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Congress delays legal cannabis vote (Newsletter: September 18, 2020)



VT House approves legal marijuana sales deal; SBA pushes USDA on hemp comments; Cannabis consumers step up voter registration

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House Democratic leaders postponed a planned vote for next week on a bill to federally legalize marijuana—a decision apparently spurred by moderate members who feared advancing the issue ahead of the election—but Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said the body is “committed” to passing the bill “later this autumn.”

The Vermont House of Representatives voted to approve a bill to legalize marijuana sales. After an expected Senate vote on the bicameral compromise next week, the legislation will finally head to the governor’s desk.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to keep its public comment period on hemp rules open for even longer. 

  • “Producers indicated that the current comment period falls in the middle of the harvest season for much of the mid-Atlantic and southern hemp growers, excluding those who grow indoors. Because the harvest season is one of the busiest times for hemp producers, this places a strain on their ability to both manage their small business and dedicate the time and attention necessary to provide the detailed comments that AMS is requesting.”

A new poll found that a bare majority of Arizona registered voters support the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure. Military and veteran households were especially likely to back legal cannabis in the survey.

Spark The Vote is a new effort aimed at registering cannabis consumers to vote and keeping them involved in the political process—from marijuana policy to presidential elections and everything on the ballot in between. So far, the effort, led by the Cannabis Consumer Policy Council, has signed up 31 marijuana retail operations across eight states that have agreed to host voter registration and education resources.


An Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations official blamed an uptick in marijuana seizures at the northern border in part on Canada’s marijuana legalization law.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute tweeted, “#NIH-funded study finds that patients with #sicklecell who use medical marijuana for pain tend to have fewer hospitalizations.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats are pushing to send cash to illegal aliens, roll back restrictions for marijuana, and push vote by mail onto millions of Americans. How does that have anything to do with COVID-19?”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said that House Democrats’ plans to vote on a marijuana legalization bill were “a complete dereliction of duty and a disservice to the American people.”

The House bill to expand marijuana research got one new cosponsor for a total of 21.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Pam Keith tweeted, “I support legalization of cannabis. (And restorative justice for those who have been prosecuted for its use). That is all.”


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “Like our neighbors in PA, we’re seeking to legalize adult-use marijuana the right way – with social justice leading the way. This would: 🌱Move NJ away from unfair drug laws 🌱Ensure fairness for minority-owned businesses 🌱Create a stronger, fairer state”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) opposes marijuana reform, but Democratic challenger Woody Myers supports decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing medical cannabis.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Some:  Stop talking about legal cannabis + help our businesses + jobs! Most:  Legal cannabis will generate $100’s of millions each year to help small businesses + PA farmers + PA veterans + thousands of unsubsidized jobs. Also, most PA residents want this.”

Mississippi’s agriculture commissioner spoke about why he opposes a medical cannabis ballot measure.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to recommend the full body consider a marijuana legalization bill next session.

Michigan regulators announced a recall of medical cannabis products that failed testing for yeast and mold.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture appointed new members to the Hemp Advisory Committee.

West Virginia regulators expect to begin issuing medical cannabis cultivation permits next week.

Washington State regulators took actions on rules concerning marijuana vapor products, processor and retailers licenses and vitamin E acetate.

California regulators are accepting proposals for research projects on the implementation of marijuana legalization from public universities.

Oregon regulators are surveying marijuana businesses about the impact of recent wildfires.

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.


Richmond, Virginia’s mayor tweeted about speaking at the National Cannabis Policy Summit, saying, “It’s not enough to stop the destruction of Black communities through possession charges – we have to make sure those same communities receive restorative economic justice.”


Health Canada granted an exemption for another church to legally import and use ayahuasca.


A study found that “orally administered cannabis extract had a pharmacological effect of weight loss in diet-induced obese mice.”

A study of people’s perceptions about cannabis warning labels found that “warnings about psychosis and addiction were less believable than impaired driving.”


The National Safety Council and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, American Trucking Associations and other organizations sent a letter calling on House leaders to delay a planned vote on a bill to federally legalize marijuana until hearings can be held on workplace safety issues.

The Lincoln Star Journal editorial board slammed Nebraska lawmakers for failing to legalize medical cannabis.


Lift & Co. Corp. filed for bankruptcy.

MediGrow LLC’s lawsuit against Maryland’s medical cannabis licensing system was dismissed by a federal judge.


Comedian Larry the Cable Guy tweeted, “I read where the have a marijuana suppository. Yikes! This is why I’m glad I never did that stuff. I can’t imagine being at a house party when they started passing that around. You’d have that one stoner so messed up he would accidentally insert a chimichanga mini.”

Facebook posts about a mouse that apparently passed out after munching on cannabis leaves went viral.

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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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