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Two new draft guidance documents were released this week with the aim of helping US farmers and food producers comply with rules for the safe handling of produce.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 The second draft guidance document is entitled “Guide to Minimize Food Safety Hazards of Fresh Cut Produce.”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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Seven Deadly(?) Substances: FDA Removes Seven Food Additives from Approved List Due to Cancer Risk

The FDA has revised its food additive regulations to block the use of seven synthetic flavoring substances in food products that may increase cancer risk in humans. Evidence submitted to the FDA by the Breast Cancer Fund, the Center for Environmental Health, the Center for Food Safety, and others, demonstrated that six of the synthetic substances caused cancer in lab animals under study conditions. The seventh flavor, styrene,  is being removed from the food additive list because it is no longer widely used by the industry. The six substances include synthetically-derived benzophenone, ethyl acrylate, eugenyl methyl ether (methyl eugenol), myrcene, pulegone, and pyridine. These substances are being removed from the food additive regulations under the Delaney Clause of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) (section 409(c)(3) of ...
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Noffsinger v. SSC Niantic Operating Company, LLC Update

For the last year or so, healthcare worker Katelin Noffsinger has been proceeding forward with a case against a former potential employer regarding her use of medical marijuana to deal with the effects of a car accident. As many know, Ms. Noffsinger informed her potential employer of this use ahead of a company mandated drug test. When a drug test came back positive, the nursing home rescinded her job offer anyway. As a result, Ms. Noffsinger brought an employment discrimination suit against SSC Niantic Operating Company, LLC, alleging the denial of employment based on positive cannabis result during a pre-employment screening test in violation of Connecticut’s Palliative Use of Marijuana Act (PUMA). The Federal District Court of Connecticut previously denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a ...
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What Do We Know About Plant-Based Products & Dairy Foods – FDA Wants to Know

The FDA notes an emergence and expansion of plant-based products that are labeled in a manner that includes the names of dairy foods such as “milk” (i.e. “soy milk” and “almond milk”); “cultured milk” (i.e. “coconut kefir”); “yogurt” (i.e. “soy yogurt” and “almond yogurt”); and “cheese” (i.e. “vegan mozzarella cheese”).  You will often find these types of products located near or along with their dairy counterparts and in similar packaging.  However, the FDA notes these plant-based products may not have the same basic and essential characteristics, including a lack of certain nutrients needed to meet the recommendation for dairy food group intake in the “2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans”.  For certain uses, these plant-based products may not be suitable substitutes for their dairy product counterparts under FDA regulations. On September ...
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Daily Changes Across the Cannabis Legal Landscape

At this point, it should be no surprise to anyone that on a daily basis, the legal landscape of Cannabis law changes.  Zoning issues, licensing and potential medical conditions that can utilize cannabis for treatment are just some of the areas that face consistent legal scrutiny.  Below are just a few examples of some of the changes that have occurred in various states within the past two DAYS. In Richmond, Maine, voters at a special town meeting on September 24th decided against imposing a temporary ban on allowing medical marijuana storefronts to open while town officials finalize a plan in which the stores might be permitted.  Until this framework is finalized, the medical marijuana storefronts can open anywhere.  The potential issues that are being worked out involve locations of stores, ...
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Update on Medical Cannabis for Veterans

As we recently noted in our last blog post, Senators Nelson and Schatz from Florida and Hawaii introduced The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act.  The legislation provided our military veterans access to medical cannabis if they were found to be suffering from chronic pain, PTSD and other serious medical conditions, as well as funding clinical trial research within the Department of Veterans Affairs. As quickly as it was introduced and actually approved in the Senate by a vote of 85-9, it was also quickly removed by a small handful of congressional leaders.  Leadership rejected the bi-partisan language entitled “Veterans Equal Access Amendment” which was contained in the 2019 fiscal Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.  As a result, physicians affiliated with the U.S. Department of Veterans ...
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