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Connecticut leaders plan legal cannabis push in 2020 (Newsletter: January 23, 2020)

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Congressman tours dispensary for Bernie Sanders; Mexican marijuana bill circulating; Vermont statewide psychedelics decrim filed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) and top lawmakers are saying that 2020 could be the year the state legalizes marijuana, with the Senate Democratic caucus expected to outline the details of a cannabis plan on Thursday.

Mexican lawmakers are circulating a new draft marijuana legalization bill ahead of the start of a new session next month. The nation’s Supreme Court set a deadline of April 30 to end cannabis prohibition.

Vermont representatives filed a bill to decriminalize psychedelics—such as psilocybin, ayahuasca and peyote—at the state level. Kratom is also included.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) toured a Las Vegas marijuana dispensary as part of a delegation representing the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief of operations and other law enforcement officials were appointed to a new Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration officials are part of a Consumer Brands Association advisory board on CBD products.

Former Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin said that medical cannabis is part of a “multifaceted” approach to prevent suicides by military veterans.

A former Maryland delegate pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of soliciting and accepting bribes from marijuana businesses.

Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) toured a marijuana cultivation facility.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted about discussing hemp at the Virginia Agriculture Growers Association conference.

Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidates discussed marijuana policy during a debate.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted that medical cannabis for military veterans “was a fundamentally recurring theme throughout our 67 county tour.  Vet after Vet, often in tears, describing their anguish and how marijuana was the only thing that made them feel “normal” enough to embrace other therapeutic avenues. Marijuana is truly, truly bipartisan.”

Texas’s agriculture commissioner hosted a public hearing on proposed hemp rules.

South Carolina’s House majority leader called for medical cannabis legalization in his response to Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) State of the State address.

The new chairman of the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee opposes legalizing marijuana.

Key New York senators are expressing concerns about including marijuana legalization in the state budget.

The Idaho Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to take up hemp legislation.

Pending U.S. Virgin Islands marijuana legalization legislation is being amended to remove a requirement that adult-use consumers register with the territory, among other changes.

Michigan regulators issued a health and safety bulletin about the recall of marijuana vaping cartridges that contain vitamin E acetate.

Oklahoma’s interim top medical cannabis regulator was named to the position permanently.

Alaska’s interim top marijuana regulator is proposing that boards that regulate cannabis and alcohol each get their own administrators instead of sharing one.

Massachusetts cannabis regulators will hold a public forum on Thursday to “to enable applicants to discuss their experience with the licensing process and related concerns.”


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

Austin, Texas’s police chief said the City Council “does not have the authority to direct APD not to enforce a state law” through a marijuana decriminalization proposal up for a vote on Thursday.

The Alexandria, Virginia commonwealth’s attorney said he will continue pursuing marijuana cases until the state decriminalizes it.

New York City’s City Council speaker tweeted, “Albany must legalize and regulate marijuana and provide justice to the communities that have been and continue to be harmed by decades of misguided drug laws.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said he supports releasing people who are incarcerated for possessing small amounts of marijuana. He also moved the National Commission on Marijuana from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health following a leak of its draft report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the mother of an American-Israeli tourist jailed on marijuana charges and told her that “everything will be okay,” hinting at a possible pardon.

Dutch lawmakers and other leaders issued a manifesto calling for major drug policy reforms.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “unlike [medical marijuana laws], which are associated with fewer fatal crashes, cities experienced a relative increase in fatal crashes involving young male drivers following marijuana decriminalization.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance raised concerned about a lack of specificity in equity provisions in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) marijuana legalization budget proposal.

The Drug Policy Alliance published a report warning against moves to ramp up punishments for fentanyl.

The legislative director of Concerned Women for America wrote a white paper criticizing federal marijuana reform legislation.

South Carolina medical cannabis supporters held a rally.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Holdings Inc. is reportedly struggling to pay owed sums to vendors.

The CEO of Powerplant Global Strategies, a cannabis-focused PR firm, endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) for president even though he opposes legalizing marijuana.

Canopy Growth Corporation named a Constellation Brands, Inc. director as the chair of its board.

Investor Peter Thiel discussed his involvement with Atai Life Sciences AG, a company developing psychedelic medicines.

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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.

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.)

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NY legal cannabis push ‘effectively over’ for 2020, gov says (Newsletter: April 6, 2020)

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AZ legal marijuana effort sues for e-sigs; Rep wants DC cannabis fix in COVID bill; ND campaign looks to 2022; VA gov pressed on decrim amendments

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  • George Jage of MJ Unpacked: “MJ Unpacked as the new media ‘kid on the block’ is honored to support Marijuana Moment. They have provided an incredible service and value to our industry since their inception. And at a time of crisis, the need for quality journalism, informative media outlets, and opportunities for us to stay connected to our communities is essential.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the legislative session and the push to legalize marijuana are “effectively over” for 2020.

  • “It’s up to the legislature, but I think it’s fair to say it’s effectively over.”

