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AG wasted resources investigating cannabis mergers, staffer says (Newsletter: June 24, 2020)

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Poll: Marijuana more moral than gay relations; Iowa House defeats psilocybin decrim measure; VA sells hemp shoes to veterans

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Attorney General William Barr improperly diverted Justice Department resources to scrutinize cannabis company mergers because he doesn’t like the marijuana industry, a career Antitrust Division staffer will testify to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

  • “Across all sectors of the American economy, the cannabis industry accounted for a full 29 percent of the Division’s Second Request investigations in Fiscal Year 2019… At one point, cannabis investigations accounted for five of the eight active merger investigations in the office that is responsible for the transportation, energy, and agriculture sectors of the American economy. The investigations were so numerous that staff from other offices were pulled in to assist, including from the telecommunications, technology, and media offices.”

A poll found that American adults think smoking marijuana is more morally acceptable than gay relations abortion, porn, wearing animal fur clothing, the death penalty, doctor-assisted suicide, and having a baby outside marriage.

The Iowa House of Representatives voted down a Republican lawmaker’s amendment to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms.

  • “The broad bipartisan support of both rural Christians and inner city progressives proves that psilocybin is the issue that can heal our politically fractured society. These reforms are needed immediately to create the healing our country is desperate for.”

In one of the less aesthetically pleasing signs of the federal government’s embracement of hemp since the crop’s legalization, the Department of Veterans Affairs is selling hemp toe shoes to military veterans.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a case challenging the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s policy against medical cannabis use by public housing tenants.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called Senate Republicans’ police reform bill inadequate because, in part, it does not ban no-knock raids in drug cases.

Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Joel Newby tweeted, “The War on Drugs has been a complete failure. Not only is the drug epidemic worse than ever, but these policies also explicitly targeted non-white communities for decades. We can build just and effective criminal justice systems.”

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate RD Huffstetler supports decriminalizing marijuana.

/ STATES

The U.S. Virgin Islands Senate Rules and Judiciary Committee is expected to soon consider the nomination of the territory’s agriculture commissioner to the Cannabis Advisory Board.

Colorado regulators published average market rates for retail marijuana.

New York regulators published a list of authorized hemp research partner companies.

Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board will meet on July 21.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 cannabis 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.

/ LOCAL

The Seattle, Washington City Council is considering a proposal to eliminate loitering crimes related to drug trafficking.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke about what he sees as the country’s need to step up efforts in the war on drugs.

The British Virgin Islands government projected that it will generate at least $30 million annually from the medical cannabis industry.

Australian regulators are investigating complaints about allegedly non-compliant medical cannabis advertising.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “an association between the increased frequency of cannabis use and increased male sexual function” but concluded that “the clinical significance of this is likely low.”

A study of marijuana dispensaries found that “gender identity and sexual orientation as significant predictors of sexual harassment,” “women and lesbian, gay and queer identifying workers experienced greater frequency of harassment than men and heterosexual peers, respectively” and that “organizational risk factors identified through qualitative analysis of the interviews included tips, working in insolation and apathetic responses from managers.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Canadians found that 59% support legalizing psilocybin mushrooms for medical use by people who are suffering from terminal illnesses.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition is pressing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate CBD as a legal dietary supplement.

NORML and Green Flower Media launched a Cannabis Advocacy Certificate Program.

Minorities for Medical Marijuana and the Minority Cannabis Business Association are holding an event titled, “Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Cannabis Industry: A Call to Action” on Friday.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced a 25% reduction in selling, general and administrative staff and a 30% reduction in production staff, as well as a consolidation of production facilities.

Hightimes Holding Corp announced it completed the initial closing of its purchase of dispensaries from Harvest Health and Recreation.

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc received a demand for repayment under a secured debenture purchase agreement.

TILT Holdings Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $42.4 million and a net loss of $50,925.

Organigram Holdings Inc. is making changes to its Trailer Park Buds brand.

