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Congress pushes fed employee cannabis protections (Newsletter: July 15, 2020)

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NJ gov: Legal marijuana would help COVID recovery; ID medical cannabis activists threaten lawsuit; IL announces legalization tax haul

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  • Rob from Michigan: “I pledged to help Tom and Marijuana Moment in hopes that the silence about cannabis from Republican legislators will be broken. Republican House and Senate members need to be publicly questioned, recorded and forced to stop ignoring all matters related to removing marijuana from the Schedule I list of the Controlled Substances Act. If this happens, we may just get Trump to finally submit his clear stance on the matter. So we need journalists out there to ask these questions.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Appropriations Committee is directing the Office of Personnel Management to reconsider the current practice of firing federal employees for state-legal marijuana use. Other new directives attached to annual spending bills include expanding cannabis research and funding hemp and CBD regulations.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said legalizing marijuana should be a “no-brainer” part of the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “It’s a job creator, it’s a tax revenue raiser, it checks a lot of boxes.”

Idaho medical cannabis activists are threatening to sue the state if officials don’t give them an electronic signature gathering option for their ballot measure by Thursday. A federal judge already granted that relief to a separate education campaign.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that the state brought in $52 million in marijuana tax revenue in the first six months of legal sales.

  • “Since January, over $239 million has been spent on recreational cannabis in Illinois translating to $52 million in tax revenue, and a portion of every dollar spent will be reinvested in communities that have suffered from decades of disinvestment.”

The Drug Policy Alliance is urging the House Appropriations Committee to reject a possible amendment on Wednesday that would block Washington, D.C. from decriminalizing psychedelics through a measure likely to appear on the November ballot.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Transportation’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee heard a presentation on the impact of hemp legalization on road safety.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration enacted a final rule making changes to regulations on the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that licensed hemp businesses are eligible for the Delta Health Care Services grant program.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) tweeted about the case of a military veteran sentenced to five years in prison for marijuana possession, saying, “Folks, there is a lot to unpack here, but first and foremost we cannot allow our veterans to be treated this way. Second, we have to find a way for medical marijuana to be allowed in all 50 states.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Communities of color are still being targeted as a result of discriminatory cannabis policies. We need to focus on restorative justice, which includes ensuring those most impacted by the failed war on drugs have equal access to this industry. We need to pass the MORE Act.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “I support marijuana legalization. My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, does not.”

/ STATES

The Florida Supreme Court ordered a second round of oral arguments in a case challenging the state’s medical cannabis business vertical integration requirements.

Missouri marijuana activists are looking ahead to working to place a legalization measure on the 2022 ballot.

Maryland regulators proposed hemp rules.

Nebraska regulators certified the state’s first hemp testing lab.

Michigan regulators published an updated coronavirus-related advisory bulletin for marijuana businesses.

Utah regulators are now accepting applications from retailers that want to sell hemp products.

Massachusetts regulators sent a reminder that Wednesday is the deadline to submit public comments about quarantined marijuana vaping products.


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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The attorney general of the Bahamas said a draft marijuana legalization bill will be presented to the Cabinet “in very short order.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “medicinal cannabis is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for a number of [spinal cord injury]-related symptoms.”

A study found that “cannabis use decreased among patients with opioid use disorder” and “increased…in patients with chronic regional pain syndrome, trauma, spondylosis, and failed back surgery syndrome.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. voters found that 65% support banning no-knock warrants in drug cases.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana circulated a sign-on letter thanking presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for refusing to support cannabis legalization.

Code for America’s senior program director authored an op-ed on the organization’s efforts to help people clear their past records.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. reportedly held ultimately unsuccessful talks about a potential merger.

4Front Ventures Corp. announced quarterly revenue of $17 million and an adjusted loss of $2.8 million.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed on a Blue Harbor, New Jersey property and reached a lease agreement to rent it to a subsidiary of Curaleaf Holdings, Inc.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. announced that since more than 50% of its issued and outstanding subordinate voting shares are owned by U.S. shareholders, it will receive domestic issuer status.

