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Black Virginia lawmakers push legal cannabis in summer session (Newsletter: June 26, 2020)

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DOJ clears Barr in marijuana investigation scandal; WA drug decrim pivots from ballot to legislature; NJ allows medical cannabis deliveries

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  • Kelley Dempsey: “I’ve been reading the MM information for over a year and thought I should contribute. I am interested in helping MM have the funds to track the political aspects of legalization and which candidates support or don’t support what.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility memo concluded that no rules were violated when Attorney General William Barr allegedly directed investigations of marijuana company mergers, but another probe of the matter by the Department’s inspector general’s office is still ongoing.

  • “The cannabis industry provided a unique challenge to federal and state regulators alike, and it was reasonable for ATR to seek additional information from the industry through its Second Request process… Furthermore, the internal memoranda recommending the closure of the investigations reflect that ATR staff conducted a significant amount of analysis regarding the competitive impact of the proposed mergers, and often explained how the actions of state regulators offset any competitive concerns.”

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus is calling on colleagues to approve a marijuana legalization bill in the upcoming special session this summer.

Washington State activists behind a measure to decriminalize drugs and use marijuana tax revenue to fund expanded treatment services are giving up on an effort to put the initiative on the November ballot and will instead push lawmakers to enact it in the 2021 session.

New Jersey’s Department of Health issued a waiver allowing medical cannabis dispensaries to launch delivery services. This comes as a referendum vote on legalizing recreational marijuana looms in November.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request from Ohio marijuana activists who wanted to ease signature gathering requirements to qualify local decriminalization ballot measures.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service said that licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant program.

The Small Business Administration scaled back restrictions on coronavirus fund eligibility for people with criminal records.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) called on Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) to get President Trump to follow through on his alleged pledge to support marijuana reform legislation.

Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) are hosting a virtual discussion on marijuana policy on Monday.

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) said that Attorney General William Barr’s alleged direction of investigations into marijuana company mergers is wrong and against the law.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 75.

California Democratic congressional candidate Sara Jacobs said we “need to make sure that tax money derived from legal cannabis sales go back to rebuilding communities that have been devastated by the War on Drugs, and that we pardon all those who are in the criminal justice system due to non-violent marijuana-related offenses that would now be considered legal.”

/ STATES

Colorado’s attorney general tweeted, “Crimes at #cannabis businesses are often driven by the fact that so many of them are all cash businesses. That’s why we led a coalition of State AGs to support @RepPerlmutter’s work on the #SAFEBanking Act, allowing such companies access to safe banking.”

South Dakota activists are ramping up plans to campaign for marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures.

New Mexico regulators adopted new rules for several areas of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Washington State regulators proposed rules on which persons or entities have to qualify for marijuana licenses.

Pennsylvania regulators announced that the state’s medical cannabis program has now exceeded five million dispensing events.

Louisiana regulators announced that the state’s first batch on industrial hemp has been tested.

Virginia regulators criticized the Food and Drug Administration for not moving more quickly to regulate CBD products.

A Michigan representative filed legislation to prevent regulators from blocking marijuana businesses from donating money to nonprofits or sponsoring substance misuse prevention programs.


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

Santa Cruz County, California’s district attorney is petitioning local courts to reduce, dismiss or seal a total of 1,169 marijuana cases involving 1,085 defendants.

New York City police accused of planting marijuana in a car were later filmed with what appears to be cannabis on the floor of their patrol vehicle.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The United Nations World Drug Report expresses concerns about states and countries that have moved to legalize marijuana.

Mexican activists withdrew cases on the right to use cocaine because they were concerned that draft Supreme Court opinions did not adequately address their concerns.

Dutch cannabis coffeeshops will be allowed to reopen on July 1 following a coronavirus-imposed shutdown.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “CBD demonstrates remarkable potential to become a supplemental therapy in various neurological conditions” and that it “has shown promise in the treatment of neurological disorders such as anxiety, chronic pain, trigeminal neuralgia, epilepsy, and essential tremors as well as psychiatric disorders.”

