Cannabis Day: Top 10 Weed Roundup of Budding Trends’ Trendiest Blog Posts of the Year (Obligatory 420 Post)

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420. A celebrated day where buds get together and consume copious amounts of cannabis… blog posts. This Cannabis Day, we are celebrating the 1-year anniversary of launching the Budding Trends blog and are sharing our first annual “Weed Roundup.” Featuring our top 10 most read blog posts of the year, the inaugural Weed Roundup is a look back at the most important and trending cannabis industry news from the past 12 months. This curated list will catch you up on industry topics ranging from the business of THC, CBD, the Deltas, Medical Marijuana, hemp, and more.

So sit back, light up (your reading lamp), and enjoy the Budding Trends’ Top 10 Weed Roundup.

THC-Oh No! The DEA Classifies Delta-8 and Delta-9 THCO as Controlled Substances

In the summer of August 2022, and again in February 2023, a North Carolina attorney wrote to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to ask about the status of certain cannabinoids under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). His question was whether THC acetate ester (THCO), a lab-created substance used to synthetically derive THC delta-8 and delta-9, was a controlled substance and therefore illegal. In a February 13, 2023, response letter, the DEA concluded that delta-8 and delta-9 THCO were, in fact, illegal controlled substances. Continue reading…

Will the Tennessee Legislature Continue to Leave Cannabis to Outlaw Country Music in 2023?

Cannabis has long been a source of inspiration for musicians like Willie Nelson and Hank Williams Jr. Outlaws like Willie and Hank paved the way for the next generation of country artists to sing their cannabis praises. Margo Price has openly discussed the benefits of cannabis and released her own line of products containing the hemp-based, non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBG.  

But the home of outlaw country music is lagging on the cannabis front. As dispensaries in Mississippi begin selling medical cannabis and applicants in Alabama wait for licensing decisions, Tennessee remains a southern cannabis holdout. This year, the question is whether Tennessee’s General Assembly will move forward with meaningful legislation or leave the cannabis discussion to the outlaws.

Keep reading for an overview of the proposed cannabis bills that have been filed this session, their chance of passage, and what they would mean for operators if enacted. Continue reading…

But I Didn’t Inhale! Employee Drug Tests in a CBD World

Given the explosive growth of cannabis products and the increasing number of states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal or adult use (nearly 40 at last count), employers across the country are asking whether they can terminate an employee for a positive drug test for marijuana. What if the test shows marijuana metabolites but you find out later it was a positive for CBD oil (which is, generally speaking, a legal substance)? Does federal law protect an employee in any way in this scenario? In Rocchio v. E&B Paving, LLC, a federal district court in Indiana looked at this issue under the Americans with Disabilities Act and found no federal legal protection for the employee’s use of CBD oil. Continue reading…

Navigating the Cannabis Fog: Litigation Ensues Over Legality of Delta-8 and Delta-10

The stratospheric rise of products containing ∆8-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-8 THC) and ∆10-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-10 THC), both of which can cause psychoactive effects similar to ∆9-THC (the substance codified as “marihuana” by the federal Controlled Substances Act), have raised questions regarding these products’ legality under federal and state law. Recent litigation developments have indicated a possible trend toward a finding that these products are legal (or maybe more properly described as not illegal) under federal law unless state law imposes stricter requirements. Continue reading…

Mississippi Releases Proposed Medical Cannabis Dispensary Regulations: Get Movin’

The Mississippi Department of Revenue (MDOR) released information on Friday, April 15, regarding the licensing and operations of dispensaries under the medical cannabis regime in Mississippi. We feel like a broken record, but as more and more information is revealed, it becomes more and more evident that entities wanting to obtain a license as soon as possible must have all of their ducks in a row when they submit applications in June (non-dispensary establishments) and July (dispensaries). This point is even more applicable to dispensary applications, since no two dispensaries can operate within 1,500 feet of each other. Continue reading…

Money for Nothing? Marijuana and the Midterms

I don’t think the great Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits was talking about Congress when he wrote “that’s the way you do it, money for nothing,” but the recent midterm elections reminded me of that cynical refrain.

