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Anti-cannabis activist wants Biden nomination (Newsletter: December 16, 2020)



Fed study: Youth use stable amid legalization; Poll: Voters say legal marijuana “inevitable”; DOJ funds hemp test; Mexican pres. talks cannabis

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Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), who co-founded top anti-legalization organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, is mounting an unorthodox public campaign to convince President-elect Joe Biden to appoint him as White House drug czar.

  • “I share President elect Biden’s position in support of marijuana decriminalization. Like him I support expanded research and expungement as priorities while also recognizing the dangers of today’s higher potency consumption options and a rapidly evolving for-profit industry.”

A new study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that youth marijuana use rates are remaining stable even as more states enact legalization. In fact, daily cannabis vaping actually decreased by more than half over the past year.

A new poll of voters in the four states that legalized marijuana last month finds that a huge majority believe federal cannabis legalization is “inevitable” and that it’s an issue “both liberal and conservative voters can get behind.”

  • “In sum, public opinion in the four states that legalized marijuana this fall shows a pattern of shifting opinions that bodes well for marijuana policy reform across the country. Support for legalization in principle has become broad, strong, and bipartisan—reflecting a steady positive shift in perceptions of voters of all parties over the last few years.”

The Department of Justice is awarding a $350,000 grant to another federal agency—the National Institute of Standards and Technology—to develop a method for distinguishing legal hemp from illegal marijuana.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that a vote on marijuana legalization was delayed due to “mistakes” in the bill. But they are just “matters of form” and “not of substance,” he said.


President Trump is reportedly considering granting clemency to former Silk Road administrator Russ Ulbricth.

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Eric S. Dreiband said that “Colorado’s decision to treat religion and houses of worship less favorably than marijuana dispensaries, laundromats, and other nonreligious activities is illegal and suggests a lack of respect or understanding about our Constitution.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) again used a Senate floor speech to criticize Democrats for including marijuana industry diversity studies in coronavirus relief legislation.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted, “It’s our moral obligation to ensure our communities have real opportunities to participate in the growing cannabis industry. The MORE Act will decriminalize cannabis at the federal level and expunge nonviolent federal marijuana convictions.”


Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said she plans to continue pushing for marijuana legalization through a state-run model in 2021.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he opposes a bill to reduce drug penalties and double the amount of marijuana that is decriminalized in the state.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) and the state’s attorney general and treasurer appointed two new marijuana regulators.

Delaware’s attorney general tweeted about the U.S. House’s passage of a federal marijuana legalization bill, saying, “In 2019, I directed my office not to prosecute people for misdemeanor posession of marijuana, because low-level marijuana offenses have clearly and disparately affected people of color nationwide. The House did the right thing.”

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a marijuana legalization enabling bill, and floor votes are expected in both chambers on Thursday.

Missouri regulators are facing a federal lawsuit over the state’s residency requirement for medical cannabis business owners.

Pennsylvania regulators announced that the state’s 100th medical cannabis dispensary is operational.

The California Highway Patrol posted information about its Cannabis Tax Fund Grants Program.

Oregon regulators will consider changes to the marijuana licensing process on Wednesday.

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.


Ireland’s government added cannabis and its resin to a list of substances for which people can receive a warning instead of being arrested.

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration down-scheduled low-dose CBD and increased the allowed maximum daily dosage.

An International Criminal Court prosecutor said there is a “reasonable basis” to believe that crimes against humanity were committed in the bloody Philippine “drug war.”

Barbados officials gave an update on the implementation of the nation’s medical cannabis program.


A study of mice found that “cannabidiol pre-treatment reduces lethality to soman [a chemical warfare nerve agent] exposure.”

Researchers applied “function-oriented synthesis to identify the key structural elements of the potential therapeutic pharmacophore of ibogaine, and [used]this information to engineer tabernanthalog—a water-soluble, non-hallucinogenic, non-toxic analogue of ibogaine that can be prepared in a single step,” demonstrating that “through careful chemical design, it is possible to modify a psychedelic compound to produce a safer, non-hallucinogenic variant that has therapeutic potential.”


The Canadian Chamber of Commerce suggested New Year’s resolutions for the marijuana industry.


Aphria Inc. and Tilray Inc. are reportedly in advanced discussions about a possible merger.

Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. reported $33.1 million in quarterly revenue and a net comprehensive loss of $25.7 million.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. raised $13.8 million by selling 46 million units of the company.

BioMedican said it discovered a process to biosynthesize a new class of rare cannabinoids called sesqui-cannabinoids.


Beyoncé’s BeyGood Foundation and the NAACP gave a $10,000 grant to a black-owned Maryland medical cannabis business.

Former hockey player Mark Messier is suing Destiny Bioscience’s CEO over a failed investment.

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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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