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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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/ 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

Feds announce cannabis research priorities (Newsletter: August 16, 2019)

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Women lawmakers’ marijuana conference; GOP senator talks up medical cannabis but hasn’t sponsored bills; Majority legalization support in another poll

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

The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s new marijuana research priority list seems to indicate an acceptance that legalization is happening and will continue. Among other areas, the federal government wants to fund studies of differences in regulations, industry marketing and reasons for medical cannabis use.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) keeps saying good things about medical cannabis, but he hasn’t put his name on a single marijuana bill since joining Congress.

  • “When it comes to medical marijuana, there are too many good reasons why you need to start making that legal for that purpose.”

Women lawmakers from across the U.S. are holding a marijuana policy summit and touring a cannabis dispensary in Denver this week. Topics of discussion include CBD, licensing, potency, revenue, health and safety.

/ FEDERAL

The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing a proposed Department of Labor rule that would allow states to drug test people who file claims for unemployment benefits.

The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida said his office will continue prosecuting marijuana cases even as a number of local prosecutors are putting cannabis enforcement on hold in light of the state’s hemp law.

Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona said the Food and Drug Administration is “struggling” with CBD regulations.

A number of Republican senators are reportedly reluctant to move marijuana banking legislation prior to their primary elections next year.

/ STATES

California’s treasurer tweeted, “California now has the biggest legal cannabis market in the world but an est $8.7B is spent in our illegal market due to high taxes and a refusal by most cities to allow licensed shops, making it cheaper and easier for people to buy from illicit dealers.” Separately, the top marijuana advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) spoke about ongoing efforts to implement legalization.

Montana Democratic attorney general candidate Kimberly Dudik tweeted, “Best practices in the marijuana industry & maintaining community safety is a priority for me as MT AG. I am attending a policy summit on the evolution of state marijuana policy for the next day to discuss best practices, inc the SAFE Banking Act.”

Missouri regulators extended the deadline for medical cannabis business license applications by two days.

Illinois regulators are displaying hemp plants at the State Fair.

Florida’s Agriculture Department tweeted, “With 25,000+ uses, #hemp is an incredible alternative & supplemental crop, which will strengthen Florida agriculture & our state economy. We’re working hard to create a program which will allow anyone interested to get involved in the new green economy.”

Washington State regulators announced a delay in releasing draft conceptual marijuana penalty rules.

The Maryland legislature’s Marijuana Legalization Workgroup will meet on Monday.

Michigan regulators filed emergency hemp testing rules. Separately, they released a marijuana licensing report.


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 Fairbanks, Alaska City Council approved the city’s first on-site marijuana consumption application for a dispensary.

Athens-Clarke County, Georgia police won’t carry out marijuana possession arrests in light of confusion caused by the state’s hemp law.

The Santa Barbara County, California Board of Supervisors agreed to use marijuana tax revenue to fund libraries.

The Grafton, Massachusetts Board of Selectmen approved a host community agreement with a marijuana dispensary one day after the business’s president resigned as chairman of the government body.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Jamaica’s minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries said that import and export regulations for marijuana will be issued soon.

The Canadian government reported that 42% of cannabis consumers purchase at least some of their marijuana from illegal sources.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A survey found that “cancer patients from both legalized and nonlegalized states supported legalization of marijuana for medical purposes and believed in its medical use.”

A study concluded that “negative relationships found between adolescent marijuana use and adult educational attainment for each marijuana use measure and for each age group were fully explained by other factors, with one exception: among adolescents aged 12-13 years, those who used marijuana frequently were less likely to attain a high school diploma/GED than those who did not use marijuana frequently.”

A study seeking to “investigate the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in persons with chronic anorexia nervosa” will soon be recruiting participants.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 63% of Americans support legalizing marijuana and that 23% said they or someone in their home had consumed cannabis within the past six months.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. said it is working to bring CBD products to the U.S. by the end of the fiscal year.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. increased the size of a secured credit facility to C$360 million from C$200 million.

/ CULTURE

UFC fighter Nate Diaz appeared to smoke marijuana on stage at an open workout event.

Musician Gene Simmons abdicated his role as chief evangelist officer of Invictus.

Former football player Boomer Esiason suggested that the NFL would have to give up marijuana testing to get players to agree to an expanded season.

Family Feud had a question about what kind of businesses are booming in states where marijuana is legal.

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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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Newsletter

Federal agencies reply to hemp banking request from senator (Newsletter: August 15, 2019)

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McConnell pens hemp legalization update; POTUS candidate Andrew Yang on marijuana; Former congressman touts longtime legal cannabis support

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,170 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.

  • Rob Arnold: “These are exciting times, with the era of cannabis prohibition coming to an end. Marijuana Moment helps me stay on top of the issues so that I can do my part to end prohibition by calling politicians with accurate and leading edge information.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The heads of five federal financial regulatory agencies responded to a letter from Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, seeking guidance on banking access for hemp businesses. The letters were shared with Marijuana Moment exclusively.

