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Congressional committee shoots down anti-cannabis lawmakers (Newsletter: June 12, 2019)

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Oregon OKs marijuana exports; Oakland cannabis shop flooded with psychedelics calls after decrim; Common THC threshold not tied to impaired driving

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We monitored nearly eight hours of congressional debate to bring you today’s lead article. Estimated read time for you to get up to speed: 4 minutes.

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  • Mike Kaufenberg: “It’s nice to know what is going on across the country with legalization of what should have always been legal. Here in Minnesota our lawmakers are dragging their feet on what the people already want! Keep up the good work.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Appropriations Committee rejected an attempt to scale back marijuana banking protections in a spending bill, and prohibitionist Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) read the room and didn’t even try to introduce his measure blocking Washington, D.C. from spending its own local tax dollars to legalize cannabis sales.

Oregon lawmakers sent Gov. Kate Brown (D) a bill to allow marijuana imports and exports with other states in the event of federal policy change. They also approved legislation to make it easier for people to clear past cannabis convictions from their records.

At least one Oakland, California marijuana shop is now getting flooded with calls about whether they sell psilocybin mushrooms following the City Council’s vote to decriminalize psychedelics. (SPOILER ALERT: No, they don’t. Sales are still illegal.)

A study found “no evidence of increased crash risk” in drivers with 2-5 ng/mL THC blood content—a commonly used limit in legal marijuana states—and that the “impact of cannabis on road safety is relatively small at present time.”

/ FEDERAL

The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control held a hearing on the U.S.’s global anti-drug strategy.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, spoke about how he was “for an end to the war on drugs and an end of the prohibition on marijuana years before any other major candidate did it.”

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, said, “I am a supporter of making sure the federal government allows every state that wants to, to be able to go out and legalize it.”

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson spoke about her support for legalizing marijuana and toured a Nevada cannabis business. She also tweeted, “The prohibition against marijuana has been as ill-conceived and ultimately harmful as was the prohibition against alcohol. Now it’s time for it to end.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted photos of herself discussing marijuana with travel writer Rick Steves.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted a video of himself walking and talking cannabis with Steves.

Former Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) spoke about their advocacy work for the marijuana industry following their reelection losses.

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that lawmakers should be “primaried” if they don’t advance marijuana legalization and other progressive issues.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) sent a memo to legislative leaders about changes he wants made to a medical cannabis expansion bill. Separately, a senator said he would refuse to vote for the state budget unless marijuana decriminalization is enacted.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted, “As our legal cannabis industry continues to flourish, it’s important to expand opportunities for all Nevadans. That’s why I was proud to sign this bill into law, which contains common-sense exceptions for public safety and transportation professionals.”

Texas’s agriculture commissioner cheered the state’s legalization of hemp.

The U.S. Virgin Islands’s agriculture commissioner is hosting a cannabis conference next month.

Michigan lawmakers approved a budget that includes money to implement marijuana legalization. Separately, cannabis regulators will meet on Thursday. They also sent a bulletin about the use of misbranded banned pesticides.

A Montana judge ruled that a medical cannabis company can proceed with new operations despite objections from regulators.

A Rhode Island senator whose daughter owns part of a medical cannabis cultivation business did not mention that fact during a hearing on legislation he is sponsoring to add new dispensaries such operations can sell medicine to.

New Mexico regulators are proposing an increase in medical cannabis plant limits, removal of a THC concentration limit and allowing recommendations to be made through telemedicine, among other changes.

Washington State regulators are holding a forum on marijuana testing rules on June 25.

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

The Associated Press looks at how broader marijuana legalization can hurt pre-existing state medical cannabis laws.

/ LOCAL

Fairfax, Virginia voters elected a commonwealth’s attorney candidate who ran on not prosecuting marijuana cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canada’s Senate gave second reading approval to a bill to expedite record suspensions for marijuana possession convictions.

Russian police are under fire for filing dubious drug charges against an investigative journalist who has focused on exposing government corruption.

/ ADVOCACY

The Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce released model federal marijuana legalization legislation.

A funeral for New York marijuana activist Doug Greene, who was killed in a subway accident last week, will be held on Thursday.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “several factors prevent pervasive medical marijuana use, including stigma, cost, and the inability for healthcare providers to relay instructions regarding dosing, strain, and method of use” and that “medical patients consider marijuana to be a viable alternative for opioids and other prescription medications, though certain policy barriers inhibit widespread implementation of marijuana as a treatment option.”

