Guns vs. Ganja: Federal Law Pits Medical Marijuana Users Against Second Amendment


Newsletter Jan. 8, 2024

D.C. enters the last month of unlicensed retailer licenses

Cannabis shops functioning under I-71 in D.C. have less than a month to apply for a medical license under last year’s medical program expansion.

  • ABCA hosts an info session for the next period for social equity internet or retail licenses which starts in March, on Feb. 6, 2024. Register here.

  • According to the “Georgtowner” pot shops are “flourishing.” ABCA is quoted saying that “ABCA does not have the authority to inspect unlicensed operators, those businesses may be inspected or investigated by other agencies for reasons under their purview.”

Maryland MONEY

In the six months since recreational marijuana became legal in Maryland, sales have boomed, exceeding expectations and generating nearly $700 million for the state. This includes a doubling of sales for medical marijuana users and a surge in adult-use purchases, which now account for over $270 million.

Virginia crackdown

Virginia’s Cannabis Control Authority is taking over regulation of the medical marijuana program and cracking down on illegal products, especially those appealing to kids, who are increasingly facing health risks from delta-8 and delta-10 edibles.

  • Colorado activists launched a signature drive for a ballot measure allowing marijuana users to carry concealed guns.

Gun debate 

Using marijuana and owning a gun is illegal in Virginia due to federal law, even if marijuana is decriminalized in certain situations. This law came into focus after a 6-year-old boy shot his teacher, as his mother illegally used marijuana and lied about her drug use when buying the gun. Gun shop owners often face the challenge of turning away potential buyers who smell of marijuana, even if it’s legal at the state level.

East Coast Round Up

New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) released its annual reports, revealing a booming adult-use cannabis market alongside ongoing efforts to promote equity and combat illegal operations. There have been over 6,200 licenses issued. There was 369 illicit operations inspected, 11,600 pounds of illegal products seized, and $56 million in street value of products confiscated.

A new bill in New York would give local officials the power to shut down illegal weed shops. Lawmakers hope that the new law will help to level the playing field for licensed dispensaries, which are subject to stricter regulations and higher taxes.

Around the country

Nearly half of a study’s almost 2,000 cancer survivors reported using marijuana, mostly to manage symptoms like pain, sleep disturbances, and stress. 60% used it for sleep, and many saw “great degree of symptomatic improvement.”

Johns Hopkins University is launching a $10 million study to analyze how medical cannabis patients nationwide respond to treatments, aiming to fill knowledge gaps and understand long-term efficacy of different products and consumption methods for various ailments

Metrc, a Florida-based company, reigns supreme in providing cannabis seed-to-sale tracking software and RFID tags, holding contracts with 23 states. However, its dominance is challenged by lawsuits from operators frustrated with costs and complexities. Colorado, where RFID first entered cannabis, may soon ditch the tags, leaving Metrc’s future in the state uncertain. Despite potential for expanded use, the company faces industry pushback and competitor BioTrack’s growing presence.

Two N.M. cannabis farms lost licenses and $1 million each for numerous violations, including exceeding plant limits, neglecting tracking systems and creating unsafe conditions. One farm with ties to a prior federal raid faced additional allegations of forced labor and illicit sales.

Legalization promised to redress the harm of the war on drugs by giving minorities a chance to profit from the cannabis industry.

Many states implemented “social equity” programs to prioritize licenses for minorities, but these programs were riddled with problems: Lack of funding, competition from the illicit market, confusing and unfair regulations and financial limitations. POLITICO took a deep dive.

Hit by limited licenses, new market scarcity and financial worries, major cannabis companies are scaling back store expansions in 2024, prioritizing core operations over costly growth.

From the Swamp

Drug cases fell 8% according to a new federal annual report by the Supreme Court.

The DEA informed Congress that it has the final say on any marijuana scheduling decision, regardless of the recent recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reclassify it as Schedule III. This stance puts the brakes on hopes for swift rescheduling based on the science-backed HHS review.


The DEA recently clarified that spores are not federally illegal until they are germinated and contain psilocybin or psilocin.

Don’t miss this week

Intro to Cannabis Cultivation: Intro to Cannabis Cultivation will host an in-house grow expert to cover a wide range of topics, including germination, cannabis species and chemical compounds, growth limiting factors, types of grow media and cannabis plant stages in White Marsh, MD (Jan. 14 5P.M.-7P.M.; $125)

Please submit your upcoming cannabis event here


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