A review concluded that “psilocybin does decrease depressive symptoms, even long-lastingly, with only transient mild side effects being fairly common.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Researcher and marijuana legalization advocate Lester Grinspoon died at 92.

The National Consumers League issued a white paper warning about CBD companies leveraging the reputations of academic medical centers.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation and Acreage Holdings, Inc. revised the terms of the agreement under which the former company will acquire the latter when marijuana becomes federally legal in the U.S., and Acreage’s CEO announced he is resigning.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $24.2 million and a net loss attributable to Acreage of $172 million.

General Cannabis Corp.’s executive chairman of the board stepped down.

Workers at a Cresco Labs dispensary in Chicago, Illinois voted to join the United Food & Commercial Workers union. Separately, the company has a new chief financial officer.

/ CULTURE

The National Cannabis Festival is postponing its September event due to the coronavirus pandemic and is now aiming for April 2021.

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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.)

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AZ legal cannabis measure gets 420k ballot signatures (Newsletter: July 2, 2020)

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OR will vote on drug decrim in Nov; OH Senate votes to double marijuana decrim limit; VA cannabis decrim takes effect

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,522 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

Oregon’s secretary of state announced that activists officially collected enough signatures to put a measure decriminalizing drug possession and using marijuana tax revenue to fund expanded treatment services on the November ballot.

Arizona marijuana activists filed 420,000 signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the November ballot. That’s way more than they need.

The Ohio Senate approved a bill to double the amount of marijuana that’s decriminalized in the state to 200 grams and to downgrade possession of many other drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Virginia’s marijuana decriminalization law went into effect.  As of Wednesday, getting caught with up to an ounce of cannabis comes with a $25 fine, no threat of jail time and no criminal record.

/ FEDERAL

Federal prosecutors charged two men with conspiring with an unnamed “leading on-demand marijuana delivery company” to deceive banks and other financial institutions into processing more than $100 million in credit and debit card payments for cannabis transactions.

A federal judge is giving U.S. Customs and Border Protection until July 31 to provide information in response to a lawsuit on its policies for denying entry to the country over marijuana use or industry involvement.

The special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s San Antonio district suggested that high taxes for marijuana in legal states are driving an underground market in Texas.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) filed an amendment seeking to provide protections to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children that would exempt marijuana convictions in states that have since legalized from being used as grounds for ineligibility.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) again spoke on the House floor about the need to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order extending medical cannabis identification card renewal deadlines for another 60 days.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) touted his signing legislation to decriminalize marijuana and fast-track annulments of past records in a letter to Black Lives Matter activists.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted about the launch of the state’s Cannabis Control Board. A law transferring most marijuana regulatory responsibilities to the new body took effect on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor spoke about efforts to pardon people for past marijuana convictions.

Rhode Island’s House minority leader said there’s a rumored grand jury investigation of Joint Committee on Legislative Services staff benefiting from marijuana legislation.

Arkansas regulators are being sued by a company that wants to stop them from approving additional medical cannabis dispensary licenses until their licensing process can be reviewed.

Michigan regulators released guidance on marijuana retesting and remediation.

Montana’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday.


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

The Davidson County, Tennessee district attorney said his office will no longer prosecute people for possessing less than half an ounce of marijuana, and Nashville’s mayor said he supports the policy.

The La Crosse, Wisconsin City Council’s Judiciary & Administration Committee advanced a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Los Angeles, California City Council approved changes to the marijuana licensing system.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “following oral consumption of cannabis, THC was detected in blood much later, and at far lower peak concentrations, compared to what has been observed with inhaled cannabis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealand Maori support a marijuana legalization referendum, 72%-27%.

NORML removed the chapter charter for MassCann after a board member of the local group who organized a “straight pride parade” and pro-police rally resigned but the national organization did not see “tangible steps to address these flaws in their organization nor movement in the right direction to address these issues within their ranks.”