Arizona’s marijuana legalization campaign, along with organizers working to place other initiatives on the November ballot, are asking the state Supreme Court to allow electronic signature collection in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

North Dakota’s marijuana legalization campaign is the latest drug policy reform effort to suspend signature gathering amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Rep.  Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) is calling on her colleagues in Congress to finally lift the ban on legal marijuana sales in the nation’s capital—and she wants to do it through the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is being pushed by advocacy groups to recommend that lawmakers make amendments to a marijuana decriminalization bill that’s currently on his desk. NORML wants an emergency clause enacting the legislation immediately, while ACLU—which opposed the incremental reform as worse than the status quo—wants broader changes.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge ruled that a medical cannabis investor could not recoup $4.7 million in loans, saying it would undermine federal prohibition enforcement.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams held up a “Got Naloxone?” shirt in a PSA on how to make a face mask out of cloth at home.

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow authored an article on potential risks to people who smoke and consume drugs during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ STATES

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he will consider allowing medical cannabis delivery services during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, regulators said patients can pick up their medicine at dispensaries’ curbsides.

Massachusetts regulators reported a large spike in medical cannabis patient registrations as recreational marijuana stores have been shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New Jersey regulators are declining to clarify whether a recent move to generally allow telemedicine during the coronavirus outbreak means that doctors can make medical cannabis recommendations without meeting patients in person.

Pennsylvania regulators issued a notice that temporary medical cannabis rules won’t expire until November 20, 2021 or upon publication of final regulations.

Illinois regulators published updated data about the state’s medical cannabis program.

Alaska regulators are accepting hemp registration applications electronically only due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Oregon medical marijuana program Rules Advisory Committee canceled its April 13 meeting.


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

San Francisco, California officials released a coronavirus FAQ that covers what cannabis businesses can and can’t do.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ontario, Canada is closing its marijuana stores as they are no longer deemed essential during the coronavirus outbreak, though delivery will still be available.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that Connecticut hemp farmers in the 2020 growing season could earn “$5,086 in profits per acre, or $11,656 per acre net return over variable costs.”

Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center is asking people to fill out a survey on “the issues cannabis businesses and consumers are experiencing” during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

National Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Aaron Smith published an op-ed arguing that if marijuana businesses are being deemed “essential” by so many state governments, they should be eligible for federal coronavirus relief funds.

The New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to postpone 4/20 promotions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. temporarily furloughed 122 employees, announced the resignation of an executive, terminated a proposed Rhode Island dispensary acquisition and canceled a merger with Deep Roots Medical, LLC, among other moves.

Canopy Growth Corp. temporarily laid off 200 retail staffers.

Storz & Bickel received approval from Canadian regulators for its Volcano Medic 2 medical cannabis vaporizer device.

Planet 13 is distributing 100 free meals each weekday to seniors and people with disabilities at high risk of being exposed to coronavirus if they leave home.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Playboi Carti was arrested on drug and gun charges.

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IRS resists call for cannabis biz tax guidance (Newsletter: April 3, 2020)

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ID medical marijuana effort suspended; Senators push for cannabiz loan access; Congresswoman: Shutting rec stores hurts veterans; IL sales grow

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…

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https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Internal Revenue Service is pushing back against an internal Treasury Department inspector general’s report that recommends the agency do a better job advising marijuana businesses about their obligations under the 280E tax provision that blocks deductions that are available to other industries.

An Idaho effort to put a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot is the latest in a series of drug policy reform campaigns across the country to suspend in-person signature gathering amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A group of 11 senators, led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), is pushing Appropriations Committee leaders to adopt report language allowing marijuana companies to access Small Business Administration loans and disaster assistance programs.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) is calling attention to how Massachusetts’s move to shutter recreational marijuana stores during the coronavirus outbreak hurts military veterans—who are barred from getting medical cannabis recommendations from their Department of Veterans Affairs doctors.

Illinois stores sold nearly $36 million worth of recreational marijuana products in March despite the coronavirus pandemic.

/ FEDERAL

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn tweeted, “We continue to pursue those that place public health at risk. With @FTC, we issued a warning letter to Neuro XPF, which sells cannabidiol (CBD) products with the misleading claim these products can mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure #COVID19.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey office tweeted, “This week is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week #NDAFW. Fact: Traces of marijuana stay in your body for several days after use and can cause someone to fail a drug test weeks later. #Shatterthe Myths”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “The Federal Government’s current position on Cannabis is wrong.”

/ STATES

The New York attorney general’s office sent a cease and desist letter ordering Finest Herbalist to stop claiming that its CBD products can protect people against coronavirus.

Maine regulators issued guidance on social distancing requirements for marijuana businesses and said they may accept expired driver’s licenses or identification cards amid the coronavirus outbreak.


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

Santa Clara County, California regulators said that only medical cannabis businesses can conduct in-store sales amid the coronavirus outbreak, while recreational marijuana sales must be done via delivery.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators recommended that medical cannabis businesses be considered essential during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Ontario’s premier said officials are considering closing marijuana stores.

