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

  • Maine’s Legislature Confronts the Unintended Consequences of Required Marijuana Testing, Before Those Consequences Even Happen The Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs will consider a host of marijuana-related bills next Monday, January 27. Check all five of them out here. The one I want to focus on is LD 1545, An Act Regarding the Testing of Adult Use Marijuana and Marijuana Products because this bill tries to address what has been a serious problem in most states launching... More
  • Portland Considers Giving Some Preference to Minority Applicants for Marijuana Retail Licenses The City of Portland is considering giving preference to minority applicants when distributing retail marijuana licenses. This came up at the City Council’s last committee meeting on the draft ordinance, and city staff cautioned that this could be difficult to administer. After this conversation, I thought it would be worth looking briefly at how this has played out in other jurisdictions. ... More
  • Maine’s Hemp Policies Remain Turbulent as the Legislature Reconvenes The legislature is reconvening on hemp issues this coming Thursday, January 9. The Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is considering a simple resolve "Directing the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to Submit to the United States Secretary of Agriculture a Plan for Continued Implementation of the Maine Industrial Hemp Program." This resolve is self-explanatory... More
  • Can We Use Commercial Cannabis to Address Historical Inequities? Here in Portland, a number of City Councilors have been adamant that Portland’s adult use program should benefit minority communities. There is a current proposal to give historically disadvantaged groups some level of preference when applying for licenses. This mirrors a common sentiment nationwide that the adult use industry should benefit those communities historically disproportionately... More
  • Bills to Watch in 2020 NH Legislative Session While the text of bills slowly make their way out of the Office of Legislative Services for the 2020 legislative session in New Hampshire, there are at least a couple cannabis-related bills of interest to keep tabs on.  The first bill is HB 1386, sponsored by Rep. Wendy Thomas (D – Hillsborough), which would prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee solely because the employee is... More
  • Feds Take Steps to Increase Hemp Producers’ Access to Capital The Department of Treasury released new guidance yesterday that makes it much easier for banks to serve hemp producers. This comes on the heels of the USDA interim rules governing hemp nationwide.  Basically, the new guidance says that banks no longer need to file ‘suspicious activity reports’ with Treasury for hemp producers since the crop is now largely legal under federal law. Suspicious... More
  • Class Action Lawsuit Brought Against CBD Company for Deceptive Advertising Just a week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that it could not give CBD a “generally recognized as safe” designation, a proposed class action has been filed against a CBD company in California. The complaint alleges that Infinite Product Co.’s CBD products are misleadingly labeled and illegal to sell because they use CBD as an additive to food and topical cream products... More
  • Tomorrow’s City Council Meeting on Portland’s Ordinance Ok, so it's actually a meeting of the HHS and economic development subcommittees but, either way, it’s a necessary and important step to finalizing Portland’s ordinance and launching adult use in Maine’s largest city. The subcommittees will be taking public comment, so in terms of how many hours of comments we should expect to sit through, we’ll see if the craze around the cannabis industry or... More
  • State Adopts New Restrictive Policy on CBD Sales That Is, at Least in Effect, Quite Similar to the Old Policy 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
  • Do the Proposed USDA Hemp Rules Threaten Our CBD Industry? 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
  • USDA Hemp Rules Nearly Finalized 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
  • California Regulators Issue Cannabis Banking Guidance That’s Actually Useful 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
  • House Passes the SAFE Banking Act 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
  • Maine Legislature to Address Vaping Devices and THC 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
  • Lots of Different Rules Governing Maine’s Marijuana Programs Are Going to Become Official Soon – But When? 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

Firm Highlights


David B. Van Slyke Named Preti Flaherty Managing Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that, in a unanimous vote, the firm’s partnership has elected attorney David B. Van Slyke as its incoming Managing Partner. David is one of the preeminent environmental lawyers...


Maine WC Alert: Updated Version of Notice of Controversy (WCB-9) Must Be Used Effective February 1, 2020

Following the recent statutory changes to the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board has updated the language in Box 22 of the Notice of Controversy. This new version should be used as...


Preti Flaherty Welcomes Government Relations Liaison Andrew I. Roth-Wells to the Firm

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that Andrew I. Roth-Wells has joined the firm as a Government Relations Liaison. Andrew will help manage legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts for the firm’s Government Affairs Team...


Preti Flaherty Welcomes Attorney Martha L. Fox to the Firm

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that attorney Martha L. Fox has joined the firm as a member of our Business Law and Taxation practice groups, serving clients from the Portland office. Martha is...


Maine WC Alert: MAE Unit Publishes Guidance on Compliance with Recent Amendments

The Maine Workers’ Compensation Board’s Monitoring, Audit & Enforcement Unit has issued a document to provide guidance on complying with certain recent amendments to the Workers’ Compensation Act in P.L. 2019, c. 344 (LD...

Press Coverage

Bangor superintendent blocked BDN reporter on Twitter after critical news coverage

In an apparent violation of the First Amendment, Bangor schools superintendent Betsy Webb temporarily blocked a journalist on Twitter following a report that news of a student suicide was announced over the loudspeaker at...


Bankruptcy Alert: Significant Implications of the New Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019

Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3311) On August 23, 2019, President Trump signed the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3311) (the “SBRA”) into law.  Lenders should be aware of the...


Tony Manhart and Jason Howe Present Top Ten Construction Contract Tips for ABC of Maine

As part of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Maine Contractor Series, Preti Flaherty attorneys Tony Manhart and Jason Howe will present the Top Ten tips for AIA contracts. ABC is a national association with 72...


Preti Flaherty Attorney Benjamin S. Piper Promoted to Partner

Preti Flaherty is pleased to announce that the firm’s partnership has named attorney Benjamin S. Piper as a partner. Ben is a member of the firm's Environmental, Litigation, and Media Law Practice Groups and works...


Maine WC Appellate Division Addresses Refusal of Suitable Work and Notice

The Maine Workers' Compensation Appellate Division recently addressed cases dealing with refusal of suitable work and notice. Both decisions rely heavily on the specific facts of each case. In the context of a refusal...