The Marijuana Policy Project is asking people to send testimony requesting that the New Hampshire Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency recommend that the state legalize marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Steep Hill, Inc.’s  former CEO and chairman is suing the company in an attempt to stop its sale to EVIO, Inc.

Earthly Labs, Denver Beer Co. and The Clinic announced the success of a pilot program to use CO2 captured in the beer fermentation process to stimulate marijuana plant growth.

New England Treatment Access cultivation facility workers voted to unionize with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445.

Terrapin announced that it will use only made-in-the-USA packaging throughout its operations.

Cresco Labs and Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed on an agreement for the former company to sell and lease back a Massachusetts property to the latter firm.

/ CULTURE

“Half Baked 2” is moving toward production after it got a tax credit from the California Film Commission.

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AG could be impeached over cannabis biz probes (Newsletter: July 1, 2020)

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Feds’ new hemp banking memo; DC psychedelics campaign aided by OR/CO teams as sig deadline nears; TN senator visits IL marijuana dispensary?

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 468 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and nearly three dozen other House members filed a resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry of Attorney General William Barr, who the measure says “abused the power of his office” to improperly investigate cannabis business mergers.

  • “He’s using antitrust not for the purpose of helping consumers and businesses that might be disadvantaged by monopoly, but doing it as a vehicle for his social policies, which is unheard of,” Cohen told Marijuana Moment in an interview.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued new guidance on banking for hemp businesses, including how financial institutions should handle clients that sell both hemp and marijuana.

Activists behind successful psilocybin campaigns in Denver and Oregon have flown to Washington, D.C. to help collect the final signatures needed to qualify a psychedelics decriminalization measure for the city’s ballot ahead of a Monday deadline.

Did a Tennessee lawmaker take a road trip in a state vehicle to buy marijuana in Illinois? Internet sleuths are on the cannabis case after someone posted a photo of a vehicle with a state Senate license plate parked outside a dispensary.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Border Patrol agents are reportedly seizing legal marijuana products at checkpoints in Southern California.

A White House Office of National Drug Control Policy analysis concludes that overdose deaths are rising amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse reported that almost half of commercial driver license holders’ positive drug tests so far this year were for marijuana.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) gave a House floor speech about the need to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill streamlining hemp regulations.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued an executive order delaying the issuance of marijuana craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses as well as extending the deadline for submission of community college cannabis vocational pilot program applications due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) touted the job-creating potential of a new hemp processing lab.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said she is in “constant conversation” with the speaker about marijuana legalization and questioned Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) commitment to working to get the policy enacted.

Maine regulators adopted rules for licensing marijuana sample collectors for testing.

Nevada regulators released draft regulations allowing CBD as a dietary supplement, food additive and cosmetic.

New Mexico will begin allowing out-of-state patients to purchase medical cannabis on Wednesday.

Arkansas regulators voted to release additional medical cannabis cultivation and dispensary licenses.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on July 15.


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


British Virgin Islands lawmakers are considering legislation to legalize medical cannabis and expunge prior marijuana records.

The Philippine government created a panel to investigate deaths in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that marijuana’s “therapeutic application in areas such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and in the relief of some cancer patient’s symptoms is promising.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Colorado State Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted about a marijuana social equity bill being signed into law.

The Illinois State Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted about a grant program that is “creating opportunities for those most impacted by the War on Drugs.”

/ BUSINESS

Dixie Brands announced it will change its name due to the racist historical connotations of the word Dixie.

GW Pharmaceuticals plc announced a strategy to bring its THC and CBD drug nabiximols to the U.S. market.

Hightimes Holding Corp. extended its public stock offering deadline again.

Southern University will unveil its first line of medical cannabis products on Wednesday.

Louis Del Faveo Orchids is asking a federal court to recognize what it says is its right to a medical cannabis license.

A survey of Canadian cannabis consumers found that brand awareness is low.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted to urge Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to free a man serving a life sentence for selling marijuana.

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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.
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