A reporter with The National Post’s The GrowthOp marijuana news vertical resigned after a story he edited on the cannabis industry’s failure to acknowledge racism was removed from the site.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

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 Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

First federal cannabis bill of new Congress filed (Newsletter: January 22, 2021)

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CT gov’s draft legal marijuana bill; Poll: TX adults say legalize cannabis to fund schools; IL uses marijuana-funded grants to repair drug war harms

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  • Russell Sumners: “I’ve been reading your daily newsletters for a while and decided it was (past) due for me to contribute to those who put together these amazingly consistent and informational newsletters. I live in Texas and our state legislature is back in session this year. I hope to read positive news on medical marijuana policy changes to make cannabis more available to those in need in the great Lone Star State.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed the first federal marijuana reform bill of the new Congress. It would simply move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III, which would not end prohibition but would have a number of other effects.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is circulating a draft marijuana legalization bill for feedback.

A new poll found that 64% of Texans support legalizing and taxing marijuana to fund schools. That’s more than those who want to increase the sales tax, put a new tax on sugary drinks or raise taxes on corporations, hotel occupancy or motor vehicles.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced $31.5 million in grant awards funded by marijuana tax revenue to aid communities harmed by the war on drugs. One NAACP branch got $1.8 million. Branches of the Urban league, United Way and YMCA are also getting  cannabis funds.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said state-licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Rural Business Development Grant Programs.

No members of the Senate Finance Committee asked Janet Yellen, treasury secretary nominee, questions about marijuana banking or tax issues during her confirmation hearing or in written queries for the record.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order extending the validity of medical cannabis cards through the coronavirus pandemic. Separately, he tweeted about Jay-Z’s fund for minority-owned marijuana businesses, saying, “I led the effort to decriminalize & legalize cannabis because the war on drugs has been an abject failure—with disproportionate & devastating impacts on communities of color. These are the types of entrepreneurial opportunities we dreamed of—thanks Jay-Z!”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said her administration is working to prepare to implement marijuana legalization if litigation she is backing to overturn the voter-approved measure is not successful.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) latest coronavirus order allows marijuana businesses to stay open after 9:30 PM.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) tweeted about a study linking marijuana use by young people with mood disorders to an increased risk of self-harm, suicide attempts and death.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor posted on Facebook, “For decades, we’ve criminalized a plant + people who consumed it. What a bizarre, destructive superstition. Legal Weed for USA. 🇺🇸”

The North Dakota House of Representative approved a bill to tie the state’s definition of hemp to federal law.

New Mexico lawmakers spoke about the details of marijuana legalization bills they plan to file soon.

A protest against Georgia’s medical cannabis production license request for proposals from Trulieve GA Inc. has been withdrawn, and applications are now due on Wednesday.

Michigan regulators began hemp sampling.

Florida lawmakers filed legislation to protect public employees from being fired for medical cannabis use.

A Maryland delegate tweeted about a bill she is sponsoring that “will allow medical marijuana businesses to obtain state tax benefits for their business expenses — a standard benefit for businesses in every other industry. We must have equitable financial conditions in place for these businesses to thrive!”

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana business issues on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 300 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.

/ LOCAL

The Prairie Village, Kansas City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

San Francisco, California officials sent an update on the timeline for cannabis permanent permit applications.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s Department of Health said the country’s medical cannabis access program will launch this year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical marijuana patients were positive about the health benefits they received and the fact they were able to reduce or eliminate many prescription medications; however, there were concerns about the costs.”

A study concluded that “the way people experience mystical occasions due to psychedelic use have archetypical patterns, but culturally specific storylines.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Sacramento Bee editorial board is pushing California officials to do a better job expunging past marijuana convictions.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. entered into a deal to sell 12 million units of the company for gross proceeds of approximately $125 million.

Harborside Inc. announced that a lawsuit alleging it committed securities violations has been voluntarily dismissed.

