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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.)

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Cannabis banking would make IRS’s job easier, official says (Newsletter: October 25, 2021)

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Senate panel demands drug war accounting; Luxembourg moves to legalize marijuana; Bipartisan cannabis research bill; TX delta-8 ban causes scramble

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate Appropriations Committee issued a draft report demanding that the State Department explain why tens of billions of dollars spent on the international war on drugs has done virtually nothing to stop drugs and why the U.S. strategy remains “largely unchanged.”

An Internal Revenue Service official said giving marijuana businesses access to banks “would make the IRS’s job to collect [taxes] a lot easier.” She also discussed the 280E provision and how the agency takes steps to help cannabis firms comply with tax law.

Luxembourg’s ministers of justice and homeland security announced that the government plans to legalize possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use early in 2022. A broader system to legalize and regulate cannabis sales would follow later.

A bipartisan group of members of Congress led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Andy Harris (R-MD)  filed a new bill to remove barriers to marijuana research—including by letting scientists study dispensary cannabis. A prior version passed the House last year.

Hemp retailers are scrambling in the wake of a Texas Department of State Health Services notice clarifying that the state classifies delta-8 THC as an illegal drug.

/ FEDERAL

A onetime associate of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) was found guilty on federal charges of making illegal campaign contributions as part of a scheme to win marijuana business licenses.

The Department of Veterans Affairs published a contract solicitation to produce 1,000,000 capsules to be used in a proof of concept trial of cannabis derivatives in treating neuropathic pain.

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) participated in a summit hosted by prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair drug war harms got five new cosponsors for a total of 92.

/ STATES

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) touted marijuana legalization as a key accomplishment at a pre-election rally for state Democrats.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tweeted, “We’re creating opportunities for generations of New Mexicans by building jobs and a whole new economic revenue stream through recreational cannabis.”

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, tweeted, “Ron DeSantis *now* says his special session is to protect workers ignoring their employers’ vaccine policies. Why don’t we start by protecting patients who lose their jobs when they exercise their right to use medical cannabis?”

Connecticut’s attorney general said billboards advertising Massachusetts marijuana dispensaries are illegal.

Arkansas’s attorney general issued a warning about marijuana edibles in packaging that resembles well-known snack foods and candy.

Washington, D.C.’s attorney general tweeted about Senate legislation to let the city legalize cannabis sales, saying, “For 6 years, Congress refused to allow the District to regulate marijuana, trapping residents in legal limbo, threatening public safety by allowing the underground market to operate without oversight, and depriving us of tax revenue. This is welcome news.”

Massachusetts’s treasurer made new appointments to the Cannabis Advisory Board. Separately, a former regulator authored an op-ed highlighting new research that indicates the ban on cannabis vapes that the state instituted during an outbreak of lung injuries made the problem worse by preventing access to regulated products.

Colorado’s House speaker received an award from prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

A Mississippi senator is circulating a revised version of draft medical cannabis legislation.

Oklahoma senators will host an interim study on process validation and medical cannabis testing requirements on Monday.

The Montana Supreme Court overturned a man’s conviction for transporting marijuana after determining that police violated his constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.

Vermont regulators voted to ban marijuana stores within 500 feet walking distance from a school.

Michigan regulators published a bulletin about visiting medical cannabis patients from out of state.

Rhode Island regulators will hold a long-delayed lottery for medical cannabis dispensary licenses this week.

Oregon regulators fined a marijuana processor for violating packaging and labeling rules.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Community & Economic Development tweeted, “Move over corn, PA is moving to hemp.🌿 A first-of-its-kind 4-acre hemp maze is growing in Lancaster, offering a twist on this traditional fall attraction.”


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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

The Douglas County, Oregon Board of Commissioners voted to declare a state of emergency over illegal marijuana cultivation.

Kalamazoo, Michigan officials are considering approving a marijuana social use lounge.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK government ignored a confidential recommendation from its Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to decriminalize drugs.

