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Congressional committee passes two cannabis bills (Newsletter: March 13, 2020)

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Alabama Senate approves medical marijuana; Mississippi gets two cannabis ballot questions; NFL could stop suspensions for positive drug tests

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There are now 1,449 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved bills to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors issue medical cannabis recommendations to military veterans and to expand research on the therapeutic benefits of marijuana.

The Alabama Senate approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

Mississippi voters will see two medical cannabis questions on their November ballot after the Senate approved a House-passed resolution for a measure to compete with a more far-reaching one that activists collected sufficient signatures to qualify.

The campaign to decriminalize psychedelics in Washington, D.C. successfully asked the Board of Elections to delay the approval of its ballot petitions in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Under a proposal being voted on now by the NFL Players Association, the National Football League would remove the threat of being suspended from games for testing positive for any drug—not just marijuana.

/ FEDERAL

Food and Drug Administration Principal Deputy Commissioner and Acting CIO Amy Abernathy tweeted about the agency’s move to reopen a public comment period on CBD.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of 105.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “The time is long overdue for us to legalize marijuana and expunge past marijuana convictions.”

/ STATES

The South Dakota Senate and House of Representatives sent Gov. Kristi Noem (R) a hemp bill.

The Arizona House of Representatives approved a bill to allow children with autism to access medical cannabis.

The Vermont House Human Services Committee unanimously approved a bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the prescription opioid addiction treatment medication buprenorphine.

The California Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation held a hearing on a bill to suspend the marijuana cultivation tax for three years and reduce the cannabis excise tax.

The Colorado Rural Affairs and Agriculture Committee approved a bill to let marijuana businesses  adopt preventive crop loss measures.

Michigan regulators published a bulletin on the transfer of marijuana between equivalent licenses.

The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program Rules Advisory Committee will discuss testing requirements on Tuesday.

Washington State regulators delayed a public hearing on marijuana quality control rule revisions from next week to April 1.

Oklahoma regulators released an updated list of licensed medical cannabis dispensaries.


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

Denver, Colorado’s mayor will speak at an event organized by the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexican marijuana legalization legislation did not advance to the Senate floor this week as was anticipated last week.

The European Commission has received 45 applications for approval of CBD-containing products.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the use of Sativex could improve the quality of life of patients with a reasonable incremental cost resulting as a cost-effective option for patients with [multiple sclerosis]-resistant spasticity.”

A study of rats found that “a single administration of psilocybin or LSD produced persistent antidepressant-like effects” but that “in contrast, ketamine produced only a transient antidepressant-like effect.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine is stepping down as CEO and joining the Board of Directors and taking on a new role as senior strategic advisor.

/ CULTURE

USA Weightlifting announced a partnership with CBD company Pure Spectrum .

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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.

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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Arizona legal cannabis campaign says it has enough ballot signatures (Newsletter: March 27, 2020)

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CBO: Vets marijuana measure won’t cost anything; Study: Teen treatment admissions down after legalization; Poll: Dispensaries are essential

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Arizona marijuana activists say they have more than enough signatures to put a legalization measure on the November ballot. While not validated by the state yet, the campaign now has about 80,000 more raw signatures than needed.

The Congressional Budget Office projected that passing a bill to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical cannabis to military veterans would cost the government absolutely nothing.

A new study shows that youth marijuana treatment admissions declined after legalization for adults in Colorado and Washington—even bigger drops than occurred in states that kept cannabis criminalization in effect, though it’s not clear what caused the change.

A poll found that, by a two-to-one margin, Americans say medical cannabis dispensaries are “essential” and should be allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

An Oregon effort to put a drug decriminalization and treatment expansion measure on the November ballot is the latest reform campaign to suspend in-person signature gathering activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is asking supporters to print and mail signed petitions.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas tweeted, “I get asked all the time why we still police importation of marijuana. It’s still illegal. It still pours across the border, usually floated across, even with legalization in many states. And these loads are sources of hard currency for the cartels. That’s why.”

/ STATES

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed a bill allowing sales of medical cannabis in “dry leaf or plant form.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) launched a no-interest loan program for small businesses but said that cannabis firms are not eligible.

Maryland lawmakers sent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) a bill to allow students to use medical cannabis at schools.

The New York Assembly majority leader said that it is more important than ever to legalize marijuana as a possible recession approaches.

A Louisiana judge said he opposes releasing people incarcerated for nonviolent offenses during the coronavirus pandemic because “members of this particular population are overwhelmingly drug addicts who have the worst hygiene of anyone in the community, other than the mentally ill.”

Colorado regulators released average market rates for retail marijuana.

Washington State regulators will consider an emergency rule on marijuana excise taxes and withdrawal of a rule on testing on Friday.

Here’s a look at Alabama’s harsh marijuana laws.


