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Dems & GOP clash over who can lead on cannabis (Newsletter: Oct. 15, 2018)

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Michigan legalization = more tax $ than expected; New doc profiles 80-year-old busted for marijuana possession; Trump briefly meets cannabiz owner

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic and Republican members of Congress who support marijuana reform are clashing over which party is better positioned to take the lead on cannabis in 2019.

An analysis by the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency found that approving the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure will generate even more tax revenue than activists themselves predicted.

A new short documentary tells the story of an 80-year-old Michigan woman arrested for marijuana possession because her medical cannabis recommendation had lapsed. She had to spend the night in jail, which aggravated her arthritis, and now she’s campaigning for the state’s legalization ballot measure.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump reportedly told a marijuana business owner, “I’m with you” during a brief conversation at a fundraising event.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse tweeted, “Some studies have suggested that medical marijuana legalization might be associated with decreased prescription opioid use and overdose deaths.”

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada posted a Canadian government video about not bringing marijuana over the border.

Customs and Border Protection revealed that more than 500 of its employees were charged with drug trafficking, accepting bribes and a range of other crimes over a two-year period.

The Senate approved a new U.S. attorney for Colorado, replacing Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer, who has in recent weeks sent a number of concerning signals about marijuana enforcement.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Republican challenger Leah Vukmir debated marijuana law reform.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) visited a hemp farm.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “While the Wall Street executives whose greed caused the Great Recession still haven’t been held accountable, too many young black teenagers have had their lives destroyed for smoking a plant. We need to end the injustice of marijuana prohibition in America.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted, “Hemp is an incredibly versatile and environmentally restorative crop that has great potential – to make things like clothing, paper, houses and more. We must eliminate the obstacles blocking farmers and innovators from pursuing these opportunities.”

The Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of six.

The House bill to increase military veterans’ access to medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 29.

/ STATES

Michigan gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana legalization.

Idaho gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana legalization.

Tennessee gubernatorial candidates debated medical cannabis and marijuana legalization.

South Carolina gubernatorial candidates debated medical cannabis.

Colorado Democratic congressional candidate Jared Polis, currently a congressman, tweeted a photo of himself visiting a marijuana business, adding, “Colorado has proven that allowing responsible adults to legally purchase #cannabis gives money to classrooms, not cartels; creates jobs, not addicts; and boosts our economy, not our prison population.”

Wisconsin attorney general candidates clashed on marijuana policy at two separate debates.

Washington State regulators reversed their decision to ban certain marijuana edibles.

New Jersey regulators are now allowing medical cannabis dispensaries to publicly post their prices. But they also announced they would miss a November 1 deadline to approve additional dispensaries.

A medical cannabis bill in the U.S. Virgin Islands Senate has been referred to a committee expected to be more friendly than a panel that similar proposals have languished before in past sessions.

Here’s a look at whether key Florida candidates for elected office have ever smoked marijuana and how it impacts their views on cannabis policy.

An Arkansas medical cannabis cultivation license applicant secretly recorded a conversation with a regulator.

/ LOCAL

The mayor of Ocean Springs, Mississippi is helping to collect signatures for the state’s proposed 2020 medical cannabis ballot measure.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Australian Senate debated a bill that would allow states and territories to legalize marijuana.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Quebec’s decision to set the legal age for marijuana at 21 leaves an opening for organized crime groups to sell to younger adults.

New Zealand officials are working to legalize medical cannabis by mid-2020.

/ ADVOCACY

Utah medical cannabis advocacy group Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education is pressuring lawmakers to say whether they plan to overturn provisions of the state’s medical marijuana ballot measure if it passes.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of studies on medical cannabis use for multiple sclerosis found that “cannabinoids were significantly associated with efficacy for subjective spasticity, pain, and bladder dysfunction compared with placebo” and that “cannabinoids appear to be safe regarding serious adverse events, but their clinical benefit may be limited.”

The Lancet published three letters about marijuana as a substitute for opioids.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Missouri likely voters found that all three of the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures are polling over 60%, with one at 69%.

The Lansing State Journal editorial board endorsed Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ BUSINESS

Terra Tech will try to encourage President Trump to reform marijuana laws through ads in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox and Friends.

The New West Summit got caught in the middle of a labor dispute as hotel workers carried out a strike at the Marriott facility hosting the event in Oakland, California.

Iowa State University tightened its trademark policy in response to its loss in a First Amendment case from marijuana legalization activists who sued the university after being prevented from using its logo on t-shirts.

/ CULTURE

Travel writer Rick Steves posted a blog about his experience campaigning for marijuana legalization in Michigan and North Dakota.

