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Congresswoman pushes for national cannabis legalization (Newsletter: July 8, 2019)

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Democratic lawmakers push marijuana campaign petition; Grateful Dead members encourage cannabis activism; CBD legislation circulating in Congress

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The reelection campaigns of eight congressional Democrats are teaming up on a petition calling for the end of federal marijuana prohibition.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) endorsed national marijuana legalization:

  • If you let states “pick and choose,” she said, “you will have a state where someone is publicly and professionally able to profit, and in the next state someone could be sentenced to life for it.” 

Grateful Dead founding members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann are calling on fans to get involved with the Cannabis Voter Project to help change marijuana laws. Upcoming Dead & Company shows will feature booths where people can join.

/ FEDERAL

The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a brief saying that evidence does “not support the interpretation that access to cannabis reduces opioid overdose.”

The Department of Justice is seeking a court order to force convicted drug cartel leaderJoaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to forfeit $12.7 billion.

Federal prosecutors charged a San Diego marijuana production facility with various violations related to allegedly illegally dumping hazardous waste.

Members of Congress are reportedly privately circulating draft legislation on CBD regulation.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Instead of giving criminal records to people who possess marijuana, maybe we should give them to the crooks on Wall Street who crashed our economy.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) published an op-ed about his legislation to let states legalize marijuana without federal interference, and he tweeted about it.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) tweeted, “I’m excited to announce I’m the 1st cosponsor of @RepAlexMooney’s 2nd Amendment Protection Act. H.R. 2071 removes the existing federal prohibition against possession of a firearm or ammunition for medicinal marijuana patients.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted that Republicans have called various groups liars, including “millions of Americans they locked up in the War on Drugs.” She also cited the “war on drugs” as an issue that older lawmakers of both parties have been wrong about.

/ STATES

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) signed a budget bill that includes an expansion of the number of medical cannabis dispensaries allowed in the state.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and lawmakers are blaming one another for the failure to pass marijuana legalization this session.

Indiana retailers are suing the state over its ban on smokable hemp.

Mississippi lawmakers created a Hemp Cultivation Task Force.

Wisconsin Republican lawmakers who represent districts bordering Illinois say that state’s legalization of marijuana won’t force them to follow suit.

A Pennsylvania senator will debate a staffer for the prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana on Monday.

Arkansas activists are preparing to file language for a proposed marijuana legalization measure they hope to qualify for the 2020 ballot.

Two competing groups of Montana activists may seek to qualify separate marijuana legalization measures for the 2020 ballot.

South Carolina regulators approved a list of pesticides for use on hemp.

Utah regulators received 81 applications for medical cannabis cultivation licenses.


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

A least 15 Maine municipalities have so far opted into legal marijuana commerce.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Scotland’s new “drugs tsar” voiced support for decriminalizing drugs.

Guyana’s cabinet approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Israeli regulators enacted new price controls on medical cannabis.

/ ADVOCACY

Amnesty International published a report criticizing the bloody Philippine “drug war.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that CBD (150 mg/kg) significantly reduced frequency and severity of [Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus]‐induced acute seizures at 2 hours post‐CBD treatment” and suggested that “CBD could be effective in decreasing TMEV‐induced acute seizures when the seizure test is conducted at the [time to peak effect of CBD.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board expressed concern about the ability of New Mexico employers to maintain drug-free workplaces under a new medical cannabis expansion law.

/ BUSINESS

Arkansas medical cannabis dispensaries have sold $2.2 million worth of product in the first two months of sales.

The New York Times looks at the rise of marijuana tourism.

The Denver Post examines hemp businesses’ financial services and social media difficulties.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg got fooled into thinking a photoshopped picture of him smoking marijuana with Kurt Cobain was real.

Actor Mark Ruffalo called on New Yorkers to contact state lawmakers and urge them to make a series of amendments to a hemp bill that industry stakeholders view as excessively restrictive.

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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 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.)

Newsletter

Homeland Security head dodges marijuana custody question (Newsletter: July 19, 2019)

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DNC chair jokes about Trump smoking hemp; Congressional marijuana research bill; Cannabis biz call for social equity; TX officials want prosecutions

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan refused to directly answer a congressman’s question about whether immigrant children should be separated from their families over a parent’s past marijuana possession conviction.

