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Alabama lawmakers vote to legalize medical cannabis (Newsletter: February 20, 2020)

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Trump campaign spox: keep marijuana illegal; VA decrim moves toward gov’s desk; DC psychedelics decrim language approved; USDA: hemp market growing

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The director of strategic communications for President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign said in an interview that marijuana needs to be “kept illegal.”

  • “I know many states have taken a different path… That is the federal policy.”

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

Virginia House and Senate committees amended and approved versions of marijuana decriminalization legislation passed by the other chamber. Some differences have been resolved in an effort to avoid having to send the legislation to a bicameral conference committee prior to it arriving on the desk of supportive Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections unanimously approved ballot language for a measure to decriminalize psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca. Next comes a public challenge period prior to final approval and signature gathering.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report that highlights the significant growth of the hemp industry but says some challenges remain.

  • “Global production was small and relatively stable until the recent worldwide interest in CBD oil.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report looking at hemp policy in the Philippines.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Deputy Director David Shurtleff tweeted, “Our Center is interested in supporting research grant applications to study minor cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant as they relate to pain and nociception.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Donald Trump has no problem pardoning white collar criminals. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown Americans are sitting in jail because of marijuana convictions or because they can’t afford bail. That injustice is what we’re going to end.”

Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) filed a bill that include provisions to remediate lands damaged by illegal marijuana cultivation.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted about efforts to expunge cannabis records, saying, “Imagine if we did this for everyone with low-level, marijuana-related convictions. Imagine if the Black and brown people our criminal justice system disproportionately punishes weren’t forced to live with these convictions.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) tweeted about discussing “obstacles local farmers have been facing while growing hemp” with an economic development group.

Texas Democratic Senate candidates discussed marijuana legalization during a debate.

Illinois Democratic congressional candidate Sarah Gad wants to “establish a dispensary tax used towards reparations/restitution for persons convicted of and imprisoned for marijuana-related offenses.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that legalizing marijuana is a “top priority” for him and that he will “give it my all to get it done in the budget.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) spoke about marijuana legalization in his budget address, saying, “Here’s another responsible step we’re taking together: Last year we worked on a bipartisan basis to pass a new source of general funds revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs with the legalization of adult-use cannabis. With a successful first month of sales under our belt, I can conservatively project that adult-use cannabis sales will generate at least $46 million in revenue for our general fund in the coming fiscal year, of which $10 million will go directly to pay down our bill backlog.” He also proposed using marijuana revenue to fund mental health care and addiction treatment.

Michigan’s lieutenant governor signed bills on marijuana packaging warning labels and information pamphlets. Separately, the state’s medical cannabis patient database malfunctioned, halting sales. Also, regulators are facing a likely lawsuit aimed at forcing Detroit to allow recreational marijuana businesses.

The Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee and House Public Safety Committee approved legislation to increase potency limits in the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

The West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to add new forms of acceptable medical cannabis and expand the number of dispensaries. Separately, regulators received 285 medical marijuana business license applications.

The Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee defeated a bill to shield workers from being punished for using marijuana in their personal time.

The South Carolina House Health and Environmental Affairs Subcommittee held a hearing on medical cannabis legislation.

The Kansas House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee held a hearing on a bill to defelonize marijuana possession.

The Missouri House Special Committee on Government Oversight continued to press regulators about their medical cannabis business licensing process in another hearing.

North Dakota’s top medical cannabis regulators said patient registration counts have grown much faster than anticipated.

Oregon regulators will consider marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements on Thursday.

Arizona representatives filed a bill to limit medical cannabis products to 2% THC content.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Hillsborough County, Florida commissioners unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bermuda Premier David Burt tweeted that he was surprised no one asked him a marijuana question at a public forum.

A majority of German lawmakers in Parliament now represent parties that support marijuana reform.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A case study showed that “upon treatment with CBD and cessation of the antidepressant medication, the patient improved regarding depressive as well as anxiety symptoms including simple phobias and symptoms of paranoia and dissociation” and that “the patient quit abusing illegal drugs including THC without showing withdrawal symptoms.”

