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Congress to vote on ending cannabis prohibition within ‘weeks’ (Newsletter: March 28, 2019)

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Marijuana banking bill and amendments debated; NH committee approves legalization; Booker would consider mass pardons and commutations as president

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) said that the chamber will vote on legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition “within the next several weeks.”

  • “We will guide it to the House floor for a vote, which I think it will pass with an overwhelming vote—Democrats and I think a lot of Republicans as well. If we have a strong bipartisan vote that will increase the pressure on the Senate to do something.”

The House Financial Services Committee held an hours-long debate on marijuana banking legislation, taking voice votes on several amendments. The panel will reconvene Thursday morning to hold roll call votes on the amendments and on passage of the bill.

The New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee approved a marijuana legalization bill. That panel is where cannabis proposals have gone to die in past sessions.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate,  said he would “absolutely” consider issuing mass pardons and commutations for marijuana if elected to the White House.

  • “If I am your president I am going to fight to make sure that we have sane drug laws.”

/ FEDERAL

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is proposing decriminalizing possession of opioids.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, compared the state-by-state legalization of marijuana to the prior repeal of federal alcohol prohibition.

The U.S. attorney for Nevada refused to rule out marijuana prosecutions.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) touted his work on hemp legalization in an op-ed.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “I look forward to having the #SAFEBanking Act marked up & voted on today by the House Fin. Services Cmte. Legal, legitimate businesses are forced to operate on a cash-only basis creating a serious public safety risk for employees, businesses & communities.”

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) tweeted that “the FDA’s lack of regulatory clarity has left hemp growers, manufacturers, and states all in limbo midstream.” She also thanked Maine’s governor for signing a CBD bill.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) tweeted, via the Congressional Black Caucus, “I firmly believe in restorative justice that acknowledges the harms of the past. The Next Step Act, which I introduced with Senator Booker, is one example, and my resolution on the failed War on Drugs, H.Res.933 is another.”

The House marijuana banking bill got eight new cosponsors, for a total of 152.

/ STATES

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill to clarify that production and sale of hemp-derived CBD-infused food products are legal.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) vetoed a bill allowing vertical integration in the medical cannabis industry.

Connecticut’s House speaker spoke about his support for marijuana legalization.

The Missouri House of Representatives gave third reading approval to a bill to expunge certain marijuana convictions.

The Georgia Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee approved a bill to allow sales of CBD medical cannabis oil, but reduced the number of allowed dispensaries from a prior version.

The Colorado House Business Affairs Committee held a hearing on a bill to allow marijuana delivery services.

The Tennessee House Criminal Justice Committee held a hearing on bills to decriminalize marijuana and provide protections to out-of-state medical cannabis patients.

Massachusetts regulators are investigating whether marijuana companies are violating rules on the number of licenses allowed to be controlled or owned by a single entity.

The Washington State Department of Corrections stopped testing incoming inmates for marijuana.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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

Los Angeles, California’s mayor is considering dedicating tens of millions of dollars to fund a crackdown against unlicensed marijuana businesses. The City Council president supports the idea.

Dayton, Ohio marijuana possession charges declined significantly following the passage of a local decriminalization measure.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexican regulators revoked cannabis guidelines instituted under the prior administration.

Malaysia’s health minister said the government is open to medical cannabis research.

/ ADVOCACY

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a contractor to coordinate its legalization efforts in Connecticut.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study indicated that “Cannabis sativa L. supplementation accelerates the motor functions recovery after nerve compression injury.”

A study found that “prenatal cannabis exposure after, but not before, maternal knowledge of pregnancy may be associated with a small increase in psychosis proneness during middle childhood.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Pennsylvania voters support legalizing marijuana, 59%-34%.

/ BUSINESS

Walgreens announced that it will begin selling CBD products.

/ CULTURE

Filmmaker Jordan Peele spoke about his marijuana consumption.

Actor Chris Evans said he has “chilled out on weed” because “it zaps your motivation” and “apathy kind of bleeds in.”

In what could be a preemptively announced April Fool’s joke, actor Charlie Sheen is reportedly launching a marijuana brand called “Sheenius” on April 1.

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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.)

Newsletter

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

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

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

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.

/ FEDERAL

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.”

/ STATES

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.

/ LOCAL

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.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

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

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

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.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

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.

/ BUSINESS

Lift & Co. Corp. filed for bankruptcy.

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

/ CULTURE

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.

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.
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Newsletter

VT legal cannabis sales bill finalized (Newsletter: September 17, 2020)

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Lawmakers push SCOTUS to take marijuana case; MS’s confusing cannabis ballot Qs; Record IL sales; PA lt. gov. challenges NJ to grow better marijuana

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Vermont House of Representatives Senate negotiators have finally reached a deal on a bill to legalize marijuana sales. The full House is expected to vote on the final proposal as soon as Thursday, with the Senate likely sending it to the governor’s desk next week.

