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Fed judge releases longtime cannabis prisoner (Newsletter: February 6, 2023)

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MD marijuana sales bill; FL legalization ballot milestone; WA cannabis homegrow hearing; MO recreational sales begin

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A federal judge granted early release to Luke Scarmazzo, who was serving a 21-year sentence for his role in a state-legal California medical cannabis operation—with the judge noting “dramatic changes in the legal landscape” for marijuana in recent years.

Maryland House and Senate lawmakers filed legislation to regulate marijuana sales following voters’ approval of a legalization referendum on the November ballot.

A Florida marijuana legalization campaign funded by Trulieve has cleared a key signature gathering hurdle to put the measure before the state Supreme Court for review on its way toward potential November 2024 ballot placement.

The Washington State House Committee on Regulated Substances and Gaming held a hearing on a bill to finally allow people to grow their own marijuana at home—more than ten years after voters approved legalization.

Missouri recreational marijuana sales began, and regulators started accepting applications from people who want to grow their own cannabis at home—a few days earlier than expected.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on a bill to block police from using the smell of marijuana alone as a justification to stop and search vehicles.

Americans for Safe Access published the latest edition of its annual report card that grades state medical cannabis programs, with a top staffer saying that this year’s review unfortunately saw the “fewest improvements” for patients.

/ FEDERAL

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration adopted final rules to implement provisions of an infrastructure law, including ones focused on efforts to combat marijuana-impaired driving in states that have enacted legalization.

The Congressional Research Service noted a recent appeals court ruling that determined a man could not sue police for blocking him from transporting hemp.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke about the prospects for cannabis banking legislation.

Former Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) said he may want to get involved in medical cannabis and psilocybin efforts now that he’s done with electoral politics.

/ STATES

The Washington State House Committee on Regulated Substances & Gaming held a hearing on legislation to enact a new tax on high-potency cannabis products.

The Arizona House Judiciary Committee rejected a bill that would have allowed prosecutors to charge drug sellers with homicide if the substances they sold appeared to result in a consumer’s death.

The Oregon House Revenue Committee held a hearing on legislation to move revenue away from addiction recovery services that is being allocated under the voter-approved drug decriminalization law.

The Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee held a hearing on hemp regulation.

A California assemblymember filed a bill to make it easier for marijuana dispensaries to sell food and beverages.

Mississippi lawmakers and regulators are taking steps to shield records of medical cannabis business violations from public view.

Missouri courts have so far expunged more than 5,000 marijuana convictions under provisions of the voter-approved legalization law.

Georgia regulators rescinded recently approved medical cannabis rules.

Vermont regulators halted sales of marijuana produced by Holland Cannabis due to pesticide contamination.

Florida regulators will accept applications for new medical cannabis dispensary licenses from April 24-28.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture tweeted, “Happy #NationalHempDay! Do you know all of the things that hemp can do for you? From biofuel to insulation, there is plenty of opportunities out in Pennsylvania’s hemp fields.”

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services tweeted, “It’s National Hemp Day! Several farmers across our state are utilizing hemp as a new crop and experimenting with ways to grow it best in our state. We are proud of all their innovative work with this versatile crop!”

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture tweeted, “Happy #NationalHempDay! The New Mexico Department of Agriculture’s hemp licensing program has led to a revitalized greenhouse industry in the state. NMDA licensed over 10 million square feet of greenhouse space for hemp during the 2022 growing season.”

Alaska’s Advisory Task Force on Recreational Marijuana will meet on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is tracking hundreds of 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.

/ LOCAL

Kansas City, Missouri officials are asking a court to place a proposal to enact a local tax on marijuana sales on the April ballot after they missed the deadline for approval.

CBD and kratom stores owned by a Biloxi, Mississippi city council member were raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The Tucson, Arizona City Council will hear a presentation on expunging marijuana convictions this week.

A New York City task force has reportedly inspected only 10 percent of the city’s unlicensed marijuana stores.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s digital economy and society minister said the government should legalize vaping devices.

Germany’s health minister answered questions about cannabis.

The Mexican Chamber of Deputies Health Committee is hosting a forum on medical cannabis on Wednesday.

South Africa’s Department of Employment and Labour published an overview of issues related to workplace cannabis testing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabinol inhibits cell growth and triggers cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in cancer cells.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 57 percent of Americans want to ban the sale of all tobacco products.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board is concerned about the high number of medical cannabis recommendations for anxiety in Pennsylvania.

/ BUSINESS

Ayr Wellness laid off 180 workers.

POSaBIT Systems Corporation has a new chief strategic officer.

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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 Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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