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Congressional cannabis pushback builds against Sessions (Newsletter: Jan. 15, 2018)

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New bill handcuffs DOJ enforcement; Lawmakers push for state protections; Incoming NJ gov talks legalization

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Forty-seven people got that initial dispatch in their inbox. The Moment’s reach has grown considerably since then, via email and on the web, and we’ve been able to help make sure the most important news surfaces and gets to more of the people who need to see it.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A new congressional bill would effectively block the Justice Department and other federal agencies from punishing people for violating state marijuana laws, on a permanent basis, without actually changing cannabis’s status under the Controlled Substances Act.

A bipartisan group of 69 U.S. House lawmakers sent a letter to congressional leadership requesting that they include protections for state recreational marijuana legalization laws in funding legislation.

/ FEDERAL

Oregon’s U.S. attorney says he has “significant concerns” with the state’s marijuana law and is hosting a summit with stakeholders to inform his enforcement strategy.

Colorado’s U.S. attorney spoke about marijuana enforcement on a conference call with members of the state’s congressional delegation.

A group of 28 U.S. senators and House members signed an amicus brief urging a federal court to reject the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s argument that CBD is a Schedule I drug.

A 24-year-old former Trump campaign aide with inconsistencies in his resume somehow ascended to one of the top leadership positions at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said he agrees with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s marijuana memo.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) said he is “encouraged” by the Trump administration’s anti-marijuana move.

The former U.S. attorney for Kansas published an op-ed saying the state should consider legalizing marijuana.

Candidates in a Massachusetts congressional race are divided on legalizing marijuana.

West Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Kendra Fershee supports legalizing marijuana.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got two new cosponsors, bringing the total to 24.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got two new cosponsors, bringing the total to 39.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) says he wants marijuana legalization to happen “sooner than later” but doesn’t “want to marry myself to a particular day.” In a related development, an assemblymember will soon introduce a bill that allows homegrow, unlike existing legislation that has been a focus of debate. Separately, an assemblymember filed a resolution calling on Congress to pass medical cannabis legislation.

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-NV) wants to meet with the state’s U.S. attorney to discuss marijuana enforcement.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) launched an online petition in support of medical cannabis. Separately, regulators are making the state’s medical marijuana registry inaccessible on police computers to reduce the chances that patients will be flagged during federal gun-purchase background checks.

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker held a press conference to push for marijuana legalization. Separately, the state attorney general’s office agreed in federal court to let an 11-year-old girl use medical cannabis at school.

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Joel Giamabra says he’d legalize marijuana and dedicate the tax revenue to fixing the subway.

Colorado’s attorney general says she thinks marijuana legalization would pass by an even higher margin today than it did in 2012, adding that it is “too late” for the federal government to shut down the legal industry.

Maine’s top health official says the state’s medical cannabis program needs significant reforms.

The West Virginia Supreme Court is asking for public input on a proposed rule change that would allow lawyers to advise medical cannabis businesses.

California’s Senate president is urging Congress to reform federal marijuana laws. Separately, the secretary of state’s office began accepting trademark applications for cannabis products.

An Alabama representative is filing legislation to decriminalize marijuana.

A Nevada state senator is calling on U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) to do more to push back against federal anti-marijuana moves.

/ LOCAL

The Savannah, Georgia City Council will discuss a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance on Thursday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canada’s government is considering a program of pardons for people with past marijuana convictions.

Israel’s public security minister said a retroactive marijuana decriminalization bill would soon be approved by the Knesset.

Greek lawmakers are expected to approve medical cannabis in the coming weeks.

Malta’s Parliament will take up legislation to allow medical cannabis products soon.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “half of adults in Oregon considered alcohol to be more harmful than marijuana” and “few considered marijuana to be more harmful than alcohol.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Georgia voters support legalizing marijuana, 50%-46%. And 77% support expanding the state’s current limited medical cannabis law to allow in-state cultivation.

/ BUSINESS

UPS is being sued in federal court by a former Arizona employee who was first over his state-legal medical cannabis use.

Canadian marijuana companies are on a hiring spree ahead of legalization.

Marijuana Business Daily editor Chris Walsh appeared on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

/ CULTURE     

Netflix released a video of several former football players pressuring the NFL to improve its marijuana policies.

San Francisco 49ers player Reuben Foster was arrested for marijuana possession.

Denver Broncos player Carlos Henderson was arrested on marijuana charges.

Actor Richard Belzer tweeted a picture of himself smoking a joint.

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 15-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.)

Newsletter

Congressional report calls on DEA to license cannabis growers (Newsletter: May 24, 2019)

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Senate approves hemp crop insurance; Immigration bill has marijuana carve-out; Video: Grandma’s CBD arrest

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 1,113 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.