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

Berkeley, California officials mandated that all marijuana sales be conducted via delivery amid the coronavirus pandemic.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was indicted on drug trafficking charges by U.S. prosecutors.

The Mexican Senate’s move to suspend activities due to the coronavirus outbreak could jeopardize efforts to pass a marijuana legalization bill before a Supreme Court deadline.

Canadian regulators asked marijuana testing labs to help with coronavirus testing.

New Zealand’s medical cannabis program is on track to launch on April 1.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study did “not find a relationship between medical marijuana dispensaries and referrals for investigations of child maltreatment.”

A study of an occupational safety and health training for marijuana cultivation workers found that it “successfully reached cannabis employees in cultivation, compliance, and management” and that  participants “felt that the training was of high quality and addressed gaps in their knowledge related to safety and health hazards in the cannabis industry.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, National Cannabis Industry Association and other groups sent a letter urging law enforcement and governors to reduce arrests for marijuana and grant clemency to people incarcerated for cannabis offenses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nevada Dispensary Association said its members are committed to complying with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) order requiring marijuana sales to be conducted by delivery only.

The National Cannabis Industry Association delayed its annual Cannabis Business Summit & Expo to September 29 through October 1 from its initially scheduled June dates due to the coronavirus outbreak.

/ BUSINESS

DLA Piper launched a hemp and CBD practice.

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. and Verano Holdings, LLC mutually agreed to cancel a pending merger.

Arkansas dispensaries sold more medical cannabis last Friday than on any other single day since the program’s launch.

The Selan Law Firm is being sued by a California marijuana dispensary license applicant who alleges its attorneys smoked cannabis during business meetings and provided incompetent legal services.

/ CULTURE

The Onion joked about the pros and cons of CBD for pets.

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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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GOP senator says cannabis firms aid coronavirus response (Newsletter: March 26, 2020)

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Mayor accidentally posts pic of marijuana vape?; OR psilocybin campaign hits COVID snag; NORML builds database of politician legalization positions

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) took to the Senate floor to talk about how Colorado marijuana and hemp companies are stepping up to help with the coronavirus response.

Raleigh, North Carolina Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin (D) appeared to  inadvertently tweet a picture of a marijuana vape pen alongside a large take-out order of Indian food she shared with friends.

Oregon’s campaign to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use is the latest drug policy reform effort to hit a snag amid the coronavirus pandemic. Activists have collected more than the required number of raw signatures but still want about 15,000 more to ensure a sufficient number of valid submissions and are working with state officials to “find responsible ways” to mail ballot petitions to potential supporters.

NORML is asking for help building out its database of where politicians stand on marijuana. If you know what your representatives have said about cannabis or how they’ve voted on reform bills, you can submit that info for other voters to see.

/ FEDERAL

Libertarian presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former U.S. senator and Rhode Island governor, posted on Facebook, “Donald Trump does not support legalization. Joe Biden does not support legalization. I support legalization, because I support jobs and industry. 2020 is going to be the roughest for us in years for our economy. Marijuana legalization can provide a stable job source for our economy going forward to help younger people get employed. I will make it happen!”

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Patty Murray (D-WA) said that marijuana businesses should be eligible for coronavirus-related disaster aid.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’s (D) coronavirus stay-at-home order exempts medical cannabis dispensaries (and curbside marijuana delivery) as critical businesses.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) coronavirus order temporarily closing many businesses exempts medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers as essential.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed a bill amending medical cannabis rules. Meanwhile, the state’s top medical marijuana regulator said patients can still buy their medicine from approved pharmacies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) issued an executive order allowing doctors to issue medical cannabis recommendations via telemedicine, extending patient renewal deadlines and loosening some restrictions on businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a proclamation letting regulators defer taxes and waive penalties for marijuana businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Michigan regulators are allowing people to purchase marijuana using expired drivers licenses or government-issued identification cards because they cannot process renewals during the coronavirus outbreak.

Rhode Island regulators are directing medical cannabis patients and caregivers to email their documents amid the coronavirus outbreak instead of physically going to a state office as previously required.

Oregon regulators proposed rules on sampling marijuana products to determine whether they contain undisclosed ingredients or additives.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office released an overview of cannabis-related budget provisions.

Alaska regulators hosted a Facebook Live chat to explain new hemp 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

Juneau, Alaska’s coronavirus stay-at-home order exempts marijuana businesses.

A Los Angeles, California city councilman is being sued by a former staff member who alleges he demanded political donations and cash bribes in exchange for helping marijuana businesses secure licenses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Australian Senate Community Affairs References Committee published a report on barriers to patient access to medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at Macedonian lawmakers’ delays in expected passage of an amendment allowing medical cannabis flower exports.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found support for the “medicinal potential of CBN in anti-cancer therapy.

A study found that “[first-episode psychosis] patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Anti-marijuana author Alex Berenson suggested in a Fox News appearance that there is a correlation between places with the most cannabis use and coronavirus cases.

