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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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CT gov says cannabis could go to ballot (Newsletter: April 9, 2021)

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Mexico could get another marijuana delay; TX medical cannabis expansion advances; ME drug decrim bill; DE biz boycotted for opposing legalization

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  • Tanya Kapuy: “The reason I pledged is so that I can use the legislative tracking tools to bring to the people in Hawai’i the latest news on bills relating to cannabis, and what they can do to support them.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said that if lawmakers fail to pass a marijuana legalization bill, he expects the issue will “probably end up in a referendum” for voters to decide on the ballot.

  • “Marijuana is sort of interesting to me. When it goes to a vote of the people through some sort of a referendum, it passes overwhelmingly. When it goes through a legislature and a lot of telephone calls are made, it’s slim or doesn’t pass.”

The Mexican Senate majority leader indicated that lawmakers are likely to request yet another marijuana legalization deadline extension from the nation’s Supreme Court. The current deadline is the end of this month, but senators say the Chamber of Deputies inserted inconsistencies into the bill.

The Texas House Public Health Committee approved a bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program by adding new qualifying conditions and increasing the allowable THC potency limit.

Maine lawmakers filed a bill to decriminalize possession of all drugs.

Delaware marijuana activists are staging a boycott of four medical cannabis companies that testified against an adult-use legalization bill that cleared a House committee last month.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Sentencing Commission released annual data on federal criminal cases, including those for drug offenses.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color. New York took an important step to address its harms. And I’m working in the Senate to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and to repair the damage done by the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said he expects his marijuana banking bill to be enacted this Congress.

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) tweeted, “The Virginia General Assembly took historic action today to legalize marijuana beginning on July 1.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Legalizing cannabis, expunging records for nonviolent crimes, and investing in Black and brown entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry is the right thing to do.”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that the Cannabis Regulatory Commission launched its social media accounts and will hold its first meeting on Monday.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner sent a press release about April being National Cannabis Awareness Month.

Georgia lawmakers sent Gov. Brian Kemp (R) a bill to allow 30 medical cannabis oil dispensaries to open.

Idaho lawmakers sent a hemp legalization bill to the desk of Gov. Brad Little (R).

The Oklahoma House Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances Committee approved a bill to increase penalties for diverting medical cannabis to the illegal market.

The North Carolina Senate Rules Committee chairman is sponsoring a medical cannabis bill.

The Maine Supreme Court held oral arguments in a case challenging regulators’ decision not to enforce residency requirements for marijuana business owners.

A North Dakota activist spoke about plans to draft a proposed marijuana legalization measure for the 2022 ballot.

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety said that more than 150,000 people will be eligible to have their prior marijuana records expunged under legislation that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is expected to sign.

Illinois officials are accepting nominations for people to serve on the Cannabis Equity Commission.

Utah regulators want to hire a consultant to help decide how to award a new medical cannabis dispensary license.

Wisconsin regulators said the state will continue to operate under the federal 2014 hemp pilot program for the rest of the year and that they plan to publish an emergency rule by next month.

A former Massachusetts regulator coauthored an op-ed expressing concerns about big tobacco companies seeking to enter the marijuana industry.

Vermont regulators are hosting a hemp webinar on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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

Nassau County, New York’s district attorney moved to dismiss hundreds of marijuana cases.

The New York City Police Department sent a memo reminding officers that they still can’t use marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Japanese consulate in New York issued a warning to the nation’s citizens not to use marijuana even in places where it is legal under state law.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A federally funded study found that “THC levels in biofluids were not reliable indicators of marijuana intoxication.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Montana Democratic Party tweeted, “Republicans continue to demonstrate their distrust of MT voters. This week we discussed amendments to the recreational marijuana bill to reflect the will of the voters. But Republicans have overburdened the bill, going directly against election results.”

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted about a state Supreme Court case on the fate of the voter-approved marijuana legalization measure.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation is acquiring The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc.

PepsiCo launched a hemp-infused Rockstar Energy drink in Germany.

KushCo Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $32.9 million and a net loss of $5 million.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. is offering C$250 million worth of shares.

/ CULTURE

Jimmy Fallon made fun of Lake Superior State University’s cannabis chemistry scholarship program.

Golfer Patrick Reed signed a sponsorship deal with cbdMD.

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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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VA is officially legalizing cannabis in July (Newsletter: April 8, 2021)

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AL medical marijuana bill advances; SC senator will block other bills for medical cannabis vote; TX lawmakers hear marijuana & hemp bills

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate approved Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) amendment to launch the legalization of marijuana this summer instead of in 2024.

