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AG pick Garland talks cannabis enforcement (Newsletter: February 23, 2021)



NJ gov signs marijuana bills; NY gov releases legalization amendments; Norway moves to decrim all drugs; SD medical cannabis compromise

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Attorney general nominee Merrick Garland said during his Senate confirmation hearing that interfering with state marijuana laws is not “a useful use of limited resources” and that cannabis enforcement is the “perfect example” of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.

  • “Here’s a non-violent crime with respect to usage that does not require us to incarcerate people, and we’re incarcerating at significantly different rates of the different communities. That is wrong, and it’s the kind of problem that will then follow a person for the rest of their lives. It will make it impossible to get a job, it will lead to downward economic spiral for their family.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed marijuana legalization and decriminalization bills into law after legislators sent him a new “clean up” proposal concerning penalties for underage people.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released the full text of proposed amendments to his marijuana legalization plan. Cannabis delivery would be allowed, but home grow still wouldn’t.

Norway’s government proposed a bill to decriminalize drug possession.

South Dakota activists are offering a compromise that would shorten the delay in implementing medical cannabis that is being pushed by Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and lawmakers. They also want patients to have an affirmative defense in court in the meantime.


Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) tweeted, “States that have legalized marijuana have seen a boom in business, tourism, and tax revenue, & a drop in incarceration. As a co-sponsor of the MORE Act, I hope to see New Mexico join them and help restore communities hurt by the failed War on Drugs.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) sent a press release cheering New Jersey’s marijuana legislation being signed into law.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “The war on drugs has been a war on people, particularly people of color. It’s not enough to just legalize marijuana—we must go further to restore the lives and communities that have been destroyed by the failed war on drugs.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “I am pleased to see that NJ has officially legalized marijuana – reversing an unjust policy that has devastated vulnerable communities. Congress must take the next step by passing the #MOREAct to end the federal ban on marijuana and allow other states to legalize it as well.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) tweeted, “New Jersey has (finally) legalized adult-use of Marijuana. While the work to end the failed War on Drugs is not over, this is an important step.”

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) tweeted, “Discriminatory enforcement of cannabis laws has resulted in Black Americans being more likely to face prison time, despite similar marijuana usage among other groups. It is time to take action towards equity and #CannabisJusticeNOW”


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) said he is “tired of seeing our tax dollars going across the border to northern Michigan or Illinois to go buy marijuana.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sent a press release about the availability of applications for cannabinoid hemp processors retailer or distributor licenses.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) will participate in a memorial for CBD pioneer Charlotte Figi on April 7.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “40% of our population is now *officially* a 30 minute drive or less from a candyland of legal weed. Legal Weed ✅ for PA NOW Revenue ✅ Justice ✅ Jobs ✅ Freedom ✅ Farmers ✅ Veterans”

Delaware’s state auditor tweeted, “State legislators and governors have found ways previously to agree on decriminalizing marijuana and allowing expungement of marijuana convictions. Full legalization for adult use is the next logical discussion to have.”

The South Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill to let banks serve marijuana and hemp businesses.

New Mexico regulators are being sued by a medical cannabis producer that wants a tax refund.

The Montana House Business and Labor Committee will hear a bill to delay the start of recreational marijuana sales on Friday.

Tennessee lawmakers filed legislation to create a commission to study medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at cannabis bills that New Hampshire lawmakers are considering this year.

A leaked report from Illinois regulators showed that fewer than 2% of marijuana dispensary owners were Black or Latino and less than a quarter were women.

Michigan regulators will host a marijuana social equity business resource workshop on Thursday.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.


A Palm Beach, Florida Town Council candidate called out an opponent’s prior marijuana arrest in an an attack mailer.


The leader of the UK’s Labour Party said he opposes decriminalizing marijuana.

The Colombian government filed draft regulations allowing the export of cannabis flower.

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is moving to put cannabis on the country’s essential drugs list. Separately, a government spokesperson said she hopes “cannabis and hemp will be a primary cash crop for farmers.”


A study found that “CBD users take the drug to manage self-perceived anxiety, stress, sleep, and other symptoms, often in low doses, and these patterns vary by demographic characteristics.”


The New York Daily News editorial board cheered Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) latest revised marijuana legalization plan.

The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association is concerned about newly signed marijuana legislation.

Author Tim Ferriss wrote a blog post urging people to consider ethics and sustainability when choosing psychedelics.


Parallel plans to go public at a value of $1.9 billion.

Eaze’s former CEO pleaded guilty to bank fraud conspiracy in a case alleging a scheme to fool  financial institutions into processing credit and debit card payments for marijuana businesses.

Acreage Holdings Inc. resolved a lawsuit brought against the company by former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R), who served on its board.

Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. is entering the U.S. market.


Legalization Nation is a new comic strip that chronicles cannabis developments.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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