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Alcohol group holds Capitol Hill cannabis briefing (Newsletter: Dec. 4, 2018)



UT medical marijuana “compromise” enacted; Vaping gets you higher than smoking, study finds; Massachusetts AG rejects local moratoriums

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Utah lawmakers voted to replace the state’s voter-approved medical cannabis ballot initiative with a “compromise” proposal negotiated between advocates, the Mormon Church and others. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed the bill into law just hours after its passage by legislators.

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America held a Capitol Hill briefing about marijuana legalization, telling lawmakers and congressional staffers that  it wants the federal government to “respect the right of states to establish a safe and well-regulated cannabis marketplace.”

A study found that vaporizing marijuana gets you higher than smoking it.

  • Vaporized cannabis “produced significantly greater subjective drug effects, cognitive and psychomotor impairment, and higher blood THC concentrations than the same doses of smoked cannabis.”


Advocates are concerned that President Trump isn’t exerting enough pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to move criminal justice reform legislation.

The final text of the Farm Bill—which will contain hemp legalization language—will not be released until next week due to Congress taking time off for events commemorating former President George H. W. Bush.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke about hemp legalization at a conference.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) spoke about the “failed war on drugs” and her work to end marijuana prohibition during a speech in New Hampshire, raising speculation that she is considering running for president.


Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) says he is opposed to medical cannabis.

Massachusetts’s attorney general rejected moves by three towns to extend marijuana commerce moratoriums into 2019.

Ohio’s medical cannabis patient and caregiver registry is now open.

The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled in a worker’s compensation case that “the presence of an intoxicating substance in the blood does not automatically mean that person is intoxicated.”

Minnesota regulators added Alzheimer’s disease as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

New York Assembly committees held a hearing on marijuana legalization.

Kentucky’s Senate Judiciary Committee chair said he thinks medical cannabis will eventually pass in the state. But the chair of the Senate Health Committee is skeptical that the issue will gain momentum in 2019. And the Senate president said he is not in favor of medical marijuana.

West Virginia’s Senate majority leader said there’s “no doubt” medical cannabis has benefits, though he is concerned about the effects of smoking it.

Pennsylvania regulators will soon begin considering petitions to add new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Michigan regulators released guidance on criminal background check requirements for medical cannabis business employees. They also published updated bulletins on THC limits and purchasing limits and item categories.

Colorado regulators released guidance on labeling of marijuana vaporization products. Separately, the state’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.

A Missouri senator filed a bill to amend medical cannabis licensing requirements.

Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

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The Columbus, Ohio City Council president supports decriminalizing marijuana.

The Polk County, Florida sheriff claimed that marijuana is “ruining families and killing people every day across the United States, and we stand here in denial thinking that it’s not a gateway drug to drugs that’s killing people.”


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte supports legalizing medical cannabis. Some senators also expressed openness to medical marijuana.

New Zealand lawmakers are expected to debate a medical cannabis bill this week.

The European Union Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction published a report on medical cannabis.


The Charles Koch Institute is funding a marijuana-focused luncheon at a National Conference of State Legislatures meeting on Thursday.

The American Bankers Association is “hopeful [marijuana businesses’ banking access issues] will get a fair discussion, because it’s simply not going to go away.”


A study found that medical cannabis use “led to [opioid dose reduction] in 41% of all patients.”

A survey found that “cancer patients from both legalized and non-legalized states showed strong support for legalization of marijuana for medical purposes and strong belief in its medical use.”

A review of web forum posts concluded that “marijuana and its derivatives are increasingly being used by cancer patient[s] to mitigate cancer and treatment-related side effects, and the use is increasing as recreational use of marijuana is being legalized in more states.”


The Boston Globe editorial board wants Boston, Massachusetts to begin licensing marijuana retailers.


Tobacco company Altria Group Inc is reportedly in talks to acquire Canadian cannabis producer Cronos Group Inc.

Aphria Inc. shares tumbled after a hedge fund manager called the company a “black hole” and a new report claimed that it “is part of a scheme orchestrated by a network of insiders to divert funds away from shareholders into their own pockets.” In response, the company called the claims a “malicious and self-serving attempt to profit.”

Tilray’s stock also dropped after being targeted by a short-seller.

Sequoia Analytical Labs surrendered its business license after a California regulatory inspection discovered its lab director falsified marijuana testing results, putting hundreds of products at risk of being recalled.

Business Insider looks at how big law firms are building out cannabis-focused practices.

The CEO of Cresco Labs spoke about the company’s first day of being publicly traded.


Funny or Die released a trailer for a Narcos parody starring Will Ferrell.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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