Attorney General Sessions Reverses Legal Marijuana Policy
Since 2013, the Justice Department policy was to not enforce federal marijuana laws against businesses or individuals in states with medical or recreational marijuana laws with the exception of cases involving minors or gangs, sales across states and the cultivation of marijuana on federal property. On January 4, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ended that policy stating that effective immediately, attorneys should follow the principles that govern all federal prosecutions, essentially allowing them to enforce federal laws even in states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal. This decision leaves the industry facing a possible government crackdown on states’ rights and their ability to make and enforce their own laws when it comes to marijuana policy.
California Starts Selling Recreational Marijuana
One the first day of 2018, around 100 licensed retail shops in California began selling recreational marijuana with some of the bigger cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco slated to issue licenses soon. Hundreds of customers lined up to be some of the first to purchase marijuana in what is now the biggest legal marijuana market in the US.
Group of 18 Attorneys Push for Legal Marijuana Banking
Because recreational marijuana remains illegal on a federal level, cannabis businesses have faced difficulty establishing themselves with financial institutions, leaving the industry to rely heavily on cash outside of a regulated baking space. Not only can this be a safety threat, properly tracking revenue is difficult, if not impossible. On January 16, 2018, in an effort to change this, 18 attorneys came together to request legislature that would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions that provide services to a business in a state with medical or recreational marijuana laws.
Vermont becomes the First State to Legalize Marijuana through Legislature
On January 22, 2018, Vermont became the 9th state in the US to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, and became the first state to do so entirely through legislature without a vote by the state’s residents. The law, which eliminates the penalty for the possession of small amounts of marijuana and up to two mature plants, goes into effect on July 1, 2018.
To learn more about the latest in the cannabis industry and how this may affect you and your business, feel free to contact us.