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Biden DEA pick open to medical cannabis laws (Newsletter: April 14, 2021)

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IL marijuana revenue outweighs alcohol; Tribute to cannabis pioneer Steve Fox; CT legalization poll; CO sales data

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  • Kevin Kovacic:”Your morning emails rock!!! Keep ’em coming!! Every morning I start my day with the Marijuana Moment email, hoping to read that Wisconsin legalized. The governor is trying, but not trying hard enough.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Anne Milgram, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration, called a New Jersey medical cannabis bill “workable” while serving as the state’s attorney general. Those are very limited comments, but a DEA head who potentially understands the medical benefits of marijuana would undermine its ongoing status as a Schedule I drug.

Longtime marijuana activist Steve Fox, who was a driving force behind Colorado’s historic cannabis legalization measure and so many other movement wins, has passed away. His colleagues have launched a GoFundMe to support his family during this difficult time.

The Illinois Department of Revenue reported that as of last quarter the state now takes in more tax revenue from marijuana sales than from alcohol.

A new poll found that 67% of Connecticut residents support legalizing marijuana. The public backing comes as two cannabis legalization bills are advancing in the legislature.

Colorado retailers sold $167 million worth of legal marijuana in February. Cannabis sales for the first two months of 2021 are $78 million higher than for the same period last year.

/ FEDERAL

The Biden administration is reportedly expected to support a temporary extension of a Trump-era policy expanding mandatory minimum sentencing for a range of fentanyl-related substances.

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) tweeted, “By legalizing adult-use cannabis, New Mexico is taking bold steps to get our economy moving again, create new jobs and economic opportunities, and begin to undo the disparate harm of criminalization.”

The House resolution that calls for legalizing marijuana, expunging drug convictions and allowing safe consumption sites got one new cosponsor for a total of 18.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) sent a press release about an auction of marijuana-themed license plates to benefit the state Disability Funding Committee.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “The war on drugs has forever been a story of racial injustice. Even last year — during a global pandemic — a disproportionate number of Black PA’ians were arrested for marijuana. It’s time we #LegalizeIt and stop locking people up for possession.” He also tweeted, “Yesterday, New Mexico became the seventh state since November to legalize adult-use marijuana. Pennsylvania is falling behind. Residents want legalization.”

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) authored an op-ed criticizing pending marijuana reform legislation.

Michigan’s attorney general launched a new webpage to inform people about a new law that expunges prior marijuana and other convictions.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a construction company needs to pay for the cost of its injured worker’s medical cannabis.

Virginia’s House speaker posted a video of herself singing the recently approved marijuana legalization bill.

Connecticut House leaders are working to craft a marijuana legalization bill that can get enough votes to pass even if a number of Democrats oppose it.

The Illinois House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill to regulate CBD and Delta-8-THC products this week.

The Iowa Department of Human Services is being sued by a woman who says she is being blocked from becoming a preschool teacher due to an expunged prior marijuana charge.

Oklahoma regulators revoked the license of a medical cannabis testing lab.

A member of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is stepping down.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will hold a training session on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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

San Francisco, California’s mayor held a press conference to emphasize that the annual 4/20 rally in Golden Gate Park is canceled.

New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams criticized rivals for supporting drug policy reform.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she wants a bipartisan approach to treating drugs as a health issue, but the opposition National Party doesn’t seem interested.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “all studies exhibited anxiolytic and antidepressant activities after CBD use.”

A study found that “the vast majority of patients self-selecting into cannabis use for treatment of nausea likely experience relief within a relative short duration of time, but the level of antiemetic effect varies with the characteristics of the cannabis products consumed in vivo.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New Mexico Republican Party criticized Democrats for enacting a marijuana legalization law.

Americans for Safe Access launched an action alert urging House and Urban Development Sec. Marcia Fudge to issue guidance allowing patients to use medical cannabis in federal housing.

AAA is hosting an event about New Jersey marijuana laws on 4/20.

/ BUSINESS

Organigram Holdings Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of C$14.6 million and a net loss of C$66.3 million.

Mydecine Innovations Group says it has identified previously uncharacterized compounds in psilocybin mushrooms and is going to screen them to test for therapeutic effects.

/ CULTURE

South Park is partnering with adidas to launch a Towlie shoe on 4/20.

Actor Jaleel White launched a Purple Urkle cannabis brand with 710 Labs.

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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.

