Two Bills Pending Before Maryland Legislature Potentially Place Employers/Insurers in a No-Win Situation

As the 2019 Maryland legislative session winds down, two bills pending before the Maryland legislature are positioned to create significant changes and additional uncertainty, within  Maryland’s Workers’ Compensation framework. Committee Chair Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) is the lead sponsor of Senate Bills 854 and 863, two bills specifying the use of medical cannabis in the context of workers’ compensation cases. Background Senate Bill 854 states that a covered employee or dependent is not entitled to workers’ compensation or associated benefits if the accidental injury…
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Cutting Through the Weed(s): A Straightforward Approach to Cannabis and the Law — Part 1

It’s not always easy explaining to your family what you do for a living; less so when it involves cannabis and the law. Fast-forward a few years, many controversial dinner conversations, and one of my family members was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy[1]. The phrase, “You can’t be serious” was used more than once when I suggested there was credible research that supported cannabis use for the type of pain they were experiencing. Internet research regarding “conventional treatment” options began and my family was…
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Edible Cannabis: Coming to a Dispensary Near You in Florida

Medical marijuana continues its eventful 2019 in the Sunshine State. Mere weeks after Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill ending Florida’s ban on smokable medical marijuana, the Florida Legislature pushed back on the industry. A February house bill that sought to legalize recreational cannabis died without a hearing or a vote, the House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment that would have allowed medical marijuana to treat opioid addiction, and, despite the lack of public support, the Legislature proposed a bill that would place caps on…
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From One to Five: A “Snapshot” Look at the Breakthrough in the Scheduling System for Cannabis Based Medication

Medical use? Recreational Use? Federal vs. State? These are many of the common questions and concerns your average patient has with respect to cannabis today and the answer isn’t quite as clear as we would like it to be; however, there is a linguistic trend steering towards the term “medicated” to replace, the pejorative, “high” for cannabis users seeking medical relief. Notwithstanding, this re-branding and imaging of cannabis, the basis for much of this confusion is the Controlled Substances Act. As a refresher, cannabis is…
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Slack Fill Claim Dismissed from Southern District of New York

A recent decision from the Southern District of New York demonstrates the increasing scrutiny of “slack fill” claims. In Morrison v. Barcel USA, LLC, the plaintiff filed a putative class action predicated on the theory that the plaintiff purchased certain bags of tortilla chips and that they contained “too much air and too few chips.” Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant increased the size of the bags and filled them with “empty space to make it appear to consumers that they are buying more…
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A Potential Rise in Toxic Tort Litigation: Pesticide Use on Cannabis

As more states enact medicinal and adult recreational cannabis laws each year, we are likely to see growing litigation in the toxic torts arena. Health officials have warned about the potential hazards to consumers’ health from cannabis that has been treated with chemical pesticides. The risks may vary depending on how the product is consumed, whether eaten, smoked, vaped, or dermally applied. So far, given the federal ban on marijuana, there are no pesticide products that have been approved on the federal level specific to…
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Cannabis Advocates Grow Hopeful as Congressional Committee Approves Marijuana Banking Bill

In a vote that congressional advocates hope could pave the way towards federal legalization of marijuana by the end of 2019, the House Financial Services Committee recently voted to advance a bill that would prevent federal banking regulators from punishing financial institutions for working with marijuana businesses that operate legally under state, local, or tribal law. In a rare bipartisan committee vote, passage of this legislation by the full House would allow marijuana businesses more access to banks and lenders and permit them to store…
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I’m Back in a New York State of Mind

In a shocking bit of news, on Monday, March 25, 2019, New Jersey lawmakers called off a vote to legalize adult use cannabis. The news was particularly shocking given that New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ran on a platform that partly emphasized the need and desire to legalize adult use cannabis. So what now? Specifically, what now for New York? If this decision is any indication, New York must get their proposed legislation correct. New York will need to decide if it sticks with six…
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California Bill Aims to Ban Cosmetics That Includes Certain Ingredients

After banning sales of animal-tested cosmetics, California is now considering a law that bans cosmetic products with ingredients that the State of California determines are “poisonous” or are “deleterious substance[s] that may render it injurious to users when used as directed.” According to proposed Section 111673 of the Health and Safety Code, a cosmetic would be deemed “adulterated” if any of the listed ingredients were “intentionally added” to the cosmetic. The ingredients in the proposed bill include asbestos, lead, dibutyl phthalate, diethylhexyl phthalate, formaldehyde,…
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Federal Court in New Jersey Rules on Reasonable Accommodation of Medical Marijuana

Many employers have longstanding zero tolerance drug use policies. With the growing number of states passing laws that decriminalize medical and/or recreational marijuana use, the application of these policies become murky. In the realm of medical marijuana, there is a growing body of case law interpreting whether or not employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees that a hold a valid medical marijuana certification. A federal court in New Jersey recently ruled on a case that involved a forklift operator who was injured at work…
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