Welcome back to The Year In Weed, our annual roundup of cannabis-related stories. As usual, we’ll adopt Dave Barry’s Year in Review format and look at stories month by month. Last year, I hoped 2022 would provide some answers to the questions of 2021 and predicted we’d spend much of the year discussing ballot initiatives. Was I right? Well, you tell me…
So we begin with January when Montana began legal adult-use sales. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) announced his retirement, and we were skeptical that his SAFE Banking Act would pass before he left Congress. More on that later in the year.
In February, Mississippi legalized medical marijuana, after many trials and tribulations. The SAFE Banking Act was attached to the COMPETES Act. (Don’t get your hopes up.) If you’d like lots of data on hemp, there’s a report available just for you!
Which brings us to March which brought an end to the speculation that Delaware might legalize this year – new taxes require a super-majority to pass, thus dooming the bill. And DC continued to deal with a ban on cannabis sales.
In April, we saw the Maryland legislature vote to put an adult-use legalization measure on the November ballot. And sales began in New Jersey, after many ups and downs along the way.
And then it was the merry, merry month of May, when Rhode Island joined its New England neighbors in legalizing adult-use cannabis. And an Indiana Senate candidate lit up in a campaign ad.
In June we saw the SAFE Banking Act dropped from the COMPETES Act. Spoiler alert: this is a harbinger of things to come. Maryland lawmakers decided to get a jumpstart on regulating the cannabis industry, assuming that the November ballot initiative would pass.
The month of July brought self-certification for all medical marijuana customers in DC. Congress won’t let you have adult-use sales? There’s a way around that. Rep. Ed Perlmutter added SAFE Banking to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) – what could go wrong?
The dog days of August brought the news that cannabis legalization would be on the Missouri ballot. And the DANK Cannabis Research Act was filed in Congress.
The cool fall temps of September brought a vote for cannabis consumption lounges in Las Vegas. And only seven years after legalizing medical marijuana, Georgia issued licenses.
And so on to October when Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt (R) announced a special election to be held on March 7, 2023 to decide whether to bring adult-use cannabis to the Sooner State. The big federal news was that President Biden (D) granted pardons to those in federal prison for marijuana offenses, called on governors to do the same for state prisoners, and began a federal review of cannabis scheduling.
Which brings us to November when nothing much happened. Oh wait, there were five states with legalization measures on the ballot – what went on with that? Maryland and Missouri voted YES; Arkansas and the Dakotas voted NO. And we found out that people are licking toads in national parks – do NOT do this.
And then we made our way, at long last to December. Were you expecting a Christmas miracle to bring you SAFE Banking? Sorry – nothing but coal in your stocking. It wasn’t included in the NDAA, and it wasn’t included in the omnibus appropriations bill. But if you asked Santa for a federal law allowing marijuana research, you were in luck.
So that’s your 2022 in a nutshell. A divided Congress means there’s even less chance of federal cannabis legislation, but we’ve got at least one election coming up on the state level. Enjoy your New Year’s celebrations, and we’ll be back beginning January 6 to bring you a look at the news throughout the coming year.