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Congress to vote on legal cannabis in Sept., leader confirms (Newsletter: August 31, 2020)

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VA Senate approves marijuana bills; NE cop sues to keep medical cannabis off ballot; Prohibitionists reveal top VT lawmaker’s personal info

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) confirmed that congressional leadership intends to hold a September floor vote on a bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs. Marijuana Moment first reported that those plans were in the works back in July.

The Virginia Senate passed bills to stop police from searching people based on the odor of marijuana and allowing people to pay cannabis decriminalization fines up front instead of having to go to court. Separately, cannabis expungements legislation is advancing, and a gubernatorial candidate filed a bill to completely legalize possession.

A Nebraska sheriff is asking the state Supreme Court to block voters from getting a chance to decide on a medical cannabis ballot measure in November. The lawsuit filing comes just days after the secretary of state rejected the top local law enforcer’s arguments.

The Vermont chapter of prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana appears to have revealed the personal cell phone number of the state’s House speaker in a mailer urging people to call her as the legislature finalizes a legal cannabis sales bill. The postcard, which attempts to argue that marijuana damages the environment, also includes pictures of dead animals.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump granted a full pardon to a woman whose prison sentence for a drug offense he previously commuted. The new move came one day after she spoke at the Republican National Convention.

Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen tweeted, “❌ Biden & Trump will NOT end the war on drugs. ❌ They will NOT support legalization. ❌ They will NOT pass Breonna Taylor’s Law. They do not stand with you.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Senator McConnell: It is past time for the Senate to vote to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.” He also tweeted, “Senate must vote to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. I’ve been fighting in the Senate for Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act I introduced to end the federal prohibition, make criminal justice reform, & provide opportunities for minority- and women-owned small biz.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) criticized the Food and Drug Administration for undermining the CBD industry.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Our country’s cannabis laws have devastated communities of color. They’re wrong, discriminatory, and out of touch. We need reform. Let’s end the harmful war on drugs.”

Rhode Island Democratic congressional candidate Dylan Conley tweeted, “Tens of thousands of people sit in jails today for cannabis offenses while fellow citizens are taking advantage of curbside pick-up of cleverly packaged cannabis products from dispensaries owned by publicly traded corporations. The reality is unjust.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “FL will have a $5.4 billion financial shortfall the next two years. I support @CarlosGSmith & @JeffreyBrandes bipartisan legislation where projected revenue from marijuana sales could be $300 million annually. This is a no-brainer!”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It has been 340 days since Governor Tom Wolf and I called for immediate decriminalization of marijuana and a pathway to legalization. Tell your state reps and senators it’s time to act.”

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andru Volinsky tweeted, “NH must legalize marijuana like our NE neighbors. Legal marijuana supports racial justice & can fund schools through taxation. @GovChrisSununu absurdly opposes this in the Live Free or Die state.”

Mississippi’s secretary of state will hold public hearings across the state on a medical cannabis ballot measure.

Michigan’s attorney general’s office is reviewing more than 15 cases of people serving long prison sentences for marijuana in order to potentially recommend commutations.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner celebrated new rules allowing medical cannabis edibles, tweeting, “Florida’s patients deserve access to life-changing medical marijuana in all its forms. Today, we’re one step closer to that goal.”

Massachusetts regulators approved a proposal to let marijuana delivery businesses buy products from wholesalers and store them for future sales instead of just serving as couriers that purchase products on-demand from retailers for delivery. They also voted to make residents of other states seeking hospice and cancer treatment in the state eligible for medical cannabis, and approved other changes.

Oklahoma regulators hired a company to provide independent oversight of medical cannabis testing labs.

Arizona regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and dispensary data.

Washington State regulators warned about a scam targeting marijuana businesses and employees.

Maryland regulators extended the deadline for medical cannabis clinical director registration to November 1.


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

San Francisco, California regulators sent resources about pro bono legal assistance for marijuana business equity applicants.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian spending on legal marijuana outpaced the illicit market for the first time in the second quarter of the year.

Indonesia’s agriculture minister is revoking a previous declaration that marijuana is a medicinal plant.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “at-least-daily cannabis use was associated with a 16% increase in the hazard rate of injection cessation, and this effect was restricted to the cessation of injection opioids.”

An analysis of funding for marijuana research found that studies on the potential harms of cannabis received more than 20 times more support than those on its therapeutic potential.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealand voters oppose a marijuana legalization referendum, 46%-39%.

The Nebraska Democratic Party tweeted, “Great news! Medical marijuana initiative should be on the ballot, Nebraska secretary of state rules.”

/ BUSINESS

Compass Pathways Plc. is going public.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. received B Corporation certification.

Canopy Growth Corporation announced it is opening 10 marijuana stores in Alberta, Canada.

