This year kept the Cannabis Wire team on our toes. As the year went on, our Cannabis Wire Daily newsletter was increasingly packed with words like “historic” and “unprecedented” as we reported on regulatory and policy developments that seemed lightyears away just a year or two ago.
At the state level there was, of course, New York, watched from around the world. Cannabis Wire published dozens of stories about New York’s path to launching its legal adult use industry by the end of 2022 – with first sales starting just before New Year’s Day. New York is where Cannabis Wire was founded, too, so we decided to create a newsletter dedicated to coverage of our complex and fascinating backyard.
While California is the most populous state with legal adult use, and has had perhaps its most transformative year since adult use became legal there in 2016, the spotlight was on the northeast in 2022. Adult use sales went live in New Jersey and Rhode Island, for example, and Connecticut is coming on board in January.
Elsewhere at the state level, the midterm election added Missouri and Maryland to the list of legal adult use states, but also put a spotlight on the rising hurdles for cannabis ballot measures in red states.
At the national level, President Joe Biden made cannabis history twice. First by calling for a review of how the federal government classifies cannabis and by pardoning federal possession offenses. Then by signing into law a cannabis research bill that is the first standalone cannabis bill to be signed into law since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
In Congress, we saw the introduction of the most comprehensive cannabis legalization and regulation bill to-date, and the failure–repeatedly, over the course of three Congresses and six years–of the SAFE Banking Act, despite the bill pulling in more attention, action, and money than any other cannabis legislation to-date.
And then there’s all the work around research and regulation that’s happened this year across federal agencies, specifically the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, like Commissioner Robert Califf saying that he’s “committed” to finding a “path” for CBD, or the FDA’s formation of a Cannabis Products Committee, or the FDA’s tapping of Norman Birenbaum, a former cannabis regulator for New York and Rhode Island, to guide its “efforts related to research and regulation of cannabis.”
Globally, there’s been so much cannabis activity and movement toward reform that the United Nations has started to dive into the details in its annual drug report, looking at, for example, the environmental impacts of cultivation.
There’s all that, and so much more. Now, for a reading list that will prepare you for where cannabis is headed in 2023, check out some of Cannabis Wire’s top stories of 2022:
In 2021, Congress Did Nothing–and Everything–About Cannabis Reform. Now What?
Nothing made it even close to the president’s desk, but the conversation changed, and forces are gathering for a complex debate about legalization’s priorities.
Cannabis is Federally Illegal. But the Groundwork for Federal Regulation is Being Laid
The federal law on cannabis has remained unchanged for more than half a century. Yet as states race toward legalization, federal agencies have begun to play catch up.
Who Now Has Federal Permission to Grow Cannabis for Research?
For decades, there was one DEA-approved entity. Now there are five, though the DEA has been quiet about it. But what about the dozens of other applicants?
A Powerful “Third Voice” Cannonballs into the Cannabis Reform Debates
On both the state and federal levels, the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity is making its business-friendly case.
Colombia: A New President Could Jump-Start Cannabis
The industry will be seen as a player in the economy—and likely legalized—after President-elect Gustavo Petro takes office on August 7.
Marlboro-Maker Altria Tinkers With Cannabis Flavors
In new patent applications, Altria and the University of Virginia focus on how to modify cannabis plants to “control the formation of terpenes that impart specific flavor and aroma characteristics.”
Germany’s Cannabis Legalization Plan Takes Shape
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach presented a broad plan to the cabinet on Wednesday, which it supported. Next up: European Commission review.
Ten Years After: Lessons On Cannabis Legalization From the States that Pioneered It
On November 6, 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first jurisdictions in the world to legalize cannabis for adults. Cannabis Wire spoke to the experts and compiled the data about the changes since then, and revisited that historic election night.
Unlikely Allies: Major Coalitions Unite to Brief Hill Staffers on Cannabis Policy Priorities
The Marijuana Justice Coalition and the Cannabis Freedom Alliance have come together to present a united front post-election.
Missed Moments: How Congress Almost Decriminalized Cannabis
President Biden’s reforms are significant, but they highlight other leaders’ fumbled opportunities to change course through the decades.