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Cannabis descheduling approved by congressional committee (Newsletter: November 21, 2019)



Booker’s marijuana debate slam on Biden; Air Force bans CBD; GOP senator says he tried CBD but it didn’t work

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The House Judiciary Committee, in a historic vote, approved a bill to deschedule cannabis and fund programs to begin repairing the damage of the war on drugs.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) attacked former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) opposition to marijuana legalization during a Democratic presidential debate, while Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) pledged to end the broader war on drugs.

The U.S. Air Force issued a notice banning service members from using CBD products, regardless of their federal legality.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) revealed during a Senate hearing that he has tried CBD to treat knee pain at his wife’s urging—though he says it didn’t work for him—and the follicly challenged lawmaker joked about the cannabis compound’s hair regrowth potential. Also, he and another senator asked Stephen Hahn, the nominee for Food and Drug Administration commissioner, about regulating cannabidiol.

Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Steve Hawkins wrote in an op-ed for Marijuana Moment that Joe Biden’s view on cannabis as a potential “gateway drug” are scientifically wrong and represent a political liability.

  • “It’s the criminalization of marijuana that’s the real gateway. Forcing marijuana consumers into the illicit market increases the probability that they will be exposed to other, far more dangerous drugs.”


The Department of Justice finally responded to Marijuana Moment’s Freedom of Information Act request for records about a March 3, 2017 phone call then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions held with Kevin Sabet of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, but the resulting documents don’t reveal much.

Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro, a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Legalize it. Expunge the records of the victims of the war on drugs.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “There are thousands of people labeled felons for life for selling marijuana, while people out there are making a fortune from the marijuana industry. This is an injustice, and as president, I’ll fix it.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “💰 U.S. legal marijuana industry tax revenue in 2018: Over $1 billion 👮 Arrests for marijuana possession in 2018: 663,367 While investors profit from cannabis, people continue to get criminal records. Ending the prohibition of marijuana must be a priority.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) cheered a move to expand cannabis industry equity in Boston, Massachusetts, tweeting, “The People’s #JusticeGuarantee calls for reinvesting in communities of color who were devastated by the war on drugs. As @HouseJudiciary considers the MORE Act to reverse the harms of the war on drugs, I’m proud to see #MA7 & my sister @Kim_Janey leading on #cannabis #equity.”

Delaware Democratic Senate candidate Jessica Scarane supports legalizing marijuana.

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Julie Oliver tweeted, “This is a no brainer. End the federal prohibition on marijuana.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got two new cosponsors for a total of 57.

The House bill to shield military veterans from losing benefits over marijuana use got one new cosponsor for a total of 14.

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.

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he opposes decriminalizing marijuana.

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura tweeted, “Joe Biden says  there’s ‘not nearly been enough evidence’ to determine whether or not marijuana is a gateway drug. Are you kidding me? Cigarettes and alcohol ARE the gateway drugs, yet they’re legal. Google, Joe.”. Meanwhile, the state’s Agriculture Department held another hemp listening session.

New Jersey legislative leaders said they plan to vote on a marijuana legalization referendum bill in the lame duck session.

Oregon regulators will consider violation stipulated settlement agreements and other marijuana issues on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, located in the state, submitted a hemp regulation plan to federal officials.

Washington State fiscal officials said that marijuana revenue growth is “expected to moderate.”

The Mississippi Hemp Cultivation Task Force held its final meeting.

Michigan regulators will hold a public meeting on marijuana issues on December 9.

A South Dakota representative said he is “very confident” lawmakers will pass hemp legislation next year. Separately,, the legislature’s Industrial Hemp Study Committee is set to meet on December 2.

Here’s a look back at the first year of Massachusetts legal marijuana sales, during which regulators reported that retailers generated $393.7 million in gross sales.


The Boston, Massachusetts City Council approved a proposal to overhaul the marijuana business approval process with an eye toward equity for communities harmed by the drug war.


The UK’s Liberal Democrats released a platform that calls for legalizing marijuana and “imposing civil penalties rather than imprisonment” for people caught possessing other drugs. Party leader Jo Swinson spoke about how she enjoyed consuming cannabis.

A Trinidad and Tobago senator is pushing for marijuana legalization.

Australia’s former minister for trade and investment authored an op-ed on the need to reclassify psychedelics.


A study of sickle cell patients found that “marijuana use was associated with lower instances of [acute chest syndrome]” and that “the fact that mortality, length of stay and total charges were the same amongst the two groups may indicate that during a crisis, the disease process is the same, however outside of having a crisis, marijuana use may help with pain control given later presentation.”

A study concluded that “regular marijuana use is associated with prevalent tinnitus.”

A study examining whether CBD “is effective in treating alcohol use disorder in individuals with comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder” is recruiting participants.”


A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 54%-40%.

The American Medical Association is calling for a ban on vaping products that aren’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Drug Policy Alliance is hiring a managing director of communications.

The Boston Globe editorial board cheered the City Council’s move to overhaul the marijuana business approval process as a “first step toward equity.”


Certified Ag Labs slammed Nevada regulators’ move to suspend its marijuana testing license.

American Marijuana says it is hiring a cannabis product reviewer for up to $3,000 a month.

Arkansas dispensaries have now sold more than $20 million worth of medical cannabis.


Comedian Adam Carolla said that former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) comments on marijuana as a potential gateway drug are “antiquated.”

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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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