  • The chair of one body clarified that federal reporting guidelines in place for institutions that work with marijuana businesses no longer apply to hemp companies and said she has “personally discussed the changes during banker outreach meetings both in Washington, D.C. and across the country.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave an update on hemp legalization progress in an op-ed.

  • “Whatever obstacles Kentucky hemp farmers, processors and manufacturers might encounter as they try to take full advantage of this hemp revolution, I’ll be there to help in any way I can.”

Marijuana Moment’s latest presidential candidate overview takes a comprehensive look at where 2020 contender Andrew Yang stands on cannabis and drug policy reform. Beyond legalizing marijuana, he backs decriminalizing opioids and says he will high-five people he pardons as they leave prison.

Former Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who for many years was one of the only lawmakers to push marijuana reform on Capitol Hill, showed up at a Massachusetts cannabis regulatory meeting and touted a state legalization bill he filed back in 1972.

  • “I am getting old, but at least one thing that I have found improves with age and that is the pleasure of getting to say ‘I told you so.’”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that physicians “should screen all adults for illicit drug use.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched a new anti-impaired driving ad campaign titled, “If You Feel Different, You Drive Different.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, suggested she would repeal the 1994 Crime Bill.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and ending incarceration for drug possession.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R), a presidential candidate, discussed CBD’s role in treating cancer.

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) compared Marijuana Policy Project lobbyist Don Murphy to “gum on one shoe” because of his constant presence on Capitol Hill.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) intervened in a court case concerning whether regulators must issue medical cannabis cards to out-of-state patients. Meanwhile, the state’s marijuana legalization working group held its first meeting.

New Jersey’s Senate president spoke about ongoing efforts to build support for a marijuana legalization bill as a backup plan for a ballot measure is considered. He also discussed his concerns about home cultivation and cannabis edibles.

Ohio’s House speaker is critical of local moves to stop prosecuting marijuana cases in light of confusion caused by the state’s hemp law. Separately, the Medical Marijuana Control Program’s expert review committee rescinded a recommendation to add anxiety and autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

New York’s Assembly speaker toured a hemp farm.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that “the mere odor of marijuana coupled with possession of what is clearly less than ten grams of marijuana, absent other circumstances, does not grant officers probable cause to effectuate an arrest and conduct a search incident thereto.”

A Nevada court held another hearing in an ongoing case challenging the state’s marijuana business license awarding process.

Massachusetts regulators took public testimony on proposed rules allowing marijuana delivery services and social use areas. Separately, officials launched a public education campaign to deter impaired driving which includes ads that feature cannabis consumers discussing their experiences.

Utah regulators selected Akerna to run the state’s seed-to-sale medical cannabis tracking system.

Iowa’s second CBD medical cannabis manufacturer begins operations on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the differences between competing bills to legalize marijuana in Washington, D.C.


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

Several Philadelphia, Pennsylvania police officers were shot following a narcotics enforcement action.

The Somerville, Massachusetts mayor plans to open a safe consumption facility for illegal drugs next year.

The DeKalb County, Georgia solicitor-general is dismissing low-level marijuana cases in light of confusion in light of the state’s new hemp law.

The Richmond County, Georgia state solicitor is putting misdemeanor marijuana possession cases on hold while hemp testing issues are worked out.

The Little Rock, Arkansas City Board is expected to vote next week on a proposal to make marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that regulators have 180 days to issue medical cannabis rules.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “people seeking advice online about dabbing inquired most often about logistics of use, but less often about health, tolerance, and legal risks.”

A review suggested that “cannabis-only smoking is associated with changes in vocal fold appearance, respiratory symptoms, and negative lung function changes, especially in heavy smokers.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A survey found that Hispanic Americans are more likely than the general U.S. population to be involved in promoting the legalization of cannabis, and are more interested in the wellness and leisure uses of marijuana and CBD products.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported a 250% increase in quarterly revenue from a year ago but also a $1.2 billion loss.

Facebook asked an Oklahoma judge for more time to respond to a lawsuit alleging the site is illegally discriminating against medical cannabis businesses.

Silver Spike Capital raised $250 million for a marijuana-focused investment firm.

Eaze is reportedly seeking to raise $50 million to $75 million in a new funding round.

Several marijuana companies were included in the Inc. 5,000 rankings.

/ CULTURE

Football player Bryan Cox Jr. was cited for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

Singer Toni Braxton tweeted about a CBD billboard in Times Square.

Actor Dean Cain tweeted that the National Football League “NOT be testing for marijuana- it’s NOT performance-enhancing.”

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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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Newsletter

FDA official criticizes Schedule I for blocking cannabis research (Newsletter: August 14, 2019)

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American Bar Association backs marijuana reform; Former FDA head jokes about dogs & CBD; Dave Chappelle & psychedelic mushrooms

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 1,170 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.

