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Cannabis banking backed by nearly ⅓ of Senate (Newsletter: March 24, 2021)

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NY gets over legalization “impasse”; CO gov signs marijuana equity bill; GOP rep hits Biden on cannabis firings; SD gov wants decrim

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT), along with nearly a third of the entire Senate, filed their chamber’s version of a bill to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks. The House companion was introduced with more than 100 cosponsors last week.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill to give aid to marijuana businesses, with an emphasis on equity licensees. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed a bill to double the amount of cannabis that can be legally possessed in the state.

New York’s Senate majority leader said marijuana legalization negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) have gotten over an “impasse” on impaired driving issues and the bill is expected “in the next day or so.”

  • “I think we are really, really really close on marijuana.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R)—who vetoed hemp legalization in 2019—is now circulating a compromise medical cannabis implementation proposal that would also decriminalize an ounce of marijuana for adults.

Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) sent a letter asking President Joe Biden to reconsider his policy of firing White House staff for past marijuana use.

  • “We should be encouraging these therapies, not finding ways to further stigmatize and disenfranchise them.”

The Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee met again to discuss more proposed amendments to a medical cannabis bill—with a vote in the panel expected on Thursday.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge dismissed an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit brought by a former firefighter who said Waterbury, Connecticut unlawfully discriminated against him for medical cannabis use.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is being sued for allegedly wrongfully seeing hemp products.

House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) tweeted, “Businesses in the cannabis sector deserve access to insurance coverage: I’ve co-authored a bipartisan bill with @RepSteveStivers establishing safe harbor in states that legalized cannabis, so insurance companies can cover businesses without fear of legal repercussion.”

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) pressed Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal for data on how many people are under home confinement for marijuana offenses.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) tweeted, “When will @VP be fired for past marijuana use? I think she should just lead by example and resign.”

Rep. Barbra Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Since dozens of states have legalized cannabis, studies show that legalization creates thousands of jobs, adds more revenue to state budgets, and has no substantial impact on crime rates. Congress should follow the data and pass the MORE Act.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) tweeted, “Americans in 47 states have voted to legalize some form of marijuana but businesses are still forced to carry around cases of cash. Congress needs to catch up. It’s time to pass #SAFEBanking!”

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tweeted, “I believe legalization of adult-use cannabis will be one of the largest job-creation programs in New Mexico history, driving entrepreneurial opportunities statewide for decades to come. It’s clear that New Mexicans are ready – let’s get it done.” Meanwhile, lawmakers are discussing logistics for how to formulate a new marijuana legalization bill for the upcoming special session.

A Mississippi Senate effort to enact an alternative medical cannabis program if the one that voters approved in November is struck down in courts appears to be close to dead for the session.

The Illinois House Judiciary – Criminal Committee approved a bill to defelonize drug possession.

The Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee defeated a medical cannabis bill.

The Ohio House Health Committee held a hearing on a bill to add autism spectrum disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Montana lawmakers are considering a bill to allow marijuana advertising.

Maine regulators held a public hearing about proposed changes to medical cannabis rules.

Iowa regulators sent a notice about the availability of accredited continuing medical education credits on medical cannabidiol.

Colorado regulators published average market rates for marijuana.

New Hampshire regulators said two new medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to open next month.

Alaska regulators published a FAQ about proposed increases in marijuana edibles THC limits.

Oklahoma regulators released an updated list of approved medical cannabis transporters.

Oregon regulators published an updated list of pesticides that can be used for marijuana.

Michigan marijuana regulators will meet on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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 Evantson, Illinois City Council approved a reparations program that uses marijuana revenue to fund home repairs, down payments or mortgage payments for black residents.

The Shreveport, Louisiana City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Andrew yang tweeted, “I hope that Albany legalizes marijuana in New York State.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Himachal Pradesh, India’s chief minister said the state is moving to legalize cannabis cultivation for medical and industrial uses.

Victoria, Australia’s Legislative Council Legal and Social Issues Committee will hold a hearing on marijuana on Thursday.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found the medical cannabis “may be a cost-effective strategy in the management of chronic knee pain; however, the evidence on the medical use of cannabis is limited and predominantly low-quality.”

A study concluded that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy “may be an effective antisuicidal intervention following a cancer diagnosis due to its positive impact on hopelessness and demoralization and its effects on meaning-making in particular” and it is a “potentially effective alternative to existing antidepressant medications in patients with cancer that are also suicidal.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board opposes New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D) plan to hold a special session focused on marijuana legalization.

The National Hispanic Cannabis Council is a new organization launching this week.

AMVETS testified in a congressional hearing that it “encourages the [Department of Veterans Affairs]  to allow veterans access to medicinal cannabis through their VA doctors.”

More than 150 experts on drug policy, security and the environment sent a letter urging President Joe Biden to stop supporting aerial fumigation of drug crops in Colombia.

/ BUSINESS

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. reported quarterly revenue of $168.4 million.

Akerna reported quarterly revenue of $4.1 million and a net loss of $12.2 million.

TerrAscend Corp. reported quarterly net sales of C$65 million and a net loss of C$109.3 million. Its CEO is also stepping down.

Harborside Inc. secured a $12 million revolving credit facility.

UBaked hired Michael Thompson, who served decades in prison for marijuana before having his sentence commuted, as a brand ambassador.

Mydecine Innovations Group is delisting from the Canadian Securities Exchange and is now trading on the NEO Exchange.

CURE Pharmaceutical Holding Corp. announced that it secured an extension to its Schedule I license to allow it to conduct research on psychedelics-based pharmaceuticals as potential treatments for mental health disorders.

/ CULTURE

Jeffrey Dean Morgan said he bought a Tesla while high on cannabis gummies.

Matthew McConaughey writes about his 1999 marijuana arrest in his new book.

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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 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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