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Congressional cannabis hearing planned with prohibition victims (Newsletter: January 16, 2020)

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NM gov presses lawmakers to legalize marijuana in 2020; VT gov more open to legal cannabis sales; VA decrim bill advances

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There are now 975 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on six marijuana bills, including two that would federally legalize cannabis. Much of the focus was on research, with the Drug Enforcement Administration revealing that it has a cultivation licensing proposal pending before the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse decrying roadblocks created by marijuana’s Schedule I status.

At the hearing, formerly anti-legalization Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) announced that committee leadership has agreed to hold a second yet-to-be-scheduled committee discussion focused on people harmed by cannabis prohibition.

  • “There are also critical stakeholders who are missing: those whose lives have been directly touched by our broken marijuana policies, people unjustly incarcerated, patients who rely on medical cannabis, researchers with expertise who are yearning to learn more, small business owners trying to find fair footing in a new industry.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) formally asked lawmakers to legalize marijuana during the short 30-day legislative session beginning this month by including the issue in her written session call, meaning that the state could be the next in the U.S. to end prohibition. She is also pushing for legislation to limit the state’s medical cannabis program to residents only.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) seems more and more open to legalizing marijuana sales after years of reluctance, and now appears to be counting on cannabis revenue to support an after-school program he’s pushing. One key lawmaker said he wants to get a bill to the governor’s desk by early March.

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee referred a marijuana decriminalization bill to a subcommittee with an expectation it will be amended to address certain issues and return to the full panel for a vote on moving it to the floor. The development comes despite the state ACLU chapter taking the position that the “status quo” would be preferable to simple decriminalization.

/ FEDERAL

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said he is worried about syringe exchange programs being harmed by getting conflated with supervised injection sites, and said he has visited one of the former facilities in Canada.

A federal judge is considering a request to issue a final judgement declaring that a proposed safe consumption site for illegal drugs would not violate federal law.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for decriminalizing drug possession and said that people would “be much better off, frankly, with regular marijuana” than using synthetic cannabinoids.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said that Attorney General William Barr did not respond to a letter from lawmakers about improving marijuana research.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced that Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Information Center is receiving $2.5 million in federal funds.

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) is circulating draft legislation that would federal direct federal agencies to develop plans to address illegal water diversion for marijuana cultivation and create a structure for funding remediation of cannabis grow sites that threaten to impact watersheds and water quality.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) spoke about the racially disproportionate harms of the war on drugs and the need to treat addiction as a health issue.

The House bill to make it easier for scientists to study marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of 16.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said he hasn’t used marijuana since its legalization, and he also discussed the importance of equity in the industry. Separately, the state Supreme Court heard arguments in a case on whether the smell of marijuana grants police the right to conduct warrantless vehicle searches.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) appointed a new member to the state’s marijuana regulatory body.

California’s attorney general tweeted about the state’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, which he said is “the nation’s largest illegal #marijuana eradication team” that works to “destroy illegal grow sites on public and private land.”

Pennsylvania’s agriculture commissioner spoke about the state’s history with hemp prior to prohibition.

Kentucky’s House speaker said that if medical cannabis is legalized it won’t be taxed.

Tennessee’s House speaker discussed his opposition to medical cannabis.

New York’s Assembly speaker tweeted, “Industrial hemp has become an important part of our agricultural economy, growing in 4 years from 60 to 20,000 acres farmed by 480 growers. We’ll keep working to attract processors & manufacturers of popular hemp products and invest in our agriculture & upstate economy.”

A New Jersey court said regulators cannot review new medical cannabis business licenses while applicants who were rejected on technicalities challenge the process.

The South Carolina House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee’s Health and Environmental Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on a medical cannabis bill on Tuesday.

Oregon regulators will consider marijuana rules changes and violation stipulated settlement agreements on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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 Cleveland, Ohio City Council’s Safety Committee unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The European Commission is proposing a unified European Union vote on pending World Health Organization cannabis scheduling recommendations.

French lawmakers launched a fact-finding mission on cannabis.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said he is “very disturbed” that a draft marijuana commission report leaked.

The Australian Capital Territory government launched a public education campaign about marijuana in advance of a local legalization law taking effect.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “pre-clinical research using animal models of innate fear and anxiety-like behaviors have found anxiolytic, antistress, anticompulsive, and panicolytic-like effects of CBD” and that “preliminary evidence from human trials using both healthy volunteers and individuals with social anxiety disorder, suggests that CBD may have anxiolytic effects.”

