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Cannabis banking vote in Congress today (Newsletter: April 19, 2021)

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Biden on board with marijuana reform, Booker says; Veterans cannabis bills; MN legalization clears another committee; WA drug decrim gutted

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a marijuana banking bill on Monday.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said President Joe Biden is already where he needs to be to get a bill to federally legalize marijuana enacted. The confusion comes down to a semantic misunderstanding about what the terms “decriminalization” and “legalization” mean at the federal level, he said.

A bipartisan coalition of House and Senate lawmakers filed bills to federally legalize medical marijuana for military veterans.

The Minnesota House State Government Finance and Elections Committee became the seventh panel to approve the majority leader’s marijuana legalization bill. He expects a floor vote next month.

The Washington State Senate took up a bill to decriminalize drugs but gutted and replaced it with provisions making possession a misdemeanor instead of a felony. While the House of Representatives decides what to do, drug possession is currently effectively legal under a recent state Supreme Court ruling.

/ FEDERAL

Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) indicated they are open to supporting legislation to increase research on the potential benefits of psychedelics.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-IL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and other lawmakers discussed the shifting positions on drug decriminalization of associate attorney general nominee Vanita Gupta in a Senate floor debate. Cornyn tweeted that “she lied under oath to the Senate Judiciary about her support for decriminalizing simple possession of all drugs, including but not limited to marijuana.”

Sen. Angus King (I-ME) said he’s optimistic about passing a marijuana banking bill.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “I am proud to introduce the Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act of 2021 alongside @brianschatz to empower and educate veterans about treating chronic conditions with medical marijuana where it’s legal.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted that he is “honored to join my colleagues in both parties to introduce this critical [medical cannabis] legislation for our veterans!”

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidates agreed on marijuana legalization during a debate.

The Senate marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor for a total of 32.

The House marijuana banking bill got 17 new cosponsors for a total of 168.

/ STATES

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed a hemp legalization bill.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed a bill providing an affirmative defense for drivers who test positive for marijuana metabolites.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill establishing a hemp licensing program.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) sent a press release about the fifth anniversary of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) attended a fundraiser for his campaign that was hosted by medical cannabis cultivators.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana and regulating and taxing it much like we do alcohol is the right thing to do for Wisconsin. And according to @MuLawpoll, nearly 60% of Wisconsinites agree.” The lieutenant governor tweeted, “Seventeen states, including our neighbors in Illinois and Michigan, have already legalized medical and recreational marijuana, and the majority of Wisconsin voters think we should too. That’s why our #BadgerBounceback agenda regulates and taxes marijuana—just like we do alcohol.”

The California Senate Agriculture Committee approved a bill to allow CBD as a food, beverage and dietary supplement.

The Montana Senate Select Committee on Marijuana Law held another meeting to discuss legalization implementation legislation.

A Massachusetts court upheld the town of Bourne’s local ban on marijuana businesses.

A South Carolina senator authored an op-ed on why law enforcement is wrong to oppose his medical cannabis bill.

Michigan regulators published a bulletin on marijuana testing requirements.

Maryland regulators published several new medical cannabis guidance documents.

New Mexico regulators are being asked by medical cannabis companies to increase plant limits.

Utah regulators are seeking applications to join a medical cannabis production advisory board.

Missouri regulators posted data on medical cannabis facility inspections.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Boston, Massachusetts’s mayor released a request for proposals for technical assistance programs for marijuana equity applicants.

The Walpole, Massachusetts police chief authored an op-ed arguing against the decriminalization of psychedelics.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK lawmakers signed a letter calling on the government to provide funds to families who are forced to buy medical cannabis privately.

The European Union approved a proposal to export medical cannabis flower from Lesotho-based MG Health.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis use may lead to reduced use of prescription and illicit drugs for pain management among some people living with HIV who use drugs.”

A study found that “cannabis users retrospectively report feeling different effects from indica and sativa; however, demand generally did not differ between cannabis subtypes, suggesting situational factors could influence whether someone uses indica or sativa.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Wisconsin Democratic Party tweeted about Gov. Tony Evers’s (D) marijuana legalization proposal.

The Republican Party of New Mexico continued to criticize Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) for signing a marijuana legalization bill.

/ BUSINESS

Livwell Enlightened Health launched Colorado’s first TV ad campaign for a cannabis company.

