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Anti-cannabis Dem giving Trump SOTU response (Newsletter: Jan. 29, 2018)

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Sessions blames legalizers for drug deaths; Racist NYC marijuana arrests; FDA wants CBD comments

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, speaking at a Drug Enforcement Administration graduation ceremony, claimed that increased support for legalization and ending the war on drugs has led to more drug overdose deaths.

Democrats picked Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) to respond to President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. He was one of only ten Democrats to vote against a 2015 amendment protecting medical cannabis patients and providers from federal prosecution. He also opposed measures on medical marijuana for veterans and CBD for kids with epilepsy, putting him way out of step with voters and his party.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking public comment on a World Health Organization committee’s position that cannabidiol should not be scheduled under international conventions.

A leaked U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons memo directs corrections officials to identify inmates for transfer to private facilities.

The U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York said a federal marijuana enforcement policy change gives prosecutors “local control to utilize familiar and long-established prosecutorial principles to determine how best to fulfill our ongoing obligation to deploy our finite resources to reduce violent crime in our community, stem the tide of the drug crisis and dismantle criminal gangs.”

The “Joint Blog” published another questionable report claiming to have gotten an exclusive scoop about marijuana discussions inside the White House.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) endorsed legalizing medical cannabis in Missouri.

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) is bringing a medical cannabis patient as his guest to the State of the Union speech.

All four members of Utah’s U.S. House delegation coauthored an op-ed calling for the removal of roadblocks to marijuana research.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) says he has “supported legalization [of marijuana] for 40 years.”

Congressman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) tweeted, “Republicans are all about states’ rights…until they disagree with the law. Time for Trump admin to respect the will of the people and allow those states that want to regulate marijuana to do so.”

Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) tweeted, “Marijuana can be a lifesaving alternative to opioids. Over 90% of veterans want the federal government to research marijuana. I’m urging @TheJusticeDept and @DEAHQ to license growers of the plant for research.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) said “now is the time to push for legalization throughout the United States.”

A federal RICO case against an Oregon marijuana cultivation facility was settled.

A lawyer for a Trump aide involved in Russia-related investigations jokingly suggested that people who think the probe will end soon are high on marijuana.

/ STATES

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed a bill adding protections for accountants who work with the marijuana industry, and changing other medical cannabis regulations.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) touted medical cannabis expansion as part of his new administration’s first 10 days of accomplishments.

Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tim Walz, currently a congressman, said he supports legalizing marijuana.

Hartford, Connecticut Mayor Luke Bronin (D), a gubernatorial candidate, endorsed legalizing marijuana.

Tallahassee, Florida Mayor Andrew Gillum (D), a gubernatorial candidate, supports legalizing marijuana. Other candidates have endorsed decriminalization.

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana law reform.

The New York Assembly Health Committee approved a bill to add opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Guam’s Senate approved medical cannabis regulations.

The Puerto Rico Senate passed a resolution mandating that a commission examine possible violations of the territory’s medical cannabis law.

A Florida judge is allowing a lawsuit against the state’s ban on smoking medical cannabis to proceed, but without one of its key parties.

The Virginia Senate Committee on Courts of Justice will hear several bills on marijuana decriminalization and medical cannabis expansion on Monday.

Alaska regulators are preparing to ask lawmakers to reconsider marijuana taxes.

Arizona senators filed a bill to prevent state and local official from assisting federal agents in marijuana crackdowns.

A California senator introduced a bill to create a public bank to serve the marijuana industry.

A Maryland delegate filed legislation to prevent medical cannabis patients from being denied access to guns.

A Pennsylvania senator introduced a resolution calling on the federal government to reschedule marijuana.

Here’s a look at marijuana legislation pending in Indiana.

Nevada’s top marijuana regulator resigned to take a job in the private sector.

/ LOCAL

New data shows that 86% of those arrested for low-level marijuana possession in New York City in 2017 were black or Hispanic.

/ ADVOCACY

Medical cannabis advocacy pioneer Dennis Peron died.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that legalizing marijuana in Washington State “prevented 638 overdose deaths and lead to over 3,600 individuals seeking treatment for opioid abuse disorders.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board is calling on Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.

The Star-Ledger editorial board is urging New Jersey lawmakers to be wary of misleading statistics touted by marijuana legalization opponents. It also supports expanding the state’s medical cannabis program.

The Bangor Daily News editorial board wants Maine lawmakers to enact marijuana legalization implementation legislation.

/ BUSINESS

The New York Times looks at investment opportunities and challenges in the marijuana industry.

Marijuana testing facility G3 Labs had its license reinstated by Nevada officials following a five-month suspension.