The Alabama House Judiciary Committee amended and approved a medical cannabis bill that has already passed the full Senate.

A South Carolina senator said that if other lawmakers block his medical cannabis legislation from getting a floor vote, he will personally hold up “every single other bill on this calendar” and bring the legislative process to a halt.

Texas lawmakers are considering several marijuana decriminalization, medical cannabis expansion and hemp reform bills at committee hearings this week

/ FEDERAL

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has reportedly been holding meetings with marijuana advocacy groups.

The federal sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) reportedly involves a trip he took to the Bahamas with Medical Marijuana Physicians Association cofounder and board chair Jason Pirozzolo.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) tweeted, “The Virginia General Assembly just voted to finalize the legalization of marijuana, making us the first former Confederate state to do so. Last month, we became the first state in the South to abolish the death penalty.  Don’t let anybody tell you progress isn’t possible.” He also tweeted, “Another big progressive win here in Virginia. I hope my colleagues in the House and Senate will join me in supporting the MORE Act to legalize marijuana nationwide.”

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) tweeted, “Marijuana was illegal even for medical use in Virginia when @GovernorVA took office. The General Assembly’s votes today mean it will be fully legalized this July. It’s a big step forward on criminal justice reform for the Commonwealth, and a major accomplishment for the Governor.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Cannabis should be legal and records should be expunged. It’s time for Congress to catch up.”

/ STATES

New York Gov, Andrew Cuomo (D) said the new marijuana legalization law is a “big, big progressive score” for the state. He also tweeted, “Legalizing recreational cannabis will help us rebuild and renew New York by: ✅Reinvesting in communities hurt the most by the failed prohibition of marijuana ✅Creating new jobs & new businesses  ✅Raising $350 million a year for education & more.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is asking lawmakers for $4 million to support lab testing of medical cannabis.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) spoke about how she wants lawmakers to address medical cannabis during a June special session. Separately, the state Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments in a case on the fate of the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law for April 28.

Virginia’s attorney general tweeted, “It is time we legalize marijuana and we expedite cannabis reforms because of the negative impact current marijuana legislation has on Black and brown Virginians. I am proud of the progress we have made but there is still more work that needs to get done before full legalization.”

Coordinators of the signature drive for a Nebraska campaign to legalize medical cannabis are being sued by donors over alleged campaign finance missteps.

The Oklahoma House Common Education Committee approved legislation to allow charter schools to receive medical cannabis tax revenue.

North Carolina lawmakers filed marijuana legalization and medical cannabis bills.

Ohio lawmakers are working on legislation to overhaul the state’s medical cannabis system.

Mississippi’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee met.

Missouri regulators urged a federal court to reject a case seeking to overturn the state’s residency requirements for medical cannabis business ownership.

Georgia regulators are expected to award medical cannabis productions licenses next month or in June.

The Washington State Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force’s Disproportionately Impacted Communities Workgroup will meet on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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 Tucson, Arizona City Council voted to loosen restrictions on marijuana dispensaries.

Grand Junction, Colorado voters approved a ballot measure to allow marijuana businesses.

St. Johnsbury, Vermont voters approved a measure to allow marijuana sales.

The Denver, Colorado City Council is considering allowing drive-thru and walk-up marijuana sales to continue after coronavirus measures expire.

Baltimore, Maryland’s police commissioner spoke about the department’s response to the state’s attorney’s decision not to prosecute most drug cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexican lawmakers are floating the idea of requesting yet another deadline extension from the nation’s Supreme Court so they have even more time to finalize marijuana legalization legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on psychedelic microdosing found that “conscientiousness increased, while neuroticism decreased.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Alabama Democratic Party tweeted, “Legalizing medical marijuana is just the tip of the iceberg in when it comes to how we legislate cannabis. Alabama is long overdue for comprehensive marijuana and criminal justice reform.”

/ BUSINESS

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. completed its acquisition of EMMAC Life Sciences Limited and secured an investment of $130 million from a single strategic institutional investor in exchange for 31.5% equity stake in Curaleaf International.

Mydecine Innovations Group announced psilocybin-based and other psychedelic preparations it believes to be its leading novel drug candidates ahead of meetings with the Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada.

VICE examined debates about ethics in the psychedelics industry.

/ CULTURE

Willie Nelson announced a marijuana convention that will benefit HeadCount’s Cannabis Voter Project.

