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Congressional bill allows interstate cannabis exports and imports (Newsletter: June 28, 2019)

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Senate proposal to end immigrant deportation for marijuana; Congressman asks Trump to commute drug war sentences; Legalization activists get creative

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There are now 1,148 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) filed legislation in Congress to allow for interstate marijuana commerce, days after their home state governor in Oregon signed a bill on cannabis imports and exports that is contingent on federal reform.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, filed a bill that would end the practice of deporting and denying citizenship to immigrants for marijuana.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) sent a letter asking President Trump to commute the sentences of 16,000 drug war prisoners.

  • “The thousands serving time for non-violent drug offenses don’t have Kim Kardashian to plead their cases… Justice delayed is justice denied.” 

Legalization activists around the world are creatively protesting harsh prohibitionist drug policies. One group, for example, pretended to snort massive lines of cocaine while donning masks of UK politicians who support criminalization despite their own past use.

/ FEDERAL

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, touted his state’s legalization of marijuana during his closing statement in the Democratic debate—even though he campaigned against it. He also spoke about his views on cannabis during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session. And he said in a separate interview that using marijuana as a young man “made me feel better and made me less anxious.”

The Supreme Court rejected a request to take up a case challenging the Internal Revenue Service’s enforcement of the 280E tax penalty against a marijuana business.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an update on Farm Bill implementation, including its hemp provisions.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted about a study of mice that found CBD is associated with liver damage, noting, “CBD is all the rage… I welcome all information as the critical health facts are determined about this new trendy product.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a floor speech that “with billions of dollars in new investments, a  rising economic tide for working families, and promising, new opportunities like industrial hemp, it is no surprise that an economic researcher recently called this moment ‘Kentucky’s Best Economy Ever.'”

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) cited the changing politics of marijuana as an example of a cultural shift that is underway in America.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted, “I don’t smoke dope. But I do think it’s a waste of resources to criminalize cannabis. I was one of the authors of the ballot argument in support of legalizing marijuana in California.”

The House bill to force the Department of Justice to license additional cultivators of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 12.

/ STATES

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill creating a framework for legal marijuana sales.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) tweeted that regulators have made hemp license applications available.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) tweeted a video of a man talking about his cannabis arrest, adding, “Individuals and families have suffered and continue to suffer because of the criminalization of marijuana. Legalizing recreational marijuana is about helping individuals like Cameron get a #FairShot.”

California lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) legislation to extend provisional marijuana business licenses until 2022.

The Florida Supreme Court is being asked to reverse a lower court’s ruling denying a patient the ability to grow his own medical cannabis. Separately, regulators are facing a federal lawsuit from a company alleging that the state violated its civil rights by denying it a medical marijuana cultivation license.

New Jersey senators held a press conference to push for marijuana decriminalization and record expungement.

Arizona’s health services director reacted to an auditor’s report finding that regulators misallocated medical cannabis program funds by placing the blame on poor recordkeeping.

Massachusetts regulators denied a company’s application for a marijuana license despite its staff’s recommendation.

Missouri regulators announced they’ve generated almost $3.9 million in pre-filed fees from 543 companies planning to apply for medical cannabis business licenses. Applications will be formally accepted beginning on Friday.

Michigan regulators published a marijuana licensing report.

Idaho prosecutors are asking for a delay in sentencing in a case of two men who pleaded guilty to felony drug trafficking charges after they were arrested for transporting hemp through the state.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL

The leader of Canada’s Conservative Party said he would not seek to overturn marijuana legalization and would also move ahead with pardons for people convicted of cannabis offenses.

The UK House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee will publish a report on medical cannabis on Wednesday.

/ ADVOCACY

The Minority Cannabis Business Association issued a report finding that Los Angeles, California’s cannabis social equity program is falling short of its goals.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “hemp essential oil can inhibit or reduce bacterial proliferation and it can be a valid support to reduce microorganism contamination, especially in the food processing field.”

A study found that “shorter distance to the closest cannabis retail outlet was associated with an increased number of missed methadone doses during the first and second 90 days of treatment.”

A study examining the “safety and efficacy of a second-generation cannabinoid-based drug to improve quality of life in 334 advanced cancer patients with uncontrolled symptoms” will soon be recruiting participants.

/ BUSINESS

Abercrombie & Fitch will begin selling Green Growth Brands’s CBD products.

Better Choice Company and Authentic Brands Group are partnering to launch a line of CBD pet products under the Elvis Presley Hound Dog brand.

