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Federal cannabis monopoly ends with DEA-approved harvests (Newsletter: January 5, 2022)

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RI leaders close to legalization deal; Bourbon-selling KY senator worried about medical marijuana; Record IL cannabis sales

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The federal monopoly on growing cannabis for research has officially ended, with two companies telling Marijuana Moment that they’ve harvested their first Drug Enforcement Administration-approved crops in recent weeks.

Rhode Island’s House speaker and Senate president indicated in opening remarks at the start of the legislative session that they are nearing a deal on how to regulate the marijuana industry in a new legalization bill expected to be filed this month. But Gov. Dan McKee (D) might not be on board with a key detail.

Kentucky’s Senate majority floor leader—who owns a bourbon company called “Kentucky Senator”—said he opposes medical cannabis despite strong support from his constituents.

  • “If they don’t like it, they can take it out on me in the next election.”

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that marijuana businesses set a sales record in December, closing out a year with nearly $1.4 billion worth of legal cannabis products sold—more than doubling 2020’s total.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color. I’m working to pass our bill to end the federal marijuana prohibition, enact criminal justice reforms, and ensure equity for those impacted by the War on Drugs.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the lieutenant governor, tweeted about a local move to reduce some marijuana charges, saying, “Lebanon 🔴  is one of Pennsylvania’s most conservative counties. I commend the DA for adopting these common sense changes to marijuana charges. Legalization is “inevitable” in PA. Those aren’t my words. They belong to a Republican state Senator.”

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker tweeted, “There is overwhelming bipartisan support to legalize medical cannabis in Kentucky. The politicians blocking it know that very well.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Coy Branscum tweeted, “I support federal efforts to legalize adult use marijuana. This will be a boon for investment in our country and will provide much needed criminal justice reform for our country.”

/ STATES

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor pushed back against Gov. Tate Reeves’s (R) criticism of pending medical cannabis legislation, while the House speaker said it is “not the top issue” for the session. Separately, a senator is proposing a medical marijuana bill that would ban smoking.

Tennessee Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Martin tweeted that voters told him it’s a priority to work on “updating Tennessee’s antiquated marijuana laws.”

The Louisiana legislature’s Industrial Hemp Advisory Committee met.

An Indiana representative said he doesn’t think there’s enough support in the legislature to pass marijuana reform.

A Wisconsin senator applauded Gov. Tony Evers (D) for pardoning people with marijuana convictions.

Montana’s Supreme Court has been slow to set up a specialized court to handle marijuana expungements.

Massachusetts’s top marijuana regulator said implementing delivery services can “take a big chunk out of” the illegal market.

Virginia regulators are considering amending rules for marijuana field tests and are accepting comments on proposed changes to rules on medical cannabis product labeling and access to facilities.

Illinois regulators are beginning rulemaking on changes to the medical cannabis program.

The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets tweeted, “We’re proud to announce that our Hemp Program Plan has been approved by @USDA. All growers who were licensed under our former Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program need to reapply under this new program in order to grow hemp this year.”

Colorado regulators gave an update on the marijuana program in the Department of Revenue’s annual report.

Oklahoma regulators sent an update about a switch to new medical cannabis licensing software this month.

The Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission reported on hemp projects it is funding.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 800 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

Portland, Oregon officials posted application materials for cannabis business emergency relief funds.

Oakland, California’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission will meet on Thursday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will “never, never apologise for the deaths” in his nation’s bloody “drug war.”

London, England’s mayor clarified that a new arrest diversion plan will only apply to people under 25 and for marijuana only, not other drugs. A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacted by saying that “illegal drugs destroy lives and fuel violence.” And the leader of the Labour Party said he’s “not in favour of changing the drugs laws.”

Quebec, Canada’s government is denying access to marijuana and alcohol retail locations to people who have not received COVID vaccinations.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical cannabis “use for chronic pain is increasing with cannabis legalization.”

A study of mice suggested that “both cannabinoids and terpenes in oil extracts should be considered as potential therapeutic agents against epileptic seizures and epilepsy.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Kentucky Democratic Party tweeted, “Nine out of 10 Kentuckians support legalizing medical marijuana. Republicans in Frankfort aren’t representing Kentucky’s interests — just their own.”

The Indiana Democratic Party tweeted, “A state that Donald Trump won by 16 points [Montana] made recreational cannabis legal. The @indgop’s opposition to marijuana is more out of touch with most of the larger @GOP. Their partisanship is harming Indiana’s economic potential.”

The Association for Cannabis Health and Medicine will host a summit on cannabis in sports on January 22.

/ BUSINESS

MJBiz was acquired by Emerald Holding, Inc.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company acquired Luxx Lighting and True Liberty Bags.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. won a dismissal of a lawsuit that accused the company of misleading investors about the quality of its cultivation facilities.

The Honeybee Collective raised a $107,000 funding round.

/ CULTURE

David Crosby gave a reporter tips about how to roll a joint and spoke about his forthcoming cannabis brand.

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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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