  • Ken Taylor: “Marijuana Moment’s daily inclusion of federal, state and local recaps of medical and recreational law progress is a must for individual investors. Best and most inclusive recap of what’s going on in the legal world of cannabis.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A House Appropriations Committee report is pushing the Drug Enforcement Administration to finally process long-stalled applications for new growers of marijuana to be used in scientific research.

The Senate approved a disaster aid funding bill that includes provisions Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) inserted to ensure that hemp farmers are eligible for crop insurance.

The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill—the DREAM Act—to protect immigrants brought to the U.S. as young people, and it carves out marijuana exemptions to provisions barring eligibility for criminal convictions.

Florida police released a body cam video showing the recent arrest of a grandmother for possessing CBD oil at Disney World:

  • “I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m going to pass out.”

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration’s acting CIO posted a Twitter thread about the agency’s efforts to obtain feedback about CBD regulations.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, criticized incarceration policies driven by the 1994 crime bill.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is helping to raise money for a Bronx, New York district attorney candidate who wants to “Stop Prosecuting Drug Use (it’s a HEALTH issue!).”

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) spoke about Congress’s interference in Washington, D.C.’s marijuana laws in a House floor speech.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) spoke about growing support for his marijuana banking bill.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “Veterans deserve every possible medical option to treat chronic pain and PTSD. @teammoulton and I are proud to have introduced a set of bills to reform the VA’s approach to medical cannabis.”

The Senate marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 29.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill allowing medical cannabis to be recommended for any condition for which opioids can be prescribed.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said the federal government “out to be ashamed” of its inaction on medical cannabis reform, arguing that it puts patients in legal states at risk of prosecution.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said that voters in the state would “like to see movement” on legalizing cannabis for adult use based on public input his lieutenant governor received during a statewide listening tour.

The New Jersey Assembly approved a medical cannabis expansion bill.

The California Senate approved a bill allowing veterinarians to treat animals with cannabis products. Separately, regulators reported that in the first quarter of the year, marijuana excise taxes generated $61.4 million in revenue and cultivation taxes garnered an additional $16.8 million. And the Legislative Analyst’s Office projected that 2018-19 cannabis tax revenue will be $307 million, which is $19 million higher than a previous estimate.

The Louisiana Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to legalize hemp and regulate CBD sales.

An Illinois representative sponsoring marijuana legalization legislation said that revisions to her bill should be filed soon.

The Arkansas Supreme Court dismissed a lawsuit seeking to force the secretary of state to approve the wording of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Maine regulators held a public hearing to receive feedback about proposed marijuana regulations.

Washington State regulators issued licenses to grow more than 6,000 acres of hemp next year, a huge annual increase.

Michigan regulators hosted a Facebook Live chat to discuss marijuana rules.


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

A Cincinnati, Ohio City Council vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal scheduled for Friday has been canceled.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Colombian lawmakers are working on marijuana legalization legislation.

Canadian regulators said that CBD products are subject to the same rules as marijuana.

A North Macedonia lawmaker resigned after a taped phone call of him appearing to order cannabis oil was posted on social media.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Cannabis Industry Association released a report recommending steps to ensure equity in the marijuana industry.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD inhibited MCF-7 breast cancer growth, whereas THC stimulated MCF-7 breast cancer cell proliferation.”

A review suggested that “cannabinoids could improve sleep quality, decrease sleep disturbances, and decrease sleep onset latency.”

/ BUSINESS

Sheetz announced that it will begin selling CBD products.

The Flowr Corporation was approved to trade on Nasdaq.

Arkansas medical cannabis dispensary Doctor’s Orders RX Inc. is being sued for trademark infringement by a pharmacy.

/ CULTURE

Athletes like Mike Tyson, Jake Plummer, Ricky Williams and Floyd Landis are calling on the World Anti-Doping Agency to remove marijuana from its banned substances list.

Musician Ozzy Osbourne is using CBD to treat pain stemming from a fall.

Basketball player Richaun Holmes was arrested for marijuana possession.

Former football player Chris Long revealed that he used marijuana during his career.

Author Tim Ferriss spoke about his reasons for helping to fund psychedelic research.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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Newsletter

Treasury department studying cannabis banking bill (Newsletter: May 23, 2019)

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Square launches CBD payment processing; Texas Senate OKs medical marijuana expansion; CBD helps alcohol problems; Voters support record sealing bill

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…

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Payment processor Square has quietly launched a pilot program to work with CBD businesses after years of rejecting them as clients.

During a line of questioning during a House hearing by Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he’d rather discuss marijuana than President Trump’s tax returns. He also revealed that his department is actively reviewing pending cannabis banking legislation.