Tilray, Inc. moved to reduce the quorum of shareholders it needs for a vote to approve a merger with Aphria Inc.

Eaze launched an NFT for an image of an astronaut, with proceeds going to National Expungement Week.

HEXO Corp filed a C$1.2 billion preliminary short form base shelf prospectus.

/ CULTURE

Seth Rogen’s marijuana brand Houseplant launched its products at Apothecarium dispensaries in California.

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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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Cannabis arrests dropped amid COVID, FBI says (Newsletter: September 28, 2021)

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NY gov touts marijuana’s jobs potential; FL psychedelics bill; MA drug decrim hearing

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows that marijuana arrests dropped by more than a third in the U.S. last year as both the COVID-19 pandemic and the legalization movement spread. Still, there was a cannabis bust every 90 seconds on average, and an arrest for drugs in general every 27 seconds.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said the state’s new marijuana market will create “thousands and thousands of jobs.”

  • “So count me in as an ally—someone who’s going to be there for you.”

Florida’s Senate minority leader filed a bill that would require the state to study the medical benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use & Recovery held a hearing on bills to decriminalize drugs and allow safe consumption sites where people could consume illegal substances under medical supervision.

Mississippi’s agriculture and commerce commissioner held a press conference to reiterate his opposition to having any part in regulating medical cannabis while it remains federally illegal.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is being asked to reconsider a decision to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Drug Enforcement Administration’s marijuana scheduling decisions.

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public safety alert about fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.

The State Department published a readout of a meeting with Colombian officials to discuss counternarcotics issues.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “Legalize marijuana so we can bring these jobs to communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs.”

Former Rep. Greg Ganske (R-IA) authored an op-ed calling for marijuana legalization.

/ STATES

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Niki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, tweeted, “We need to legalize marijuana and expunge most marijuana convictions. And we can do that in Florida right after we beat @GovRonDeSantis.”

Illinois’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Justice is more than jails, policing, and prisons—it includes healthy communities. I commit to fairness and equality. That’s why @govpritzker, @ICJIA_Illinois, and I aim to Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (#R3) communities devastated by the failed war on drugs through grantmaking. #DYK the #R3 Program receives 25% of tax revenue from adult-use cannabis? Depending on the growth of the market, the R3 Board could disburse up to $125 million per year to address: -Economic development -Violence prevention -Re-entry -Youth development -Civil legal aid.”

The Washington, D.C. Council scheduled a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill for November 19.

A Wisconsin senator who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill posted a photo of herself riding a tractor at a hemp farm.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands regulators are endorsing pending legislation to make changes to marijuana rules.

Massachusetts’s top marijuana regulator criticized how municipalities impose impact fees on marijuana businesses.

Washington State’s Office of Fiscal Management said cannabis revenues appear to be moderating.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board and its advisory subcommittees will hold several meetings this week.

California regulators will discuss dual cannabis and gaming licensing on Monday.

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana rules amendments on October 26.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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 Los Angeles County, California district attorney dismissed nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions.

Here’s a look at which New York municipalities are opting out of allowing certain cannabis businesses before the deadline.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Toronto, Ontario, Canada is moving to ask the federal government for permission to decriminalize drugs.

Italian activists are pushing the country’s Council of Ministers to extend the deadline to certify signatures on a marijuana referendum because some local officials are taking too long to do so.

Thailand’s government produced a video touting the country’s medical cannabis laws.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “medicinal cannabis use may reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms in clinically anxious and depressed populations.”

A study found “no overall protective relationship between state [medical cannabis laws] and opioid overdose.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

District of Columbia Marijuana Justice is holding a rally on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to push for a legalization vote in Congress.

The Washington Post editorial board criticized a Virginia judge who jailed a witness for admitting that she smoked marijuana earlier in the day before testifying against her alleged domestic violence abuser.

A marijuana stocks investor created a video juxtaposing Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) pledge to block cannabis banking legislation with news coverage of robberies at dispensaries.

The Maryland Minority Cannabis Business Association was recently formed to advocate for diversity in the marijuana industry.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported quarterly revenue of C$54.8 million and an adjusted EBITDA loss of C$13.9 million.

MarinHealth Medical Center is calling on California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to sign a bill requiring hospitals to allow medical cannabis use.

