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At düber we strive to solve the biggest problems in the cannabis industry. The Biggest Hits is a series where we highlight some of the most important news concerning our industry.

Sessions says goodbye to the Cole Memo

In a massive step backwards, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has negated the Cole Memo, following through on his loud disapproval of legalized cannabis. The Cole Memo prevented federal crackdowns on cannabis in legal states, with a few basic rules. All stakeholders are closely watching the story unfold.

States with legal programs in place don’t seem overly worried. They have, after all, been legally dispensing for some time — plus they rely on the resulting tax income. MJBiz Daily suggests that stakeholders and lawmakers in legalized states won’t back down.

With California’s first legal recreational sales mere days ago, lawmakers are reported to remain committed to protecting their citizens’ rights to cannabis. States that have passed, but not implemented, recreational cannabis programs show mixed reactions. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has already announced plans to move forward. But Maine Governor Paul LePage continues to be a staunch opponent to legalization.

Cannabis workers, unite!

Major labor unions in California are vying for the growing labor market’s membership. The Teamsters, United Farm Workers plus United Food and Commercial Growers want to unionize the approximately 100,000 workers involved in California’s legal cannabis industry. This state has the longest history of legal medical sales, and the biggest potential recreational market, so the outcome here might predict what will happen across the country.

America’s union membership has declined in recent decades. Some people speculate that uniting this new industry would reinvigorate participation. Unions champion many labor issues, and supporting workers in the volatile cannabis industry will surely require the unions’ legal assistance. The LA Times recently explored this issue, citing the benefits of uniting legalized cannabis workers as an industry growth strategy.

We see the benefit of increased union involvement in the cannabis industry, and hope that all players can find a more cooperative model than the often antagonized relationship between unions and employers.

Veterans Affairs update their medical policy

In December 2017, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented a new medical cannabis policy. As a federal organization, they must comply with federal laws. The new policy allows VA doctors to discuss potential use of cannabis as a patient’s treatment option.

This might be a step forward, but VA doctors remain unable to recommend cannabis use. Patients who do choose this treatment route must then see another non-VA doctor to receive the recommendation allowing them to buy the medical cannabis.

Is this convoluted process necessary? High Times explores the issue, asking if the current legal landscape might allow VA doctors to directly prescribe medical marijuana. We think that seems a lot more streamlined, especially with PTSD cases needing urgent help.

Stay tuned for another in our series of Biggest Hits.