The Ontario Securities Commission plans to hold a hearing on allegations that Canada Cannabis Corp. committed fraud.

/ CULTURE

The New York Times looks at the growing number of military veterans taking part in ayahuasca ceremonies.

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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

NJ cannabis sales could launch soon after election (Newsletter: October 29, 2020)

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Former fed prosecutor’s SD legal marijuana ad; Poll: KS voters want legal cannabis; DEA & USPS launch “Drug Free USA Forever” stamp with Miss America

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The chairman of the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee said recreational marijuana sales could start just weeks after voter approval of a legalization referendum on Tuesday. That would happen through existing medical cannabis dispensaries under his plan.

A former federal prosecutor appears in a new ad calling on South Dakota voters to approve separate marijuana legalization and medical cannabis initiatives on the state’s ballot.

  • “One mistake—possession of even a gram of marijuana—can ruin a life. It could mean jail, a record, making it hard to get a job, an apartment or serve in the military.”

A new poll found that Kansas adults support legalizing marijuana by a three-to-one margin, 67%-22%.

The U.S. Postal Service, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Miss America, launched a new “Drug Free USA Forever” stamp.

/ FEDERAL

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) reiterated a pledge to decriminalize marijuana and expunge records during a campaign speech in Nevada.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding research on “the  risks that smoking or vaping tobacco or marijuana may have on acquiring the COVID-19 infection.”

The U.S. ambassador to Jamaica accused a person who tweeted about President Trump’s account at a Chinese bank of smoking too much marijuana.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Todd Young (R-IN) led a letter signed by eight other senators calling on the secretaries of state and the treasury to impose sanctions on senior commanders of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion for extrajudicial killings in that nation’s “war on drugs.”

West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin tweeted, “This isn’t a partisan issue- it’s a greed issue. People from all walks of life want to legalize cannabis, except for those who want to make money off our backs instead of empowering our farmers, small businesses, & working people. We need restorative #cannabis legalization NOW”

The Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate for a U.S. House seat whose death put into question the timing of the election reportedly told a friend that he was recruited to run for the seat by Republicans in an effort to draw votes away from Democrats.

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said that legalizing marijuana could help the state’s budget if Democrats win control of the state Senate.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sent a press release touting proposed rules that would allow CBD-infused foods and drinks. Separately, the state’s lieutenant governor reiterated that marijuana legalization will likely be part of the budget next year.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) said he wants the territory’s legal marijuana program to roll out on a slow and steady basis.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and his challengers debated marijuana policy. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers tweeted, “‘It is time decriminalize Marijuana in Indiana.’ That’s it, that’s the tweet.” He also tweeted, “Indiana needs to legalize marijuana for medicinal use to treat chronic, debilitating pain and treat PTSD for veterans. Just one of the many reasons why we need to take this step and take it quickly. And with your vote, we will!”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “4:20 PM. Time to legalize it.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor did an interview about his support for legalizing marijuana. He also promoted the opportunity for people to get their cannabis convictions pardoned, tweeting, “Don’t allow your old cannabis-related conviction to ruin your future. Follow this link for an expedited application for a pardon through the new program we created to make pardons quicker and easier for minor cannabis offenses.”

Mississippi’s secretary of state published a video explaining how to vote on the state’s medical cannabis ballot questions.

An Illinois judge blocked regulators from rescoring marijuana business license applications while a challenge to their process is considered in court.

Missouri’s top medical cannabis regulator said he thinks marijuana legalization will be on the state’s ballot in 2022. Separately, a judge scheduled a two-day trial starting on Thursday in a case challenging regulators’ medical marijuana licensing decisions.

The Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence is conducting oversight of the implementation of the state’s hemp law.

Colorado regulators approved additional hemp seed varieties.

California regulators sent a reminder about Monday’s deadline to apply for the cannabis-funded Community Reinvestment Grants program.

Washington State regulators sent a newsletter with updates on marijuana rules.


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 Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney tweeted, “Vacating low-level cannabis convictions is just one step in righting the wrongs of the war on drugs and reforming a system that has historically over-criminalized Black and Brown communities.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s health minister and minister of state for natural resources backed a now-shelved plan to transform state-owned bogs into cannabis farms.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of case reports concluded that “hemp-derived CBD in a transdermal cream provided significant symptom and pain relief for the patients described in this case series.”

A study found “no evidence of liver toxicity was observed in [cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract (CRCE) and methylsulfonylmethane] dosed mice.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New York City residents support legalizing marijuana, 61%-30%.

The Mississippi Municipal League is opposing the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures.

NORML rescinded an Outstanding Cannabis Advocate award it gave to its Wisconsin chapter leader after it received a sexual harassment complaint about him.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture filed comments expressing concerns with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s proposed hemp rules.

