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The latest on the NCAA effort to end drug testing for cannabinoids.
As we reported in this newsletter in late 2023, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports called for “legislation that would remove cannabinoids from the list of NCAA banned drug classes.”
This left it up to the three NCAA divisions to introduce legislation in order to move forward.
On Wednesday, the 2024 NCAA Convention kicked off, and already the Division I Council put forth its legislative proposal, which will be voted on in June.
Of note: the NCAA announcement this week about the various legislative proposals put forth by Division I gave most attention to the cannabis proposal.
“Cannabis is not a performance-enhancing drug, and we determined that the drug testing conducted at NCAA championships should focus on substances that impact competitive outcomes,” said Pat Chun, chair of the Strategic Vision and Planning Committee, in the announcement.
“To be clear, this does not mean that NCAA members condone or promote use of cannabinoids. However, rather than focus on testing and subsequently penalizing student-athletes who use cannabis, NCAA efforts should focus on a harm reduction strategy, similar to substances like alcohol.”
With legislatures back in session, more states grapple with adult use.
Of course, Virginia already legalized adult use, but legal sales have been in limbo for years.
We reported late last year that the election could be a turning point for getting adult use sales regulation over the finish line if Democrats regained control of the legislature, which they did. However, the real hurdle remains Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who is less than enthusiastic about legalization.
Nonetheless, lawmakers are back in session and the adult use proposals, like HB 698, are starting to roll in.
In an interview with Cannabis Wire in late 2023, Sen. Adam Ebbin, one of the leaders of the cannabis conversation in the state legislature, expressed optimism for 2024 if Democrats took control. He said that while Youngkin has been an “obstacle” when it comes to cannabis, lawmakers are “not willing to write him off yet.”
“Of course, he could potentially veto something,” Ebbin said. “But I think having a bill that passes both chambers forces the issue a bit more, and it would force him to engage a bit more in conversation over the topic.”
Hawaii’s legislature is set to reconvene next week (Wed), and the Senate Majority has included adult use legalization among its priorities.
We reported in this newsletter earlier this week that Hawaii’s AG is aiming to get out ahead of the push and has sent a draft bill, along with some key concerns, to lawmakers.
“We acknowledge that with changing public perception in recent years, the odds that the Legislature may pass legislation legalizing adult-use cannabis have increased substantially,” Attorney General Anne Lopez said in a statement at the time.
D.C., like Virginia, has legal adult use but no framework for sales. Both places, unsurprisingly, have seen unlicensed sales pop up in that regulatory vacuum. Unlike Virginia, however, D.C. is blocked by Congress from creating a framework for sales. So the D.C. Council in 2022 moved to essentially allow for adult use sales by expanding its medical cannabis program, since just about anyone can access cannabis in one of these medical shops.
However, while one goal of this expansion was to get unlicensed shops to apply for a medical cannabis license, that isn’t happening. So, the D.C. Council sent legislation yesterday to Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has until Jan. 26 to respond, that would amend the medical cannabis law to:
· “provide that it is unlawful for a licensed or unlicensed cultivation center, manufacturer, retailer, or internet retailer to represent that goods or services or the business is compliant”
· “clarify that the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Board has the authority to issue cease-and-desist orders mandating compliance”
· and clarify that ABCB “has authority to enforce against commercial property owners of properties that are used to operate illegal cannabis businesses.”