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Congress to vote on studying dispensary cannabis today (Newsletter: September 9, 2020)

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IA to ask for DEA marijuana exemption; ME issues 1st cannabis licenses; Biden pledges forced drug treatment; USDA funds studies on hemp as cattle feed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A marijuana research bill up for a vote in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday is likely to be amended to finally let scientists study the same cannabis that consumers get from state-legal businesses.

The Iowa Department of Public Health plans to apply for a formal exemption from federal marijuana prohibition in order to address impediments its limited medical cannabis law is encountering.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden discussed his view that people convicted of low-level drug offenses should be forced to enroll in mandatory treatment programs in order to stay out of jail. His campaign didn’t respond to Marijuana Moment’s request for clarification about whether that applies to people caught with cannabis.

  • “Mandatory. They’ve got to go to mandatory rehab, but it’s not part of the record when they get out if they finish it.”

Maine regulators issued the state’s first marijuana business licenses—nearly four years after voters approved a legalization ballot measure. Legal cannabis sales are set to begin next month.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is funding research on whether hemp-based cattle feed could lead to unacceptable concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids in milk or meat.

/ FEDERAL

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci said he thinks marijuana be legalized during the next presidential term regardless of who wins the election.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana will be a big step toward ending the failed “war on drugs” that contributed to institutionalized racism and the criminal justice epidemic. It’s about time we right this wrong.”

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) tweeted, “Despite its legalization in California, the illegal activity involving marijuana does not seem to have dropped.”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said he is open to changes to the state’s marijuana legalization law to better ensure equity in the cannabis industry.

Former Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) authored an op-ed urging voters to reject a medical cannabis ballot measure.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “There’s already a thriving marijuana market in Pa. Why not make it legal, why not make it safe and why not make it taxable to help Pa. get back on its feet?”

A Texas judge extended a temporary restraining order against a smokable hemp ban until September 14.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the Port Huron city clerk to certify a local ballot measure to allow marijuana businesses/

An Oregon senator authored an op-ed endorsing a ballot measure to legalize psilocybin therapy.

Wisconsin regulators tweeted about the reopening of a public comment period on federal hemp 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

Houston, Texas officials adopted a testing method to differentiate between marijuana and hemp.

San Antonio, Texas’s cite and release program led to a 35% reduction in the number of arrests for small amounts of marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Colombian marijuana reform proposal survived an attempt to kill it by just one vote.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines cabinet approved the country’s first medical cannabis dispensary.

Philippine regulators sent a warning about cannabis vaping products.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD possesses anti-arthritic activity and might ameliorate arthritis via targeting synovial fibroblasts under inflammatory conditions.”

A study found that “the main difference in the subjective effects of marijuana and concentrates is in terms of their positive effects, with marijuana producing greater positive effects than concentrates” and that “negative effects of marijuana and concentrates were small, suggesting that extreme negative effects are unlikely for regular cannabis users.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance’s new executive director began her tenure.

The Tennessee Democratic Party tweeted, “The failed War on Drugs has torn Black families apart; they deserve restorative justice. That means a fair release from prison: support services and equitable probation. As a Senator, Marquita Bradshaw will push for restorative justice.”

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. named a new CEO and projected that its quarterly revenue will be between $70 million and $72 million.

Columbia Care Inc. announced plans to acquire Project Cannabis for approximately $57 million in stock and $12 million in cash.

WeedMD is being accused of creating a “chill” effect by allegedly firing a union organizer without cause.

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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.

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

First VA legal cannabis hearing (Newsletter: January 18, 2021)

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USDA’s final hemp rule; Feds launch marijuana testing program; MA city decriminalized psychedelics; ND cannabis decrim bill

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Cannabis in 2021: Will federal prohibition finally fall? Will growing momentum at the state level influence national policy changes? Which states will be next to experiment with reform?

  • Dean Codgen: “After having MM in my inbox for several years, I decided to do what I could to help disseminate the facts and data to any and all who need or want to know the truth about what is going on in the sphere of cannabis.”

If you support us on Patreon, you’ll not just support us as we dig into these questions but you’ll have access to tools like our Bill Tracker to help you keep an eye on developments yourself. Join us for $25/month here: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its final rules to regulate hemp. The update addresses some—but not all—concerns that industry stakeholders raised about the initial rules.

The Virginia Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee held an initial hearing on a marijuana legalization bill that was introduced by the governor and top legislative leaders just two days prior. More hearings in a new cannabis-focused subcommittee, as well as a vote in the full panel, are scheduled for this week.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology—a federal agency—is sending marijuana and hemp samples to labs around the world to help determine how good they are at testing for cannabinoid content and contaminants. Labs can enroll until February 5.

The Somerville, Massachusetts City Council unanimously approved a measure to decriminalize psychedelics. Several other cities have already passed similar entheogen policies as part of what is now a growing national movement.

North Dakota lawmakers filed a bill to significantly expand the decriminalization of marijuana in the state. Meanwhile, activists are working to put a full cannabis legalization measure on the 2022 ballot.