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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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New Jersey legal cannabis moves toward 2020 ballot (Newsletter: December 13, 2019)

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Senators press DEA on marijuana growing; MLB removes cannabis from banned list; Trinidad & Tobago decrim approved; Kansas legalization poll

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A group of eight U.S. senators, led by presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter demanding that the Drug Enforcement Administration provide an update on plans to award more licenses to grow marijuana for research. The lawmakers also want to know if the federal government intends to reschedule cannabis or to study it as an opioid alternative.

New Jersey lawmakers took the first steps toward putting a marijuana legalization referendum on the 2020 ballot with committee hearings in the Senate and Assembly. Floor votes are scheduled for Monday. Meanwhile, expungements legislation also advanced.

Trinidad and Tobago’s House of Representatives approved a bill to decriminalize marijuana, with separate broader legislation to legalize and regulate production and sales being considered in a committee.

Major League Baseball formally announced it is removing marijuana from the list of banned substances for players.

  • “Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct.

A poll found that Kansas residents support legalizing marijuana, 63%-26%.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We are not only going to legalize marijuana; we are going to expunge past convictions for marijuana possession. Thank you to @KimFoxxforSA for leading the way on this important issue.”

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced that his campaign is selling marijuana and math hats again.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said he supports decriminalizing marijuana but that he has concerns about measuring impairment and the accessibility of cannabis products to children.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) subtly called out Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) prior DUI arrest after the GOP lawmaker spent time during a House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing reading excerpts from a magazine story about Hunter Biden’s struggles with substance use.

The House resolution calling to decriminalize addiction and legalize marijuana and overdose prevention sites got three new cosponsors for a total of three.

/ STATES

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) spoke about ongoing efforts to regulate marijuana, saying, “There wasn’t an adequate infrastructure put in place in the rush to get the tax revenue and now we’re having to pick up the pieces.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “The U.S. prison system has historically been unfair to people of color. We’re expediting pardons for small marijuana offenses, but there’s still more to do.”

Virginia’s attorney general tweeted, “Yesterday was a huge step toward a smarter, fairer, more just cannabis policy in Virginia. I’m even more confident that we’re going to see reform THIS YEAR.”

Massachusetts regulators amended a vaping quarantine order to allow the sale of devices to vaporize marijuana flower, devices designed to vaporize concentrates that don’t contain usable cannabis and newly manufactured products that pass screens for vitamin E acetate as well as other contaminants.

Ohio regulators proposed amendments to medical cannabis rules, including concerning changes in dispensary ownership. They are also considering petitions to add new qualifying conditions and released updated patient and caregiver numbers.

Illinois regulators sent a bulletin on how municipal and county governments can enact marijuana taxes. They also announced the tiebreaking process for cannabis dispensary license awarding.

A Kentucky representative prefiled a marijuana legalization bill.

California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee released a draft of its 2019 annual report.

Maine regulators have so far received 76 applications for marijuana business licenses.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney said, “Marijuana is not as harmful to the human mind as watching Donald Trump on television on a daily basis.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The European Union Intellectual Property Office rejected a trademark application for a sign depicting marijuana.

Saskatoon, Canada police reported that marijuana legalization caused “fewer issues than were expected.” Meanwhile, Ontario officials removed the cap on the number of cannabis stores and loosened other requirements.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “newly available evidence supports earlier findings that cannabidiol probably reduces the frequency of seizures among children with drug-resistant epilepsy.”

A study concluded that “surfaces exposed to side-stream cannabis vapor are positive for THC at quantifiable levels.”

A qualitative study of YouTube videos concluded that “microdosing of psychedelic substances, primarily LSD and psilocybin, was used for therapeutic and enhancement purposes, and predominantly beneficial effects were reported.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Libertarian Party of South Dakota launched a “Hemp: We’re On It” website that parodies a recent state anti-meth campaign and hits Gov. Kristi Noem (R) for her opposition to hemp.

/ BUSINESS

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s Labatt Breweries and Tilray Inc.’s High Park Co. are teaming up to sell CBD-infused teas in Canada.

Canopy Growth Corp. and Go Farm Hemp dropped lawsuits filed against one another.

/ CULTURE

South Park aired a marijuana- and cocaine-themed Christmas episode.

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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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Thai PM uses medical cannabis in public (Newsletter: December 12, 2019)

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Virginia legal marijuana bill & AG’s summit; GOP senator posts pic of dad growing hemp; Study: Bees like big hemp plants

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…

There are now 1,312 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.

  • David Alport of Bridge City Collective: “It is because of Tom’s hard work and relentless diligence in covering the cannabis industry that I rely on him for the most up to date information with legislative progress and beyond.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha publicly used medical marijuana oil at an event to announce the government’s new cannabis information portal. A mascot named Dr. Ganja was also present.

