April 2023 Federal Cannabis News: MLB Says Yes to CBD

Capitol Hill photograph for CWCBExpo federal news update february 2023 blog

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With the annual 4/20 holiday serving as a reminder of the industry’s momentum, there’s no shortage of cannabis news rolling out. From proposed legislation to strong public opinion polls to the groundbreaking sponsorship of a professional baseball team, this update will cover some of the most noteworthy federal cannabis news items. Let’s take a closer look at what’s been happening in the world of cannabis this month. 

Chicago Cubs become first Major League Baseball team with CBD sponsorship

The Chicago Cubs made history by becoming the first Major League Baseball (MLB) team to partner with a cannabis brand. The team officially signed a sponsorship agreement with Mynd Drinks, a Chicago-based drink maker specializing in infused beverages. Under the new deal, the Cubs will offer canned CBD beverages at Wrigley Stadium, the team’s historic home field in the heart of Chicago. The team will also display signs promoting Mynd Drinks throughout the stadium, allowing fans to learn more about the company and its products. 

“When MLB opened the CBD category for its clubs, it allowed us to explore new partnership opportunities and offerings,” Alex Seyferth, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships for the Chicago Cubs, said in a statement. “We’re proud to be the first club to partner with a CBD company, but what was more important to us was making sure that the brand was the right fit.”

This announcement comes just months after the MLB signed a deal with Charlotte’s Web, a leading producer of hemp-based CBD products – marking the first time a major professional sports league in the United States formed a partnership with a CBD company. 

Bipartisan lawmakers file bill to legalize medical cannabis for military veterans nationwide

In a series of cannabis measures introduced leading up to 4/20, a bipartisan contingent of House and Senate lawmakers are refiling bills to legalize medical marijuana for military veterans. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), the co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-CA) reintroduced the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act on Tuesday with 12 cosponsors. 

If passed, the bill would temporarily allow veterans to possess and use medical cannabis under federal law as recommended by doctors, representing a significant shift in how the federal government approaches cannabis. It would also allow physicians with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to issue medical cannabis recommendations to veterans, an issue that has long prevented veterans from gaining access to such medicine. 

“In 41 states and territories and Washington, D.C., doctors and their patients can use medical marijuana to manage pain or treat a wide range of diseases and disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder—unless those doctors work for the VA and their patients are veterans,” Schatz said in a press release. “Our bill will protect veteran patients in these jurisdictions, give VA doctors the option to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans, and shed light on how medical marijuana can help address the nation’s opioid epidemic.”

Earlier versions of the legislation were introduced in the last three Congresses but have yet to advance.

4/20 polls find that 64% of Americans support federal legalization

A CBS News poll published on 4/20 showed that 64% of Americans want cannabis to be legal in their state. Respondents included Democrats (73%), independents (66%), and Republicans (53%). Additionally, a slight majority of Americans consider cannabis consumption to be socially acceptable —  a shift from when CBS News asked this question two years ago. 

A separate poll from YouGov determined that 58% of respondents say cannabis should be legal in their state, including 65% of Democrats, 62% of independents, and 46% of Republicans. This poll also asked whether respondents felt that Congress should pass legislation to legalize cannabis at the federal level, and 55% said they strongly or somewhat supported the reform.

Both polls were published on 4/20, a day of increased awareness about cannabis policy issues, highlighting the continued support for cannabis legalization among the American public. The results demonstrate the normalization of cannabis consumption and Americans’ shifting perspective toward the plant. 

Federal bill to incentivize state-level cannabis expungement reintroduced

Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have officially refiled a bipartisan bill to encourage state and local governments to expunge cannabis records. The Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act aims to help states with expunging cannabis offenses by providing federal grants to reduce the financial and administrative burden of those efforts. 

“The vast majority of petty, non-violent cannabis law violations take place on the state and local level, precluding millions of Americans from fundamental opportunities such as housing and employment,” Congressman Joyce said in a statement. “As both a former public defender and prosecutor, I understand firsthand how these barriers can negatively impact families and economic growth in Ohio and across the nation. The HOPE Act works to remove those barriers in a bipartisan manner to pave the way for the American Dream and remedy the unjust war on cannabis.”

Stay informed with CWBCExpo 

From legislative developments to changing public attitudes, it’s clear that the cannabis industry is continuing to experience growth and transformation. As we move forward, we can expect many more exciting developments in the months and years ahead. Stay informed on the latest industry news by following the CWCBExpo blog or attending our annual B2B expo in New York, going strong in its ninth year! 

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