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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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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

Supreme Court rejects marijuana ballot case (Newsletter: May 27, 2020)

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OR psilocybin & drug decrim campaigns file signatures; Lawmakers want investigation of botched drug raid; NE gov discourages cannabis petition

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  • Lisa Rough: “I’ve always respected and admired your reporting, especially from a legislative angle. When I need to know the backstory on a piece of cannabis-related legislation or an updated regulation, I know I can count on Marijuana Moment to have the most in-depth coverage, and I believe that is a universally-held truth across the cannabis industry.  Thank you for the work you continue to do, and I will be watching closely, and supporting to ensure that this coverage continues.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Oregon campaigns seeking to legalize psilocybin therapy and decriminalize drugs while expanding treatment access have both submitted what appears to be more than enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The secretary of state’s office has 30 days to verify the petitions, and activists plan to keep collecting signatures in the meantime in case there aren’t enough valid submissions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case from marijuana advocates who sought to challenge Ohio officials’ refusal to place their decriminalization measures on local ballots.

44 members of Congress, led by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA), are calling on the Department of Justice to investigate Louisville, Kentucky police’s shooting of unarmed woman Breonna Taylor in a botched drug raid.

/ FEDERAL

In a brief in a case challenging Illinois’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, the Department of Justice said that “rules that allow recreational marijuana dispensaries to operate, but not flower shops, may be a sign that State action is impermissibly arbitrary and bears ‘no real or substantial relation’ to its proffered public health end.”

The plaintiff in a federal RICO case against Oregon marijuana dispensaries dismissed her own claims.

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Vangie Williams tweeted, “There exists enough evidence to suggest that medical cannabis can have some positive effects. Let’s conduct more studies and make an informed decision as to whether medical cannabis should be made legal.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Adam Christensen tweeted, “In terms of marijuana, I will fight to:⁠ -Legalize medical&recreational  -Vacate+expunge all past convictions⁠ -Prohibit tobacco companies from entering their market⁠ -Encourage market to be local+use $ from marijuana to reinvest in communities that suffered from War on Drugs”

/ STATES

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) discouraged people from circulating ballot petitions, including one to legalize medical cannabis, because he said it could spread coronavirus. Meanwhile, activists said they are optimistic about qualifying the measure.

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a bill to clarify that licensed facilities and physicians serving medical cannabis patients are exempt from being prosecuted under certain drug laws.

California regulators reported that in the first quarter of the year, cannabis excise tax generated $68.3 million in revenue and the cultivation tax brought in another $16.4 million.

New Jersey’s top medical cannabis regulator suggested the state might make an announcement on allowing delivery services soon.

West Virginia regulators will begin accepting registrations for physicians to recommend medical cannabis on Thursday.

Washington State regulators will consider several marijuana rules on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.


/ SCIENCE & HEALTH


A study of nursing home residents found that “medical cannabis treatment dramatically improved patients’ symptoms and their medical indexes” and that “as a result, the local physicians stopped prescribing drugs that were defined as unnecessary,” which indicates that “medical cannabis can be an effective treatment that also reduces the environmental drug load, thereby preventing water pollution.”

A study reviewed “the nature of 10 transpersonal or parapsychological experiences that commonly occur spontaneously and in relation to the use of psychedelic substances, namely synesthesia, extradimensional percepts, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, entity encounters, alien abduction, sleep paralysis, interspecies communication, possession, and psi (telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance and psychokinesis).”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Nevada Republican Party is calling for an investigation into allegations that MedMen’s former CEO made an illegal “straw man” donation to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) 2018 campaign.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. is leaving the New York Stock Exchange in favor of being listed on the Nasdaq.

Green Thumb Industries reportedly hired lobbyists to kill an Illinois bill that would have allowed dispensaries to move their locations.

Cresco Labs acquired four new medical cannabis dispensaries in Ohio.

A federal court dismissed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Elixinol, LLC’s CBD products were illegal.

Tilray, Inc. announced it is closing an Ontario cannabis greenhouse.

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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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NM gov says legal marijuana could’ve funded cut programs (Newsletter: May 26, 2020)

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OR sees cannabis sales boost during COVID; MA lawmakers OK safe consumption sites for drugs; Netflix’s Patriot Act takes on marijuana biz

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There are now 1,505 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said that if lawmakers had listened to her and legalized marijuana this year, the state probably wouldn’t have had to cut so many programs amid the coronavirus pandemic’s economic damage.

  • “If we want economic support and economic relief, then we have to use every economic idea. And I want to point out also that the vast majority of New Mexicans favor recreational cannabis.”

An Oregon Office of Economic Analysis report reveals that marijuana sales have skyrocketed during the coronavirus outbreak, though are projected to drop in the future along with population decreases.

  • “Marijuana sales during the pandemic have been quite strong. The dollar amount of recreational sales since March 1st are up 60 percent relative to a year ago. These increases are not only related to the stockpiling consumers did after the sheltering in place policies were enacted, but have continued through April and early May.”

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery approved a bill to legalize supervised consumption sites for illegal drugs. Research shows the facilities can reduce overdose deaths.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump retweeted a post about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s role in “mass incarceration, the crime bill, war on drugs,” adding, “I HOPE ALL AFRICAN AMERICANS WILL READ AND STUDY THIS. 100% CORRECT. SLEEPY JOE WILL NEVER GET YOU THERE. HE NEVER HAS IN THE PAST. I WILL & HAVE!!!”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tweeted, “President @realDonaldTrump you are right in taking on Joe Biden regarding your record in delivering for the African American community as well as other minority groups. The First Step Act rolled back the damage done by the Biden 1994 3-Strikes You’re Out crime bill.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted, “What about the Constitution’s freedom of religion, association?  Designating cannabis shops as essential but closing houses of worship is arbitrary.”

