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DOJ is ‘protecting consumers’ access to cannabis’ (Newsletter: July 20, 2020)

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VP contender: Biden need not back legal marijuana; MT cannabis campaign has enough ballot signatures; ID officials reject e-petition request

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  • Kenny Golson: “Marijuana Moment has provided me with valuable information as I try to keep track of Pennsylvania legislation on the use of cannabis. It is an aspiration of mine to grow and sell in Pennsylvania. Tom and Marijuana Moment allow me to stay up to date as I try to enter the industry.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division Makan Delrahim wrote in a little-noticed letter that controversial investigations of marijuana industry mergers are “consistent with protecting consumers’ access to cannabis products, not with animosity toward the industry.”

  • “In particular, the Division was forced to consider whether the antitrust laws could or should be applied to protect and promote lower prices and increased output of a substance that is facially illegal under federal law. Ultimately, the Division determined, in consultation with others in the Department, that it should analyze proposed transactions in that industry to determine whether ‘the effect of such acquisition may be substantially to lessen competition,’ as required under” federal law.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), who is being considered as a potential vice presidential pick, said presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden doesn’t need to back legalizing marijuana even though a majority of voters support it.

  • “I think you can have problems with marijuana and I don’t like the way it is just put out there as though there’s no problems at all… I think that part of the legalization movement is selling something that I don’t believe is accurate to communities of color, that the reason why we need to legalize it is to address the disproportionate arrest and incarceration rate.”

Montana marijuana activists say official data from county elections officials shows they collected enough signatures to qualify two legalization measures for the state’s November ballot. The secretary of state must formally certify the initiatives by August 20.

Idaho’s secretary of state rejected a medical cannabis campaign’s request to collect electronic signatures for their ballot measure. They’re now considering suing to get the same relief a federal judge has already granted to a separate education funding effort.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge delayed the trial of a former Fall River, Massachusetts mayor who is accused of extorting marijuana businesses.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn spoke about the agency’s efforts to formulate CBD regulations.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is seeking public input on its 2021-2025 strategic plan.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent a press release cheering the inclusion of language protecting state medical cannabis laws in Justice Department funding legislation.

The House bill to require the Food and Drug Administration to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 12.

/ STATES

Missouri’s secretary of state ordered Cannabis Plus Missouri LLC and its executives to pay penalties and restitution for unregistered securities it sold.

One North Dakota campaign says it is “pretty close” to getting the required number of signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the ballot.

Massachusetts regulators released draft revised marijuana rules.

California regulators submitted a report to lawmakers on local jurisdictions awarded marijuana equity grant funds. Separately, the state Department of Justice reported that cannabis arrests are down but that racial disparities in enforcement persist.

Rhode Island regulators are accepting applications for additional medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Wisconsin regulators will hold a public hearing on proposed hemp rules on Thursday.

West Virginia’s top medical cannabis regulator said the program should launch in the spring.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

Portland, Maine activists filed a proposed ballot measure to repeal the cap on the number of marijuana dispensaries.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK’s National Health Service is planning to manufacture its own medical cannabis oil.

Bermuda’s attorney general filed a bill to expunge marijuana convictions.

British Columbia, Canada’s premier said he misspoke by calling drug addiction a choice, and said he would back decriminalization efforts.

Two Guernsey deputy ministers submitted a proposal to direct a committee to develop a  marijuana legalization plan.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of people with sickle cell disease found that “inhaled cannabis was safe” and “was more effective than inhaled placebo in interference in mood, but there was no statistically significant difference in pain rating between cannabis and placebo.”

Researchers developed a method that “can detect 48 individual terpenes and terpenoids and was validated for selectivity, linearity, LOD/LOQ, precision, intermediate precision, and accuracy (recovery) for 22 terpenes and terpenoids.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealanders support a marijuana legalization referendum, 43%-39%.

Several organizations are hosting a Drug Policy Reform Seminar on August 15 ahead of the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. did another round of layoffs.

