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FDA boss signals support for cannabis decriminalization (Newsletter: Sep. 10, 2018)

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Did Obama smoke marijuana at Disneyland?; Booker gets Kavanaugh to read drug war book; Air Force looking into Elon Musk’s cannabis consumption

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  • Colin B M Wood of Citizen’s Freedom Blog: “I support Marijuana Moment and their every man’s battle to get marijuana legalized across the United States, and considered a medical treatment. After 30 years of entertaining on stage, and television, I was hit with Sarcoidosis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Tremors (with a possibility of Early Onset Parkinsons). I treat daily with marijuana and when I can, with the amazing CBD oil, you can find anywhere online. Without marijuana, I wouldn’t be able to walk, or talk properly, and my depression and anxiety would have taken me years ago. Thanks Tom for your support and fight for legalization!”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb signaled support in a TV interview for decriminalizing, but not legalizing, marijuana.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)  convinced Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to read the book “The New Jim Crow,” which exposes the racially disproportionate enforcement of marijuana criminalization and the war on drugs.

Speaking at a rally, former President Barack Obama shared a story about getting  kicked out of Disneyland for smoking when he was in college. While he explained that it was for cigarettes instead of for marijuana, some people in the crowd and on Twitter didn’t really believe it. Watch the video and you be the judge.

/ FEDERAL

A review by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel concluded that a Drug Enforcement Administration effort to license more growers of marijuana for research violated United Nations drug treaties.

The U.S. Air Force is reportedly looking into Elon Musk’s on-camera marijuana use because his company SpaceX is a federal contractor and cannabis consumption is prohibited by people with security clearances. The military branch hasn’t yet begun a formal investigation and is taking “time to determine the facts and the appropriate process to handle the situation.”

A bipartisan group of 14 U.S. House members sent a letter urging U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to stop blocking marijuana research cultivation applications. It is reportedly at least the 15th such letter sent to him about the issue from members of Congress.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) tweeted, “We’ve got a long way to go before we right the wrongs of America’s failed war on drugs, which has allowed the legal discrimination of communities of color for too long. But I’m co-sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act because it’s a great start. Let’s fight for what’s right.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congressman David Joyce (R-OH) expressed optimism about the future of marijuana reform at a conference.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Medical marijuana is the frontier for PTSD treatment for veterans and yet Congress will not allow it to be researched. I’m cosponsoring the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act of 2018 in order to begin researching how we can provide the best care possible for our nation’s bravest.”

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) tweeted, “Medical marijuana is not an answer for the #opioidcrisis.”

Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Democratic challenger Mitsch Bush debated military veterans’ access to medical cannabis.

The U.S. House bill to respect state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of 29.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley said she supports legalizing marijuana.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke about the success of marijuana legalization in his state and the challenges presented by federal prohibition. Separately, a former Marijuana Enforcement Division official and a former state assistant attorney general are urging the state to reconsider its restrictive rules on cannabis business ownership.

Vermont’s marijuana legalization study committee will meet on Monday.

New Mexico’s health secretary approved adding obstructive sleep apnea as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, but rejected adding opioid addiction, muscular dystrophy, Tourette’s syndrome, eczema and psoriasis. Separately, regulators are holding a series of public meeting next month to receive feedback on proposed hemp rules.

Kansas Republican gubernatorial candidate Kris Kobach made a reference to Doritos when discussing his opposition to medical cannabis and marijuana legalization.

New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon tweeted, “Marijuana has been legal for white people for a long time. It’s time to make it legal for everyone else.”

Utah prohibitionists are defending their radio ad against the state’s medical cannabis ballot initiative, which was been criticized as misleading.

A Pennsylvania lawyer is mounting a longshot bid to get a court to invalidate the criminalization of marijuana.

Ohio regulators missed a weekend deadline for making the state’s medical cannabis program “fully operational.”

Kentucky lawmakers held an interim hearing about medical cannabis.

California regulators released an explainer about the state’s marijuana track-and-trace system. And here’s a look at cannabis bills sitting on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown (D).

Here’s a look at ongoing efforts in North Dakota to implement medical cannabis.

/ LOCAL

Los Angeles, California officials announced they charged 515 people in connection with 105 illegal marijuana businesses.

Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney is moving to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions. And Manhattan’s district attorney is moving to vacate misdemeanor marijuana warrants.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Nigerian presidential candidate says he will make the country a marijuana exporting hub if elected.

Scottish officials will meet with medical cannabis advocates this month.

Here’s a look at how Portugal’s drug decriminalization law is going.

/ ADVOCACY

The South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance is ramping up the push to legalize medical cannabis in 2019.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “constituents of cannabis, such as cannabidiol and Δ-tetrahydrocannabinol, have shown anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hepatoprotective effects both in in vitro and clinical studies, and appear to have potential in the symptom management and treatment of various liver diseases that were previously considered difficult to manage conservatively.”

JAMA Internal Medicine printed three letters debating the impact of state marijuana laws on opioid death rates.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Florida likely voters found that they support medical cannabis, 74%-21%, and legalizing marijuana, 49%-42%.

The Portland Press Herald editorial board is calling on Congress to pass legislation respecting state marijuana laws.

/ BUSINESS

Massachusetts health regulators ordered Good Chemistry of Massachusetts to cease activities over concerns that its medical cannabis products are tainted with pesticides.

Maryland medical cannabis business owners are demanding answers about recent Metrc tracking system outages.

The Wall Street Journal looks at how some CEOs are embracing marijuana while many remain reluctant.

/ CULTURE

Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart is partnering with the Cannabis Voter Project, which tracks where politicians stand on marijuana reform.

Actors Jason Sudeikis slammed the racially disproportionate enforcement of drug laws.

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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 15-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

Cannabis use undermines “good moral character” for immigrants, feds say (Newsletter: April 22, 2019)

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Congressional committees publish marijuana plans; USDA clarifies hemp seed rules; POTUS candidates’ 4/20 tweets; Ben & Jerry’s is woke on drug war

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…

There are now 1,047 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a memo saying that using marijuana or working in the cannabis industry—even if it is legal under state law—makes immigrants ineligible for citizenship because it means they don’t have “good moral character.”

Several congressional committees issued reports highlighting the marijuana reforms they plan to address in 2019.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture clarified that farmers are allowed to import hemp seeds from other countries and that there’s nothing the Drug Enforcement Administration can do to stop them.

Ben & Jerry’s used 4/20 to call attention to ongoing racial disparities in marijuana enforcement—and partnered with a dispensary that donated partial proceeds to expungement efforts—in stark contrast to other mainstream brands that just seemed to be trying to make a buck off the cannabis holiday.

Several presidential candidates—along with many other politicians and brands—commemorated 4/20 with marijuana-themed tweets.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge ruled that Salem, West Virginia officials must place a measure to remove municipal marijuana penalties on the June 4 ballot.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his evolution on marijuana legalization.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), along with Reps. Charlie Crist (D-FL), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Lou Correa (D-CA) sent video messages to be played at a marijuana conference, with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) delivering a keynote address.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, sent a 4/20-themed fundraising email. She also spoke about her support for marijuana reform in an interview.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) predicted that the House will vote on marijuana banking legislation this spring.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) tweeted, “Yesterday I introduced a bill to permit marijuana use in federal housing in states where marijuana use is legal. No American should fear eviction for using a legal substance in their state. It’s time Congress catch up with the American people. With Democratic control of the House, I will also continue to push to remove anti-home rule provisions preventing DC from commercializing recreational marijuana use. Congress has no business interfering with DC local government.”

The House marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 166.

The House comprehensive medical cannabis bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of eight.

The House bill to force the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 60.

The House bill to require the Department of Justice to license additional marijuana growers for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of nine.

/ STATES

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a commercial hemp bill into law.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s (R) spokesperson said there is “still opportunity to reach consensus” on legalizing marijuana sales, and he is “not at the point at which he will draw lines on issues.”

Nevada’s treasurer tweeted about discussing marijuana banking access with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate.

The Colorado Senate Finance Committee advanced a bill to allow publicly traded companies and out-of-state investors in the marijuana industry.

A Michigan judge continued a temporary restraining order allowing some unlicensed marijuana businesses to remain open.

Missouri regulators are being sued by BioTrackTHC over their awarding of a contract to Metrc LLC.

