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Congressional panel voting on cannabis bill this week (Newsletter: Sep. 11, 2018)

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Fed judge rules for medical marijuana patient; Veterans’ cannabis rider stripped from bill; Consumers prefer legal product even if more expensive

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  • Lee (who asked that his last name not be used): “Tom provides crucial cannabis news that you can’t find anywhere else.  Cannabis related news and events affect everyone from a patient to the politician. Please consider supporting independent journalism.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote Thursday on legislation requiring the federal government to license additional growers of marijuana to be used in scientific research. Drug policy reform advocates are concerned with a provision that would bar people with prior drug convictions from participating. But Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the legislation’s author, said in an interview that the restrictions were a necessary compromise to win broader GOP support.

A congressional conference committee opted not to include a Senate-passed provision increasing military veterans’ access to medical cannabis in a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Here’s a look at where Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who are facing off in one of the country’s most-watched Senate races this year, stand on marijuana.

Another study found that marijuana consumers prefer legal and regulated products, even if they are more expensive than illicit market cannabis, but only up to a point.

A federal judge ruled in favor of a Connecticut woman who sued her would-be employer after a job offer was rescinded due to her state-legal medical cannabis use.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) brushed off a question about whether she supports legalizing marijuana.

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) spoke on a conference call with Florida Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Nikki Fried about her loss of bank accounts due to cannabis industry donations.

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) is promoting an event to help people clear their records of marijuana convictions and warrants.

Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) said that legalizing marijuana would be “a terrible mistake” and “just insane.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted, “Federal policies should be based on facts, not misplaced stigmas and myths. The bipartisan bill I introduced with @RepCurbelo, the Marijuana Data Collection Act, aims to do just that. Support #HR6495.”

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) tweeted, “This is what marijuana legalization has meant for Colorado: About 73% of some 4000 drivers charged with a DUI tested positive for the drug. That poses a significant danger to our society. Marijuana has not done good things for our communities.”

Here’s a look at where New Mexico U.S. Senate candidates stand on marijuana.

Minnesota U.S. Senate and House candidates were asked their position on marijuana legalization.

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Josh McCall is hosting an event about marijuana laws reform.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) tweeted, “Prescribing medical marijuana – instead of opioids – for chronic pain is an Illinois first. Others now seem ready to adopt the tactic to reduce opioid prescriptions and deaths.”

Maine gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy at a forum.

New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham has received more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from the marijuana industry.

A Utah representative opened a bill file to serve as a method for lawmakers to address medical cannabis next session.

Michigan regulators are moving to allow certain medical cannabis businesses to continue operating without a license after a September 15 deadline.

Vermont’s marijuana legalization study committee held a meeting.

California regulators reported that nearly 20 percent of marijuana products in the state have failed tests for potency and purity.

Florida regulators reluctantly plan to release data on which conditions people are using medical cannabis for.

Alaska regulators are proposing rules on marijuana business ownership changes and handler permits.

The New Republic looks at the growing number of states considering or enacting drug-induced homicide laws that allow prosecutors to levy murder charges against people who provide drugs involved in overdose deaths.

/ LOCAL

Miami, Florida’s chief of police said he will institute a new policy removing officer discretion to arrest people for their first two marijuana possession offenses.

A Billings, Montana medical cannabis dispensary dropped its lawsuit against the city.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Trinidad and Tobago’s prime minister said lawmakers should study decriminalizing marijuana.

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Party of New Mexico tweeted, “Hemp production will soon be a multibillion dollar industry — our farmers shouldn’t miss out just because Governor Martinez doesn’t understand the difference between it and marijuana.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The National Institute on Drug Abuse reissued a funding opportunity for research to “elucidate the therapeutic potential of the cannabinoids and endocannabinoid system in the development of mechanism-based therapies for pain.”

Researchers will soon begin recruiting participants for study on cannabis oil’s impact on appetite in patients with end stage kidney disease.

/ BUSINESS

CWNevada is facing six separate lawsuits alleging fraud, failure to pay lenders on time and misappropriation of intellectual property.

Singer Jimmy Buffett is launching his own line of marijuana products.

/ CULTURE

Athletics Canada sent a notice reminding athletes that they are still prohibited from using marijuana even when legalization goes into effect.

Singer and actress Olivia Newton-John said she is using homegrown medical cannabis to treat the symptoms of cancer.

Rapper Young Thug is facing charges for possession of marijuana, meth, hydrocodone and other drugs, with intent to distribute, along with possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.

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Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.

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

Top Senate Dem wants delay for hemp final rule (Newsletter: August 11, 2020)

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Clinton implies marijuana makes you dumb; VT Dems poised to back drug decrim; Reform org rolls out plan to end federal drug war

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to delay implementation of final legal hemp rules and extend the 2014 Farm Bill’s pilot program, citing coronavirus concerns.

