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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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House passes tribal cannabis protection amendment (Newsletter: June 20, 2019)

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Committee debates small marijuana biz issues; Senator gets FDA to admit psychedelic benefits; Studies examine dispensary impact on youth cannabis use

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives debated amendments to protect state and territory marijuana laws, as well as those of Indian tribes, from federal interference. Both passed in voice votes, but a roll call vote was requested on the first measure, likely to occur on Thursday.

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on opportunities and challenges for small marijuana businesses.

In a letter to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health acknowledged that studies have shown medical benefits of psychedelic drugs but that the federal government doesn’t currently have any plans to reschedule substances like psilocybin, MDMA and LSD.

Three separate new studies published this month examine the impact of nearby marijuana dispensaries on youth cannabis use in Los Angeles—with differing findings.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration is extending the deadline to comment on CBD regulations to July 16.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and concerns about racial disparities in prohibition enforcement.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) tweeted, “It is not safe to walk around with duffel bags full of cash – but that’s what’s happening right now. The SAFE Banking Act is a common-sense bill that will allow the marijuana industry to use banks. The Federal gov’t must recognize legitimate businesses.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is a racial justice issue and all low-level offenses should be expunged. As the $1 billion in state revenue in Colorado shows, it’s also about creating jobs and economic growth.”

The House bill to force the Department of Justice to license more growers of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 11.

/ STATES

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill letting regulators deny marijuana business licenses based on supply and demand.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill on certifying marijuana testing facilities.

New York lawmakers failed to reach a deal of marijuana legalization legislation, but a backup plan to expand decriminalization and provide for record expungements is still under consideration.

Massachusetts’s secretary of state warned about marijuana-related fraud cases and charged one company with securities violations. Separately, agriculture regulators are cracking down on CBD products. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved a hemp bill.

Ohio’s House speaker said that lawmakers will not vote on a hemp bill before the summer break.

California lawmakers are putting a bill to allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs on hold until next year.

Michigan regulators released updated guidance for marijuana testing facilities.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats held a press conference about marijuana reform.


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 Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council Public Safety Committee approved a measure to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority.

New York City’s Council speaker said he is “disappointed our outdated marijuana laws will remain on the books for now but the fight to end them is NOT over.”

The Clark County, Nevada Commission voted to spend more than $6.1 million raised from marijuana business license fees to add hundreds of beds for homeless families with children.

Denver, Colorado hired a cannabis process navigator to “help the industry navigate the rules, to fortify and expand trust and transparency between the cannabis industry and Denver’s marijuana regulatory agencies, and serve as a point-of-contact between marijuana businesses and the City of Denver.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate gave final approval to a bill to expedite pardons for cannabis possession convictions.

French lawmakers are filing a marijuana legalization bill that gives the government a monopoly on production and sales.

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office ordered that electricity be cut off to a region of the country in an attempt to disrupt marijuana cultivation.

Thai regulators are developing medical cannabis rules.

/ ADVOCACY

A representative from prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana will debate a pro-legalization Pennsylvania senator on July 8.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis-exposed hospitalized patients with [acute pancreatitis] had lower age-adjusted, mortality, morbidity, and hospitalization-cost than non–cannabis-exposed patients.”

A study of rats found that hemp extract “improves semen parameters by reducing plasma prolactin and enhancing plasma anti-oxidant status” and that “its pro-fertility potential might be associated with its deficiency in the widely known gonadotoxic phytocannabinoids.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll funded by the AAA Foundation surveyed Americans’ attitudes about driving under the influence of marijuana.

The New York Times editorial board endorsed a Queens district attorney candidate who has pledged to stop prosecuting low-level marijuana and drug cases.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. and Acreage Holdings Inc. shareholders both voted to approve the former company’s planned acquisition of the latter in the event of U.S. federal marijuana legalization.

Thrive Market is ceasing to sell CBD and hemp products at the demand of its merchant processor.

