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AL Senate approves medical cannabis (Newsletter: February 25, 2021)

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NM legal marijuana heads to floor; VA’s Sat. legalization deadline; Biden pick defends cannabis $ for schools; 1st NY hearing; PA bill’s GOP support

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for interior secretary, defended her support for using marijuana tax revenue to fund schools in response to an attack from Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). She added that we “don’t know what President Biden’s stance is on cannabis.”

The Alabama Senate passed a bill to legalize medical cannabis. It now heads to the House of Representatives.

Virginia lawmakers face a Saturday deadline to resolve differences between separate marijuana legalization bills passed by the House and Senate. Marijuana Moment compiled a look at issues that need to be hashed out by the conference committee—including timelines, licenses and a referendum.

The New Mexico House Taxation & Revenue Committee approved a bill to legalize marijuana, sending it to the House floor as the next step.

The New York Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Ways & Means Committee held the first joint hearing of the year on marijuana legalization proposals.

A bipartisan team of Pennsylvania senators announced a new marijuana legalization bill. It’s the first time a GOP lawmaker has signed onto cannabis legalization legislation in the Republican-controlled legislature.

  • “It’s clear to me that public attitudes towards marijuana have changed dramatically in the past decade, maybe more than any other issue in recent memory.”

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration is reopening the comment period for rules on suspicious orders of controlled substances.

Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) wrote in a constituent letter that he is in favor of leaving marijuana policy up to the states.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted about New Jersey’s marijuana legislation being signed, saying, “This is great news & I continue to support federal legalization of adult-use #cannabis as well!”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Should Congress legalize cannabis? The only correct answer is: Yes”

/ STATES

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) authored an op-ed about his opposition to marijuana reform.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “This week, we made history by reforming a decades-old approach to marijuana that failed the meaning of justice at every level. Let’s continue building on the progress and move forward — together.” Separately, his budget proposal document touts the growth of the state’s medical cannabis program since he took office.

The South Dakota Senate approved a bill creating a framework for recreational marijuana sales in case the state’s voter-approved legalization initiative is held up in court on appeal.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a bill to let patients grow their own medical cannabis.

The Arizona House of Representatives approved a marijuana testing bill.

The Montana House Business and Labor Committee held a hearing on a bill to limit the number of marijuana business licenses in the state.

A Pennsylvania court ruled that the Housing Authority of Indiana County must create a policy on medical cannabis use by residents.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture published 2020 hemp harvest data.

Colorado regulators issued bulletins on marijuana delivery and social equity.

New York officials stripped a doctor of his license for violations in New Jersey “related to the indiscriminate authorization of the use of medicinal marijuana for several patients.”

Vermont regulators are hosting a hemp conference on Friday.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Tuesday.


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.

/ LOCAL

More than 70 New Jersey municipalities have proactively banned marijuana businesses.

The Chittenden County, Vermont state’s attorney spoke about a forthcoming drug decriminalization bill in the state legislature.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Morocco’s government is considering a marijuana legalization bill.

Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority has a new chairman and membership.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that data support “CBD’s therapeutic value in improving sleep (increased sleep duration/quality and reduction in nightmares) and depression, which are often comorbid with anxiety” and that “these features of CBD make it an attractive novel therapeutic option in COVID-related” post-traumatic stress symptoms.

New York University Langone Health is establishing a new Center for Psychedelic Medicine.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Virginia voters oppose making marijuana possession in a vehicle illegal, 59%-35%.

The Democratic Governors Association tweeted, “Democratic governors are working to legalize marijuana – bringing us closer to social, racial, and economic justice.”

The NAACP New York Branch will hold a webinar on marijuana legalization on Thursday.

/ BUSINESS

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation launched a new $2.5 million fund to support “social justice organizations working toward criminal justice reforms and economic inclusion as more states regulate cannabis.”

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $37.1 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation filed a preliminary short-form base shelf prospectus allowing it to raise up to $2 billion.

Verano Holdings Corp. announced a bought deal private placement of special warrants worth more than C$100 million. It also announced a deal to acquire three dispensaries and a cultivation and production facility in Arizona.

Aurora Nordic Cannabis A/S medical cannabis products made in Denmark are now available in German pharmacies.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Sean Paul spoke about his relationship with marijuana.