  • “As we move into harvest season, farmers will need to operate with as much certainty as possible but timing and testing requirements will likely create bottlenecks that will push farmers to rush harvests. The potential for greater numbers of people working in facilities to meet the rush may create opportunities for COVID to spread among farm workers.”

2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton implied that consuming marijuana makes people do stupid things, an apparent joke made in response to part of a Maureen Dowd column she took exception to.

The draft Vermont Democratic Party platform set to be finalized next month includes planks supporting decriminalizing drugs and legalizing marijuana sales.

  • “Adopt an approach to the possession and misuse of drugs that is motivated solely by the principles of public health and harm reduction, rather than punishing undesirable private behavior, while avoiding the criminal justice system altogether.”

The Drug Policy Alliance unveiled a framework for how Congress can end the war on drugs. It includes defunding the Drug Enforcement Administration, eliminating possession penalties, ceasing to fund state enforcement, putting health agencies in charge of drug scheduling, expunging records and funding harm reduction services.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) criticized House Democrats for mentioning “cannabis” more times than “jobs” on their coronavirus relief bill.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) tweeted, “But wasting trillions of dollars on liberal priorities like cannabis funding, taxpayer-funded abortion and the federalization of our elections – things that have nothing to do with providing COVID-19 relief – does much more than nickel-and-dime them.”

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted, “#Marijuana reform is #CriminalJustice reform. The war on drugs has targeted and incarcerated Black communities for TOO LONG. We need to decriminalize and deschedule cannabis at the federal level. #LegalizeIt”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is a racial justice issue. The failed War on Drugs continues to devastate communities of color and low-income communities. Social and economic equity must be at the forefront of any marijuana policy.”

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) said in a constituent letter that he will continue to vote to keep marijuana illegal.

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Barrington Martin tweeted, “Legalize and decriminalize marijuana and hemp. It would do more for the environment than people understand. Hemp legalization is a part of my Green New Deal. With hemp farms everywhere, we wouldn’t need to cut forests down!”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Richard Thripp tweeted, “I support #marijuanalegalization. Here are some designs for advertisements in the general election. A big issue with Republican and independent voter support. Enough is enough!”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) appointed a new cannabis regulation oversight officer.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “In 86 days, New Jersey will vote to fully legalize marijuana. In PA, we will send you to prison for 2.5 years with *any* number of plants, label you a felon for life, + fine you. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but *maybe* it’s time we figure out cannabis in PA.”

Minnesota’s House majority leader said a marijuana legalization bill might pass if Democrats take control of the state Senate in the November elections.

A Colorado court ruled that possessing marijuana while being booked is not itself a crime.

Oklahoma brought in more than $12 million in medical cannabis tax revenue in July.

Missouri regulators issued four more medical cannabis infused product manufacturing facility licenses.

The Florida Criminal Standards and Training Commission dismissed an administrative complaint against a corrections officer who tested positive for marijuana after using CBD oil.

Washington State regulators released draft conceptual rules for marijuana business premise certificates of compliance.


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

San Francisco, California police and cannabis industry participants will meet on August 18 to discuss safety issues in light of recent burglaries.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bermuda’s attorney general gave lawmakers an update on a public consultation on draft marijuana legalization legislation and said an updated bill will be introduced soon.

New Zealand’s justice minister spoke about being offered marijuana on the street.

A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian citizen to death for allegedly producing MDMA.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “daily and near-daily cannabis use is associated with HIV viral load suppression in people living with HIV who use cocaine.”

A study found “an association between maternal cannabis use in pregnancy and the incidence of autism spectrum disorder in the offspring.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Governors Association is partnering with 10 states to formulate plans to address impaired driving.

Dakota Rural Action endorsed South Dakota marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures.

The Drug Policy Alliance led a sign-on letter of health organizations and professionals calling on congressional leaders to pass legislation to reschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported $110 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $128 million.

Tilray, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $50.4 million and a net loss of $81.7 million.

Columbia Care, Inc. reported quarterly combined revenue of $33 million and a net loss  of $27.3 million.

/ CULTURE

The creators of “The Walking Dead” won a trademark case against a parody cannabis-themed comic “The Toking Dead.”

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White House slams cannabis banking in Dem COVID bill (Newsletter: August 10, 2020)

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State ag depts.: extend hemp program; Senator talks marijuana on floor; OR officials analyze drug decrim & psilocybin measures; USDA OKs hemp plans

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Trump administration joined congressional Republicans in criticizing marijuana banking provisions in Democrats’ latest COVID bill. 

