March 2020’s news recap is full of coronavirus updates. During this state and time, the marijuana industry is experiencing unforeseen changes to its market size, revenue, and business operations. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest cannabis event and marijuana news, check out our news recap of March 2020’s top cannabis news stories.
UN Postpones Vote On WHO’s Cannabis Scheduling Recommendations
The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) postponed a scheduled vote to December 2020 on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) scheduling recommendations on cannabis. The WHO recommended cannabis and cannabis resin be rescheduled from Schedule 4 of the Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs (1961) to Schedule I.
The recommendation would remove cannabis from the most restrictive category to Schedule 1. The UN’s delay in voting on these recommendations shows the obstacles the UN is facing in coming to a consensus. Instead of pursuing the vote and most likely failing due to disagreements, the commission opted to delay the vote.
Washington Allows Social Equity Applicants To Apply For Revoked Cannabis Licenses
Washington state passed a bill on Tuesday, March 10, allowing social equity applicants to apply for revoked marijuana retail licenses. According to the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board, 34 revoked licenses are up for grabs for $1,480 with an application fee of $250. Licenses will become available from Dec. 1, 2020 until July 1, 2028.
MLB Allows Baseball Players To Use Cannabis With Restrictions
Late in 2019, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced they would remove marijuana from their list of banned substances. Recently, they clarified their position in a memo by saying that players can consume cannabis without any risk of consequences. They did clarify that players can’t consume cannabis while at work. Players are also banned from being sponsored by companies in the marijuana industry.
The league also announced that they are teaming up with product-testing organization NSF International to analyze and certify legal CBD products that could be stored on club premises. Team doctors, however, are forbidden from recommending medical cannabis or other cannabinoid-infused products to players.
Colorado Begins Cannabis Home Delivery
Colorado was one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. On Friday, March 27, Colorado launched its limited cannabis home delivery program focused on medical marijuana patients. Native Roots’ Boulder location, The Dandelion, received the state’s first cannabis delivery license.
Native Root’s license is limited to medical patients who reside in Boulder or Superior, Colorado. Patients must sign-up in-person at the location to be registered and eligible for cannabis home delivery. Native Roots has a $100 minimum purchase for delivery orders and prefers the use of debit cards over cash for security purposes.
A limited number of cities are allowing cannabis deliveries. Cities must opt-in to the cannabis home delivery program. Recreational cannabis delivery won’t start until January 2021. Cannabis home delivery in Colorado comes just in time for patients who are homebound due to the coronavirus crisis.
San Francisco Dispensary Offers $1 Eighths Of Cannabis
San Francisco was one of the first to announce a shelter-in-place order and the entire state quickly followed suit. Mario Guzman, who runs Sherbinskis, a popular clothing brand and dispensary in Los Angeles, decided to help out his hometown during its time of need. He partnered with the dispensary Barbary Coast to offer a ‘compassion’ menu for those in need.
On Monday, March 30, Barbary Coast customers were given the chance to buy Sherbinski’s eighths of Acai Berry indoor flower for $1 (normally priced at $75). Instead of asking for proof of financial distress, the dispensary depended on the honor code.
Rescheduled, Canceled, and Online 420 Cannabis Events
Coronavirus has struck hard against public gatherings of all kinds including meeting up at bars and restaurants across the nation. While many cannabis dispensaries remain open in some capacity because they are deemed “essential services,” large cannabis events around the world including 4/20 events are being shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Cannabis Companies Pivot To Produce Coronavirus Essentials
Cannabis dispensaries, particularly medical cannabis shops, have been deemed essential businesses by state and local governments. Some marijuana businesses have stepped up by producing hand sanitizer, an essential component to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Companies are shifting to produce these products for hospitals in need.
Cannabis companies that extract cannabinoids like CBD and THC using ethanol and closed-loop extraction equipment already have the equipment, facility, and permits needed to produce hand sanitizer. A majority of alcohol distilleries, up to 75 percent, are also moving to produce hand sanitizers due to the current shortage in healthcare settings.
New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Cannabis Patients Can’t Be Fired For Failed Cannabis Test
A New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that employees are protected from adverse employment action for their lawful medical cannabis use. In the Wild v Carriage Funeral Home case, the plaintiff used medical cannabis for cancer. He admitted to being a medical cannabis patient after a work-related car accident. He was drug tested by the employer, failed, and was terminated.
The Appellate Division reversed a previous decision by a trial court siding with the employer. The recent court decision found that employers are required to abide by anti-discrimination workplace laws and make certain accommodations for medical cannabis patients, short of allowing medical use in the workplace.
New York Legalization Efforts Are Stalled
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared on Tuesday, March 31st, that the state is “not likely” to legalize cannabis any time soon as part of its budget process. Recreational legalization in New York and other areas have also halted due to the coronavirus pandemic. Legislation efforts may return later in the year.
New York has been especially vulnerable to the coronavirus outbreak than most states. New York’s coronavirus crisis has prevented lawmakers from reaching a deal and completing voting before the budget deadline. Experts believe a stand-alone recreational cannabis bill may have a good chance of being passed later this year.
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