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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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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.


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.


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.


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


Medical cannabis advocacy pioneer Dennis Peron died.


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.”


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.


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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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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)


VA legal cannabis on gov’s desk (Newsletter: March 1, 2021)



Fed employees’ marijuana memo; NM House passes legal cannabis; WA drug prohibition overturned by court; DC legalization bill; CT hearing on gov’s bill

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There are now nearly 800 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2021 sessions. 

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The Office of Personnel Management issued a memo saying recent marijuana use doesn’t necessarily make workers “unfit or unsuitable for federal service.” Separately, the Biden administration is granting waivers to some White House staff who’ve used cannabis.

  • “It would be inconsistent with suitability regulations to implement a policy of finding an individual unfit or unsuitable for federal service solely on the basis of recency of marijuana use.”

Virginia lawmakers sent a marijuana legalization bill to Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) desk. The House and Senate approved the compromise legislation negotiated in conference committee after both chambers had previously passed their own versions earlier this month. Next, the governor is likely to send amendments back to the legislature, which can then approve or reject them.

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize marijuana.

The Washington State Supreme Court overturned the state’s criminalization of drug possession. The Seattle Police Department responded by saying having drugs “is no longer an arrestable offense,” and prosecutors are dropping cases. The ruling comes as state lawmakers are already advancing legislation to decriminalize drugs.

A day-long hearing by the Connecticut legislature’s Judiciary Committee indicated that Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) marijuana legalization proposal is likely to be amended to address serious concerns that equity advocates have raised about its provisions.

Marijuana sales would be legal in the nation’s capital under a new bill filed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D). The legislation comes as Democrats take full control of Congress—which bodes well for removing a federal rider that has blocked local cannabis reform.


The Drug Enforcement Administration launched a new initiative called “Operation Engage” that involves participating field divisions focusing on the “biggest drug threat” in their regions.

The House of Representatives approved a bill containing provisions to restore lands damaged by illegal marijuana cultivation.

Rep. Al Green (D-TX) and 18 cosponsors filed a Black History Month resolution that calls out racial disparities in drug law enforcement.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “Voters in New Jersey made their voices heard, and thanks to the work of @PhilMurphyNJ, state lawmakers, and advocates—marijuana is now legal in New Jersey. The war on drugs has been a war on people. The road to equity and justice is long, but this is an important first step.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “New Jersey is leading the way on racial and economic justice. Legalizing marijuana would not have been possible without forceful grassroots activists and a Governor who listened to them. We need to re-elect @PhilMurphyNJ to keep the momentum going.”


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) granted pardons to people with past marijuana and other convictions.

New York’s lieutenant governor spoke about plans to legalize marijuana. (About 18 minutes into the video.)

The Montana House Business and Labor Committee voted to table a bill that would have delayed the launch of recreational marijuana sales.

The South Dakota Senate Commerce and Energy Committee approved a bill allowing marijuana and hemp businesses to access banks.

The West Virginia House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to extend the length of supervision for certain drug offenses.

Puerto Rican lawmakers held a hearing on legislation to provide employment protections for medical cannabis patients.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats tweeted, “@SenSharifStreet announced bipartisan legislation this week to legalize the adult use of cannabis in Pennsylvania. The bill prioritizes safety, community reinvestment, social & economic equity, agriculture, & creates vital tax revenue streams for PA.”

Florida Senate Democrats tweeted, “Filed bills to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana for adults in FL are locked up in committees, while an expected bill to cap medical marijuana THC content, opposed by vets groups and others, has top GOP support.”

A Delaware representative says he thinks he might have enough support to override a possible marijuana legalization veto from Gov. John Carney (D).

A Colorado representative filed a bill to increase legal marijuana possession limits and to seal more past cannabis conviction records.

A North Dakota senator said he doesn’t support following the House’s action to approve a marijuana legalization bill. (About 9 minutes into the video.)

Vermont lawmakers are considering changes to marijuana legalization regulations.

