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Congress will legalize cannabis despite Biden, Dem senator says (Newsletter: July 14, 2020)

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Dr. Oz: DEA & FDA blame each other for keeping marijuana illegal; KC mayor speaks about drug reform plans; WY cops bust hemp activists

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said a Democratic Congress will legalize marijuana in 2021 despite opposition from the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden.

  • “We’ll have the majority of the votes in the United States Senate. And I know [Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)] has moved in that direction, he’ll be the majority leader in January. I think we’ll have votes to just move it, and the science has moved there.”

Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) spoke to Marijuana Moment about his recently approved measure to remove cannabis from the local code. Now he’s partnering with mayors in other cities who want to do the same thing and is working to more broadly end the war on drugs locally. He also criticized presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s plan to force people caught with drugs into treatment.

  • “The drug war has been an abject failure. I live in a majority black community, was raised in a majority black community and proud to be from it. When I look at the problems on my streets—when I’m looking at what’s going on right now and people addicted to heroin, people addicted to any number of things—our drug laws aren’t helping. Our drug laws aren’t helping people find better treatment.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz claims that he spoke to officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration who want to legalize marijuana but are blaming the other agency for keeping it illegal.

  • “I called the DEA—they said, ‘we don’t want this to be illegal. Your government ought to change that.’”

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is accusing a mother and son who successfully lobbied lawmakers to legalize hemp of illegally growing marijuana. Now, top political officials— including the state treasurer—are prepared to defend them in court.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a congressionally approved appropriations rider protects two California men from being sentenced under federal law for cultivating medical cannabis.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation requested additional records from Independence, Missouri officials in what appears to be the latest step in an investigation into utilities contracts and medical cannabis regulations.

House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) said he hopes presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “continues to evolve” on marijuana legalization after the election.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “It’s virtually impossible to pay rent on $8/hr. And when you are teenage boy in a fatherless home (his dad passed away), there is a drive to be ‘the man of the house.’ To help your mom. And what makes money fast when a full time job doesn’t pay enough to live? Selling weed.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Richard Thripp tweets, “We should legalize marijuana in the United States of America, from sea to shining sea.”

/ STATES

Hawaii lawmakers sent Gov. David Ige (D) a bill that would ban smokable hemp and CBD-infused edibles.

Utah Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Peterson tweeted, “In 2018, Utahns voted for Medicaid expansion and legalization of medical cannabis prescribed by a doctor. But the legislature repealed and replaced both with weakened laws that ignored voters. If I am elected, I will respect and protect successful ballot measures. #TimeforChange”

A Nevada judge is hearing a case challenging the state’s marijuana business license awarding process.

Missouri regulators posted information about how many medical cannabis business facility minimum standards reviews have been completed and are still pending.

Oklahoma regulators published a video on how medical cannabis patient cards can be renewed.

Colorado’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.


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

Mendocino County, California and a resident are being sued in federal court by a couple who say officials and their neighbor conspired to block their medical cannabis cultivation license application.

All three Democratic candidates for Maricopa County, Arizona attorney say they would decline to prosecute minor marijuana cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s ministry of public health signed a memorandum of understanding on medical cannabis production and processing in Saraburi province.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review suggested “cannabis as a promising alternative to opioids and supports the medical use of cannabis as a safer first-line pharmacological treatment for chronic pain compared to opioids” and concluded that “the use of cannabis as a safer alternative to opioids can promote social change directly and indirectly across a variety of social and economic dimensions due to increased access to medication at reduced cost, elimination of opioid-related death due to overdose, diminished individual and social harms related to cannabis.”

A study found that “cannabis use is increasing among American adults overall, yet is disproportionately common among Americans with anxiety especially among those residing in states where cannabis has been legalized.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The American Medical Association joined the Drug Policy Alliance in signing an amicus brief supporting the right of a safe consumption site for illegal drugs to open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

/ BUSINESS

Arcview Market Research and BDSA forecast that worldwide legal marijuana industry revenue will grow another 38% to $20.4 billion in 2020.

Caliva received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration.

A deal for New Frontier Data to acquire Civilized fell apart.

Canopy Growth Corp. laid off another 30 employees.

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. announced a restructuring support agreement that will reduce outstanding debts and shrink existing shareholders’ ownership to 2.75% of the company’s equity.

