Illinois to Legalize the Recreational Use of Marijuana

Illinois is set to become the 11th state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana – and the first state to do so by legislation rather than by voter initiative – after the State House passed a legalization bill on Friday, May 31.  Governor J.B. Pritzker campaigned for office on a pro-legalization platform, and is widely expected to sign the bill into law.

The bill would allow recreational sales to begin as soon as January 1,… More

FDA CBD Hearing Leaves Questions Unanswered

On Friday, May 31, 2019 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA” or “Agency”) held the widely anticipated hearing on scientific data and information about products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabidiol (“CBD”). This is the first public hearing since legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill. The Agency heard from approximately 140 speakers from diverse industries including, academia, agriculture, consumers, health professionals, and manufacturing companies who offered various perspectives on the safety of cannabis-derived compounds and CBD.… More

What is the Legislative State of Cannabis Affairs?

In light of increased national momentum involving the cannabis industry, we provide below an update of the current legislative state of affairs for cannabis including the highly anticipated public hearing hosted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 31, 2019. The summary highlights hindrances faced by states in attempting to legalize marijuana and touches upon federal implications stemming from the Farm Bill .… More

USCIS: Working in Cannabis Industry Shows Lack of Moral Character

Immigrants who undertake the cumbersome process of becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen need to establish their “good moral character” (“GMC”) as part of their applications. That just got harder for immigrants who work in the cannabis industry. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) recently released policy guidance regarding “controlled substance-related activity and good moral character determinations.” The guidance clarifies that a violation of federal marijuana law “is generally a bar” to establishing GMC,… More

Momentum Grows for Federal Banking Legislation

Last month, the House Financial Services Committee advanced a federal marijuana banking bill to the full House on a bi-partisan 45 to 15 vote. The “Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act” or “SAFE Banking Act” would prevent federal banking regulators from taking adverse actions against financial institutions solely due to an institution’s provision of financial services to state-legal cannabis businesses. The bill would also provide protections for financial institutions that do business with cannabis-industry service providers by declaring that proceeds from such providers do not constitute “proceeds from an unlawful activity.” And,… More

Partner Jesse Alderman to Speak at The Cannabis Society Investor Conference

Partner Jesse Alderman will speak at The Cannabis Society Investor Conference on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Foley Hoag is a sponsor and host of the event.

Panelists will discuss how to invest in the industry as well as how to build a cannabis brand.Click here for more details and registration.

Partner Dave Kluft Publishes Column in Packaging Strategies on Cannabis Packaging and Advertising

Partner Dave Kluft discusses five questions to think about when considering marijuana packaging and advertising in a legal column for Packaging Strategies magazine.

With each passing year, the legalized cannabis industry grows as the stigma associated with it decreases. Ten states currently permit recreational marijuana, over 20 more permit medicinal use, and annual nationwide spending on legal cannabis is projected to reach nearly $50 billion in the next decade.… More

Cannabis Companies Need to Think About Compliance for Every Step of their Business: Consider Enterprise Risk Management, Says Acreage’s Compliance Chief

There is no business quite like cannabis, and very few that need constant attention to regulatory compliance in every aspect of operations. Friend of the blog and Director of Legal Compliance at Acreage Holdings, Gary Kaminsky, penned an excellent column recently for Law360 suggesting cannabis companies should implement regulatory Enterprise Risk Management (“ERM”) principles. The column can be found here: A Holistic Approach To Compliance For Cannabis Cos. –… More

Partner Kevin Conroy Speaks to Boston.com About the Regulation of CBD

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the two most prominent molecules found in the cannabis plant. But unlike the other more well-known cannabinoid, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. In Massachusetts, CBD containing more than 0.3 percent THC is considered cannabis and is regulated by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission. Otherwise, products containing CBD are not regulated.

Partner Kevin Conroy speaks to Boston.com about what consumers should know regarding regulation and quality of products.… More

What Cannabis Cultivators and Retailers Need to Know About Product Liability Lawsuits

All signs point to 2019 being another huge year for the cannabis industry, with medicinal and recreational use expanding to more states and the diminishing threat of federal prosecution paving the way for the industry to meet or exceed soaring market expectations.

But with booming sales comes the prospect of booming litigation.  As the number of cannabis users increases, so too will the number of actual or suspected side effects from such use. … More