Verano Holdings, LLC completed a concurrent brokered and non-brokered private placement financing of subscription receipts worth $100 million.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. announced that a previously announced deal to sell units has been upsized to C$17.5 million.

Wesana Health closed a $4 million convertible note financing round.

Wurk founder and CEO Keegan Peterson died.

/ CULTURE

Jay-Z started a $10 million fund to invest in minority-owned cannabis startups.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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Trump pardons cannabis prisoners on last day (Newsletter: January 21, 2021)

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VA legalization bill amended; USDA puts hemp rep on trade panel; NY legal marijuana details; NV gov touts money for schools; SD Cannabis Caucus

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

Free to read (but not free to produce)! We’re proud of our newsletter and the reporting we publish at Marijuana Moment, and we’re happy to provide it for free. But it takes a lot of work and resources to make this happen. 

  • Kimberly Pham: “Tom and the team at Marijuana Moment have been a staple to my morning routine. I have learned and grown so much in the cannabis industry over the past few years by following Marijuana Moment, and it’s even helped me with advocating and networking within the cannabis industry. I know I can always count on Marijuana Moment to keep me up-to-date with the most accurate and timely cannabis news!”

If you value Marijuana Moment, invest in our success on Patreon so we can expand our coverage and more readers can benefit: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Donald Trump, in one of his final acts in office, granted pardons and commutations to dozens of people with marijuana and drug convictions.

  • “It feels like a new life,” one of the clemency recipients told Marijuana Moment.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released the full legislative details of his marijuana legalization plan though his budget proposal. No home cultivation, delivery services or on-site consumption at dispensaries would be authorized, and advocates are underwhelmed with the equity provisions. Meanwhile, lawmakers are pushing a different framework.

The new Virginia Senate Marijuana Subcommittee debated and approved amendments to the governor’s legalization bill. Among key changes were a decision to move cannabis to the jurisdiction of a new agency instead of under the state’s alcohol regulator, a delay in the implementation of sales, switching to local opt out instead of opt in and equity reforms.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative appointed a second official from the National Industrial Hemp Council to serve on a federal agricultural trade advisory committee.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) pledged in his State of the State address that his budget will keep using marijuana tax revenue to fund schools.

South Dakota lawmakers formed a Cannabis Caucus to coordinate efforts on marijuana bills after voters approved legalization in November. But the Senate majority leader said implementation could end up taking more than one legislative session.

/ FEDERAL

President Joe Biden named a new acting director for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

/ STATES

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on a bill to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

Top New Hampshire Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation to limit the potency of medical cannabis for patients under 21.

New Mexico representatives coauthored an op-ed on the need to legalize marijuana with equity and justice in mind.

Michigan regulators sent bulletins on marijuana social equity fee reductions.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee and Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

Washington State’s Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force will meet on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 300 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.

/ LOCAL

The Burlington, Vermont City Council voted to place a question allowing marijuana sales on the March ballot.

The Las Cruces, New Mexico City Council voted to endorse statewide marijuana legalization.

Los Angeles County, California’s district attorney tweeted, “Today, the justice reform movement gains an ally in White House. Biden’s promise to confront mass incarceration fills me with hope.  It’s past time to reform our bail system, decriminalize marijuana, abolish the death penalty & so so much more.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Costa Rican lawmakers are pressing the government to support medical cannabis and hemp legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “heavy drinkers engaged in treatment to reduce their alcohol consumption who also use cannabis appear to increase their cannabis use on days when they reduce their alcohol consumption.”

A review concluded that “overall results demonstrate potential usefulness of cannabinoids as adjunctive analgesics and in mitigating opioid use” but that “current evidence is far from convincing.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana released cannabis recommendations for the Biden administration.

/ BUSINESS

Fyllo acquired DataOwl.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement with plaintiffs who sued the company after it was sanctioned by Canadian officials for growing marijuana in unlicensed rooms, including a C$50 million trust that will be established to settle claims.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. announced a deal to sell 40,550,000  units for gross proceeds of C$15,003,500.