Researchers developed a process that “furnishes psilocybin in five steps in 23% overall yield from an inexpensive acetoxyindole starting material” that us “amenable to providing high-quality psilocybin.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The American Psychological Association is calling on Congress to remove roadblocks to marijuana studies, and specifically wants the Drug Enforcement Administration be relieved of its role in reviewing requests to conduct such research.

/ BUSINESS

Cornbread Hemp announced it is the first Kentucky CBD company to have received organic certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. announced it closed a $300 million Senior Secured Term Loan Facility from a syndicate of lenders.

COMPASS Pathways announced that it received a patent relating to methods of treating drug-resistant depression with a psilocybin formulation.

Michigan retailers have sold more than $10 million worth of recreational marijuana products in the first six weeks of legal sales.

/ CULTURE

Musician Carlos Santana is partnering with Left Coast Ventures to develop CBD products.

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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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MT court rejects cannabis measure challenge (Newsletter: October 23, 2020)

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PA House OKs medical marijuana DUI protection; CO gov jokes TX shouldn’t legalize; Reps slam DEA hemp rule; Expungements hinge on AZ prosecutor race

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Montana Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit claiming that a marijuana legalization initiative that’s on the state’s ballot violates the state constitution by appropriating funds. The justices didn’t rule on the merits of the claim, but said opponents failed to demonstrate the need for the high court to take it up. A lawyer for the opposition campaign said they will be pursuing the matter in a lower court soon.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved an amendment to protect medical cannabis patients from being charged with DUIs for using their legal medicine.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) jokingly told Texas not to legalize marijuana so that his own state can keep getting more cannabis tourism.

Nine members of Congress sent a letter pushing back against proposed Drug Enforcement Administration rules they say “will likely have the effect of inhibiting these nascent state hemp programs.”

  • “Our offices have received countless calls from constituents involved in the hemp industry who are extremely fearful that simply following the provisions of the Farm Bill will result in criminal liability.”

The result of a prosecutor race in Maricopa County, Arizona—the state’s most populous county—will determine whether many people with past marijuana convictions will be able to get them expunged.

/ FEDERAL

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, at a debate with President Trump, that “no one should be going to jail because they have a drug problem. They should be going to rehabilitation, not to jail. We should fundamentally change the system, and that’s what I’m going to do.” He also admitted in response to attacks from Trump about his record as a senator that “it was a mistake to pass those laws relating to drugs.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in a debate, again criticized Democrats for mentioning marijuana more than jobs in their coronavirus relief legislation.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) said he supports legalizing marijuana and expunging convictions.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said he polled voters in Kentucky about medical cannabis.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “We can’t allow ourselves to be a country where people are locked up for possessing marijuana but Pharma executives get rich off fueling an opioid crisis. Big Pharma should know: your days of profiting off people’s pain are numbered. There will be justice.”

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins tweeted, “The Green Party has always been clear about the need to End the War on Drugs, starting with legalization of marijuana and reparations for the communities that have been most negatively impacted.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Christine Olivo tweeted, “Legalizing Marijuana is becoming more and more popular. I am 100% for the legalization as well as expunging the records of people with past marijuana related convictions! #LegalizeIt”

/ STATES

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill that will require judges to dismiss marijuana charges if prosecutors and defendants want to do so.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he has a “huge passion” for the state’s marijuana legalization referendum and that it will be “a gamechanger particularly for young persons of color.”

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes talked about marijuana legalization as a racial justice issue during a debate.

Utah’s attorney general spoke about his support for medical cannabis in a debate.

Missouri regulators concluded an investigation into a report of moldy medical cannabis without finding any evidence of health and safety concerns.

Here’s a look at campaign finance contributions for and against Arizona’s marijuana legalization measure.

An Oregon judge rejected a lawsuit filed by two vineyards that claimed their businesses would be damaged by a neighboring marijuana growing and processing operation.

The Michigan Parole Board granted a November 17 hearing to a man who is serving decades in prison on marijuana charges.

California’s Veterinary Medical Board discussed using cannabis products to treat animals.


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

The Delaware County, Pennsylvania Council amended a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance, pushing back the timetable for being able to enact it.

The city of San Diego, California is suing a marijuana business for allegedly failing to pay taxes.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Bahamian Economic Recovery Committee recommended legalizing marijuana.

A Brazilian judge ruled that importing small amounts of marijuana seeds is not a crime.

Italian regulators added flower-derived CBD to a table of medicines in its narcotics law.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “oil solution and sublingual wafer formulations of the extract standardised with CBD were well tolerated and achieved equivalent concentrations of CBD when compared to an available commercial nabiximols formulation.”

