Massachusetts Cannabis Business Owners’ Lawsuit Against the U.S. Government Continues and More

Massachusetts Cannabis Business Owners’ Lawsuit Against the U.S. Government Continues

#cannabislawsuit – “The saga continues for four Massachusetts-based business owners who filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department in an attempt to overturn cannabis prohibition.

The plaintiffs include owners of Canna Provisions, Inc., Gyasi Sellers, Wiseacre Farm, Inc., and Verano Holdings Corp., who are represented by David Boies and Josh Schiller of Bois Schiller Flexner LLP. The lawsuit was first issued in October 2023, and used the results of a court case from 2005, Gonzales v. Raich, to showcase how federal prohibition of cannabis is outdated. “The federal criminal prohibition on intrastate marijuana remains in place, an unjustified vestige of a long-abandoned policy,” the lawsuit states. “This unjustified intrusion of federal power harms Plaintiffs, threatens the communities they serve, and lacks any rational purpose.”

According to a news report published by The Boston Globe, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland filed a motion to dismiss the case on Jan. 23, stating that the plaintiffs have no standing on which to sue, and have presented no evidence that prohibition has caused them injury (such as being arrested or prosecuted). The motion stated that “Even if the court were free to disregard Raich ’s holdings (it is not), Plaintiff’s attacks on that holding are unpersuasive,” that the “Plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the CSA [Controlled Substances Act],” and “Courts have consistently, and correctly, held that no fundamental right exists to distribute, possess, or use marijuana.””

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Germany’s Government Coalition Reaches Final Deal On Cannabis Legalization

#cannabisindustry – “After resolving internal disagreements and making adjustments regarding cannabis legalization in Germany, the coalition government seems to have reached a consensus.

The leaders of the so-called Traffic Light Coalition, formed by The Greens, the Social Democrat Party, and the Liberals, announced last week that they have reached a deal on cannabis legalization after disagreements over the details of the proposed legislation. The bill will be voted on this month, with the aim of the legalization taking effect in April as planned.

This development clears the path for the legalization of cannabis for personal use, aligning with the impending vote. If there are no further delays, Germany is poised to become the third European Union member state to legalize cannabis for personal use, following Malta and Luxembourg….”

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Judge rejects a claim that New York’s marijuana licensing cheats out-of-state applicants

#cannabisregulation – “A federal judge has rejected a challenge to New York state’s licensing program for selling legal marijuana, a system two California applicants say unconstitutionally discriminates against out-of-state residents.

The ruling Friday by Albany Judge Anne M. Nardacci may spur New York into issuing hundreds of licenses in a state where most marijuana is sold by unlicensed businesses.

Nardacci said the public interest in letting properly licensed businesses take over the market in New York outweighed concerns raised in the lawsuit.

She said the main purpose of the dormant Commerce Clause plaintiffs argued should allow them to access New York’s market doesn’t apply to the federally illegal cannabis trade. The clause is supposed to stop states from creating protectionist measures to restrict interstate commerce in the absence of rules from Congress….”

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California Cannabis Grower Agrees to Pay $750K for Water & Wildlife Violations

#californiacannabis – “The owner and operator of two Humboldt County-based cannabis cultivators, The Hills LLC and Shadow Light Ranch LLC, has agreed to pay $750,000 in fines and to take restorative actions after being accused of violating California state regulations protecting water and wildlife.

In a settlement approved by the Humboldt County Superior Court, Joshua Sweet — who owns and operates both cannabis grows — agreed to pay $500,000 to the Division of Water Rights, $175,000 to the North Coast Water Board, and $75,000 to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), according to a CDFW press release. Additionally, Sweet must obtain permits for his operations and take action to revert alterations to the water supply.

The restorations must be complete and the fines must be paid within five years, according to the settlement….”

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Study: More older adults are using cannabis post-pandemic

#cannabisresearch – “A new study, published in the Cannabis and Cannabinoids Research journal, found more older Americans are using cannabis today than before the pandemic. According to researchers with the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, roughly 1 in 8 Americans over 50 currently use the substance.

“As the stress of the pandemic and the increased legalization of cannabis by states converged, our findings suggest cannabis use increased among older adults nationally,” addiction psychologist and study lead Anne Fernandez told the University of Michigan….”

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