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Conn. House speaker ready to push legal cannabis (Newsletter: Jan. 7, 2019)



WA gov to pardon people for marijuana; GOP rep files cannabis bill in Congress; AOC hires former marijuana lobbyist

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Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) filed a bill to reschedule marijuana and clarify that the federal government cannot “prohibit or otherwise restrict” state-legal use, possession, transportation, production and distribution of medical cannabis.

Connecticut’s House speaker is pledging to put marijuana legalization before his caucus in 2019. The move comes after incoming Gov. Ned Lamont (D)  said legal cannabis will be a priority for this legislative session. The Senate president is on board as well.

Washington’s State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced a program—the Marijuana Justice Initiative—to pardon people with certain prior cannabis convictions.


Food and Drug Administration officials confiscated CBD products from an Arizona smoke shop, the store’s owner said.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted, “#FDA treats products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products. These products are subject to the same authorities and requirements as FDA-regulated products containing any other substance.”

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “CBD products remain illegal and are an increasing problem and puts public at risk because products have not been proven safe or effective.  Health claims, proper labeling & warnings critical for public safety like all other products. SERIOUS ISSUE.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) hired former Marijuana Policy Project lobbyist Dan Riffle as senior counsel and policy advisor.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) put remarks into the Congressional Record about his new medical cannabis bill.

Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) wants the Department of Veterans Affairs to do more research on medical cannabis.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted, “Legalizing recreational adult use of marijuana in Hawai’i & across our country is long overdue. We need to pass The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which decriminalizes marijuana & removes it from the federal controlled substances list in 2019.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana and expunging offenses is a step forward, but not enough when investors are profiting from legal marijuana. Racial justice means that profits should go to the same communities that were ravaged by decades of draconian drug laws.”


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders are expected to discuss marijuana legalization details at a meeting this week.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), in a radio address on the state’s efforts to implement medical cannabis, warned residents not to travel to neighboring Oklahoma to purchase the drug, adding, “When I was administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, I never dreamed I would be governor with the responsibility of implementing the dispensing of medical marijuana.”

Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D) spoke about marijuana legalization and youth use.

Virginia’s Senate majority leader is considering putting marijuana decriminalization in the budget.

A majority of West Virginia House Democrats reportedly support legalizing marijuana.  But the Senate president says the idea is not on the agenda for this year, though he is optimistic that the legislature can pass legislation addressing banking access issues that are preventing the state’s medical cannabis program from being implemented.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that a state trooper incorrectly seized a man’s car after he said he smelled burnt marijuana. Separately, the state Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets is co-hosting a hemp conference on February 8.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the platform’s deletion of hemp and CBD pages. Meanwhile, a senator plans to file a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Florida’s incoming agriculture commissioner said she intends to quickly issue rules on medical cannabis edibles. Separately, a judge ruled that the state’s medical marijuana regulations are unconstitutional.

South Dakota’s attorney general doesn’t support legalizing marijuana.

Michigan regulators announced a voluntary recall of non-laboratory tested marijuana products.

Illinois regulators are accepting public comment on proposed hemp rules.

Here’s a look at Colorado marijuana legislation expected to be considered this year. Already, lawmakers have filed bills adding autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions and allowing medical marijuana for conditions normally treated by opioids. Meanwhile, outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) says he thinks home cultivation should be further restricted.

A Maryland delegate prefiled a bill to add opioid addiction as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

The Albuquerque Journal launched a series looking at New Mexico’s prospects to legalize marijuana in 2019.

Marijuana Moment is tracking key cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.


New York City’s police commissioner spoke about some of his concerns surrounding marijuana legalization.

The Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin City Council voted to place marijuana legalization and medical cannabis advisory questions on the April ballot.

Boulder County, Colorado’s district attorney is holding events to help people vacate and seal their marijuana records.

Albany County, New York’s district attorney authored an op-ed on the need to incorporate social justice into marijuana legalization.


Ecuadorian lawmakers are considering marijuana and drug policy reforms.

Bermuda is lifting a ban on marijuana investment funds.

Israel’s health ministry is being sued for reducing medical cannabis prescriptions.

UK lawmakers are criticizing the government over the lack of medical cannabis access.


The New York Post editorial board says the state needs a “serious debate” before legalizing marijuana.

The Denver Post editorial board says Colorado lawmakers should reconsider how marijuana tax revenue is allocated.


Alaska saw reduced monthly marijuana tax revenues in November, a first since legalization.


A Hertz representative expertly shot down a customer’s repeated Twitter complaints about their rental car smelling like marijuana.

  • “To clarify, have you found drugs in the car? Are you in immediate danger?…Contact the authorities if you feel it’s actually necessary.”

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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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