  • “In one instance they have provided guarantees for banking access for marijuana growers. That has absolutely nothing to do with coronavirus,” Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President MIke Pence and former White House legislative director said.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the National Industrial Hemp Council are pushing Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend hemp pilot programs for states that haven’t yet been able to finalize regulations under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) took to the Senate floor to make the case that legalizing marijuana must be a part of police reform and racial justice efforts, and to discuss her new bill that would federally regulate cannabis like tobacco.

  • “It is time to legalize marijuana, and we should do it in a practical and commonsense way that protects the health and safety and the civil rights of our communities.”

Oregon officials finalized summaries of measures to decriminalize drug possession and legalize psilocybin therapy that are on the November ballot. The drug decriminalization initiative will mean “significant reductions in racial/ethnic disparities in both convictions and arrests,” a state panel said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for Maryland and another Indian tribe, bringing the total number of approved plans across states, territories and tribes to 55.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Veterans Affairs’s Veterans Health Administration tweeted, “Marijuana: natural = safe, right? Not necessarily.”

Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen tweeted, “The DNC just refused to add legalizing marijuana to their platform, it’s been on the LP platform since day one.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tweeted, “My priority is helping Louisiana families struggling during this pandemic. Democrats are using the unemployed as a point of leverage to pass the entirety of their HEROES Act, which mentions marijuana more than jobs. Lets put families first.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted, “Heroes Act is a cruel joke: Tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, soil enhancement studies, diversity in cannabis industry, pay people not to work – nothing for schools, small businesses or jobs.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted, “Pelosi & Schumer held up relief for the American people because they wanted a liberal wishlist that talks more about “cannabis” than a ‘job.’ Today President Trump took action to make up for Democrats’ failures. He stepped up to deliver targeted relief to the American people.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) said a psychedelics decriminalization ballot measure will make Washington, D.C. “the mushroom capital of the United States.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 81.

Alabama Democratic congressional candidate Kiani Gardner tweeted, “I don’t have strong feeling about marijuana, but at least once a day, I get furious thinking about US pot laws that make (mostly white) millionaires in one states and tear apart (mostly black) families in another.  Turns out, I have really strong feelings about marijuana.”

Maryland Republican congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik tweeted, “Next week, I will introduce my proposal to lower crime, violence, the homicide rate & to truly make a dent on the war on drugs. It’s 1 piece of legislation.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It’s astonishing society is OK with lethal, highly addictive opioids, but a *mushroom* is illegal. Same, cannabis. Let’s all consider that- sit back with a bottle of Jack Daniels + fire up a Marlboro.”

Michigan’s attorney general and secretary of state warned voters that people are circulating ballot petitions described as “supporting medical marijuana initiatives” but that actually concern completely different policy areas.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “On #NationalCBDDay, if you’re out shopping for #CBD products, be sure to check for the Florida #Hemp seal. We established Florida’s State Hemp Rules to ensure quality, consistent, and safe products for consumers.”

North Carolina agriculture commissioner candidate Jenna Wadsworth tweeted, “Cannabis legalization offers a viable economic opportunity to farmers & rural communities. #Cannabis could foster true social justice opportunities for communities of color through decriminalization & HUB firms being distribution channels.”

An Arizona judge rejected a lawsuit seeking to keep a marijuana legalization measure off the ballot over claims its summary is misleading.

Nevada regulators approved a partial settlement of a lawsuit challenging the state’s marijuana business licensing process.

Oklahoma has a new top medical cannabis regulator.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.


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 Chatham County, Georgia Board of Commissioners approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Several California cities and counties will vote on local marijuana ballot measures in November.

Vermilion Parish, Louisiana prosecutors agreed to a deal to release a man who was serving a life sentence for selling $30 worth of marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

South Africa’s cabinet approved a bill to legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation.

Polish authorities detained an unnamed cannabis executive and a regulator in charge of registering medical products for allegedly engaging in an illegal approval scheme.

Only 257 people have benefitted from Canada’s marijuana pardon program in its first year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “prescription stimulant use was higher in states without medical marijuana laws.”

A study concluded that “marijuana gateway effects may exist” but that “results demonstrate that the phenomena used to motivate belief in such an effect are consistent with an alternative simple, plausible common‐factor model” and that “no gateway effect is required to explain them.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party tweeted, “Ending marijuana prohibition is an issue of racial justice, criminal justice, and economic justice.”

/ CULTURE

Actor Rob Lowe discussed psychedelics with Joe Rogan.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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DEA cannabis biz investigation details revealed (Newsletter: August 7, 2020)

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VT to finalize legal marijuana sales bill within weeks; TX smokable hemp ban lawsuit filed; Tulsi Gabbard talks Biden, DNC and cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Department of Justice revealed details of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation of marijuana businesses in the latest filing in a case seeking to force California regulators to reveal cannabis licensee information.

  • “Specifically, the DEA told the BCC that it was looking into the possible importation/transportation of a controlled substance from Mexico by specific licensees.”

