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Biden could veto cannabis bill from Congress (Newsletter: April 21, 2021)

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Schumer: No banking before legalization;3 new marijuana bills in Congress; Lawmakers & brands celebrate 4/20

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden won’t commit to signing a marijuana legalization bill if passed by Congress, saying his position “isn’t the same as what the House and Senate have proposed.” She also said she didn’t know his stance on cannabis banking legislation that is advancing and refused to say whether he would issue clemency to people currently serving time in federal prison for marijuana.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told Marijuana Moment in an interview that his chamber will not pursue cannabis banking ahead of full legalization, as the House just did. Banking gets votes from senators who don’t back broader reform, so he wants to tie them together, he said.

Schumer also celebrated 4/20 on the Senate floor.

  • “Hopefully the next time this unofficial holiday 4/20 rolls around, our country will have made progress in addressing the massive overcriminalization of marijuana.”

Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Jared Golden (D-ME) and Dwight Evans (D-PA) filed three new bills to let the marijuana industry access small business federal assistance that is available to companies operating in any other sector—including loans, disaster relief and grant programs.

Politicians from top members of Congress to governors to local officials celebrated 4/20 by highlighting marijuana legalization’s growing momentum.

Major companies also sought to latch onto 4/20 as a branding opportunity, with only a handful using it as a chance to draw attention to the injustices of the war on drugs.

/ FEDERAL

Several Senate Democrats said they either oppose or are skeptical about marijuana legalization.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said federal marijuana reform is “something we’ll probably have to grapple with here.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) tweeted, “NJans spoke loud and clear last year when they voted to legalize recreational marijuana, but legal cannabis businesses can’t get insurance to protect their employees, customers and property like other legal businesses. My CLAIM Act would put legal marijuana-related businesses on a fair footing and allow this industry to flourish.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “Medical marijuana can help veterans receive the care they need, but the VA’s prohibited from recommending or prescribing it. I’m joining @BrianSchatz’s Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act to allow VA doctors to prescribe medical marijuana in the 36 states where it’s legal.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) paid tribute on the House floor to marijuana legalization activist Steve Fox, who passed away last week.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) said efforts to reform federal marijuana laws are “coming along.”

The campaign of Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, the lieutenant governor, is launching a “Cannabis Coalition.”

The House marijuana banking bill got 12 new cosponsors for a total of 180.

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Karen Carter Peterson tweeted, “We’ve seen what the cannabis industry can do for economics — now it’s time to finally legalize it and create new, equitable opportunities for our communities and those most harmed by this failed policy in #la02.”

/ STATES

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) will ceremonially sign a marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) and some Democratic lawmakers seem to disagree on how close they are on arriving at a deal on a marijuana legalization bill that can get enough support to pass.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) spoke about efforts to implement marijuana legalization.

Washington State’s attorney general said lawmakers should not reinstate criminal penalties for drug possession.

Texas Democratic attorney general candidate Joe Jaworski called for marijuana legalization.

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a bill to tax medical cannabis flower if it is legalized under separate legislation.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said she thinks the state Cannabis Control Board will be appointed and running by this summer.

Connecticut’s House majority leader spoke about the challenge of getting enough votes to pass a marijuana legalization bill this year.

The Pennsylvania House majority leader’s press secretary criticized efforts to legalize marijuana.

A Georgia representative was appointed to serve on the Medical Cannabis Commission Oversight Committee.

Arizona regulators held a lottery to award marijuana dispensary business licenses in rural counties. They also noted that a tax due date happened to fall on 4/20.

Massachusetts regulators launched a public education campaign about the risks of unregulated marijuana vaping products.

The Iowa Department of Transportation sent a press release urging people not to drive while impaired even as more neighboring states legalize marijuana.

Minnesota regulators sent a reminder that the deadline to apply for a hemp license is coming up.

Michigan regulators will host a marijuana social equity business resource workshop on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Birmingham, Alabama’s mayor launched a program of blanket pardons for people convicted of marijuana possession.

The Erie County, New York district attorney said his office will reexamine all pending marijuana cases following legalization.

Los Angeles, California regulators launched a new initiative to engage with the public about cannabis rules.

San Diego County, California officials will hold marijuana social equity outreach sessions on Friday and Monday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wasn’t aware that Tuesday was 4/20 until asked about it by a reporter. Separately, the head of the New Democratic Party tweeted, “On #420 I reiterate my call for a full and immediate expungement of criminal records for cannabis possession. Despite agreeing that Black and Indigenous people have been disproportionately and adversely harmed by drug laws – Justin Trudeau has done nothing about it.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of people with Crohn’s disease found that “eight weeks of CBD-rich cannabis treatment induced significant clinical and [quality of life] improvement without significant changes in inflammatory parameters or endoscopic scores.”

A review concluded that “quantitative results indicate that psilocybin can significantly reduce depressive symptomatology in treatment-resistant depression, along with anxiety, neuroticism, anhedonia, anger and hostility, and impulsiveness.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Alabama Democratic Party endorsed marijuana legalization.

The Louisiana Democratic Party tweeted about a pending marijuana decriminalization bill.

The Democratic Attorneys General Association tweeted about the marijuana legalization advocacy of Virginia’s attorney general.

Americans for Safe Access became the first cannabis standard setting body accredited by the  International Organization for Standardization.

The Drug Policy Alliance convened a new Federal Cannabis Regulations Working Group.

/ BUSINESS

Jushi Holdings Inc. is acquiring OhiGrow, LLC.

TerrAscend Corp. is acquiring GuadCo, LLC and KCR Holdings LLC.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. got approval from Canadian authorities to grow three of its proprietary hemp cultivars in the country.

Cresco Labs published a survey finding that one in four Americans have tried some form of cannabis within the past twelve months.

Leafly published a new report estimating that legalizing marijuana Pennsylvania would support at least 32,000 full-time jobs, result in $3.3 billion in sales per year and generate $520 million in annual tax revenue.

/ CULTURE

The Onion made fun of new research showing that psilocybin is effective in treating depression.

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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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