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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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Congressional researchers say legal cannabis hurts cartels (Newsletter: August 4, 2020)

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Analyzing Congress’s recent marijuana vote; IL sees record cannabis sales in July; Senator engages with blunt-smoking constituent

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Subscribers who value this daily dispatch enough to show their support with a few dollars help us keep doing this. Please chip in and help ensure Marijuana Moment’s continued operations.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A new Congressional Research Service report says a “decline in U.S. demand for Mexican marijuana” is partly “due to legalized cannabis or medical cannabis in several U.S. states and Canada, reducing its value as part of Mexican trafficking organizations’ portfolio.”

Marijuana Moment analyzed last week’s House of Representatives vote to protect state cannabis laws from federal interference, including an examination of lawmakers who flipped from “No” last year to “Yes” this time and vice versa, as well as the 17 Republicans from legalized states who voted to let the Department of Justice arrest their constituents.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that marijuana retailers shattered monthly sales records in July with nearly 1.3 million cannabis products sold, worth about $61 million. Out-of-state visitors alone accounted for $16.2 million of that.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) reacted cheerfully to a blunt-smoking constituent who expressed support for his reelection bid.

  • “I support marijuana, by the way.”

A new ProPublica investigation reviews documents showing that “investors, many with marijuana industry ties, have seized upon the nation’s public health disaster” by flipping N95 masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “It’s quick money. And the broker game in the marijuana and industrial hemp industry — it’s exactly the same.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency tweeted about hemp crop insurance.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and John Kennedy (R-LA) are pushing the Drug Enforcement Administration to lower production quotas for opioids.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) tweeted about her new bill to federally legalize and regulate marijuana.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) said, “Suspending driver’s licenses for unpaid fees is a misguided relic from the ‘War on Drugs’ era that punishes people who can’t pay their bills on time by making it even harder for them to make an income to pay their bills. How stupid is that?”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) criticized House Democrats because their coronavirus relief bill “mentions marijuana more times than jobs.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said he’s “working with Team Biden in conversations” about further evolving on marijuana reform.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) tweeted, “According to the NIH, the WHO, and the American Lung Assoc., marijuana is MORE dangerous with COVID – it is NOT a treatment. Yet Speaker Pelosi insists on marijuana provisions in a COVID bill for the American people?”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) cheered marijuana provisions in an appropriations bill passed by the House.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) tweeted, “My colleagues on the Congressional #CannabisCaucus and I were also able to include an amendment that protects individuals who engage in the state-sanctioned use, production, and dispensing of cannabis to those over age 21 from prosecution by the Department of Justice.”

Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Marquita Bradshaw tweeted about her support for legalizing marijuana.

Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate James Mackler tweeted, “Legalizing #MedicalMarijuana is overdue. We must find alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, reduce recidivism, end for-profit prisons & update flawed sentencing guidelines. If states want to legalize marijuana, the Federal govt shouldn’t stand in the way.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It has been 313 days since @GovernorTomWolf and I called on the legislature to immediately decriminalize marijuana and work on legislation to legalize. We need action now.”

Mississippi’s agriculture commissioner announced that farmers in the state can apply for hemp licenses from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Nebraska lawmakers sent Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) a hemp bill.

California regulators sent a notice about changes to cannabis business tax return procedures.

Louisiana regulators issued an emergency rule to implement medical cannabis program changes included in recently enacted legislation.

Massachusetts regulators issued an order allowing marijuana companies to retest and potentially sell quarantined marijuana vaping products.

Ohio regulators are considering resolutions on medical cannabis business employee policies.

Oregon regulators approved marijuana business violation stipulated settlement agreements.

Washington State regulators will consider marijuana rules and a compact with an Indian tribe on Wednesday.


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 are accepting feedback about a marijuana equity applicant grant program.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New UK Ministry of Justice data shows racial disparities in marijuana enforcement.

Mexican poppy cultivation and heroin production decreased last year, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested “potential anti-inflammatory effects of recent cannabis use.”

A study identified the “plausible appearance of tolerance to cannabidiol-enriched oil,” which “may limit treatment efficacy in the long-term clinical management of refractory epilepsy in both pediatric and adult population.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

NORML and HeadCount launched a voter registration drive.