Shoppers Drug Mart and TruTrace Technologies are partnering to use blockchain technology to track marijuana products.

Quiznos launched a “Magic Mushroom Melt” sandwich in Denver.

/ CULTURE

Musician Willie Nelson joked about how he is the chief tester of his brand Willie’s Reserve’s marijuana products.

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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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Cannabis measures cleared for House floor votes (Newsletter: June 19, 2019)

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FAA CBD/marijuana guidance for pilots; Senators press against anti-cannabis immigration policy; NY legalization still in flux

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There are now 1,131 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.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Rules Committee cleared several drug policy amendments for floor action, including measures to shield all state and territory marijuana laws from federal interference, extend protections to tribes, support CBD regulations and allow military veterans to get medical cannabis recommendations from government doctors.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a bulletin clarifying CBD and marijuana rules for pilots.

A group of 10 U.S. senators sent a letter calling on the Trump administration to end a policy that says immigrants who work in the marijuana industry don’t have “good moral character” and are not eligible for citizenship.

The question of whether New York lawmakers will vote to legalize marijuana this week remains a very fluid situation, with indications that the session could be extended beyond Wednesday’s initial deadline through Friday.

Killer Mike said that rappers should get more credit for the legalization of marijuana:

  • “A lot of people are going to get credit for it—a lot of activists, a lot of workers. But I can show you a line that leads straight back to Cypress Hill, that leads straight back to Snoop Dogg.”  

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles office tweeted, “#marijuana remains illegal throughout California and is extremely dangerous. Schedule I controlled substance!! Don’t end up in federal prison! #justsayno”

Rep. French Hill (R-AR) spoke about his support for marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Together we are going to end the prohibition of marijuana in the United States.”

/ STATES

The Washington, D.C. Council unanimously approved emergency legislation to protect some, but not all, government workers from employment discrimination over medical cannabis use.

Rhode Island’s House speaker said that there was “no appetite” among lawmakers or constituents to legalize marijuaan this year.

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a revised medical cannabis expansion bill aimed at avoiding a potential veto from Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

Connecticut regulators are approving hemp cultivation licenses.

Ohio regulators scheduled a public hearing on medical cannabis rules for July 23.

Arkansas regulators approved a third medical cannabis dispensary to open.

Lawmakers from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota discussed marijuana policy at a conference.


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 Hattiesburg, Mississippi City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee will consider a proposed ordinance to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority on Wednesday.

The Monroe County, New York district attorney said her office will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate Legal Committee approved a bill to expedite marijuana pardons, setting it up for third reading before the full body this week.

Maltese President George Vella said he has “major reservations” about legalizing marijuana.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar gave a dismissive response when asked by a lawmaker for a status update on medical cannabis access.

Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babiš hosted a medical cannabis seminar.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “arrest rates of youths significantly decreased in states that decriminalized cannabis possession for everyone but did not decrease in states that legalized adult use.”

A review concluded that “pain (64%), anxiety (50%), and depression/mood (34%) were common reasons for medical cannabis use.”

A study found that “prevalence and frequency of past-month cannabis use among pregnant women increased between 2002 and 2017 and were higher for the first trimester than later trimesters.”

/ BUSINESS

The Global Cannabis Partnership brought together 45 marijuana companies to set environmental, social and governance standards for the industry.

High Times Holding Corp. is being sued for allegedly failing to pay up to $4 million owed as part of its acquisition of Culture Magazine.

/ CULTURE

Martha Stewart spoke at a marijuana conference and said that “the dialogue around cannabis is finally going positive.”

Woody Harrelson will play Timothy Leary in a television series.

Actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted to ask people to oppose New York bills that he said could “impair the hemp industry, particularly the retail sale of hemp-derived CBD.”

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Congress wants docs on JUUL’s cannabis collaborations (Newsletter: June 18, 2019)

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Psychedelics decrim takes off around the country; Dispensaries don’t increase youth marijuana use; NY legalization situation fluid

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) is asking JUUL for documents about any “intended partnerships or collaborations” with “cannabis-related companies, including but not limited to Cronos Group.”