A study “demonstrated selective, beneficial effects of low doses of LSD on mood and cognition in the majority of observations.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry authored an op-ed opposing the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Decriminalize Nature Portland is holding an event on Sunday to highlight why it opposes Oregon’s psilocybin therapy legalization ballot measure.

Real Action for Cannabis Equity launched a campaign to push back against what it says are racist attacks against a black-owned marijuana business in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association is a new group made up of the state’s medical marijuana businesses.

The Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network published a voter guide for next month’s elections.

/ BUSINESS

Delic Corp. reached an agreement for a reverse takeover of Molystar Resources Inc.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Shawn Kemp is opening a marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Addiction doctors org backs federal cannabis reforms (Newsletter: October 22, 2020)

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Regulators push Congress to legalize marijuana; NJ Senate cancels referendum hearing; VA gov wants cannabis odor bill change; SD cop’s legalization ad

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  • Laura Fogelan of PAX: “If there’s one thing I read every single morning, it’s Marijuana Moment. This has become such a go-to resource for me and many of my colleagues at PAX—to keep a finger on the pulse of not only what’s happening across the industry, but also inside the beltway and in state capitals. We are so grateful to Tom and the team for all the time and work they put into making this information available, comprehensive and perfectly snackable for a quick daily read.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The American Society of Addiction Medicine adopted a new marijuana platform calling for rescheduling cannabis and exempting people who comply with state legalization laws from federal prohibition, as well as expunging prior convictions.

  • A portion of the new policy paper appears to have largely copied and pasted language from an Elizabeth Warren press release about her STATES Act—which would exempt people complying with state marijuana laws from federal prohibition—to describe its new stance. ASAM previously partnered with prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana to oppose marijuana rescheduling and Obama-era moves to respect state laws. SAM has now removed mentions of ASAM from some pages on its website, though it downplayed the new stance when contacted.

A coalition of state and local marijuana regulators sent a letter urging the House of Representatives to move forward with plans to pass a bill to legalize cannabis and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs. The expected vote has already been delayed once.

The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled and then canceled a Thursday hearing meant to get a head start on considering how to implement marijuana regulations if voters approve the state’s legalization referendum. A staffer told Marijuana Moment it is “unknown” if the event will be rescheduled.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is asking lawmakers to make some changes to a bill they sent him to ban police searches and seizures based on the smell of marijuana. His suggested amendment is about the unrelated issue of break lights and headlights, however.

A retired South Dakota police officer appears in a new TV ad urging the state’s voters to approve separate marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures.

/ FEDERAL

The Internal Revenue Service is building special audit teams focused on enforcing marijuana industry tax compliance.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit upheld the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to investigate and impose tax consequences on marijuana businesses.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is highlighting the opportunity to submit feedback on a U.S. Department of Agriculture plan to survey hemp businesses.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) touted his efforts to successfully extend the federal hemp pilot program.

Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) touted the fact that Senate Republicans’ coronavirus relief bill doesn’t include marijuana banking provisions.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and his challengers discussed marijuana during a debate.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) cited his work on CBD legislation during a debate as an area where he has bucked his party.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana in New Jersey will create jobs and save our state money. While I often argue for legalization from a criminal and racial justice standpoint, there is a strong argument to be made for the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 117.

Mississippi Democratic Senate candidate Mike Espy, a former U.S. agriculture secretary, endorsed the activists-driven medical cannabis measure on his state’s ballot.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary was announced as the opening speaker for a Hemp Summit being held in December.

The Louisiana Senate Education Committee amended a House-passed bill that would have allowed school personnel to administer medical cannabis to students by replacing it with language to simply conduct a study on the issue.

The campaign pushing to pass South Dakota’s marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures has raised five times as much funding as opponents have.

Missouri regulators are investigating a complaint about moldy medical cannabis sold at a dispensary.

Maine regulators are being sued by small local marijuana businesses for allegedly improperly granting licenses to other businesses with out-of-state owners.

Nevada regulators filed complaints against marijuana businesses for violations, including having unlicensed employees and failing to maintain proper documentation.

Oregon regulators published updated guidance on disclosing interests in marijuana businesses.

West Virginia regulators selected Metrc to run the state’s medical cannabis track and trace system.

Michigan regulators made updates to several marijuana application forms due to changes in ownership disclosure rules.


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

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania officials are being sued for allegedly discriminating against a job applicant over his medical cannabis use.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK boy whose story prompted the government to begin allowing cannabis-based medicines is receiving his first legal prescription.