/ BUSINESS

4Front Ventures Corp. entered into a sale and leaseback agreement with Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. for two of its Massachusetts and Washington State cultivation and production facilities.

TILT Holdings Inc. preliminarily reported quarterly revenue of $40-$41 million

Akerna Corp. is seeking to raise approximately $12 million with an offering of 5 million shares of common stock at a price of $2.40 per share.

Canopy Growth Corporation’s Spectrum Therapeutics division made a $50,000 donation to Wounded Warriors Canada.

/ CULTURE

Actress Rosario Dawson tweeted, “As a new New Jersey voter I got to vote for both @CoryBooker and the legalization of marijuana. 21st century here we come! Ancient natural medicines should be available and I’m glad my love and my senator is fighting for it nationwide. #expungetherecords”

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Newsletter

MS city sues to block medical cannabis measure (Newsletter: October 28, 2020)

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ID 2022 marijuana initiative filed; Schumer: Legal cannabis if Dems win; NJ lawmakers OK marijuana workers comp bill; Poll: NYers back legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The city of Madison, Mississippi is asking the state Supreme Court to block the medical cannabis ballot measures that voters are set to decide on next week. It is the latest in a string of last-minute legal challenges to cannabis initiatives in several states.

Idaho medical cannabis activists filed an initiative that they hope to get on the state’s 2022 ballot. They tried this year with virtually identical language but were impeded by the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures. This time they’ll have 18 months to petition.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a new interview that he will put marijuana legalization up for a floor vote if Democrats win control of the chamber in next week’s elections.

  • “I’m a big fighter for racial justice, and the marijuana laws have been one of the biggest examples of racial injustice, and so to change them makes sense. And that fits in with all of the movement now to bring equality in the policing, in economics and in everything else. Our bill is, in a certain sense, at the nexus of racial justice, individual freedom and states’ rights.”

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a bill requiring workers’ compensation and personal injury protection plans to cover the costs of medical cannabis.

A new poll found that New York residents support legalizing marijuana by a two-to-one margin. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently said he thinks the need for economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic will encourage the state to legalize cannabis “soon.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request from a Minnesota Republican congressional candidate to delay the election following the death of the Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweed, “The daily refrain for COVID is ‘follow the science.’ Science behind marijuana raises ‘red flags’ that deserve further study. Psychosis, links to schizophrenia, links to addiction, public safety and even climate issues. More science and more facts needed on marijuana.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) spoke about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement in a Senate floor speech about the vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Indiana Democratic congressional candidate Andy Ruff tweeted, “Our neighbors in MI and IL have chosen to capture hundreds of millions in tax revenue & lessen the burden on police by legalizing marijuana. Republicans in IN have chosen to defund public education & criminalize non-violent citizens. Hoosiers deserve better”

Mississippi Democratic congressional candidate Antonia Eliason tweeted, “A reminder that you have to vote first FOR either Initiative 65 or 65A and then also vote FOR 65. Both steps are required. Let’s legalize medical marijuana! #vote65”

/ STATES

Washington, D.C.’s mayor said she won’t be voting for the psychedelics decriminalization measure on the city’s ballot.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) defended his administration’s implementation of medical cannabis, but State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who is his Democratic challenger, tweeted, “$1.6 million diverted from veterans to cover legal fees for @GovParsonMO’s corrupt rollout of medical marijuana. 68 veterans dead from COVID on his watch. It’s obvious why Gov. Parson wants to distract from his own record — he knows he can’t defend it.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said the state’s marijuana businesses are “thriving.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Legalizing adult-use cannabis is: 🤜🏿🤛🏼Fiscally responsible. We can save the millions of dollars we spend prosecuting our taxpayers every year and avoid the associated loss of productivity while generating billions in new revenue. 🤜🏽🤛🏾Common sense. Call your legislators.”

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that workers’ compensation insurers cannot be required to pay for medical cannabis. Separately, regulators delayed adopting marijuana delivery rules and will hold a second public hearing on the issue on November 13.

New York regulators released proposed rules for CBD products that would allow infused foods and drinks.

Michigan regulators are hosting a marijuana social equity business resource workshop on Thursday.

The California Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on Friday.


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 Sahuarita, Arizona Town Council adopted a measure to ban recreational marijuana businesses.

The Rapid City, South Dakota School Board rejected a resolution opposing the state’s marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures.

The Des Moines, Iowa Marijuana Enforcement Task Force will meet on Wednesday.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor tweeted, “Isn’t it time we become intellectually honest and morally consistent in Missouri and legalize marijuana as a closely-regulated product for all recreational use?”