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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.

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

CA psilocybin ballot measure cleared to collect signatures (Newsletter: September 17, 2021)

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NJ expunges 300k+ marijuana cases; House panel votes to undo drug penalty; MO sends cannabis revenue to veterans; SD legalization signature drive

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Ways and Means Committee voted to repeal a penalty that prevents students with certain drug convictions from utilizing the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which can be used for tuition and other higher education expenses.

California’s attorney general issued a ballot title and summary for a psilocybin legalization initiative that activists want to put on the 2022 ballot. The Decriminalize California campaign is now cleared to begin collecting signatures for the measure.

The New Jersey Judiciary announced that it has expunged more than a third of a million marijuana cases since July 1. Courts will also be launching a public education campaign next week to help even more people understand the opportunities for cannabis record relief.

South Dakota activists are preparing to launch a massive signature gathering drive to put marijuana legalization on the 2022 ballot if the state Supreme Court overturns the cannabis measure that voters approved last year.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced that the state has transferred more than $6.8 million in medical cannabis revenue to support programs for military veterans.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Americans want an end to marijuana prohibition. That’s why @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and I released our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to work to end the federal prohibition and undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s move to reconsider its marijuana ban is “welcome news after my letter with @repblumenauer calling on USADA to reconsider its out of date and discriminatory cannabis policies.”

/ STATES

Missouri lawmakers did not override Gov. Mike Parson’s (R) veto of a bill that would have allowed medical cannabis operators to deduct business expenses from their taxes.

Virginia dispensaries began selling botanical medical cannabis.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court declined to take up a case on whether a public housing agency needs to create rules for medical cannabis.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that hemp-derived cannabinoids in liquid form are illegal.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that petitions for a measure to increase the number of marijuana businesses in Mount Pleasant have technical flaws.

Ohio regulators approved rules allowing medical cannabis dispensaries to have drive-through windows.

Washington State regulators acted on rules for marijuana packaging and labeling, flavored vapor products and immature plants and clones.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering technical assistance to marijuana growers.

Massachusetts regulators extended the deadline to apply for the third cohort of the marijuana social equity program.

Guam regulators are preparing to review changes to marijuana rules proposed by the territory’s attorney general.

Iowa regulators sent an update about the medical cannabidiol program.

The Nevada Cannabis Advisory Commission Subcommittee on Public Health will meet on Monday.


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

Clarksville, Tennessee is including marijuana decriminalization in its official state legislative agenda.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “moderate to high certainty evidence shows that non-inhaled medical cannabis or cannabinoids results in a small to very small improvement in pain relief, physical functioning, and sleep quality among patients with chronic pain, along with several transient adverse side effects, compared with placebo.”

A study found that “Δ9–tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-rich compositions from cannabis have cytotoxic activity against ovarian cancer cells.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Alabama Democratic Party tweeted, “We’re blazing the trail to recreational cannabis legalization and we need you with us on the journey!”

Virginia Marijuana Justice sent a letter calling on Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to grant clemency to people incarcerated for marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp announced that it has become carbon neutral.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. is divesting from its Oregon Cannabliss & Co. dispensary chain.

Tilray, Inc. is closing its Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada marijuana cultivation facility.

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Image courtesy of Kristie Gianopulos.

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Cannabis banking & psychedelics amendments in Congress (Newsletter: September 16, 2021)

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NH lawmakers want marijuana on ballot; WA drug decrim initiative; Local TX cannabis ballot push

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressional lawmakers are seeking to attach amendments on marijuana banking, psychedelic research for active duty military personnel and other cannabis-related reforms to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act. Decisions on floor votes will be made next week.

Three New Hampshire lawmakers are taking steps to refer separate marijuana legalization questions to voters on the 2022 ballot.

Washington State activists announced an effort to place an initiative to decriminalize all drugs on next year’s November ballot.

Activists in San Marcos, Texas announced that they plan to put a marijuana decriminalization measure on the local 2022 ballot.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Cities across the nation are sending a clear message—they want an end to marijuana prohibition. @SenBooker,@RonWyden, & I are working to pass our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to end federal prohibition & undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jesse Philippe tweeted, “Hemp was criminalized to preserve the paper industry monopoly. Cannabis was only criminalized to oppress black people and leftists. It’s 2021, we know how corrupt the war on drugs has been, it’s time to end it.”

