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Biden drug czar worked for cannabis firm (Newsletter: July 26, 2021)



Dueling marijuana amendments in Congress; USADA backs cannabis “liberalization”; KC mayor’s marijuana test ban for city employees; Senate hearing

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Rahul Gupta, President Joe Biden’s nominee for director of the White House Office of National Drug Control, consulted for a marijuana company, new ethics disclosure documents show. Holistic WV Farms I, LLC later won the most medical cannabis licenses under the state program Gupta once oversaw.

A bipartisan group of 15 lawmakers is cosponsoring an amendment to protect all state marijuana laws from federal interference. Meanwhile, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)—who recently published video of himself driving a bulldozer over marijuana plants—filed a separate measure to delete a current medical cannabis rider.

  • Both proposals could get House floor votes this week.

A U.S. Anti-Doping Agency official maintained at a hearing that the sports authority supports “liberalization” of marijuana penalties against athletes—even though the U.S. effectively bullied the rest of the world into putting cannabis on the banned list.

At a Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control hearing on the overdose crisis, lawmakers and federal officials discussed marijuana research, racially disproportionate drug enforcement and harm reduction measures.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor filed a new proposed ordinance to ban pre-employment marijuana testing for most city workers.


Marijuana banking legislation was a topic of discussion at a  House Financial Services Committee hearing.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “Black & white Americans have the same marijuana usage rates but Blacks are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession. It’s time to change our broken & racist marijuana laws that don’t make us safer & continue to ruin lives with unjust criminal convictions.” He also tweeted, “Not only do our marijuana laws not work, they’re downright hypocritical. Go to almost any college campus & you’ll see marijuana is effectively legal—but for kids in communities like mine with no margin for error, a marijuana arrest can bring a lifetime of collateral consequences.”

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) tweeted, “Billions of taxpayer dollars lost. No meaningful benefit to public safety. It’s time to end the failed war on drugs.”

Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) tweeted, “The War on Drugs has been a failure for 50 years, putting millions in prison—disproportionately people of color. We need to end mandatory minimums, decriminalize cannabis, and strengthen re-entry programs for those newly released.”

Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI) tweeted, “Looking forward to cheering on #TeamUSA as they take the international stage at the #TokyoOlympics, but I do wish @itskerrii was out there competing in the 100-meter dash. Let’s decriminalize and de-stigmatize marijuana at every level.”

Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) toured illegal marijuana cultivation sites from the air alongside police.

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got two new cosponsors for a total of 29.


Utah’s state auditor said he supports federally decriminalizing marijuana.

New Jersey’s Senate president cited Stockton University’s cannabis studies program as an example of how investing in higher education pays off.

A Florida representative said he will file a marijuana legalization bill again next session.

Georgia regulators announced their intent to award  medical cannabis business licenses to six companies.

Arkansas regulators are moving to issue the remaining two medical cannabis dispensary licenses allowed under the law.

Washington State regulators issued guidance on the legality of manufacturing THC from hemp-based CBD.

California regulators filed notice to readopt emergency rules allowing cannabis businesses to authorize them to share licensee application and regulatory information with financial institutions.

Montana regulators proposed rules on medical cannabis, marijuana canopy tier increases and advertising limits.

Pennsylvania regulators issued guidance for sampling and researching hemp.

New Mexico regulators said a business that is “gifting” marijuana to people who purchase stickers or other merchandise is “not in keeping” with the intent of the law.

Connecticut regulators published a PSA urging people to store marijuana and other drugs away from the reach of children.

Oregon regulators are seeking applications to serve on the Cannabis Advisory Committee.

Nevada regulators will discuss marijuana business issues on Tuesday.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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.


The Arcata, California City Council took testimony on a proposal to decriminalize psychedelics and referred it to the Public Safety Committee.


Colombian President Iván Duque signed a decree allowing cannabis exports.

Peru’s Congress approved legislation to allow home cultivation of medical cannabis.


A study found that “liberalization of cannabis laws has not adversely affected the efficacy of tobacco control efforts.”

The journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research issued a call for “studies aimed at understanding CBD’s mechanisms of action.”


The National Urban League’s president and CEO, a former New Orleans, Louisiana mayor, said police should not be “obsessed” with making arrests for marijuana and other low-level crimes.

The NZ Drug Foundation is pushing to build support for legislation to legalize and regulate drug checking services.


Field Trip Health Ltd. received conditional approval to trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market.

Schwazze closed its acquisition of Southern Colorado Growers.

A subsidiary of TILT Holdings Inc. entered into a $10 million asset-based revolving credit facility with Entrepreneur Growth Capital, LLC.

West Coast Growers, Topshelf Hemp and Fire Hemp are being sued for allegedly mistreating seasonal workers.

Slate’s Thrilling Tales of Modern Capitalism podcast looks at the struggles of High Times.

Arkansas dispensaries have sold $365 million worth of medical cannabis since the program began.

Maine retailers sold nearly $6.5 million worth of recreational marijuana in June.


Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart made references to marijuana in an ad for BIC lighters.

Soccer player Megan Rapinoe is being criticized for openly using CBD in her training regimen while runner Sha’Carri Richardson was banned from the Olympics over marijuana.

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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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