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Congressional leaders’ changes to cannabis bill (Newsletter: December 1, 2020)

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Marijuana on 2022 ballots; UN cannabis rescheduling vote this week; VA officials file legalization report; USDA expands hemp insurance

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressional leaders are proposing a lengthy amendment to a marijuana legalization bill scheduled for a House floor vote this week—including changes to tax structures. The legislation will go before the Rules Committee on Wednesday, and there may be other amendments considered there.

  • Other leadership changes to the MORE Act would clarify that the Food and Drug Administration can continue to have oversight over cannabis products and that marijuana can still be included in drug testing programs for federal workers.

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs will vote on World Health Organization marijuana rescheduling recommendations this week—and the U.S. is supporting removing cannabis from the most restrictive global category, but is against a CBD measure.

A workgroup comprised of four Virginia cabinet secretaries and other top officials released a report with recommendations for how the state can legalize marijuana.

Marijuana Moment’s latest analysis takes a look ahead at states that are most likely to vote on legal cannabis during the 2022 midterms.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it is expanding and improving a crop insurance program for hemp farmers.

/ FEDERAL

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted, “This week, your House Democrat majority is tackling the tough issues by holding a vote on legalizing pot and banning tiger ownership. Nothing for small businesses. Nothing for re-opening schools. Nothing on battling the pandemic. Just cannabis and cats.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s past time to correct the injustices against Black & brown communities by decriminalizing cannabis, expunging records, & investing the profits into communities impacted most by the racist War on Drugs. Let’s pass the MORE Act this week.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “As states across the country decriminalize and legalize marijuana, it is important that Congress take the necessary steps to end the federal ban on marijuana — a policy that has so disproportionately affected communities of color.”

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) tweeted, “Let me get this straight: Nancy Pelosi is blocking a bill to deliver unused Paycheck Protection Program funds to workers and small businesses. But she managed to find time for a vote on pot legislation this week.”

Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) tweeted, “This week, @HouseDemocrats decided the most pressing issue facing our country is decriminalizing marijuana…”

Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) tweeted, “As workers struggle, Nancy Pelosi is wasting our time with marijuana legislation. The clearest example yet of her warped priorities.”

Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) tweeted, “There is still over $130+ billion available in the Paycheck Protection Program for businesses to use, but Speaker Pelosi is prioritizing passing marijuana legislation this week. We should be focused on supporting our workers & businesses right now – it is time to reopen the #PPP.”

Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) tweeted, “Speaker Pelosi continues to block releasing unused #PaycheckProtectionProgram funds, which would help small businesses and workers. Appropriations work is far from finished. The critical NDAA awaits completion. Yet, House Dems are prioritizing a cannabis bill this week…”

/ STATES

Arizona’s marijuana legalization law formally took effect with the certification of the election results.

Florida’s Senate president is opposed to taking up a marijuana legalization bill, but activists are working on plans for a 2022 ballot measure on the issue.

New Jersey’s Senate president participated in a forum on marijuana legalization and social justice. Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said he thinks he will try cannabis once it becomes legal.

Members of Maryland’s Legislative Black Caucus are drafting marijuana legalization legislation for the 2021 session.

Massachusetts regulators approved marijuana delivery rules.

California has a new acting top marijuana regulator.

The Washington State House Commerce & Gaming Committee heard an update from the Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force.

A Tennessee senator said that “COVID has increased the need for medical cannabis” and is planning to file a bill for 2021.

An incoming South Dakota representative wants to enact restrictions on marijuana use under the state’s voter-approved legalization law.

Pennsylvania regulators sent guidance about medical cannabis gross receipts tax due dates.

The Colorado Marijuana Science & Policy Work Group will meet on Friday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 West Point, Georgia City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Washington County, New York sheriff is being sued for allegedly illegally destroying hemp plants.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand activists filed a proposed marijuana decriminalization initiative.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “most participants did not believe that cannabis legalization had affected their use behavior” but that “participants, especially cannabis users, perceived that recreational cannabis legalization created a context where cannabis use was legally, socially, and behaviorally “safer” than in an illegal context, even for those below the legal age of sale.”

A study concluded that “hemp oil has abundant potential to be used as an inedible source for the manufacture of bio-diesel.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board said the state should legalize marijuana.

