019, the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed the SAFE Banking Act by a vote of 321 in favor and 103 opposed. As we’ve previously posted, the Act would prohibit federal bank regulators from penalizing financial institutions that provide services to state-legal cannabis businesses and will result in greater access to financial services for the cannabis... More
  • As readers may have seen, a list of the bills that the Maine Legislature may be discussing this winter has been released. I’m going to focus on the bills related to vaping for this post, since there are a lot of them. These bills are obviously a response to a string of vaping-related illnesses and deaths around the country in recent months, including several in Maine. It’s been reported that... More
  • We are waiting on final and effective versions of several different sets of rules governing Maine’s marijuana programs. I’ll start with the Rules for the Certification of Marijuana Testing Facilities, since the public hearing for these rules was just yesterday. The hearing was sparsely attended and public comments were not particularly noteworthy. Readers probably know that the Emergency Rules... More
  • About a month ago, I noted that the State wasn’t really walking the walk. At the time, the State had only recently began informing CBD vendors that any food products containing CBD derived from hemp grown outside of Maine could not be sold in Maine. This ended up being much ado about nothing. As the law changed yesterday and LD 1749 takes effect, it doesn’t appear that the State ever took any... More
  • The website has posted a report that Maine is the no.1 state for marijuana investments. This doesn’t mean that Maine has the most investor dollars in marijuana, but just that Maine investors are more interested on average in marijuana stocks than investors in other states. I took interest in this report because it brings us back to our concerns over Maine’s restrictions on out-of-state... More
  • The results of a June legislative performance audit show that, in 2018, the State of New Hampshire failed to issue identification cards within the statutory deadline of five days after approval on 98.4% of the applications for the Therapeutic Cannabis Program. On average, in 2018, identification cards were received within 14 days after approval of the application. The 2018 numbers are an... More
  • Last week, the National Credit Union Administration (“NCUA”) released interim guidance advising federally insured credit unions that they may provide certain financial services to legally operating hemp businesses. The interim guidance was released in response to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December 2018 that removed certain hemp-derived products, including cannabidiol, from the list of... More
  • As we’ve previously discussed, Maine is claiming that, until September 19, food products sold in Maine cannot contain CBD grown elsewhere. So how is this policy working out in practice? We’ve heard from several folks in the industry that the "crackdown" isn’t really materializing. Inspectors from Maine’s Department of Agriculture have been talking about this issue with some retailers in the... More
  • We’re tracking statements from the FDA regarding CBD in food. With state policy fluctuating so wildly on this issue and often attempting to mimic federal laws, the FDA’s evolving position on CBD is important.  So it’s notable that earlier this week a member of the FDA’s cannabinoid working group, Lowell Schiller, reaffirmed the FDA position that “under current law, it’s unlawful to sell a food... More
  • As local readers likely know, Portland completed its zoning regulations for marijuana stores last February. But at the time, the City deferred on a number of decisions such as what stores will be allowed to sell, and what criteria will need to be met to be able to open a retail store. Now the City has taken a big step toward answering those questions. The City released draft licensing rules last... More
  • reported earlier this week that the State of Washington has eliminated a law requiring a 4-mile buffer between outdoor marijuana and hemp farms. This requirement was a substantial barrier to the state’s hemp industry, and its elimination will open significant tracts to potential hemp farming in Washington. But the whole point of this buffer, originally, was to prevent... More