Veritas Farms, Inc. announced that the chairman of the board of 1-800-PET-MEDS joined its board of directors.

Colorado retailers sold more than $192 million worth of marijuana products in May.

The New York Times looks at how marijuana edibles sales grew during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ CULTURE

The Major League Soccer Board of Governors is reportedly likely to approve CBD sponsorships by the end of the year.

Rapper B Real tweeted, “Stand with the @lastprisonerprj to make sure the promises to release  non-violent cannabis offenders.  People that made the ‘release on day 1 of legalization’ promises as usual full of shit!”

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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.)

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NY moves to allow cannabis homegrow for patients (Newsletter: October 22, 2021)

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RI marijuana legalization deal nears; DC drug decriminalization campaign launches; Another local psychedelics resolution approved

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rhode Island lawmakers are nearing a deal on a marijuana legalization bill that could pass in a special session this fall. Negotiators from the Senate, House and governor’s office are approaching agreement on key issues like expungements, licensing and regulatory bodies.

New York regulators took action to allow medical cannabis patients to grow their own medicine after they previously missed the deadline to do so. The proposed rules will now undergo a public comment period before taking effect. Officials also gave an update on efforts to expunge previous marijuana conviction records.

A coalition of Washington, D.C. activists launched a campaign to pass a local measure to decriminalize drugs and expand access to treatment and harm reduction services.

The Easthampton, Massachusetts City Council approved a resolution supporting decriminalization of psychedelics and other drugs. It’s now the fourth city in the state to adopt such a measure.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) wrote about his support for marijuana reform in a constituent letter.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) voiced concerns about marijuana and other drugs at a roundtable meeting about border issues.

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 33.

/ STATES

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, currently a congressman, tweeted, “When I’m governor, I will push for the full legalization of marijuana and the expungement of all related misdemeanors and third-degree felonies.”

The chairman of the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee said he is working on a bill to legalize marijuana.

A Michigan senator delivered a floor speech about the failure of the war on drugs.

Pennsylvania regulators are accepting applications for permits to grow or process hemp in 2022. Meanwhile, the state Department of Agriculture is encouraging people to participate in a federal hemp survey.

The California Department of Cannabis Control sent a press release marking its first 100 days of existence.

Ohio regulators published an updated list of compliant medical cannabis devices.

Oregon regulators are considering changes to cannabis testing requirements.

New Mexico’s Cannabis Regulatory Advisory Committee is accepting applications for open positions.

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana business issues on Tuesday.

West Virginia regulators will host a medical cannabis patient signup event on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


Mexico’s Senate majority leader published a blog post about the benefits of legalizing marijuana.

Italian activists have collected more than 620,000 signatures on a proposed marijuana legalization referendum and will deliver the measure to the Court of Cassation on October 28.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical cannabis was associated with reduced pain intensity/inference, lower anxiety/depression, and improved sleep and quality of life.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. adults found that 83 percent think states should require licensed cannabis producers to use secure labels that can’t be counterfeited.

The Reason Foundation published a white paper on Second Amendment rights for marijuana consumers.

Law Enforcement Action Partnership led a letter asking the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to oppose permanently classifying fentanyl-related analogues in Schedule I.

/ BUSINESS

Amazon lobbied on federal cannabis policy last quarter, a disclosure report shows.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. is expanding its co-branded line of products with Rolling Stone to additional U.S. markets.

Jushi Holdings Inc. secured a $100 million Senior Secured Credit Facility from a portfolio company of SunStream Bancorp Inc.

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USPS says hemp and CBD vapes are banned from the mail (Newsletter: October 21, 2021)

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FDA will use Reddit to learn about CBD & delta-8; Top Mexican senator: marijuana vote soon; Activist apes erect monolith at DEA headquarters

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Postal Service released its final rule to implement a ban on shipping vaping devices, and it clarified that hemp, CBD and marijuana vapes are generally not mailable—even if the products are federally legal.

The Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to search Reddit and additional “novel” data sources to better understand the health effects of CBD and other marijuana-derived compounds like delta-8 THC “in real-time.”

Mexico’s Senate president said lawmakers will finally pass a marijuana legalization bill “in the coming weeks or months” because there’s “no longer room for the prohibitionist policy.”

