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FDA says CBD regulations could take years to enact (Newsletter: March 21, 2019)



Hickenlooper open to decriminalizing drugs & sex work; SC medical marijuana advances; O’Rourke connects Big Pharma wrongs with cannabis reform

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Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is warning that  it could take the agency several years to develop rules allowing CBD in food products. A better option, he says, would be for Congress to pass additional legislation on the topic beyond the Farm Bill’s hemp legalization provisions.

Presidential candidate and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who opposed legalizing marijuana in 2012, now says states should be able to decriminalize heroin and cocaine—and allow supervised consumption facilities—without federal interference. He’s also open to legalizing sex work.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, compared the non-prosecution of Big Pharma malfeasance to racially disproportionate enforcement of marijuana laws in a campaign rally.

A South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee approved a medical cannabis bill.


National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow is skeptical that medical cannabis can be a substitute for opioids.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “There’s evidence that much of the marijuana available today has substantially higher THC content than in years/ decades past, & that may present a unique risk to certain subgroups (eg young people, developing fetuses, and those w mental health concerns). Further, young people especially are consuming in ways (eg via edibles, e-cigarettes, and ‘dabbing,’- if you’re a parent and you don’t know what dabbing is, look it up!) that can further increase the concentration of THC (the part of MJ that gets one ‘high’) reaching the brain.”

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), a presidential candidate, said during a CNN town hall that “most of our fears haven’t come true” about legalizing marijuana and that “I’ve come more and more to believe now that the worst didn’t happen and even though our system’s not perfect yet—we still have a black market—it’s so much better than the old system where we sent millions of kids to prison, most of them kids of color.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) spoke about his support for military veterans’ medical cannabis access.

Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) tweeted, “Marijuana legalization for adult use is the right choice for New Jersey. Legalizing adult-use marijuana will allow the state to regulate the drug and ensure its safety. I applaud the expungement provisions developed by @GovMurphy and legislative leadership. Like many other states, New Jersey has suffered from disproportionate impacts of drug enforcement in minority communities, and this legislation will help rectify iniquities of the past. New  Jersey is ready to move forward, and it’s time for the state’s leaders to get behind it.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) tweeted, “The criminalization of marijuana has done real damage among people of color in this country. In drug use and addiction, we have frequently and mistakenly used the criminal justice system with Black and Brown people, while seeking treatment, and leniency for White users. Glad to see our state stepping up to address the disparities that marijuana has created in our criminal justice system with strong social justice components in their proposal to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, and I am especially grateful for @GovMurphy’s leadership on this.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “More and more states have addressed the painful consequences of the failed #WarOnDrugs by legalizing marijuana. Congress must follow their lead and pass the #MarijuanaJusticeAct to legalize cannabis at the federal level.”

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), who is considering running for the Democratic presidential nomination, tweeted about his support for marijuana legalization and decriminalizing all drugs.


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he thinks marijuana legalization “will be done during the legislative session, post budget.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) cheered a court ruling dismissing the state’s prior appeal of a lawsuit challenging its former ban on smoking medical cannabis.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he expects to see several hemp bills introduced in the state.

Colorado lawmakers sent Gov. Jared Polis (D) a bill adding autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions. Separately, regulators issued guidance on cannabis transportation licenses.

A Tennessee senator claims that Gov. Bill Lee (R) told her he would sign a medical cannabis bill despite his past opposition.

The U.S. Virgin Islands senator who sponsored a successful medical cannabis bill is now the nominee to be the territory’s agriculture commissioner.

Kentucky Democratic gubernatorial candidate Adam Edelen tweeted, “When I’m your governor, medical marijuana users will be patients, not criminals.”

The Illinois Senate Financial Institutions Committee approved a marijuana banking bill.

The California Assembly Committee on Health approved a bill to clarify hemp-derived CBD’s legality.

Michigan’s new marijuana regulatory body will make its decisions behind closed doors. Meanwhile, regulators expect to have draft recreational cannabis rules ready by June. And the state’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board will meet on Thursday.

Washington State officials said that marijuana tax revenue has “leveled off.” Separately, regulators sent a warning about letters with consumer complaints that cannabis businesses are receiving that falsely appear to be from the state Liquor and Cannabis Board.

Nevada regulators are being sued by 11 marijuana businesses over allegedly “arbitrarily” issuing dispensary licenses.

Oregon regulators announced changes to marijuana pre-roll tracking and taxation rules.

Vermont regulators plan to increase fees for hemp growers.

The Rhode Island House Finance Committee held a hearing on marijuana legalization, with the State Police colonel testifying in support of the legislation.

A New Jersey senator who opposes commercial marijuana legalization filed a bill to place a measure allowing one ounce of cannabis on the ballot.

North Carolina lawmakers introduced a hemp bill.

A Wisconsin representative’s claim about drug-related incarceration rates for African-American men is false, according to PolitiFact.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on April 11.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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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Clark County, Nevada officials are considering how to use marijuana tax revenue for homelessness issues.


The Organization of American States published a report tracking drug use trends in the Americas.

Jersey Chief Minister John Le Fondré supports legalizing medical cannabis cultivation.

Romania’s finance minister said the government is considering legalizing medical cannabis.


The Indiana Democratic Party tweeted, “It is going to take all of us standing together to legalize medical marijuana in Indiana.  ✍ Sign our petition if you are ready to join dozens of other states with medicinal cannabis.”

The Republican Party of New York tweeted, “In a victory for voices of reason everywhere, the rush to legalize recreational marijuana has been dropped from the budget. We must examine all of the research before jumping to a decision on this important topic.”

Koch-backed group Americans for Prosperity is organizing a phone banking session in support of a New Hampshire marijuana legalization bill.


A study found that “of those reporting having been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, most reported these conditions were improved following 5-MeO-DMT use, and fewer reported they were unchanged or worsened” and that “improvement in depression/anxiety conditions were associated with greater intensity of mystical experiences and higher ratings of the spiritual significance and personal meaning of the 5-MeO-DMT experience.”

WIRED published an overview of the science of marijuana.


In a poll of U.S. adults, 2% responded to an open-ended question about one issue that “will be most important to you in deciding whom to support in next year’s presidential election” by mentioning marijuana.

A poll of New York voters found that they support legalizing marijuana, 65%-32% and that 59% would support the legal sale of cannabis in their communities, with 38% opposed.


CVS will begin selling Curaleaf CBD products.

Vireo Health will begin publicly trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange.


Musician Dean Ween said he will open a marijuana-friendly concert venue in Denver on April 5.

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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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