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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Cannabis arrests dropped amid COVID, FBI says (Newsletter: September 28, 2021)

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NY gov touts marijuana’s jobs potential; FL psychedelics bill; MA drug decrim hearing

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  • Ticio Vargas: “I have followed Marijuana Moment for a while. I’m always impressed how MM is the first to report the most up-to-date news on US cannabis regulation.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows that marijuana arrests dropped by more than a third in the U.S. last year as both the COVID-19 pandemic and the legalization movement spread. Still, there was a cannabis bust every 90 seconds on average, and an arrest for drugs in general every 27 seconds.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said the state’s new marijuana market will create “thousands and thousands of jobs.”

  • “So count me in as an ally—someone who’s going to be there for you.”

Florida’s Senate minority leader filed a bill that would require the state to study the medical benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use & Recovery held a hearing on bills to decriminalize drugs and allow safe consumption sites where people could consume illegal substances under medical supervision.

Mississippi’s agriculture and commerce commissioner held a press conference to reiterate his opposition to having any part in regulating medical cannabis while it remains federally illegal.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is being asked to reconsider a decision to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Drug Enforcement Administration’s marijuana scheduling decisions.

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public safety alert about fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.

The State Department published a readout of a meeting with Colombian officials to discuss counternarcotics issues.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “Legalize marijuana so we can bring these jobs to communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs.”

Former Rep. Greg Ganske (R-IA) authored an op-ed calling for marijuana legalization.

/ STATES

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Niki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, tweeted, “We need to legalize marijuana and expunge most marijuana convictions. And we can do that in Florida right after we beat @GovRonDeSantis.”

Illinois’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Justice is more than jails, policing, and prisons—it includes healthy communities. I commit to fairness and equality. That’s why @govpritzker, @ICJIA_Illinois, and I aim to Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (#R3) communities devastated by the failed war on drugs through grantmaking. #DYK the #R3 Program receives 25% of tax revenue from adult-use cannabis? Depending on the growth of the market, the R3 Board could disburse up to $125 million per year to address: -Economic development -Violence prevention -Re-entry -Youth development -Civil legal aid.”

The Washington, D.C. Council scheduled a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill for November 19.

A Wisconsin senator who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill posted a photo of herself riding a tractor at a hemp farm.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands regulators are endorsing pending legislation to make changes to marijuana rules.

Massachusetts’s top marijuana regulator criticized how municipalities impose impact fees on marijuana businesses.

Washington State’s Office of Fiscal Management said cannabis revenues appear to be moderating.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board and its advisory subcommittees will hold several meetings this week.

California regulators will discuss dual cannabis and gaming licensing on Monday.

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana rules amendments on October 26.


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 Los Angeles County, California district attorney dismissed nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions.

Here’s a look at which New York municipalities are opting out of allowing certain cannabis businesses before the deadline.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Toronto, Ontario, Canada is moving to ask the federal government for permission to decriminalize drugs.

Italian activists are pushing the country’s Council of Ministers to extend the deadline to certify signatures on a marijuana referendum because some local officials are taking too long to do so.

Thailand’s government produced a video touting the country’s medical cannabis laws.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “medicinal cannabis use may reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms in clinically anxious and depressed populations.”

A study found “no overall protective relationship between state [medical cannabis laws] and opioid overdose.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

District of Columbia Marijuana Justice is holding a rally on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to push for a legalization vote in Congress.

The Washington Post editorial board criticized a Virginia judge who jailed a witness for admitting that she smoked marijuana earlier in the day before testifying against her alleged domestic violence abuser.

A marijuana stocks investor created a video juxtaposing Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) pledge to block cannabis banking legislation with news coverage of robberies at dispensaries.

The Maryland Minority Cannabis Business Association was recently formed to advocate for diversity in the marijuana industry.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported quarterly revenue of C$54.8 million and an adjusted EBITDA loss of C$13.9 million.

MarinHealth Medical Center is calling on California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to sign a bill requiring hospitals to allow medical cannabis use.

Sedona Ranch Retreats, which has held cannabis coaching sessions, has banned people who get COVID-19 vaccinations.

Harborside Inc. intends to transition to domestic issuer status in the U.S.

Missouri dispensaries have sold more than $113 million worth of medical cannabis since sales began.