Lil Wayne’s lifestyle brand GKUA signed a deal to host annual 4/20 events at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Biden too busy to handle cannabis, Harris says (Newsletter: April 7, 2021)

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CT gov’s marijuana bill advances; CA senators vote for legal psychedelics; MX legalization advances; IA gov sued for cannabis delay; WA decrim hearing

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Vice President Kamala Harris, in her first public marijuana comments since the election, essentially said the Biden administration is too busy to follow through on its campaign pledges to decriminalize cannabis and expunge records.

  • “Honestly, right now, we’ve been focused on getting people food, helping them stay in their apartments or in their homes, getting kids back to school, getting shots into arms. That has been all-consuming.”

The Connecticut legislature’s Judiciary Committee amended and approved Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) marijuana legalization bill. Equity advocates are happy about the changes but say more work is still needed.

The California Senate Public Safety Committee approved a bill to legalize possession of psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin, MDMA and DMT.

A second Mexican Senate committee approved a marijuana legalization bill that was revised by the Chamber of Deputies. One more panel is next, and then a final floor vote—potentially as soon as Thursday.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) is being sued by an activist who says the state is failing to follow through on its obligation to request a federal exemption from the Drug Enforcement Administration for its limited medical marijuana program.

Washington State lawmakers are considering several legislative fixes to address a state Supreme Court ruling that overturned the prohibition on drug possession—including a new decriminalization bill that got a Senate hearing yesterday.

/ FEDERAL

President Joe Biden taped a video message for the Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Ending the federal prohibition on marijuana is necessary to right the wrongs of the failed War on Drugs, particularly for communities of color. This is why I’m working with @SenBooker and @RonWyden on comprehensive marijuana reform legislation in the Senate.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted about fielding questions on cannabis equity at a town hall meeting.

The House marijuana banking bill got 16 new cosponsors for a total of 140.

/ STATES

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said she wants lawmakers to address provisions about home cultivation, youth use and regulations in the state’s voter-approved medical cannabis law during a June special session. Separately, both sides in a state Supreme Court case on the fate of the broader marijuana legalization measure filed their latest briefs.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “Legal marijuana is widely available within driving distance from Pennsylvania, from NY to NJ to D.C. It’s accessible already — why not legalize it here and keep that revenue in our commonwealth? #LegalizeIt”

Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidates discussed marijuana legalization at a debate.

Maryland’s lieutenant governor spoke about his opposition to legalizing marijuana.

The Montana House of Representatives gave initial approval to three marijuana legalization implementation bills.

The West Virginia House of Representatives defeated a motion to advance a Senate-passed bill to allow medical cannabis edibles.

The Washington, D.C. Council advanced a bill to remove the blanket ban on people with felony convictions working, owning or operating in the medical cannabis industry.

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bil to ban Delta-8-THC and Delta-10-THC.

Arkansas regulators are being sued for a decision to allow a medical cannabis cultivator to change ownership and move locations.

Illinois regulators testified before a Senate committee about their request for more funding to support the marijuana business licensing process.

A Louisiana representative filed a proposed constitutional initiative to legalize marijuana.

A Florida senator spoke about efforts to legalize marijuana.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania City Council committee advanced a proposal to ban pre-employment marijuana testing for most companies.

The New Orleans, Louisiana City Council president filed a resolution endorsing a state bill to legalize marijuana.

Portland, Oregon regulators published a map showing where marijuana retailers can be located sufficiently far away enough from schools.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government “has absolutely no intention” of legalizing marijuana.

The Legalise Cannabis WA Party won a second seat in Western Australia’s Legislative Council.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabinoids possess anticancer potencies against glioma cells, however this effect varies with the combinations and dosages used.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Britons support legalizing marijuana, 52%-32%.

The Cannabis Freedom Alliance is a new coalition involving Americans for Prosperity, Mission Green/The Weldon Project, the Reason Foundation and the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce.

AMVETS is hosting a summit on the benefits of medical cannabis for veterans on June 27.

/ BUSINESS

4Front Ventures Corp. reported quarterly systemwide pro forma revenue of $25 million.

Rubicon Organics Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $4.8 million and a net loss of $5 million.

Organigram Holdings Inc. is acquiring The Edibles & Infusions Corporation.

Fyllo closed an oversubscribed Series B funding round worth $30 million.

Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center employees voted to join United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 328.

/ CULTURE

The Flaming Lips’s Wayne Coyne is launching his own brand of cannabis gummies.

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