A study concluded that “cannabis sleep aid use predicted longer same-night sleep duration, shorter same-night wake time after sleep onset, and greater next-day daytime fatigue within person, after controlling for daily cannabis frequency.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Long Island and Hudson Valley, New York voters support legalizing marijuana.

The New York Times editorial board cheered the early impact of a federal criminal justice reform bill signed into law last year.

/ BUSINESS

Leafly is moving into a larger Seattle office space as it expects its staff to grow.

The Verge looks at how Facebook continues to ban ads for CBD products.

New dark web drug-selling sites continue to pop up as law enforcement shuts down their predecessors.

The Patterson Inn in Denver, Colorado is seeking permission for its guests to use marijuana on site.

/ CULTURE

Travel writer Rick Steves spoke about marijuana policy in a C-SPAN interview.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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.)

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Senate to hold cannabis and health hearing this week (Newsletter: October 22, 2019)

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USDA says hemp regs coming soon; Leading Mexican lawmaker backs legalizing drugs; Michael J. Fox Foundation supports marijuana research

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  • Toasted Collective: “Toasted Collective relies on Marijuana Moment to keep track of ever-changing advertising rules and regulations on behalf of our clients. We know our Patreon support will enable Tom and his team to continue to help our industry evolve in step with the legislation.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control will hold a hearing focused on “Marijuana and America’s Health” on Wednesday. The Surgeon General Jerome Adams, National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow and several academics are scheduled to testify.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky testified before a Senate committee that rules implementing hemp legalization will be filed “within the next couple of weeks.”

The head of Mexico’s ruling party in the Chamber of Deputies says the country should legalize drugs—starting with marijuana—to combat cartel violence.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is supporting three pieces of pending congressional legislation to expand marijuana research.

  • “Current policies hinder comprehensive medical research on cannabis, making it difficult to generate the evidence needed for clear recommendations.”

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We must legalize marijuana the right way. That means correcting failed drug policies that disproportionately hurt people of color, & creating new opportunities for people of color to participate in the industry.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana has long been a driving force for mass incarceration and it’s about time we change our outdated laws. We are closer than ever to legalizing marijuana and providing restorative justice to communities most impacted by the failed #WarOnDrugs.”

Former Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA), a U.S. Senate candidate, tweeted, “Decriminalize at federal level. Let states vote the policies they want w/respect to #cannabis. Current policy makes it a cash business (more dangerous), unevenly incarcerates-making criminals of people who shouldn’t be (disproportionately minority) & makes zero practical sense.”

/ STATES

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is considering filing a lawsuit over legislators’ move to give themselves more direct control over cannabis regulations. Meanwhile, the House speaker appears ready to walk back the policy.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor called out prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana for paying to promote anti-reform tweets.

A Massachusetts judge gave regulators a week to fix a ban on vaping products before he potentially strikes down its reach to nicotine products, but left its impact on marijuana products in place. Medical cannabis patients have joined the case.

A Montana judge issued a temporary restraining order on a ban on flavored vaping products.

The Louisiana House and Senate Agriculture Committees considered hemp regulations at a joint hearing.

Maine regulators adopted a symbol that must be displayed on marijuana products. Separately, the legislature’s Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the prospects for marijuana reform in Virginia.


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

Paraguayan President Mario Abdo signed hemp regulations into law.

New Zealand lawmakers debated marijuana legalization in a TV appearance.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “although current available studies show promising results regarding both the safety and efficacy of cannabidiol and oxytocin for the treatment of [social anxiety disorder], most studies were performed using single or few doses of these compounds, with small sample sizes.”

The University of Connecticut opened a hemp research lab.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that U.S. adults support legalizing marijuana, 67%-31%.

Trump reelection advisory board member Rob Astorino dismissed a C-SPAN caller’s concerns by jokingly saying, “I know marijuana is legal in California.”

The scientific advisory board of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana sent a letter urging Congress to halt cannabis reform action, hold oversight hearings and support efforts to remove vaping products from store shelves.

/ BUSINESS

Pax Labs laid off a quarter of its workforce.

/ CULTURE

Actor Michael Douglas had his young son hand out marijuana joints to other celebrities at parties, the younger Douglas wrote in a new book.