NC3 Systems, which does business as Caliva is facing a lawsuit over allegations that its website is not Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant.

Metrc LLC is asking a Missouri appellate court to overturn a judge’s decision blocking it from charging fees to medical cannabis businesses for RFID tags.

/ CULTURE

Mike Tyson’s The Ranch Companies is printing CBD-infused cups that can be filled with water to create cannabis beverages.

Jane Fonda appears in an ad campaign for Uncle Bud’s hemp and CBD products.

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Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

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.)

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Congressional cannabis legalization vote this week (Newsletter: November 30, 2020)

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DEA rejects marijuana exemption petition; WA legal psilocybin push; Congressional Research Service: Cannabis bill could “reverse” policy gap

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that a bill to federally legalize marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs will receive a floor vote this week, as soon as Wednesday.

A new Congressional Research Service report says the bill up for a House floor vote, the MORE Act, could “reverse” the current cannabis policy gap “since federal marijuana law would become less strict than some state laws.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration rejected an activist’s petition to exempt Iowa’s medical cannabis program from federal prohibition—but now the state itself is considering filing its own request for the accommodation.

Inspired by Oregon’s reform votes this month, activists in Washington State are now pursuing a two-track route to legalize psilocybin therapy, including administrative exemption petitions under federal and state Right to Try laws as well as a planned 2022 ballot measure that would also include broader drug decriminalization.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration finalized production quotas for controlled substances for 2021.

Former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli said he thinks President-elect Joe Biden will view drugs “primarily as a public health issue” but “there is a critical component law enforcement has to play.”

Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) criticized Democrats for passing coronavirus relief legislation that “mentioned marijuana more times than it mentioned jobs,” and also mentioned an upcoming vote on a federal cannabis legalization bill.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “There is already a thriving marijuana market in Pennsylvania. Why not make it legal? Why not make it safe? Why not make it taxable to help Pennsylvania get back on its feet?” He also tweeted, “Legal adult-use cannabis is criminal justice reform. More than 20,000 Pennsylvanians get a criminal record every year for doing something that 1) most of us don’t even think should be illegal and 2) is legal in 11 states and decriminalized in 26 states and D.C.”

New Jersey’s Senate president is hosting a roundtable meeting on marijuana legalization and social justice on Monday. Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman authored an op-ed on the need to center social justice in cannabis legalization efforts.

Indiana’s Senate minority leader said that legalizing marijuana would generate more revenue for the state than a cigarette tax can.

A South Carolina senator said there is a “very, very good chance” the state will legalize medical cannabis in 2021.

A Wyoming representative said that marijuana legalization in neighboring states bodes well for efforts to enact reform there.

Arkansas regulators approved the sale of a medical cannabis company.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife published a flyer about reporting illegal marijuana grows on public lands.

Connecticut regulators will hold webinars on the state’s hemp program on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Oregon Cannabis Testing Workgroup will meet on December 8.


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.

/ LOCAL

Prosecutors in most Arizona counties are dropping marijuana possession cases.

The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on Tuesday on a proposal to ban smoking or vaping cannabis and tobacco in buildings with three or more units.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK Department of Health & Social Care sent a letter to a lawmaker defending delays in getting patients access to cannabis-based medicines.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and partners are investing C$21 million in marijuana research.

The Philippine government may miss the deadline for a report on the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on adolescents found that it “was not associated with a significant shift in the likelihood of marijuana use but predicted a small significant decline in the level of marijuana use among users and a small increase in the likelihood of any e-cigarette use.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Los Angeles Times editorial board is calling on the incoming Biden administration and Congress to modernize federal marijuana laws.

The Globe and Mail editorial board cheered Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada’s passage of a drug decriminalization resolution.

