Amazon to Stop Marijuana Testing, Pledges Support for the MORE Act

On June 1st, 2021, Dave Clark, Amazon’s CEO Worldwide Consumer, announced the company’s new corporate drug testing policies. The global conglomerate’s modified policies are part of Jeff Bezos’ “Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work” initiative to improve Amazon’s working conditions. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCAmazon to Stop Marijuana Testing, Pledges Support for the MORE Act
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Mexico Decriminalizes Recreational Marijuana, Moves Towards Legalization

On June 28, 2021, the Mexican Supreme Court voted in an 8-3 ruling in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana. This ruling comes after Congress stalled a decision over cannabis legalization for over three years. The Mexican Supreme Court’s monumental ruling exerts pressure on the Mexican Congress to vote on cannabis legalization. If approved by Congress, Mexico would become the largest cannabis market in the world. Below, we outline the history behind this controversial matter and dissect what it means for the marijuana industry as a whole.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCMexico Decriminalizes Recreational Marijuana, Moves Towards Legalization
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Proposes Legalization of Marijuana in New Bill

On July 14, 2021, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced draft legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. This historic legislation proposition was presented by Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Cory Booker (D-N.Y.), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore). These senators announced the draft legislation while focusing on social justice reforms the bill would sponsor. 

Senator Schumer further stated that he would leverage his position as majority leader to make this legislation a top priority in the Senate, as cannabis is already legal in 19 states. 

Below, we break down what this historical draft legislation entails and examine the history of cannabis prohibition in the United States. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCSenate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer Proposes Legalization of Marijuana in New Bill
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Connecticut Becomes the 19th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

On June 22, 2021, Governor Ned Lamont signed legislation that would make recreational marijuana legal in Connecticut as of July 1, 2021. With this landmark bill, Connecticut takes substantial steps towards reparations for those most affected by prohibition. New Hampshire and Rhode Island are now the only states in New England to criminalize recreational marijuana. With the passing of this bill, Connecticut becomes the 19th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in the United States. Below, we break down what this critical piece of legislation entails. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCConnecticut Becomes the 19th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
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Texas House of Representatives Passes Bills to Expand Medical Marijuana Program and Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties

On April 29, 2021, the Texas House of Representatives approved Texas House Bill 1535 (“HB 1535”), a bill that would expand Texas’ medical cannabis program. The Senate must now pass this bill before it can be signed into law and further advance Texas’ marijuana reform legislation. On April 30, 202, Texas House Bill 441 (“HB 441”) was also passed by the Texas House of Representatives; however, this bill faces an uphill climb in the Senate. If HB 441 is passed by the Senate and signed into law, this bill would reduce the criminal penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana. These two bills indicate significant progress in Texas cannabis legislation but still face an uncertain fate in the Senate. Below, we break down what these reform bills mean for the marijuana community in Texas. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCTexas House of Representatives Passes Bills to Expand Medical Marijuana Program and Reduce Marijuana Possession Penalties
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New York Becomes the 15th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana

On March 30, 2021, New York lawmakers voted in favor of legalizing adult-use cannabis after hours of debate in the State Senate and Assembly. Approximately 12 hours after the legislation was approved, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill that legalizes marijuana for adults and expunges the criminal records of those previously convicted by actions that would now be legal under the new law. 

With the passing of this bill, New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in the U.S. Below, we break down the details of this significant marijuana legislation. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCNew York Becomes the 15th State To Legalize Recreational Marijuana
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The Return of the SAFE Banking Act

On March 18, 2021, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (“SAFE”) Banking Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO). On April 19 (just before 4/20), the House approved the legislation again; this time by a vote of 321-101, which also includes a majority of voting Republicans. This reintroduction presents yet another opportunity for the cannabis community, and with a Democratic majority now in the Senate, the chances that this bill gets passed have significantly increased. Below, we take a closer look at the SAFE Banking Act to refamiliarize and reiterate its critical points and examine what this could mean for the hemp and cannabis industries.  

Ritter Spencer, PLLCThe Return of the SAFE Banking Act
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How Should Cannabis Executives and Employees be Compensated?

Toward the end of the year, business owners and executives analyze their end-of-year finances to determine the company’s success, as well as how employees should be compensated. Many marijuana and hemp employers utilize their profits to give some of their more essential employees, such as initial team members or transitional employees with substantial connections or irreplaceable expertise, extra pay for their hard work. Owners typically do this with cash bonuses or equity-based compensation. As a hemp business owner, it is critical to understand each of these compensation methods before making a choice. Below, we break down your primary considerations. 

Ritter Spencer, PLLCHow Should Cannabis Executives and Employees be Compensated?
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New Jersey Officially Legalizes Marijuana After Years of Efforts

After several years of failed attempts and efforts, New Jersey finally legalized marijuana on Monday, February 22, 2021, when Governor Philip D. Murphy signed three bills into law. These bills permit and regulate the use of recreational marijuana in the Garden State (with some strict stipulations) and focus on community outreach for previous marijuana-related convictions. The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey comes after a long run of unsuccessful attempts and hopes to end the era of arrests and ambiguity. Below, we take a closer look at New Jersey’s path to legalization of marijuana, as well as the recently enacted legislation itself.

Ritter Spencer, PLLCNew Jersey Officially Legalizes Marijuana After Years of Efforts
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