The Marijuana Policy Project published a voter guide for New Hampshire’s primary election next month.

/ CULTURE

Mixed martial arts fighters Tim Elliott and Jamahal Hill are reportedly facing suspensions and fines for positive marijuana tests.

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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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Senate bill would regulate cannabis like tobacco (Newsletter: August 3, 2020)

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Pelosi: Marijuana therapy “proven successful”; Study: Marijuana improves sex & orgasms for women; LA medical marijuana expansion takes effect

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said marijuana is a “therapy that has proven successful” in response to a question about whether cannabis banking provisions are germane to coronavirus relief legislation.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) filed a bill to federally legalize marijuana and regulate it like tobacco. U.S. Customs and Border Protection would be tasked with  developing rules for cannabis imports and exports, and there would be a federal purchasing age limit of 21.

A new Louisiana law allowing doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any debilitating condition they see fit took effect. Other new laws that came into force protect banks from being punished by state regulators for working with marijuana businesses, set hemp and CBD rules and provide legal immunity for physicians and hospitals caring for medical cannabis patients.

A new study found that marijuana use is associated with “improved sexual desire, arousal, orgasm, and overall satisfaction” for women.

  • “For each additional step of cannabis use intensity (ie, times per week), the odds of reporting female sexual dysfunction declined by 21%.”

/ FEDERAL

The House of Representatives passed a funding bill that includes provisions to protect state marijuana laws from Justice Department interference, shield banks from being punished by the Treasury Department for serving cannabis businesses, prevent universities from losing funds for studying marijuana and allow Washington, D.C. to legalize recreational sales.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) wrote a constituent letter explaining his opposition to legalizing marijuana.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) said he thinks decisions about marijuana should be made at the state level.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) sent a press release touting his work to secure language in sending legislation urging federal agencies to reconsider policies on firing workers for marijuana use.

Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) celebrated provisions he helped insert into a funding bill report that encourage marijuana research.

Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) tweeted, “Congress goes another week without policing and justice reforms the people were promised and expected. End qualified immunity. End civil asset forfeiture. End the drug war. End no-knock warrants. End militarization of police. Let’s take items one by one—debate, amend, and vote!”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs got one new cosponsor for a total of 79.

The House bill to legalize medical cannabis for military veterans got one new cosponsor for a total of eight.

The House bill to protect military veterans from losing their benefits for marijuana use got one new cosponsor for a total of 19.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Richard Thripp tweeted, “The DNC’s refusal to support universal healthcare and cannabis legalization is dividing the party. These policies both have widespread, bipartisan support, for good reason. We don’t want to hand Trump another 4 years of destroying our country.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Tom Wells tweeted, “This shouldn’t even be a debate. We cannot ignore the fact that the current marijuana criminalization policy has in too many cases been used to target people of color.”

/ STATES

Rhode Island Gina Raimondo (D) said she is going to continue pushing marijuana legalization.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) vetoed a bill to change the composition of the territory’s medical cannabis regulatory body because he wants lawmakers to pass broader legislation to legalize marijuana.

The chances of qualifying an Idaho medical cannabis ballot measure seem diminished after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a campaign pushing a separate education funding measure that had previously been granted the right to electronically collect signatures by a federal judge.

Ohio activists plan to try to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the 2021 ballot.

A California court ruled that marijuana is not decriminalized in prisons.

The Virginia Marijuana Legalization Work Group held its first meeting on Friday, and the state’s Medical Cannabis Work Group will hold its first meeting on Monday.

Nevada tax officials approved a settlement in a case challenging the state’s marijuana business licensing process, contingent on approval from cannabis regulators.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands regulators will begin accepting marijuana business license applications on Tuesday.

Guam regulators are considering adding fines to marijuana rules.

Michigan regulators issued a bulletin about updated coronavirus-related policies for marijuana businesses.

Colorado regulators are holding a rulemaking work group on marijuana sustainability and science issues.


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 Des Moines, Iowa task force studying marijuana decriminalization held its first meeting.