/ STATES

Texas Democratic attorney general candidate Lee Merritt tweeted, “At the start of the #WARONDRUGS there were 100K prisoners in the entire country. Today 7.6 million people are in prison, probation or parole—With NO correlating increase in crime. Only the policy changed. Lets change it again: Decriminalized cannabis, addiction & poverty.”

Michigan lawmakers filed legislation to restrict and regulate medical cannabis caregiver home cultivation. Meanwhile, activists held a rally to push back against the proposals.

California regulators are accepting public comment on proposed emergency regulations to consolidate, clarify and make consistent marijuana rules.

New Jersey regulators voted to streamline the licensing of new marijuana businesses and approved an additional cannabis cultivation license but did not act on two dozen other pending businesses.

Montana’s top marijuana regulator spoke about ongoing efforts to propose and finalize rules for the legal market.

Iowa regulators announced that two new medical cannabidiol dispensaries will open on or around October 1.

Ohio regulators are accepting requests from medical cannabis cultivators who want to expand their grow space.

Minnesota regulators tweeted about a medical journal’s article on the issue of adding anxiety disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Oregon regulators published an updated list of licensed marijuana businesses.

Nevada regulators will consider changes to rules on remediation and labeling of marijuana on September 28.


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 Oshkosh, Wisconsin City Council voted to lower the fine for first-time marijuana possession offenses.

The Denver, Colorado mayor’s budget proposes to use $5.7 million in marijuana tax revenue to establish a new business development program for minority- and women-owned businesses.

Lompoc, California voters approved a ballot measure to increase taxes on marijuana manufacturing and distribution.

The Santa Cruz County, California Board of Supervisors instituted a temporary emergency moratorium on cannabis cultivation permits.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The International Criminal Court opened an investigation into the bloody Philippine “drug war.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical cannabis “may be related to a significant yet small reduction in opioid prescription medication.”

Mount Sinai’s Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma Research received a $5 million grant to support a clinical trial using MDMA-assisted therapy to treat veterans with PTSD.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Alabama Democratic Party tweeted, “The ADP is committed to bold ideas and we’re not settling for policy that skirts around the edges of change. That’s why we came out firmly for recreational cannabis legalization.”

/ BUSINESS

COMPASS Pathways plc acquired an intellectual property portfolio including patent applications for psychedelic substances.

The University of California, Berkeley is creating psychedelics journalism fellowships to be overseen by author Michael Pollan using funding from Tim Ferriss’s Saisei Foundation.

Vicente Sederberg LLP launched an environment, health, and safety practice for cannabis businesses.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. declared a quarterly dividend of $1.50 per share.

The president of Solar Therapeutics Inc. asked to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by Sacha Baron Cohen for allegedly violating his copyright by putting an image of his Borat character on a billboard without permission.

Green Flower launched a credential program for marijuana industry workers.

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Feds warn about delta-8 THC (Newsletter: September 15, 2021)

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National Urban League backs legal marijuana; Celebs push Biden on cannabis clemency; WADA reviews athlete cannabis ban; MI homegrow restrictions fight

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued health warnings about delta-8 THC.

  • “Historical use of cannabis cannot be relied upon in establishing a level of safety for these products in humans.”

Detroit, Michigan voters will decide on a ballot measure to decriminalize psychedelics this November.

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee announced it will review marijuana’s status as a banned drug for athletes. The move comes in the wake of criticism it received after Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension from the Olympics for cannabis.

The National Urban League, a 100-plus-year-old civil rights organization, is calling for cannabis legalization with a focus on social equity—including reserving half of business licenses for impacted communities.

  • “Marijuana enforcement is more harmful than marijuana itself.”

Drake, Killer Mike, Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign, T.I., Kevin Garnett, Deion Sanders and others sent a letter calling on President Joe Biden to issue a “full, complete and unconditional pardon” to anyone convicted of a nonviolent marijuana offense.

  • “Enough is enough. No one should be locked up in federal prison for non-violent marijuana offenses.”

