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Meghana Shah, left, and Melissa Fox, right, of Eversheds Sutherland.

While public attention has focused on how the coronavirus is affecting cannabis businesses from the perspective of supply and demand, there is an equally important force receiving less attention: the regulatory framework for cannabis. Until now, the industry has operated against the backdrop of the state-federal conflict with the potential of several important developments—such as the promise of forthcoming CBD guidance from the FDA and federal legalization—on the horizon for 2020.  The spread of the coronavirus has necessarily shifted legislative focus while also reviving dialogue about legalization through a new lens.  This article explores how the coronavirus-related disruption to cannabis regulatory efforts will impact cannabis businesses over the short and long term and what we can expect to see on the cannabis regulatory front for the remainder of 2020.

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