A poll found that 71% of U.S. voters support a bill from Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) to automatically seal marijuana convictions and provide processes to seal records for other nonviolent offenses. The lawmakers told Marijuana Moment in an interview that they also back more broadly descheduling cannabis—even though they haven’t yet cosponsored legislation to do so.

The Texas Senate unanimously approved a bill to expand the state’s limited medical marijuana program. Changes made by the chamber must now be reconciled with a House-passed version before being sent to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

A scientific review concluded that CBD can reduce alcohol consumption, heal alcohol-induced liver damage and reduce alcohol-related brain damage.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court not to take up an appeal challenging the Internal Revenue Service’s enforcement of the 280E tax provision against marijuana businesses and its ability to conduct related investigations.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, said he’s open to considering the legalization of drugs beyond marijuana.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, spoke during a CNN town hall about his support for legalizing marijuana, expunging records and ending the war on drugs, but he sidestepped a question about decriminalizing drugs beyond cannabis. He also suggested that pharmaceutical company executives should be prosecuted.

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) swore in members of the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “Marijuana dispensaries that are forced to operate exclusively with cash are too often targets for violent robberies. That’s why I’m supporting the #SAFEBankingAct to ensure that cannabis businesses are treated just like any other small business.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “As investors profit from marijuana, thousands of people every year continue to be arrested — especially in communities of color. The ‘war on drugs’ has been a war on people of color across this country. We must end the prohibition of cannabis and expunge all low level offenses.”

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted, “The war on drugs has been a complete and utter failure, wasting billions of dollars and locking up millions. We must end this madness.” He also released a video about the need to end marijuana prohibition.

The House marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 184.

The House marijuana descheduling bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 29.

The House bill to seal records for marijuana and other nonviolent offenses got four new cosponsors, for a total of seven.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “LG @johnfetterman’s recreational marijuana listening tour wrapped up over the weekend.  There’s still time to tell us what you think about legalization. Use the online form, available through May.”

New Jersey’s Senate president said he’s not yet sold on legislation to decriminalize marijuana. Separately, the state’s principal deputy health commissioner is leaving her job to work in the cannabis industry.

Texas lawmakers sent Gov. Greg Abbott (R) a hemp bill.

Nebraska senators amended and advanced a hemp bill.

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a bill to tax hemp and CBD products. Separately, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee advanced legislation to let patients inhale medical cannabis.

The Michigan House of Representatives approved a resolution calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The Alabama House Health Committee is expected to vote on a medical cannabis bill on Tuesday. Separately, the House Democratic Caucus tweeted, “Alabama House Democrats challenge our Republican counterparts to see the countless benefits medical marijuana could provide for ailing patients and opioid addicts, while providing the state with a consistent revenue source.”

California regulators released guidance on marijuana and alcoholic beverages.


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 Cincinnati, Ohio City Council is expected to vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal on Friday.

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is considering a proposal to make marijuana the city’s lowest law enforcement priority.

The New York City Council speaker said it would be disappointing if the state doesn’t legalize marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK House of Commons adopted a resolution calling on the government to “immediately to act to ensure that medical cannabis is available to appropriate patients and in particular to children suffering severe intractable epilepsy.”

Denmark’s health minister said she would like to see consistent medical cannabis regulations across Europe.

The Canadian government announced $24.5 million in funding for marijuana research projects.

/ ADVOCACY

The Texas Democratic Party tweeted, “Texas Democrats believe we should legalize medical cannabis. HB 3703, common-sense Medical Marijuana expansion, just unanimously passed through the Senate. This is a good first step and will allow Texans in pain the relief that they deserve.”

Marijuana businesses formed a group called Californians for Equal Access that is working to oppose a lawsuit seeking to overturn a regulation allowing cannabis delivery services across the state.

The Kratom Information & Resource Center released a report highlighting what it believes is unfair media coverage of the substance.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical marijuana law implementation in US states has been associated with greater substance use treatment utilization by pregnant adult women, especially in states with legally protected dispensaries.”

A study found that in a “sample of non‐fatally injured motor vehicle drivers in British Columbia, Canada, there was no evidence of increased crash risk in drivers with THC<5ng/mL and a statistically non‐significant increased risk of crash responsibility.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Herald editorial board is urging Massachusetts police to crack down on marijuana smoking in public at events.

/ BUSINESS

Following months of internal deliberations, Facebook decided to continue disallowing state-legal sales of marijuana on its platform.

Colorado retailers set a monthly marijuana sales record in March.

/ CULTURE

National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league will follow medical advice on whether players should be allowed to use cannabis for pain.