Michigan medical marijuana patients and caregivers will hold a rally on Wednesday to push back against what they say is a greedy corporate effort to restrict home cultivation rights that’s being mounted by big cannabis businesses.

/ FEDERAL

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing on President Joe Biden’s nominee for director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) tweeted, “The @sbcountysheriff is working hard to shut down large-scale illegal cannabis grows. Unfortunately, California laws are standing in the way of a long-term solution to this problem. We need to continue working until this illegal activity no longer threatens our community.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, tweeted, “It’s 4:20 on 420 days until the election and our most recent hotel room on the campaign trail was room 420. That’s the tweet.”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mckayla Wilkes tweeted, “27 years since the 1994 Crime Bill. This bill, the crime bills of the 80s, and similar state-level policies led to the U.S. having the highest incarceration rate on the planet. Let’s be clear: @LeaderHoyer was on every single one of those bills. We need to see some damn change: – Ending the War on Drugs & expunging records – Ending mandatory minimums & cash bail – Abolishing private prisons.”

/ STATES

South Dakota Gov, Kristi Noem (R) tweeted that a legislative committee “approved the majority of the draft guidance for the Department of Health’s medical cannabis program after months of public input.” She also tweeted, “I’m proud of the job the Department of Health did in streamlining this process. My Administration is fully on board to make certain South Dakota continues to implement the most responsible, patient-focused medical cannabis program in the country.”

Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen West tweeted, “Blue states can make marijuana — federally an illegal drug — legal & allow it to be transferred outside those states after purchase & the Feds say nothing. As Governor, I will defend Texas sovereignty and uphold our laws. I will not allow the federal government to usurp Texas’ authority and undermine our laws. If Colorado can make marijuana legal, then noise suppressors for firearms will be legal in Texas.” Meanwhile, Democratic attorney general candidate Lee Merritt tweeted, “It’s time to decriminalize marijuana and end the war on drugs once and for all.”

Rhode Island’s House speaker said if lawmakers don’t tackle marijuana legalization during a special session in October the issue will carry over to January, and he also discussed the differences in details among competing proposals while saying that the reform won’t be a big revenue source (starting around 8:30 into the audio).

Oklahoma lawmakers pressed regulators about medical cannabis compliance oversight efforts at a hearing.

New Jersey courts posted information about expunging marijuana records.

New Hampshire regulators announced that medical cannabis patients can now shop at all dispensaries in the state, instead of just the one they were previously registered with.

Ohio regulators approved a plan to more than double the number of medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ruled that regulators must provide information on how many patients use medical cannabis to treat opioid use disorder.

A member of New York’s Cannabis Control Board spoke about the process of getting the state’s legal market underway.

The director of New Mexico’s medical cannabis program defended regulators’ process for opening production license applications.

Colorado regulators will host a marijuana work group rulemaking meeting 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.

/ LOCAL

The Chicago, Illinois City Council delayed a vote on the mayor’s plan to relax marijuana business zoning rules.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts City Council voted to allow only equity businesses to get recreational marijuana licenses for another year and to direct cannabis revenue to reparations efforts.

The Aurora, Colorado City Council rejected a proposal to allow marijuana social consumption businesses.

The Billings, Montana City Council voted to delay decisions on marijuana business licensing and zoning.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Québec, Canada Court of Appeal ruled that local bans on marijuana home cultivation are constitutional.

Colombia’s Ministry of Justice tweeted, “Colombia is a pioneer in the regulation, industrial production and commercialization of #Cannabis for medicinal purposes.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabidiol enhances verbal episodic memory in healthy young participants.”

A survey of psychiatrists found that they “largely believed psychedelics show treatment promise and strongly supported federal funding for medicinal psychedelic research.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Cannabis Regulators Association named its first executive director and announced that its membership has expanded to 35 states and territories.

/ BUSINESS

WM Technology, Inc. acquired Sprout.

Akerna is acquiring 365 Cannabis.

Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. reported quarterly revenue of $43.3 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation is launching a line of CBD vapes through Circle K convenience stores.

Wesana Health Holdings Inc. committed $1.5 million in funding to assess the viability of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies’s MDMA-assisted therapy to treat traumatic brain injury.

Colorado retailers sold more than $202 million worth of marijuana products in July.

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