  • “We are the Mexico of freedoms, and the people are aware of it.”

Activists dressed as apes erected a 2,001-pound monolith in front of Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters to urge the agency to “evolve” from its drug war mindset—a play on Stanley Kubrick’s classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released new podcasts about hemp.

Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Co-chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked witnesses at a hearing if the U.S. has “lost the war on marijuana.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said there’s momentum behind marijuana reform at the state level and “it’s a matter of time” before it is federally legalized, though there needs to be action on cannabis banking “right now.”

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 32.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of two.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill to ease restrictions on owning and investing in minority-, women- and veteran-owned medical cannabis businesses.

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, called for a state investigation into a new medical cannabis rule issued by regulators that she says creates financial and regulatory burdens that only apply to black farmers.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Cranley, currently Cincinnati’s mayor, tweeted, “Instead of criminalizing marijuana we should legalize it and invest that money back into our communities. My plan will tax marijuana and use the revenue to create 30,000 jobs per year that pay a minimum of $60,000 per year to build the vital infrastructure that Ohio needs.”

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to send marijuana legalization bills to interim study, delaying their consideration.

A Mississippi senator detailed new changes in the latest version of a draft medical cannabis bill.

A New York senator slammed the New York Post for its alarmist reporting about a new law that decriminalizes syringes.

An Oklahoma activist filed a court challenge against other activists’ proposed marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot initiatives.

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development sent a press release urging farmers to participate in a federal hemp survey.

Montana regulators proposed marijuana rules and will hold a public hearing on November 16.

Louisiana regulators proposed changes to medical cannabis cultivation rules.

Connecticut regulators proposed recommendations for a public education campaign about marijuana.

South Dakota regulators issued a contract to a company to manage the state’s medical cannabis patient and business registration system.

Massachusetts regulators posted a medical cannabis FAQ.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government will explore ways to reduce barriers to research on psilocybin and other drugs.

Switzerland’s Social Security and Health Commission of the Council of States recommended that the country legalize marijuana.

Costa Rica’s Congress approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

The Philippine Department of Justice released information about 50 deadly operations in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “about half of participants who ever used CBD for pain reported improved pain, and many substitute CBD for pain medications including opioids and benzodiazepines.”

A case study suggested “a significant analgesic effect of cannabis in the treatment of symptomatic headaches.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of German citizens found that 30 percent support legalizing marijuana and 59 percent back medical cannabis.

Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana highlighted the fact that Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded guilty to committing the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said he believes “this country would do better if everyone would stop smoking marijuana and doing all these drugs” during remarks in court.

The American Family Association is working to dissuade Mississippi lawmakers from passing a medical cannabis bill.

The HIV Legal Network, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs and other groups sent a letter urging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to prioritize drug policy reform in mandates to his new Cabinet.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp has a new CEO.

COMPASS Pathways plc was granted a U.S. patent for crystalline psilocybin.

/ CULTURE

Ziggy Marley called out Singapore’s government for sentencing a man to death for possessing two pounds of cannabis.

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Senate leaders back DC cannabis sales, bucking Biden (Newsletter: October 20, 2021)

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NY restricts workplace marijuana testing; SD lawmakers approve legalization proposal; CA cannabis environmental cleanup grants

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate Appropriations Committee released FY2022 spending legislation that would finally let Washington, D.C. legalize marijuana sales—in contravention of President Joe Biden’s budget request. The House already signed off on eliminating the ban, and Democratic leaders plan to enact a final appropriations package by December 3,

  • The new Senate bills would also protect state medical cannabis laws from federal interference, call to reconsider policies that fire federal workers for marijuana and criticize Schedule I research roadblocks.

New York’s Department of Labor issued guidance saying that employers cannot drug test most workers for marijuana—going so far as to say the odor of cannabis cannot be used to prove impairment on the job.

  • “Observable signs of use that do not indicate impairment on their own cannot be cited as an articulable symptom of impairment. Only symptoms that provide objectively observable indications that the employee’s performance of the essential duties or tasks of their position are decreased or lessened may be cited.”

The South Dakota legislature’s Adult-Use Marijuana Study Subcommittee approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis. Activists don’t necessarily trust that lawmakers will follow through and still plan to move forward with a plan to put another legalization initiative before voters next year.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold a workshop this week about a new grants program to help small marijuana cultivators with environmental clean-up and restoration. The funds come from cannabis tax revenue.