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VA opening up to cannabis? (Newsletter: Feb. 20, 2018)

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NBA players push league for marijuana changes; AL decrim hearings; Bill Nye talks legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A little-noticed update to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs webpage admits that it “can look at marijuana as an option for treating Veterans.” And new documents reveal that Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin discussed medical cannabis as part of an overseas trip.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump tapped a Pennsylvania state representative who vigorously opposed medical cannabis to serve as a regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Pennsylvania congressional candidates Conor Lamb and Rick Saccone debated about medical cannabis.

/ STATES

A Virginia  bill allowing doctors to recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition is on its way to Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) desk.

The Alaska House of Representatives approved an industrial hemp bill.

An Indiana court ruled that admitting to past possession of marijuana — even in a state where doing so is legal — is sufficient justification for police to deploy a drug-sniffing dog.

A report concluded that fewer than one percent of California’s marijuana growers have been licensed by the state.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

Alabama’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees will hear marijuana decriminalization bills on Wednesday.

Maine lawmakers are considering reducing the number of marijuana plants people can grow at home.

Colorado regulators released a bulletin about upcoming changes to marijuana packaging and labeling requirements.

A Tennessee judge is allowing stores that were shuttered by police for selling CBD products to reopen.

Tuesday is Arkansas regulators’ deadline for reviewing and scoring medical cannabis cultivation license applications. Winners will be announced next week.

Oklahoma senators debated medical cannabis in a TV appearance.

Here’s a look at competing Missouri medical cannabis ballot measures that may qualify for the ballot this year.

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet said marijuana doesn’t bother her. (About 18:00 into the audio.)

/ LOCAL

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is holding public hearings on medical cannabis this and next week.

Activists behind Detroit, Michigan medical cannabis ballot initiatives that were overturned by a judge are considering whether to appeal the ruling.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment debated medical cannabis.

The New Zealand House of Representatives will debate a bill to increase drug penalties this week.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “the oral fluid test is a highly valid method for detecting the presence of THC in the blood but cannot be used to accurately measure the blood THC concentration.”

UC San Diego Health hasn’t seen a rise in marijuana-related hospitalizations since legalization went into effect in California.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Herald editorial board is criticizing legalization advocates’ reaction to officials’ suggestion that rules for marijuana delivery services and social use areas be slowed down.

/ CULTURE     

The National Basketball Players Association is pushing the NBA to allow medical cannabis use.

Scientist Bill Nye spoke with Rolling Stone about his support for legalizing marijuana.

MMA fighter Nate Diaz was shown lighting a joint on a UFC TV broadcast.

Comedian Seth Rogen posted a video of himself using a high-tech gravity bong.

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Kennedy doesn’t want cannabis crackdown, despite voting record (Newsletter: Feb. 19, 2018)

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Arpaio “kind of” backs medical cannabis; Israel decrim advances; CA warning letters go out

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) acknowledged that his anti-marijuana views are out of step with his constituents and said he’s “not proposing a crackdown,” even as he has repeatedly voted to allow federal agents to interfere with state laws.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Army Sec. Mark Esper spoke about enlistment waivers for recruits who have used marijuana.

Republican Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff, voiced support for medical cannabis.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that a key part of anti-drug strategy should be to tell “young people and adults don’t get started” using drugs.

Former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan is considering running for Congress in New York, and his tentative campaign site says he supports decriminalizing drugs.

/ STATES

Colorado gubernatorial candidates spoke about marijuana legalization implementation.

California regulators sent hundreds of warning letters to unlicensed marijuana businesses.

The co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy is not happy about proposed rules that would allow cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Utah’s House speaker spoke about efforts to enact medical cannabis legislation despite federal prohibition.

Here’s a look at where individual New Jersey lawmakers stand on legalizing marijuana.

Ohio regulators are offering to pause medical cannabis business licensing in light of a “critical flaw'” discovered in a recent audit.

Montana regulators released final medical cannabis rules.

A Missouri representative introduced bills to decriminalize marijuana and remove cannabis’s classification as a controlled substance.

A New York assemblymembers filed a bill to add autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition. Separately, the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Conference held a panel discussion on marijuana legalization.

Colorado arrests for illegal marijuana manufacturing are reportedly on the rise.

The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners will hear testimony about adding PTSD and chronic pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions on Monday.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will hold a public meeting on Tuesday.

The Seattle Times look at issues related to possible diversion of marijuana from Washington State.

/ LOCAL

A judge struck down a Detroit, Michigan voter initiative that allowed medical cannabis businesses to operate in more locations.

Nearly four percent of Denver, Colorado’s electricity use is devoted to growing marijuana, new data shows.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Alberta, Canada’s provincial government released marijuana regulations.

UK regulators denied a medical cannabis license for a six-year-old boy with severe epilepsy.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana in an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show.

/ ADVOCACY

The president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys claimed that “nobody’s going to jail” for marijuana possession.

The executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law appeared to blame the Department of Justice’s focus on drug law enforcement for the FBI not preventing the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The Conservative Political Action Conference this month will feature a debate about marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that policies allowing homegrown marijuana lead to “lower health and social risks.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district support legalizing marijuana, 46%-43%.

/ BUSINESS

The Girls Scouts of Colorado moved to treat marijuana dispensaries like any other business, allowing girls to sell cookies outside them.

The National Conference of Weights and Measures formed a Cannabis Task Group to develop uniform weights and measures standards for the industry.

New Hampshire medical cannabis sales are increasing.

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Cannabis banking access at “top of the list” for Treasury Dept. (Newsletter: Feb. 16, 2018)

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Canadian legalization delayed; Gardner lifts some DOJ holds; Amendment shields immigrants from deportation for cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said that fixing marijuana businesses’ access to banks is at the “top of the list” of his department’s concerns.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is lifting holds he placed on some Department of Justice nominees over a marijuana policy dispute after U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein showed “good faith” and “willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought,” according to the senator.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced, but did not force a vote on, a far-reaching marijuana reform proposal as an amendment to broad criminal justice reform legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) filed an amendment to protect immigrants from being deported or denied visas for marijuana activity that complies with state laws.

Congressional appropriations leaders are currently negotiating whether language allowing military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors will be included in Fiscal Year 2018 legislation.

Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and two cosponsors filed legislation to codify the provisions of the now-rescinded Cole Memo into law.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver office is pushing Colorado regulators to release updated data about marijuana legalization.

The U.S. Secret Service settled a lawsuit concerning access to visitor logs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and other agencies.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) cited marijuana law reform as an issue on which he is working to find “common ground” with Republicans.

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) supports adding PTSD and chronic pain as CBD medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) indicated he won’t necessarily sign pending legislation directing the state to grow medical cannabis for certain patients.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) told regulators to slow down with proposed far-reaching marijuana rules. And nearly 80 lawmakers also want to delay allowing cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (D) held a debate about marijuana legalization with Republican congressional candidate Joe Peters.

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich (D), a former congressman, said that if elected he would review cases of all people convicted of low-level non-violent drug crimes to consider commutations.

The New Mexico Senate approved resolutions requesting that regulators add opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition and urging Congress to expand medical cannabis protections to cover people who live on tribal lands. Lawmakers also passed legislation creating a study commission to examine allowing safe injection sites for illegal drug consumers.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee voted to consider marijuana legalization legislation.

The Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee amended a previously approved bill to let doctors recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition so that it will take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

The Oregon Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill easing hemp cultivation.

New Jersey senators filed a marijuana decriminalization bill in a move that is seen as an attempt to undercut the push for full legalization. Separately, an assemblywoman introduced legislation to remove limits on the amount of medical cannabis allowed to be dispensed at one time and expand access to edible forms.

The Arizona House Health Committee voted 6-3 to approve legislation making it a felony for doctors to violate medical cannabis regulations.

A California senator filed a bill to allow special needs students to use medical cannabis at school.

Ohio regulators said a human error led to a proposed medical cannabis cultivation business being inadvertently left off a list of successful applicants.

Maryland regulators settled a lawsuit with companies that failed to win medical cannabis business licenses.

Michigan regulators released the design of an official symbol that will need to appear on packaging for all medical cannabis products.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider proposed rules on marijuana packaging and labeling.

Here’s a look at the prospects for medical cannabis in Missouri.

/ LOCAL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney is directing prosecutors to drop marijuana possession cases that are still charged as misdemeanors. And along with the mayor, he co-authored an op-ed calling the war on drugs “a big mistake.”

A lawyer for Denver, Colorado recommended that regulators approve the city’s first marijuana social use area.

Dekalb County, Georgia commissioners approved a resolution asking state lawmakers to allow counties to decriminalize marijuana.

A proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Easton, Pennsylvania appears to not have enough support to pass.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Canadian government move to escalate Senate consideration of pending marijuana legalization legislation has failed. A final vote is expected on or before June 7, which would not leave enough time for the government to implement the law by its original July target.

/ ADVOCACY

Prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana released a report claiming that the costs of legalizing marijuana in Connecticut would outweigh tax revenues.

/ BUSINESS

Pennsylvania medical cannabis sales began.

Canadian Securities Administrators  published guidance outlining disclosure expectations for issuers with U.S.-based marijuana interests.

BioTrackTHC was chosen to run North Dakota’s medical cannabis seed-to-sale tracking system.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian David Spade smoked marijuana at Ellen Degeneres’s birthday party.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley said he doesn’t understand “the fascination” with marijuana, but doesn’t judge other people for using it.

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