The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association is calling on Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) to maintain legal marijuana access during the coronavirus outbreak.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced a new member of its board of directors and the resignation of another member.

Third Wave Farms is asking a federal court to void its contract with Oregon LLC Pure Valley Solutions because it says the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to uphold the terms of the deal.

/ CULTURE

A UFC victory by Journey Newson has been overturned due to a positive marijuana test.

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Fed cannabis prosecutions decline legalization era (Newsletter: March 25, 2020)

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Small Biz Admin: No COVID aid for marijuana firms; Denver psilocybin panel sets decrim enforcement tracking; SD legalization campaign alters plan

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…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that federal prosecutions for marijuana trafficking continue to decline year over year as more states legalize, indicating that the illegal market shrinks when consumers have a legal place to buy cannabis.

In a series of new tweets, the federal Small Business Administration confirmed that marijuana companies are not eligible for coronavirus-related disaster relief funds.

The U.S.’s first government psychedelics body approved criteria to track the impact of Denver, Colorado’s psilocybin decriminalization law. Members also discussed the need to train first responders to use harm reduction principles to deal with people under the influence of psychedelics.

A South Dakota campaign working to pass separate ballot measures to legalize marijuana and allow medical cannabis is urging voters to consider absentee registration in case coronavirus concerns prevent people from going to polling places come Election Day.

/ FEDERAL

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow published a blog post explaining her agency’s request for input on formulating a standard dose of THC for marijuana products.

Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Mike Hood tweeted, “I am proposing legislation restricting taxation of cannabis to funding a Federal Arts Project in the spirit of the 1935 program; which also creates a new funding stream for art/music teachers.”

/ STATES

Hawaii Gov. David Ige’s (D) coronavirus stay-at-home order exempts medical cannabis businesses as essential.

Oregon marijuana businesses are allowed to stay open under Gov. Kate Brown’s (D) coronavirus stay-at-home order. Meanwhile, regulators published a FAQ on coronavirus-related issues for cannabis businesses.

Oklahoma regulators said that medical cannabis businesses are essential and exempt from Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) stay-at-home order issued amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor did a radio interview about coronavirus-related regulatory changes for medical cannabis businesses.

Maine regulators said that medical cannabis operations are essential and exempt from guidance urging many businesses to temporarily close during the coronavirus outbreak, but they said that the pandemic could delay the launch of the state’s recreational marijuana market.

Colorado regulators said that recreational marijuana businesses may only do curbside sales, while medical cannabis businesses can do in-store transactions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Washington State regulators are allowing curbside sales of recreational marijuana in addition to an earlier move covering only medical cannabis amid the coronavirus outbreak. They are also pursuing deferment and waiver of penalties for late payment of taxes, subject to a possible proclamation from Gov. Jay Inslee (D).

Florida law considers medical cannabis businesses to be essential and exempt from any coronavirus-related local shutdown orders.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin addressing building delays that marijuana business license applicants may experience due to coronavirus.

Arkansas regulators say a growing number of medical cannabis businesses are expressing interest in adding delivery services amid the coronavirus outbreak.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis program now has a higher patient count than Colorado’s, for the first time ever.

Rhode Island regulators denied a business expense tax deduction for a medical cannabis cultivation 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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators said they will continue some marijuana licensing activity, carry out inspections at a modified pace and extend a reporting deadline amid the coronavirus outbreak.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “CBD has the promising potential as a therapeutic agent and might be effective in alleviating the symptoms of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.”

A study found that pressurized hot water extraction “can be seen as an alternative to the classic extraction approach as the efficiency is higher and it is environmentally friendly.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Coalition, Marijuana Policy Project, AIDS United and other organizations sent a letter urging governors to maintain legal access to medical cannabis during the coronavirus pandemic.

Vicente Sederberg LLP, Agricultural Hemp Solutions, American Herbal Products Association, U.S. Hemp Roundtable and Vote Hemp released additional recommendations for state hemp programs.

The New York State Catholic Conference is urging lawmakers not to legalize marijuana during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Brookings Institution published a paper calling for an equity-focused “Cannabis Opportunity Agenda” in the legal industry.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted, “Every death is a tragedy, but how many of the precious few ‘under 30’ coronavirus deaths are cannabis vapers?”

/ BUSINESS

J.P Morgan offered a $10 million line of credit and banking services including merchant processing to Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. reported $22.8 million in quarterly revenue and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $10.2 million.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $75.5 million and a net loss of $27.2 million.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced the resignation of one of its board members.

CannaCraft converted a portion of its manufacturing space and production capacity to formulating and packaging hand sanitizer.

Massachusetts marijuana dispensaries are teaming up to produce hand sanitizer that will be donated to local hospitals.

/ CULTURE

Former boxer Mike Tyson reacted to The Simpsons making fun of his involvement in the marijuana industry.

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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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