/ FEDERAL

The National Credit Union Administration said it will continue to educate financial services providers about working with hemp businesses in 2021.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders met to discuss outstanding disagreements about marijuana legalization implementation legislation, but did not reach a deal.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker included the legalization of marijuana and related pardons and expungements in a Twitter thread celebrating accomplishments from his first two years in office.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) received nearly 100 applications from people who want to serve on the state’s new marijuana regulatory body.

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Legalization would create new jobs, raise revenue, and take us a step closer to building a more equitable New York. It’s past time. Let’s get this done.”

South Dakota assistant attorneys general argued in a court brief defending the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization measure that a “well-regulated market” can undercut the illegal cannabis market.

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the smell of marijuana in a rental car driving from Oregon to Colorado is not reasonable suspicion for a search.

A California judge ruled that regulators have 30 days to inform marijuana businesses that they can no longer advertise with billboards on highways that cross state lines.

New Mexico regulators are again being sued by a medical cannabis company over plant limits.

Colorado regulators announced rulemaking on marijuana business license types and testing. They also sent a bulletin about escalating reports of fraud against cannabis businesses.

Nebraska lawmakers filed legislation to legalize marijuana and medical cannabis.

A Florida representative plans to file a bill to legalize psilocybin therapy.

Washington State regulators announced a new Cannabis Compliance Consultant Team.

Ohio regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.

Kansas regulators will hold a public hearing on hemp regulations on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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 Jefferson County, Washington Board of Commissioners heard public testimony about decriminalizing psychedelics that came in response to a recent psilocybin arrest.

/ INTERNATIONAL

French lawmakers are conducting a citizen consultation on recreational marijuana.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health is launching a website to assist medical cannabis and hemp businesses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD has the potential to inhibit melanoma cell growth in vertebrates, namely mice.”

A study found that “community level racial or income disparities in access to medical cannabis were not observed in Maryland” but that “access to medical cannabis, based on ability to pay out of pocket for the product, may be uneven.”

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs raised$125 million with an offering of subordinate voting shares.

Agri-Kind LLC accused a fired employee of hacking its networks for ransom.

Feuerstein Kulick LLP is urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by an Arkansas medical cannabis company that claims it misrepresented itself as having expertise in the industry.

Michigan retailers sold $101 million worth of legal marijuana products in December, for a total of $984.6 million in 2020.

/ CULTURE

UFC officials are interested in enrolling their fighters in psychedelic therapy trials at John Hopkins University.

“High Maintenance” will not return to HBO for a fifth season.

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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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Newsletter

Feds to compile cannabis tax revenue data (Newsletter: January 15, 2021)

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VA gov slams racist marijuana laws; Incoming RI gov backs legal cannabis but not state stores; USDA “superior” hemp grant; $2B in CO sales in 2020

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BREAKING: Journalism is often consumed for free, but costs money to produce! While this newsletter is proudly sent without cost to you, our ability to send it each day depends on the financial support of readers who can afford to give it. So if you’ve got a few dollars to spare each month and believe in the work we do, please consider joining us on Patreon today.

  • Wally Wong of Meadow Software: “Marijuana Moment is an invaluable, non-partisan cannabis resource. It’s the place I come for unbiased news and reporting on all cannabis news. The rest is speculation.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it plans to start collecting and compiling data on state marijuana tax revenue.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) used his State of the Commonwealth speech to highlight the racist history of marijuana prohibition and the need to legalize cannabis while expunging past records.

  • “That’s how the system was set up generations ago. In fact, one of the early leaders of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency was clear that marijuana laws should be written explicitly to target people of color. And so they were, and they’ve been targeting people for years.”

Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D), who will become governor if current Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is confirmed as U.S. commerce secretary, said for the first time that he supports legalizing marijuana. He also said that he backs an “entrepreneurial strategy”of licensing private businesses  instead of Raimondo’s state-run stores plan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making grant money available to support the “breeding, testing and development” of “superior performing” hemp varieties.

Colorado retailers sold more than $2 billion worth of legal marijuana products in 2020. Several other states also saw huge cannabis sales totals last year.

/ FEDERAL

A summary of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus economic recovery plan does not mention cannabis banking, even though House and Senate Democrats included the reform in their COVID packages last year.

/ STATES

A candidate for Rhode Island lieutenant governor resigned from the board of a company seeking a medical cannabis dispensary license.

Oregon’s Legislative Black, Indigenous, & People of Color Caucus included a cannabis equity bill in its 2021 legislative agenda.

The chairman of Missouri’s House Special Committee on Government Oversight said the panel could renew its investigation of the state’s medical cannabis licensing process.

California regulators proposed emergency rules to implement legislation on marijuana businesses’ access to banking services.

Michigan regulators are requiring hemp growers and processor-handlers to complete a report on research activities.

Washington State regulators are seeking participants for deliberative dialogue sessions on cannabis quality assurance testing.

Massachusetts marijuana regulators held their first meeting of the new year.

A Maryland delegate filed a bill to decriminalize drug paraphernalia.