/ BUSINESS

Patagonia is participating in a pilot project where China-sourced seeds are being used to grow hemp in Colorado for its clothing.

Original Investments LLC is asking an Oklahoma judge to overturn the state’s medical cannabis business licenses residency requirements.

/ CULTURE

Mike Tyson said he smoked marijuana right before his fight with Roy Jones Jr.

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Mexico’s president talks legal cannabis as bill advances (Newsletter: November 27, 2020)

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OR prosecutor drops drug cases after decrim vote; Prohibitionists sue to overturn marijuana ballot results

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  • Ian Benouis: “Your work makes the world a better place for all of us to live in. I pledged because the war on drugs is coming to an end and having the best and most accurate intelligence is key to finish the fight.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said a marijuana legalization bill that is advancing is “part of carrying out a revolution of consciences, where each of us is responsible for his actions.” The comments come as the Senate-passed legislation has been formally received by the Chamber of Deputies, where it has been referred to several committees.

The Clackamas County, Oregon District Attorney’s Office announced it will no longer pursue drug possession cases after voters passed a statewide decriminalization ballot measure. The reform doesn’t take effect until February, but the early move is “consistent with the will of the voters, which we must respect,” the office said.

  • “It is our belief that having officers investigate and submit cases for a prosecution in the weeks leading up to February 1, which will not lead to any sanction or court supervised treatment, is not the most effective use of criminal justice resources.”

Marijuana prohibitionists in three states are now waging battles to convince courts to overturn voter-approved legalization measures. These efforts come after opponents in one state succeeded in blocking voters from even getting a chance to decide on cannabis reform.

/ FEDERAL

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, in a consenting opinion in a case striking down coronavirus restrictions on religious gatherings, wrote, “In recent months, certain other Governors have issued similar edicts. At the flick of a pen, they have asserted the right to privilege restaurants, marijuana dispensaries, and casinos over churches, mosques, and temples.”

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security addressed public comments on using marijuana offenses as bars to asylum eligibility.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) tweeted, “The President should use the pardon power to redress manifest injustices, not shamelessly cover up the corruption that touched the core of this Administration. I hope President-elect Biden will use clemency to help right the wrongs of our misguided ‘war on drugs.'”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “I agree with @NewJerseyOAG that it’s only fair to suspend marijuana possession related cases in light of the November referendum.”

/ STATES

Kentucky’s House speaker said it’s not clear where newly elected members stand on medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at where some incoming Connecticut lawmakers stand on legalizing marijuana.

Alaska regulators finalized rules on marijuana quality control.

A California appeals court ruled that “lawful possession of marijuana in a vehicle does not provide probable cause to search the vehicle.”

North Carolina published a list of registered hemp processors.

Utah regulators released a video on how to become a registered medical cannabis patient.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday.


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.

/ LOCAL

The Pennington County, South Dakota Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page’s rating is dropping amid complaints about the sheriff’s role in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law.

Richmond, Virginia’s mayor tweeted, ” It is past time to fully legalize marijuana and I hope the General Assembly acts quickly to get this done.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Colombian Senate committee approved a marijuana legalization bill.

The Vancouver, Canada City Council unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by the mayor that requests a federal exemption to decriminalize drug possession.

The Manitoba, Canada government introduced legislation to create a new license category for marijuana and liquor delivery services.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “preliminary clinical trials also support the efficacy of CBD as an anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antidepressant, and more importantly, a positive risk-benefit profile.”

A study identified the “first clear evidence for the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site,” concluding that “Datura was ingested in the cave and that the rock painting represents the plant itself, serving to codify communal rituals involving this powerful entheogen.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws filed to intervene against a lawsuit from police officials who are seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. entered into a strategic supply agreement with Israeli company Cantek Holdings.