Seven members of Congress and several reform groups filed briefs urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case against the Drug Enforcement Administration that challenges marijuana’s federally restricted classification.

  • The lawmakers’ brief argues the Court needs to act because enacting marijuana reform through legislation is “made practically impossible by complicated political realities”—a point that could be undermined if the House approves a cannabis descheduling bill next week.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), appearing at a rally alongside Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said that farmers in his state can grow better marijuana than those in New Jersey can, and that’s one reason lawmakers should hurry up and legalize it before voters next door in the Garden State do so.

The way medical cannabis appears on Mississippi’s ballot is a confusing, two-step set of questions. And that was exactly the intent of lawmakers who advanced a competing measure to undermine support for the activist-driven original, advocates say.

Illinois set a new monthly marijuana sales record again in August, with more than 1.3 million cannabis products sold, amounting to nearly $64 million in total sales— with out-of-state visitors accounting for more than $17 million of that.

/ FEDERAL

Officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration met with representatives of the National Industrial Hemp Council, who shared concerns about the agency’s new proposed hemp rules.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “There are far too many racial disparities in our criminal justice system. We must keep fighting for change. If Democrats retake the Senate, I am going to do EVERYTHING I can to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and undo harms of the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “Cannabis should be legalized & records should be expunged ASAP. It’s strange that the more conservative step of decriminalization is seen by some as too controversial or ‘risky.’ Each day we postpone is a day we let communities be ravaged & profiled. It must end. #LegalizeIt”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) tweeted, “I’ve been a long-time supporter of legalizing marijuana, and the MORE Act gets us one step closer. Looking forward to voting YES.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) tweeted, “In our state the price for the failed drug war has been paid disproportionately by Black and Latino Texans. We can do much better. @RolandForTexas is running for the Texas Senate and has put cannabis legalization at the forefront of his campaign.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got three new cosponsors for a total of 111.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) team plans to hold meetings with stakeholders who are concerned about the state’s marijuana business licensing process.

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee approved a House-passed bill to prevent police from conducting searches based on the smell of marijuana.

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled that a rejected medical cannabis business license applicant can see its application scores.

California regulators released a unified marijuana license search tool.

Washington State’s WorkSource program is blocking some job listings for not only marijuana businesses, but also for people who work in the cannabis industry and are looking to hire child care workers.

Colorado regulators adopted emergency coronavirus-related rules for marijuana businesses.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee’s Seed Certification Subcommittee will meet on September 23.

Michigan regulators are holding a marijuana business social equity resource workshop on September 24.


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

Portland, Maine officials sent a reminder that marijuana businesses must be licensed to operate in the city.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Barbados’s government revealed details of a marijuana decriminalization plan.

A Colombian House committee approved a bill to allow marijuana use.

Brazilian lawmakers heard presentations from Canadian and Israeli lawmakers about their countries’ experiences with medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study identified a “significant substitution effect between light cannabis and anxiolytics, sedatives, opioids, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.”

The first clinical trial on psilocybin therapy with simultaneous administration and one-on-one patient support to treat depression in cancer patients was launched.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Family Research Council and other groups sent a letter calling on House leadership to cancel a planned vote to federally legalize marijuana.

The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis projected that legalizing marijuana would boost the state’s GDP by between $953 million and $1.7 billion and generate $188 to $223 million in new tax revenue for the state in the fifth year of sales, while creating more than 10,000 jobs within three years.

Green Flower for Business, Foundation of Cannabis Unified Standards and Association of Food and Drug Officials are partnering to train state and local regulators about cannabis issues.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute published a report highlighting what it says is a “double standard” whereby marijuana is treated more favorably than nicotine.

/ BUSINESS

Playboy launched a line of CBD products.

AdvisorShares and CB1 Capital Management LLC formed a strategic partnership.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. acquired Pennsylvania medical cannabis businesses.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced it got an additional $20 million from lenders and investors.

Canopy Rivers Inc. announced that its joint venture PharmHouse Inc. received creditor protection from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Vireo Health changed the name of its Minnesota Medical Solutions cannabis dispensaries to Green Goods.

A lawsuit against Travis and Leah Maurer over a venture to start a marijuana cultivation operation and dispensary that was filed by Randy Quast has been dismissed in the couple’s favor.

Terrapin donated $30,000 to help Boulder, Colorado’s live music venues impacted by coronavirus-related closures.

/ CULTURE

Musician David Crosby tweeted, “If smoking marijuana causes short-term memory loss, what does smoking marijuana do?”

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency tweeted, “CBD from hemp extract is not necessarily safer than a marijuana extract.”

