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Anti-cannabis Sessions launches bid to return to Congress (Newsletter: October 4, 2019)

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Square expands CBD company services; Denver psilocybin panel accepts applications; Florida legalization bid collects 100k+ signatures

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Square announced it is opening up payment processing to more CBD businesses, a move that follows an earlier pilot program that apparently went well.

After losing a reelection bid last year, former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)—who single-handedly blocked dozens of marijuana amendments from even reaching the House floor for votes as Rules Committee chairman—is now running for Congress again in a new district.

People can now apply to be part of the nation’s first government body dedicated to studying the impact of psychedelics policy reform. Denver is taking applications for a review panel mandated by the city’s voter-approved decriminalization measure.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Labor finalized a rule allowing states to drug test applicants for unemployment benefits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are now 1,080 reported cases of vaping-related severe lung injuries, including 18 deaths.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted about his “long journey working to legalize #hemp for KY” and met with farmers and producers.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said he is optimistic that marijuana banking legislation will pass the Senate and reach President Trump’s desk.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) tweeted, “Congressional interference keeps DC from commercializing recreational marijuana. Many states have successfully done so, but our lack of home rule leads to an unregulated market and risks for residents. I’m fighting to remove this restriction. #HandsOffDC”

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) tweeted, “I’m proud to support: ✅#MarijuanaJusticeReform– Ending minor marijuana use as a deportable offense ✅ The bipartisan #FirstStep Act to reduce recidivism, end mass incarceration, & provide access to critical health services & job training for formerly incarcerated individuals”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he will keep pushing to legalize marijuana.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said hemp “has a great potential as a cash crop” but is “still in its infancy here and in every other state.” He also discussed marijuana legalization during a gubernatorial debate.

A Florida marijuana legalization campaign announced that it has collected more than 100,000 ballot signatures in its first 20 days—more than enough to trigger a state Supreme Court review of its language.

Michigan’s Supreme Court heard arguments in a case concerning conflict between a local zoning ordinance and state marijuana laws. Separately, regulators released step-by-step instructions for applying for adult-use cannabis licenses.

Delaware regulators reported that of 11 cases of vaping-related lung injury in the state, one involved medical cannabis.

Alaska regulators unanimously voted to remove the head of the state Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

A Pennsylvania court policy disallowing people on probation from using medical cannabis will be the subject of an ACLU lawsuit.

Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Study Commission met, and the chair said that a “rough draft” of proposed legislation would be circulated to members for input.

Vermont regulators allow medical cannabis dispensaries to determine which information concerning their operations can be released under public records requests.

Maryland regulators are considering rescinding a medical cannabis dispensary’s pre-approved business license after it missed a deadline.

Washington State regulators agreed to a two-month extension with its marijuana tracking software provider.


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

Bethel, Alaska voters rejected a proposed marijuana sales ban while approving a measure to ban alcohol sales outside of restaurants that appeared on the same ballot.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of other parties clashed on marijuana and drug policy at a debate.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is pressing ahead with efforts to legalize on-site drug checking at festivals despite legislative opposition.

Russia’s mission to the United Nations tweeted, “#Russia🇷🇺 stands for the world free of drugs rather than the world tolerant to drugs. #Legalization of narcotic drugs, including cannabis, for recreational purposes constitutes a grave violation of the international law.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding research on the transport of pollen from genetically engineered hemp.

A study presented “original photographs, taken during fieldwork at churches and cathedrals throughout Europe and the Middle East, that confirm the presence of entheogenic mushrooms in Christian art: in frescoes, illuminated manuscripts, mosaics, sculptures, and stained glass windows” and proposes “a psychedelic gospels theory.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Democratic Attorneys General Association tweeted about the Pennsylvania attorney general’s support for marijuana legalization.

/ BUSINESS

Eaze laid off roughly a fifth of its workforce and replaced its CEO.

Constellation Brands Inc. reported a $525.2 million quarterly loss, much of which it attributed to its investment in Canopy Growth Corp.

Organigram reportedly told employees its cooling towers had  “elevated bacteria counts” around the same time there was an outbreak of legionnaires’ disease in the area.

Cresco Capital Partners changed its name to Entourage Effect Capital and launched a new fund with an initial target of $150 million.

Charlotte’s Web hired Shepard Fairey’s Studio Number One firm to create a new ad campaign.

New Frontier Data projected that legalizing marijuana in all 50 states would create 1.63 million jobs by 2025.

/ CULTURE

Major League Baseball and its players union are discussing whether to loosen restrictions on marijuana.

The fictional mayor of New York City in the Daredevil comics is involved in the legal marijuana industry.