A Nevada assemblyman filed a bill to allow marijuana social use areas.

Iowa regulators are accepting applications to register to sell consumable hemp.

Oregon officials are reducing marijuana sales forecasts.

California regulators are being sued by a marijuana testing lab whose license was revoked.

Massachusetts regulators are considering changing strict bacteria and fungus testing requirements for marijuana.

Michigan regulators sent a reminder that certain recreational marijuana business license applicants are no longer required to hold an active medical cannabis business license.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.


The Clarksville, Tennessee City Council is considering a proposal to make marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority.


A study found that “in children and young adults with [fetal alcohol spectrum disorder], cannabis, mostly cannabidiol (CBD), has been associated with a marked and statistically significant improvement in serious disruptive behavior.”


The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture passed a resolution urging the federal government to increase the allowable THC content in hemp to 1%.

The Denver Post editorial board endorsed restrictions on highly potent marijuana products.


Cronos Group Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $17 million and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $53.1 million.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. signed a $73 million investment agreement with Ascend Wellness Holdings, LLC.

Verano Holdings Corp. announced it is acquiring dispensaries in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Optimi Health Corp. closed an oversubscribed initial public offering worth C$20.7 million.

Field Trip Health Ltd. is increasing the size of a previously announced bought deal offering of common shares to approximately C$82.9 million.

Clarity Cannabis workers ratified a collective agreement.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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IRS wants cannabis biz to access banks (Newsletter: February 26, 2021)



KS gov medical marijuana bill filed; CT gov touts legalization plan before hearing; VA deadline; MO psychedelics bill; MT weighs cannabis restrictions

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Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rettig said he’d “prefer” if marijuana businesses were able to pay their taxes in direct deposits instead of having to use cash because they can’t get bank accounts.

  • “It’s a security issue for our employees in our taxpayer assistance centers.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) bill to legalize medical marijuana and use revenue to fund Medicaid expansion has been officially introduced just as a House committee held back-to-back hearings on separate medical cannabis legislation.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) hosted a roundtable discussion to lay out the case for his marijuana legalization bill ahead of its first official hearing on Friday. But some equity advocates say they’re “insulted” by how he’s framing the legislation.

  • “This has been a long time coming. We’ve been talking about this for ages, and I think now is the time to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in a carefully regulated way with an emphasis upon equity and justice. Now is the time.”

Disagreements among Virginia conference committee members are threatening a marijuana legalization deal ahead of Saturday’s deadline. Lawmakers are divided over a proposed delay in regulatory decisions until next session, but have reportedly settled on delaying the legalization of cannabis possession until 2024 in any case.

A Missouri representative filed a bill to allow seriously ill people to use psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, DMT, mescaline and ibogaine under the state’s Right To Try law.

The Montana House Business and Labor Committee held a hearing on bills to severely limit the number of marijuana businesses that are allowed in the state and to provide employment protections for medical cannabis patients.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection is being sued for allegedly improperly blocking imports of hemp trimming machine components.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is testing the idea of including hemp questions in the 2022 Census of Agriculture.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) tweeted, “For 4 years, @SenLeiladeLima has been unjustly imprisoned in the Philippines for shining a spotlight on police abuses & killings during Pres. Duterte’s ‘war on drugs.’ Today, I again call on @philippinesusa to #FreeLeilaNow & cease all attacks on #HumanRights defenders.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) disclosed that she sold between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of stock in Medical Marijuana, Inc. this month.


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) made additional appointments to the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Separately, he said it “might be a little bit aggressive” to expect legal marijuana sales to begin within the next six months. He also did a radio interview about legalization implementation and tweeted, “Is adult-use cannabis legal in New Jersey? Yes 👇Yes 👇Yes 👇”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) spoke about the benefits of legalizing marijuana for the state’s farmers. Separately, the lieutenant governor replaced the cannabis and LGBT flags that Republicans keep having removed from his office with even bigger ones.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) tweeted, “The marijuana industry, which is now partially owned by Big Tobacco, has its eye on NE as a new place to turn a profit.  Previously, they hid this moneymaking motive under the guise of ‘medical’ marijuana.  Now they are just pushing for full legalization.”

