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AOC & GOP cannabis expungements bill in Congress (Newsletter: December 3, 2021)

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NIDA head deterred from studying marijuana under Schedule 1; DEA psychedelics boost; USDA hemp insurance update; GW beats Canopy in patent ruling

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) filed a new bipartisan bill in Congress to fund state and local marijuana expungement programs.

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Vokow—the U.S.’s top drug science official— said she personally hesitates to study marijuana because its federal Schedule I status makes it “much more cumbersome” than studying other substances.

The Drug Enforcement Administration once again proposed a huge boost in the legal production of illegal psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA and DMT to be used in research. The agency initially wanted just 30 grams of psilocybin produced in 2021, and now that’s been boosted to 8,000 grams for 2022—a 26,567% increase, reflecting a massive level of interest in psychedelics research.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced new changes to “strengthen” crop insurance policies for hemp producers.

GW Pharmaceuticals won a preliminary victory over Canopy Growth Corporation in a patent infringement case the latter company filed over cannabis extraction methods, as IP lawyer Larry Sandell of Mei & Mark, LLP explains in an op-ed for Marijuana Moment.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service tweeted a reminder that responses to a federal hemp survey are due next week.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “The message across the country is clear: The vast majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana. @RonWyden, @SenBooker, and I are working to pass our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to end the federal prohibition and repair the harm done by the War on Drugs.”

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) said he hasn’t spoken to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about the possible inclusion of marijuana banking provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) raised concerns about fentanyl-laced marijuana and other drugs in a Senate floor speech.

Re. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) tweeted about “illegal marijuana operations in California that are stealing our water, inserting harmful pesticides into our ecosystems, and wreaking havoc on our public lands.”

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 35.

/ STATES

Texas’s attorney general appealed an injunction on regulators’ smokable hemp ban to the state Supreme Court, putting the policy back in place for now.

South Dakota’s attorney general issued a report finding that the state’s hemp program does not substantially affect police’s ability to go after illegal marijuana.

Arkansas activists believe they will raise enough money to fund a successful signature gathering effort to put a marijuana legalization measure on the 2022 ballot.

The New Mexico legislature’s Finance Authority Oversight Committee approved a $5 million loan program for cannabis microbusinesses.

Several Indian tribes located within New York are conducting retail marijuana sales.

An Illinois judge issued an order consolidating several lawsuits challenging regulators’ marijuana business license award processes.

Georgia regulators blocked media access to pre-hearing conferences about medical cannabis business license denial protests.

Pennsylvania regulators sent an alert to patients about an ongoing review of the safety of medical cannabis vaping products.

Vermont regulators sent a warning about a scam targeting marijuana businesses in which callers pretend to be from the Cannabis Control Board.

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development is hiring grants analysts for a marijuana revenue-funded program to help communities impacted by the drug war.

Ohio regulators posted updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.

New Jersey marijuana regulators will hold a public meeting on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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.

/ LOCAL

The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors voted to suspend a local marijuana business tax through the end of next year in an attempt to curb illegal sales.

Princeton, New Jersey’s Cannabis Task Force recommended that marijuana dispensaries be allowed to operate.

Brattleboro, Vermont police, along with federal officials, arrested three people in connection with what is believed to be fentanyl-laced marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

British Virgin Islands Prime Minister Andrew Fahie announced the formation of working committees with UK officials to advance stalled medical cannabis legislation.

Australia’s health minister rejected a petition to legalize THC and CBD by rescheduling cannabis.

Malta lawmakers are nearing a final vote on a bill to legalize marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of twins suggested that “cannabis use is not associated with detrimental physical health effects.”

A review concluded that “evidence suggests that psychedelics and related compounds could prove useful for treating the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Indiana Democratic Party tweeted, “@INDems view marijuana legalization as a way to create a better future for Hoosiers and the state economy. Details about the town hall are below.”

More than 180 drug policy organizations from around the world sent letters urging the International Narcotics Control Board to craft cannabis guidelines with a process that has more transparency and accountability.

The American Kratom Association has a new executive director who previously served as a New York senator.

The Veterans Alliance for Holistic Alternatives is a new advocacy group that’s working to build support for cannabis banking and other marijuana reforms.

/ BUSINESS

Cookies is bringing its products to UK and Australian medical cannabis markets through a partnership with InterCure.

Akerna reported that the days before and after Thanksgiving were the second and third highest-grossing days for the cannabis industry this year, with nearly $100 million in sales each.

The Darlington Fabrics Company in Rhode Island settled a lawsuit in which a woman alleged her internship was rescinded over legal medical cannabis use.

/ CULTURE

MMA fighter Elias Theodorou was granted the nation’s first therapeutic use exemption issued by a state athletic commission for medical cannabis by the Colorado Office of Combative Sports and Colorado Combative Sports Commission.

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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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