/ FEDERAL

Former President Donald Trump reportedly planned to send 250,000 troops to the border and stage military raids against drug cartels inside Mexico until he was dissuaded from doing so by the secretary of defense.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “The federal prohibition on marijuana has disproportionately harmed young people of color. @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and I are working to pass our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to end the federal prohibition and undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) wrote about his support for federal marijuana law reform in a constituent letter.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a press release and posted a tweet cheering the removal of a rider blocking Washington, D.C. from legalizing marijuana sales in newly released Senate appropriations legislation.

Washington State Democratic congressional candidate Jason Call tweeted, “Let it be known that the incumbent in my district has never supported federal legalization. To be sure, worse than that, he’s voted at least 4 times to allow the DOJ to continue to prosecute people in states where cannabis has been legalized. Like my own state of WA.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair drug war harms got 11 new cosponsors for a total of 87.

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor of a total of 31.

/ STATES

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, currently a congressman, tweeted, “18 states have already legalized recreational marijuana — it’s time Florida does too.”

Virginia Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Hala Ayala, currently a delegate, highlighted marijuana legalization as a key accomplishment.

Washington, D.C.’s attorney general tweeted, “After 6 years of advocacy, I’m glad to see Congress respecting the will of DC voters. I hope DC will soon be able to regulate our local marijuana market, direct new tax revenue to communities most impacted by over-criminalization, & take steps to expunge related criminal records.” The Council chairman tweeted, “This is a step in the right direction. We hope that, as the bill moves through the Senate, no rider language is inserted so we can honor the will of District voters and set up a safe, equitable recreational cannabis market.”

California’s attorney general and other officials will participate in a conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of the state’s medical cannabis law on November 5.

Wisconsin’s Assembly speaker said he supports medical cannabis but does not support recreational marijuana legalization “at this time.” (About 18:00 into the audio.)

Pennsylvania’s House minority leader said marijuana legalization bills don’t yet have enough momentum to pass.

The chairwoman of Delaware’s Senate Health & Social Services Committee said she is eager to hold a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill if it can clear the House.

The Illinois Supreme Court ordered the consolidation of various lawsuits challenging regulators’ marijuana business licensing award processes.

The South Dakota legislature’s Rules Review Committee will consider newly revised medical cannabis regulations on Monday.

A Wisconsin senator who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill held a virtual roundtable meeting about the issue.

A New Jersey judge pointed out that the legalization of marijuana is reducing the number of required court appearances.

Nevada regulators proposed rules on cannabis weighing and measuring.

Colorado regulators are forming a work group on cannabis cross pollination.

Ohio regulators published question and answer responses about medical cannabis dispensary license applications.

Montana regulators will host a cannabis virtual listening session on Friday.

Michigan regulators will host a marijuana social equity education session on October 28.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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

A policy by Baltimore, Maryland’s district attorney not to prosecute minor drug possession and prostitution led to fewer new low-level drug and prostitution arrests, almost no rearrests for serious crimes for those who had charges dropped, and fewer 911 calls.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Spain’s Congress rejected a marijuana legalization bill.

Western Australia’s Parliament formed a Select Committee into Cannabis and Hemp.

The Philippine Department of Justice said it will make public information about certain killings in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A case study appears to “demonstrate a possible benefit of ‘CBD oil’ intake that may have resulted in the observed tumour regression.”

A study of rats found that “cannabidiol at dose 10 mg/kg bw exerts anxiolytic effect in a model of acute cold stress.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, “Kristi Noem opposed medical cannabis. Now she’s using $700,00 from South Dakota taxpayers, meant to implement these measures, as thinly-veiled political ads.”

/ BUSINESS

Trulieve donated $250,000 to a campaign seeking to put a marijuana legalization measure on Florida’s 2022 ballot.

iAnthus is being sued by a former employee who alleges he was demoted because he is black.

Harmony Foundation’s former chief administrative officer filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired after speaking up about the firm’s CEO allegedly using $1 million of company money for a personal investment.

Tilray Canada has a new president.

atai Life Sciences formed a nonprofit arm called atai Impact.

Leafly is hosting a contest to celebrate budtenders.

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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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