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Biden task force weighs legal cannabis recommendation (Newsletter: June 30, 2020)

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OR psilocybin sigs submitted; Senate marijuana research amendment; CO gov signs equity/pardons bill; Baltimore tosses drug cases; HBO gummies promo

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

As more members of a criminal justice task force created by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speak out publicly about the need to reform marijuana laws, the panel has reportedly discussed behind closed doors whether to recommend the former vice president finally endorse legalizing cannabis.

An Oregon measure to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use has enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, activists say.  A handful of petitions must still be verified by the state, but the campaign collected tens of thousands of extra submissions and is confident.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill outlining criteria for marijuana business social equity applicants and expanding his ability to unilaterally grant pardons for past cannabis convictions.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are seeking to attach an amendment to expand marijuana and CBD research to the National Defense Authorization Act that’s on the Senate floor this week.

The Baltimore, Maryland state’s attorney has closed nearly 600 warrants and dismissed cases for certain offenses, including drug possession, that her office is no longer pursuing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

HBO Max is teaming up with Kanha Edibles and Eaze to offer a new line of marijuana-infused gummies promoting the new animated series “Close Enough.”

/ FEDERAL

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee will discuss the impact of hemp legalization on the safety oversight of commercial motor vehicle drivers at a meeting next month.

The Department of Health and Human Services tweeted, “More research is needed to understand the specific relationship between marijuana use and COVID-19. But smoking of any kind might increase a person’s risk for severe illness from the virus.”

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take a case on whether possessing marijuana is grounds to show a person is “armed and presently dangerous” for purposes of a search.

Sen. Amy Klobychar (D-MN) tweeted, “When 1/3 of the U.S. Justice Department Antitrust resources are going to failed cannabis investigations then yes, I am calling for an immediate hearing.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidates Christine Eady Mann and Donna Imam support decriminalizing marijuana while Mann also backs legalization.

/ STATES

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a medical cannabis reform bill that replaces a 3% THC per-product cap with a 4.5 grams of THC per 90-day period limit and adds new qualifying conditions, among other changes.

A federal judge denied a request from Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) and the secretary of state to stay his ruling clearing the path for a non-marijuana initiative to the November ballot in a case that could also have implications for a proposed medical cannabis measure.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) said he will not fill remaining seats on the Cannabis Advisory Board unless lawmakers approve legislation to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, the Senate approved legislation to change the makeup of that body and confirmed the nomination of the territory’s agriculture commissioner to join it.

California regulators are letting marijuana businesses with expiring licenses request 60-day deferrals of their license fee payments.

West Virginia regulators said they will resume accepting applications for medical cannabis testing lab licenses.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

Tennessee regulators sent a notice about the deadline to renew hemp cultivation licenses.

Alaska regulators will discuss coronavirus-related marijuana issues on July 17.


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

Pueblo County, Colorado is using $2.3 million in marijuana excise tax revenue to fund scholarships for local students.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thai officials prepared draft legislation to let private companies manufacture cannabis-based medicines and to allow foreigners to invest in the industry.

The Western Australia state government rejected a series of drug policy reforms such as safe injection sites and pill testing services.

The Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada medical officer of health is stepping up his call to decriminalize drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the addition of cannabis flour to bakery products increases the protein content of the final product, total phenolic substance, dietary fiber, free amino acid content, protein digestibility of the products and reduces the glycemic index” and that “in spite of its negative effects on dough rheology and bread characteristics, cannabis flour has been determined to be a valuable resource in bread production with its fiber, mineral substance and total unsaturated fatty acids content.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealand voters oppose a marijuana legalization referendum, 49%-40%.

A poll found that New York college students support legalizing marijuana, 91%-9%,

The National Farmers Union tweeted about the Farm Bill provision that blocks people with drug felony records from getting hemp licenses.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s co-founder retired from the company’s board of directors.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. closed its acquisition of a New Jersey medical cannabis company.

Vireo Health International, Inc. hired a new chief financial officer.

The Washington Post’s executive editor was reportedly concerned that a piece about people getting high and seeing the film “Cats” glorified drug use.

Arkansas dispensaries have sold nearly $100 million worth of medical cannabis products since the program launched a little more than a year ago.

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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.)

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DC psychedelics decrim campaign submits ballot signatures (Newsletter: July 7, 2020)

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Forest Service hires hazmat firm for marijuana eradication; MS medical cannabis measure avoids challenge; Study: cannabis consumers exercise more

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There are now 1,525 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.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Activists in Washington, D.C. submitted what they believe are more than enough signatures to qualify a psychedelics decriminalization measure for the November ballot in the nation’s capital.

  • “I can see the Capitol from my house. I think it’s really important to acknowledge that this could lay the groundwork for national reform.”

The U.S. Forest Service is hiring a hazmat firm to train agents on how to safely eradicate marijuana from illegal cultivation sites after too many were “getting sick” and “requiring trips to emergency rooms with possible long term health effects” due to “unique hazardous chemicals” used by unregulated growers.