Argentina’s Supreme Court of Justice ordered officials to provide medical cannabis oil to a person suffering from refractory epilepsy.

Ireland’s Department of Education issued a warning about cannabis-infused candies in advance of Halloween.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “most pediatric oncologists and palliative care physicians recognize a potential role for cannabis in symptom control in children with cancer.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 86 percent of Moroccans believe legalizing marijuana would contribute to economic development.

The Attorney General Alliance published a deskbook on cannabis law.

The Drug Policy Alliance, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch and other organizations sent a letter urging congressional leaders to oppose the Biden administration’s plan to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Jushi Holdings Inc. opened its 25th marijuana dispensary in the U.S.

Workers at a Curaleaf in Worth, Illinois voted to join Local 881 of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

MedMen’s former CFO testified that he resigned after discovering potential illegal transportation of marijuana and stock market manipulation.

Cybin Inc. announced the completion of its 74th pre-clinical study.

Canadian retailers sold C$356.9 million worth of legal marijuana products in August.

/ CULTURE

Mike Tyson is calling on the UK to legalize marijuana.

Joshua D. Angrist, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who won a Nobel prize this month, once wrote in a published paper that he “smoked marijuana repeatedly throughout the day in high school.”

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NY moves to allow cannabis homegrow for patients (Newsletter: October 22, 2021)

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RI marijuana legalization deal nears; DC drug decriminalization campaign launches; Another local psychedelics resolution approved

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rhode Island lawmakers are nearing a deal on a marijuana legalization bill that could pass in a special session this fall. Negotiators from the Senate, House and governor’s office are approaching agreement on key issues like expungements, licensing and regulatory bodies.

New York regulators took action to allow medical cannabis patients to grow their own medicine after they previously missed the deadline to do so. The proposed rules will now undergo a public comment period before taking effect. Officials also gave an update on efforts to expunge previous marijuana conviction records.

A coalition of Washington, D.C. activists launched a campaign to pass a local measure to decriminalize drugs and expand access to treatment and harm reduction services.

The Easthampton, Massachusetts City Council approved a resolution supporting decriminalization of psychedelics and other drugs. It’s now the fourth city in the state to adopt such a measure.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) wrote about his support for marijuana reform in a constituent letter.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) voiced concerns about marijuana and other drugs at a roundtable meeting about border issues.

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 33.

/ STATES

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, currently a congressman, tweeted, “When I’m governor, I will push for the full legalization of marijuana and the expungement of all related misdemeanors and third-degree felonies.”

The chairman of the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee said he is working on a bill to legalize marijuana.

A Michigan senator delivered a floor speech about the failure of the war on drugs.

Pennsylvania regulators are accepting applications for permits to grow or process hemp in 2022. Meanwhile, the state Department of Agriculture is encouraging people to participate in a federal hemp survey.

The California Department of Cannabis Control sent a press release marking its first 100 days of existence.

Ohio regulators published an updated list of compliant medical cannabis devices.

Oregon regulators are considering changes to cannabis testing requirements.

New Mexico’s Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee is accepting applications for open positions.

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana business issues on Tuesday.

West Virginia regulators will host a medical cannabis patient signup event on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


Mexico’s Senate majority leader published a blog post about the benefits of legalizing marijuana.

Italian activists have collected more than 620,000 signatures on a proposed marijuana legalization referendum and will deliver the measure to the Court of Cassation on October 28.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical cannabis was associated with reduced pain intensity/inference, lower anxiety/depression, and improved sleep and quality of life.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. adults found that 83 percent think states should require licensed cannabis producers to use secure labels that can’t be counterfeited.

The Reason Foundation published a white paper on Second Amendment rights for marijuana consumers.

Law Enforcement Action Partnership led a letter asking the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to oppose permanently classifying fentanyl-related analogues in Schedule I.

/ BUSINESS

Amazon lobbied on federal cannabis policy last quarter, a disclosure report shows.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. is expanding its co-branded line of products with Rolling Stone to additional U.S. markets.

