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FBI seeks tips on cannabis industry corruption (Newsletter: August 18, 2019)



Conservative org ALEC’s banking/CBD measures; Warren’s Native American plan includes legal marijuana; SD legalization initiative moves forward

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation is actively seeking tips on public corruption related to the marijuana industry.

  • “States require licenses to grow and sell the drug—opening the possibility for public officials to become susceptible to bribes in exchange for those licenses. The corruption is more prevalent in western states where the licensing is decentralized—meaning the level of corruption can span from the highest to the lowest level of public officials.”

The conservative lawmaker organization American Legislative Exchange Council—better known as ALEC—is floating model measures on marijuana banking and legalizing hemp and CBD for state legislatures to consider.

A new plan on the rights of Indian tribes from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, includes the ability to legalize marijuana without federal interference.

  • “A number of Tribal Nations view cannabis as an important opportunity for economic development.”

South Dakota’s attorney general filed an official summary of a proposed measure to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, activists got approval to start collecting signatures for a separate initiative focused on medical cannabis.


A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit from a Connecticut police officer who claimed he was wrongfully suspended because of his medical cannabis use.

A federal court ruled that a Florida lawyer who incorrectly told clients they could legally grow marijuana owes about $370,000 in damages.

Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll spoke critically about marijuana legalization’s impact.

Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach toured Oregon hemp businesses with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Hemp farmers and processors have made clear that the lack of access to the banking system is a significant hurdle to growing their business. We’ll keep working to remove this major barrier facing the hemp industry.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “America means freedom. How can we still be incarcerating people for using marijuana? This is counter to everything we stand for. As president, I’ll end the federal prohibition on marijuana, end mass incarceration, and reform our criminal justice system.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got two new cosponsors, for a total of 35.

The House bill to require the federal government to study the impact of state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 29.


Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) touted the state’s national leadership on hemp at an American Herbal Products Association conference. Separately, regulators issued a health and safety advisory about potentially unsafe levels of microbial contamination in marijuana products.

The chief of staff for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said that “nothing is off the table” in negotiations about passing marijuana legalization legislation this year.

Montana’s lieutenant governor toured a marijuana testing facility and tweeted, “Learned a lot from yesterday’s tour of the longest operating state certified medical marijuana testing laboratory and how we can ensure access to safe and healthy medicine for our veterans, cancer patients, and others. Thanks for having me, Stillwater Laboratories!”

Maryland’s attorney general wants prosecutors to consider manslaughter charges for people who sell or supply drugs that cause fatal overdoses.

The California Supreme Court said it will issue an opinion on Monday in a case concerning whether the enactment of a zoning ordinance allowing the operation of medical cannabis cooperatives in certain areas may cause a reasonably foreseeable indirect physical change to the environment for the purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act.

A Nevada judge heard closing arguments in a case challenging the state’s marijuana business licensing process and could issue a decision this week.

Texas’s Permanent School Fund Committee has a marijuana industry investment worth more than $700,000.

Medical cannabis implementation has become a top issue in the Louisiana agriculture commissioner race.

The South Dakota legislature’s industrial hemp study committee will meet on Monday.

Pennsylvania lawmakers hosted an anti-marijuana forum. Separately, regulators announced that a business relinquished medical cannabis dispensary permits as part of a settlement over violations.

Michigan regulators filed a formal complaint against and summarily suspended a marijuana testing lab for inaccurate results and/or unreliable testing and reporting practices. Separately, they are hosting a meeting to receive public comment on marijuana licensing and rules on August 29.

A Georgia representative tweeted, “The date rape drug is a federal Schedule V drug but marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug. That’s beyond a problem folks. 🤔☹”

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.

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Prosecutors and candidates from St. Louis County, Missouri; Nueces County, Texas and Arlington, Virginia coauthored an op-ed defending local moves to not pursue marijuana cases and enact broader reforms.


Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said his government plans to issue marijuana cultivation licenses.

Lawmakers in the Czech Republic are considering legislation requiring public insurance to cover medical cannabis.

Chile’s government is militarizing its drug war.


The Republican Party of Kentucky tweeted, “Now we’ve got the most educated man to have ever served Kentucky, @RyanQuarlesKY! His work on hemp and to promote our #KentuckyProud agriculture industry has helped make Kentucky great and it’s time we send him back to Frankfort as our Agriculture Commissioner.”

The Possible Plan, a new nonprofit focused on inclusion in the marijuana industry, ran an ad in the the New York Times Magazine’s special issue on slavery.

Idahoans for Healthy Kids and Communities formed to oppose a proposed medical cannabis ballot measure in the state.


A study of youth substance abuse treatment found that “[juvenile justice system] referrals’ retention rates were significantly higher than those of non-JJS referrals at the end of Phase I (i.e. week 7)” but that “there was no difference in abstinence rates between the groups at the end of phase I or II and any of the quarterly additional follow-up assessments up to one year from treatment onset.”

A study found that “pediatric cannabis exposure cases increased in Massachusetts after medical marijuana was legalized in 2012, despite using childproof packaging and warning labels.”

A study concluded that “recipes for cannabis edibles are easily accessible through Pinterest” but that “information about dosage, serving size, health effects, and responsible usage are all but absent.”


A poll found that New Zealand adults oppose legalizing marijuana, 39%-47%.


CannTrust Holdings Inc. announced that the Ontario Securities Commission approved its request for a management cease trade order.

A half ton of marijuana produced by Sundial Growers Inc. was reportedly returned by Zenabis Global Inc. because it contained visible mold, parts of rubber gloves and other non-cannabis material.

Legal Sea Foods launched a new marijuana-themed ad campaign.

Facebook has been suspending Ohio medical cannabis pages.


Netflix is being criticized for continuing to depict marijuana consumption in its programming even as it has pledged to cut back on showing cigarette smoking.

The World Boxing Council is partnering with Craft 1861 to create a CBD wellness protocol.

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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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