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

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

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

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.”

/ FEDERAL

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.

/ STATES

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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

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.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

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.

/ ADVOCACY

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.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

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.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

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

/ BUSINESS

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.

/ CULTURE

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

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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 15-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

Cannabis use undermines “good moral character” for immigrants, feds say (Newsletter: April 22, 2019)

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Congressional committees publish marijuana plans; USDA clarifies hemp seed rules; POTUS candidates’ 4/20 tweets; Ben & Jerry’s is woke on drug war

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There are now 1,047 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a memo saying that using marijuana or working in the cannabis industry—even if it is legal under state law—makes immigrants ineligible for citizenship because it means they don’t have “good moral character.”

Several congressional committees issued reports highlighting the marijuana reforms they plan to address in 2019.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture clarified that farmers are allowed to import hemp seeds from other countries and that there’s nothing the Drug Enforcement Administration can do to stop them.

Ben & Jerry’s used 4/20 to call attention to ongoing racial disparities in marijuana enforcement—and partnered with a dispensary that donated partial proceeds to expungement efforts—in stark contrast to other mainstream brands that just seemed to be trying to make a buck off the cannabis holiday.

Several presidential candidates—along with many other politicians and brands—commemorated 4/20 with marijuana-themed tweets.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge ruled that Salem, West Virginia officials must place a measure to remove municipal marijuana penalties on the June 4 ballot.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his evolution on marijuana legalization.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), along with Reps. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Lou Correa (D-CA) sent video messages to be played at a marijuana conference, with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) delivering a keynote address.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, sent a 4/20-themed fundraising email. She also spoke about her support for marijuana reform in an interview.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) predicted that the House will vote on marijuana banking legislation this spring.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) tweeted, “Yesterday I introduced a bill to permit marijuana use in federal housing in states where marijuana use is legal. No American should fear eviction for using a legal substance in their state. It’s time Congress catch up with the American people. With Democratic control of the House, I will also continue to push to remove anti-home rule provisions preventing DC from commercializing recreational marijuana use. Congress has no business interfering with DC local government.”

The House marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 166.

The House comprehensive medical cannabis bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of eight.

The House bill to force the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 60.

The House bill to require the Department of Justice to license additional marijuana growers for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of nine.

/ STATES

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a commercial hemp bill into law.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) spokesperson said there is “still opportunity to reach consensus” on legalizing marijuana sales, and he is “not at the point at which he will draw lines on issues.”

Nevada’s treasurer tweeted about discussing marijuana banking access with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate.

The Colorado Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill to allow publicly traded companies and out-of-state investors in the marijuana industry.

A Michigan judge continued a temporary restraining order allowing some unlicensed marijuana businesses to remain open.

Missouri regulators are being sued by BioTrackTHC over their awarding of a contract to Metrc LLC.

The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

Nebraska lawmakers are considering compromise language for a medical cannabis bill.

Here’s a look at pending Louisiana marijuana legislation.

A study found that Wisconsin could generate $1.1 billion in economic benefits in the first five years of legal medical cannabis.


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 sent a letter to other mayors urging they work with him to reverse federal policies that negatively count working in the marijuana industry against immigrants’ citizenship status.

New York City’s mayor said he will be looking into the issue of people losing child custody over marijuana.

A Baltimore, Maryland mayoral candidate is calling for marijuana legalization.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley is meeting with Canadian marijuana companies interested in operating in the country.

Uganda’s first lady said a deal to allow an Israeli firm to grow medical cannabis in the country is “satanic.”

/ ADVOCACY

NAACP’s president said that the organization will develop a position on marijuana legalization by July.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD may have independent positive effects on [quality of life] beyond improved seizure control.”

A review concluded that marijuana “may play a safe role in [chronic migraine] management by helping to improve headache profile, anxiety, sleep, mood, and opioid reduction.”

Louisiana State University launched a study on treating epilepsy with medical cannabis.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Americans found that 65% support legalizing marijuana and 62% oppose federal intervention in state laws, among other findings.

BuzzFeed conducted a lengthy survey of U.S. and Canadian adults about attitudes toward marijuana and policies surrounding it.

/ BUSINESS

MenMen’s chief operating officer, general counsel and senior vice president of corporate communications have resigned.

CNN is starting a new marijuana coverage initiative, to be led by former Cannabist reporter Alicia Wallace.

Eaze’s website crashed on 4/20.

Pax Labs closed a $420 million funding round.

/ CULTURE

Actor Seth Rogen is calling on the Canadian government to expunge marijuana convictions.

The Onion endorsed legalizing marijuana in the most Onion way possible.

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Texas cannabis bills advance to House floor (Newsletter: April 19, 2019)

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Congressional bill would allow marijuana in public housing; FDA receives hundreds of CBD comments; Boehner could cash in big with Acreage/Canopy deal

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) filed a bill that would allow people to use marijuana in public housing.

More than 400 people have already submitted CBD regulation comments to the Food and Drug Administration ahead of an upcoming public hearing on the topic.

Three major Texas cannabis reform bills—to decriminalize marijuana, legalize hemp and expand medical cannabis—have cleared committees and are on their way to the House floor.

/ FEDERAL

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reportedly stands to make nearly $20 million from a deal involving the marijuana firm he is a board member for.

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted, “When will Congress catch up with the American people on #cannabis? Representatives like @RepDaveJoyce and @mattgaetz are leading the way.”

