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Congress schedules two cannabis votes this week (Newsletter: May 7, 2019)



Feds’ memo on CBD-infused beer; Mexican gov’t backs drug decrim; CA statewide psilocybin effort begins; NZ legalization details; TX medical expansion

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The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee scheduled Wednesday votes on two bills concerning military veterans’ access to medical cannabis.

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau issued a memo concerning the legality of adding CBD to alcoholic beverages.

Mexico’s government released a plan calling drug prohibition “unsustainable” and suggesting that consumers should be provided with a “supply of doses with prescription.” The document talks about creating “sustainable economic alternatives” for people working in the currently illegal drug market.

New Zealand’s government announced the details of a 2020 marijuana legalization referendum, including that it will set the legal age a 20, allow home cultivation, license social use areas and ban advertising.

Activists in California have taken the first formal step toward qualifying a statewide ballot measure to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.

The Texas House of Representatives voted 121 – 23 to approve a bill expanding the state’s limited medical cannabis program by adding cancer, autism, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, multiple sclerosis and other disorders as qualifying conditions, among other changes.


South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and ending mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. He also said he wants to expunge prior cannabis convictions.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a presidential candidate, said he thinks Nevada is doing a “great job” regulating marijuana and that he wants it legalized nationwide.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Veterans shouldn’t have to break the law to get the medical marijuana that helps them treat chronic pain and PTSD from the battlefield. It’s well past time to end the federal prohibition of cannabis.”

Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX) tweeted a photo of an artwork titled “war on drugs” made by a student in his district.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act was the fifth-most-viewed bill on Congress’s website last week.


Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill concerning the transfer of marijuana tax revenue. He also said he supports a legislature-passed bill to defelonize drug possession.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders are set to meet on Wednesday to discuss how to move a marijuana legalization bill forward.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said he expects lawmakers to pass a marijuana legalization bill by the end of this month. But the House speaker said its passage is “not guaranteed.”

A political action committee linked to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) accepted at least $15,000 in contributions from a group seeking to start a medical cannabis cultivation operation.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) tweeted, “Last week, we took a bold step forward and introduced the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019. For years, marijuana possession has been a pipeline to prison for people of color. Now, we hope to replace that pipeline with jobs, equity, and pathways to prosperity.”

The attorneys general of Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands said the two territories will work together in implementing their new marijuana legalization laws.

The Tennessee House speaker’s chief of staff admitted using cocaine in a legislative office building.

The Vermont House Ways and Means Committee will consider a bill to legalize marijuana sales on Tuesday. Separately, newly revealed report shows that regulators caught a farm growing cannabis plants it said were hemp but which actually contained much higher than allowed THC concentrations.

The Texas Senate Agriculture Committee will consider a House-passed hemp bill on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania senators filed a bill to place a marijuana legalization referendum before voters.

New York lawmakers are working to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

Arizona activists are expected to launch an effort to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the state’s 2020 ballot by next month.

Two Florida medical cannabis companies filed administrative complaints about a settlement that allowed another firm to open more storefronts.

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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Chicago, Illinois’s mayor-elect tweeted in support of a pending marijuana legalization bill.


The Canadian House of Commons approved a bill to provide expedited record suspensions for marijuana possession convictions.

Ireland’s health minister said the government is considering producing its own medical cannabis supply.


The Open Cannabis Project, a nonprofit designed to protect the cannabis genome from patent trolls, has dissolved in response to a backlash over a breeding program launched by its former business partner Phylos Bioscience.


A review concluded that cannabinoids “offer novel therapeutic options for the treatment of cancer-related pain, not only for patients who do not respond to conventional therapies, but also for patients who prefer to try cannabis as a first treatment option.”

The. Food and Drug Administration granted “Fast Track” status for a synthetic CBD drug intended to treat symptoms associated with the genetic condition Fragile X.

Participants are being recruited for a study to “assess the safety and properties of a new oral formulation containing the two most common cannabinoids used for medicinal purposes.”


The Boston GLobe editorial board is calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is criticizing Illinois lawmakers for trying to rush to legalize marijuana during the final month of the session.

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board also wants the Illinois legislature to hold off on legalizing marijuana.


Ben & Jerry’s sent an email to its list highlighting programs to help people expunge marijuana convictions.

Marcato Capital Management LP, an investor in Acreage Holdings Inc., said it plans to vote against the company’s proposed deal with Canopy Growth Corp.

GW Pharmaceuticals’s stock rose on news of positive results from a phase-three trial of its CBD drug Epidiolex.

The New York Times looks at the confusing legality of CBD products.

Oklahoma medical cannabis sales exceeded $18 million in April.

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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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