The West Hollywood, California City Council is considering an anti-smoking proposal that would ban tobacco and cannabis smoking and vaping in enclosed common areas and new units in multi-family dwellings.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A South African judge ruled that a law criminalizing children for possessing or using marijuana is unconstitutional.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that there was “a 64–75% reduction in opioid dosage when used in combination with” medical cannabis, and that “opioid substitution was reported by 32–59.3% of patients with non-cancer chronic pain.”

Several midwestern universities are partnering to create a public hemp variety performance database.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints updated its handbook to clarify that medical cannabis use is permissible but it “does not approve of the use of marijuana in smoking or vaping forms.”

/ BUSINESS

GW Pharmaceuticals’s  CBD medication Epidiolex was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat seizures associated with tuberous sclerosis complex.

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen is starting a cannabis brand.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Magic Johnson spoke about his new partnership with Uncle Bud’s Hemp.

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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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House approves state cannabis protections (Newsletter: July 31, 2020)

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White House faith advisor bashes Biden’s marijuana record; CA AG: court should block DEA cannabiz subpoena; Legalization an issue in House primary

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There are now 1,531 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives passed an amendment to block the Department of Justice from interfering with all state, territory and tribal marijuana laws.

White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative Advisor Paula White-Cain blasted presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s record of supporting harsh criminal justice legislation that sent people to prison for cannabis and other drugs.

  • “Everyone forgets Clinton’s bill that Joe Biden went along with and signed people to prison for 30 years for three ounces of marijuana.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) filed a brief asking a federal court to block a Drug Enforcement Administration subpoena seeking to force state regulators to hand over information about marijuana businesses.

Marijuana is becoming a key issue in one of the most-watched congressional primaries of 2020. The challenger, Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse (D), is calling out longtime incumbent Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) for not acting on a cannabis legalization bill that’s before his committee and for remarks where he referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that drug offenses were the most common primary offense type for federal probation and supervised release violations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration sent out an alert about “telephone calls by scammers posing as DEA employees attempting to defraud and extort victims.”

The Food and Drug Administration announced a voluntary recall of Summitt Labs CBD products due to high lead content.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) criticized House Democrats for including “all kinds of things related to marijuana” in their coronavirus relief bill.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called it “embarrassing” that Democratic officials rejected a marijuana legalization amendment for the party platform and said she is “not confident” that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would evolve on the issue.

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) said it is “odd” that Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is criticizing the congressman for being slow to evolve on marijuana legalization when he appears to have publicly endorsed the reform before the senator did.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) tweeted, “Let’s remember just how unserious House Democrats were when they passed a so-called COVID-19 relief bill that included…benefits for lobbyists and the cannabis industry.”

California Democratic congressional candidate Shahid Buttar tweeted, “Legalize marijuana nationwide and expunge records for cannabis-related offenses. Pass it on.”

/ STATES

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) cited his previously signing a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession in a message about vetoing legislation that would have allowed people to petition to have some drug crime records annulled.

Pennsylvania regulators removed the requirement for medical cannabis patients to renew their registrations in order to maintain participation in the program. The state’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “I fully, fully support, lobbied + endorse home grow for medical marijuana patients.   Especially during the pandemic.”

Nevada regulators and businesses challenging their marijuana licensing process have reached a proposed settlement in the case.

Oregon regulators will hold a hearing on proposed marijuana business inspections and on-site delivery rules on August 17.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Several countries expressed concerns about a World Health Organization recommendation to clarify that CBD is not under international control at a United National Commission on  Narcotic Drugs meeting.

Netherlands regulators received 149 applications to grow legal recreational marijuana to supply coffee shops.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study identified a “‘reverse gateway effect‘ among some street entrenched young people, whereby cannabis use was associated with the intermittent reduction, elimination or prevention of more harmful forms of drug use such as meth and opioid use.”

A study found that “high concentrations of airborne fungi were identified” at indoor marijuana grow operations.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Colorado hemp industry participants are protesting state regulators’ selection of the Marijuana Policy Group to establish the state Hemp Center of Excellence.

/ BUSINESS

High Times Productions, Inc. is being accused of reneging on its obligations in an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit related to accessibility issues at its Cannabis Cup events.

FSD Pharma Inc. is forfeiting its Canadian licenses and is exiting the marijuana business.

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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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