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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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Federal legal cannabis bill gets vote this week in House panel (Newsletter: September 27, 2021)

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More banks work with cannabis biz; Seattle psychedelics decrim advances; KC restricts marijuana testing; WashPost cannabis prisoner ad

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  • Mark: “I joined because your excellently researched newsletter keeps me up to date instantly on what’s happening with the struggle to end marijuana prohibition in states, federally, and worldwide. I live in Pennsylvania, and while the states around us are now largely legal for recreational use, we are not, due to some residual ‘reefer madness’ adherents in PA’s state government. Those of us fortunate to be able to get medical marijuana in PA want the rest of the folks who don’t qualify for it to be able to use MJ too, without fear of being arrested, jailed, and ruined. Yours is an extremely useful newsletter, and I read it every day.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY)  federal marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday. The measure passed the full House last Congress but did not advance in the Senate. Advocates are hoping this time will be different.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported that the number of banks and credit unions that say they’re serving marijuana businesses ticked up in the past three months following several quarters of declines.

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved the mayor’s proposal to ban pre-employment marijuana testing for most city workers.

The Seattle, Washington City Council Public Safety and Human Services Committee considered a measure to decriminalize psychedelics. The full Council is expected to take up the measure within the next few weeks.

The family of a marijuana prisoner took out a full-page Washington Post ad calling for his freedom and noting that large cannabis companies and celebrities—including Beyonce, Jay Z, Seth Rogen and others—stand to make money in the industry.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report on China’s hemp market.

Customs and Border Protection sent a warning to travelers to stop trying to bring marijuana through the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “‘An estimated 321,000 Americans now work in the legal cannabis industry, outnumbering the country’s dentists, paramedics & electrical engineers.’ Yet the industry & their employees are still forced to operate in cash. It’s past time to pass #SAFEBanking.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tweeted that the National Defense Authorization Act “includes ‘red flag’ provisions that deprive servicemembers of their Second Amendment rights and a provision to allow illicit cannabis businesses to use the banking system, advancing the legalization agenda.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair drug war harms got two new cosponsors for a total of 66.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill on waivers and deferrals for marijuana licensing and application fees.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) reportedly dismissed Norman Birenbaum, director of cannabis programs under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), whom advocates had opposed becoming the head of the new Office of Cannabis Management.

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor and House speaker asked Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to schedule a special session to consider medical cannabis and other legislation this Friday. Meanwhile, the Special Select Committee of the Legislative Black Caucus will hold a medical marijuana hearing on Tuesday.

The Washington State Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision that had allowed Chelan Count to shut down a marijuana business.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that evidence of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms discovered during a search by a Customs and Border Protection officer is inadmissible in state court.

Illinois regulators are facing new lawsuits from companies whose applications for marijuana craft grower and transporter applications were disqualified.

Oregon regulators expanded a recall of products with mislabeled THC content.

Michigan regulators announced a voluntary recall of marijuana products due to use of a contaminated trimmer.

Oklahoma’s top medical cannabis regulator met with industry representatives.

New Jersey regulators published an updated list of medical cannabis dispensaries.

A former Maryland delegate authored an op-ed calling for a free market approach to regulating the marijuana industry.

Nevada’s Cannabis Advisory Commission Public Health Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday.

The Louisiana House Medical Cannabis Commission will meet on Friday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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

Anne Arundel County, Maryland School Board members expressed concerns about a state law requiring policies allowing medical cannabis use at schools.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Italian municipal elections officials are missing deadlines to certify signatures on a marijuana referendum, jeopardizing its chances of qualifying.

Gibraltar’s Parliament approved a medical cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “medical cannabis and cannabinoids may improve impaired sleep among people living with chronic pain, but the magnitude of benefit is likely small.”

The University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Science of Psychedelics received five philanthropic donations worth a total of $7 million.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Washington Post editorial board is urging the Biden administration to support safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

The Des Moines Register editorial board is calling on Iowa lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

The Brookings Institution published a blog post calling on President Joe Biden to end the war on drugs.

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a legislative counsel for the southeastern U.S.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $42 million and a net loss of $46.2 million.

Vice looks at the tension between psychedelic companies that want access limited to a medical model and the broader decriminalization movement.

/ CULTURE

Football player La’el Collins was suspended for allegedly trying to bribe a drug test collector.

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MS medical cannabis deal reached for special session (Newsletter: September 24, 2021)

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House officials sends marijuana banking to Senate; Feds fund psilocybin for cigarette cessation study; FBI changes marijuana policy again

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives formally passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains marijuana banking provisions. But the path ahead in the Senate is complicated, with key lawmakers indicating they are not in favor of the move.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which loosened its marijuana policy for agent applicants earlier this summer, more recently added a new arbitrary restriction:  Anyone who has used cannabis more than 24 times as an adult is disqualified.

