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Alabama Senate approves medical cannabis legalization (Newsletter: May 10, 2019)

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ND gov signs marijuana decrim; Lawmakers press VA on denying home loans over cannabis industry work; Top Dems filing descheduling bill

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) signed a marijuana decriminalization bill into law, making the state the 25th in the U.S. to remove the threat of jail time for low-level cannabis possession.

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

The House Appropriations Committee is directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to explain its policy of denying home loans to military veterans solely because of their work in the marijuana industry. Members of Congress are also currently circulating a sign-on letter about the issue.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) announced they are filing marijuana descheduling legislation.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted, “What could go wrong? Denver voters narrowly approved a ballot measure to effectively decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) spoke about her support for marijuana banking legislation in a Senate floor speech.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted that she was “especially proud to see” marijuana banking legislation advancing and that “it is critical (& long overdue) we harmonize the #banking industry & services with the #cannabis industry.”

Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) tweeted, “Discrepancy between federal and state cannabis laws are forcing legitimate businesses to operate on a cash-only basis – a serious public safety risk. I’m proud to be a cosponsor of #SAFEBankingAct to address this concern.”

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) tweeted, “Federal banking laws were designed to prevent illicit activity and help law enforcement do their jobs. #SAFEBanking will apply these laws to legal marijuana businesses to improve transparency and accountability.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted about hearing from “cannabis industry experts about its potential to boost the economy and create jobs.”

The House marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 175.

/ STATES

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) signed a bill creating an industrial hemp pilot program.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said that putting marijuana legalization before voters as a referendum is an option but that he’d prefer to pass a bill on the issue instead. Meanwhile, the Senate president skipped out on a planned cannabis meeting with the governor and Assembly speaker.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said that marijuana tax revenues aren’t meeting projections because cities and counties have been “stubborn” in blocking legal access. His new budget contains a number of cannabis-related items. Meanwhile, here’s a look at where marijuana reform bills stand in the legislative process.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) tweeted, “DC: It’s time to legalize marijuana. For years, marijuana possession has been a pipeline to prison for people of color. We must replace that pipeline with jobs, equity, and pathways to prosperity.”

Minnesota’s attorney general tweeted, “Most states now make marijuana legal in some form, but federal law hasn’t caught up, so most banks won’t provide financial services to legal cannabis-related businesses. That has to change. I joined 32 other AGs to support a bill to allow banks to do so.”

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that patients don’t have the right to use medical cannabis in parked cars.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House passed a bill setting marijuana taxes and fees.

The Wisconsin legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance voted to remove medical cannabis and marijuana decriminalization language from the state budget as proposed by Gov. Tony Evers (D).

Alaska regulators are proposing changes to rules on marijuana testing, on-site consumption and tracking.


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

Denver, Colorado’s mayor, reacting to the passage of a psilocybin decriminalization initiative, said he “respects the decision of the voters and the Denver Police Department will enforce the law accordingly.” Meanwhile, the city attorney’s office is mulling what the word “personal” means in the measure with respect to amounts of psilocybin that are shielded from enforcement.

A Jacksonville, Florida City Council member filed a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Anchorage, Alaska Assembly has scheduled a series of work sessions about allowing on-site consumption at marijuana dispensaries this month.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that UK drug laws should be amended to allow for safe consumption facilities for illegal drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on “the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis for a wide variety of chronic medical conditions” is currently seeking 10,000 participants.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that U.S. adults back decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms, 35% – 34%, with 31% undecided.

A poll funded by prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana found that when given options, 41% of Illinois voters support legalizing marijuana, 31% want to keep the current policy of decriminalization and medical cannabis, 16% want to add record expungements and 9% want marijuana to be totally illegal.

The Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board is not happy about Denver voters’ decriminalization of psilocybin.

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board is calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board is concerned that political donations by medical cannabis business license applicants could improperly affect decisions and regulations.

/ BUSINESS

Patagonia released a short film about the history of hemp.