The Vermont House speaker’s office told Marijuana Moment that she expects a bicameral conference committee to meet within the next eight weeks to finalize a cannabis sales legalization bill that has already passed both chambers in differing forms.

Texas regulators are being sued over the state’s new ban on selling smokable hemp products.

  • “If allowed to move forward, these bans on smokable hemp products will shutter businesses across the state, resulting in a loss of jobs and tax revenue. They impede the economic liberty of Texas businesses, pose an existential threat to Texas hemp manufacturers, farmers, and retailers, and are sure to stifle growth of a budding Texas industry.”

Marijuana Moment spoke to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) about her House-passed amendment to let military members use CBD, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s legalization opposition and the House-Senate clash over cannabis banking.

  • Marijuana Moment Patreon supporters get access to the full audio of our conversation with Gabbard, including unpublished answers on whether she plans to be involved in the cannabis industry after leaving Capitol Hill and her reaction to the Democratic National Committee’s refusal to endorse legalization.

/ FEDERAL

The House Republican Conference tweeted, “What are Democrats demanding? ✖️ ‘environmental justice grants’ ✖️ checks for illegal immigrants ✖️ changes to election law ✖️ marijuana banking With just one look, it’s easy to see how out of touch their priorities are with Americans who need real relief.”

Rep. Steve Horsford (D-NV) is conducting a survey on which marijuana issues Congress should focus on.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana is legal in 11 states and Washington D.C. Most Americans support legalization regardless of political party. How is this common sense policy to reduce mass incarceration and end the war on drugs not included in the Democratic Party platform?”

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) cheered marijuana policy victories achieved through spending bills.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “With the addition of @RepKatiePorter, our bill to legalize marijuana and enact restorative justice now has 80 House co-sponsors! Momentum is growing to end the failed prohibition of cannabis that has ruined countless lives and disproportionately impacted communities of color.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted, “Places #COVIDー19 thrives according to Democrats: -Church -Work -School -Voting booths -Bars after 10 p.m.  Places #COVIDー19 ceases to exist according to Democrats: -Protests -Liquor stores -Marijuana shops -Bars before 10 p.m.”

Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) reelection campaign tweeted about her “votes and legislation she co-sponsors to earn an ‘A’ rating on cannabis issues from NORML.”

Massachusetts Democratic congressional candidate Ihssane Leckey tweeted, “Legalize marijuana and expunge records.”

/ STATES

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) tweeted about an American Heart Association paper expressing concerns about the health impacts of marijuana use, but didn’t mention the part of the document that calls for federal rescheduling.

Illinois regulators reported that the state took in $14 million in recreational marijuana revenue in July.

A California court ruled that Granny Purps Inc. can pursue a case to force Santa Cruz police to return seized marijuana plants. Another judge in a separate case said some cities suing to stop regulators from allowing cannabis home delivery services in their jurisdictions don’t have standing, but agreed to hear their arguments on why they should remain valid plaintiffs in November.

Michigan regulators issued a health and safety bulletin about marijuana pre-rolls contaminated with human saliva.

Massachusetts regulators fined Revolutionary Clinics $120,000 to settle charges it sold marijuana vaporizers with excessive levels of ethanol to other dispensaries.

Colorado regulators posted an agenda for a marijuana rulemaking work group meeting on Tuesday.

Washington State regulators proposed rules on a marijuana consultation and education program.


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

Littleton, Colorado is likely to vote on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana sales in the city.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Uruguay’s president signed decrees authorizing the export of medical cannabis and hemp.

Peru rejected a U.S. government report claiming that there’s been an increase in cocaine production in the country.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “the use of cannabinoids could be beneficial in traumatic brain injuries and multiple sclerosis treatment, especially in those patients who display resistance to conventional treatment.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The American Civil Liberties Union launched a campaign aimed at encouraging governors to use their clemency powers to release people incarcerated on drug and other charges.

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable’s board of directors adopted an equity and inclusion framework.

The Marijuana Policy Project published voter guides for Connecticut’s legislative primary elections on Tuesday.

/ BUSINESS

GW Pharmaceuticals plc reported quarterly revenue of $121.3 million and a loss of $8.8 million.

Cronos Group Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $9.9 million and a net loss of $55.8 million.

TerrAscend Corp. announced quarterly sales of C$47.2 million.

CV Sciences, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $5.4 million and an operating loss of $4.7 million.

Fusion Pharm, Inc.’s CEO is settling a Securities and Exchange Commission fraud case against him.

Redemption Cannabis is forming a new nonprofit focused on helping people harmed by marijuana prohibition.

/ CULTURE

Seth Meyers quipped that “Trump talks about hydroxychloroquine more than your yoga instructor talks about CBD oil.”

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Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem.

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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