Virginia’s attorney general hosted a cannabis summit to coordinate reform plans in the state as Democrats take legislative control in 2020. Meanwhile, a delegate prefiled a new marijuana legalization bill.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) posted a picture on Facebook of his dad harvesting hemp plants about 80 years ago. Some local political observers believe the move is a dig at anti-cannabis South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who vetoed hemp legislation this year.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang contrasted rampant legal opioid prescribing with the ongoing federal criminalization of marijuana.

A study found that bees are attracted to hemp, especially tall plants, concluding that “plant height…was strongly correlated with bee species richness and abundance for hemp plots with taller varieties attracting a broader diversity of bee species.”

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service said that hemp producers are eligible for the Value-Added Producer Grant program.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy is proposing to conduct surveys on how drug courts are responding to opioid issues.

A National Archives blog post about musician Willie Nelson recounts the time he says he smoked marijuana on the roof of the White House.

Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders participated in a panel about rethinking models of substance use, misuse and addiction.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “When young people say they want to go to college without taking on mountains of debt, we must listen. When young people say they want to end the criminalization of marijuana, we must listen. When young people say they want a planet that is healthy and habitable, we must listen.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) called on the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts not to interfere with the opening of safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) spoke at MJBizCon.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) tweeted about the first court filings to expunge marijuana convictions, saying, “We will never be able to fully remedy the depth of that unfairness and the damage it visited upon so many families. But we can govern our state with the courage to admit the mistakes of our past—and the decency to correct the record and set a better path forward.”

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) said marijuana is a dangerous drug and that legalization will cause problems.

New York’s lieutenant governor said the administration will push hard to legalize cannabis in 2020. She also tweeted, “Recreational marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed in New York. This is about jobs and boosting our economy – and we will be making a push on this in the upcoming session.”

Michigan’s lieutenant governor is urging people to use legal marijuana responsibly. Separately, regulators published an industrial hemp FAQ.

Wisconsin Republican lawmakers filed a medical cannabis bill. The Senate majority leader said he opposes it and the Assembly speaker said his caucus “hasn’t reached a consensus” on the issue, while the Assembly majority leader is on board. A spokesperson for Gov. Tony Evers (D) said “it’s good to see some Republicans following the lead of Democrats to support an idea that’s overwhelmingly popular with Wisconsinites.”

The California Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee unanimously voted to declare THC a risk to pregnant women and developing fetuses, a move that will require warning labels on cannabis products.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

Oklahoma regulators reported that medical cannabis taxes generated nearly $2.8 million in November.

New Jersey regulators issued an additional medical cannabis license.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

The Lake County, Indiana Council gave initial approval to a proposal to let police ticket and fine people for low-level marijuana possession instead of arrest them.

Cook County, Illinois’s state’s attorney personally filed the first court motions to clear low-level marijuana convictions.

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor tweeted, “Cannabis legalization cannot happen without expunging the records of past marijuana use and possession. We know all too well that it’s black and brown people who have been locked up for it, denied housing and jobs. I applaud @SAKimFoxx and her efforts to get this done quickly.”

The Oakland, California City Council approved a marijuana business tax break opposed by the mayor.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A New Zealand government-commissioned report recommended that policymakers “strengthen regulation of alcohol, legalise and regulate personal use of cannabis, and consider that for all drugs, treating personal drug use as a health issue, with more funding towards prevention, education and treatment.”

The Canadian government reported that more than C$908 million worth of marijuana was sold in the first year of legalization.

A Mexican senator filed a medical cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “mice voluntarily consume both cannabinoids and opioids via gelatin, and that cannabinoids provide long-term relief of chronic pain states.”

A review revealed the “therapeutic potential of LSD to reduce psychiatric symptomatology, mainly in alcoholism” and found that “the vast majority of authors describe significant and positive short-term changes in patients.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Cannabis Information Project is a new educational effort founded by major marijuana companies including Columbia Care, Acreage Holdings, Canopy Growth and Cresco Labs.

The National Narcotic Officers’ Associations Coalition is opposing efforts to automatically expunge marijuana convictions.

AASA, The School Superintendents Association published a debate about whether it would be OK for a school administrator to accept a gift of marijuana from appreciative parents.

/ BUSINESS

Green Angel CBD, whose hemp shipment was seized by New York City police, plans to sue the city.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. laid off another 20% of its corporate employees, meaning that in the past 30 days it has cut corporate staff by more than 40%.

Wayv launched a digital payment solution for the marijuana industry.

Cowen, Inc. and Marijuana Business Daily launched a research distribution partnership.