Woodstock Ventures LC, which owns the rights to the Woodstock music festival, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to uphold a lower court’s ruling allowing it to sell marijuana products under that name despite protestations from Woodstock Roots LLC.

Arkansas medical cannabis dispensaries have sold $109 million worth of products since the program launched in May 2019.

/ CULTURE

TV host Pat Robertson said, “All this drug addiction, can you imagine somebody made in the image of God is a slave to a bunch of weeds? I mean, you know, they’re plants and vegetables. Cocaine, marijuana, all these things are vegetables, and we’re supposed to be in charge. He said, ‘I’m going to give you dominion over the whole earth,’ and yet we’re slaves to vegetables. I mean, this is so humiliating.”

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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.

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

Congressional cannabis legalization vote this week (Newsletter: November 30, 2020)

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DEA rejects marijuana exemption petition; WA legal psilocybin push; Congressional Research Service: Cannabis bill could “reverse” policy gap

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced that a bill to federally legalize marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs will receive a floor vote this week, as soon as Wednesday.

A new Congressional Research Service report says the bill up for a House floor vote, the MORE Act, could “reverse” the current cannabis policy gap “since federal marijuana law would become less strict than some state laws.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration rejected an activist’s petition to exempt Iowa’s medical cannabis program from federal prohibition—but now the state itself is considering filing its own request for the accommodation.

Inspired by Oregon’s reform votes this month, activists in Washington State are now pursuing a two-track route to legalize psilocybin therapy, including administrative exemption petitions under federal and state Right to Try laws as well as a planned 2022 ballot measure that would also include broader drug decriminalization.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration finalized production quotas for controlled substances for 2021.

Former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli said he thinks President-elect Joe Biden will view drugs “primarily as a public health issue” but “there is a critical component law enforcement has to play.”

Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) criticized Democrats for passing coronavirus relief legislation that “mentioned marijuana more times than it mentioned jobs,” and also mentioned an upcoming vote on a federal cannabis legalization bill.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “There is already a thriving marijuana market in Pennsylvania. Why not make it legal? Why not make it safe? Why not make it taxable to help Pennsylvania get back on its feet?” He also tweeted, “Legal adult-use cannabis is criminal justice reform. More than 20,000 Pennsylvanians get a criminal record every year for doing something that 1) most of us don’t even think should be illegal and 2) is legal in 11 states and decriminalized in 26 states and D.C.”

New Jersey’s Senate president is hosting a roundtable meeting on marijuana legalization and social justice on Monday. Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman authored an op-ed on the need to center social justice in cannabis legalization efforts.

Indiana’s Senate minority leader said that legalizing marijuana would generate more revenue for the state than a cigarette tax can.

A South Carolina senator said there is a “very, very good chance” the state will legalize medical cannabis in 2021.

A Wyoming representative said that marijuana legalization in neighboring states bodes well for efforts to enact reform there.

Arkansas regulators approved the sale of a medical cannabis company.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife published a flyer about reporting illegal marijuana grows on public lands.

Connecticut regulators will hold webinars on the state’s hemp program on Tuesday and Thursday.

The Oregon Cannabis Testing Workgroup will meet on December 8.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

Prosecutors in most Arizona counties are dropping marijuana possession cases.

The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on Tuesday on a proposal to ban smoking or vaping cannabis and tobacco in buildings with three or more units.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK Department of Health & Social Care sent a letter to a lawmaker defending delays in getting patients access to cannabis-based medicines.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research and partners are investing C$21 million in marijuana research.

The Philippine government may miss the deadline for a report on the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on the impact of recreational marijuana legalization on adolescents found that it “was not associated with a significant shift in the likelihood of marijuana use but predicted a small significant decline in the level of marijuana use among users and a small increase in the likelihood of any e-cigarette use.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Los Angeles Times editorial board is calling on the incoming Biden administration and Congress to modernize federal marijuana laws.

The Globe and Mail editorial board cheered Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada’s passage of a drug decriminalization resolution.

/ BUSINESS

Patagonia is participating in a pilot project where China-sourced seeds are being used to grow hemp in Colorado for its clothing.