Jushi Holdings Inc. secured a $100 million Senior Secured Credit Facility from a portfolio company of SunStream Bancorp Inc.

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USPS says hemp and CBD vapes are banned from the mail (Newsletter: October 21, 2021)

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FDA will use Reddit to learn about CBD & delta-8; Top Mexican senator: marijuana vote soon; Activist apes erect monolith at DEA headquarters

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Postal Service released its final rule to implement a ban on shipping vaping devices, and it clarified that hemp, CBD and marijuana vapes are generally not mailable—even if the products are federally legal.

The Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to search Reddit and additional “novel” data sources to better understand the health effects of CBD and other marijuana-derived compounds like delta-8 THC “in real-time.”

Mexico’s Senate president said lawmakers will finally pass a marijuana legalization bill “in the coming weeks or months” because there’s “no longer room for the prohibitionist policy.”

  • “We are the Mexico of freedoms, and the people are aware of it.”

Activists dressed as apes erected a 2,001-pound monolith in front of Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters to urge the agency to “evolve” from its drug war mindset—a play on Stanley Kubrick’s classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released new podcasts about hemp.

Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Co-chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked witnesses at a hearing if the U.S. has “lost the war on marijuana.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said there’s momentum behind marijuana reform at the state level and “it’s a matter of time” before it is federally legalized, though there needs to be action on cannabis banking “right now.”

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 32.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of two.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill to ease restrictions on owning and investing in minority-, women- and veteran-owned medical cannabis businesses.

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, called for a state investigation into a new medical cannabis rule issued by regulators that she says creates financial and regulatory burdens that only apply to black farmers.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Cranley, currently Cincinnati’s mayor, tweeted, “Instead of criminalizing marijuana we should legalize it and invest that money back into our communities. My plan will tax marijuana and use the revenue to create 30,000 jobs per year that pay a minimum of $60,000 per year to build the vital infrastructure that Ohio needs.”

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to send marijuana legalization bills to interim study, delaying their consideration.

A Mississippi senator detailed new changes in the latest version of a draft medical cannabis bill.

A New York senator slammed the New York Post for its alarmist reporting about a new law that decriminalizes syringes.

An Oklahoma activist filed a court challenge against other activists’ proposed marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot initiatives.

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development sent a press release urging farmers to participate in a federal hemp survey.

Montana regulators proposed marijuana rules and will hold a public hearing on November 16.

Louisiana regulators proposed changes to medical cannabis cultivation rules.

Connecticut regulators proposed recommendations for a public education campaign about marijuana.

South Dakota regulators issued a contract to a company to manage the state’s medical cannabis patient and business registration system.

Massachusetts regulators posted a medical cannabis FAQ.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government will explore ways to reduce barriers to research on psilocybin and other drugs.

Switzerland’s Social Security and Health Commission of the Council of States recommended that the country legalize marijuana.

Costa Rica’s Congress approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

The Philippine Department of Justice released information about 50 deadly operations in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “about half of participants who ever used CBD for pain reported improved pain, and many substitute CBD for pain medications including opioids and benzodiazepines.”

A case study suggested “a significant analgesic effect of cannabis in the treatment of symptomatic headaches.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of German citizens found that 30 percent support legalizing marijuana and 59 percent back medical cannabis.

Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana highlighted the fact that Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded guilty to committing the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said he believes “this country would do better if everyone would stop smoking marijuana and doing all these drugs” during remarks in court.

The American Family Association is working to dissuade Mississippi lawmakers from passing a medical cannabis bill.

The HIV Legal Network, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs and other groups sent a letter urging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to prioritize drug policy reform in mandates to his new Cabinet.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp has a new CEO.

COMPASS Pathways plc was granted a U.S. patent for crystalline psilocybin.

/ CULTURE

Ziggy Marley called out Singapore’s government for sentencing a man to death for possessing two pounds of cannabis.

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