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Frustration Over Lack of Federal Cannabis Reform, Utah’s Medical Cannabis Program is Experiencing Accessibility Issues, and Federal and State Lawmakers Working Together on Marijuana Standardization at a National Conference

Flickr @ Brian Shamble

Industry Leaders Exasperated as Cannabis Remains a Schedule 1 Drug

Many thought 2021 was going to be a big year for cannabis reform at the federal level. Two critical pieces of legislation made their way to Congress, with the intention of solidifying the patchwork laws that have governed each individual state since legalization began. The two bills – the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act and the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act – would have largely expanded the cannabis industry’s access to banking and federally decriminalized marijuana, respectively. However, neither bill passed. Since then, it appears that progress for federal cannabis legalization has stalled, leaving business owners across the country frustrated. 

After Two Years, Medical Cannabis in Utah is Still Expensive

Medical cannabis was legalized in Utah in 2020, and since then, the program has seen tremendous growth. An annual report from 2021 found that the number of pharmacies in the state had doubled, and the number of active medical cannabis card holders had more than tripled. However, patients in the state are experiencing challenges when it comes to getting their medical marijuana, primarily due to the high costs of the products themselves, as well as renewal fees. 

Federal, State, and Local Officials Came Together at a National Conference to Discuss Standards for the Marijuana Industry

The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) convened last week, and two of the committees discussed cannabis-related items. The Laws and Regulations committee reviewed proposals for standardizing packaging and labeling, as well as setting a clear definition for products containing marijuana. The Specifications and Tolerances Committee discussed a proposal for developing “scale suitability requirements” for the bulk sale of cannabis to state-legal dispensaries. If any of the items are voted on and approved when NCWM meets in July, they would be included into the federal guidelines from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).