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CA gov cites legal cannabis as civil rights issue (Newsletter: June 8, 2020)



NJ bill would decrim a pound of marijuana; Bermuda AG releases legal cannabis proposal; ABA wants COVID funds for law firms working with cannabiz

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As New Jersey voters prepare to decide on a marijuana legalization referendum in November, three senators—including the president pro tem—filed an incremental bill to decriminalize possession and distribution of up to a pound of cannabis in the meantime.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) held up the state’s marijuana legalization law as a “civil rights call” as protests erupt over police brutality and unfair enforcement against black Americans. He also discussed broader “ills of this war on drugs.”

Bermuda’s attorney general released a marijuana legalization bill for public feedback. The government had previously floated medical cannabis legislation but input on that indicated people wanted to go much further.

The American Bar Association sent a letter urging the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration to stop blocking law firms that service marijuana businesses from eligibility for coronavirus relief funds.


President Trump tweeted, “Sleepy Joe Biden’s 1994 Crime Bill was a total disaster. It was mass incarceration for Black people, many of them innocent. I did Criminal Justice Reform, something Obama & Biden didn’t even try to do – & couldn’t do even if they did try. Biden can never escape his Crime Bill!”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield spoke during a congressional hearing about “unexplained hemorrhagic deaths from contaminated marijuana.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted, “America is opening up, and people are returning to work. Speaker Pelosi’s reaction to today’s great economic news? She doubled down on her plan to prop up the pot industry. The socialists have taken over the Democrat Party.”

Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) tweeted, “End qualified immunity. End civil asset forfeiture. End the drug war. End overcriminalization. End no-knock warrants. End militarization of police. End mandatory minimums.”

The House criminal justice reform bill that contains the provisions of the Marijuana Justice Act got one new cosponsor for a total of four.

The House resolution that cites the war on drugs as one factor behind police brutality against black people got 110 new cosponsors for a total of 160.

The House resolution that calls for decriminalizing addiction and legalizing marijuana and overdose prevention sites got one new cosponsor for a total of 16.

Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Lindsey Simmons tweeted, “Vicky Hartzler opposes allowing physicians to prescribe medicinal marijuana to veterans for PTSD. Vicky Hartzler opposes even studying medical marijuana. Vicky Hartzler believes her opinion is worth more than the medical advice of a trained doctor. Send Vicky home.”


Iowa lawmakers sent Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) a hemp bill.

One group of North Dakota activists are still collecting signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the November ballot.

Washington State regulators pushed Congress to make marijuana businesses eligible for small business loans.

Illinois regulators filed rules for how to select marijuana dispensary business license awardees when multiple applicants have tie scores.

Missouri regulators published a report on the first year of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Ohio regulators will consider amended medical cannabis rules on Tuesday.

Arkansas medical cannabis regulators will meet on Monday.

Michigan regulators will hold a public hearing on June 25.

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.

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New York City’s mayor cited his moves to reduce marijuana arrests in response to criticism that he hasn’t done enough to rein in police.

A Portland, Oregon City Council member is pushing to remove all marijuana tax revenue from the police department and “invest those funds in restorative justice, public safety, economic development, and addiction recovery initiatives that benefit BIPOC communities most impacted by our drug laws and the overpolicing of communities of color.”


Uganda’s health minister refuted reports that she had authorized marijuana cultivation.


A study found that “increased drug arrests, resulting directly from the War on Drugs, consistently increase overall, violent, and property crime.”

A study of marijuana product labels found that “novel, believable information may be more effective at changing behavior” and that “regular consumers may be less susceptible to messages.”


Resource Innovation Institute is working to establish water use standards for the marijuana industry.


Hightimes Holding Corp. entered an agreement with Red, White & Bloom, Inc. aimed at branding High Times dispensaries and developing CBD and THC products in Michigan, Illinois and Florida.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “This will probably get me into trouble, but I feel I have to say it. Selling weed literally went from major felony to essential business (open during pandemic) in much of America & yet many are still in prison. Doesn’t make sense, isn’t right.”

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. received provisional marijuana business licenses in Massachusetts.

Apothecarium and SPARC are laying off and furloughing employees.


Actor Wendell Pierce tweeted, “If The Wire did anything right, it depicted the humanity of the Black lives so easily profiled by police and the destruction of them by the so-called war on drugs;a deliberate policy of mass incarceration to sustain a wealth disparity in America that thrives keeping an underclass.”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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