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Congress weighs hemp amendments this week (Newsletter: May 14, 2018)



GOP lets judge noms use marijuana; CBC pushes descheduling; Booker reacts to bizarre Tucker Carlson criticism

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The U.S. House Rules Committee will consider three hemp amendments to the Farm Bill this week.

U.S. Senate Democrats are objecting on procedural grounds to a Republican policy change allowing more past marijuana use by federal judicial nominees.

Leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus introduced a lengthy bill titled, “The Jobs and Justice Act,” which includes a provision to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.


The U.S. Department of Justice said it will process applications to cultivate marijuana for research “in as expeditious a manner as possible.”

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) filed legislation to allow cities to ban sober living facilities in residential neighborhoods.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “The priority of our law enforcement needs to be serious and violent crime, not somebody smoking a joint. We need to legalize marijuana at the federal level.” She also tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana at the federal level is about stopping our country from repeating the same mistakes of the past. We must also focus on restorative justice. Too many lives have been ruined because of the War on Drugs.”

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted, “Reduce prescription drug prices. Reduce healthcare costs. Give you back control over your Internet. Be rational about marijuana. Treat everyone fairly. Don’t start stupid wars. Make college debt free. Act on climate. Restore the rule of law. Vote.”

The U.S. House bill to encourage the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got two new cosponsors, for a total of 55.

The U.S. House bill to license more marijuana cultivators for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 30.

The Toronto Star looks at how Democratic congressional candidates are embracing marijuana legalization.

Wisconsin Democratic congressional candidate Randy Bryce tweeted, “The marijuana industry could employ as many as 300,000 by 2020. Let’s bring some of those jobs to Wisconsin. It’s time to legalize marijuana.”


California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) released revised estimates of marijuana tax revenue in his latest budget. The budget also funds investigative teams to go after unregulated marijuana production and sales. Separately, officials reported that the state took in $60.9 million in tax revenue in the first quarter of 2018.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said he opposes legalizing marijuana, which he called a “gateway drug.”

Backers of Utah’s medical cannabis initiative intend to sue opponents over alleged deceptive tactics.

Vermont’s lieutenant governor spoke at a cannabis conference.

West Virginia’s health commissioner says the state needs to figure out banking issues before it can implement medical cannabis.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White said says he would decriminalize marijuana and expunge past records.

New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon jokingly suggested that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) will be “be rolling a joint in his first campaign ad” because of the popularity of her support for legalizing marijuana.

Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively said he would roll back marijuana legalization if elected.

Three members of New Jersey’s Legislative Black Caucus are now cosponsoring marijuana legalization legislation despite the group’s chairman leading efforts to maintain prohibition. And the Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee held a hearing on legalization.

An Ohio judge will hear a lawsuit on Monday that could halt the state’s medical cannabis business licensing process.

Arkansas’s attorney general filed court briefs alleging that a judge erred in blocking medical cannabis business licenses.

Here’s a look at the failure of marijuana reform efforts in Alabama this year.

Oregon hemp cultivation licenses applications have risen more than twenty-fold since 2015.

Kentucky House candidates debated marijuana.

A Minnesota senator want to license a third medical cannabis producer.


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s mayor supports marijuana legalization.

The city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s Twitter account touted its mayor’s support for decriminalizing marijuana and said that legalization would be up to the state.

Racial disparities in New York City marijuana arrests persist.

Controversy is brewing over Phoenix, Arizona medical cannabis zoning decisions.


The Canadian Senate could extend its session into the summer to pass marijuana legalization. Meanwhile, a Conservative senator who opposes legalization fired an advisor who urged lawmakers to delay a vote on the bill.

The UK’s drugs minister has recused herself from marijuana policy after it was revealed that her husband is involved with a legal medical cannabis production facility. Meanwhile, methamphetamine was found on the premises of the nation’s Home Office, which is in charge of drug policy.


A panel at the National Rifle Association’s recent convention included discussion on the ban on purchasing firearms for people who consume marijuana.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure could have “serious adverse consequences.”

A group of African-American clergy is asking New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon to apologize for suggesting that marijuana legalization could be a form of reparations.

The UK’s Taxpayers’ Alliance issued a report saying the country could save £891.72 million a year by legalizing marijuana.

Prohibitionist Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana appeared on Fox & Friends.


A study found that cannabis seeds and sprouts “exert beneficial effects on yeast and human cells and should be further investigated as a potential functional food.”


The Boston Globe editorial board is urging Congress to fix the marijuana industry’s marijuana banking access problems.

The Deseret News editorial board raised concerns about Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure.


Aurora Cannabis Inc. is  buying MedReleaf Corp. for about C$3.2 billion in stock.

A significant number of unlicensed California marijuana businesses that received cease and desist letters from regulators have now applied for licenses.

Brass Knuckles, a cannabis brand promoted by rapper Xzibit, is being sued for alleged pesticide contamination.

/ CULTURE     

CBS host Gayle King revealed that her friend Oprah Winfrey consumes cannabis.

Rapper Killer Mike spoke about drug war reparations.

Comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted, “In nyc black people are arrested  15X more than whites for the crime of low level marijuana possession. Something that is not at all a crime in many states.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who notes that he supports legalizing marijuana, criticized U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) for working to…legalize marijuana. Booker reacted.

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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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