Original Investments LLC is asking an Oklahoma judge to overturn the state’s medical cannabis business licenses residency requirements.

/ CULTURE

Mike Tyson said he smoked marijuana right before his fight with Roy Jones Jr.

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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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Mexico’s president talks legal cannabis as bill advances (Newsletter: November 27, 2020)

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OR prosecutor drops drug cases after decrim vote; Prohibitionists sue to overturn marijuana ballot results

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  • Ian Benouis: “Your work makes the world a better place for all of us to live in. I pledged because the war on drugs is coming to an end and having the best and most accurate intelligence is key to finish the fight.”

Join us at https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said a marijuana legalization bill that is advancing is “part of carrying out a revolution of consciences, where each of us is responsible for his actions.” The comments come as the Senate-passed legislation has been formally received by the Chamber of Deputies, where it has been referred to several committees.

The Clackamas County, Oregon District Attorney’s Office announced it will no longer pursue drug possession cases after voters passed a statewide decriminalization ballot measure. The reform doesn’t take effect until February, but the early move is “consistent with the will of the voters, which we must respect,” the office said.

  • “It is our belief that having officers investigate and submit cases for a prosecution in the weeks leading up to February 1, which will not lead to any sanction or court supervised treatment, is not the most effective use of criminal justice resources.”

Marijuana prohibitionists in three states are now waging battles to convince courts to overturn voter-approved legalization measures. These efforts come after opponents in one state succeeded in blocking voters from even getting a chance to decide on cannabis reform.

/ FEDERAL

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, in a consenting opinion in a case striking down coronavirus restrictions on religious gatherings, wrote, “In recent months, certain other Governors have issued similar edicts. At the flick of a pen, they have asserted the right to privilege restaurants, marijuana dispensaries, and casinos over churches, mosques, and temples.”

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security addressed public comments on using marijuana offenses as bars to asylum eligibility.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) tweeted, “The President should use the pardon power to redress manifest injustices, not shamelessly cover up the corruption that touched the core of this Administration. I hope President-elect Biden will use clemency to help right the wrongs of our misguided ‘war on drugs.'”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “I agree with @NewJerseyOAG that it’s only fair to suspend marijuana possession related cases in light of the November referendum.”

/ STATES

Kentucky’s House speaker said it’s not clear where newly elected members stand on medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at where some incoming Connecticut lawmakers stand on legalizing marijuana.

Alaska regulators finalized rules on marijuana quality control.

A California appeals court ruled that “lawful possession of marijuana in a vehicle does not provide probable cause to search the vehicle.”

North Carolina published a list of registered hemp processors.

Utah regulators released a video on how to become a registered medical cannabis patient.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

The Pennington County, South Dakota Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page’s rating is dropping amid complaints about the sheriff’s role in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law.

Richmond, Virginia’s mayor tweeted, ” It is past time to fully legalize marijuana and I hope the General Assembly acts quickly to get this done.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Colombian Senate committee approved a marijuana legalization bill.

The Vancouver, Canada City Council unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by the mayor that requests a federal exemption to decriminalize drug possession.

The Manitoba, Canada government introduced legislation to create a new license category for marijuana and liquor delivery services.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “preliminary clinical trials also support the efficacy of CBD as an anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antidepressant, and more importantly, a positive risk-benefit profile.”

A study identified the “first clear evidence for the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site,” concluding that “Datura was ingested in the cave and that the rock painting represents the plant itself, serving to codify communal rituals involving this powerful entheogen.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws filed to intervene against a lawsuit from police officials who are seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. entered into a strategic supply agreement with Israeli company Cantek Holdings.

Harborside Inc. shareholders approved new board members for the company.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Nas narrates a new 30-second ad for Weedmaps.