Sedona Ranch Retreats, which has held cannabis coaching sessions, has banned people who get COVID-19 vaccinations.

Harborside Inc. intends to transition to domestic issuer status in the U.S.

Missouri dispensaries have sold more than $113 million worth of medical cannabis since sales began.

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Newsletter

Federal legal cannabis bill gets vote this week in House panel (Newsletter: September 27, 2021)

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More banks work with cannabis biz; Seattle psychedelics decrim advances; KC restricts marijuana testing; WashPost cannabis prisoner ad

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY)  federal marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday. The measure passed the full House last Congress but did not advance in the Senate. Advocates are hoping this time will be different.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported that the number of banks and credit unions that say they’re serving marijuana businesses ticked up in the past three months following several quarters of declines.

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved the mayor’s proposal to ban pre-employment marijuana testing for most city workers.

The Seattle, Washington City Council Public Safety and Human Services Committee considered a measure to decriminalize psychedelics. The full Council is expected to take up the measure within the next few weeks.

The family of a marijuana prisoner took out a full-page Washington Post ad calling for his freedom and noting that large cannabis companies and celebrities—including Beyonce, Jay Z, Seth Rogen and others—stand to make money in the industry.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report on China’s hemp market.

Customs and Border Protection sent a warning to travelers to stop trying to bring marijuana through the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “‘An estimated 321,000 Americans now work in the legal cannabis industry, outnumbering the country’s dentists, paramedics & electrical engineers.’ Yet the industry & their employees are still forced to operate in cash. It’s past time to pass #SAFEBanking.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tweeted that the National Defense Authorization Act “includes ‘red flag’ provisions that deprive servicemembers of their Second Amendment rights and a provision to allow illicit cannabis businesses to use the banking system, advancing the legalization agenda.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair drug war harms got two new cosponsors for a total of 66.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill on waivers and deferrals for marijuana licensing and application fees.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) reportedly dismissed Norman Birenbaum, director of cannabis programs under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), whom advocates had opposed becoming the head of the new Office of Cannabis Management.

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor and House speaker asked Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to schedule a special session to consider medical cannabis and other legislation this Friday. Meanwhile, the Special Select Committee of the Legislative Black Caucus will hold a medical marijuana hearing on Tuesday.

The Washington State Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision that had allowed Chelan Count to shut down a marijuana business.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that evidence of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms discovered during a search by a Customs and Border Protection officer is inadmissible in state court.

Illinois regulators are facing new lawsuits from companies whose applications for marijuana craft grower and transporter applications were disqualified.

Oregon regulators expanded a recall of products with mislabeled THC content.

Michigan regulators announced a voluntary recall of marijuana products due to use of a contaminated trimmer.

Oklahoma’s top medical cannabis regulator met with industry representatives.

New Jersey regulators published an updated list of medical cannabis dispensaries.

A former Maryland delegate authored an op-ed calling for a free market approach to regulating the marijuana industry.

Nevada’s Cannabis Advisory Commission Public Health Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday.

The Louisiana House Medical Cannabis Commission will meet on Friday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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

Anne Arundel County, Maryland School Board members expressed concerns about a state law requiring policies allowing medical cannabis use at schools.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Italian municipal elections officials are missing deadlines to certify signatures on a marijuana referendum, jeopardizing its chances of qualifying.

Gibraltar’s Parliament approved a medical cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “medical cannabis and cannabinoids may improve impaired sleep among people living with chronic pain, but the magnitude of benefit is likely small.”

The University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Science of Psychedelics received five philanthropic donations worth a total of $7 million.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Washington Post editorial board is urging the Biden administration to support safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

The Des Moines Register editorial board is calling on Iowa lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

The Brookings Institution published a blog post calling on President Joe Biden to end the war on drugs.

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a legislative counsel for the southeastern U.S.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $42 million and a net loss of $46.2 million.

Vice looks at the tension between psychedelic companies that want access limited to a medical model and the broader decriminalization movement.

/ CULTURE

Football player La’el Collins was suspended for allegedly trying to bribe a drug test collector.