In the wake of successful measures in Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California, activists in cities across the U.S.—and beyond—are planning local moves to decriminalize psychedelics.

A new Colorado marijuana study undermines a key anti-legalization argument, finding that “permitting or not permitting recreational cannabis dispensaries in a community does not appear to change student cannabis use or perceptions towards cannabis.”

/ FEDERAL

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll claimed that building a border wall would be a “force multiplier” to stop drug smuggling.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “Whataboutisn is rarely productive- or reasonable. Additives/ chemicals in food are legal & tested to be below scientifically determined safety thresholds- NONE of which is true for cannabis. If we can’t even agree that babies shouldn’t be consuming pot, I worry for us all.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that some claims about CBD are “pretty hokey.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The fact that the United States continues to arrest hundreds of thousands of black and brown Americans every year for possession of marijuana, while wealthy investors on Wall Street make huge profits off of it, is completely outrageous.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “Nevada’s marijuana businesses are creating jobs and raising millions of dollars in revenues for our state. We must provide these businesses with the @SBAgov resources they need to continue to grow.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “If a Schedule I drug shows promise in treating [PTSD, severe depression, opioid addiction], then perhaps it is not the drug that is ‘morally wrong,’ but the law, the schedule – the statute. It’s time to end the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) tweeted a photo of himself visiting a hemp farm.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed bill allowing patients to inhale medical cannabis and setting fees on sales. Separately, regulators released the application form for permits to sell CBD products.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed bills clarifying how medical cannabis dispensaries can become for-profits and making technical changes to marijuana laws.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he thinks lawmakers should not pass legislation to expand marijuana decriminalization without tying it to broader legalization and that he’s “cautiously optimistic” lawmakers can get it done this week. Talks on the issue between the governor’s office and legislative leaders continued on Monday without a deal.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted, “Forcing Nevada’s cannabis businesses to operate on a cash-only basis poses a public safety risk to consumers and employees. I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of 20 governors urging Congress to pass the #SAFEBanking Act.”

The North Carolina Senate passed agricultural legislation containing hemp provisions.

Delaware lawmakers are expected to vote on legislation extending the decriminalization of marijuana to juveniles on Tuesday.

Virginia lawmakers from both parties voiced support for the state attorney general’s endorsement of marijuana decriminalization.

Lawmakers from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, along with those from a neighboring Canadian province, are set to discuss marijuana laws at a conference this week.

Washington State regulators said that a new marijuana traceability system will go live on July 15.


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 Hattiesburg, Mississippi City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

San Francisco, California’s mayor is proposing increasing funding for the city’s Office of Cannabis from $700,000 to $1.1 million.

Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney said that any marijuana legalization bill should expunge prior convictions.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s health minister said he will probably vote in favor of a marijuana legalization referendum next year.

Brazil’s Federal Council of Medicine is urging the government to cancel a public consultation on allowing medical cannabis cultivation.

Russian lawmakers are considering changes to drug laws following public backlash to a case of an investigative journalist arrested on questionable drug charges.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, in response to a tweet from actress Bette Middler, touted hemp legalization as one of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) accomplishments.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “THC:CBD oromucosal spray proved to be an effective and well-tolerated add-on treatment for patients with elsewhere refractory chronic pain – especially of neuropathic origin.”

A study suggested that “as compared to [benzodiazepines], cannabis can be a healthier and less harmful alternative form of treatment for adults living with anxiety.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board is calling on New Mexico regulators to exercise greater oversight of the medical cannabis industry.

/ BUSINESS

MTech and MJ Freeway combined to form Akerna Corp., which will begin trading on Nasdaq on Tuesday.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Hexo Corp.’s joint venture will start selling marijuana-infused beverages in Canada.

The owner of proposed Massachusetts marijuana dispensary Stem is suing two local businessmen for alleged extortion.

/ CULTURE

BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg spoke about taking psychedelic mushrooms.

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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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