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FDA rejects move to further restrict cannabis (Newsletter: July 6, 2018)

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McConnell & Schumer tour hemp biz; “Alcohol and Drug Abuse Lake” is a real place; Veterans step up push for marijuana reform

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected a prohibitionist group’s petition to add marijuana to a list of drugs that are not “generally recognized as safe and effective.” The agency said that the move is “not necessary for the protection of public health.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) both toured home-state hemp facilities, as did U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

On a lighter note, Marijuana Moment takes a look at some of the bizarre drug-related place names that are officially recognized by the federal government. Among others, we found Alcohol and Drug Abuse Lake, Bong Bridge, Drug Island and Reefer Creek. There’s also a dried-up reservoir called Marijuana Tank.

/ FEDERAL

Reason spoke to some of the would-be licensed cannabis growers whose research applications have been held up by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The White House pushed back against growing calls to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, saying the move “would mean more dangerous illegal drugs flowing into our communities, causing more Americans to needlessly suffer.”

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology is teaming up with the Drug Enforcement Administration and German police to launch a website where forensic chemists can share data on new synthetic drug variants.

A federal judge in Brooklyn said he will stop reincarcerating people who are on supervised release just for using marijuana.

The chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will speak on a marijuana panel at the American Bankruptcy Institute’s conference in November.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) still opposes medical cannabis even though voters in his state legalized it.

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) tweeted, “People who are addicted to marijuana are 3 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.”

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) named a new top marijuana regulator for the state.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed a bill making it easier for terminally ill patients to qualify for medical cannabis.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said he doesn’t see the state moving to legalize marijuana “at this point.”

Georgia Republican gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy.

Here’s a look at where Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidates stand on legalizing marijuana and other criminal justice issues.

Oklahoma regulators released public comments they have so far received about proposed medical cannabis rules.

Arizona activists failed to collect enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the November ballot.

/ LOCAL

The Associated Press looks at how Los Angeles, California’s legal and illegal marijuana markets coexist.

Denver, Colorado regulators stripped Sweet Leaf marijuana stores of their licenses following the chain’s legal troubles.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK government granted an emergency license to use medical cannabis to a 12-year-old boy with epilepsy. Meanwhile, the House of Commons could debate a medical marijuana bill on Friday.

The Mexican Senate’s international policy research center published an overview of Canada’s new marijuana legalization law.

/ ADVOCACY

Learn about the Veterans Cannabis Coalition’s efforts to move marijuana legislation on Capitol Hill in this powerful post about fighting “the good war” after returning home from battle. (Sponsored)

Former Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia’s Marijuana Leadership Campaign is hiring for two fundraising positions.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that state medical cannabis laws “in general have a null effect on cannabis-positive driving, as do state laws with specific supply provisions including home cultivation and unlicensed or quasi-legal dispensaries” but that only “in jurisdictions with state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries did the odds of marijuana-involved driving increase significantly.”

Slow federal approvals are delaying the start of Utah state-funded research on the effect of medical cannabis on pain.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation launched a Latin America affiliate.

Canadian food companies are rolling out marijuana-focused ad campaigns.

Marijuana delivery service Eaze filed a motion to compel arbitration in a lawsuit filed by a woman who alleges the company improperly sent her text messages.

/ CULTURE

Musician Melissa Etheridge said she’s “really jealous” of Canada’s legalization of marijuana.

Musician Carly Simon uses CBD to treat knee pain.

Netflix’s marijuana-themed “Cooking on High” is getting bad reviews.

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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 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.)

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NZ cannabis referendum trails in early results (Newsletter: October 30, 2020)

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Poll: MT legal marijuana measure leads; MS court to consider cannabis challenge after election; AZ anti-legalization ads; Booker pushes referendum

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Zealand’s marijuana legalization referendum is trailing in preliminary results, but nearly half a million more “special votes” will be counted by next Friday, and observers expect those to trend for legal cannabis.

A new poll found that Montana likely voters support legalizing marijuana through a ballot initiative next week, 54%-38%.

The Mississippi Supreme Court said it won’t consider a last-minute challenge to the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures until after voters decide the issue on Election Day.

Arizona marijuana opponents released five attack ads ahead of the state’s legalization vote next week. The spots, which come as polls show voters poised to strongly approve the cannabis initiative, contain some misleading claims.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) released a video urging New Jersey voters to support a marijuana legalization referendum on their ballots. Meanwhile, a new campaign finance report shows legal cannabis supporters outraising opponents by more than 200 to 1.