Alabama’s House speaker said the body will “take our time” with a Senate-passed medical cannabis bill and send it through the body’s Judiciary and Health committees.

Connecticut’s House speaker and Senate majority leader suggested that there are likely to be substantial changes to Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) marijuana legalization bill.

The South Dakota House of Representatives approved a bill to delay the implementation of medical cannabis legalization. Separately, the Senate defeated bills to decriminalize up to an ounce of marijuana and to defelonize drug possession.

The Colorado Senate approved a bill to create a program to assist marijuana entrepreneurs. Separately, the Senate Education Committee advanced a bill to require schools to allow students to use cannabis-based medicines.

The Indiana Senate approved a bill to provide a defense to prosecution for anyone who operates a vehicle with marijuana or its metabolites in their blood as long as they don’t cause an accident. Separately, a federal judge rejected a petition to place a preliminary injunction on the state’s smokable hemp ban.

The Washington State Senate passed a bill to exclude certain felony drug convictions from counting towards a person’s criminal history score.

The Utah House Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to allow more providers to recommend medical cannabis.

The West Virginia Senate Health Committee rejected an amendment to remove marijuana from the scope of a bill to require TANF cash assistance applicants to be drug tested.

The Georgia Senate Agriculture Committee approved a bill to revise hemp definitions.

The Idaho House Agricultural Affairs Committee delayed a planned vote on a hemp legalization bill.

The Missouri House Downsizing State Government Committee held a hearing on a bill to prevent state agencies from sharing medical cannabis patient data with the federal government.

Wyoming lawmakers are likely to consider several marijuana reform bills this year.

Massachusetts cannabis regulators are hiring a director of equity programming and community outreach.

Florida officials published an ad saying that having a medical cannabis card is not an excuse for impaired driving.

The Illinois Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee announced its meeting dates for later this year.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.


Morocco’s government plans to legalize farming, export and sales of cannabis for medical and industrial use.


A study found that legalizing medical and recreational marijuana “reduced morphine milligram equivalents per enrollee by 7% and 13%, respectively.”

A review concluded that “while hemp inflorescence is rich in nonpsychoactive, yet biologically active cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), which exerts potent anxiolytic, spasmolytic, as well as anticonvulsant effects, hempseed has a pleasant nutty taste and represents a valuable source of essential amino acids and fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and fibers” and that “hempseed oil is a source of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, and hemp sprouts are rich in antioxidants.”


A poll found that Canadians support decriminalizing drugs, 59%-41% and that they back supervised injection sites, 65%-35%.

The Alabama Democratic Party tweeted, “Legalizing cannabis for medical use is an important 1st step. However, as we move to expand the legal uses of cannabis we must also expunge convictions and release folks charged with low-level cannabis offenses. It’s past time for criminal justice reform.”


The CEO of Hightimes Holding Corp. said the company will “definitely” go public this year, with a target date of 4/20.

A subsidiary of Acreage Holdings, Inc. is selling its Florida operations to Red White and Bloom Brands, Inc.

Indus Holdings, Inc. is acquiring the assets of the Lowell Herb Co. from The Hacienda Group.

Columbia Care Inc. closed a previously announced bought deal private placement offering worth nearly C$29 million.

Fyllo has a new COO.


“The Marijuana Conspiracy” is a new film being released on 4/20 that tells the story of a controversial 1972 Canadian study on the effects of marijuana on women.

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AL Senate approves medical cannabis (Newsletter: February 25, 2021)



NM legal marijuana heads to floor; VA’s Sat. legalization deadline; Biden pick defends cannabis $ for schools; 1st NY hearing; PA bill’s GOP support

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Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for interior secretary, defended her support for using marijuana tax revenue to fund schools in response to an attack from Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). She added that we “don’t know what President Biden’s stance is on cannabis.”

