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Deal on cannabis banking bill “close” (Newsletter: February 26, 2020)

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Bottle bill includes marijuana drinks; Dems debate cannabis; Smokable hemp bill to VA gov; Mexican senators work to finalize legalization plan

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said in a speech at a credit union conference that he and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) are “close” to finalizing a deal on marijuana banking legislation.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) filed a beverage container recycling bill that specifically includes bottles and cans for drinks “containing marijuana or hemp” as one of just five eligible categories.

Democratic presidential candidates clashed on marijuana legalization during a debate in South Carolina, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) defending his pledge to enact legalization in all 50 states on his first day in office, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) saying she also backs ending prohibition but that it might take longer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressing opposition to legalization but support for more modest reforms.

Virginia lawmakers sent Gov. Ralph Northam (D) a bill to legalize smokable hemp. They also passed a resolution directing a joint legislative commission to study broader marijuana legalization. Meanwhile, a cannabis decriminalization bill is advancing toward the governor’s desk.

Mexican Senate committees are meeting this week to finalize marijuana legalization legislation ahead of a Supreme Court-imposed deadline to end prohibition.

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and representatives of Disabled American Veterans discussed the potential benefits of medical cannabis at a joint congressional hearing.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge issued an order giving final approval to a proposed Philadelphia, Pennsylvania safe consumption site for illegal drugs that the Department of Justice had opposed.

Former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske wrote an op-ed on the challenges of regulating legal marijuana.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Outdated federal marijuana laws prevent vets who work in a state’s legal cannabis industry from getting VA-backed home loans & immigrants who work in a state’s legal cannabis industry from getting citizenship. I have bipartisan bills to fix both problems.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “To recap tonight’s Democratic debate. If they are elected you will get govt controlled internet, energy, schools and health care. And as a bonus, reefer for everyone!”

Arizona Republican congressional candidate Chris Taylor suspended his campaign after overdosing on heroin.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Shaniyat Chowdhury tweeted, “My opponent  @RepGregoryMeeks does not support legalizing marijuana like his endorsed candidate Bloomberg. I DO. It has helped me through mental health and no one should be criminalized for it.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “I also support Marijuana Legalization. My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, does not.”

/ STATES

The South Dakota Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources unanimously approved a hemp bill.

The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings this week on a bill to expunge past marijuana convictions.

Alaska regulators filed rules on oversight of marijuana testing facilities, suspension or revocation of cannabis handler permits and applications and renewals.

The Texas Department of Public Safety sent an update on its efforts to be able to test cannabis samples following confusion created by the state’s hemp law.

New Mexico regulators filed medical cannabis reciprocity rules.

California regulators approved a formal rulemaking process for marijuana track-and-trace regulations.

Illinois regulators launched a technical assistance program for social equity marijuana business license applicants.

An Arkansas judge blocked regulators from issuing additional medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

A Georgia representative filed a resolution calling for a study committee to examine equity issues in the state’s limited medical cannabis market.

A Massachusetts representative is pressing state officials to explain how marijuana revenue is being spent.


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

Detroit, Michigan’s mayor spoke about the need for social equity in marijuana business licensing in his State of the City address.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Paraguayan regulators issued the country’s first medical cannabis production licenses.

The campaign of a candidate for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada said he would not move to repeal marijuana legalization despite his concerns about the law.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “recent clinical trials added further evidence for an antipsychotic potential of cannabidiol.”

A study found that “an increase in cannabis exposures reported to the US National Poison Data System was observed following recreational cannabis commercialization in the US.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll funded by prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana found that while Long Island, New York Senate district voters are divided on cannabis policy options, “full legalization of sales, distribution, and use” was the most popular choice in five out of six districts surveyed.

African-American sorority Delta Sigma Theta included marijuana decriminalization and criminal justice reform in its agenda for a Capitol Hill lobby day.

/ BUSINESS

Eaze closed a $20 million investment.

GW Pharmaceuticals plc reported $109.1 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $24.9 million.

Jane Technologies hired a former Whole Foods co-CEO as retail advisor.

Green Growth Brands Inc. is selling off its CBD business to BRN Group Inc.