Comedian Andy Richter tweeted, “I masturbated with CBD lotion and my penis moved to Berkeley to learn ceramics.”

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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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State bankers groups call on Senate to advance cannabis bill (Newsletter: May 22, 2019)

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AOC pushes HUD on marijuana evictions; Feds’ cannabis meetings this summer; Presidential candidates back descheduling; Psychedelics reduce alcohol use

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 1,107 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Bankers associations from all 50 states joined together to urge the Senate Banking Committee to stop blocking marijuana financial services legislation from advancing.

Advisory boards for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration announced that they will discuss issues related to marijuana’s impact on health and safety at meetings this summer.

During a House hearing, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) got Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on the record about how racial disparities in drug enforcement leave people of color vulnerable to being evicted from public housing for low-level marijuana offenses thanks to federal “one strike” and “no fault” rules.

Several presidential candidates in the Senate and House are cosponsoring newly filed marijuana descheduling legislation.

A study examining the potential of psychedelics to reduce alcohol use disorder found that “almost all respondents reported that they had greatly reduced or quit drinking alcohol since their reference psychedelic experience…”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “Medicinal marijuana regimes are for medicinal purposes only as medical needs require. Abuses of system will be dealt with the same way we deal with other drug dealers and drug abusers in existing medical system- Sternly and Toughly.”

The Food and Drug Administration’s chief of staff discussed the agency’s efforts to regulate CBD in a speech at a conference.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said “there’s no science to demonstrate that putting it in the food supply has any medicinal value, let alone [to] support that it’s safe.”

The Congressional Cannabis Caucus co-hosted a day-long event about marijuana in the Capitol.

The Senate marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 28.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and punish states with discriminatory enforcement got two new cosponsors, for a total of 40.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of 27.

The House resolution calling on states and localities to ensure equity in the marijuana industry got one new cosponsor, for a total of seven.

/ STATES

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted in support of a bill to create a Cannabis Compliance Board.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said he supports medical cannabis and added that hemp “is a tremendous cash crop.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tweeted, “Can I say ‘hemp hemp, hooray!’ or would that be too much…”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) administration is “not actively” involved in marijuana legalization discussions, according to the Assembly majority leader.

The chief justice of Colorado’s Supreme Court is worried that a recent ruling on drug-sniffing dogs could put the state’s marijuana laws at greater risk from a potential federal preemption case.

Illinois’s secretary of state is investigating a state senator’s ties to the marijuana industry. Separately, lawmakers approved a bill to allow medical cannabis to be administered at schools.

The California Senate approved a bill to create a state-chartered bank to serve the marijuana industry.

The Louisiana Senate Agriculture Committee approved a hemp bill.

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on legislation to add new medical cannabis compassion centers.

Massachusetts senators are considering legislation to create no-interest loans for social equity and economic empowerment applicants for marijuana business licenses.

Missouri regulators rejected a challenge to its award of a contract to Metrc to run the state’s medical cannabis tracking system.

North Dakota activists withdrew a marijuana legalization ballot measure they filed and plan to make changes for a new version.


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

Macon-Bibb County, Georgia commissioners approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

Portsmouth, Virginia judges say they will handle the dismissal of marijuana charges on a case-by-case basis.

The Clark County, Nevada Commission voted to direct nearly $1.8 million in marijuana business license fees toward programs to help homeless people.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s Cabinet is expected to consider marijuana law reform proposals within the next few weeks.

The Canadian government will make an announcement about funding marijuana research on Wednesday.

A court in Myanmar charged an American man with growing marijuana—which he said was permitted hemp—and he now faces a potential death sentence if convicted.

/ ADVOCACY

The Hemp Industries Association launched a digital ad in Times Square urging Facebook to end its policy of rejecting hemp and CBD advertisements.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “CBD’s potential to reduce cue-induced craving and anxiety provides a strong basis for further investigation of this phytocannabinoid as a treatment option for opioid use disorder.”

A study identified “the northeastern Tibetan Plateau”—not far from where the extinct archaic human species Denisovans were known to live— as “the Cannabis centre of origin.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Texans support legalizing marijuana, 62%-28%.

A survey examined partisan differences in attitudes about marijuana legalization.

/ BUSINESS

Novartis’s CEO said that marijuana is “not a focus” for the company despite its partnership with Tilray.

Arkansas dispensaries sold $353,802 worth of medical cannabis in the first week of sales.

Here’s a look at major banks’ employee marijuana testing policies.

/ CULTURE

The UFC is partnering with Aurora Cannabis Inc. to study the effects of CBD on athlete wellness and recovery.

Former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern said that legal marijuana is “coming and will be as crazy as sports betting.”

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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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