Mississippi medical cannabis advocates are relieved after one more threat to their legalization measure on the November ballot stalled in the legislature as lawmakers went home for the summer. But they still have an alternate cannabis ballot question to deal with.

A new study of exercise behaviors and body mass index among older adults smashes the ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype.

  • “Current cannabis use was associated with lower BMI and more exercise behavior in healthy older adults wishing to increase their physical activity… These findings suggest that it may be easier for older adults who endorse using cannabis to increase and maintain their exercise behavior, potentially because cannabis users have lower body weight than their non-using peers. At minimum, the evidence suggests that cannabis use does not hinder older adults’ ability to engage in physical activity, to participate in a supervised exercise program, or to increase their fitness as a result of physical activity.”

/ FEDERAL

The policy director for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said that “as science ends up with more conclusive evidence regarding the impact of marijuana, I think he would look at that data. But he’s being asked to make a decision right now. This is where the science guides him.”

The House Armed Services Committee approved report language directing the Department of Defense to compile data on the reasons people are being denied security clearances, including for marijuana and other drugs.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Know this:  marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug federally.  Veterans w PTSD cannot be prescribed cannabis by the VA. On my 67 County tour, we heard from veteran after veteran:  the country I defended considers me a criminal using the 1 thing that makes me feel normal.”

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “60 new full time jobs and $16 million investment in next generation AgTech jobs with @ecofibre grand opening today in Scott Co! They sell hemp products around the world and CVS stores. Congrats!”

North Dakota marijuana activists working on a proposed legalization ballot measure for 2022 say they already have between a third and a half of the signatures they will need.

Illinois regulators adopted a rule clarifying that marijuana-infused foods must be taxed at the 6.25% general merchandise rate instead of the 1% rate that applies to most groceries.

Ohio regulators rejected requests from medical cannabis cultivators to increase their capacity.

Florida regulators are considering allowing medical cannabis recommendations to be made via telehealth on a permanent basis.

Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board will consider adopting regulations on July 21.

Virginia regulators published a FAQ about the state’s medical cannabis law.


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

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris created a new Medicinal Cannabis Authority.

Ireland’s health minister is standing by a prior interview in which he said marijuana possession should be decriminalized and that he supports safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

The Amsterdam, Netherlands City Council voted to explore how to ban marijuana-flavored products sold in tourist shops.

A member of the UK House of Lords pressed government officials on access to cannabis for medical and research purposes.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “low doses of Δ9‐THC are anticonvulsant against hyperthermia‐induced seizures in Scn1a +/ mice, effects that are enhanced by a sub‐anticonvulsant dose of CBD” but that “proconvulsant effects and increased premature mortality are observed when CBD and Δ9‐THC are subchronically dosed in combination.”

A study concluded that “stable isotope ratio analysis of marijuana seizures can significantly improve our understanding of marijuana distribution networks.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s executive director and deputy director are stepping down as the organization experiences budget shortfalls.

The University of Pennsylvania Democrats said that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should endorse legalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company is selling limited edition short shorts for the price of $69.420.

Aphria Inc. issued more than 1.6 million common shares to Aleafia Health subsidiary Emblem Cannabis as part of a previously announced settlement.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. appointed a new chief commercial officer.

Schwazze terminated two planned acquisitions with Dabble Extracts.

/ CULTURE

Elton John said he “saw God” while smoking a joint and listening to a Kraftwerk album.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.

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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VA lawmakers announce legal cannabis plans (Newsletter: July 6, 2020)

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ID medical marijuana campaign likely to sue for ballot access; OK melts dreams of THC slushies; Senate votes to study cannabis and vaping

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

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https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Just one day after a new law decriminalizing marijuana possession took effect, Virginia’s House majority leader and other lawmakers announced plans to pursue broader cannabis legalization in the state.

  • “Decriminalizing marijuana is an important step in mitigating racial disparities in the criminal justice system, but there is still much work to do.”

Idaho’s medical cannabis campaign is “likely” to pursue the same legal accommodations for electronic signature gathering that a federal judge granted to an unrelated initiative.

  • “The medical marijuana campaign is similarly situated to the Reclaim Idaho campaign and will likely ask for a similar extension of time and permission to collect signatures electronically from the Secretary of State, and if necessary, from the District Court. I don’t know the exact timeline as there are a number of moving pieces but it will be quick.”

Oklahoma regulators are melting medical cannabis patients’ summer dreams of THC-infused slushies with a new “Slushy-Machine Guidance” memo that says the icy beverages are not likely to comply with state rules for marijuana packaging and testing.

/ FEDERAL

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service said that investigations of alleged LSD offenses in the service increased nearly 70% in the first three months of 2020.

The Senate passed an e-cigarette restriction bill that includes a provision requiring a study on the relationship between marijuana use by high school students and vaping and smoking.

Georgia congressional candidates spoke about their positions on marijuana legalization.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “I don’t know who needs to hear this jk I know who- but earnestly reforming our state prison system + legalization of marijuana could generate half of this COVID-19 deficit. It would, however, could have other unintended consequences like justice and personal freedom.”