Sun+Earth Certification reached its $25,000 crowdfunding goal to support a regenerative organic cannabis certification program and has set a new goal of raising an additional $15,000.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights tweeted, “This week, the House will vote on #HR3884 – the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act. It’s time for Congress to pass this legislation and address the decades of harm faced by communities of color & low-income communities due to failed marijuana policies.”

/ BUSINESS

Organigram Holdings Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $20.4 million and a net loss of $38.6 million.

4Front Ventures Corp. reported $12.4 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $3.9 million.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc.  reported quarterly net revenue of $13.4 million and a net loss of $17.8 million.

Bluma Wellness Inc reported quarterly net revenue of $3.1 million.

Field Trip Health Ltd. reported quarterly revenue of $94,532 and a net loss of $3.9 million.

Curio Wellness started a $30 million fund to invest in women- and minority-owned marijuana businesses.

/ CULTURE

Celebrities such as Kevin Garnett and Al Harrington sent a letter urging members of Congress to support a marijuana legalization bill being voted on this week.

Former mixed martial arts fighters Ian McCall and Dean Lister spoke about their therapeutic use of psychedelics.

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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.)

Newsletter

First VA legal cannabis hearing (Newsletter: January 18, 2021)

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USDA’s final hemp rule; Feds launch marijuana testing program; MA city decriminalized psychedelics; ND cannabis decrim bill

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Cannabis in 2021: Will federal prohibition finally fall? Will growing momentum at the state level influence national policy changes? Which states will be next to experiment with reform?

  • Dean Codgen: “After having MM in my inbox for several years, I decided to do what I could to help disseminate the facts and data to any and all who need or want to know the truth about what is going on in the sphere of cannabis.”

If you support us on Patreon, you’ll not just support us as we dig into these questions but you’ll have access to tools like our Bill Tracker to help you keep an eye on developments yourself. Join us for $25/month here: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its final rules to regulate hemp. The update addresses some—but not all—concerns that industry stakeholders raised about the initial rules.

The Virginia Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee held an initial hearing on a marijuana legalization bill that was introduced by the governor and top legislative leaders just two days prior. More hearings in a new cannabis-focused subcommittee, as well as a vote in the full panel, are scheduled for this week.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology—a federal agency—is sending marijuana and hemp samples to labs around the world to help determine how good they are at testing for cannabinoid content and contaminants. Labs can enroll until February 5.

The Somerville, Massachusetts City Council unanimously approved a measure to decriminalize psychedelics. Several other cities have already passed similar entheogen policies as part of what is now a growing national movement.

North Dakota lawmakers filed a bill to significantly expand the decriminalization of marijuana in the state. Meanwhile, activists are working to put a full cannabis legalization measure on the 2022 ballot.

/ FEDERAL

The National Credit Union Administration said it will continue to educate financial services providers about working with hemp businesses in 2021.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders met to discuss outstanding disagreements about marijuana legalization implementation legislation, but did not reach a deal.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker included the legalization of marijuana and related pardons and expungements in a Twitter thread celebrating accomplishments from his first two years in office.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) received nearly 100 applications from people who want to serve on the state’s new marijuana regulatory body.

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Legalization would create new jobs, raise revenue, and take us a step closer to building a more equitable New York. It’s past time. Let’s get this done.”

South Dakota assistant attorneys general argued in a court brief defending the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization measure that a “well-regulated market” can undercut the illegal cannabis market.

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that the smell of marijuana in a rental car driving from Oregon to Colorado is not reasonable suspicion for a search.

A California judge ruled that regulators have 30 days to inform marijuana businesses that they can no longer advertise with billboards on highways that cross state lines.

New Mexico regulators are again being sued by a medical cannabis company over plant limits.

Colorado regulators announced rulemaking on marijuana business license types and testing. They also sent a bulletin about escalating reports of fraud against cannabis businesses.

Nebraska lawmakers filed legislation to legalize marijuana and medical cannabis.

A Florida representative plans to file a bill to legalize psilocybin therapy.

Washington State regulators announced a new Cannabis Compliance Consultant Team.

Ohio regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.

Kansas regulators will hold a public hearing on hemp regulations on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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 Jefferson County, Washington Board of Commissioners heard public testimony about decriminalizing psychedelics that came in response to a recent psilocybin arrest.