The Court of Justice of the European Union will rule on the legality of France’s CBD ban on November 19.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “further evidence for the effects of [medical cannabis] on chronic pain and related symptoms, demonstrating an overall mild to modest long‐term improvement of the tested measures.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police is urging voters to reject the state’s activist-driven medical cannabis ballot measure.

A leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published an op-ed on why the religious group opposes Arizona’s marijuana legalization ballot initiative.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicted that the marijuana industry will see a boost if Democrats win the White House and Senate.

/ BUSINESS

Workers at DC Holistic Wellness signed a collective bargaining agreement.

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. announced it is raising C$30,000,144 selling shares at a price of C$2.26 each.

Jushi Holdings Inc. is offering 10,000,000 subordinate voting shares at a price of C$3.55 per share.

/ CULTURE

Baseball player Luis Campusano was arrested on felony marijuana possession charges.

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Trump team orders cannabis activists to cease & desist (Newsletter: October 21, 2020)

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Harris makes “commitment” to decrim marijuana; Schumer puts cannabis banking in COVID bill; Poll: NJ referendum leads; TX legalization projections

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump’s reelection campaign issued a cease and desist letter demanding that Mississippi medical cannabis activists stop using his name to campaign for their ballot initiative. Trump has said, on video, that he backs medical marijuana “100%” and that he personally knows people who have benefited from using it.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke about a “commitment” to decriminalize marijuana and expunge past cannabis records if Joe Biden is elected to the White House.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) included marijuana banking language in a new coronavirus relief bill he introduced. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if cannabis provisions can make it into a COVID-19 deal that Democrats and the Trump administration are negotiating.

Another new poll shows New Jersey’s marijuana legalization referendum ahead by a solid margin. This one also finds that voters want Gov. Phil Murphy (D) to go even further by pardoning people with past cannabis convictions.

A new analysis from Vicente Sederberg LLP finds that if Texas legalized marijuana the state would see $2.7 billion in annual cannabis sales, take in $1.1 billion dollars in tax revenue per biennium and create 20,000-40,000 jobs in the industry, plus ancillary positions.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration launched a new operation to “identify and prioritize ongoing drug trafficking investigations with a nexus to violent crime.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) slammed Democrats’ coronavirus relief bill because it “mentions cannabis more times than JOBS.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) toured a hemp business.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Christine Olivo tweeted, “Legalize marijuana and expunge the records of people with past marijuana related convictions! #LegalizeIt”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I want to legalize cannabis, turn it into a cash crop for our District 1 farmers, tax the sale of cannabis & use that revenue to rebuild our infrastructure! With your support, we can do this together!”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Lisa Welch tweeted, “In 2020, states will vote on marijuana legalization. This will generate tax revenue to combat the opioid crisis, cartels, & reduce the burden on our police/justice system. It’s time for Fed Gov to end prohibition& expunge nonviolent drug charges #vote”

/ STATES

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) appointed a new director of the state Office of Drug Control Policy.

Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) is urging voters to reject a drug decriminalization ballot measure.

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana during a debate.

Utah Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Karina Brown said she opposes decriminalizing marijuana.

Montana’s House speaker expressed concerns about the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measures.

Massachusetts regulators approved changes to proposed marijuana delivery rules.

Michigan regulators cheered federal approval of the state’s hemp plan.

Virginia’s Marijuana Legalization Work Group met.

Ohio regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.


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

The Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney has expunged hundreds of marijuana convictions this month.

Los Angeles, California regulators began accepting applications for marijuana delivery, distribution, manufacturing and testing licenses, but are facing a lawsuit over the availability of delivery licenses to only equity applicants.

The Portland, Maine City Council approved marijuana business licenses.

Boston, Massachusetts marijuana regulators will meet on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A London, UK police commander in charge of drug strategy has admitted to using cannabis for medical purposes and has been suspended.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical cannabis initiation may be associated with self-reported reductions and cessation of alcohol use among medical cannabis patients.”

A study suggested that “cannabis legalization in Canada did not increase the risk of short-term cannabis-related hospitalization among girls and older boys” but that “legalization may have contributed to an increase in the risk in boys under 15 years.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Last Prisoner Project, Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party and Redemption Foundation teamed up on a campaign seeking the release of people incarcerated for cannabis convictions in Michigan.

/ BUSINESS

Meadow launched a CRM and text messaging platform for dispensary clients.

Employees at Eaze subsidiary Stachs voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

VIVO Cannabis Inc. laid off 18% of its staff.

/ CULTURE

The Onion made fun of people who give CBD to their pets.

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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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