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DEA wants people to stop calling about cannabis burning job (Newsletter: April 1, 2019)

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EPA funding research on hemp as concrete alternative; Update on Mass. marijuana equity program; Legalization not in NY budget

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Environmental Protection Agency is funding research on using hemp to “produce hempcrete, as a lighter, stronger and more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional fossil-based concrete.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration is asking people to please stop calling its headquarters to inquire about a recently posted contractor job involving burning thousands of pounds of marijuana.

Marijuana Moment spoke to Massachusetts cannabis commissioner Shaleen Title to get an update on efforts to ensure equity in the legal industry for communities targeted by the drug war. She also spoke about how repairing the harms of cannabis enforcement is becoming a key issue in the 2020 presidential campaign.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) praised a House committee’s passage of marijuana banking legislation and said, “I hope the Senate will give this legislation serious consideration.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) tweeted, “No legal business should need to resort to carrying around cash in gym bags. And now we’re one step closer to banking for cannabis businesses!”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, declined to say whether she believes people incarcerated on felony charges should be able to vote.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “It’s clear that our country’s marijuana laws at the local and federal levels are not fair or practical in application or enforcement, and disproportionately harm communities of color. It’s time to legalize marijuana nationwide and restore justice to our communities.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, spoke about marijuana legalization, criminal record expungement and the war on drugs during his campaign launch rally.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We must stand up against for-profit, private prisons and a criminal justice system that favors the rich and powerful and punishes the poor, locking up people who smoke marijuana and ignoring corps like Purdue Pharma responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “I’m on the pro-science side of the Republican Party. I mean, like, marijuana can help people live better lives as medicine, the earth is warming and nobody chooses to be gay.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) spoke about his support for decriminalizing marijuana and medical cannabis for military veterans during an appearance in Iowa.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “As we continue to push cannabis reform, the Safe Banking Act will free up the banking system to work with businesses that are operating legally.”

Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) said he has concerns about decriminalizing marijuana but supports expanded medical cannabis research.

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced that marijuana legalization is not in the state budget but he said that the “political desire is there” to get it done via other legislation.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) signed a hemp bill into law.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tweeted, “New Mexicans struggling with addiction deserve our help, which is why I directed the @NMDOH to add opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis use. Now New Mexicans experiencing opioid dependence will have another option for support.” The state Medical Marijuana Advisory Board recommended the move. It also rejected a proposal to automatically qualify people for medical marijuana upon turning age 65.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) spoke at a hemp conference and said he would fight to make sure the state remains a leader in the industry. Separately, here’s a look at pending legislation to expand the state’s marijuana industry.

Florida’s chief financial officer is calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

New Jersey’s Senate president was cagey in response to a question about the timeline for pursuing marijuana legalization again.

The Georgia Senate approved a bill to allow in-state production and sales of low-THC medical cannabis oil. The House of Representatives disagreed with the Senate’s changes and moved to go to a conference committee to reconcile the differences.

The Vermont House Committee on Government Operations held a hearing on marijuana legalization, and the panel is scheduled to take testimony on the issue every day it meets this week.

A Michigan judge signed a temporary restraining order preventing regulators from enforcing an expected April 1 crackdown on unlicensed medical cannabis businesses. Meanwhile, regulators published guidance on CBD and industrial hemp.

A company that sued Maryland regulators to try to stop the awarding of new medical cannabis business licenses has withdrawn the lawsuit in the face of a backlash over the move.

California regulators sent an update on marijuana business provisional licensing. Separately, they announced that a recent Local Equity Grant Program notice of funding availability has been canceled.

A Louisiana representative filed a marijuana legalization bill. And here’s a look at where the state’s gubernatorial candidates stand on cannabis.

There appears to be an anti-medical cannabis push poll in the field in Nebraska.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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

New York City’s mayor attempted a joke insinuating that marijuana consumption makes people have bad ideas.

The Harris County, Texas district attorney gave an update on the marijuana arrest diversion program she instituted.

Here’s a look at the struggle to implement a marijuana equity program in Los Angeles, California.

The Los Angeles County and San Joaquin County, California district attorneys will announce moves to expunge marijuana records on Monday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israel’s marijuana decriminalization law went into effect.

Ireland’s Department of Health issued a medical cannabis import license.

/ ADVOCACY

The Republican Party of Kentucky tweeted, “The hard work to legalize hemp by Republicans leaders like @senatemajldr, @RyanQuarlesKY, @KYComer, and countless others have made a huge difference for KY farmers! Check out how our farmers are using this opportunity to create jobs for KY!”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The results of a study “support add-on CBD as an effective long-term treatment option in [Lennox-Gastaut syndrome] or [Dravet syndrome].”

The UK government is funding medical cannabis research.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Washington Examiner editorial board is critical of marijuana law reform.

/ BUSINESS

The Associated Press added the word “budtender” to its style guide.

/ CULTURE

Here’s a look at anti-drug PSAs over time.

The New York Times Sunday Book Review published a cartoon about when President Richard Nixon ignored a recommendation to decriminalize marijuana from a commission that he appointed.

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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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