  • Ryan Michaels of Bonaventure Equity, LLC: “I truly feel like you and the efforts of your team have helped realize a vision I have hoped for in the cannabis movement for years: A commitment to education with integrity. We are empowered through your efforts and I am proud to be able to support your cause. Educating the cannabis community cultivates the knowledge and understanding to impact meaningful change in cannabis policy.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Speaking at a hemp conference, Food and Drug Administration Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy Lowell Schiller decried how cannabis’s Schedule I status has blocked CBD studies.

  • “This is part of the legacy of almost all CBD being a Schedule I controlled substance until late last year. It was difficult to research, and it hasn’t been studied nearly as much as we would like.”

The American Bar Association adopted a resolution calling on Congress to remove marijuana from Schedule I and let states legalize it. There was “no audible opposition” to approving the call for cannabis reform by the 411,000-member organization.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb couldn’t help himself from dismissively joking about a woman who says CBD eased her dog’s anxiety, though his remarks in a recent TV appearance seemed to also inadvertently acknowledge that THC has benefits.

  • “It might have had THC in it. I didn’t ask her if he had the munchies too.”

Podcaster Joe Rogan talked about how comedian Dave Chappelle didn’t hesitate to eat psychedelic mushrooms that “some fucking guy gave him in the crowd” and then rented out an entire movie theater to watch the new Quentin Tarantino film at 1:00 AM.

/ FEDERAL

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is adding or changing questions on an annual national drug use survey concerning marijuana withdrawal symptoms and the cannabis marketplace.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a presidential candidate, touted his state’s legalization of marijuana and his moves to pardon people with past convictions in a speech at the Iowa State Fair.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, cited state-by-state legalization of marijuana as an example of how local change builds support for reforms elsewhere.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for medical cannabis and letting states legalize marijuana.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill legalizing the testing of drugs for adulterants.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said he still doesn’t think marijuana legalization is a good idea.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) spoke about confusion surrounding CBD products and the state’s new hemp law.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) tweeted, “It’s time to legalize marijuana. For years, marijuana possession has been a pipeline to prison for people of color. We must replace that pipeline with jobs, equity, and pathways to prosperity.”

Ohio’s attorney general announced $50,000 in grants for local law enforcement to pay for tests to distinguish between marijuana and hemp.

Guam regulators say that budget cuts are jeopardizing the implementation of marijuana legalization.

Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Study Commission held its first meeting.

Michigan regulators added new dates for a series of marijuana social equity education and outreach sessions.

Oregon regulators made changes to signage about acceptable forms of ID to make marijuana purchases.


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

Cobb County, Georgia police will stop charging people for misdemeanor marijuana cases in light of confusion caused by the state’s hemp law.

The Pennington County, South Dakota state’s attorney declined to prosecute a store from which police seized hemp-derived CBD oil containing THC.

The Lehigh County, Pennsylvania district attorney appealed a judge’s ruling that the smell of marijuana isn’t grounds for a search.

The Siskiyou County, California Board of Supervisors is calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to declare a state of emergency over illegal marijuana growing operations.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Malta’s government is taking steps toward marijuana legalization but isn’t providing a timeline for enactment.

/ ADVOCACY

The Last Prisoner Project is a new organization focused on clemency and reentry programs for people with nonviolent cannabis records.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that marijuana “should be avoided except under the care of a competent physician, and then used only as prescribed.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “there are historical and recent scientific developments that support the use of cannabidiol in rare severe epilepsy syndromes.”

A study found that “the antioxidant activity of CBD through Nrf2 activation as well as its anti-inflammatory properties as an inhibitor of NFκB should be considered during design of new protective treatments for the skin.”

A meta-analysis found “a significant increase in the odds of past or current and subsequent marijuana use in adolescents and young adults who used e-cigarettes.”

Researchers at UC Davis are partnering with Biopharmaceutical Research Company to analyze the chemical and biological profiles of marijuana

Cornell University hosted a daylong hemp research event.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Hustler publisher Larry Flynt authored an editorial cheering local moves to scale back criminalization-focused drug policies.

Conservative commentator George Will said that marijuana legalization should be left to the states. (About 27:30 into the audio.)

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs is now trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced a 501% increase in quarterly revenue from a year ago.

Tilray, Inc. reported a 371.1% rise in quarterly revenue from last year, but its stock dropped on news of larger-than-expected losses.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced quarterly revenue of $42 million.

Clio and High Times are partnering on a new cannabis-focused marketing and advertising awards competition.

The New York Times looks at health claims made in CBD and marijuana ads.

/ CULTURE

Former boxer Mike Tyson said he and his associates smoke $40,000 worth of marijuana every month.

Actress Alicia SIlverstone is speaking at the cannabis-focused New West Summit.

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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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