/ INTERNATIONAL

French lawmakers are conducting a citizen consultation on recreational marijuana.

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health is launching a website to assist medical cannabis and hemp businesses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD has the potential to inhibit melanoma cell growth in vertebrates, namely mice.”

A study found that “community level racial or income disparities in access to medical cannabis were not observed in Maryland” but that “access to medical cannabis, based on ability to pay out of pocket for the product, may be uneven.”

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs raised$125 million with an offering of subordinate voting shares.

Agri-Kind LLC accused a fired employee of hacking its networks for ransom.

Feuerstein Kulick LLP is urging a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by an Arkansas medical cannabis company that claims it misrepresented itself as having expertise in the industry.

Michigan retailers sold $101 million worth of legal marijuana products in December, for a total of $984.6 million in 2020.

/ CULTURE

UFC officials are interested in enrolling their fighters in psychedelic therapy trials at John Hopkins University.

“High Maintenance” will not return to HBO for a fifth season.

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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

Feds to compile cannabis tax revenue data (Newsletter: January 15, 2021)

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VA gov slams racist marijuana laws; Incoming RI gov backs legal cannabis but not state stores; USDA “superior” hemp grant; $2B in CO sales in 2020

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BREAKING: Journalism is often consumed for free, but costs money to produce! While this newsletter is proudly sent without cost to you, our ability to send it each day depends on the financial support of readers who can afford to give it. So if you’ve got a few dollars to spare each month and believe in the work we do, please consider joining us on Patreon today.

  • Wally Wong of Meadow Software: “Marijuana Moment is an invaluable, non-partisan cannabis resource. It’s the place I come for unbiased news and reporting on all cannabis news. The rest is speculation.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it plans to start collecting and compiling data on state marijuana tax revenue.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) used his State of the Commonwealth speech to highlight the racist history of marijuana prohibition and the need to legalize cannabis while expunging past records.

  • “That’s how the system was set up generations ago. In fact, one of the early leaders of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency was clear that marijuana laws should be written explicitly to target people of color. And so they were, and they’ve been targeting people for years.”

Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D), who will become governor if current Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is confirmed as U.S. commerce secretary, said for the first time that he supports legalizing marijuana. He also said that he backs an “entrepreneurial strategy”of licensing private businesses  instead of Raimondo’s state-run stores plan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making grant money available to support the “breeding, testing and development” of “superior performing” hemp varieties.

Colorado retailers sold more than $2 billion worth of legal marijuana products in 2020. Several other states also saw huge cannabis sales totals last year.

/ FEDERAL

A summary of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus economic recovery plan does not mention cannabis banking, even though House and Senate Democrats included the reform in their COVID packages last year.

/ STATES

A candidate for Rhode Island lieutenant governor resigned from the board of a company seeking a medical cannabis dispensary license.

Oregon’s Legislative Black, Indigenous, & People of Color Caucus included a cannabis equity bill in its 2021 legislative agenda.

The chairman of Missouri’s House Special Committee on Government Oversight said the panel could renew its investigation of the state’s medical cannabis licensing process.

California regulators proposed emergency rules to implement legislation on marijuana businesses’ access to banking services.

Michigan regulators are requiring hemp growers and processor-handlers to complete a report on research activities.

Washington State regulators are seeking participants for deliberative dialogue sessions on cannabis quality assurance testing.

Massachusetts marijuana regulators held their first meeting of the new year.

A Maryland delegate filed a bill to decriminalize drug paraphernalia.

A key New York senator spoke about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in 2021.

Nevada regulators will host a regulatory workshop on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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

Birmingham, Alabama’s mayor is publicizing a program to pardon people with misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions.

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang included his support for marijuana legalization on his campaign site’s Culture, Society and Nightlife section rather than the Criminal Justice section.

/ INTERNATIONAL

British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie said his government is still unclear about when the UK might give assent to a pending cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “users and non-users of marijuana did not have an association with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.”

A case study looks at a man who injected psilocybin mushroom tea, after which “cultures confirmed bacteremia (ultimately cultured as Brevibacillus) and fungemia (ultimately cultured as Psilocybe cubensis – i.e. the species of mushroom he had injected was now growing in his blood).”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance, National Harm Reduction Coalition and more than 200 other organizations sent a letter calling on the incoming Biden administration to focus drug policy on harm reduction strategies, including by withdrawing a federal lawsuit that seeks to block a safe consumption site for illegal drugs from opening.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs entered into an agreement to acquire Bluma Wellness Inc.

