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Biden puts cannabis decrim in plan for Black America (Newsletter: May 6, 2020)

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DC Council eases psychedelics decrim path to ballot; ND activists reassess legal marijuana plan; MA hearing on state COVID cannabis biz funds

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW
The Washington, D.C. Council approved a bill that will make it easier for a psychedelics decriminalization measure to qualify for the ballot by easing signature gathering restrictions. The campaign’s petition is also expected to be formally approved by the Board of Elections on Wednesday, and Marijuana Moment got an exclusive look at a mailer it is sending to thousands of voters.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) is touting his support for decriminalizing marijuana possession in a new “Plan For Black America” that his presidential campaign is rolling out this week. He continues to oppose fully legalizing the cannabis market, however.

  • “He will end, once and for all, the federal crack and powder cocaine disparity, decriminalize the use of cannabis and automatically expunge all prior cannabis use convictions, and end all incarceration for drug use alone and instead divert individuals to drug courts and treatment.”

North Dakota marijuana activists are reassessing petitioning plans for a legalization ballot measure as the state prepares to enter the first phase of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic. 2020 is still possible though unlikely, and the current signatures can be still used for 2022.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses held a hearing on a bill to create a state coronavirus relief Paycheck Protection Program for marijuana businesses and other industries ineligible for federal aid.

/ FEDERAL

Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who is exploring a Libertarian presidential bid, tweeted, “The criminal justice system is actively harming millions of people. Federal actions must be limited to constitutional functions, such as protecting rights. Let’s stop criminalizing everything, end the drug war, eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, and abolish the death penalty.”

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) published an op-ed on his hopes for federal marijuana reform.

Utah Democratic congressional candidate Devin Thorpe said that people who struggle with substance misuse issues need to face prison if they refuse treatment.

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Michael Owens tweeted, “The federal government needs to take the first step and end cash bail to make sure time spent in jail isn’t dependent on how much money one has and decriminalize marijuana so we can finally end the failed war on drugs + mass incarceration that hurts our district.”

/ STATES

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held oral arguments in a case on whether worker’s compensation insurance must cover state-legal medical cannabis.

California marijuana reform legislation seems mostly jeopardized due to lawmakers’ focus on coronavirus relief.

The chair of the New York Senate Finance Committee suggested that marijuana legalization could still pass this year.

Oklahoma collected nearly $9.8 million is medical cannabis sales tax revenue in April, a new monthly record.

Arkansas regulators canceled a scheduled Wednesday meeting due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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 Johnson County, Kansas sheriff’s department settled a lawsuit filed by a couple who sued after having their home raided over what police suspected was marijuana in their trash but was actually tea.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The British Virgin Islands’s agriculture minister said that while food security is a priority, the government is still working to implement medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of patients with multiple sclerosis concluded that “the therapeutic benefit of cannabinoids may extend beyond spasticity, improving spasticity-related symptoms.”

A study found that the “COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it appear to have resulted in an increase in activity levels, mainly related to cannabis products, via darknet markets over the first three months of 2020.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

NORML is conducting a survey on the impact of coronavirus on cannabis consumption and other issues.

/ BUSINESS

Lantern is a new marijuana e-commerce website founded by founders of the alcohol delivery service Drizly.

MassRoots received a $50,000 loan from the federal coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program. (Disclosure: Marijuana Moment’s publisher is a former employee of and minority shareholder in the company.)

Leafbuyer Technologies, Inc. announced it is offering up to $750,000 in loyalty and texting services to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

American Shaman LLC is being sued for allegedly falsely advertising its CBD products as free of heavy metals, insecticides and other contaminants.

Charlotte’s Web says it will give away $1 million worth of CBD products in honor of its namesake Charlotte Figi, who recently died.

Akerna announced that its platform now integrates with Metrc API.

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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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