The Onion joked that medical cannabis is “effective for treating long-term pain over Jerry Garcia’s death.”

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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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Mexican committees release legal cannabis bill for vote this month (Newsletter: October 21, 2019)

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Court tosses DEA cultivation app lawsuit; Former VA head now backs marijuana research; NFL owners ready to make cannabis concessions

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There are now 1,211 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.

  • Adam Eidinger of DCMJ.org: “I pledged to the Marijuana Moment because cannabis reformers should support journalism that gets to the heart of the post-prohibition story.  Marijuana Moment is unsurpassed in breaking legislative news often setting the tone for mainstream media cannabis news coverage.”  

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Several Mexican Senate committees jointly negotiated and released a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill that leaders aim to pass this by the end of this month in accordance with a Supreme Court deadline.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Drug Enforcement Administration’s delays in considering marijuana cultivation license applications.

Former Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin, who oversaw VA efforts to block veterans’ participation in medical marijuana research while in office, said in a new interview that “the time is now” to expand cannabis studies.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration will accept vaping devices and cartridges as part of its National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, pledged to “end the horrifically destructive war on drugs and legalize marijuana” at a large rally.

The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted about Murray State University’s “leading Center for Agricultural Hemp.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) cited his House-passed amendment to recognize tribal sovereignty over marijuana programs in a newsletter for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs got one new cosponsor for a total of 49.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and withhold funding from states with discriminatory enforcement got four new cosponsors for a total of 49.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of 34.

The House bill to protect veterans from losing their benefits for marijuana use got two new cosponsors for a total of nine.

The House bill to create a safe harbor for veterans who use medical cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of two.

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) declared last Friday as “Wisconsin Hemp Day.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tweeted a video summarizing his marijuana legalization summit with regional governors, saying, “I know that by collaborating together, sharing resources, and thinking collectively, our states can come up with smart cannabis policy and protect the public health.”

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) Office of Community Affairs tweeted a link to a petition calling on Congress to stop interfering with the city’s marijuana laws.

Utah regulators advised medical cannabis patients not to use THC vaping products.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee On Cannabis policy will hold a hearing on several marijuana and hemp bills on Tuesday.

Nevada regulators suspended the license of marijuana grower Helios for unspecified reasons.

Oregon regulators approved marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.

Alaska regulators will consider marijuana licensing decisions on Tuesday.

New Mexico regulators will hold a public hearing on proposed medical cannabis rules on November 22.

Here’s a look at how former Michigan lawmakers are working in the marijuana industry.

The Los Angeles Times examines how marijuana legislation fared in California this session.

Georgia’s medical cannabis expansion is stalled because officials still haven’t appointed members of the commission who are charged with overseeing implementation.


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 officials will hold two cannabis community public forums over the next week.

San Diego, California officials ordered roughly two dozen marijuana growing and processing businesses to close because they haven’t received permits.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Australia’s attorney general warned local officials that their marijuana legalization law doesn’t protect people from being punished under ongoing federal prohibition.

A Brazilian court ruled that a couple can grow medical cannabis for their son.

A Canadian member of Parliament is under fire for failing to disclose his involvement in a marijuana start-up company.

Dutch regulators opened a public comment period on a “controlled cannabis supply chain experiment.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of marijuana products in Oregon found that “both recreational and medicinal cannabis samples contained high levels of residual pesticides and pesticides not legally allowed to be used on cannabis products” and that “medicinal cannabis products were found to have mean levels of residual pesticides that were 3–12 times higher than recreational products.”

A review concluded that “psilocybin appear[s] to be potentially useful as a treatment for cancer related depression and anxiety.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Australians oppose the federal government overturning a local marijuana legalization law, 62%-27%.

The Rhode Island Republican Party is questioning ties of associates of the Democratic House speaker to a hemp company whose license was suspended by regulators.

The chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is not just an economic opportunity. It’s a chance to right a societal wrong: mass incarceration. This is the reparations discussion we should be having.”

The Anchorage Daily News editorial board is in favor of a local proposal to allow on-site consumption at marijuana dispensaries.

/ BUSINESS

The CEO and COO of DionyMed Brands Inc. resigned and a creditor is seeking an immediate payment of $24.8 million.

Southern University plans to roll out CBD medical cannabis products next month.