/ FEDERAL

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Brightbill spoke about the use of unauthorized pesticides in  illegal marijuana cultivation operations.

Sen. Doug Jones (R-AL) said that states should be able to set their own marijuana laws.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she supports federal legalization only for medical cannabis, while Democratic challenger Sara Gideon wants to end federal marijuana prohibition altogether.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) filed a resolution to designate October as “National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke about her view that Congress needs to pass justice-focused marijuana legislation before advancing a cannabis banking bill.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “If Cory Booker supports marijuana reform, why does he oppose the STATES Act???”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “So much of what we’re fighting for is on the ballot this election, including:…✳️ Cannabis legalization…We can do it. We must do it. #VOTE”

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing other drugs.

Libertarian Party presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen spoke about her support for legalizing all drugs.

Kansas Democratic congressional candidate Laura Lombard tweeted, “If you’re for the legalization of marijuana, there’s only one candidate who’s got your back.”

/ STATES

Missouri Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nicole Galloway tweeted, “Missouri voted for medical marijuana to fund veterans services — but @GovParsonMO limited the number of available licenses and awarded many to clients of his insider friends, many of whom donated thousands to his campaign. He was never in it for veterans — only himself.”

A Pennsylvania court dismissed a complaint from a nursing student who wanted to avoid taking a drug test she would fail due to her medical cannabis use.

The Oglala Sioux Tribal Council, located in South Dakota, approved a marijuana legalization ordinance.

Wisconsin regulators are extending the state’s hemp pilot program.

Washington State regulators proposed rules on the marijuana license qualification and application process.

The Navajo Nation, located in New Mexico, is suing 33 members for allegedly violating tribal law by growing hemp, marijuana or both.

California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on Friday.

Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Review panel will issue reports on adding new qualifying conditions on Monday.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission will meet on Monday and the Cannabis Commission Patient Equity Subcommittee will meet on Thursday.


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 Santa Fe, New Mexico City Council approved an ordinance to ban no-knock warrants.

Portland, Oregon’s mayor proposed using marijuana tax revenue to create a community-led process to promote anti-racist investments and expand wealth creation and restorative justice for people of color.

Trinity County, California officials are being sued by marijuana growers who are upset their cultivation applications have not been acted on.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Dominica’s parliament approved legislation to decriminalize marijuana.

Uruguayan officials signed a decree allowing warehouses to store, repackage and ship cannabis products internationally.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “no evidence that cannabis users experienced higher rates of work-related injuries.

A review concluded that “evidence does not provide a strong case that cannabis use during [medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder] poses a threat to patient outcomes.”

/ BUSINESS

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. raised more than C$46 million through a public stock offering.

Columbia Care, Inc. raised $20.4 million with add-on debt financing.

MedMen filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Pasadena, California from issuing marijuana licenses until it is reinstated into the process.

KushCo Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $26.5 million and a net loss of $7.3 million.

/ CULTURE

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow said that cannabis is a “hero ingredient of the future” for wellness and made an investment in Cann.

The Onion made fun of Jay-Z’s new cannabis line.

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NJ cannabis sales could launch soon after election (Newsletter: October 29, 2020)

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Former fed prosecutor’s SD legal marijuana ad; Poll: KS voters want legal cannabis; DEA & USPS launch “Drug Free USA Forever” stamp with Miss America

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The chairman of the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee said recreational marijuana sales could start just weeks after voter approval of a legalization referendum on Tuesday. That would happen through existing medical cannabis dispensaries under his plan.

A former federal prosecutor appears in a new ad calling on South Dakota voters to approve separate marijuana legalization and medical cannabis initiatives on the state’s ballot.

  • “One mistake—possession of even a gram of marijuana—can ruin a life. It could mean jail, a record, making it hard to get a job, an apartment or serve in the military.”

A new poll found that Kansas adults support legalizing marijuana by a three-to-one margin, 67%-22%.

The U.S. Postal Service, in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration and Miss America, launched a new “Drug Free USA Forever” stamp.

/ FEDERAL

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) reiterated a pledge to decriminalize marijuana and expunge records during a campaign speech in Nevada.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding research on “the  risks that smoking or vaping tobacco or marijuana may have on acquiring the COVID-19 infection.”

The U.S. ambassador to Jamaica accused a person who tweeted about President Trump’s account at a Chinese bank of smoking too much marijuana.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Todd Young (R-IN) led a letter signed by eight other senators calling on the secretaries of state and the treasury to impose sanctions on senior commanders of Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion for extrajudicial killings in that nation’s “war on drugs.”