A key New York senator spoke about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in 2021.

Nevada regulators will host a regulatory workshop on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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

Birmingham, Alabama’s mayor is publicizing a program to pardon people with misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions.

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang included his support for marijuana legalization on his campaign site’s Culture, Society and Nightlife section rather than the Criminal Justice section.

/ INTERNATIONAL

British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie said his government is still unclear about when the UK might give assent to a pending cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “users and non-users of marijuana did not have an association with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.”

A case study looks at a man who injected psilocybin mushroom tea, after which “cultures confirmed bacteremia (ultimately cultured as Brevibacillus) and fungemia (ultimately cultured as Psilocybe cubensis – i.e. the species of mushroom he had injected was now growing in his blood).”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance, National Harm Reduction Coalition and more than 200 other organizations sent a letter calling on the incoming Biden administration to focus drug policy on harm reduction strategies, including by withdrawing a federal lawsuit that seeks to block a safe consumption site for illegal drugs from opening.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs entered into an agreement to acquire Bluma Wellness Inc.

Aphria Inc. reported quarterly revenue of C$72.1 million and a net loss of C$120.6 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation  filed an early warning report regarding its acquisition of an option to purchase shares of TerrAscend Corp.

United Cannabis Corp.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy was thrown out by a judge.

/ CULTURE

The UFC and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will no longer punish fighters for testing positive for marijuana metabolites.

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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

VA gov files cannabis legalization bill (Newsletter: January 14, 2021)

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NM gov: legal marijuana a 2021 priority; Top TX lawmakers: Cannabis expansion on table; State drug decrim bills; Study: Marijuana reduces opioid use

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

Cannabis in 2021: Will federal prohibition finally fall? Will growing momentum at the state level influence national policy changes? Which states will be next to experiment with reform?

If you support us on Patreon, you’ll not just support us as we dig into these questions but you’ll have access to tools like our Bill Tracker to help you keep an eye on developments yourself.

  • Frederika McClary Easley of The People’s Dispensary: “The opportunity to have state and federal cannabis news compiled, and in one place, is too good to snooze on.”

Join us for $25/month here: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and top House and Senate lawmakers filed new legislation to legalize marijuana.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that legalizing marijuana is on her priority list for the 2021 legislative session.

  • It will “establish an essential new revenue source for the state and employment source for tens of thousands of New Mexicans.”

The top lawmakers in Texas’s House and Senate—including notoriously anti-marijuana Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R)—say that an expansion to the state’s limited medical cannabis program is on the table for 2021.

Lawmakers in New York and Virginia have filed legislation to decriminalize drugs or study the issue, with additional California and Washington bills expected soon—showing that broader reform beyond marijuana is gaining momentum following Oregon’s decriminalization vote in November.

A new study found that medical cannabis is associated with reduced use of opioids and other prescription drugs, as well as increases in quality of life.

  • “The high rate of cannabis use for chronic pain and the subsequent reductions in opioid use suggest that cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the opioid overdose crisis, potentially improving the quality of life of patients and overall public health.”

/ FEDERAL

The House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment report against President Trump notes that some of his supporters smoked marijuana during their raid on the Capitol.

/ STATES

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said he looks forward to working with lawmakers to pass a marijuana legalization bill this session.

The Illinois House of Representatives did not take up a Senate-passed measure to create 75 additional marijuana business licenses, killing it.

Nevada’s attorney general participated in a Public Health Cannabis and Vaping Summit.

Colorado regulators adopted emergency coronavirus rules allowing marijuana businesses to accept orders from customers using mobile devices from outside of the premises.

New Mexico lawmakers plan to file legislation this year to legalize safe consumption sites for illegal drugs and defelonize drug possession.

Several Connecticut lawmakers discussed their views on marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at marijuana legislation that Maine lawmakers may consider this year.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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 district attorney for Georgia’s Western Circuit is dropping marijuana and drug possession cases.

Portland, Maine officials shut down a marijuana testing lab for operating without a license.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Jersey’s government issued its first medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that patients “reported that cannabis was a useful adjunct and substitute for prescription opioids in treating their chronic pain and had the added benefit of improving the ability to function and quality of life.”

A marijuana cultivation study found that “no [light intensity] treatment effects on cannabinoid potency, while there were minor LI treatment effects on terpene potency.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Jenny Cudd, who participated in the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol, reportedly has ownership stakes in several cannabis businesses.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp and Molson Coors Beverage Company launched a new line of non-alcoholic, sparkling CBD beverages through their joint venture Truss CBD USA.

Valley Harvest LLC and Nug Farms are being sued for allegedly wrongfully terminating workers who complained about coronavirus-related policies.

2015 Halladay Wellness, Inc. is being sued for allegedly sending unsolicited text messages.

Columbia Care Inc. announced it closed a bought deal public offering worth proceeds of proceeds of C$149.5 million.

Colorado 2020 marijuana sales surpassed $2 billion as of November.

/ CULTURE

Jimmy Fallon joked about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in New York.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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