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Biden plans clemency for drug prisoners, WH says (Newsletter: December 23, 2021)

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Top RI senator: Legal marijuana will pass “overwhelmingly”; NYC safe consumption sites saving lives; Veterans cannabis bill won’t cost a lot

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden has “every intention” of using his clemency powers and is specifically “looking at non-violent drug offenders” for relief.

Top Rhode Island lawmakers are optimistic the state will legalize marijuana soon, with the House speaker saying negotiators are “very close” to releasing a final bill and the Senate majority leader  saying it will “pass in both chambers overwhelmingly” by February.

Less than a month after opening, New York City’s safe consumption sites for illegal drugs are already saving lives by stopping dozens of overdoses. Meanwhile, there are positive signs for advocates in a pending federal court case on the harm reduction measure.

The Congressional Budget Office said in a new analysis that a bill to increase research on the medical benefits of marijuana for military veterans would have minimal costs—though it’s not clear that the analysts actually understand the legislation’s requirements for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit is being asked to block the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing summonses seeking a marijuana dispensary’s sales reports and other data.

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) tweeted, “The choice is a simple one: stick with an unsuccessful all-or-nothing approach or #passprogress immediately via incremental reforms with bipartisan support. Bipartisan, incremental proposals are not only critical to the lives of millions of Americans, but they also lay the groundwork for a robust federal overhaul of our nation’s arcane #cannabis policies. I will continue to work on both.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, currently the attorney general, tweeted, “New York and New Jersey have legalized recreational marijuana while Pennsylvania lags behind. It’s time to join our neighbors and get it done.”

New York’s Assembly majority leader authored an op-ed on the importance of centering equity in the implementation of marijuana legalization.

A California senator tweeted about plans to pass legislation to legalize psychedelics and allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs in 2022.

Mississippi lawmakers are criticizing Gov. Tate Reeves (R) for moving the goalposts on medical cannabis legislation.

Maine regulators are asking a federal appeals court to uphold the state’s residency requirements for medical cannabis business licenses.

Minnesota regulators said CBD tinctures, delta-8 THC products and hemp edibles are illegal.

Montana regulators adopted changes to marijuana rules.

Oklahoma regulators sent a warning about a scam targeting medical cannabis businesses.

A former member of the Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission removed herself from considering medical cannabis licensing appeals due to a conflict of interest.

Michigan marijuana regulators posted a three-year strategic plan.

The Virginia Forensic Science Board will consider regulations for marijuana field tests on January 5.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,300 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 Green Bay, Wisconsin City Council voted to direct staff to draft a proposed ordinance to lower marijuana penalties.

Ten percent of New York cities, 28 percent of towns and 19 percent of villages have notified state regulators that they will ban recreational marijuana retail operations and/or social consumption facilities.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said his government won’t seek to block a marijuana referendum from going forward.

Canadian officials issued a warning about the risk that “copycat” edible cannabis products can pose for children.

Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration issued fines for alleged unlawful advertising of medicinal cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis terpenes demonstrate acute anti-seizure activity in rodent brain slices in vitro.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

NORML published an overview of new marijuana laws taking effect on January 1.

Attendees at the conservative group Turning Point USA’s AmericaFest event had relatively pro-reform views about marijuana, according to a reporter who attended.

/ BUSINESS

Planet 13 Holdings Inc. is acquiring Next Green Wave Holdings Inc.

Organigram Holdings Inc. acquired an additional $2.5 million of secured convertible debentures in Hyasynth Biologicals Inc.

Michigan retailers sold $152.7 million worth of legal marijuana products in November.

/ CULTURE

Cypress Hill’s new album addresses issues in the cannabis industry.

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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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