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Anti-cannabis Kennedy backs legalization in major reversal (Newsletter: Nov. 21, 2018)

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Marijuana banking movement “inevitable,” incoming chair says; Studies: Cannabis kills pain; NASA reviews SpaceX after Musk’s marijuana smoking

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA)—the last remaining young Democrat in Congress to vocally oppose and consistently vote against marijuana reform—now supports legalizing cannabis.

Incoming House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA) said it is “inevitable” her panel will consider easing marijuana businesses’ access to banks. Meanwhile, incoming House Rules Committee Chair James McGovern (D-MA) reiterated that he intends to allow votes on marijuana amendments on the floor. And they aren’t the only incoming Democratic gavel-holders to signal they want cannabis reform in 2019.

Two new studies shed more light on marijuana’s role as a painkiller.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. officials instituted a lifetime ban on a Canadian marijuana investor attempting to attend a cannabis industry conference in Las Vegas, and detained at least a dozen others for hours.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched a review of SpaceX, reportedly prompted by founder Elon Musk’s on-camera marijuana smoking. Boeing is also being reviewed.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted, “In 2016, MA voted to legalize marijuana — and the first sales begin in MA today. States should be able to decide for themselves how to regulate marijuana without federal interference. My bipartisan bill would end the federal ban on marijuana.”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s (D-WI) claim that marijuana’s Schedule I designation means it “should not be researched” was ruled mostly false by PolitiFact.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “As the marijuana industry grows, more states are reporting massive tax revenues that are being used to fund schools, drug treatment programs, and other vital services. Legalizing marijuana nationwide would raise $7 billion in tax revenue per year. It’s a no brainer.”

Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure is thought to have played a role in Rep.-elect Ben McAdams’s (D-UT) victory.

/ STATES

Connecticut Gov.-elect Ned Lamont (D) said legalizing marijuana has “brought down opioid abuse” in other states. The Senate president said it would be “pointless” to keep cannabis illegal when neighboring states are ending prohibition. Lawmakers from both parties say legalization is likely in 2019.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he expects marijuana legalization legislation drafted by a working group he formed will be introduced next year, but “the when and the how, we’re not clear.” Meanwhile, Assembly committees held another hearing on legalization.

A spokesman for Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) said she “remains open” to considering legalizing marijuana. The House speaker said that legalization would raise revenues but would also have social costs.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana.

Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales began.

Vermont’s Senate president said he expects a bill legalizing marijuana sales to be finalized by early January.

A New Jersey senator said marijuana could be legal in the state by January.

The Alabama attorney general released a memo addressing the legality of CBD.

Oklahoma regulators are facing a potential lawsuit from transparency advocates over the removal of marijuana licensees’ addresses from a database. Meanwhile, they have approved 13,438 patient licenses, 84 caregiver licenses, 666 dispensary licenses, 1,087 grower licenses and 280 processor licenses.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission is recommending that marijuana be regulated by a single independent state agency. Separately, a court struck down a $65,000 penalty levied against a petitioner behind a proposed 2012 marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Washington State officials projected that the “rapid growth in cannabis revenue is likely over.”

Nevada lawmakers took a fact-finding trip to San Francisco to learn about marijuana social use areas.

Utah regulators are reviewing and approving labels for CBD products.

Wisconsin regulators extended the deadline to apply for hemp grower and processor licenses.


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/ LOCAL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney is withdrawing from a statewide prosecutors organization, saying the group “would have you believe that the war on drugs all over again is a good idea — for their own incumbency, for their own ambition, for the economies of their own counties.”

The Tompkins County, New York Legislature passed a resolution endorsing statewide marijuana legalization.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament is expected to vote on bills to allow marijuana use for medical and religious purposes and to grant amnesty for past cannabis conduct on Thursday.

Mexico’s ambassador to the U.S. and a former U.S. ambassador to Mexico spoke about marijuana and drug policy reform during a panel discussion. Separately, a lawmaker filed another marijuana legalization bill.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat spoke at a cannabis conference.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that medical cannabis “does not improve the level of functioning, but it may improve the overall quality of life for people with disabilities.”

A study found that “participants with 1 or 2 cannabis-using parents were 1.7 and 7.1 times more likely to use cannabis, respectively, than participants with non-using parents.”

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises scaled back its financing round and appointed an interim CFO.

Here’s an in-depth look at Constellation Brands’s interest in the marijuana industry.

An Associated Press editor spoke about the organization’s increasing coverage of marijuana issues.

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

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