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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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Federal legal cannabis bill gets vote this week in House panel (Newsletter: September 27, 2021)

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More banks work with cannabis biz; Seattle psychedelics decrim advances; KC restricts marijuana testing; WashPost cannabis prisoner ad

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  • Mark: “I joined because your excellently researched newsletter keeps me up to date instantly on what’s happening with the struggle to end marijuana prohibition in states, federally, and worldwide. I live in Pennsylvania, and while the states around us are now largely legal for recreational use, we are not, due to some residual ‘reefer madness’ adherents in PA’s state government. Those of us fortunate to be able to get medical marijuana in PA want the rest of the folks who don’t qualify for it to be able to use MJ too, without fear of being arrested, jailed, and ruined. Yours is an extremely useful newsletter, and I read it every day.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY)  federal marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday. The measure passed the full House last Congress but did not advance in the Senate. Advocates are hoping this time will be different.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported that the number of banks and credit unions that say they’re serving marijuana businesses ticked up in the past three months following several quarters of declines.

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved the mayor’s proposal to ban pre-employment marijuana testing for most city workers.

The Seattle, Washington City Council Public Safety and Human Services Committee considered a measure to decriminalize psychedelics. The full Council is expected to take up the measure within the next few weeks.

The family of a marijuana prisoner took out a full-page Washington Post ad calling for his freedom and noting that large cannabis companies and celebrities—including Beyonce, Jay Z, Seth Rogen and others—stand to make money in the industry.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report on China’s hemp market.

Customs and Border Protection sent a warning to travelers to stop trying to bring marijuana through the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “‘An estimated 321,000 Americans now work in the legal cannabis industry, outnumbering the country’s dentists, paramedics & electrical engineers.’ Yet the industry & their employees are still forced to operate in cash. It’s past time to pass #SAFEBanking.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tweeted that the National Defense Authorization Act “includes ‘red flag’ provisions that deprive servicemembers of their Second Amendment rights and a provision to allow illicit cannabis businesses to use the banking system, advancing the legalization agenda.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair drug war harms got two new cosponsors for a total of 66.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill on waivers and deferrals for marijuana licensing and application fees.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) reportedly dismissed Norman Birenbaum, director of cannabis programs under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), whom advocates had opposed becoming the head of the new Office of Cannabis Management.

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor and House speaker asked Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to schedule a special session to consider medical cannabis and other legislation this Friday. Meanwhile, the Special Select Committee of the Legislative Black Caucus will hold a medical marijuana hearing on Tuesday.

The Washington State Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision that had allowed Chelan Count to shut down a marijuana business.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that evidence of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms discovered during a search by a Customs and Border Protection officer is inadmissible in state court.

Illinois regulators are facing new lawsuits from companies whose applications for marijuana craft grower and transporter applications were disqualified.

Oregon regulators expanded a recall of products with mislabeled THC content.

Michigan regulators announced a voluntary recall of marijuana products due to use of a contaminated trimmer.

Oklahoma’s top medical cannabis regulator met with industry representatives.

New Jersey regulators published an updated list of medical cannabis dispensaries.

A former Maryland delegate authored an op-ed calling for a free market approach to regulating the marijuana industry.

Nevada’s Cannabis Advisory Commission Public Health Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday.

The Louisiana House Medical Cannabis Commission will meet on Friday.


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

Anne Arundel County, Maryland School Board members expressed concerns about a state law requiring policies allowing medical cannabis use at schools.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Italian municipal elections officials are missing deadlines to certify signatures on a marijuana referendum, jeopardizing its chances of qualifying.

Gibraltar’s Parliament approved a medical cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “medical cannabis and cannabinoids may improve impaired sleep among people living with chronic pain, but the magnitude of benefit is likely small.”

The University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Science of Psychedelics received five philanthropic donations worth a total of $7 million.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Washington Post editorial board is urging the Biden administration to support safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

The Des Moines Register editorial board is calling on Iowa lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

The Brookings Institution published a blog post calling on President Joe Biden to end the war on drugs.

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a legislative counsel for the southeastern U.S.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $42 million and a net loss of $46.2 million.

Vice looks at the tension between psychedelic companies that want access limited to a medical model and the broader decriminalization movement.

/ CULTURE

Football player La’el Collins was suspended for allegedly trying to bribe a drug test collector.

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MS medical cannabis deal reached for special session (Newsletter: September 24, 2021)

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House officials sends marijuana banking to Senate; Feds fund psilocybin for cigarette cessation study; FBI changes marijuana policy again

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives formally passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains marijuana banking provisions. But the path ahead in the Senate is complicated, with key lawmakers indicating they are not in favor of the move.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which loosened its marijuana policy for agent applicants earlier this summer, more recently added a new arbitrary restriction:  Anyone who has used cannabis more than 24 times as an adult is disqualified.

Mississippi lawmakers reached a deal on medical cannabis legislation to replace the voter-approved measure that was overturned by the state Supreme Court, and they’ll ask Gov. Tate Reeves (R) for a special session as soon as Friday. In a related development, the commissioner of agriculture and commerce told lawmakers in a letter that he wants no part of regulating medical marijuana as long as it remains federally illegal.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding research on whether psilocybin can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

  • “To my knowledge it’s the 1st grant from the US government in over a half century to directly study therapeutics of a classic psychedelic.”

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Health and Human Services said a study it funded on differences in opioid-related outcomes among pregnant and parenting women in states with and without medical cannabis laws has been submitted to a scientific journal for publication.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke in a Senate floor speech about a departing staffer’s role in helping to craft cannabis legislation.

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) tweeted, “A few months ago, the largest illegal drug bust in LA County History was conducted in #CA25. While progress was made to combat the illegal marijuana grows, there is still more work to be done to eradicate this problem. I promise to continue to work to combat this problem.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, spoke about both major parties’ reluctance to embrace marijuana reform.

Kentucky Democratic congressional candidate William Compton tweeted, “Here is something that hasn’t been talked about lately: Marijuana. It needs to be legalized. The revenue, alone, would create a massive boost to KY’s economy. Tobacco is our cash crop, it’s time we add Marijuana into that!”

/ STATES

Florida Senate Agriculture Committee members pressed regulators on the lack of medical cannabis licenses awarded to black farmers.

Oklahoma regulators are being sued over the revocation of medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

Montana regulators gave lawmakers an update on formulating marijuana rules. They also revealed that regulations will ban hemp-derived CBD from being sold in marijuana dispensaries.

A new Washington State policy will take effect next month that makes it easier for people with criminal records to participate in the marijuana industry.

An Ohio representative who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill tweeted that it’s been referred to the House Finance Committee and that he’s pushing to get a hearing scheduled.

Missouri regulators said that some medical cannabis products were put on hold in the state’s track and trace system “inadvertently.” Meanwhile, the state has now spent more than $6.7 million defending against legal challenges to licensing decisions.

Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission met.

Nevada regulators will discuss marijuana business issues on Tuesday.

New Jersey regulators will host a webinar on marijuana rules on Tuesday.

Maine regulators will convene the first meeting of the new Medical Marijuana Workgroup on Tuesday.

Michigan regulators will hold a quarterly meeting on marijuana issues on Wednesday.


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

Missoula County, Montana officials held a meeting to explain a marijuana tax ballot measure.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Scotland’s lord advocate announced a plan to allow police to issue warnings for Class A drugs instead of making arrests.

Canadian retailers sold C$338.9 million worth of legal marijuana in July.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the price of Ohio’s medical marijuana continues to drive dissatisfaction” with the state program.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Cannabis Regulators Association sent comments about federal marijuana legalization provisions to senators.

The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, Oklahoma Dairy Producers Association and other groups sent a letter asking regulators to place a moratorium on issuing new medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

NBC’s Brian Williams made a marijuana edibles joke on air.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs Inc. is acquiring Bay, LLC d/b/a Cure Pennsylvania.

Green Market Report is being acquired by Crain Communications.

Investors in Civilized are pushing out the company’s founders.

Several unlicensed marijuana dispensaries are now operating on the St. Regis Mohawk reservation located within New York.

Eaze launched a program to bring free medical cannabis to low-income patients.

Cookies launched a new product that combines THC and non-psychedelic mushrooms.

The Associated Press Stylebook tweeted, “THC is OK in all references to tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that gives marijuana its high. CBD is OK for cannabidiol, a compound in cannabis that does not cause a high and is often sold as a dietary supplement or included in creams and other personal care products.”

/ CULTURE

Clint Eastwood won a court default against the CEO of Norok Innovation Inc., which the actor says misappropriated his name to falsely make people think he endorsed its CBD products.

PBS’s Nova will air an episode on the science and criminalization of cannabis on Wednesday.

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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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