Cannabis Law

Jul 23, 2018, 4:00:00 AM / by Devin Briggs


Over half of states legalized use of cannabis, from medical to recreational purposes. Despite having at least three FDA approved medications with cannabis derivatives, federal law remains unchanged in recognizing the plant's use and possession. Producers and consumers in the commercial cannabis industry are seemingly unmoved, however. In light of the federal ban, production of cannabis-based products continues under the green lights granted by state lawmakers. In fact, the industry is on an all-time high, no pun intended. From prescriptions to baked goods and candies, cannabis growers refuse to coalesce in their roles as industry leaders and for good reason. The cannabis industry is lucrative bringing in billions annually and translating into massive state tax revenues.

So why do federal lawmakers continue to deny cannabis legal status? Under the language of the Controlled Substance Act, cannabis classifies as a Schedule 1 drug and bans both its use and possession as highly addictive and dangerous and lacking any federally recognized medical purpose in and of itself.

How can cannabis-producing companies, let alone individual users, feel so comfortable existing in this legal limbo? Reform wise, things have gone into recent regression for cannabis supporters. Changes from one administration to the next has actually stunted progress towards legal reform for the industry. Then, of course, there is the whole “federal law trumps state law” dynamic. Perhaps there is a reckoning that federal law will and must catch up with the times. Rationing that cannabis use has standardized beyond reasonable federal containment and that the justification behind the federal ban is too antiquated may give supporters an underlying confidence to keep doing what they are doing.

If this sentiment is true, legalization supporters may have a point. The cannabis industry most certainly has become bigger than what any court of law would want to handle. Many states value the use of cannabis, even limited use, over blanket criminalization and ultimately states benefit through regulation and tax. Cannabis producers are making three- and five-year revenue and job growth projections, nearly doubling their workforce. With benefits like these, it is difficult to picture the extent to which the federal government can reasonably disenfranchise and effectively criminalize cannabis producers and users.  Feasibility is looking less and less likely.

Further FDA backing and federal clinical investigative trials of the cannabis plant itself provide legalization supporters a lengthier but legitimate step towards federal decriminalization. Studies have found medicinal cannabis use successful in treatment for combating addictive effects from opioid use, relief from cancer treatment, and treatment for various anxiety disorders.

Still, the federal ban remains.


Arbitration Law:

Arbitration is universally known as one of the most effective means of handling disputes outside of the court system. The benefits of the arbitration process to many legal professionals include saving time and money in litigation costs while creating binding decisions by party-selected arbiters. There's more.  Arbitration agreements also incorporate rules governing electronically stored information in the discovery process.  According to arbitration experts, this particularly spells good news for commercial contracts because companies manage a great deal of electronically stored information. This, in turn, reduces the amount of information that courts would otherwise compel parties to parse through.

There are a few things, however, worth noting before considering arbitration as a best option. Some concerns surround enforcement of the arbitration award in the event an opposing party fails to cooperate, highlighted by the 2018 Global Arbitration Review:

1)  Satisfaction of an arbitration agreement is not automatic and may need to be enforced by a court of law or other venue that handles arbitration agreements. 

2)  Recognition of an arbitration award may be subject to certain defenses.

According to the Global Arbitration Review, some defenses a party may face in getting an arbitration award recognized include the following:

  • a party is suffering from incapacity or the arbitration agreement is otherwise invalid;
  • there is insufficient notice to the party against whom the award is invoked;
  • the award is outside the scope of the arbitration agreement;
  • the composition of the arbitral tribunal or procedure was not compliant with the parties' agreement or, absent such an agreement, the laws of the jurisdiction where the arbitration took place;
  • the award has not yet become binding on the parties;
  • the dispute was not arbitrable; or
  • recognition of the award would be against public policy.

3) Changes in international political climates and foreign relations may affect the arbitration process for better or for worse.

International arbitration requires a careful eye on foreign relations among countries and how those relations broaden or restrict the international arbitration process. The changing nature of global political climates occurred with Brexit, for example. Brexit was a major political shift which involved the breaking away of the United Kingdom from the European Union. So far, this shift has no notable negative impacts on international arbitration agreements. However, this political shift is still rather new; understandably, it raises an eyebrow as to its impact in the long run on international arbitration. Ambivalent foreign relations between the U.S. and Russia and the U.S. and North Korea are no exception to the rule; only time will tell for better or for worse.



Topics: For Candidates

Devin Briggs

Written by Devin Briggs

Devin Briggs, J.D., is a Birmingham native and a live-music buff with a passion for legal writing and research. She handles review of banking compliance matters.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts