Top cannabis lawyer does not foresee federal legalization, thinks it will remain a state issue
One problematic aspect of the current legal cannabis market are the state laws. Because the sector is not yet federally legalized—despite two thirds of the country having legal medical marijuana and a third permitting adult-use sales—there is no monolithic uniformity governing state regulations.
Los Angeles-based cannabis lawyer Barry Weisz is very cognicant of this dichotomy. As the founder and co-chair of law firm Thompson Coburn’s cannabis practice, Weisz is the author of his firm’s recently published “Cannabis State-by-State Regulations 5th Annual Guide.” Via email, Weisz shared some of his thoughts and insights on current cannabis laws.
This Q&A was edited for conciseness and clarity.
Iris Dorbian: Which states have the most favorable laws and which have the most restrictive?
Barry Weisz: California continues to have the most favorable cannabis laws while Nebraska continues to have the least favorable laws. It is important to note the distinction between medical and recreational cannabis use, as 37 states have laws that allow for some form of medical cannabis. California, Colorado, Nevada and Massachusetts lead the way with adult usage in additional to medical use.
Dorbian: What are some noteworthy pending legislative measures in various states and what does this bode for commercial operations, employers, recreational users and others?
Weisz: Again, this divides between medical and adult usage. New Mexico, for example, started adult usage in April 2022 and had sales of almost $40 million in the first month. There is a trend favoring medical usage overall, and that is likely to continue. Cannabis continues to be a highly political issue.
Published: October 04, 2022
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