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

Virginia lawmakers face a Saturday deadline to resolve differences between separate marijuana legalization bills passed by the House and Senate. Marijuana Moment compiled a look at issues that need to be hashed out by the conference committee—including timelines, licenses and a referendum.

The New Mexico House Taxation & Revenue Committee approved a bill to legalize marijuana, sending it to the House floor as the next step.

The New York Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Ways & Means Committee held the first joint hearing of the year on marijuana legalization proposals.

A bipartisan team of Pennsylvania senators announced a new marijuana legalization bill. It’s the first time a GOP lawmaker has signed onto cannabis legalization legislation in the Republican-controlled legislature.

  • “It’s clear to me that public attitudes towards marijuana have changed dramatically in the past decade, maybe more than any other issue in recent memory.”


The Drug Enforcement Administration is reopening the comment period for rules on suspicious orders of controlled substances.

Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) wrote in a constituent letter that he is in favor of leaving marijuana policy up to the states.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted about New Jersey’s marijuana legislation being signed, saying, “This is great news & I continue to support federal legalization of adult-use #cannabis as well!”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Should Congress legalize cannabis? The only correct answer is: Yes”


Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) authored an op-ed about his opposition to marijuana reform.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “This week, we made history by reforming a decades-old approach to marijuana that failed the meaning of justice at every level. Let’s continue building on the progress and move forward — together.” Separately, his budget proposal document touts the growth of the state’s medical cannabis program since he took office.

The South Dakota Senate approved a bill creating a framework for recreational marijuana sales in case the state’s voter-approved legalization initiative is held up in court on appeal.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a bill to let patients grow their own medical cannabis.

The Arizona House of Representatives approved a marijuana testing bill.

The Montana House Business and Labor Committee held a hearing on a bill to limit the number of marijuana business licenses in the state.

A Pennsylvania court ruled that the Housing Authority of Indiana County must create a policy on medical cannabis use by residents.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture published 2020 hemp harvest data.

Colorado regulators issued bulletins on marijuana delivery and social equity.

New York officials stripped a doctor of his license for violations in New Jersey “related to the indiscriminate authorization of the use of medicinal marijuana for several patients.”

Vermont regulators are hosting a hemp conference on Friday.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Tuesday.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.


More than 70 New Jersey municipalities have proactively banned marijuana businesses.

The Chittenden County, Vermont state’s attorney spoke about a forthcoming drug decriminalization bill in the state legislature.


Morocco’s government is considering a marijuana legalization bill.

Jamaica’s Cannabis Licensing Authority has a new chairman and membership.


A review concluded that data support “CBD’s therapeutic value in improving sleep (increased sleep duration/quality and reduction in nightmares) and depression, which are often comorbid with anxiety” and that “these features of CBD make it an attractive novel therapeutic option in COVID-related” post-traumatic stress symptoms.

New York University Langone Health is establishing a new Center for Psychedelic Medicine.


A poll found that Virginia voters oppose making marijuana possession in a vehicle illegal, 59%-35%.

The Democratic Governors Association tweeted, “Democratic governors are working to legalize marijuana – bringing us closer to social, racial, and economic justice.”

The NAACP New York Branch will hold a webinar on marijuana legalization on Thursday.


The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation launched a new $2.5 million fund to support “social justice organizations working toward criminal justice reforms and economic inclusion as more states regulate cannabis.”

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $37.1 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation filed a preliminary short-form base shelf prospectus allowing it to raise up to $2 billion.

Verano Holdings Corp. announced a bought deal private placement of special warrants worth more than C$100 million. It also announced a deal to acquire three dispensaries and a cultivation and production facility in Arizona.

Aurora Nordic Cannabis A/S medical cannabis products made in Denmark are now available in German pharmacies.


Rapper Sean Paul spoke about his relationship with marijuana.

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