/ INTERNATIONAL

An exit poll conducted by Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky found broad voter support for legalizing medical cannabis.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is being urged by some senators to release an opposition lawmaker who was jailed after being critical of the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “inhaled cannabis reduces self-reported pain severity by 42–49%” but that “these reductions appear to diminish across time, and patients use larger doses across time, suggesting that analgesic tolerance develops with continued use.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Democrtic Attorneys General Association tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana just makes sense in Indiana. It works to: 🟢 dismantle racist drug policies 🟢 alleviate pressure on law enforcement 🟢 aid in medical treatment for veterans & terminally ill, & 🟢 could net $170 MILLION+ in revenue.”

NORML is stepping up its call for Virginia lawmakers to legalize marijuana in the wake of reports of consumers being harmed from potentially tainted cannabis.

Portland Community College’s Community Legal & Educational Access & Referral Clinic and the Oregon Cannabis Association are holding an expungement event on Friday.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. filed a base shelf prospectus that will allow it to offer up to $500 million worth of common shares, preferred shares, warrants, subscription receipts and debt securities.

/ CULTURE

Nas is narrating a new BET marijuana documentary.

Errol Morris has a new documentary about Timothy Leary’s love life.

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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.
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SD poll shows cannabis measures winning (Newsletter: October 27, 2020)

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Harris plans candid marijuana feedback for Biden; DEA seeks contractor to burn cannabis; TN GOP lawmaker’s medical marijuana ad

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said on 60 Minutes that she has a “deal” with Joe Biden to candidly share feedback when they disagree, including on marijuana legalization. Separately, she met with rapper Killer Mike to discuss cannabis as a “priority for biz and jobs” on Friday.

  • “What I will do—and I promise you this and this is what Joe wants me to do, this was part of our deal—I will always share with him my lived experience as it relates to any issue that we confront. I promised Joe that I will give him that perspective and always be honest with him.”

A new poll shows that South Dakota likely voters support the state’s marijuana legalization ballot initiative, 51%-44%, and that a separate medical cannabis measure leads, 74%-23%.

Tennessee state Sen. Steve Dickerson (R) released a TV ad touting his support for medical cannabis and criminal justice reform.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is looking to hire a contractor capable of burning “at least” 1,000 pounds of marijuana an hour for eight hours straight.

/ FEDERAL

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service warned Japan-based service members against trying the popular Coca-Cola product Chill Out because it contains hemp.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tweeted, “Industrial hemp production is a tremendous opportunity for our region’s farming families, and this bill implements the opportunities afforded by the 2018 Farm Bill to benefit our state’s agriculture sector and grow this new market.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Pam Keith released a video about the inconsistency of keeping marijuana illegal while cigarettes and alcohol are legal.

Texas Republican congressional candidate Tre Pennie met with marijuana industry operators.

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I want to legalize cannabis, turn it into a cash crop for our District 1 farmers, tax the sale of cannabis & use that revenue to rebuild our infrastructure!”

/ STATES

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) spoke about her opposition to the marijuana reform measures on her state’s ballot.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “It’s time to legalize adult-use marijuana in New Jersey – for social justice, for racial justice, and for economic justice.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Legal adult-use cannabis is criminal justice reform. Thousands of 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.”

Indiana Democratic attorney general candidate Jacob Weinzapfel called for marijuana legalization.

Kentucky regulators filed rules that allow hemp-derived CBD products as dietary supplements and food and beverage additives.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee met.

Maryland’s Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission will meet on Tuesday.

Washington State regulators will meet on Wednesday.

Colorado regulators are hosting a town hall on marijuana sustainability issues on Thursday.


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

Detroit, Michigan’s mayor and members of the City Council unveiled a plan to regulate marijuana businesses, including consumption lounges.

Denver, Colorado police sent an alert about attempts to defraud marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the government will be introducing marijuana decriminalization legislation.

The European Parliament voted to increase the THC limit for hemp from 0.2% to 0.3%.

A court in Mexico City, Mexico granted protections to a medical cannabis patient.

The Isle of Man is seeking feedback on a proposal to allow cannabis and hemp exports.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “most older adults in the sample initiated cannabis use after the age of 60 years and used it primarily for medical purposes to treat pain, sleep disturbance, anxiety, and/or depression.”

A study found that “although we found some evidence of an association between [medical marijuana] legalization and self-reported driving after marijuana use, our results provide only mixed support for the hypothesis that permissive marijuana policies are associated with higher odds of self-reported driving after marijuana use.”

/ BUSINESS

COMPASS Pathways plc officials rang the Nasdaq opening bell on Monday.

Companies involved in designing, manufacturing, distributing and selling KushyPunch gummies are being sued by the parents of a woman who died after allegedly ingesting them.

Employees at Authentic 909 voted to ratify a labor agreement with the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Harborside Inc. proposed an alternate slate of nominees for possible election to its board of directors.

/ CULTURE

Seth Rogen spoke about his obsession with marijuana and his involvement in the cannabis industry.

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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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