A study found that “dronabinol reduces opioid consumption following traumatic injury” and that “the opioid-sparing effect of dronabinol may be greater in patients who are marijuana users.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A Boston Globe reporter dropped out of a panel he was scheduled to speak on at a National Cannabis Industry Association conference in protest of the group holding a summit with current and former federal officials that was closed to the press. Another reporter, from the Boston Business Journal, was kicked out of the summit.

The Detroit News editorial board is calling on Michigan officials to stop making rules for marijuana businesses so complicated.

/ BUSINESS

Clarity Cannabis budtenders voted to join UFCW 1518, becoming the first marijuana workers at a private dispensary to unionize in Canada.

The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists is hosting a cannabis conference in April.

/ CULTURE

Mixed martial arts fighter Elias Theodorou was granted a therapeutic use exemption to use medical cannabis.

Football player Greg Robinson was reportedly arrested with 157 pounds of marijuana at a Border Patrol checkpoint.

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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

NY legal cannabis push ‘effectively over’ for 2020, gov says (Newsletter: April 6, 2020)

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AZ legal marijuana effort sues for e-sigs; Rep wants DC cannabis fix in COVID bill; ND campaign looks to 2022; VA gov pressed on decrim amendments

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Subscribers who value this daily dispatch enough to show their support with a few dollars help us keep doing this. Please chip in and help ensure Marijuana Moment’s continued operations.

  • George Jage of MJ Unpacked: “MJ Unpacked as the new media ‘kid on the block’ is honored to support Marijuana Moment. They have provided an incredible service and value to our industry since their inception. And at a time of crisis, the need for quality journalism, informative media outlets, and opportunities for us to stay connected to our communities is essential.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the legislative session and the push to legalize marijuana are “effectively over” for 2020.

  • “It’s up to the legislature, but I think it’s fair to say it’s effectively over.”

Arizona’s marijuana legalization campaign, along with organizers working to place other initiatives on the November ballot, are asking the state Supreme Court to allow electronic signature collection in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

North Dakota’s marijuana legalization campaign is the latest drug policy reform effort to suspend signature gathering amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Rep.  Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) is calling on her colleagues in Congress to finally lift the ban on legal marijuana sales in the nation’s capital—and she wants to do it through the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is being pushed by advocacy groups to recommend that lawmakers make amendments to a marijuana decriminalization bill that’s currently on his desk. NORML wants an emergency clause enacting the legislation immediately, while ACLU—which opposed the incremental reform as worse than the status quo—wants broader changes.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge ruled that a medical cannabis investor could not recoup $4.7 million in loans, saying it would undermine federal prohibition enforcement.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams held up a “Got Naloxone?” shirt in a PSA on how to make a face mask out of cloth at home.

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow authored an article on potential risks to people who smoke and consume drugs during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ STATES

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he will consider allowing medical cannabis delivery services during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, regulators said patients can pick up their medicine at dispensaries’ curbsides.

Massachusetts regulators reported a large spike in medical cannabis patient registrations as recreational marijuana stores have been shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New Jersey regulators are declining to clarify whether a recent move to generally allow telemedicine during the coronavirus outbreak means that doctors can make medical cannabis recommendations without meeting patients in person.

Pennsylvania regulators issued a notice that temporary medical cannabis rules won’t expire until November 20, 2021 or upon publication of final regulations.

Illinois regulators published updated data about the state’s medical cannabis program.

Alaska regulators are accepting hemp registration applications electronically only due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Oregon medical marijuana program Rules Advisory Committee canceled its April 13 meeting.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

San Francisco, California officials released a coronavirus FAQ that covers what cannabis businesses can and can’t do.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ontario, Canada is closing its marijuana stores as they are no longer deemed essential during the coronavirus outbreak, though delivery will still be available.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that Connecticut hemp farmers in the 2020 growing season could earn “$5,086 in profits per acre, or $11,656 per acre net return over variable costs.”

Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center is asking people to fill out a survey on “the issues cannabis businesses and consumers are experiencing” during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

National Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Aaron Smith published an op-ed arguing that if marijuana businesses are being deemed “essential” by so many state governments, they should be eligible for federal coronavirus relief funds.

The New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to postpone 4/20 promotions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. temporarily furloughed 122 employees, announced the resignation of an executive, terminated a proposed Rhode Island dispensary acquisition and canceled a merger with Deep Roots Medical, LLC, among other moves.

Canopy Growth Corp. temporarily laid off 200 retail staffers.

Storz & Bickel received approval from Canadian regulators for its Volcano Medic 2 medical cannabis vaporizer device.

Planet 13 is distributing 100 free meals each weekday to seniors and people with disabilities at high risk of being exposed to coronavirus if they leave home.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Playboi Carti was arrested on drug and gun charges.

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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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Newsletter

IRS resists call for cannabis biz tax guidance (Newsletter: April 3, 2020)

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ID medical marijuana effort suspended; Senators push for cannabiz loan access; Congresswoman: Shutting rec stores hurts veterans; IL sales grow

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…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Internal Revenue Service is pushing back against an internal Treasury Department inspector general’s report that recommends the agency do a better job advising marijuana businesses about their obligations under the 280E tax provision that blocks deductions that are available to other industries.

An Idaho effort to put a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot is the latest in a series of drug policy reform campaigns across the country to suspend in-person signature gathering amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A group of 11 senators, led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), is pushing Appropriations Committee leaders to adopt report language allowing marijuana companies to access Small Business Administration loans and disaster assistance programs.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) is calling attention to how Massachusetts’s move to shutter recreational marijuana stores during the coronavirus outbreak hurts military veterans—who are barred from getting medical cannabis recommendations from their Department of Veterans Affairs doctors.

Illinois stores sold nearly $36 million worth of recreational marijuana products in March despite the coronavirus pandemic.

/ FEDERAL

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn tweeted, “We continue to pursue those that place public health at risk. With @FTC, we issued a warning letter to Neuro XPF, which sells cannabidiol (CBD) products with the misleading claim these products can mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure #COVID19.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey office tweeted, “This week is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week #NDAFW. Fact: Traces of marijuana stay in your body for several days after use and can cause someone to fail a drug test weeks later. #Shatterthe Myths”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “The Federal Government’s current position on Cannabis is wrong.”

/ STATES

The New York attorney general’s office sent a cease and desist letter ordering Finest Herbalist to stop claiming that its CBD products can protect people against coronavirus.

Maine regulators issued guidance on social distancing requirements for marijuana businesses and said they may accept expired driver’s licenses or identification cards amid the coronavirus outbreak.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Santa Clara County, California regulators said that only medical cannabis businesses can conduct in-store sales amid the coronavirus outbreak, while recreational marijuana sales must be done via delivery.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators recommended that medical cannabis businesses be considered essential during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Ontario’s premier said officials are considering closing marijuana stores.

German regulators extended the deadline to apply to distribute medical cannabis.

A UK lawmaker is pressing the government to divert research money to fund medical cannabis prescriptions during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “music was widely considered integral for meaningful emotional and imagery experiences and self-exploration during psychedelic therapy.”

A study found “protective association between exclusive [supervised injection facility] use and exposure to violence among men.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance said President Trump’s announcement of a ramped-up militarized drug war is “an effort to distract Americans from his delayed response to the COVID-19 crisis—which at this point we know will likely cost hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera tweeted, “In my 50 years as a newsman I have covered dozens of announcements like yesterday’s by @realDonaldTrump declaring another front in #DrugWar.I go back even before #Nixon declared #Elvis a special drug agent. My conclusion: drug wars easy to declare & always 100% end up Un-won.”

/ BUSINESS

Leafly launched a service to help marijuana businesses streamline their delivery services.

