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Dozens of lawmakers push for federal cannabis protections (Newsletter: March 19, 2018)



Sessions’s job safe?; NY lawmakers divided on legalization study; NH marijuana action this week

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A group of 59 House Republicans and Democrats is pushing congressional leaders to attach a provision to spending legislation that would prevent the Department of Justice from interfering with state marijuana laws.

Separately, a bipartisan group of 62 members of Congress sent a letter pushing to extend existing state medical cannabis protections through 2019. And in another letter, 14 lawmakers are asking to de-fund the Drug Enforcement Administration’s marijuana eradication program.

The New York Senate and Assembly are taking opposing stances on a marijuana legalization study proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).


White House Chief of Staff John Kelly joked about incoming National Economic Council Director Larry Kramer’s cocaine addiction, saying that the 1990s were “a crazy time.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reportedly been assured by the White House that he is not at risk of being fired anytime soon.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH), in House floor speeches, criticized businesses seeking funding for cannabis paraphernalia development, listing them alongside firms raising capital for flying cars, studying UFOs, telepathy and light-speed travel.

President Trump is expected to roll out an opioids plan that includes the death penalty for some drug sellers on Monday.

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) spoke about her support for letting marijuana businesses access banks.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke at a cannabis conference.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted about the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana.

Former Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) — who sometimes voted for and sometimes against medical cannabis amendments — is now lobbying on “issues related to marijuana financial transactions legislation” for digital money platform Uphold, Inc.


West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) said he fully supports medical cannabis even though he halted the transfer of funds to the program amid concerns about federal law. Meanwhile, lawmakers and state officials are working on possible solutions to the marijuana industry’s financial services issues. One delegate wants the legislature to convene a special session to address medical cannabis regulations.

Colorado gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, currently a congressman, tweeted, “Medical and recreational cannabis in our state has helped decrease opioid-related deaths by more than 6.5 percent over two years.”

Nevada Republican attorney general candidate Craig Mueller says he would defend that state’s marijuana laws from federal interference.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives is expected to vote again on a bill to legalize marijuana on Thursday. Meanwhile, the cannabis legalization study commission meets on Monday, and the State Liquor Commission said it would be prepared to regulate legal marijuana.

The Kansas House Health and Human Services Committee approved a CBD medical cannabis bill.

An Arkansas judge rejected a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state’s award process for medical cannabis cultivation licenses and said he will issue a ruling on the matter this week.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee will hear a marijuana legalization bill on Monday.

New Mexico regulators made it easier for patients to enroll in the medical cannabis program.

Pennsylvania regulators published temporary rules for medical cannabis research.

North Dakota regulators began accepting applications for medical cannabis production licenses.

Florida lawmakers will hold a medical cannabis rulemaking hearing on Friday.

Advocates say they will pursue a Nebraska medical cannabis ballot measure in 2020.

A New York assemblymember filed a bill to allow medical cannabis use by animals.


Here’s a look at which Massachusetts municipalities are banning marijuana commerce.

A candidate for Cook County, Illinois commissioner who formerly regulated the medical cannabis industry has received significant campaign contributions from marijuana business leaders.

The New York Times looks at the differing ways California municipalities are implementing marijuana legalization.


The Swiss Council of States unanimously approved legislation on marijuana research, including pilot programs to allow cannabis coffeeshops.

A Canadian government panel charged with advising on rules for workplace marijuana testing is at an impasse.


Prohibitionist funder Julie Schauer tweeted, “Democratic Party may soon be held by grip of pot industry which owns NJ gov, CA gov, Gavin Newsom, some senators, OR’s AG The party risks being owned by pot $$, just as NRA controls GOP. It’s blood money, leads to traffic deaths.”


NPR looks at the health effects of secondhand marijuana smoke.


The New York Times editorial board wants an investigation of the Philippine bloody “drug war.”


Bank of America Merrill Lynch published a short report on the marijuana industry.

A former executive for The Coca-Cola Co. and Molson Coors said that “virtually all alcohol companies are very carefully looking at the cannabis space and looking to partner in some shape or form.”

Ad Week looks at marijuana businesses’ marketing challenges.

The Washington Post sheds light on how longtime Northern California marijuana growers are grappling with legalization.

A growing number of Canadian resource mining companies are shifting to the marijuana industry.

/ CULTURE     

Former NBA player Glen “Big Baby” Davis was arrested with a quarter-pound of marijuana, approximately $92,000 in cash and a ledger that police believe lists names and amounts of money owed for cannabis.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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