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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

NM gov gets legal cannabis recommendations from working group (Newsletter: October 17, 2019)

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CDC official pushes back on anti-marijuana congressman; Canadian election & drug policy; Snoop Dogg employs full-time blunt roller

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…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D) marijuana legalization working group released recommendations for a bill to pass in January’s 30-day session. Among other provisions, the proposal includes expungements, micro business licenses and a ban or limits on home cultivation.

At a House hearing, Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) asked several lines of leading questions seemingly intended to get witnesses to blame vaping-related lung injuries on marijuana legalization, but a top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official didn’t play along.

  • “Let me clarify, for the lung injury outbreak, while the vast majority report using THC-containing pre-filled cartridges, they report getting them from informal sources or off the street, not necessarily from licensed dispensaries.”

Marijuana Moment latest analysis takes a look at where Canadian political parties and leaders stand on cannabis and broader drug decriminalization as voters prepare to go to the polls on Monday to potentially elect a new majority government and prime minister.

Snoop Dogg spoke to Howard Stern about the full-time marijuana blunt roller he employs for $40,000-50,000 a year. Seth Rogen says he has seen the man in action—”it’s fucking fascinating”—and thinks “it might be worth my while financially to hire someone to do that” as well.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration is warning pregnant and breastfeeding women about using CBD products.

The Drug Enforcement Administration used clues in media reports about Denver’s psilocybin decriminalization policy to identify and arrest an alleged dealer.

NASA paid for a $5 million SpaceX workplace safety review after CEO Elon Musk smoked marijuana during a podcast appearance.

The House of Representatives approved a bill to make technical corrections to legislation dealing with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “We must remove the federal restrictions that are hurting our legal marijuana industry in banking, research, and more.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “It is a rough day when the leading Republican supporter of #Marijuana reform gets thrown into a mean, sexually graphic, ageist, anti-gay tweet by…Tommy Chong…”

The Senate bill to remove barriers to marijuana and CBD research got one new cosponsor for a total of 11.

The House bill to shield military veterans from losing benefits over marijuana use got one new cosponsor for a total of seven.

/ STATES

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) and Democratic challenger Andy Besheaer debated taxing medical cannabis.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) co-authored an op-ed about a safe consumption site for illegal drugs that he and colleagues are working to open in Philadelphia.

Washington State regulators adopted emergency rules banning flavored vaping products, requiring marijuana licenses to disclose all compounds in concentrates for inhalation and mandating the posting of consumer warnings.

The Florida Supreme Court accepted a case challenging the state’s medical cannabis vertical integration requirements. Separately, the House Health Quality Subcommittee heard presentations on marijuana issues.

Rhode Island regulators suspended the license of a hemp company with close ties to the House speaker.

A former Oklahoma health department lawyer pleaded guilty to sending herself fake threat emails about medical cannabis regulations.

Oregon regulators will consider marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements on Thursday.

Alaska regulators will consider marijuana establishment applications on Tuesday.

California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee will hold meetings in San Francisco next week.


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 Chicago, Illinois City Council approved marijuana business zoning rules, though the Black Caucus raised concerns about the lack of cannabis business ownership by people of color and had floated a potential delay in legal sales from January until July.

The Clear Creek County, Colorado School District adopted a policy allowing school personnel to administer medical cannabis to students.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime official said that “need to clearly stand together behind the decriminalisation of personal use” of drugs.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally requested Russian President Vladimir Putin pardon an Israeli-American woman sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of smuggling marijuana into the country.

French regulators created a committee to formulate rules for a two-year medical cannabis trial.

The mayor of Porto, Portugal wants to recriminalize drugs.

The Associated Press takes a look at Canada’s marijuana legalization law on the one-year anniversary of its enactment.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “atypical cannabinoids, like O-1602 and abnormal cannabidiol, exert antitumorigenic effects on paclitaxel-resistant breast cancer cells” and that “due to their lack of central sedation and psychoactive effects, these atypical cannabinoids could represent new leads for the development of additional anticancer treatments when resistance to conventional chemotherapy occurs during the treatment of breast and possibly other cancers.”

A survey concluded that “Connecticut licensed pharmacists had lack of complete and accurate knowledge regarding the state’s” medical cannabis program.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana is building up its presence on Capitol Hill, including by bringing on a former chief of staff to Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mark Warner (D-VA).

/ BUSINESS

Weedmaps laid off a quarter of its workforce.

Two associates of President Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani who were indicted last week for allegedly attempting to use foreign money to win marijuana business licenses in Nevada also reportedly tried to pursue medical cannabis approvals in Florida.

Canopy Growth Corp. won the first license to import medicinal cannabis in bulk into the UK.

Cresco Labs announced that it has received approval to sell recreational marijuana at all five of its existing Illinois medical cannabis dispensaries.

Business Insider looks at how Wall Street banks are starting to engage around the edges of the marijuana industry.