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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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Trump gets list of cannabis prisoners for clemency push (Newsletter: November 26, 2020)

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CT lawmakers could put legal marijuana on ballot; NJ AG: adjourn cannabis cases; Prosecutors’ memo on dropping marijuana charges

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  • Bryan McLaren of Zoned Properties, Inc.: “I have been following your reporting for many years and this is long overdue to provide some financial support directly! There is just so much noise and nonsense (in general these days) and especially within regulated cannabis that it makes your work that much more valuable as we all try to consumer news updates and regulatory progress. To have a reliable and consistent source of information with fact-based reporting and objectivity has been amazing. (P.S. Also very great to see you call out other ‘new sources’ for not including/embedding primary source materials… So important!).”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Republican lawmakers and celebrities like Kevin Garnett sent a letter urging President Trump to free people who are serving time in federal prison for marijuana. Organizers say the office of Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner asked them for a specific list of clemency candidates, which they attached to the letter.

Connecticut’s incoming House speaker said that if there aren’t enough votes in the legislature to pass marijuana legalization in 2021, lawmakers will put it on the ballot for voters to decide.

New Jersey’s attorney general issued a directive telling prosecutors to suspend most marijuana possession cases.

  • “Fairness demands that we suspend prosecution of marijuana possession-related cases while we await direction from the Legislature on the parameters for decriminalization of marijuana and legalization of regulated adult-use cannabis. It simply does not make sense or serve justice to proceed with prosecutions on charges that may be foreclosed soon through legislative action.”

Days earlier, a New Jersey prosecutor sent a memo to colleagues across the state urging them to stop pursuing most marijuana cases while lawmakers work out the details of legal cannabis sales legislation.

  • “The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict, but to see that justice is done.”

/ FEDERAL

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) filed a resolution condemning police brutality that recognizes that the U.S., “especially under the auspices of the wars on drugs and global terrorism, has in recent decades dramatically increased its influence on the tactics, equipment, and purpose of policing around the world.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “In red and blue states alike, voters sent a clear message: we must END the war on drugs. It’s time to legalize marijuana, expunge the records of those serving time for it, and ensure BIPOC communities that have been disproportionately harmed own the profits of this new industry.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “In PA, you can get yourself a curbside, ready-to-drink mojito the size of a gas can and a criminal record for life if you sip a little weed. That’s freedom.”

A New Jersey court said regulators erred in rejecting medical cannabis business license applications and that its process lacked transparency.

California regulators are proposing emergency rules requiring marijuana businesses to post unique QR code certificates in storefront windows and carry them while transporting or delivering cannabis.

Alaska regulators are proposing rules on reinstating marijuana business licenses after a failure to renew.

Massachusetts regulators may be facing a lawsuit over marijuana delivery rules they are poised to enact next week.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is concerned that passage of two drug policy reform ballot measures this month will cause people to forage for psychedelic mushrooms in state forests.

Oklahoma regulators published a frequently asked questions document for medical cannabis business applicants.

Michigan regulators published a list of county allocations for medical cannabis operation and oversight grants.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 tweeted, “Congratulations to @AndreaSCousins and the @NYSenDems on achieving a historic supermajority! Now’s the time to be bold — legalize marijuana and ensure the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share for a real, equitable recovery for our city and state.”

Candidates for Orleans Parish, Louisiana district attorney were asked whether they would stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Malawi officials said the country is ready to start producing and processing cannabis for medical and industrial uses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “11 out of 13 studies reviewed observed varying degrees of pain relief using cannabis over opioids under certain specific conditions” and that “there appears to be some benefits in certain situations however cannabis certainly does not appear to be a drop-in replacement for opioids in chronic pain management.”

A study examined “the prevalence of cannabis use for migraine relief in a sample of cannabis users, and suggests that these migraineurs experience a high level of migraine relief from cannabis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Slovaks oppose lowering penalties for marijuana, 61%-36%.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board said California should watch and learn from the implementation of Oregon’s new drug decriminalization law.

/ BUSINESS

Vireo Health International, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $11.9 million.

Planet 13 Holdings Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $22.8 million and net income of $0.2 million.

Rubicon Organics Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of C$3.2 million and a net loss of C$4.3 million.

/ CULTURE

Actor Ben Affleck spoke about a bad experience he had with marijuana as a teenager.

Filmmaker Terry Gilliam said he wanted to try psilocybin mushrooms for the first time for his 80th birthday.

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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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