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Biden walks back cannabis “gateway” comments (Newsletter: November 26, 2019)

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Trump articulates drug prohibition’s failure; Booker scolded by mom for Biden marijuana joke; Trinidad & Tobago cannabis reforms

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump seemed to acknowledge the inherent failure of drug prohibition during a meeting on vaping products:

  • “When you watch prohibition, when you look at the alcohol, you look at cigarettes, you look at it all, if you don’t give it to them, it’s going to come here illegally… You have the same problem with drugs and everything else.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) walked  back his insinuation that marijuana might be a gateway drug.

  • “I don’t think it is a gateway drug. There’s no evidence I’ve seen that suggests that.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate said his mom scolded him for joking about Biden getting high on cannabis during last week’s debate.

  • “Did you really accuse the vice president of the United States of smoking marijuana on national TV? Did I raise you better than that?”

Trinidad and Tobago’s government filed marijuana reform legislation before Parliament that would decriminalize possession and legalize and license the production of cannabis for medical and religious use.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters about CBD products to 15 more companies and published an updated consumer advisory saying that “CBD has the potential to harm you.”

Attorney General Bill Barr said, of methamphetamine, “The people who are increasingly using this drug are people who may have been using marijuana.”

The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted about Whole Foods Magazine naming him “the most influential person in the natural products industry, specifically because of his work to legalize industrial #hemp.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) reiterated his pledge to “legalize marijuana in every state in this country,” expunge past records and help people harmed by the drug war participate in the legal industry.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a presidential candidate, said she supports federally legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) seems pessimistic about the prospects for marijuana reform in Congress and in his home state of Tennessee.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) mentioned the marijuana legalization advocacy of the retiring president of the Illinois AFL-CIO in Congressional Record remarks.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted about his plans to push to loosen hemp regulations.

/ STATES

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) toured a medical cannabis manufacturing facility.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “The truly controversial thing about marijuana in PA is we ruin 1000’s of lives each year by criminalizing it.”

Indiana’s Senate minority leader spoke about his caucus’s plans to push for marijuana decriminalization next session.

The Illinois Senate majority leader led a town hall meeting about the implementation of marijuana legalization.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering advancing marijuana decriminalization legislation now that leaders have decided to put the question of broader legalization to voters through a referendum.

Florida filed bills that would end the state’s requirement that medical cannabis businesses be vertically integrated.

Oregon regulators affirmed their authority to ban adulterants, such as Vitamin E acetate, from inclusion in marijuana products.

Michigan regulators have so far licensed three medical cannabis businesses to start selling recreational marijuana next month.

A California assemblyman asked regulators to justify a marijuana tax increase.


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

Birmingham, Alabama’s mayor launched a program to allow people apply for pardons for past marijuana possession convictions.

Boston, Massachusetts’s mayor will sign a bill overhauling the city’s marijuana business approval process on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said decriminalizing marijuana is “a matter of social justice.”

Brazil’s Supreme Court delayed a decision on decriminalizing drug possession.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on neuroinflammation identified “preliminary support on the potential therapeutic application of a CBG–CBD combination for further preclinical studies.”

A study found that “parental marijuana use was associated with increased risk of marijuana and tobacco use and opioid misuse by both adolescent and young adult offspring and of alcohol use by adolescent offspring.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The South Carolina Republican Party tweeted about the cannabis record of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

The New York State Bar Association told attorneys they can advise legal medical cannabis businesses without violating ethics rules.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation announced it received a Canadian license to produce marijuana-infused beverages.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. announced a C$66,250,000 underwritten public offering.

Green Thumb Industries employees in Rock Island, Illinois filed with the National Labor Relations Board for an election to unionize.

/ CULTURE

Drake’s Dream Crew company was denied a U.S. trademark for Canada’s marijuana warning symbol.

Golfer Robert Garrigus spoke about his suspension for using medical cannabis, saying, “If you think I’m better on the golf course on Oxycontin than I am on THC, then you’ve lost your mind. It makes me laugh.”

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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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