/ STATES

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) said that a marijuana sales legalization bill would need to allow roadside saliva testing in order to win his support.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is not on board with a proposal to send most of the revenue from legal marijuana to municipalities.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and regulators announced the launch of a hemp pilot program. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved legislation to block unlicensed marijuana businesses that remain open after June 1 from becoming licensed for a year.

The Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill to defelonize drug possession.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved bills concerning medical cannabis disposal and businesses in foreclosure or bankruptcy.

The Florida House of Representatives approved legislation to expand syringe exchange programs around the state. Separately, the House State Affairs Committee advanced a hemp bill.

Wisconsin representatives filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Oregon regulators approved six marijuana violation settlement agreements and indicated they would consider stiffening penalties in the future.

Arkansas medical cannabis sales are expected to begin on May 12.

Washington State regulators certified a lab to test for heavy metals in marijuana. Separately, here’s a look at where cannabis bills stand in the legislature.

Guam’s marijuana regulatory board has been formed and will meet soon.

Montana activists are working to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the state’s 2020 ballot.


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.


/ SCIENCE & HEALTH


A study found that “life satisfaction at age 21 was not associated with cannabis cessation,” suggesting that “the predictive value of life satisfaction in cannabis use is questionable and may be accounted for by other behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol use.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Americans found that 53% support legalizing marijuana and 76% back medical cannabis.

A poll found that Louisiana residents support legalizing marijuana, 55%-42%.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. plans to acquire Acreage Holdings Inc. in a $3.4 billion deal that will be triggered when cannabis is federally legalized in the U.S.

Eaze is donating $4.20 for every delivery on April 20, up to $100,000, to Code for America’s efforts to expunge drug convictions.

Lyft is offering $4.20 rides in Massachusetts on 4/20.

New England Treatment Access is being sued for alleged trademark infringement in its logo by Boise Cascade Company.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Kodak Black was arrested for possessing marijuana and a firearm at the U.S.-Canada border.

The office of Denver’s CBS affiliate received a  mistaken delivery of a large box of marijuana products.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Alabama lawmakers approve cannabis decrim in committee (Newsletter: April 18, 2019)

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McConnell touts hemp legalization in campaign ad; Study: CBD helps epileptic dogs; Georgia medical marijuana expansion signed

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…

There are now 1,041 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.

  • Holly DeLorenzo: “I pledged because I found Marijuana Moment to be a trusted and valuable resource. Thank you for all the work that goes into keeping track of the latest information on cannabis legislation.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) reelection campaign launch ad prominently touts his leadership on hemp legalization.

A study on treating epileptic dogs with CBD found that “seizure frequency improved considerably and owners reported a positive impression.”

/ FEDERAL

A Farm Services Agency official is being sued in federal court for allegedly threatening Oklahoma farmers who express interest in growing hemp.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The effort to legalize marijuana –and I can’t emphasize this enough– MUST include criminal justice measures like expunging records & investing in communities hurt by the failed war on drugs. I will not support legalization efforts that don’t address this.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The failed War On Drugs disproportionately affects communities of color – we have to take real steps to right the wrongs of history.”

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill allowing in-state cultivation and sales of low-THC medical cannabis products.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a spending bill containing start-up funding for the state’s medical cannabis program. Separately, the House of Representatives defeated a marijuana decriminalization amendment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed off on a settlement deal to approve eight new medical cannabis nurseries so that a lawsuit challenging how the state’s determines awards such licenses will be dropped.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “3 YEARS AGO TODAY: I signed the law that legalized medical marijuana in PA. Now, more than 100,000 Pennsylvanians with serious illnesses have a medical marijuana patient certification and can access life-changing medication.” Separately, regulators revoked the medical license of a prolific medical marijuana doctor.

Alaska lawmakers rejected Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) nomination of a cannabis opponent to serve on the state Marijuana Control Board.

The Arizona House of Representatives defeated a bill to require the release of more information about medical cannabis businesses.

The Texas House Public Health Committee amended and approved a bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

Nevada regulators shuttered marijuana dispensaries over a failure to pay taxes.

The Massachusetts Securities Division charged an investment adviser with allegedly soliciting funds for medical cannabis projects that were never licensed.

Louisiana regulators are working to test medical cannabis in time for a planned May rollout of legal sales to patients.

Here’s a look at why New Mexico’s marijuana legalization bill died this session and the future prospects of legislation to end prohibition.


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

The Daytona Beach, Florida City Commission voted to approve a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Los Angeles, California city attorney sued an unlicensed marijuana dispensary for allegedly selling product tainted with an unapproved pesticide.

Jefferson County, Alabama’s district attorney is working with other officials on a plan to end low-level marijuana arrests.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ghana’s Mental Health Authority is raising concerns about the possible legalization of marijuana.

A Malaysian medical cannabis advocate who faced the death penalty for trafficking was instead sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 strokes of the cane.

Vice looks at the prospects for marijuana reform in countries around the world.

/ ADVOCACY

The Kansas Democratic Party tweeted about Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signing a hemp bill.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Commentator Geraldo Rivera tweeted, “Agree with @BetoORourke His Big Ideas and gymnastic speaking style aside, he is right about ending marijuana prohibition, halting all arrest for pot now, and purging criminal records that are small scale pot related. This appeals to right and left, stop #ReeferMadness”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. is reportedly nearing a deal to buy Acreage Holdings Inc.

The Vitamin Shoppe began selling CBD products.

Carl’s Jr. is testing a CBD burger.

Bank of America began covering marijuana stocks.

/ CULTURE

Musician Jimmy Buffett’s marijuana product brand is launching on Friday.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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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