Last week was a busy one for cannabis legislative news. On the federal level, a bill was introduced in the Senate to give states more power to establish their own marijuana laws and President Trump says he endorses the plan. In Colorado, legislation that would have allowed “tasting rooms” was vetoed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. News out of California and Florida were a bit more upbeat. Find out more in our weekly marijuana legislative roundup.
On Thursday, legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate that would give states more autonomy over marijuana policy and shield state-legal cannabis businesses from federal prosecution. The Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act would allow each state to decide whether marijuana should be legal, while exempting state-legal marijuana programs from federal drug laws. Cannabis businesses in compliance with state law would also be able to take tax deductions like other businesses and put their proceeds in federally-insured banks, with such proceeds considered lawful. While the bill is unlikely to pass anytime soon due to the upcoming midterm congressional elections, it does have bipartisan support and President Trump indicated last week that he would likely sign the bill if it reaches his desk. A companion bill is also being introduced in the House of Representatives.
On Monday, Governor John Hickenlooper vetoed legislation to permit so-called cannabis “tasting rooms” similar to those operated by craft breweries in Colorado. The bill would have allowed currently-licensed recreational marijuana retailers to open a separate facility within the same jurisdiction where customers could buy and consume cannabis products on the premises, though smoking would remain prohibited in accordance with state law. Hickenlooper’s veto represents the latest in a series of failures for similar bills in several states that have legalized the plant for recreational use. Colorado would have been the first state to explicitly legalize marijuana social-use clubs on a statewide basis, though some cities such as Denver and San Francisco have recently implemented similar legislation.
Related Story: Colorado Governor Nixes ‘Cannabis Tasting Rooms’
On Tuesday, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control released a new draft rule loosening restrictions on recreational marijuana deliveries. Under the regulatory package issued in May, cannabis delivery drivers would have been permitted to carry only the amount of product ordered in advance by customers. That was intended to outlaw the so-called “ice cream truck” model, in which delivery vehicles drive around with the equivalent of an entire retail store of product and fulfill orders as they are placed. The new proposal would seem to allow such a system. It now faces public comment before final approval by the end of the year.
On Tuesday, a Florida state judge handed down a ruling that overturned the state’s ban on smoking medical marijuana, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional. Unless a temporary restraining order is granted by an appellate court, licensed patients will be allowed to smoke medical cannabis starting Monday, June 11, 2018.