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Congress has cannabis questions for Biden official (Newsletter: March 21, 2024)



President’s marijuana chat with CBD biz owner; State AGs want hemp action; German cannabis plan; HI & PA legalization hearings; Psilocybin study

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Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra defended his department’s marijuana rescheduling recommendation in response to questions from GOP lawmakers at a House hearing—but clarified that the move would not decriminalize cannabis despite President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to do so.

At a separate hearing, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tore into Becerra over the Biden administration’s “politically damaging” lack of bold action on marijuana reform—with the secretary replying that any delay in rescheduling is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s fault.

A CBD business owner who discussed cannabis policy with President Joe Biden on the campaign trail last week told Marijuana Moment that the chat “meant the world” to him.

A bipartisan coalition of 21 state attorneys general sent a letter urging congressional leaders to “address the glaring vagueness created in the 2018 Farm Bill that has led to the proliferation of intoxicating hemp products across the nation and challenges to the ability for states and localities to respond to the resulting health and safety crisis.”

German cabinet officials are pledging to make changes to a marijuana legalization law down the line in order to avoid having the pending legislation referred to a mediation committee in a key vote on Friday that could delay its implementation.

The Hawaii House Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee approved a Senate-passed marijuana legalization bill with a new amendment on labor peace agreements for cannabis businesses.

The Pennsylvania Health Subcommittee on Health Care and Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Corrections held a joint hearing on marijuana legalization, with a top lawmaker saying that “we are really well-positioned to move forward with legislation.”

A new study found that full-spectrum psychedelic mushroom extract “has a more potent and prolonged effect on synaptic plasticity” than chemically synthesized psilocybin on its own—suggesting a possible “entourage effect” similar to that of cannabis.

Montana Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen (R) sent lawmakers a poll giving them the opportunity to override Gov. Greg Gianforte’s (R) veto of a bill to reallocate marijuana tax revenue in accordance with a court order.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $300,000 grant to the National Industrial Hemp Council of America to develop a hemp market in India.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Wesley Hunt (R-TX) filed legislation aimed at addressing online sales of counterfeit pills and illicit drugs laced with fentanyl.

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) expressed concerns about Chinese-backed illegal marijuana farms in the U.S.

The House marijuana banking bill got three new cosponsors for a total of 106.

The House bill to facilitate marijuana expungements got one new cosponsor for a total of five.


South Dakota Gov,. Kristi Noem (R) signed a bill to remove some protections for medical cannabis businesses.

Wisconsin’s Assembly speaker blamed Democrats for his GOP majority’s failure to pass a limited medical cannabis bill.

A member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Council spoke in support of Gov. Maura Healey’s (D) plan for mass marijuana pardons.

Colorado lawmakers are considering a handful of marijuana and hemp bills this session.

California regulators announced a mandatory recall of marijuana products due to the presence of aspergillus.

Delaware’s top marijuana regulator and the representative who sponsored a successful legalization bill discussed steps toward launching the market.

New York regulators are offering grants to organizations that provide guidance for marijuana social and economic equity business license applicants.

Pennsylvania officials are accepting proposals for grants to “stimulate market growth or boost the competitive position for high-priority crops,” including hemp.

Washington State regulators sent a reminder about the necessity to have a license in order to grow hemp.

Minnesota’s Cannabis Advisory Council will hold its first meeting on Friday.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 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.


Ocean City, Maryland officials are extending a moratorium on marijuana businesses.


The Philippine Senate is taking up a medical cannabis legalization bill.

A former head of the Australian Federal Police is pushing lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

Zürich, Switzerland launched a regulated cannabis pilot program.


A review concluded that “CBD has been shown to have significant therapeutic effects on epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, while nabiximols contribute to a reduction in spasticity and are a frequent option for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. “

A review concluded that “cannabinoids show promise in managing pain, emesis, and anorexia/cachexia linked to cancer progression.”


The American Osteopathic Association and American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine are hosting a lecture on the interface of cannabis, cannabinoids and opioid use disorder on April 24.


Aurora Cannabis Inc. received good manufacturing practice certification from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration for its Canadian production facilities.

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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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