West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin tweeted, “This isn’t a partisan issue- it’s a greed issue. People from all walks of life want to legalize cannabis, except for those who want to make money off our backs instead of empowering our farmers, small businesses, & working people. We need restorative #cannabis legalization NOW”

The Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate for a U.S. House seat whose death put into question the timing of the election reportedly told a friend that he was recruited to run for the seat by Republicans in an effort to draw votes away from Democrats.

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said that legalizing marijuana could help the state’s budget if Democrats win control of the state Senate.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) sent a press release touting proposed rules that would allow CBD-infused foods and drinks. Separately, the state’s lieutenant governor reiterated that marijuana legalization will likely be part of the budget next year.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) said he wants the territory’s legal marijuana program to roll out on a slow and steady basis.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) and his challengers debated marijuana policy. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers tweeted, “‘It is time decriminalize Marijuana in Indiana.’ That’s it, that’s the tweet.” He also tweeted, “Indiana needs to legalize marijuana for medicinal use to treat chronic, debilitating pain and treat PTSD for veterans. Just one of the many reasons why we need to take this step and take it quickly. And with your vote, we will!”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “4:20 PM. Time to legalize it.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor did an interview about his support for legalizing marijuana. He also promoted the opportunity for people to get their cannabis convictions pardoned, tweeting, “Don’t allow your old cannabis-related conviction to ruin your future. Follow this link for an expedited application for a pardon through the new program we created to make pardons quicker and easier for minor cannabis offenses.”

Mississippi’s secretary of state published a video explaining how to vote on the state’s medical cannabis ballot questions.

An Illinois judge blocked regulators from rescoring marijuana business license applications while a challenge to their process is considered in court.

Missouri’s top medical cannabis regulator said he thinks marijuana legalization will be on the state’s ballot in 2022. Separately, a judge scheduled a two-day trial starting on Thursday in a case challenging regulators’ medical marijuana licensing decisions.

The Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence is conducting oversight of the implementation of the state’s hemp law.

Colorado regulators approved additional hemp seed varieties.

California regulators sent a reminder about Monday’s deadline to apply for the cannabis-funded Community Reinvestment Grants program.

Washington State regulators sent a newsletter with updates on marijuana rules.


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 Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney tweeted, “Vacating low-level cannabis convictions is just one step in righting the wrongs of the war on drugs and reforming a system that has historically over-criminalized Black and Brown communities.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s health minister and minister of state for natural resources backed a now-shelved plan to transform state-owned bogs into cannabis farms.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of case reports concluded that “hemp-derived CBD in a transdermal cream provided significant symptom and pain relief for the patients described in this case series.”

A study found “no evidence of liver toxicity was observed in [cannabidiol-rich cannabis extract (CRCE) and methylsulfonylmethane] dosed mice.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New York City residents support legalizing marijuana, 61%-30%.

The Mississippi Municipal League is opposing the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures.

NORML rescinded an Outstanding Cannabis Advocate award it gave to its Wisconsin chapter leader after it received a sexual harassment complaint about him.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture filed comments expressing concerns with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s proposed hemp rules.

/ BUSINESS

4Front Ventures Corp. entered into a sale and leaseback agreement with Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. for two of its Massachusetts and Washington State cultivation and production facilities.

TILT Holdings Inc. preliminarily reported quarterly revenue of $40-$41 million

Akerna Corp. is seeking to raise approximately $12 million with an offering of 5 million shares of common stock at a price of $2.40 per share.

Canopy Growth Corporation’s Spectrum Therapeutics division made a $50,000 donation to Wounded Warriors Canada.

/ CULTURE

Actress Rosario Dawson tweeted, “As a new New Jersey voter I got to vote for both @CoryBooker and the legalization of marijuana. 21st century here we come! Ancient natural medicines should be available and I’m glad my love and my senator is fighting for it nationwide. #expungetherecords”

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MS city sues to block medical cannabis measure (Newsletter: October 28, 2020)

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ID 2022 marijuana initiative filed; Schumer: Legal cannabis if Dems win; NJ lawmakers OK marijuana workers comp bill; Poll: NYers back legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The city of Madison, Mississippi is asking the state Supreme Court to block the medical cannabis ballot measures that voters are set to decide on next week. It is the latest in a string of last-minute legal challenges to cannabis initiatives in several states.