/ CULTURE

USA Triathlon is partnering with CBD company Pure Spectrum.

National Football League owners are reportedly prepared to make concessions to the players’ union on lessening marijuana penalties. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones reportedly discussed his support for the change at a recent meeting.

The PGA Tour suspended golfer Matt Every for using medical cannabis for mental health in accordance with Florida state law.

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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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Senate chair discusses cannabis banking bill changes (Newsletter: October 18, 2019)

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Four governors hold legal marijuana summit; Sanders congratulates Canada on legalization anniversary; Studies: Cannabis is opioid alternative

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana Moment spoke to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) about what changes he has in mind for House-passed cannabis banking legislation that he plans to advance through his panel this year.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D), New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D), along with officials from three other states, held a regional summit to coordinate marijuana legalization efforts and adopted a set of “core principles” that will shape the cannabis plans they pursue in 2020.

  • “There is a desire to do this. I believe the people of this state and our surrounding states have a desire to do it. But the old expression is the devil is in the details, how you do this makes all the difference.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, congratulated Canada on the one-year anniversary of its marijuana legalization law.

  • “Vermont shares a border with Canada, and as far as I can tell, the sky has not fallen and the cities have not plunged into anarchy on the other side.”

Two new studies examined marijuana as an opioid alternative, finding that medical cannabis laws “are associated with a lower likelihood of opioid pain reliever use” and that “a substantial number of U.S. adults reported that they substituted marijuana for opioids.”

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge rejected a motion from Utah’s attorney general to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the legislation lawmakers passed to replace a voter-approved medical cannabis ballot measure, and granted advocates’ request to move the case back to state court.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted that presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-TX) advocacy for marijuana legalization makes him “the new national spokesman for Cheetos.”

Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) spoke about how three-strikes laws give people life sentences for selling marijuana.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tweeted, “Legalizing recreational cannabis has the potential to create more than 11,000 new jobs and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue in the first year of sales alone. I look forward to working with the Legislature to get a bill to my desk next year. We’re going to protect medical cannabis patients, address public safety and workplace concerns, and accelerate New Mexico’s economic diversification and growth.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted about how people can get their past marijuana convictions pardoned.

The Oregon Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay against regulators ban on flavored nicotine vaping products but left in place its application to marijunaa vaping products.

Rhode Island’s House speaker is attempting to distance himself from a controversy related to the license suspension of a hemp business for which personnel have close ties to his office.

Nevada regulators have been performing surprise inspections on marijuana testing labs and are putting an indefinite freeze on processing applications for sale or transfer of cannabis business licenses.

Maryland regulators sent an advisory warning consumers not to use vaping products containing THC.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’s Cannabis Commission is close to hiring a managing director.

Illinois regulators released an updated list of medical cannabis businesses that have been approved to conduct adult-use marijuana sales.

Florida’s Financial Impact Estimating Conference is holding workshops on a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure this month.

Michigan regulators are asking people to participate in a hemp survey.

Ohio regulators released updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.


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 Leon County, Florida Commission didn’t have enough votes to pass a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Tallahassee, Florida City Commission discussed but did not vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

A Denver, Colorado effort to help people clear past marijuana records is off to a slow start.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulations allowing marijuana edibles took effect. Separately, here’s a look at activists’ efforts to legalize psilocybin.

Jamaica’s minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries said he wants President Trump’s help in fixing marijuana industry banking issues.

A French comedian resigned from the Presidential Council of Cities, telling President Emmanuel Macron that it is necessary to “legalize Muslims in this country before legalizing marijuana.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. voters found that 65% want Congress to direct the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to quickly set safety standards for CBD products and 70% believe FDA should already have done so.

A poll found that Maryland residents support legalizing marijuana, 66%-31%.

The Marijuana Policy Project appointed Revolution Global CEO Mark de Souza to its board of directors. It also put Akerna on its Policy Council.

/ BUSINESS

Nova Farms had its licenses restored by Massachusetts regulators following an initial suspension after they determined threats to public health, safety and welfare had been mitigated.

/ CULTURE

Actress Susan Sarandon tweeted, “Despite widespread legalization, countless individuals remain incarcerated in the US & worldwide for cannabis offenses. @lastprisonerprj is a non-profit dedicated to restorative justice through clemency, expungement & reentry work. Support & learn more: http://lastprisonerproject.org?

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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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