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Biden announces cannabis pardons and scheduling review (Newsletter: October 7, 2022)



White House drug czar notes marijuana’s medical benefits; Costa Rican president proposes legalization bill; Poll: Americans back legal cannabis

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President Joe Biden issued a proclamation to pardon people for marijuana possession offenses and initiated a process to federally reschedule cannabis—just weeks before Election Day.

The Department of Justice said it will “expeditiously administer” the president’s marijuana pardon proclamation and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said he is “looking forward” to working on the separate cannabis scheduling review that’s being  directed.

Marijuana Moment compiled a roundup of the  huge number of members of Congress, state officials, organizations and others who reacted to Biden’s cannabis pardons and scheduling review move.

White House Drug Czar Rahul Gupta noted marijuana’s “medical benefits” and declined to voice opposition to broader legalization when asked—despite a mandate in federal law that the Office of National Drug Control Policy director “take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize” Schedule I substances.

Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves Robles sent lawmakers a marijuana legalization bill he wants them to pass.

A new poll found that three out of five American voters want marijuana to be legalized nationally and almost half say it should be a “top” or “important” congressional priority.

  • 63 percent support the House’s passage of a cannabis legalization bill earlier this year.


Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) and 12 other Republican senators released a public service announcement warning about “rainbow fentanyl.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “We have people still sitting in jail for possession of marijuana while others are able to run and profit from chain dispensaries. Where is the fairness in that? Legalize marijuana. Release those incarcerated with marijuana charges. It’s simple.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) tweeted, “The States Reform Act is the best way to solve the Cannabis problem while respecting the Constitution and States rights.”

Idaho independent Senate candidate Scott Cleveland said during a debate that New Mexico’s legalization of marijuana is partly to blame for it being like a “third-world country” and “an episode of the Walking Dead.”


New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said the state is “still on track” to launch recreational marijuana sales by the end of the year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) directed the creation of a multi-agency, cross-jurisdictional task force of enforcement agencies to coordinate efforts against illegal cannabis operations. Separately, regulators held a stakeholder meeting on proposed marijuana tax rules changes.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) tweeted, “Kansas is one of the last states that hasn’t legalized medical marijuana, and Kansans with severe illnesses are suffering. This is unacceptable. It’s time we pass it once and for all.”

South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham, a former congressman, tweeted, “Why is @henrymcmaster too chicken to debate more than once? Is he too afraid to defend why he wants to rip away women’s freedom? Or why he wants to lock up veterans for using marijuana? Come on, Governor. Don’t be a chicken. Show up and defend your record.”

Arkansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Jones tweeted, “Ballot initiatives offer a way for Arkansans to have a seat at the table. This year, we have an opportunity to take a step toward a just and equitable cannabis industry. Every Arkansas voter has the right to vote as they wish — as it should be!”

A Missouri representative discussed her concerns with the marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.

A North Dakota representative spoke about protections for employers in the marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.

An Indiana senator tweeted, “Recent polling and Hoosiers’ testimony continue to show that Indiana is ready for a change in our cannabis laws. We cannot continue to do nothing while our neighboring states modernize their laws.”

Virginia’s top marijuana regulator spoke about the prospects for legislation to allow recreational sales to begin.

Colorado regulators approved new pesticides that can be used on cannabis.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 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.


Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor said he plans to vote for the marijuana legalization initiative on the state’s November ballot.

Fostoria, Ohio’s mayor spoke about why he hasn’t signed a marijuana decriminalization ordinance signed by the City Council.


Russian officials moved American citizen Marc Fogel, who is incarcerated for possessing medical cannabis, to a hard-labor penal colony.

Malaysia’s home minister said the country needs to institute regulations on cannabis and kratom.


A review concluded that “there is a correlation between cannabis use and an improvement in female sexual function in some settings at moderate doses” and that it “may positively affect several domains of sexual function, such as orgasm, libido, and arousal, dissimilarly” but that “cannabis use at high doses may have negative effects on female sexual function.”

A study found that “hemp microgreens are a high-quality protein source of all essential amino acids.”


A poll found that Ohio likely voters support legalizing marijuana, 60 percent to 37 percent.

The Psychedelic Medicine Coalition held a briefing on Capitol Hill.

David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s authored a blog post pushing back on concerns about Colorado’s psychedelics legalization initiative on the November ballot that have been expressed by some supporters of reform.

Healthy and Productive North Dakota is a newly formed committee opposing the state’s marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.


Several Green Thumb Industries board members resigned over what the company described as a disagreement over “policies and practices related to personal misconduct.”

Constellation Brands Inc. took a nearly $1.1 billion charge related to its ownership stake in Canopy Growth.


Conan O’Brien tweeted, “I worry that pardoning marijuana offenses is a gateway to pardoning …. You get it.”

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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.


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