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Newsletter

MS medical cannabis deal reached for special session (Newsletter: September 24, 2021)

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House officials sends marijuana banking to Senate; Feds fund psilocybin for cigarette cessation study; FBI changes marijuana policy again

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives formally passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains marijuana banking provisions. But the path ahead in the Senate is complicated, with key lawmakers indicating they are not in favor of the move.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which loosened its marijuana policy for agent applicants earlier this summer, more recently added a new arbitrary restriction:  Anyone who has used cannabis more than 24 times as an adult is disqualified.

Mississippi lawmakers reached a deal on medical cannabis legislation to replace the voter-approved measure that was overturned by the state Supreme Court, and they’ll ask Gov. Tate Reeves (R) for a special session as soon as Friday. In a related development, the commissioner of agriculture and commerce told lawmakers in a letter that he wants no part of regulating medical marijuana as long as it remains federally illegal.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding research on whether psilocybin can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

  • “To my knowledge it’s the 1st grant from the US government in over a half century to directly study therapeutics of a classic psychedelic.”

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Health and Human Services said a study it funded on differences in opioid-related outcomes among pregnant and parenting women in states with and without medical cannabis laws has been submitted to a scientific journal for publication.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke in a Senate floor speech about a departing staffer’s role in helping to craft cannabis legislation.

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) tweeted, “A few months ago, the largest illegal drug bust in LA County History was conducted in #CA25. While progress was made to combat the illegal marijuana grows, there is still more work to be done to eradicate this problem. I promise to continue to work to combat this problem.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, spoke about both major parties’ reluctance to embrace marijuana reform.

Kentucky Democratic congressional candidate William Compton tweeted, “Here is something that hasn’t been talked about lately: Marijuana. It needs to be legalized. The revenue, alone, would create a massive boost to KY’s economy. Tobacco is our cash crop, it’s time we add Marijuana into that!”

/ STATES

Florida Senate Agriculture Committee members pressed regulators on the lack of medical cannabis licenses awarded to black farmers.

Oklahoma regulators are being sued over the revocation of medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

Montana regulators gave lawmakers an update on formulating marijuana rules. They also revealed that regulations will ban hemp-derived CBD from being sold in marijuana dispensaries.

A new Washington State policy will take effect next month that makes it easier for people with criminal records to participate in the marijuana industry.

An Ohio representative who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill tweeted that it’s been referred to the House Finance Committee and that he’s pushing to get a hearing scheduled.

Missouri regulators said that some medical cannabis products were put on hold in the state’s track and trace system “inadvertently.” Meanwhile, the state has now spent more than $6.7 million defending against legal challenges to licensing decisions.

Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission met.

Nevada regulators will discuss marijuana business issues on Tuesday.

New Jersey regulators will host a webinar on marijuana rules on Tuesday.

Maine regulators will convene the first meeting of the new Medical Marijuana Workgroup on Tuesday.

Michigan regulators will hold a quarterly meeting on marijuana issues on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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

Missoula County, Montana officials held a meeting to explain a marijuana tax ballot measure.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Scotland’s lord advocate announced a plan to allow police to issue warnings for Class A drugs instead of making arrests.

Canadian retailers sold C$338.9 million worth of legal marijuana in July.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the price of Ohio’s medical marijuana continues to drive dissatisfaction” with the state program.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Cannabis Regulators Association sent comments about federal marijuana legalization provisions to senators.

The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, Oklahoma Dairy Producers Association and other groups sent a letter asking regulators to place a moratorium on issuing new medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

NBC’s Brian Williams made a marijuana edibles joke on air.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs Inc. is acquiring Bay, LLC d/b/a Cure Pennsylvania.

Green Market Report is being acquired by Crain Communications.

Investors in Civilized are pushing out the company’s founders.

Several unlicensed marijuana dispensaries are now operating on the St. Regis Mohawk reservation located within New York.

Eaze launched a program to bring free medical cannabis to low-income patients.

Cookies launched a new product that combines THC and non-psychedelic mushrooms.

The Associated Press Stylebook tweeted, “THC is OK in all references to tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that gives marijuana its high. CBD is OK for cannabidiol, a compound in cannabis that does not cause a high and is often sold as a dietary supplement or included in creams and other personal care products.”

/ CULTURE

Clint Eastwood won a court default against the CEO of Norok Innovation Inc., which the actor says misappropriated his name to falsely make people think he endorsed its CBD products.

PBS’s Nova will air an episode on the science and criminalization of cannabis on Wednesday.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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