German regulators extended the deadline to apply to distribute medical cannabis.

A UK lawmaker is pressing the government to divert research money to fund medical cannabis prescriptions during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “music was widely considered integral for meaningful emotional and imagery experiences and self-exploration during psychedelic therapy.”

A study found “protective association between exclusive [supervised injection facility] use and exposure to violence among men.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance said President Trump’s announcement of a ramped-up militarized drug war is “an effort to distract Americans from his delayed response to the COVID-19 crisis—which at this point we know will likely cost hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera tweeted, “In my 50 years as a newsman I have covered dozens of announcements like yesterday’s by @realDonaldTrump declaring another front in #DrugWar.I go back even before #Nixon declared #Elvis a special drug agent. My conclusion: drug wars easy to declare & always 100% end up Un-won.”

/ BUSINESS

Leafly launched a service to help marijuana businesses streamline their delivery services.

Cannabis social network LeafedIn has changed its name to LeafedOut following a trademark dispute settlement with LinkedIn.

/ CULTURE

Former NFL player Kyle Turley, whose CBD company received a federal letter warning it to stop claiming its products can prevent and treat coronavirus, tweeted, “OK OK, YOURE ALL RIGHT, ILL ADMIT IT! CHEAP CBD BRAND PRODUCTS WILL NOT PREVENT OR CURE COVID19!”

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Feds warn company over CBD coronavirus cure claims (Newsletter: April 2, 2020)

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AOC: marijuana biz should stay open like liquor stores; Feds fund COVID & cannabis research; WA gov signs equity bill; USDA approves hemp plans

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By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent a letter warning former NFL player Kyle Turley’s company to stop claiming that CBD can cure coronavirus. This comes one day after Turley told Marijuana Moment in an interview that he’d actually welcome federal action as a publicity boost.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to remain open as essential businesses during the coronavirus outbreak if liquor stores can continue operations.

  • “You’ve got to make a decision one way or another.”

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill aimed at increasing participation in the state’s legal marijuana industry by people from communities historically targeted by the war on drugs.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced it is funding research on how consumers of marijuana and other drugs might be uniquely impacted by coronavirus.

  • “Because it attacks the lungs, COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those with histories of smoking tobacco or marijuana or of vaping.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for South Carolina, West Virginia and three Indian tribes.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump began his daily coronavirus briefing by speaking about U.S. efforts to ramp up a militarized drug war, including by sending Navy ships to waters near Venezuela.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “If you have just be indicted for narcotics trafficking & have a $15 million reward for your capture, having @Southcom conducting counter narcotics operations off your coast with a surge of destroyers, AWACS, an Army brigade & special operators is not very comforting.”

A federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing effort to regulate CBD doesn’t shield companies from lawsuits over the labelling of their products.

The Drug Enforcement Administration tweeted, “Do you and your family know how to avoid drug-laced foods?”

Libertarian presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator, posted to Facebook, “The marijuana industry is becoming a vital part of many state’s economies and as common sense spreads, it will soon be legal nationwide. I have no idea why some states have chosen to call liquor stores essential businesses, but not marijuana and CBD dispensaries. Not only does marijuana have more medical benefits than alcohol, it’s also safer. This is not to say marijuana or liquor stores are essential businesses, but the same policy should apply to both. The marijuana industry should not struggle as big alcohol thrives.”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued an executive order extending deadlines for marijuana craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses to April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Wisconsin regulators said that CBD stores are not essential under a coronavirus shutdown but that some operations like delivery services are still allowed.

Massachusetts regulators are investigating allegations that New England Treatment Access is failing to adequately protect its workers from coronavirus.

Oklahoma regulators sent a warning about illegal medical cannabis delivery offers.

Alabama regulators posted updates about the state’s hemp program.

Arizona regulators are being pressured to allow medical cannabis deliveries and to let doctors issue recommendations via telemedicine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a look at how various states handle expungements of past marijuana records.


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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Philippine bloody “drug war” is continuing even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabinoids alleviate cocaine-induced seizures by glycine receptors.”

The New York Times Magazine looks at efforts by researchers to correlate terpene and cannabinoid concentrations with effects on cannabis consumers.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

NORML issued a memo with suggested moves to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is opposing an Anchorage, Alaska ballot measure to allow on-site consumption at marijuana dispensaries.

/ BUSINESS

The New York Stock Exchange is moving to delist CannTrust Holdings Inc.

LivWell Enlightened Health executives are deferring compensation for 90 days to avoid layoffs.

Good Chemistry I LLC is being sued for allegedly sending unsolicited promotional text messages.

Canopy Growth Corporation named new members of its board of directors.

/ CULTURE

Joe Rogan suggested that former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) only excuse for a series of incoherent press appearances would be if he were on marijuana edibles.

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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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