The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

Nebraska lawmakers are considering compromise language for a medical cannabis bill.

Here’s a look at pending Louisiana marijuana legislation.

A study found that Wisconsin could generate $1.1 billion in economic benefits in the first five years of legal medical cannabis.


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

Denver, Colorado’s mayor sent a letter to other mayors urging they work with him to reverse federal policies that negatively count working in the marijuana industry against immigrants’ citizenship status.

New York City’s mayor said he will be looking into the issue of people losing child custody over marijuana.

A Baltimore, Maryland mayoral candidate is calling for marijuana legalization.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley is meeting with Canadian marijuana companies interested in operating in the country.

Uganda’s first lady said a deal to allow an Israeli firm to grow medical cannabis in the country is “satanic.”

/ ADVOCACY

NAACP’s president said that the organization will develop a position on marijuana legalization by July.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD may have independent positive effects on [quality of life] beyond improved seizure control.”

A review concluded that marijuana “may play a safe role in [chronic migraine] management by helping to improve headache profile, anxiety, sleep, mood, and opioid reduction.”

Louisiana State University launched a study on treating epilepsy with medical cannabis.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Americans found that 65% support legalizing marijuana and 62% oppose federal intervention in state laws, among other findings.

BuzzFeed conducted a lengthy survey of U.S. and Canadian adults about attitudes toward marijuana and policies surrounding it.

/ BUSINESS

MenMen’s chief operating officer, general counsel and senior vice president of corporate communications have resigned.

CNN is starting a new marijuana coverage initiative, to be led by former Cannabist reporter Alicia Wallace.

Eaze’s website crashed on 4/20.

Pax Labs closed a $420 million funding round.

/ CULTURE

Actor Seth Rogen is calling on the Canadian government to expunge marijuana convictions.

The Onion endorsed legalizing marijuana in the most Onion way possible.

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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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Texas cannabis bills advance to House floor (Newsletter: April 19, 2019)

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Congressional bill would allow marijuana in public housing; FDA receives hundreds of CBD comments; Boehner could cash in big with Acreage/Canopy deal

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 422 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) filed a bill that would allow people to use marijuana in public housing.

More than 400 people have already submitted CBD regulation comments to the Food and Drug Administration ahead of an upcoming public hearing on the topic.

Three major Texas cannabis reform bills—to decriminalize marijuana, legalize hemp and expand medical cannabis—have cleared committees and are on their way to the House floor.

/ FEDERAL

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reportedly stands to make nearly $20 million from a deal involving the marijuana firm he is a board member for.

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted, “When will Congress catch up with the American people on #cannabis? Representatives like @RepDaveJoyce and @mattgaetz are leading the way.”

/ STATES

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) said that a marijuana sales legalization bill would need to allow roadside saliva testing in order to win his support.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is not on board with a proposal to send most of the revenue from legal marijuana to municipalities.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and regulators announced the launch of a hemp pilot program. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved legislation to block unlicensed marijuana businesses that remain open after June 1 from becoming licensed for a year.

The Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill to defelonize drug possession.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved bills concerning medical cannabis disposal and businesses in foreclosure or bankruptcy.

The Florida House of Representatives approved legislation to expand syringe exchange programs around the state. Separately, the House State Affairs Committee advanced a hemp bill.

Wisconsin representatives filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Oregon regulators approved six marijuana violation settlement agreements and indicated they would consider stiffening penalties in the future.

Arkansas medical cannabis sales are expected to begin on May 12.

Washington State regulators certified a lab to test for heavy metals in marijuana. Separately, here’s a look at where cannabis bills stand in the legislature.

Guam’s marijuana regulatory board has been formed and will meet soon.

Montana activists are working to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the state’s 2020 ballot.


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.


/ SCIENCE & HEALTH


A study found that “life satisfaction at age 21 was not associated with cannabis cessation,” suggesting that “the predictive value of life satisfaction in cannabis use is questionable and may be accounted for by other behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol use.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Americans found that 53% support legalizing marijuana and 76% back medical cannabis.

A poll found that Louisiana residents support legalizing marijuana, 55%-42%.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. plans to acquire Acreage Holdings Inc. in a $3.4 billion deal that will be triggered when cannabis is federally legalized in the U.S.

