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Congressman wants to try cannabis, legally or not (Newsletter: Dec. 28, 2018)

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Study: What’s behind growth of legal marijuana support?; Schumer urges NY hemp development; CA treasurer cannabis banking report

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA), who has only cosponsored one cannabis bill in 20 years in Congress, says he plans to try marijuana regardless of its legal status.

A new study looked at what factors might be behind Americans’ rapidly growing support for marijuana legalization, finding that religion and the news media play significant roles.

A study examined the effects of differing cannabis products with varying THC and CBD concentrations on chronic pain patients with fibromyalgia, finding that CBD seemed to counter the pain relieving effects of THC.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is encouraging hemp industry development in New York’s Southern Tier.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted, “This is not the Onion. LA Times reports that marijuana sales in CA are much lower than expected…because over-regulation makes it so incredibly hard to start a small business. Perhaps, a pro-economic liberty movement blossoming on the West Coast?”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) criticized Facebook’s deletion of a hemp page.

Democratic presidential candidate Richard Ojeda, currently a West Virginia senator, tweeted, “What does real criminal justice reform and attacking the opioid epidemic look like? It starts with no longer arresting people for simple possession and instead referring them to treatment. It looks like legalizing cannabis and letting people in our jails on those charges…out.”

/ STATES

California’s treasurer announced that a study into public banks to serve the marijuana industry determined that the idea is not feasible due to federal and fiscal concerns. The state attorney general’s office said that “a public cannabis financial institution would unavoidably incur a high risk of criminal penalties and face other legal impediments that cannot be eliminated.”

New Jersey’s lieutenant governor included the expansion of medical cannabis access in a tweet about the administration’s accomplishments this year.

Massachusetts’s top marijuana regulator said about four to eight new recreational marijuana stores should be opening every month.

Here’s a look at the prospects for decriminalizing marijuana in Virginia in 2019.

Rhode Island regulators are being urged to walk back a ban on medical cannabis at a community living center for military veterans.

Georgia lawmakers say they will file medical cannabis expansion bills in the new session.

Iowa regulators said a small issue with a vendor could lead to some patients experiencing delays receiving their medical cannabis ID cards.

The Denver Post launched a series looking at the proportion of Colorado marijuana tax revenue that is going toward schools.


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/ INTERNATIONAL

Talking Drugs put together an interactive map of some of the most important global drug policy developments of 2018.

Bangladesh will begin executing people for nonviolent drug offenses.

A government minister in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh said that there will be no restrictions on offering marijuana to God during next year’s Kumbh Mela celebrations.

/ ADVOCACY

The Republican Party of Kentucky tweeted, “Nationally, we have another reason to celebrate 2018: hemp was legalized! Thanks to a lot of great Kentucky leaders like @SenateMajLdr and @RyanQuarlesKY, KY farmers now have an opportunity to revolutionize the market place with industrial hemp!”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis use is associated with lower [body mass index], and lower BMI is related to lower levels of risk on other cardiometabolic risk factors.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board is urging California officials to do a better job of reducing the illegal marijuana market.

/ BUSINESS

Bloomberg looks at the growing focus on privacy issues by law firms with cannabis practices.

Aprhia shares jumped following a report that Green Growth Brands is planning a hostile takeover.

Facebook shut down a hemp-related page for “promoting the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals.”

Here’s a look at how credit unions are approaching financial services for marijuana businesses.

A survey of Wisconsin banks found that most would not “actively seek to provide loans to industrial hemp farmers and/or processors” following the legalization of the crop under the Farm Bill.

Vermont’s Ceres Natural Remedies is opening a drive-thru medical cannabis dispensary.

/ CULTURE

Conan O’Brien tweeted, “30 years ago if you told me New York was going to legalize marijuana, I would have said, ‘that’s funky fresh!’ because that’s what people said back then.”

Mashable looks at marijuana’s portrayal in movies and TV shows.

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

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