Albertsons is being sued for allegedly improperly firing an employee for medical cannabis use.

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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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LA lawmakers send medical cannabis expansion to gov’s desk (Newsletter: June 2, 2020)

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MI lawmakers vote on letting their spouses get marijuana licenses; MedMen closes all stores; Study discovers cannabis use at ancient biblical site

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,506 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Louisiana lawmakers sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a bill to let doctors recommend medical cannabis for any debilitating condition they see fit. They also approved legislation on marijuana business banking access, legal immunity for doctors and a study on the cannabis industry workforce.

The Michigan House of Representatives is set to vote Tuesday on a bill to let elected officials’ spouses get medical cannabis business licenses. Meanwhile, many people with past drug convictions remain ineligible.

Researchers discovered evidence of marijuana use at an ancient biblical site in Israel.

  • “It seems likely that cannabis was used at Arad as a deliberate psychoactive, to stimulate ecstasy as part of cultic ceremonies.”

MedMen has closed all of its marijuana stores nationwide following the looting of several locations over the weekend.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), in a letter to Attorney General William Barr about transferring incarcerated people to home confinement, cited the case of a man who died from coronavirus while serving a marijuana sentence.

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said in a press release that “the history and trauma of racism and Jim Crow is not a memory of the past, but is a reality still today, exacerbated by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices ranging from mass incarceration and police brutality, to the War on Drugs and COVID-19.”

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Qasim Rashid tweeted, “We must decriminalize & stop the drug war, invest in treatment, invest in training officers, stop militarization of police, and divert those resources to education & healthcare.”

New York Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel tweeted, “Sentencing disparities, selective enforcement of the law, and police brutality disproportionately harm Black Americans. We must legalize marijuana and retroactively expunge all marijuana related records.”

/ STATES

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill tying state approval of cannabis-based medicines to federal law.

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stephen Smith tweeted, “We’re the only leading campaign that supports full cannabis legalization. With that extra $194mil/year, what would you fix first?”

The Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit from a medical cannabis patient who was fired by his employer for refusing to take a drug test.

The Virginia State Police reported that marijuana arrests declined more than eight percent from 2018 to 2019.

Missouri regulators have approved more than 50,000 medical cannabis patients and caregivers.

Ohio regulators sent reminders about medical cannabis vaporizer requirements and the issue of dispensaries permitting entry to non-patient juveniles.


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

A majority of Baltimore, Maryland mayoral and City Council candidates said in a survey that they would “actively support establishing overdose prevention sites.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A former New Zealand prime minister is part of a campaign urging voters to approve a marijuana legalization referendum.

Maltese regulators said they are weighing five applications to cultivate cannabis for medical and research purposes.

Colombian regulators touted a new digital tool they are using for medical cannabis licensing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “inhaled cannabis acutely reduced PTSD symptoms by more than 50%” and “higher doses of cannabis predicted larger reductions in anxiety and intrusions,” but “cannabis did not appear to improve or worsen PTSD symptoms in the long-term.”

A study concluded that “hemp supplementation improved HDL cholesterol, tended to support psychometric measures of perceived sleep, stress response, and perceived life pleasure and was well tolerated with no clinically relevant safety concerns.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Minority Cannabis Business Association issued a statement of solidarity with people protesting police violence.

/ BUSINESS

PAX Labs launched a web-based desktop app to control its vaporization devices after Apple removed its former product from the App Store.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced it entered into two agreements worth up to $60 million in gross proceeds.

Leafs by Snoop is the most recognizable cannabis brand, according to a survey conducted by Green Horizons.

Oklahoma dispensaries sold more than $73 million worth of medical cannabis products in May.

/ CULTURE

A survey found that 49.5% of MMA fighters currently use marijuana, and 76.5% say they have used CBD products.

