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Congressional vote on descheduling cannabis this week (Newsletter: November 18, 2019)



Biden discusses marijuana as a gateway drug; Deval Patrick’s cannabis record; Study: Hemp-derived CBD reduces opioid use

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The House Judiciary Committee plans to vote on a bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs on Wednesday, two sources familiar with the soon-to-be-announced action told Marijuana Moment.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, said at a town hall meeting that he’s not sure if marijuana is a gateway drug, though he supports medical cannabis, modest rescheduling and letting states set their own policies.

  • “There’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug. It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally.”

Marijuana Moment’s latest presidential candidate analysis looks at the cannabis record of former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), who opposed a voter-approved decriminalization measure and has been criticized for medical marijuana’s troubled implementation.

A study found that using hemp-derived CBD extract “enabled our patients to reduce or eliminate opioids with significant improvement in their quality of life indices,” with the benefits including less pain and improved sleep.


Here’s a look at how President Trump changed his mind on supporting a ban on flavored vaping products.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The American people are united on issue after issue. We must legalize marijuana now—and expunge all past marijuana convictions as a matter of racial and economic justice.”

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D), a potential presidential candidate, apologized for stop and frisk policing he once championed.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted, “I was for #marijuana reform before it was cool. Since 1977… #LegalizeIt”

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) tweeted, “Federal law prohibits marijuana use in federally assisted housing, even if marijuana is legal in that state. Erase the confusion. My bill would permit marijuana use in such housing in states where marijuana is legal and end unequal treatment of low-income residents living in such housing.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Glad to be at the State of Cannabis Summit to talk about the important progress we’re making in Congress on cannabis reform, legalization, and restorative justice, especially for communities of color!”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the damage of the drug war got two new cosponsors for a total of 55.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got four new cosponsors for a total of 92.


A spokesperson for New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she is optimistic that a well-crafted marijuana legalization proposal will be ready for January’s short 30-day session.

Pennsylvania’s pro-legalization lieutenant governor posted a tongue-in-cheek Twitter thread about why the state shouldn’t legalize marijuana.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “As we continue working to get the state #hemp program running, studies and testing are key to allowing access to safe, quality #CBD — and to ensure consumers know what they’re putting into their bodies. I’m glad to see @US_FDA is working with Florida to help move this forward.”

Ohio regulators issued a mandatory recall of medical cannabis rosin “due to product development using a non-compliant process.”

Maryland regulators issued a bulletin requiring that medical cannabis products be screened for vitamin E acetate.

Idaho activists say they’ve so far certified 11,000 signatures out of the 55,057 they need to qualify a medical cannabis measure for the state’s 2020 ballot.

Virginia is poised to decriminalize marijuana next year under the legislature’s new Democratic control, lawmakers and advocates believe.

Iowa lawmakers held a press conference to push for an expanded medical cannabis program.

Michigan regulators updated a bulletin on technical information for marijuana testing remediation and fresh frozen approvals.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is hosting a hemp summit on December 17.

New Jersey marijuana arrests have soared in recent years, according to an American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey report.

Here’s a look at the large number of former politicians and public officials in Nevada who are now part of the cannabis industry.

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.


Chicago, Illinois officials held a lottery to select which medical cannabis businesses can begin selling recreational marijuana.

New York City’s mayor tweeted, “The so-called war on drugs put a disproportionate number of people of color behind bars. Lives and families were destroyed for no good reason. So we ended this immoral war in New York City and instead got to work bringing police and communities together.”


The Australian Senate Community Affairs References Committee launched an inquiry into barriers to patient access to medicinal cannabis.

A Brazilian judge issued an injunction allowing a Parkinson’s patient to grow and transport medical cannabis.


A study of mice concluded that “CBD can be a useful drug to prevent the parkinsonism-induced nociceptive threshold reduction.”

A study looking at “changes in eye behavior as a function of recent cannabis use within a quantified virtual reality environment” is now recruiting participants.


The Minnesota Medical Association voted to take no position on marijuana legalization in the state.

Members of the Cannabis Trade Federation had a Washington, D.C. fly-in and met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The acting president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said he supports medical cannabis but believes its use should be carefully monitored.


Apple is removing vaping-related apps from its app store.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced a plan to lay off more than 190 employees.

HEXO Corp disclosed that it grew marijuana in unlicensed rooms.

Canopy Growth’s New York hemp facility has qualified for a $1.7 million tax break.

Starline Tours is adding cannabis-related stops to its celebrity tours.


Actors Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen, in a promotional post for Postmates, revealed what kind of food they ordered on 4/20 and other special days.


Friday’s issue incorrectly reported that High Times was moving to a quarterly publication schedule, but that move applies to its subsidiary Dope magazine.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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