/ CULTURE

Rebelution’s Eric Rachmany is donating 100% of his solo tour’s proceeds to The Last Prisoner Project, which focuses on release and reentry for people incarcerated on marijuana charges.

Duane “Dog The Bounty Hunter” Chapman spoke about his wife’s decision to end chemotherapy and start using cannabis shortly before she died of cancer.

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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.
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Newsletter

Presidential candidates debate decriminalizing opioids (Newsletter: October 16, 2019)

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Pennsylvania lawmakers file marijuana legalization bill; Study: medical cannabis reduces benzo use; Cops ask man to stop calling 911 over stolen weed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The issue of decriminalizing drugs beyond marijuana was seriously discussed on a presidential debate stage for the first time as Democratic candidates weighed in on whether removing criminal penalties is part of the solution to the opioid crisis.

Pennsylvania senators filed a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill that includes home cultivation, delivery services, social use areas, expungements, equity-focused loans and limits on big businesses.

Illinois lawmakers could make tweaks to the state’s marijuana legalization law in a veto session this month, including fixing “unintended consequences” of a ban on smoking for medical cannabis patients under 21.

A study found that 45% of patients completely stopped taking benzodiazepines after they started using medical cannabis.

  • “Patients also reported decreased daily distress due to their medical condition(s).”

A Florida man wouldn’t stop calling 911 to report his marijuana being stolen this past weekend, so a sheriff’s deputy had to intervene.

  • “A guy is calling in saying his roommate stole his weed, $20 worth, and he’s upset.”

/ FEDERAL

A U.S. Army report suggests that there was a roughly 18% increase between 2017 and 2018 in positive drug tests for THC at nine bases in or near states where marijuana is legal.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, spoke about how there are still hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests in the U.S. every year at a time when states are legalizing it.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “As the legal marijuana industry grows, it’s vital that people of color— who were disproportionately targeted by the failed War on Drugs— are the first in line to enter the industry. My Marijuana Opportunity Act would help do just that.”

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), a presidential candidate, said the federal government “needs to get out of the way” of state marijuana laws.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time to fully address policies formed during the War on Drugs. We must do better.”

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tweeted, “The bipartisan #SAFEBanking Act, passed out of the House earlier this year, corrects unfair & outdated federal regulations that penalize financial institutions from working with #hemp farmers & legal #cannabis businesses. It’s time for the Senate to vote.”

/ STATES

Kentucky attorney general candidates debated medical cannabis and marijuana decriminalization.

The Florida Health & Human Services Committee heard a marijuana legalization presentation from a former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy official.

The Indiana legislature’s Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy discussed taxation of CBD oil and vaping products.

Puerto Rico lawmakers held a hearing on medical cannabis research.

Colorado regulators held a public hearing on proposed rules to ban certain additives in marijuana vaping products.

Massachusetts regulators published a frequently asked questions document about the sale of hemp-derived products.

New Mexico regulators will hold public meetings on proposed hemp rules this month and next month.

Here’s a look at Oklahoma medical cannabis tax revenue, county-by-county.


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

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor scaled back a plan to largely block marijuana dispensaries from the city’s downtown area.

Sacramento. California’s mayor directed the city auditor to investigate the marijuana permitting process.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Senate leader of Mexico’s ruling party said lawmakers will vote on a marijuana legalization bill this week or next week.

Australia’s attorney general warned that a local marijuana legalization move doesn’t change federal criminal law.

Brazilian regulators delayed a vote on a proposal to regulate medical cannabis production.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

An article in the journal Addiction argues that for the development of a “Standard THC Unit” that would be “fixed at 5 milligrams of THC for all cannabis products and methods of administration.”

The New York Times looks at how a common drug testing method can mistake CBD for THC.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Australians opposed legalizing marijuana, 49%-42%.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board doesn’t seem impressed with Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) move to create a task force to investigate marijuana industry corruption.

The Cannabis Voter Project is piloting a program where marijuana dispensaries offer discounts to customers who sign up to receive legislative updates.

Here’s a look at Rhode Island marijuana industry lobbying spending.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $126.1 million

Eaze announced a partnership with Recreational Embassy and the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Santa Monica to offer in-hotel marijuana access.

Flowhub raised $23 million in Series A funding.

/ CULTURE

The New England Patriots are partnering with former player Rob Gronkowski’s CBD company Abacus Health Products.

Jennifer Lopez’s makeup artist credited her youthful looks to cannabis-infused eye cream.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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Presidential candidate floats national cannabis referendum (Newsletter: October 15, 2019)

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Major UK party backs drug decrim; Dietary supplement industry pushes CBD rules; Former FDA head says feds should regulate marijuana

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There are now 1,208 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer cited marijuana reform as an example of an issue voters have advanced at the ballot box on the state level as part of his push to allow a new nationwide referendum process.