Aphria Inc. reported quarterly revenue of C$72.1 million and a net loss of C$120.6 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation  filed an early warning report regarding its acquisition of an option to purchase shares of TerrAscend Corp.

United Cannabis Corp.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy was thrown out by a judge.

/ CULTURE

The UFC and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will no longer punish fighters for testing positive for marijuana metabolites.

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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

VA gov files cannabis legalization bill (Newsletter: January 14, 2021)

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NM gov: legal marijuana a 2021 priority; Top TX lawmakers: Cannabis expansion on table; State drug decrim bills; Study: Marijuana reduces opioid use

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

Cannabis in 2021: Will federal prohibition finally fall? Will growing momentum at the state level influence national policy changes? Which states will be next to experiment with reform?

If you support us on Patreon, you’ll not just support us as we dig into these questions but you’ll have access to tools like our Bill Tracker to help you keep an eye on developments yourself.

  • Frederika McClary Easley of The People’s Dispensary: “The opportunity to have state and federal cannabis news compiled, and in one place, is too good to snooze on.”

Join us for $25/month here: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and top House and Senate lawmakers filed new legislation to legalize marijuana.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that legalizing marijuana is on her priority list for the 2021 legislative session.

  • It will “establish an essential new revenue source for the state and employment source for tens of thousands of New Mexicans.”

The top lawmakers in Texas’s House and Senate—including notoriously anti-marijuana Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R)—say that an expansion to the state’s limited medical cannabis program is on the table for 2021.

Lawmakers in New York and Virginia have filed legislation to decriminalize drugs or study the issue, with additional California and Washington bills expected soon—showing that broader reform beyond marijuana is gaining momentum following Oregon’s decriminalization vote in November.

A new study found that medical cannabis is associated with reduced use of opioids and other prescription drugs, as well as increases in quality of life.

  • “The high rate of cannabis use for chronic pain and the subsequent reductions in opioid use suggest that cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the opioid overdose crisis, potentially improving the quality of life of patients and overall public health.”

/ FEDERAL

The House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment report against President Trump notes that some of his supporters smoked marijuana during their raid on the Capitol.

/ STATES

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said he looks forward to working with lawmakers to pass a marijuana legalization bill this session.

The Illinois House of Representatives did not take up a Senate-passed measure to create 75 additional marijuana business licenses, killing it.

Nevada’s attorney general participated in a Public Health Cannabis and Vaping Summit.

Colorado regulators adopted emergency coronavirus rules allowing marijuana businesses to accept orders from customers using mobile devices from outside of the premises.

New Mexico lawmakers plan to file legislation this year to legalize safe consumption sites for illegal drugs and defelonize drug possession.

Several Connecticut lawmakers discussed their views on marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at marijuana legislation that Maine lawmakers may consider this year.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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 district attorney for Georgia’s Western Circuit is dropping marijuana and drug possession cases.

Portland, Maine officials shut down a marijuana testing lab for operating without a license.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Jersey’s government issued its first medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that patients “reported that cannabis was a useful adjunct and substitute for prescription opioids in treating their chronic pain and had the added benefit of improving the ability to function and quality of life.”

A marijuana cultivation study found that “no [light intensity] treatment effects on cannabinoid potency, while there were minor LI treatment effects on terpene potency.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Jenny Cudd, who participated in the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol, reportedly has ownership stakes in several cannabis businesses.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp and Molson Coors Beverage Company launched a new line of non-alcoholic, sparkling CBD beverages through their joint venture Truss CBD USA.

Valley Harvest LLC and Nug Farms are being sued for allegedly wrongfully terminating workers who complained about coronavirus-related policies.

2015 Halladay Wellness, Inc. is being sued for allegedly sending unsolicited text messages.

Columbia Care Inc. announced it closed a bought deal public offering worth proceeds of proceeds of C$149.5 million.

Colorado 2020 marijuana sales surpassed $2 billion as of November.

/ CULTURE

Jimmy Fallon joked about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in New York.

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

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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