Harborside Inc. shareholders approved new board members for the company.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Nas narrates a new 30-second ad for Weedmaps.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Trump gets list of cannabis prisoners for clemency push (Newsletter: November 26, 2020)

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CT lawmakers could put legal marijuana on ballot; NJ AG: adjourn cannabis cases; Prosecutors’ memo on dropping marijuana charges

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Republican lawmakers and celebrities like Kevin Garnett sent a letter urging President Trump to free people who are serving time in federal prison for marijuana. Organizers say the office of Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner asked them for a specific list of clemency candidates, which they attached to the letter.

Connecticut’s incoming House speaker said that if there aren’t enough votes in the legislature to pass marijuana legalization in 2021, lawmakers will put it on the ballot for voters to decide.

New Jersey’s attorney general issued a directive telling prosecutors to suspend most marijuana possession cases.

  • “Fairness demands that we suspend prosecution of marijuana possession-related cases while we await direction from the Legislature on the parameters for decriminalization of marijuana and legalization of regulated adult-use cannabis. It simply does not make sense or serve justice to proceed with prosecutions on charges that may be foreclosed soon through legislative action.”

Days earlier, a New Jersey prosecutor sent a memo to colleagues across the state urging them to stop pursuing most marijuana cases while lawmakers work out the details of legal cannabis sales legislation.

  • “The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict, but to see that justice is done.”

/ FEDERAL

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) filed a resolution condemning police brutality that recognizes that the U.S., “especially under the auspices of the wars on drugs and global terrorism, has in recent decades dramatically increased its influence on the tactics, equipment, and purpose of policing around the world.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “In red and blue states alike, voters sent a clear message: we must END the war on drugs. It’s time to legalize marijuana, expunge the records of those serving time for it, and ensure BIPOC communities that have been disproportionately harmed own the profits of this new industry.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “In PA, you can get yourself a curbside, ready-to-drink mojito the size of a gas can and a criminal record for life if you sip a little weed. That’s freedom.”

A New Jersey court said regulators erred in rejecting medical cannabis business license applications and that its process lacked transparency.

California regulators are proposing emergency rules requiring marijuana businesses to post unique QR code certificates in storefront windows and carry them while transporting or delivering cannabis.

Alaska regulators are proposing rules on reinstating marijuana business licenses after a failure to renew.

Massachusetts regulators may be facing a lawsuit over marijuana delivery rules they are poised to enact next week.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is concerned that passage of two drug policy reform ballot measures this month will cause people to forage for psychedelic mushrooms in state forests.

Oklahoma regulators published a frequently asked questions document for medical cannabis business applicants.

Michigan regulators published a list of county allocations for medical cannabis operation and oversight grants.


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.

/ LOCAL

New York City’s mayor tweeted, “Congratulations to @AndreaSCousins and the @NYSenDems on achieving a historic supermajority! Now’s the time to be bold — legalize marijuana and ensure the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share for a real, equitable recovery for our city and state.”

Candidates for Orleans Parish, Louisiana district attorney were asked whether they would stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Malawi officials said the country is ready to start producing and processing cannabis for medical and industrial uses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “11 out of 13 studies reviewed observed varying degrees of pain relief using cannabis over opioids under certain specific conditions” and that “there appears to be some benefits in certain situations however cannabis certainly does not appear to be a drop-in replacement for opioids in chronic pain management.”

A study examined “the prevalence of cannabis use for migraine relief in a sample of cannabis users, and suggests that these migraineurs experience a high level of migraine relief from cannabis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Slovaks oppose lowering penalties for marijuana, 61%-36%.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board said California should watch and learn from the implementation of Oregon’s new drug decriminalization law.

/ BUSINESS

Vireo Health International, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $11.9 million.

Planet 13 Holdings Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $22.8 million and net income of $0.2 million.

Rubicon Organics Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of C$3.2 million and a net loss of C$4.3 million.

/ CULTURE

Actor Ben Affleck spoke about a bad experience he had with marijuana as a teenager.

Filmmaker Terry Gilliam said he wanted to try psilocybin mushrooms for the first time for his 80th birthday.

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