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Congress holds historic hearing on ending cannabis prohibition (Newsletter: July 11, 2019)



Gabbard bill would study hemp uses for almost everything; Most substance abuse pros back medical marijuana; NM gov’s legalization group meets

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The House Judiciary Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee held a first-ever hearing on ending federal marijuana prohibition, with lawmakers and witnesses at times expressing clear disagreement about specific pending cannabis reform legislation but demonstrating a broad consensus that major reforms of some kind are needed.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, filed legislation titled the Hemp for Victory Act that would mandate federal studies into hemp’s potential for food in school lunches, cleaning nuclear sites, hempcrete-built public housing and CBD for military preparedness, among several other areas.

A study found that the vast majority of substance abuse professionals support legalizing medical cannabis and believe that marijuana is safe when used responsibly for medical purposes.


The Government Accountability Office recommended that the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security improve measurements of performance for counterdrug programs.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected a claim by cannabis growers that a conviction by a jury is necessary to show they were out of compliance with Washington state law and thus not shielded by a congressional rider barring Justice Department interference in local medical marijuana laws.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted, “Hawaii has become the latest state to decriminalize marijuana. It’s time end this senseless ban nationwide.”

Former White House Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey tweeted, “Legalization of marijuana will have a seriously adverse flood of social and medical consequences in the coming decade. We need NIH NIDA to objectively document these outcomes in particular on adolescent development.”

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) posted a Twitter thread about his bill on funding to help small cannabis businesses navigate licensing, saying, “While people like John Boehner, the Republican former House Speaker, stand to make 💰MILLIONS💰as he serves on the board of a marijuana investment firm, hundreds of thousands of black Americans continue to bear the weight of Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs.’ Republicans are taking advantage of the overwhelming majority of Americans who are in favor of legalizing cannabis, while communities of color are struggling to survive after the generational effects of the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said that marijuana reform “gets more and more bipartisan support with every passing year.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “While investors make millions from the marijuana industry in states where it’s legal, people continue to hold criminal records for possession. California will tackle this grave injustice by clearing or reducing 220,000 marijuana convictions.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The failed #WarOnDrugs has devastated communities of color– and more states are finally addressing that reality. Congress needs to do the same by passing the #MarijuanaJustice Act and ending the federal prohibition on cannabis once and for all.”

The House bill to force the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 69.

Clarkston, Georgia Mayor Ted Terry (D), who supports decriminalizing marijuana, is running for Senate.


The marijuana legalization task force created by New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) held its first meeting.

The Pennsylvania lieutenant governor’s office is expected to release a report about the marijuana legalization listening tour he hosted across the state later this month.

The California Assembly Business and Professions Committee approved a bill to create charter banks to serve the marijuana industry.

North Dakota’s Pardon Advisory Board approved a plan to let people with low-level marijuana convictions apply for pardons if they avoid unlawful behavior for five years.

The Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board said it “does not view the use or possession of over-the-counter products containing CBD as constituting the illegal use or possession of marijuana, a dangerous drug, or a narcotic drug.”

The State Medical Board of Ohio is taking another look at adding anxiety and autism spectrum disorder as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Massachusetts regulators published a contract opportunity for assistance in investigating the financial and corporate structure of cannabis businesses. Separately, the state’s Marijuana Baseline Health Study was published.

Guam officials seized CBD products and are waiting on the Food and Drug Administration to weigh in on whether they comply with regulations.

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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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney tweeted, “The war on drugs has caused nothing but stigma and a cycle of incarceration that forces people into the shadows, where fatal overdose is more likely.”


Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha cautioned patients to not rely solely on medical cannabis to treat their ailments.

The Czech Republic Chamber of Deputies approved a bill making medical cannabis 90% covered by insurance companies.


The former executive director of Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party formed a group called Cannabis for Economic Growth.

Anonymous Analytics says it will soon be targeting certain marijuana companies with unflattering reports.


A survey of veterinary students found that most “felt that marijuana has potential therapeutic value in animals (53.6%), fewer were unsure (38.6%), and a small number of students felt that marijuana does not have potential therapeutic value in animals (7.7%).”

The National Institutes of Health is funding a study on how the endocannabinoid system influences obesity.


GrowGeneration Corp. hired a former Home Depot CEO as a senior strategic adviser.

Former Canopy Growth Corp. CEO Bruce Linton said he will continue to “be involved in the cannabis space but I need to be selective.”

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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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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