New York’s Assembly majority leader said that “there’s no question that some of the things that are going on with law enforcement are because they smell marijuana.”

The co-chair of the New Mexico House Taxation Committee says the legislature will take up marijuana legalization again in January.

Wisconsin regulators posted guidance on a new hemp pilot research program emergency rule.

Ohio regulators will consider medical cannabis rules on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Iowa regulators posted updated lists of hemp licensees and businesses selling hemp seeds.


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 British Virgin Islands House of Assembly approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

The Santa Fe, Argentina Municipal Council approved legislation allowing the cultivation of medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that cannabis use “by ancient civilizations as a source of food and textile fibers dates back over 10,000 years, while its therapeutic applications have been improved over the centuries, from the ancient East medicine of the 2nd and 1st millennium B.C. to the more recent introduction in the Western world after the 1st century A.D.”

A review found that “studies have revealed [marijuana’s] use as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and improving testicular function in rats.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

South African cannabis activists Jules Stobbs was murdered during a robbery.

/ BUSINESS

Organigram Holdings Inc. reduced its workforce by approximately 25%.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced a financial restructuring and turnaround plan that will defer approximately $32 million in cash commitments over the next year and dilute shareholders.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Congress votes for researching cannabis from dispensaries (Newsletter: July 3, 2020)

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Military marijuana use waivers advance in House; NE medical cannabis ballot sigs submitted; Austin police end marijuana arrests; 2020 ballot check in

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…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives approved a 2,000-plus-page infrastructure bill that contains a little-noticed provision directing federal agencies to create a plan for researchers to finally be able to study marijuana that consumers are buying at dispensaries instead of using only government cannabis.

The House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) to encourage military branches to stop blocking reenlistment over marijuana use.

  • “Smoking pot just once shouldn’t prevent a patriotic American from fighting for our country.”

Nebraska medical cannabis activists submitted more than 182,000 signatures for proposed initiative. That’s way more than they need to qualify for the November ballot.

Several other states where activists are trying to get marijuana legalization, psychedelics decriminalization and drug reform measures on November ballots have signature gathering deadlines this week and next week. Here’s a look at where things stand, from Arizona to Oregon to Washington, D.C.

The Austin, Texas Police Department said in a memo that it will stop making arrests or issuing citations for low-level marijuana possession. The move follows the passage of a City Council resolution urging the end of such cannabis enforcement.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration tweeted, “There’s also a lot of talk on the internet about CBD for treating anxiety in dogs who are afraid of loud noises. You should be aware that FDA has NOT evaluated these products. This means we can’t say whether they are safe or effective.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Rural Cooperative Development Grant program.

/ STATES

Florida’s agriculture commissioner disclosed that she owns a stake in Harvest Health and Recreation, Inc.

Massachusetts regulators are accepting public comment on the continued quarantining of marijuana vaporization products.

A case challenging Nevada regulators’ marijuana licensing process was stayed by a federal judge.

A California court ruled against hemp growers in a case challenging a restrictive count ordinance.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus hosted a town hall meeting about a cannabis-revenue-funded grant program to help communities harmed by the war on drugs.

Oregon regulators published an update on processing dates for marijuana business license applications.

Arkansas regulators included an update on the state’s hemp program in an annual report.

A Pennsylvania senator authored an op-ed on why the state should legalize marijuana for racial justice reasons.


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

San Francisco, California regulators warned marijuana businesses that expected protests this weekend could lead to burglaries.

The Harris County, Texas Commissioner Court adopted a resolution that notes racial disparities in drug law enforcement.

The Santa Barbara County, California Board of Supervisors was criticized by a grand jury report for allegedly mismanaging marijuana production.

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor defended a police plan to step up drug enforcement during the July 4 holiday weekend.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators are discouraging marijuana brands from using “any celebrity-affiliated promotions or packaging and labeling.”

There have been no new prescriptions for full-extract cannabis oil in the 18 months since the UK legalized it.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant.”

A review concluded that “cannabis-based medications were found most effective as an adjuvant therapy in refractory multiple sclerosis, and weak evidence was found to support the treatment of cancer pain especially in advanced stages,” while “chronic rheumatic pain showed promising results.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Nebraska Democratic Party tweeted supportively about signatures being turned in for a proposed medical cannabis ballot initiative.

A South Dakota committee called No Way on Amendment A has been formed to oppose the state’s marijuana legalization initiative.

The Hemp Industries Association hired a new executive director.

/ BUSINESS

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. announced a plan to raise up to C$27,500,000 in a private placement sale of shares.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. announced the full exercise of underwriters’ options to purchase an additional 402,504 shares of common stock, bringing the total to 3,085,867 shares sold in the offering and raising gross offering proceeds to approximately $258.7 million.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg posted on Facebook about a poll showing majority support for New Zealand’s marijuana legalization referendum, saying, “Gandalf smokin that good good!”

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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