Cannabis social network LeafedIn has changed its name to LeafedOut following a trademark dispute settlement with LinkedIn.

/ CULTURE

Former NFL player Kyle Turley, whose CBD company received a federal letter warning it to stop claiming its products can prevent and treat coronavirus, tweeted, “OK OK, YOURE ALL RIGHT, ILL ADMIT IT! CHEAP CBD BRAND PRODUCTS WILL NOT PREVENT OR CURE COVID19!”

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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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Feds warn company over CBD coronavirus cure claims (Newsletter: April 2, 2020)

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AOC: marijuana biz should stay open like liquor stores; Feds fund COVID & cannabis research; WA gov signs equity bill; USDA approves hemp plans

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…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent a letter warning former NFL player Kyle Turley’s company to stop claiming that CBD can cure coronavirus. This comes one day after Turley told Marijuana Moment in an interview that he’d actually welcome federal action as a publicity boost.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to remain open as essential businesses during the coronavirus outbreak if liquor stores can continue operations.

  • “You’ve got to make a decision one way or another.”

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill aimed at increasing participation in the state’s legal marijuana industry by people from communities historically targeted by the war on drugs.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced it is funding research on how consumers of marijuana and other drugs might be uniquely impacted by coronavirus.

  • “Because it attacks the lungs, COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those with histories of smoking tobacco or marijuana or of vaping.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for South Carolina, West Virginia and three Indian tribes.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump began his daily coronavirus briefing by speaking about U.S. efforts to ramp up a militarized drug war, including by sending Navy ships to waters near Venezuela.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “If you have just be indicted for narcotics trafficking & have a $15 million reward for your capture, having @Southcom conducting counter narcotics operations off your coast with a surge of destroyers, AWACS, an Army brigade & special operators is not very comforting.”

A federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing effort to regulate CBD doesn’t shield companies from lawsuits over the labelling of their products.

The Drug Enforcement Administration tweeted, “Do you and your family know how to avoid drug-laced foods?”

Libertarian presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator, posted to Facebook, “The marijuana industry is becoming a vital part of many state’s economies and as common sense spreads, it will soon be legal nationwide. I have no idea why some states have chosen to call liquor stores essential businesses, but not marijuana and CBD dispensaries. Not only does marijuana have more medical benefits than alcohol, it’s also safer. This is not to say marijuana or liquor stores are essential businesses, but the same policy should apply to both. The marijuana industry should not struggle as big alcohol thrives.”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued an executive order extending deadlines for marijuana craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses to April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Wisconsin regulators said that CBD stores are not essential under a coronavirus shutdown but that some operations like delivery services are still allowed.

Massachusetts regulators are investigating allegations that New England Treatment Access is failing to adequately protect its workers from coronavirus.

Oklahoma regulators sent a warning about illegal medical cannabis delivery offers.

Alabama regulators posted updates about the state’s hemp program.

Arizona regulators are being pressured to allow medical cannabis deliveries and to let doctors issue recommendations via telemedicine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a look at how various states handle expungements of past marijuana records.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Philippine bloody “drug war” is continuing even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabinoids alleviate cocaine-induced seizures by glycine receptors.”

The New York Times Magazine looks at efforts by researchers to correlate terpene and cannabinoid concentrations with effects on cannabis consumers.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

NORML issued a memo with suggested moves to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is opposing an Anchorage, Alaska ballot measure to allow on-site consumption at marijuana dispensaries.

/ BUSINESS

The New York Stock Exchange is moving to delist CannTrust Holdings Inc.

LivWell Enlightened Health executives are deferring compensation for 90 days to avoid layoffs.

Good Chemistry I LLC is being sued for allegedly sending unsolicited promotional text messages.

Canopy Growth Corporation named new members of its board of directors.

/ CULTURE

Joe Rogan suggested that former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) only excuse for a series of incoherent press appearances would be if he were on marijuana edibles.

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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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