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez made an attempt at a joke about President Trump smoking hemp, and marijuana legalization groups aren’t happy about it.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Andy Harris (R-MD), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Rob Bishop (R-UT) filed a bill to remove barriers to marijuana research.

A coalition of more than 100 marijuana businesses and cannabis industry groups sent a letter to congressional leaders urging that legalization include social equity components aimed at helping people harmed by the war on drugs.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), along with the state’s lieutenant governor, attorney general and House speaker, sent a letter saying that district and county attorneys are wrong to refuse to prosecute marijuana cases without lab tests showing seized substances are not legal hemp.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge denied a cancer patient’s request for an injunction against Michigan regulators so that she could obtain untested forms of medical cannabis.

Rep. Darin LaHood (D-IL) said he opposes legalizing cannabis because “as a former drug prosecutor, I’ve seen the harmful effects that drugs have on young people in particular and I think marijuana is a gateway drug to harder drugs.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The marijuana policies in this country have driven the prison population. We’ve got to have some justice and end these discriminatory laws that target communities of color. Let’s pass my Marijuana Justice Act.”

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of 59.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 72.

The House bill to federally tax marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of two.

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Mike Broihier, running against Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), said he supports legalizing marijuana.

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tweeted, “It’s time to do the right thing and allow doctors to prescribe the medication that’s best for their patients and their families — including medical marijuana.”

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) tweeted about visiting an industrial hemp manufacturing firm, saying it “will add more jobs in the Russell area. The crop offers a new opportunity for diversification for farmers at a time that’s so important.”

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) discussed marijuana on a podcast with former Gov. Kay Orr (R).

The Missouri secretary of state’s office opened an investigation into whether someone illegally sought investments for a medical cannabis business.

Virginia’s attorney general reiterated his call for marijuana reform as new data showed arrests rose in the state last year.

Hearings in a lawsuit seeking to overturn Nevada’s marijuana business license award process may extend into next month.

Michigan regulators announced the details of the state’s marijuana social equity program, which is designed to encourage industry participation by people from communities disproportionately harmed by prohibition enforcement. Separately, they sent an update on cannabis retesting policies.

Louisiana medical cannabis sales are expected to begin within weeks.

Colorado regulators held a meeting to discuss rules changes required by new marijuana reform laws.

The California State Bar is seeking public comment on a proposed opinion concerning whether lawyers may provide advice and assistance to clients with respect to state-legal marijuana activity that might violate federal law.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture will display hemp at the state fair next month.

Minnesota regulators released a report on PTSD patients in the state’s medical cannabis program.

Massachusetts regulators overhauled a website to educate the public about marijuana and the laws surrounding it

Parts of New Jersey’s medical cannabis expansion law went into effect.


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 Columbus, Ohio City Council held a hearing on a proposal to decriminalize marijuana, with a vote expected Monday.

Three candidates for Maricopa County, Arizona attorney said they would stop charging marijuana possession cases if elected.

A self-styled Rastafarian church in Madison, Wisconsin that was busted for allegedly distributing marijuana has reopened, but without the cannabis.

The Los Angeles Times looks at how marijuana policy discussions have gotten so heated between Commerce, California officials that fistfights have broken out.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador directed regulators to explain a delay in issuing medical cannabis rules.

A Swiss court ruled that possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana is not a punishable offense.

Thailand’s public health minister said medical cannabis “can become a cash crop for farmers.”

/ ADVOCACY

The American Bankers Association and Credit Union National Association coauthored an op-ed calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “small increases in nonmedical prescription opioid use and no significant change in prescription opioid use disorder among users after medical marijuana law enactment.”

A review of studies on cannabis and multiple sclerosis found “clinically significant improvements of patient-reported muscle spasticity and pain.”

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares dropped after BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded it from a buy rating to neutral.

Eaze reduced its projections for the amount of marijuana it plans to deliver in 2020 by more than half.

