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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.”


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/ 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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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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