After months of ambiguous comments about marijuana without a specific proposal, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is finally speaking more clearly, saying in a CNBC interview that Congress should “allow federal regulatory authorities to impose appropriate supervision.

  • While he’d prefer recreational cannabis be “shut down entirely” he concedes it’s not “politically practicable” and says FDA and the Drug Enforcement Administration can regulate potency, manufacturing, ingredients and claims on marijuana products.

The Scottish National Party—that country’s biggest party and the third-largest in the UK Parliament—unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing drug decriminalization.

The American Herbal Products Association, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition and United Natural Products Alliance sent a letter urging Congress to “clarify that CBD derived from the hemp plant is a lawful dietary ingredient” as long as it “meets established product safety and quality criteria.”

/ FEDERAL

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether marijuana businesses near Sacramento, California have paid public officials in attempts to win licenses.

Attorney General William Barr criticized safe consumption sites for illegal drugs as part of a wide-ranging speech decrying progressive policies.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted a picture of a “Legalize Marinara” t-shirt, saying, “Okay, I’m a reasonable person- how’s this for a compromise everyone???”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, said that as a school superintendent he was initially worried about kids’ access to marijuana edibles under legalization but it’s “something we’ve been able to fix over time.”

Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) said he thinks restorative justice-focused marijuana legislation “sets a bad precedent for other laws” and is “not germane to the issue of whether or not these states should have the ability to act in the way they see fit.”

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted, “Hemp farming has the potential to transform Southside Virginia and #VA05’s agricultural sector. I am proud of my efforts to add Virginia to the @USDA USDA hemp crop insurance program so that farms like the one I visited yesterday can expand and succeed.”

Iowa Democratic House candidate J.D. Scholten tweeted, “Marijuana should be legal. For vets, it can help treat chronic pain, PTSD, and TBI without the addictiveness of opioids. It would also take some weight off our criminal justice system that has locked up too many people for non-violent marijuana possession.”

/ STATES

A Florida marijuana legalization campaign raised another $535,000 in September.

An Arizona marijuana legalization campaign brought in more than $300,000 in the third quarter.

The California Assembly Governmental Organization, Business And Professions and Health Committees will hold a joint hearing on vaping products on Wednesday. Separately, the Cannabis Advisory Committee will hold meetings next week.

Iowa Senate Democrats posted information about how to encourage regulators to add PTSD as a low-THC medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Colorado regulators will hold a public hearing on Tuesday about proposed rules to ban certain additives in marijuana vaping products.

Oklahoma regulators released an updated list of medical cannabis dispensaries and reported that more than 200,000 patients have now been certified.

Here’s a look at the prospects for marijuana reform in Georgia.


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 Fall River, Massachusetts mayor who was indicted on federal charges of allegedly extorting marijuana businesses is taking a leave of absence and suspending his reelection campaign.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Australian Capital Territory officials sent a letter warning the federal government not to interfere with its new local marijuana legalization law.

Zimbabwe’s first hemp crop was planted at a prison.

French lawmakers are considering legislation to fund a two-year medical cannabis trial program.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A survey of multiple sclerosis patients found that medical cannabis “use is common based on volunteer reporting, with approximately one out of four patients who” participated saying they use marijuana products.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that two-thirds of UK adults incorrectly believe CBD oil is illegal, while eight-in-ten think it has the same effects as smoking marijuana.

The Los Angeles County Bar Association created a new practice section focused on cannabis.

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses adopted standards on security.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted, “I didn’t realize being a cannabis fanatic creates so many social ills, including: *Hallucinations *Strawmen *Inability to formulate an argument #WhatElseDoesCannabisZealotryCause?”

/ BUSINESS

CannTrust Holdings plans to destroy $65 million worth of marijuana as well as $12 million worth of plants in an effort to regain regulatory approval following the revelation it illegally grew cannabis in unlicensed rooms.

Bonsai Cultivation voluntarily recalled marijuana products in Colorado due to the presence of elevated yeast and/or mold counts.

FedEx tweeted that it “prohibits shipment of plants, leaves & flowers, hemp oil, hemp seed oil and CBD.”

The Sacramento Bee looks at connections between Garib Karapetyan, who holds permits for eight Sacramento, California marijuana dispensaries, and the men indicted on federal charges last week of allegedly attempting to use foreign money to obtain cannabis licenses.

Natria asked Washington State regulators to remove its products from a list of pesticides approved for use on marijuana.

/ CULTURE

Rapper and actor Ice-T narrates a new drug policy documentary called “Public Enemy Number One.”

Actress Kristen Bell spoke about how she uses CBD oil to relax.

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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.
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