West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Richard Ojeda tweeted about his support for medical cannabis.

/ STATES

Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores reopened following a coronavirus shutdown.

The California Assembly Business and Professions Committee approved legislation on enforcement against illegal cannabis operations.

The Colorado legislature’s Joint Budget Committee published a memo on marijuana tax revenue that is available for transfer to other programs.

Illinois regulators sent a bulletin about changes to municipal and county cannabis retailers occupation taxes.

Texas regulators are facing a likely lawsuit over a proposed ban on smokable hemp.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Malaysian Court of Appeal ruled against a medical cannabis distributor who is facing the death penalty.

Veterans Affairs Canada spent more on medical cannabis than any other medication in 2019.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “the current body of evidence does not provide sufficient evidence to support the position that cannabis users are at increased risk of occupational injury.”

A study found that medical cannabis “is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia, with nearly zero % withdrawal from this treatment” and that it “enabled nearly half of the patients to discontinue any treatment for fibromyalgia,” while “all participants recommended [medical cannabis] treatment for their loved ones in case they develop severe fibromyalgia.”

/ BUSINESS

TerrAscend Corp. announced the closing of the first tranche of a non-brokered private placement resulting in proceeds of $27.3 million.

/ CULTURE

Netflix’s Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj did an episode on the unfairness of how the marijuana industry is structured.

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Photo courtesy of Max Pixel.

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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Biden says ‘I know a lot of weed smokers’ (Newsletter: May 25, 2020)

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Marijuana banking has 50-50 Senate shot, sponsor says; NY gov believes legal cannabis can pass; OK gov’s delivery veto stands

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,505 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.

  • Kim Stiens: “I subscribed to MM’s Patreon the moment I knew about it, because nobody knows the cannabis culture, industry, or advocacy space better than Tom Angell. As we transition from a world of prohibition to a world of corporatization, good marijuana journalism is more important than ever. Tom knows the scene, he knows the players, and he highlights the stories that no one else can.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said “I know a lot of weed smokers” to justify his ongoing opposition to marijuana legalization.

Lead marijuana banking bill sponsor Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) says there’s a “50–50” chance its language will pass the Senate as part of coronavirus legislation. The House included it in a COVID bill earlier this month, but Republicans have largely slammed the move.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said “I believe we will” legalize marijuana. Lawmakers will reportedly reconvene this week, though it’s unclear if cannabis will be on the agenda before the end of the 2020 session.

Oklahoma lawmakers declined to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) veto of a bill that would have authorized medical marijuana delivery services and allowed out-of-state patients to register with the program. The bill passed earlier this month with huge margins.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump retweeted a post with an image of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany edited to make it look like she is smoking a joint.

Federal prosecutors charged a Calexico City, California city councilman and another official with allegedly accepting bribes from an undercover FBI agent who they believed represented investors seeking to open a cannabis dispensary.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said in a Senate floor speech that the House coronavirus bill “mentions cannabis more times than it mentions doctors, hospitals, and nurses combined. It is an interesting tribute, if you ask me.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said the House coronavirus bill’s marijuana provisions are “crazy stuff.”

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) tweeted, “House Dems refuse lead. But it’s never been about leading, it’s about power. Americans and American business need help, instead House Dems pushes a bill that mentions cannabis more than jobs…”

Colorado Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper, a former governor, tweeted, “Yes, I support decriminalizing & descheduling marijuana. Colorado set the gold standard, and I’m eager to work with you and Colorado’s cannabis industry and entrepreneurs to get this done in Washington.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “I support: ✅ decriminalization & legalization of marijuana. ✅ eliminating for-profit prisons. My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, does not.”

/ STATES

Utah’s treasurer joined the state attorney general in calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The Illinois Senate approved bills amending marijuana regulations.

Rhode Island regulators sent a bulletin about the use of hemp and hemp-derived CBD in the state’s medical cannabis program.

Guam regulators will meet to work on marijuana regulations in early June.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Policy Committee will meet to discuss draft regulations this week.

Here’s a look at pending Colorado marijuana reform legislation.

Two Pennsylvania Republican senators said they expect marijuana legalization to be up for discussion as a revenue measure to help fix the coronavirus outbreak’s economic damage.

The Texas Law Library posted a FAQ about the legality of CBD oil.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

Denver, Colorado officials posted materials for a Marijuana Licensing Work Group meeting on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Colombia’s ministry of justice approved the export of two million cannabis seeds.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s marijuana decriminalization ordinance found that the policy “significantly reduced the risk of marijuana arrests overall,” “absolute/relative racial disparities decreased for possession-based arrests” and “relative racial disparities increased for sales/manufacturing-based arrests.

A driving study found that “after smoking cannabis, overall mean speed was reduced,” that “no effects of therapeutic cannabis were found on straightaway mean speed or straightaway lateral control for either condition (standard or cognitive load) or on brake latency” and “after smoking therapeutic cannabis in the lab, changes in speed and lateral control were negatively correlated with the amount of cannabis smoked per day.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Times examined how CBD became a phenomenon.

/ BUSINESS

Massachusetts recreational marijuana retailers say consumers can expect a different shopping experience when they reopen from a coronavirus closure on Monday.

Florida medical cannabis sales surged last week.

Politico looks at the rise and fall of MedMen.

/ CULTURE

Model Kathy Ireland tweeted, “So much good could be done in the food and nutrition space with CBD additives.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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