/ CULTURE

Singer Aaron Carter tweeted, “I need to make something perfectly clear. I smoke weed because I have an eating disorder which stimulates my appetite. I’m also an advocate for marijuana for that reason. I don’t do any drugs. I smoke weed. I wanna make that clear personally & professionally.”

UFC fighter Alen Amedovski was suspended for six months following a positive test for a marijuana metabolite.

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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

Senate schedules hemp hearing for next week (Newsletter: July 18, 2019)

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DEA marijuana seizures dropped as states legalized; Study: Cannabis is alcohol substitute; FDA gets thousands of CBD comments

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…

There are now 1,162 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 Senate Agriculture Committee scheduled a hearing on hemp production for next week, with U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency officials set to testify. It takes place two days after a separate Senate hearing on marijuana banking.

New Drug Enforcement Administration data appears to show that as more states enact legalization, federal agents are chopping down fewer illegal marijuana plants—as demonstrated by a  nearly 40% dip in federal cannabis eradication in California last year.

The Food and Drug Administration received more than 4,000 public comments about CBD regulations, including submissions from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the New York State Bar Association, the National Grocers Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest and 37 state attorneys general.

A study analyzing online search data following marijuana legalization concluded that “cannabis appears a substitute to alcohol, but not to tobacco.” It also found a “significant decrease in cannabis search[es] among” young people after legalization.

/ FEDERAL

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has interviewed Missouri officials in charge of the state’s medical cannabis program, though the meetings were reportedly “not investigative in nature, but were routine meet-and-greets.”

A federal judge sentenced convicted drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to life in prison.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue tweeted, “[email protected] really created a lot of interest all across the country in the #hemp industry.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted a video about his efforts to legalize hemp and his recent tour of a Kentucky hemp facility.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for descheduling marijuana and allowing cannabis banking during a campaign stop in Iowa.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Come January, possession of small amounts of marijuana will be decriminalized in Hawai’i. This is one step forward toward fixing archaic marijuana policies. I’ll keep pushing to end the Federal Marijuana Prohibition so no person, business, or state lives in fear of federal prosecution.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said that when it comes to marijuana banking legislation, “If there’s no obstruction, if we have a free chance to have a debate on the floor, I think we can get the sixty votes and pass it.”

Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) tweeted about a congressional briefing he hosted on medical cannabis research.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said she is optimistic about enacting federal marijuana reform.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “The tide is turning on marijuana legalization in America. We must fight for a future where nobody gets a criminal record or has their lives ruined for using cannabis.”

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 57.

The House bill to provide training programs to small marijuana businesses got one new cosponsor, for a total of one.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he is “very disappointed” in medical cannabis implementation delays, placing the blame on the state’s agriculture commissioner.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) spoke about how his experience sending people to jail for marijuana and other drugs as a deputy sheriff shaped his views about criminal justice reform.

Ohio lawmakers sent a hemp bill to the desk of Gov. Mike DeWine (R).

The U.S. Virgin Islands’s agriculture commissioner is hosting a medical cannabis conference this weekend.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted about how a Louisville hemp company is “selling KY grown, processed & KY Proud hemp products! 500+ full time jobs beyond the farm gate have been created by this crop. I expect $100 million of KY product sales this year!”

The North Carolina House Judiciary Committee advanced legislation including a ban on smokable hemp.

California auditors published a report concluding that the state’s regulatory apparatus is “not sustainable to provide effective and comprehensive oversight of cannabis activities.”

Massachusetts regulators granted the state’s first marijuana business license to an economic empowerment program applicant.

Washington State regulators’ botched marijuana traceability system overhaul created problems and lost profits for businesses. Separately, they extended interim packaging and labeling policies.

Oregon regulators are accepting applications to participate in marijuana Rules Advisory Committees.


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 chiefs of police of large U.S. cities convened for a summit and produced a statement of principles that says “violence associated with the distribution of marijuana and other illegal drugs is a major concern in some cities.”

The Baltimore, Maryland state’s attorney authored an op-ed making the case that marijuana reform must include expungement, resentencing and reinvestment in communities harmed by prohibition.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs published a report on military veteran’s medical cannabis access.