Eaze is donating $4.20 for every delivery on April 20, up to $100,000, to Code for America’s efforts to expunge drug convictions.

Lyft is offering $4.20 rides in Massachusetts on 4/20.

New England Treatment Access is being sued for alleged trademark infringement in its logo by Boise Cascade Company.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Kodak Black was arrested for possessing marijuana and a firearm at the U.S.-Canada border.

The office of Denver’s CBS affiliate received a  mistaken delivery of a large box of marijuana products.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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Alabama lawmakers approve cannabis decrim in committee (Newsletter: April 18, 2019)

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McConnell touts hemp legalization in campaign ad; Study: CBD helps epileptic dogs; Georgia medical marijuana expansion signed

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…

There are now 1,041 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.

  • Holly DeLorenzo: “I pledged because I found Marijuana Moment to be a trusted and valuable resource. Thank you for all the work that goes into keeping track of the latest information on cannabis legislation.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) reelection campaign launch ad prominently touts his leadership on hemp legalization.

A study on treating epileptic dogs with CBD found that “seizure frequency improved considerably and owners reported a positive impression.”

/ FEDERAL

A Farm Services Agency official is being sued in federal court for allegedly threatening Oklahoma farmers who express interest in growing hemp.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The effort to legalize marijuana –and I can’t emphasize this enough– MUST include criminal justice measures like expunging records & investing in communities hurt by the failed war on drugs. I will not support legalization efforts that don’t address this.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The failed War On Drugs disproportionately affects communities of color – we have to take real steps to right the wrongs of history.”

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill allowing in-state cultivation and sales of low-THC medical cannabis products.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a spending bill containing start-up funding for the state’s medical cannabis program. Separately, the House of Representatives defeated a marijuana decriminalization amendment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed off on a settlement deal to approve eight new medical cannabis nurseries so that a lawsuit challenging how the state’s determines awards such licenses will be dropped.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “3 YEARS AGO TODAY: I signed the law that legalized medical marijuana in PA. Now, more than 100,000 Pennsylvanians with serious illnesses have a medical marijuana patient certification and can access life-changing medication.” Separately, regulators revoked the medical license of a prolific medical marijuana doctor.

Alaska lawmakers rejected Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) nomination of a cannabis opponent to serve on the state Marijuana Control Board.

The Arizona House of Representatives defeated a bill to require the release of more information about medical cannabis businesses.

The Texas House Public Health Committee amended and approved a bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

Nevada regulators shuttered marijuana dispensaries over a failure to pay taxes.

The Massachusetts Securities Division charged an investment adviser with allegedly soliciting funds for medical cannabis projects that were never licensed.

Louisiana regulators are working to test medical cannabis in time for a planned May rollout of legal sales to patients.

Here’s a look at why New Mexico’s marijuana legalization bill died this session and the future prospects of legislation to end prohibition.


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

The Daytona Beach, Florida City Commission voted to approve a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Los Angeles, California city attorney sued an unlicensed marijuana dispensary for allegedly selling product tainted with an unapproved pesticide.

Jefferson County, Alabama’s district attorney is working with other officials on a plan to end low-level marijuana arrests.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ghana’s Mental Health Authority is raising concerns about the possible legalization of marijuana.

A Malaysian medical cannabis advocate who faced the death penalty for trafficking was instead sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 strokes of the cane.

Vice looks at the prospects for marijuana reform in countries around the world.

/ ADVOCACY

The Kansas Democratic Party tweeted about Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signing a hemp bill.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Commentator Geraldo Rivera tweeted, “Agree with @BetoORourke His Big Ideas and gymnastic speaking style aside, he is right about ending marijuana prohibition, halting all arrest for pot now, and purging criminal records that are small scale pot related. This appeals to right and left, stop #ReeferMadness”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. is reportedly nearing a deal to buy Acreage Holdings Inc.

The Vitamin Shoppe began selling CBD products.

Carl’s Jr. is testing a CBD burger.

Bank of America began covering marijuana stocks.

/ CULTURE

Musician Jimmy Buffett’s marijuana product brand is launching on Friday.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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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