/ CULTURE

Actor Brian Cox spoke about how marijuana helps him relax.

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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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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…

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 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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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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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

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…

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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NY gov says legal cannabis likely not in budget (Newsletter: April 1, 2020)

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Mass. gov defends rec marijuana closures; Coronavirus impedes drug reform ballot measures; Former NFL player slammed for CBD COVID claims

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…

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

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said it’s “not likely” marijuana legalization will be in the budget due Wednesday, explaining that it is “something that had to be talked through and worked through, and the legislature wasn’t here. I was doing this COVID virus.” Lawmakers also filed new amendments to spending legislation that don’t include legal cannabis language. The developments come one day after Marijuana Moment obtained a leaked document indicating legalization wouldn’t be in the budget.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) defended his decision to shutter recreational marijuana stores amid the coronavirus outbreak.

  • “We are going to have to deal with the fact that people are going to come here from all over the place across the Northeast and create issues for us with respect to the fundamental issue we are trying to solve for here, which is to stop the spread. For that reason and that reason alone, I think this is just a non-starter with us.”

Marijuana Moment’s latest analysis looks at how the coronavirus pandemic is upending efforts to place marijuana legalization and drug reform measures on ballots in states across the country as the public health crisis has made signature collection all but impossible.

Former NFL player and cannabis company founder Kyle Turley keeps claiming, without clinical evidence, that CBD can “prevent and cure” coronavirus—and both supporters and opponents of marijuana legalization are calling on him to stop. When Marijuana Moment asked about the possibility of Food and Drug Administration enforcement, he essentially dared the feds to bring it on.

  • “Please shut my company down so I can have another blockbuster press release on how the FDA and the United States government is suppressing truth and information when we have study after study now being driven by major cannabis companies in getting clinical trials to prove what I’m saying is true.”

/ FEDERAL

The Federal Bureau of Investigation tweeted, “The FBI has a zero tolerance policy for employees on ALL illegal drugs.”

Libertarian presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator, posted to Facebook, “I support ending the war on drugs and do not believe anyone should ever go to jail for having a drug addiction problem. Addiction can happen to anyone. We need to address this as a health issue and not a criminal one. As President, I will pardon non-violent offenders, aid them in getting real help, decriminalize all drugs and declare an end to the failed war on drugs.”

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an executive order authorizing curbside pickup of medical cannabis, allowing doctors to issue recommendations via telemedicine, extending patient certification expirations and allowing temporary caregivers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Two of Iowa’s five CBD medical cannabis dispensaries have permanently closed.

Illinois regulators extended curbside medical cannabis sales through April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Massachusetts regulators will consider “potential relief” for marijuana businesses and other issues on Friday.

Ohio regulators released updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.

An Oklahoma representative said he plans to file a marijuana legalization bill.


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

An independent audit examined Los Angeles, California’s marijuana licensing process.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators said that marijuana labs are stepping up to help with coronavirus testing.

New Zealand regulators are moving to allow certain medical cannabis vaporizers.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of the use of cannabinoids by adolescents and young adults with cancer found that “benefits were reported by 19% of responders regarding anxiety control, 24% for nausea, 29% for pain control and improvement of sleep, and 48% for appetite improvement.”

A study examining “the effects of cannabis on simulated driving in young as compared to middle-aged drivers” will soon be recruiting participants.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that U.S. adults consider medical cannabis dispensaries essential during the coronavirus pandemic, 44%-41%. On the question of recreational dispensaries, 34% say they are essential and 49% say they are not.

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to enact a moratorium on cannabis possession arrests and bring lawmakers into a special session to pass legalization legislation amid the coronavirus outbreak.

/ BUSINESS

CannTrust Holdings Inc. obtained a court order protecting it from lawsuits from creditors and class-action plaintiffs.

Tilray, Inc. is releasing 11 million shares from a lock-up agreement.

Terrapin Care Station is postponing all 4/20 promotions, sponsorships and events in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Green Cross CBD is delivering CBD products via drone to reduce person-to-person contact amid the coronavirus pandemic.

/ CULTURE

Race car driver Danica Patrick spoke about her investment in CBD company Beam.

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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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