Cannabis Emerges as the Winner of the Midterm Elections

The biggest winner of the midterm elections may not have been any particular party, but rather the cannabis industry. The outcome largely reflected the continuing shift of public acceptance towards the legalization of cannabis. Once the dust settled, Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize recreational use of cannabis, while Missouri and Utah joined the states that have legalized the plant for medical use. In addition, nearly half of the newly elected governors previously voiced their support for legalization to varying degrees. With the resignation of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions – who previously expressed his desire to prosecute the commercial sale of cannabis under federal law – the “green wave” continues its momentum forward. In sum, 10 states allow for the recreational use of cannabis, 33 ...
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FDA Offers Guidance for Mandatory Food Recalls

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued guidance to the “industry” and FDA staff as to mandatory food recalls and providing integral information on how to handle and/or implement such food recalls when necessary. This guidance expands upon the FDA’s mandatory food recall authority that was first enacted under Section 423 of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), which was added by Section 206 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA).  The FDA’s mandatory food recall authority went into effect when FSMA was enacted on January 4, 2011.  Before FSMA was enacted, the FDA relied primarily on the manufacturers to voluntarily recall the food products at issue.  The guidance further outlines that the types of foods that are subject to the mandatory ...
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Will Missouri Become the Next State to Legalize Medical Marijuana – Part II

On November 6th, 2018, Missouri voters will decide whether or not the use of medical marijuana to treat approved conditions becomes legal. There are three marijuana initiatives on the ballot – Constitutional Amendment Two, Constitutional Amendment Three and Proposition “C”. A vote for “Yes” on any of the three ballot initiatives would legalize medical marijuana. Each initiative has differences and we previously discussed Amendment Two in our last post. Today we focus on Amendment Three. Amendment Three proposes to legalize marijuana for medical purposes; tax marijuana sales at 15 percent; and spend tax revenue to establish and fund a Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute to research cures for cancer and other diseases and oversee state’s medical marijuana program. Enact cultivation taxes on marijuana flowers ($9.25 per ounce) and on ...
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Keep Your Hands Inside the Hayride: E. Coli Outbreak in Utah linked to Fall Festivities

Utah public health officials are investigating a marked increase in E. coli infections this fall that seem to correspond with visits to petting zoos, corn mazes, and hayrides. Although the exact source has not been identified, several of the 20 cases of E. coli infections were reported following visits to these popular autumnal attractions. Since October 1st, twenty cases of Siga toxin-producing E. coli have been reported in the Central and Southwestern regions of Utah. The infected individuals range in age from 10 months to 71 years old.  Six people were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. This number of cases is a marked increase from the average 13 cases of E. coli reported in Utah in October for the past five years. The Utah Department of Health is working with ...
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Which Gate Do I Enter? Expert Admissibility Standards Far From Uniform

  In August, the New Jersey Supreme Court released its opinion in In Re: Accutane Litigation, which as fans of expert-admissibility standards will know essentially moved New Jersey into the column of states that apply a Daubert-based test, rather an a Frye-based test, in evaluating the admissibility of scientific and expert testimony. For anyone who has not yet seen the opinion, a copy can be found here. (Note – it is lengthy, so get a full cup of coffee before you sit down to digest it.) Last week, however, the Supreme Court of Florida took the opposite step, and declared – contrary to the will of the Florida Legislature – the courts in Florida would not follow a Daubert-based test, but would instead follow Frye. A copy of that opinion ...
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Will Missouri Become the Next State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

On November 6th, Missouri voters will decide whether or not the use of medical marijuana to treat approved conditions becomes legal. There are three marijuana initiatives on the ballot – Constitutional Amendment Two, Constitutional Amendment Three and Proposition “C”. A vote for “yes” on any of the three ballot initiatives would legalize medical marijuana. Each initiative has differences and over the coming days we’ll break down each of them. We start with Proposed Constitutional Amendment Two. Amendment Two proposes to: legalize marijuana for medical purposes; tax marijuana sales at four percent; and spend tax revenue on healthcare services for veterans. If the amendment is passed, any changes would require a simple majority vote by the legislature after which the changes would be referred to the voting ballot for the public ...
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FDA Issues New Produce Handling Guidelines for Farmers and Food Processors

Two new draft guidance documents were released this week with the aim of helping US farmers and food producers comply with rules for the safe handling of produce. The guidance document for farmers, entitled ” Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption: Guidance for Industry,” provides farmers with examples and approaches for complying with the Produce Safety Rule.  The Produce Safety Rule establishes science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing and holding of fruits and vegetables grown for food. This rule is part of the FDA’s goal of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, which went into effect in January 2016. The second draft guidance document is entitled “Guide to Minimize Food Safety Hazards of Fresh Cut Produce.”  This draft rule explains ...
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Medical Marijuana and Guns Don’t Mix in Maryland

When Maryland legalized medical marijuana, individuals suffering from a variety of medical problems gained access to a drug that can provide relief to them without many of the problems posed by more addictive opioids. However, now the state government has informed Maryland residents that if you are legally using medical marijuana to treat a condition, you can no longer own a gun. There have been efforts introduced to allow Maryland residents who are legally allowed to use medical marijuana to possess firearms, but to date it is still illegal. Currently, federal law bars federal firearm licensees from selling firearms to persons who utilize medical marijuana. Under the Federal Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(3), it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition ...
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FDA Alert Concerning Consumption of Certain Food Products Infused with Liquid Nitrogen

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently issued an advisory about the potential harmful effects of a new food trend – the consumption of food and/or beverages infused with liquid nitrogen when the infusion is performed at the point of sale.  According to the FDA, examples include infused solid food products, such as cheese puffs, and beverages.  The infused products emit a smoke-like vapor or fog effect.   The liquid nitrogen is infused just before they are served and are often available at food courts, kiosks, community fairs  and upscale restaurants/bars. Specifically, FDA advisory states that “liquid nitrogen, although non-toxic, can cause severe damage to skin and internal organs if mishandled or accidently ingested due to the extremely low temperatures it can maintain.”  FDA further warns consumers that “inhaling ...
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U.S. Federal Government Continues to Potentially Prevent Entry of Canadian Citizens

A few posts back, we discussed the ongoing tension between the United States Federal Government and Canada regarding Canadian citizens entering the United States if they were somehow connected to the cannabis industry.  On October 9, 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, released a statement updating their earlier stance regarding the entry of Canadian citizens connected to the cannabis industry. At first blush, it seems a normal press release – drug addicts and convicted felons are barred from entering the United States.  The Department also states that simply because an individual is connected with the legal marijuana industry in Canada, they will not necessarily be denied entry into the United States.  However, the last portion of this section is problematic.  It states: ...
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