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House cannabis vote schedule ‘hasn’t changed’ despite concerns (Newsletter: September 16, 2020)

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Harris talks marijuana decrim; CDC meets with medical cannabis patients; TX GOP candidate runs on legalization; Booker pushes descheduling vote

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told Marijuana Moment the “schedule hasn’t changed” for a planned vote on a federal marijuana legalization bill next week despite rumblings of concern from moderate Democrats. Hoyer himself said, though, that while he supports the proposal, “we’ve got to get the CR and COVID-19 done, because they’re absolutely critical to the welfare of our country,” referring to legislation to keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown.

  • Meanwhile, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) said the cannabis issue didn’t come up on a caucus call today. And Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the lead sponsor of the bill, said he wants the vote to proceed as planned, while Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) indicated that a delay would be OK.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) held a virtual meeting to build support for the planned House vote to federally legalize marijuana.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) argued that a Joe Biden administration won’t be “half-steppin’” with “incrementalism” but she also stopped short of pledging marijuana legalization, saying they would only decriminalize cannabis and expunge prior records.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been meeting with medical cannabis patients as part of a broader series of listening sessions on alternative pain treatments.

Texas Republican congressional candidate Tre Pennie is calling for federal cannabis legalization and investments in communities harmed by the war on drugs, and he shared his plan exclusively with Marijuana Moment.

  • “If done right—with proper federal regulation, oversight, and training, we can begin to lift failing communities out of poverty, reduce minority incarceration rates related to marijuana offenses and create sustainable markets resistant to online marketplace monopolies.”

/ FEDERAL

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “The time has come to decriminalize marijuana in this country.” He also tweeted, “I’m fighting for the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act in the Senate. ✔️ It ends federal prohibition. ✔️ It addresses much-needed criminal justice reforms. ✔️ It provides opportunities for minority- and women-owned small businesses.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted, “It’s past time for Congress to bring our country’s harmful and outdated marijuana laws into the 21st century. Senate Democrats are committed to doing just that.”

West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin tweeted, “The addiction epidemic has taken too many lives in WV & across this nation. Now with our economy struggling, we are seeing even MORE deaths of despair. We can revitalize and diversify our economy AND present new alternative treatments by legalizing #cannabis & enacting #M4A”

New York Democratic congressional candidate Mondaire Jones tweeted, “Let’s legalize it, Senator. 2021 ✊🏿”

Indiana Democratic congressional candidate Andy Ruff tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana leaves the supply side illegal and does nothing to help Hoosier farmers. That’s why I support full LEGALIZATION. It gives #IN09 much needed tax revenue AND allows our ag community to tap into its unsurpassed knowledge and skills.”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said there’s been no date set for a marijuana business licensing tiebreaking lottery and that he’s focused on “fairness” and getting “equitable results.” Regulators said they are continuing to “review questions” that have been raised about the process.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) denied allegations in a House Democratic report that his office interfered with lawmakers’ investigation into the state’s medical cannabis program.

The Vermont House of Representatives gave its final approval to a bill to facilitate marijuana expungements and allow people to possess and grow more cannabis without the threat of jail time.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments in a case on whether redacted portions of medical cannabis business license applications should be disclosed.

The Montana commissioner of political practices is probing North Fund, which has given more than $2.9 million to a marijuana legalization campaign in the state.

Washington, D.C. continues to see racial disparities in marijuana enforcement under legalization.

Iowa regulators published a market analysis of the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

Alaska regulators will discuss marijuana enforcement issues on Wednesday.

Oregon regulators released an updated list of approved pesticides for cannabis.

Maine regulators released summaries of the marijuana sampling and testing processes.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee’s Patient Advocacy Subcommittee will meet on September 21.


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

A Dallas, Texas City Council member is planning to introduce a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Oakland, California is funding a cannabis manufacturing incubator for social equity operators.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern explained why she won’t reveal how she plans to vote on the country’s marijuana legalization referendum.

Colombian lawmakers debated marijuana legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD increases serotonin receptor activity in crayfish as seen with SSRIs, thus could be of use in treating anxiety.”

The National Science Foundation awarded a three-year, $591,628 grant to study new uses for hemp.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Nebraska Democratic Party tweeted about ongoing efforts to legalize medical cannabis in the state.

The Washington Post editorial board cheered Virginia lawmakers’ passage of legislation preventing police from conducting searches based on the smell of marijuana alone.

Sensible Change MN released a voter guide for Minnesota’s upcoming legislative elections.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp., Canopy Rivers Inc. and TerrAscend Corp. are being sued for allegedly committing fraud, civil conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duty, among other things, as part of a cannabis supply agreement.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. announced a dividend of $1.17 per share of common stock.

A lawsuit alleging that Canna Brand Solutions caused a vaping-related lung illness was dismissed by a Washington State judge.

/ CULTURE

Kendall Jenner admitted that she is a “stoner.”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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.
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