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Looted cannabis dispensary owner values justice over business (Newsletter: June 1, 2020)

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Biden puts medical marijuana in disability plan; Lawmakers tie war on drugs to police brutality; Study: Cannabis use can put THC in semen

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s new disability plan includes a pledge to “prioritize the research needed to advance science-based federal policies related to the use of marijuana for medical conditions, chronic pain, and disabilities.”

A new congressional resolution filed by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Karen Bass (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) highlights the war on drugs as a driver of police brutality against people of color. It comes as protests erupt over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • “The system of policing in America, and its systemic targeting of and use of deadly and brutal force against people of color, particularly Black people, stems from the long legacy of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws, and the War on Drugs in the United States and has been perpetuated by violent and harmful law enforcement practices.”

Rapper Berner, whose Cookies cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles was looted on Saturday night, says justice for people brutalized by police is more important than business.

  • “As a human living in the world we’re living in today, I cannot expect anything less until justice is served. We can rebuild our store, but you cannot bring someone back to life.”

A study found that THC can be detected in the semen of some frequent marijuana consumers.

  • “It is puzzling that some, but not all, semen samples tested positive for THC. There were no obvious factors that were strongly associated with detectable semen THC.”

/ FEDERAL

A Department of Justice statement of interest supporting a Colorado church’s lawsuit challenging coronavirus-imposed restrictions notes that marijuana dispensaries are classified by the state as critical businesses.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a dissenting opinion in a case in which the majority rejected a California church’s challenge to restrictions on attendance at religious services during the coronavirus pandemic, wrote that comparable secular businesses, such as cannabis dispensaries, are not subject to similar occupancy limits.

A federal judge rejected Grandpa Bud LLC’s claim that its marijuana growing operation retroactively banned by Washington State county officials is a protectable property under the Constitution.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tweeted, “Any time you mention marijuana more times than jobs in a 1,800-page bill costing $3T that’s supposed to support jobs, it’s obviously not a very serious bill. We need to consider real solutions to solve the public’s problems, not Pelosi’s desire to implement her liberal agenda.”

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) tweeted, “The history & trauma of racism and Jim Crow is not a memory of the past, but is a reality still today, reinforced by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices ranging from mass incarceration & police brutality, to the War on Drugs & COVID-19.”

Kentucky Senate candidate Mike Broihier tweeted, “We need to come to terms with the failed War on Drugs. Our communities have been treated like war zones. And African-American casualties keep growing.”

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended a coronavirus executive order allowing online ordering and curbside pickup at marijuana dispensaries and letting doctors issue medical cannabis recommendations via telemedicine.

Vermont Democratic gubernatorial candidates all agreed on legalizing marijuana sales during a debate.

North Carolina Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Jenna Wadsworth tweeted, “Decriminalize marijuana. Dismiss past misdemeanor possession charges. Free people from a broken, overcrowded, & sometimes corrupt prison system. Combat the school to prison pipeline. Alleviate an overburdened court system from unnecessary possession cases. Legalize cannabis.”

Texas regulators adopted hemp seed certification standards.

Kentucky regulators announced they have licensed 960 hemp growers to grow up to 32,000 acres and 150 hemp processors and handlers for 2020.

Vermont regulators announced that hemp rules they filed have taken effect.

A New Mexico senator said lawmakers should consider legalizing marijuana as a revenue booster during an upcoming special session.


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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A majority of Israeli government ministers support legalizing marijuana or regularizing the medical cannabis market.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “current evidence does not suggest that prenatal cannabis exposure alone is associated with clinically significant cognitive functioning impairments.”

A study found “a high prevalence of work-related allergic- and particularly respiratory symptoms in the employees of one indoor cannabis grow facility in Washington State.”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported C$115 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of C$1.3 billion.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. announced that Canadian regulators reinstated one of its marijuana licenses.

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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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DEA faces cannabis rescheduling lawsuit (Newsletter: May 29, 2020)

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Fed judge boosts AR legal marijuana signature drive; Study: Legal medical cannabis lowers opioid prescriptions; 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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 435 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.