A few billion dollars here, a few billion dollars there. We end up with basically the same balance of power in the Senate and a small Republican majority in the House. Did any of it matter for cannabis reform? Actually, maybe.

So let’s get the bad news out of the way first. At first blush, it appears that nothing has changed. And given that the outgoing Congress has not passed any meaningful cannabis reform to date, the status quo seems like bad news.

But after further thought, I’m not sure that’s true. In fact, even though I’m the resident cynic when it comes to federal cannabis reform amongst the editorial staff here at the Budding Trends blog, I think there are at least two reasons to be optimistic about federal cannabis reform in the short and intermediate term. Continue reading…

Attorney General Garland Reconfirms the DOJ’s Hands-Off Approach Toward Federal Marijuana Prosecution

Attorney General Merrick Garland has reiterated that the Department of Justice will not prioritize prosecuting marijuana use, a position that Garland expressed during his confirmation hearings. In remarks in front of a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on April 26, 2022, Garland held firm in this position, stating that prosecuting the possession of marijuana is “not an efficient use” of federal resources, especially “given the ongoing opioid and methamphetamine epidemic[s]” facing the nation. Though perhaps more notable is what Garland did not say in his testimony. Continue reading…

The 2023 Farm Bill and the Future of Hemp

There is a moment in the movie Wall Street, just before a fresh-faced Charlie Sheen as Bud Fox interviews for a coveted position with a peak-of-his-fame Michael Douglas playing the iconic Gordon Gecko, where Sheen looks in the mirror, adjusts his tie, and says: “Well, life all comes down to a few moments…this is one of them.” Ladies and gentlemen, buckle your seatbelts – it’s time for another Farm Bill.

If you watch the news or listen to talk radio, you probably haven’t heard about it. After all, there are apparently UFOs circling North America and the 2024 horse race has already begun. Compared to those stories, the Farm Bill is not sexy.

But make no mistake that when it comes to cannabis, this is one of those moments. Continue reading…

Don’t Tell Me This Town Ain’t Got No Heart: Mississippi’s Attorney General Opines on a City’s Ability to Regulate Medical Cannabis Businesses

What promises to be the first of a litany of legal interpretations of the new Mississippi Medical Cannabis Act (MMCA), Attorney General Lynn Fitch released an official attorney general’s opinion on April 15, 2022, regarding the scope of a municipality’s ability to locally regulate medical cannabis establishment operations through zoning or ordinances. Fitch, applying a fairly straightforward interpretation of the MMCA’s language, concluded that cities that have not opted out of the medical cannabis program have some freedom to limit medical cannabis business operations. The opinion warned, several times, that such limitations cannot “have the purpose or effect of prohibiting or making impracticable the operation of such establishments within the City.” Continue reading…

What Happens When Everyone Isn’t So Chill? Confessions of a Litigator in the Cannabis Industry

I have a confession that may not make me very popular around these parts: I am a litigator. That means I am cynical, jaded, grumpy, and always see the worst in people and situations. And while that may make me a bad choice for your cocktail party, it allows me to talk about a subject that gets very little attention but promises to be a growing issue in the coming years – cannabis litigation.

Sometimes it seems like owning a cannabis business is like owning a professional sports franchise. For many, it’s a dream job. I get calls from people who seem willing to throw money at accomplishing that dream. And in many ways, that is true. But what happens when things take a turn and something comes along to harsh your mellow? It’s an all too familiar story in the cannabis industry.

At the outset, it’s important to understand that very rarely does either side truly “win” in litigation. Being involved in litigation is a huge time and attention suck, it almost invariably becomes a personal matter for the litigants, and it creates a scenario where all parties end up just wanting it to be over. Oh, and it’s expensive. So expensive. Continue reading…