/ CULTURE

Aubrey Plaza lamented that she couldn’t take marijuana gummies with her on a trip to Qatar.

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Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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NY gov releases cannabis equity funding info (Newsletter: January 20, 2021)

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Biden team touts health pick’s marijuana work; VA senators debate legalization bill; WA cannabis homegrow hearing

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  • Liz Tiger: “I am a cannabis advocate in South Dakota where we are fighting our governor for access even after passing both medical and adult-use laws in November. MM has been incredibly helpful in keeping me informed and up to date on cannabis news across the nation. Thank you for all you do!”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released more details of his latest marijuana legalization plan as part of his annual budget proposal, including tax rates and information on funding for a cannabis equity program.

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team noted the medical cannabis implementation work that his new pick for assistant health and human services secretary did in Pennsylvania. If confirmed, she’d play a key role in a health review that could reschedule marijuana.

The Virginia Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Marijuana Subcommittee held its first hearing on a legalization bill that was filed last week by the governor and top legislative leaders. Much of the debate surrounded which state agency should regulate cannabis. Another hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Washington State House Commerce and Gaming Committee held a hearing on a bill to legalize home cultivation of marijuana—and a vote could be held as soon as this Friday.

/ FEDERAL

The National Credit Union Administration touted its work to clarify hemp businesses’ access to financial services.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) spoke about Israeli innovations in medical cannabis science.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said that he and lawmakers are having “very constructive” conversations  about resolving a dispute over provisions in marijuana legalization implementation legislation concerning underage people.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) is pushing to change the name of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates marijuana, to the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It’s past time to correct an unjust system that targeted communities of color. It’s time to legalize recreational marijuana. TY @NYGovCuomo for pushing this agenda forward.”

Texas’s agriculture commissioner said new final federal hemp rules address some, but not all, of the industry’s concerns.

New Mexico’s House minority whip said marijuana is “the lazy drug” and that he will oppose legalization.

Massachusetts regulators are being sued over marijuana delivery license rules.

Michigan’s Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup recommended the creation of new taxes on marijuana sales to fund programs to improve diversity in the industry.

Missouri regulators launched an online medical cannabis patients certification system for physicians.

A Virginia delegate is preparing to file legislation to defelonize drug possession.

Colorado regulators sent a bulletin reminding marijuana businesses about changes to sampling, recall and corrective and preventive action rules.

Arizona regulators reported that medical cannabis consumption increased 27% percent last year from 2019.

Maine regulators warned that SeaWeed Co.’s mermaid logo violates rules by potentially appealing to children.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 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.

/ LOCAL

Detroit, Michigan officials began accepting applications for marijuana dispensary permits.

The city of Birmingham, Alabama’s official Twitter account posted about a program that lets people apply for pardons for marijuana convictions.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Polish lawmakers are conducting a public consultation on marijuana policy in preparation for the introduction of reform legislation.

New Zealand police are cancelling an annual marijuana eradication program.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in vitro in COVID-19-related inflammation in lung epithelial cells and pro-inflammatory activity in macrophages.”

A review concluded that “for patients with mood disorder, significant effect sizes were detected on the acute, medium (2–7 days after treatment), and longer-term outcomes favoring psychedelics on the reduction of depressive symptoms.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The California Cannabis Industry Association announced a banking access partnership with the  North Bay Credit Union.

South Carolina medical professionals held a press conference in support of medical cannabis legislation.

/ BUSINESS

Harborside Inc. announced a brokered private placement of units at a price of C$2.55 for gross proceeds of approximately C$20 million.

Cresco Labs has a new chief operating officer.

/ CULTURE

Clint Eastwood is again suing Norok Innovation Inc. for allegedly falsely claiming that he endorses its CBD products.

Dolly Parton said Willie Nelson has offered her some of his branded marijuana products, but that she has not partaken.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis/Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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