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Fed cannabis lawsuit arguments (Newsletter: May 23, 2024)



Daily marijuana use outweighs drinking; Drug czar on rescheduling; Legalization priority poll; NY cannabis civil action bill; MA veterans psychedelics

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A court held oral arguments in a lawsuit filed by marijuana businesses seeking to block federal enforcement against their in-state activities, with a Department of Justice attorney asserting that the Biden administration’s cannabis rescheduling process “supports the rationality” of ongoing prohibition.

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Rahul Gupta said moving cannabis to Schedule III is “based on science and evidence” and will ease research restrictions—but he misstated its impact by suggesting it will allow doctors to “prescribe marijuana.”

The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a veterans-focused bill that includes provisions to create a psychedelics working group and initiate a pilot program on medical marijuana as an opioid alternative.

A new poll from the Parabola Center found that Americans want marijuana legalization to prioritize social equity—with policies that benefit workers, medical patients and people who have been harmed by criminalization, rather than large corporations.

New York lawmakers introduced legislation that would allow people to file legal actions against unlicensed marijuana businesses.

  • “Empowering everyday New Yorkers with tools against illegal cannabis operators, whose conduct is both unlawful and inundates our communities with untested, unregulated and potentially deadly cannabis, is vital as we continue our enforcement efforts to combat illegal cannabis.”

A new study found that more Americans now consume marijuana every day than drink alcohol on a daily basis—for the first time ever.

A new study found a “lack of notable ‘next day’ impairment to cognitive and psychomotor function and simulated driving performance” following evening use of THC and CBD by insomnia patients.

  • “Almost all of the cognitive tests conducted, involving attention, working memory, speed of information processing, and other domains, showed no ‘next day’ effects of THC/CBD… In contrast, commonly prescribed sedative-hypnotics are known to impair next-day function.”

The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York said it will stop overseeing construction of new marijuana social equity dispensaries as lawmakers grilled Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) nominee to head the agency.


Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) filed a bill directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to carry out “regionally focused research, development, stakeholder engagement, and technology transfer activities to improve agronomic and agro-economic understanding of effectively integrating hemp into existing agricultural cropping, processing, and marketing systems.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) pressed Secretary of State Antony Blinken about Chinese-backed illegal marijuana grow operations in Maine and other states.

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) tweeted, “OK has become an epicenter for marijuana trafficking. Chinese organizations are buying land by the hundreds of thousands of acres—bringing in forced labor, drugs & human trafficking. We need to know who is buying our land & how they are using it.”

Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) tweeted, “Far too many Americans are sitting in prison for far too long because of our country’s outdated and ineffective war on drugs. While we work to fully legalize marijuana, I’m proud to join @RepBarbaraLee in urging @POTUS to pardon those still incarcerated for marijuana offenses.”

The House marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor for a total of 119.

The House bill to create a commission to prepare for marijuana legalization got one new cosponsor for a total of five.


U.S. Virgin Islands Gov.. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) approved cannabis rules.

The Tennessee House Republican Caucus chair and Senate minority leader praised the federal marijuana rescheduling decision.

A Wisconsin senator said the federal marijuana rescheduling decision could help to legalize medical cannabis in the state.

An Illinois senator spoke about her bill to expand the number of medical cannabis dispensaries.

Connecticut’s acting healthcare advocate appointed a state cannabis ombudsman.

New York regulators sent lawmakers a document criticizing a recent audit of the state’s marijuana licensing program. In a related development, the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus is upset with Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) ouster of the state’s top cannabis official.

Nevada regulators proposed changes to marijuana tax rules.

Massachusetts regulators published a model marijuana equity municipal by-law or ordinance template and related guidance.

Missouri regulators published guidance on cannabis item approvals.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.


A Chicago, Illinois City Council committee approved a proposed ordinance to give local lawmakers more control over marijuana dispensaries in the downtown area.

Denver, Colorado’s Natural Medicine Work Group will meet on Thursday.


Victoria, Australia lawmakers are considering hemp legislation.


A review concluded that cannabinoids have “antiproliferative, anti-invasive, anti-fibroblastic, cell cycle arrest, and proapoptotic effects” on prostate cancer cells.


A poll of British adults found that 80 percent in Gen Z support legalizing marijuana.

United for Marijuana Decriminalization launched an online tool to facilitate submitting public comments in support of full cannabis descheduling amid the rescheduling process.


Glass House Brands Inc. filed a short form base shelf prospectus.

CanPay and  CannaPlan are partnering on a cannabis employee benefits program.


Rapper Boosie Badazz is calling on President Joe Biden to expunge his marijuana record.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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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