Mississippi lawmakers reached a deal on medical cannabis legislation to replace the voter-approved measure that was overturned by the state Supreme Court, and they’ll ask Gov. Tate Reeves (R) for a special session as soon as Friday. In a related development, the commissioner of agriculture and commerce told lawmakers in a letter that he wants no part of regulating medical marijuana as long as it remains federally illegal.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding research on whether psilocybin can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

  • “To my knowledge it’s the 1st grant from the US government in over a half century to directly study therapeutics of a classic psychedelic.”

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Health and Human Services said a study it funded on differences in opioid-related outcomes among pregnant and parenting women in states with and without medical cannabis laws has been submitted to a scientific journal for publication.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke in a Senate floor speech about a departing staffer’s role in helping to craft cannabis legislation.

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) tweeted, “A few months ago, the largest illegal drug bust in LA County History was conducted in #CA25. While progress was made to combat the illegal marijuana grows, there is still more work to be done to eradicate this problem. I promise to continue to work to combat this problem.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, spoke about both major parties’ reluctance to embrace marijuana reform.

Kentucky Democratic congressional candidate William Compton tweeted, “Here is something that hasn’t been talked about lately: Marijuana. It needs to be legalized. The revenue, alone, would create a massive boost to KY’s economy. Tobacco is our cash crop, it’s time we add Marijuana into that!”

/ STATES

Florida Senate Agriculture Committee members pressed regulators on the lack of medical cannabis licenses awarded to black farmers.

Oklahoma regulators are being sued over the revocation of medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

Montana regulators gave lawmakers an update on formulating marijuana rules. They also revealed that regulations will ban hemp-derived CBD from being sold in marijuana dispensaries.

A new Washington State policy will take effect next month that makes it easier for people with criminal records to participate in the marijuana industry.

An Ohio representative who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill tweeted that it’s been referred to the House Finance Committee and that he’s pushing to get a hearing scheduled.

Missouri regulators said that some medical cannabis products were put on hold in the state’s track and trace system “inadvertently.” Meanwhile, the state has now spent more than $6.7 million defending against legal challenges to licensing decisions.

Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission met.

Nevada regulators will discuss marijuana business issues on Tuesday.

New Jersey regulators will host a webinar on marijuana rules on Tuesday.

Maine regulators will convene the first meeting of the new Medical Marijuana Workgroup on Tuesday.

Michigan regulators will hold a quarterly meeting on marijuana issues on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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

Missoula County, Montana officials held a meeting to explain a marijuana tax ballot measure.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Scotland’s lord advocate announced a plan to allow police to issue warnings for Class A drugs instead of making arrests.

Canadian retailers sold C$338.9 million worth of legal marijuana in July.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the price of Ohio’s medical marijuana continues to drive dissatisfaction” with the state program.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Cannabis Regulators Association sent comments about federal marijuana legalization provisions to senators.

The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, Oklahoma Dairy Producers Association and other groups sent a letter asking regulators to place a moratorium on issuing new medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

NBC’s Brian Williams made a marijuana edibles joke on air.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs Inc. is acquiring Bay, LLC d/b/a Cure Pennsylvania.

Green Market Report is being acquired by Crain Communications.

Investors in Civilized are pushing out the company’s founders.

Several unlicensed marijuana dispensaries are now operating on the St. Regis Mohawk reservation located within New York.

Eaze launched a program to bring free medical cannabis to low-income patients.

Cookies launched a new product that combines THC and non-psychedelic mushrooms.

The Associated Press Stylebook tweeted, “THC is OK in all references to tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that gives marijuana its high. CBD is OK for cannabidiol, a compound in cannabis that does not cause a high and is often sold as a dietary supplement or included in creams and other personal care products.”

/ CULTURE

Clint Eastwood won a court default against the CEO of Norok Innovation Inc., which the actor says misappropriated his name to falsely make people think he endorsed its CBD products.

PBS’s Nova will air an episode on the science and criminalization of cannabis on Wednesday.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Newsletter

Cannabis banking sponsor discusses Senate path (Newsletter: September 23, 2021)

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OK marijuana ballot measures finalized; NY cannabis board fully seated; USDA’s anti-weed hemp effort; PA medical cannabis DUI hearing

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

SAFE Banking Act sponsor Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) spoke to Marijuana Moment about the prospects for finally getting his now five-times House-passed cannabis reform through the Senate and onto the president’s desk.

  • “I think the fifth time is the charm.”

Oklahoma activists finalized the language for separate initiatives to legalize marijuana and revise the existing medical cannabis program that they want to place on the 2022 ballot.