The Philippine government announced that the death toll in its bloody “war on drugs” has reached 5,526.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “THC can be reliably detected throughout the presumed 3-h impairment window following controlled administration of smoked cannabis” and that “the findings support breath THC concentrations as representing a physiological process and are correlated to blood concentrations, albeit with a shorter window of detection.”

Drug overdose deaths declined in the U.S. last year for the first time since 1990.

/ BUSINESS

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. acquired Grassroots, creating what it says is the world’s largest cannabis company.

Eaze published a study examining attitudes about driving under the influence of marijuana.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Post Malone is launching a line of hemp 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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Newsletter

Senate cannabis banking hearing scheduled for next week (Newsletter: July 17, 2019)

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Berkeley considers psychedelics decrim; Lawmaker files marijuana bill after leaving GOP; USDA official speaks at hemp conference

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee scheduled a hearing on marijuana banking issues for next week. Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) had previously said cannabis’s legal status would have to be amended before the panel addressed financial services issues, but his thinking has apparently changed.

A Berkeley, California City Council committee will consider a measure to decriminalize psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin on Wednesday. The move follows neighboring Oakland’s enactment of a similar resolution last month.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official and Colorado’s pro-hemp Gov. Jared Polis (D) are scheduled to discuss CBD as a dietary supplement and related issues at an American Herbal Products Association conference next month.

Just days after leaving the Republican Party, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) filed a new marijuana bill in Congress. It’s nearly identical to the bipartisan STATES Act, with one exception.

/ FEDERAL

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on efforts to combat illicit fentanyl.

The Congressional Black Caucus tweeted about pending legislation allowing certain federal drug war prisoners to have their cases reconsidered.

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) noted in a report on a visit to the border that “the main drug they’re seizing between ports is marijuana, and that’s decreasing due to domestic legalization.”

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) said she is “so excited that now, finally in our country, we are looking at the war on drugs, we’re looking at mass incarceration, and the consequences that that has had on our country.”

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 71.

/ STATES

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) cheered news of the opening of a CBD extraction facility in the state, saying, “As the commonwealth becomes a focal point for hemp-related businesses, this latest project significantly accelerates our progress.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) discussed his concerns about marijuana reform.

The Florida House of Representatives moved to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s medical cannabis regulations. Separately, here’s a look at the chances of getting a marijuana legalization measure on the state’s 2020 ballot.

A Michigan senator filed a bill to expunge marijuana records. Separately, regulators released updated lists of banned chemical active ingredients in marijuana products and for growers.

California regulators will hold a meeting about efforts to create a cannabis program comparable to the National Organic Program next Wednesday.

Utah regulators are dropping a proposed residency requirement for medical cannabis cultivation.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis patient count is up nearly 10% since the beginning of the year.

Washington State regulators will consider changes to marijuana packaging and labeling rules on Wednesday.

Massachusetts regulators will begin accepting applications for state certification as responsible vendor trainers for marijuana establishment agents on Wednesday.

Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Study Commission will hold its first meeting on August 13.


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 Fayetteville, Arkansas City Council approved a resolution urging the city prosecutor to use discretion to “to ensure that appropriate cases of misdemeanor possession of marijuana for personal, private, adult use be considered for dismissal.”

Santa Cruz County, California is being sued for allegedly violating state law by blocking marijuana deliveries from out-of-county companies.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Cabinet approved 34 medical cannabis licenses.

A French judge ruled that a man who killed a neighbor can’t be held criminally responsible for his actions because he smoked marijuana beforehand.

Thai regulators are denying accusations that they have unduly delayed approval of medical cannabis oil.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medicinal cannabis is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for a number of [spinal cord injury]-related symptoms.”

A study of qualitative reports of psychedelic microdosing found “beneficial outcomes, such as improved mood (26.6%) and focus (14.8%)” as well as “challenging outcomes, such as physiological discomfort (18.0%) and increased anxiety (6.7%).”

/ BUSINESS

Advertising firm Havas is launching a cannabis-focused consulting arm.

The Arcview Group closed a $7.7 million Series A funding round.

A former Walt Disney World bartender says she was fired for using CBD oil for foot pain.

/ CULTURE

Musician Flea joked about the differences between indica and sativa cannabis.

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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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