Photo of Steve Levine

Steve is head of the firm’s Food Systems industry unit, Steve leads more than 45 professionals from numerous practice areas focused on the various food and agriculture industries. He excels in bringing creative, cost-effective solutions to the various challenges that our clients face.

Since 2009, Steve’s major focus has been on the burgeoning cannabis industry, where he guides clients through the tangle of shifting regulations governing the sale and use of cannabis in both the marijuana and industrial hemp sectors across the nation.

The biggest legal shift in the cannabis industry in decades just occurred on the heels of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) proposal today for cannabis rescheduling. Specifically, as many anticipated, the DEA will exercise its authority to reschedule cannabis from a schedule I controlled substance to a schedule III controlled substance on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This cannabis rescheduling comes in part from the recommendation of the Department of Health and Human Services to reschedule cannabis from a I to a III on the CSA. The DEA’s proposal must now go before the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. The OMB’s primary functions relate to budget formulation and execution, legislative coordination and clearance, executive orders and proclamations, information and regulatory affairs, and mission-support areas and management initiatives. OMB will very likely review this DEA proposal for budget impact, regulatory impact, and legislative coordination.Continue Reading BREAKING: DEA Will Reschedule Cannabis to a Schedule III Drug

Hemp Production and Prices Increase

Earlier this year, hemp was included in the USDA’s Census of Agriculture. When hemp was first legalized in 2018, there was a boom in production under the fervor of new opportunities, spearheaded by the demand for CBD products. This resulted in over production and over supply. The CBD market was over-saturated within a growing season and hemp biomass prices plummeted, along with hemp production. More recently, however, hemp production has leveled out and is even increasing as reported by the USDA on April 17, 2024. As an example, prices for hemp outdoor-grown flower are up 35% and hemp clone and transplant prices are up 61%.Continue Reading Hemp Production on the Upswing – Is Intoxicating Hemp the Main Driver?

The Table is Set on Marijuana Rescheduling

On October 6, 2022, President Biden made a statement in which he asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Attorney General to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. In his statement, the President appeared to express disappointment that marijuana is listed in the same schedule as “drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic” (Id.). It was highly anticipated that this review would lead to the rescheduling, or even de-scheduling, of marijuana. On August 29, 2023, HHS submitted its recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that marijuana be rescheduled from Schedule I to Schedule III. Continue Reading Marijuana Rescheduling: Process and Procedures To Know Now

After months of anticipation, the New York State Office of Cannabis Management began accepting applications for five (5) types of licenses this week: cultivator, processor, distributor, and microbusiness. This is generally how the process will work:Continue Reading The New York marijuana business application window has opened, but will be over in a ‘New York minute’

Earlier this week, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate reintroduced legislation that would allow regulated financial institutions to work with state-licensed cannabis companies. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2023 would disallow federal banking authorities from prohibiting, penalizing, or discouraging banks from providing financial services to state-licensed cannabis businesses and their networks of counterparties, advisors, and vendors.Continue Reading Legislators Make Another Run at Cannabis Banking Law

Creating further confusion and uncertainty in the hemp derived cannabidiol (CBD) markets, the FDA has determined that the existing regulatory frameworks for food and supplements are not appropriate for CBD. The FDA cited various safety concerns as the impetuous in making this determination.

FDA has concluded that a new regulatory pathway for CBD is

A split First Circuit panel affirmed yesterday that the US Constitution’s dormant commerce clause applies to the federally illegal medical marijuana industry and that a Maine law mandating local ownership of cannabis businesses was struck down.

What does this mean?

Since Colorado became the first state to regulate medical cannabis, there has always been a