With two final appointments, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) completed the makeup of the Cannabis Control Board—setting up the state to finally begin implementing a legal recreational marijuana market.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is funding research to help hemp farmers manage weed issues.

The Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee held a hearing on a bill to protect medical cannabis patients from being charged with DUI unless they are actually impaired behind the wheel.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “It’s long past time to end the federal prohibition on marijuana, enact criminal justice reforms, and invest in communities hurt by the War on Drugs. That’s why @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and I are working to pass our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said he opposes adding marijuana banking to the National Defense Authorization Act. Separately, he announced that efforts to negotiate a deal on police reform legislation have ended after Republicans failed to accept Democrats’ final offer of compromise.

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) reacted to the House including marijuana banking in the National Defense Authorization Act, saying, “It’s not a great vehicle for it, but if it’s a vehicle that can carry it, I think it’d be fine… Any vehicle’s good that gets it to pass it.”

Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) tweeted, “Proudly cosponsored @RepPerlmutter’s #SAFEBanking amendment. By denying state-legal cannabis business access to financial services the federal govt is – endangering public safety – crippling the economic recovery of #smallbiz – refusing states’ rights to implement their own laws

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) tweeted, “I support the Safe Banking Act. Let’s begin to decriminalize cannabis federally. All legal cannabis businesses across our country pay their employees, bills, and FEDERAL taxes with cash! Cannabis businesses and customers deserve access to a banking system!”

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted, “As part of the #FY22NDAA, I’m proud to support these 3 #SmallBiz Amendments:… ✅The SAFE Banking Act (for #cannabis businesses, approved last night!)…”

Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) filed a bill aimed at protecting Customs and Border Protection officers from accidental exposure to fentanyl and other drugs they may encounter on the job, but advocates say the bill is seeking to solve a problem that doesn’t actually exist and is “created from hysteria, not science.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair drug war harms got five new cosponsors for a total of 64.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he expects recreational marijuana sales to begin through existing medical cannabis dispensaries in the first or second quarter of 2022.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Cranley, currently Cincinnati’s mayor, tweeted, “My Ohio comeback plan is pretty simple. We’re going to legalize and tax marijuana and we’re going to give Ohioans a dividend of our energy profits. This will create 120,000 jobs that pay $60,000 a year, reduce unemployment, and cut poverty in half.”

North Carolina’s Senate president pro tem indicated that a medical cannabis bill might not get a floor vote until next year. Meanwhile, the legislation’s sponsor is working on some changes requested by the state attorney general.

A Pennsylvania senator is hosting a cannabis opportunities conference on Friday.

Arkansas activists say they’ve collected more than 20,000 signatures so far for their proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Oregon regulators issued a mandatory recall for a hemp product with undisclosed levels of THC.

California regulators are modifying the text of warnings about exposure to marijuana smoke and THC.

An Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics official told lawmakers at a hearing that the number of fraudulently licensed medical cannabis cultivation operations may soon decrease.

West Virginia’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will meet on Thursday.

Nevada’s Cannabis Advisory Subcommittee on Social Equity, Diversity & Inclusion will meet on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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 filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a man who launched an apparel brand called “NYC New York Cannabis” that uses logos similar to the city’s official ones.

A Wake County, North Carolina district attorney candidate said he won’t prosecute low-level marijuana cases if elected.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Kenya’s attorney general has until October 18 to respond to a lawsuit seeking to legalize marijuana that was filed by Rastafarians.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that medical cannabis “had a favorable effect on pain level and quality of sleep among all spectrums of problems at the rheumatology clinic.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Marijuana Moment Senior Editor Kyle Jaeger spoke about cannabis banking legislation on C-SPAN’s Washington Today.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials released a position statement on the use of hemp and hemp byproducts in animal food.

The American Bankers Association tweeted, “ABA strongly supports the #SAFEBanking Act which would help achieve important public safety goals and expand access to credit for cannabis-related businesses in states where it is legal, making the industry more equitable while growing jobs and the economy.”

Concerned Women for America tweeted, “More #FY22NDAA Insanity: Last night House voted to unleash the predatory marijuana industry through the U.S. banking system while drugs are pouring across our borders. Dems want America on pot and our daughters in war. @HouseGOP must say NO.”

The Massachusetts Package Stores Association said a senator’s bill to ban billboard advertising for alcohol or marijuana products is unconstitutional.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. is closing down its Edmonton, Alberta, Canada facility.

A lawsuit that Legacy Hemp LLC filed against Terramax Holdings Corp. for allegedly breaching a hemp seed distribution contract was revived by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit after it was previously dismissed.

/ CULTURE

UFC fighter Chris Barnett was suspended and fined over a positive marijuana test.

Melissa Etheridge spoke about her cannabis brand Etheridge Botanicals.

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