  • Gary Weinstein: “As a former assistant attorney general and in-house deputy general counsel, Marijuana Moment is the first substantive email I dive into every day. It keeps me informed, engaged, and excited about our rapidly developing and dynamic industry.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Drug Enforcement Administration is facing a new lawsuit from scientists and military veterans who are challenging the agency’s decisions to deny marijuana rescheduling petitions.

A federal judge gave Arkansas marijuana activists a boost toward qualifying a legalization measure for the state’s ballot by ruling that people can download and sign petitions at home without having to get them notarized.

A study found that state medical cannabis laws lead to a “statistically significant reduction in aggregate opioid prescribing of 144,000 daily doses”—a 20% drop annually.

  • “We found that overall opioid prescribing by orthopaedic surgeons in this cohort was reduced in states permitting patient access to medical cannabis, compared with those who do not. In addition, states that permit access to in-state medical cannabis dispensaries were associated with a statistically significant reduction in total opioid prescriptions by orthopaedic surgeons.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for the U.S. Virgin Islands and four more Indian tribes. That brings the total number of approved plans across states, territories and tribes to 47.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Justice is blocking bankruptcy filings for people who work in the marijuana industry.

The Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to more companies claiming that their CBD products could prevent or treat coronavirus.

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker said he supports legalizing marijuana.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Jonathan Herzog tweeted, “Ban private prisons. Reduce mass incarceration. Legalize and regulate marijuana. Decrease the use of pre-trial cash bail.”

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed a bill outlining inspection processes for medical cannabis businesses.

The Nevada secretary of state’s office is reviewing allegations that MedMen Enterprises Inc. executives orchestrated illegal campaign donations to Gov. Steve Sisolak (D).

The Arkansas Supreme Court rejected regulators’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging they improperly denied review of a medical cannabis cultivation license application.

Florida regulators filed briefs in a state Supreme Court case challenging the state’s vertical integration requirements for medical cannabis businesses.

West Virginia’s top medical cannabis regulator said he hopes products will be available to patients in spring of 2021.

Washington State regulators adopted emergency rules on vitamin E acetate and licenses for marijuana processing and retail businesses, and proposed additional rules.

The chairman of the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee said a new draft of medical cannabis legislation will be prepared before the new session begins in January.

Michigan regulators published an updated bulletin on marijuana business operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

South Carolina regulators published a list of approved hemp labs.


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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs proposed a timeline for discussions on World Health Organization recommendations to reschedule marijuana and its components leading up to an expected December vote.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of dogs “supports the safety and therapeutic potential of hemp-derived CBD for relieving arthritic pain and suggests follow-up investigations in humans is warranted.”

A review concluded that “the evidence for behavioral counseling interventions to prevent initiation of illicit and nonmedical drug use among adolescents and young adults was inconsistent and imprecise, with some interventions associated with reduction in use and others associated with no benefit or increased use” and that “health, social, and legal outcomes were sparsely reported, and few showed improvements.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. adults found that 25% think psilocybin mushrooms should be legal under limited circumstances such as for medical or religious reasons and 13% believe they should be legal under all circumstances.

The Colorado Democratic Party tweeted, “When it comes to cannabis, it’s a tale of two Colorado legislators. 👍 @RepPerlmutter has worked his tale off for years, and got the SAFE Banking bill through the House. 👎 @CoryGardner ‘hasn’t delivered any legislative wins.'”

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make farmers of the crop eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

/ BUSINESS

Harborside Health Center is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to overturn the 280E tax penalty on marijuana businesses.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. completed its acquisition of Reliva, LLC.

Cannasortium founder and CEO George Dickson III is reportedly helping former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) to finance a documentary about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son’s work in Ukraine.

Cresco Labs reported $66.4 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $13.4 million. The company also opened the first recreational marijuana dispensary in downtown Chicago.

Internal Eaze documents show that the company has scaled back its ambitions.

Organigram Holdings Inc. added vape pens and chocolates to its medical cannabis offerings.

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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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