Idaho medical cannabis activists filed an initiative that they hope to get on the state’s 2022 ballot. They tried this year with virtually identical language but were impeded by the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing measures. This time they’ll have 18 months to petition.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a new interview that he will put marijuana legalization up for a floor vote if Democrats win control of the chamber in next week’s elections.

  • “I’m a big fighter for racial justice, and the marijuana laws have been one of the biggest examples of racial injustice, and so to change them makes sense. And that fits in with all of the movement now to bring equality in the policing, in economics and in everything else. Our bill is, in a certain sense, at the nexus of racial justice, individual freedom and states’ rights.”

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a bill requiring workers’ compensation and personal injury protection plans to cover the costs of medical cannabis.

A new poll found that New York residents support legalizing marijuana by a two-to-one margin. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) recently said he thinks the need for economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic will encourage the state to legalize cannabis “soon.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request from a Minnesota Republican congressional candidate to delay the election following the death of the Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweed, “The daily refrain for COVID is ‘follow the science.’ Science behind marijuana raises ‘red flags’ that deserve further study. Psychosis, links to schizophrenia, links to addiction, public safety and even climate issues. More science and more facts needed on marijuana.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) spoke about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement in a Senate floor speech about the vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Indiana Democratic congressional candidate Andy Ruff tweeted, “Our neighbors in MI and IL have chosen to capture hundreds of millions in tax revenue & lessen the burden on police by legalizing marijuana. Republicans in IN have chosen to defund public education & criminalize non-violent citizens. Hoosiers deserve better”

Mississippi Democratic congressional candidate Antonia Eliason tweeted, “A reminder that you have to vote first FOR either Initiative 65 or 65A and then also vote FOR 65. Both steps are required. Let’s legalize medical marijuana! #vote65”

/ STATES

Washington, D.C.’s mayor said she won’t be voting for the psychedelics decriminalization measure on the city’s ballot.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) defended his administration’s implementation of medical cannabis, but State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who is his Democratic challenger, tweeted, “$1.6 million diverted from veterans to cover legal fees for @GovParsonMO’s corrupt rollout of medical marijuana. 68 veterans dead from COVID on his watch. It’s obvious why Gov. Parson wants to distract from his own record — he knows he can’t defend it.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) said the state’s marijuana businesses are “thriving.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Legalizing adult-use cannabis is: 🤜🏿🤛🏼Fiscally responsible. We can save the millions of dollars we spend prosecuting our taxpayers every year and avoid the associated loss of productivity while generating billions in new revenue. 🤜🏽🤛🏾Common sense. Call your legislators.”

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that workers’ compensation insurers cannot be required to pay for medical cannabis. Separately, regulators delayed adopting marijuana delivery rules and will hold a second public hearing on the issue on November 13.

New York regulators released proposed rules for CBD products that would allow infused foods and drinks.

Michigan regulators are hosting a marijuana social equity business resource workshop on Thursday.

The California Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on Friday.


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 Sahuarita, Arizona Town Council adopted a measure to ban recreational marijuana businesses.

The Rapid City, South Dakota School Board rejected a resolution opposing the state’s marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures.

The Des Moines, Iowa Marijuana Enforcement Task Force will meet on Wednesday.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor tweeted, “Isn’t it time we become intellectually honest and morally consistent in Missouri and legalize marijuana as a closely-regulated product for all recreational use?”

/ INTERNATIONAL

An exit poll conducted by Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky found broad voter support for legalizing medical cannabis.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is being urged by some senators to release an opposition lawmaker who was jailed after being critical of the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “inhaled cannabis reduces self-reported pain severity by 42–49%” but that “these reductions appear to diminish across time, and patients use larger doses across time, suggesting that analgesic tolerance develops with continued use.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Democrtic Attorneys General Association tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana just makes sense in Indiana. It works to: 🟢 dismantle racist drug policies 🟢 alleviate pressure on law enforcement 🟢 aid in medical treatment for veterans & terminally ill, & 🟢 could net $170 MILLION+ in revenue.”

NORML is stepping up its call for Virginia lawmakers to legalize marijuana in the wake of reports of consumers being harmed from potentially tainted cannabis.

Portland Community College’s Community Legal & Educational Access & Referral Clinic and the Oregon Cannabis Association are holding an expungement event on Friday.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. filed a base shelf prospectus that will allow it to offer up to $500 million worth of common shares, preferred shares, warrants, subscription receipts and debt securities.

/ CULTURE

Nas is narrating a new BET marijuana documentary.

Errol Morris has a new documentary about Timothy Leary’s love life.

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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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