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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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Veterans cannabis provisions stripped by congressional leaders (Newsletter: December 11, 2019)

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Vermont health official backs legal marijuana sales; MLB to OK cannabis use by players; Killer Mike credits Bernie Sanders for legalization momentum

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressional negotiators stripped veterans-focused marijuana provisions that passed the House from the final negotiated version of the National Defense Authorization Act. Meanwhile, the bill contains nearly a billion dollars to support waging the war on drugs.

A top Vermont Health Department official said the state should legalize marijuana sales in order to better protect public health.

  • “Without the regulation, we don’t know what’s in it. We can’t control the potency of it. We can’t control the access.”

Major League Baseball plans to remove marijuana from its banned substances list for minor league players.

Rapper Killer Mike credited Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—who was the first major presidential candidate to back legalizing marijuana during his 2016 run—with inspiring the cannabis reform movement.

  • “Marijuana decriminalization was something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. Yet within four years, I’ve seen a nationwide push for it, in big part to his campaign.”

/ FEDERAL

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Drug Testing Advisory Board discussed the impact of marijuana laws on drug testing at a meeting last week.

The State Department and Office of National Drug Control Policy hosted officials from Canada and Mexico for the Fourth Annual North American Drug Dialogue.

Two marijuana bills were among the top 10 most viewed on Congress.gov for the week of December 1.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, spoke about ending the war on drugs and marijuana prohibition during a speech in New Hampshire.

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) did an interview with the Cannabis Economy podcast and tweeted, “Cannabis prohibition is an antiquated policy that is on its way out the door.”

Illinois Democratic congressional candidate Rachel Ventura, currently a Will County Board member, is pushing to earmark local marijuana tax revenue to help people harmed by prohibition enforcement.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he wants to make another attempt to pass marijuana legalization legislation early next year.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeted about the state beginning to accept marijuana social equity applications, saying, “Our phased rollout is intentional. Illinois’ brief startup period was designed to provide the seed capital to social equity applicants. These low-interest loans will help businesses get off the ground & create real opportunity in communities that have suffered in the past.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tweeted, “The hemp industry in NY is exploding. By establishing a regulatory framework for producing and selling hemp and hemp extract we can set the industry on a path to continued growth in a smart, safe way that empowers farmers and consumers.”

Virginia’s attorney general is hosting a cannabis summit on Wednesday.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner is engaged to the founder and former CEO of one of the state’s largest medical cannabis companies. Separately, the House Health Quality Subcommittee will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Wednesday.

The Michigan House Regulatory Reform approved legislation to ban the use of vitamin E acetate in vaping products. Meanwhile, State Police are investigating two medical cannabis dispensaries for allegedly selling marijuana without a license.

Texas regulators submitted a hemp plan for federal approval.

New Mexico regulators delayed a hearing on a proposal to allow medical cannabis for pets.

/ LOCAL

The Brooklyn, New York district attorney dropped drug charges against a man transporting industrial hemp.

Denver, Colorado officials announced that Royal Resin is voluntarily recalling marijuana products due to the presence of elevated yeast and/or mold counts.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Uruguay’s Senate unanimously approved a medical cannabis regulation bill.

Mexico’s former secretary of public security was charged with participating in a drug trafficking conspiracy in U.S. federal court.

Uganda’s cabinet is studying the potential legalization of marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review suggested that “cannabinoids may confer beneficial effects on the gastrointestinal and immune system, such as reducing intestinal permeability, regulating gut bacteria and reducing inflammation” and that “cannabinoids may exert [alcohol use disorder] harm‐reduction effects.”

A study on marijuana product descriptions concluded that “online cannabis retailers are making potentially unsubstantiated product claims.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Cannabis Roundtable released a corporate social responsibility pledge signed by the heads of marijuana businesses.

/ BUSINESS

Dollar General announced it will begin selling CBD products in some of its stores.

Walmart Canada apologized for selling a sweater that appeared to depict Santa Claus with lines of cocaine.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. announced that the New York Stock Exchange notified the company it is no longer in compliance listing rules requiring a stock price in excess of $1 per share.

Leafly launched a new market data analysis tool, online CBD sales platform and partnership with the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association.

Columbia Care Inc. brought on a new chief growth officer.

Front Range Biosciences is sending plant cultures of hemp and coffee to the International Space Station for an experiment on whether  zero gravity will mutate or genetically alter the plants.

Vice looks at how paid social media influencers are making questionable claims about CBD products.

/ CULTURE

Actor Brad Pitt said he “spent most of the ’90s hiding out and smoking pot. I was too uncomfortable with all the attention.”

Cartoonist Scott Adams said he wants to legalize drugs beyond marijuana.

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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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