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Federal cannabis prosecutions declining, SCOTUS report says (Newsletter: January 1, 2020)

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IL gov pardons thousands for marijuana; Andrew Yang considering legalizing drugs; GOP senator talks up cannabis banking

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) pardoned more than 11,000 people for past marijuana records—on the eve of legal recreational cannabis sales beginning in the state.

  • “These 11,017 misdemeanor convictions represent individuals who have carried around with them a stain on their records for possessing less than 30 grams of cannabis – a stain that has very often prevented them from obtaining housing or jobs or benefits.”

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’s end-of-year report shows that federal marijuana prosecutions dropped by more than a quarter in 2018 as states continued to implement legal cannabis laws. The new data confirms an ongoing, multi-year trend indicating that as more states enact marijuana legalization policies, the market for unregulated cannabis is continuing to dry up.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is considering “legalization of certain drugs” to take profits away from cartels.

  • “I’m open to looking at legalizing different drugs that are not just fueling the cartel but also in some cases would frankly be an upgrade over the opiates that many Americans are currently getting addicted to.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said he hopes that Congress will send a marijuana banking bill to President Trump’s desk, though he hasn’t yet joined more than a third of his Senate colleagues who have actually cosponsored the legislation.

  • “If you make it all cash, you’ve highly increased the bad things that can happen.”

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration published a notice clarifying that unwashed poppy seeds are considered controlled substances.

Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) tweeted about the closure of a Missouri medical cannabis recommendation clinic, saying, “One toke over the line.”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) cited the expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program as an example of “tremendous progress” achieved in 2019.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is asking federal officials to amend proposed hemp regulations.

The Illinois State Police issued a statement saying it “will not revoke Firearm’s Owner’s Identification Cards based solely on a person’s legal use of adult use cannabis.” Separately, regulators announced another round of approvals for medical cannabis dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana.

Michigan officials are pressing Weedmaps to only list licensed marijuana businesses in the state, something the company says it will do beginning January 1.

Here’s a look at cannabis policy developments in Florida over the past year.

Here’s a look at new Colorado marijuana regulations taking effect with the new year.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking dozens of 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 Colorado Springs, Colorado City Council is expected to vote on allowing marijuana social use areas early this year.

The Chicago, Illinois city clerk tweeted about how people can petition to restrict cannabis businesses or home cultivation.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Canadian member of Parliament said he was punished by the leader of the Conservative Party for voting in support of marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabidiol oral solution is safe and effective add-on therapy for treatment-resistant seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Gallup highlighted Americans’ growing support for marijuana legalization as a “revolutionary change” over the past decade.

/ BUSINESS

Shareholders of CannaRoyalty Corp. d/b/a Origin House approved a proposed merger with Cresco Labs.

Hexo Corp. filed a correction to its financial statements.

The Green Clinics said it is closing its medical cannabis recommendation practice because of Missouri regulators’ “failure to enforce the law” against other businesses it says are flouting rules.

/ CULTURE

The New York Times published tips on traveling with medical cannabis.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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NY gov puts legal cannabis in budget proposal (Newsletter: January 22, 2020)

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Feds want help IDing marijuana studies; Lawmakers caution against changing cannabis banking bill; NM gov’s State of the State: ‘high time’ to legalize

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There are now 1,081 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) included marijuana legalization in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal he submitted to the legislature.

  • “I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues that without the budget can often languish, and I suggest that we get it done in the budget.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) told lawmakers in her State of the State speech that it’s “high time” to legalize marijuana.

  • “This is the fact: recreational cannabis can be the next frontier of our economic expansion. We can get in on the ground floor or we can try to play catch up—I know which one I prefer. And I know which one New Mexicans prefer.”

The lead sponsors of a House-passed marijuana banking bill—Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Denny Heck (D-WA) and Warren Davidson (R-OH)—sent a letter cautioning Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) against making broad cannabis policy changes they say are unrelated to the legislation.

A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is asking for the public’s help in identifying studies on the benefits of medical cannabis for people suffering from migraine headaches and acute pain.

/ FEDERAL

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 Regional Tribal Operations Committee is scheduled to discuss tribal cannabis programs on February 13.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, reiterated his pledge to end the war on drugs, “legalize marijuana in every state in the union” and expunge past records.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) decried barriers to marijuana research in an e-newsletter.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Adam Schleifer tweeted, “In Congress, I’ll support removing marijuana from Schedule I; creating unified federal financial framework, health and safety studies and regulation, and revenue-raising taxation of marijuana.”

/ STATES

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner said the state will continue to operate its hemp program under the provisions of the prior 2014 Farm Bill instead of newer federal rules. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved a hemp testing and transportation bill.

Texas’s agriculture commissioner will hold a public hearing on proposed hemp regulations on Wednesday.

Supporters of a proposed Florida marijuana legalization ballot measure filed briefs urging the state Supreme Court to approve its language.

The New York Senate unanimously passed a hemp and CBD bill.

The Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee approved legislation to prohibit labor peace agreements for marijuana businesses. Separately, regulators sent a memo about marijuana businesses’ access to financial services.

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committee held hearings on legislation to amend medical cannabis regulations.

California’s Veterinary Medical Board will discuss medical cannabis use by animals at a meeting later this month.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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 Detroit, Michigan City Council voted to extend a moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses.

Austin, Texas City Council members are working to build support for an expected Thursday vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s government is moving to repeal a law banning marijuana vaporizers.

The European Food Safety Authority warned that eating hemp foods can cause elevated THC levels.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “92.3% [of] respondents found that cannabis positively impacted upon their physical and/or mental wellbeing and 56.4% reported that they used less of other substances which are known to be more harmful as a result.”

A study concluded that “individuals with high pain are more likely to consume cannabis multiple times a day, but this use may not be related to better health.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 58%-38%.

/ BUSINESS

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Renewable Technologies Solution, Inc., Green Acres Pharms LLC, SMRB LLC and individuals behind the companies for an alleged scheme to defraud investors.

Akerna completed its acquisition of a majority interest in solo sciences inc.

From The Earth, an American marijuana retailer, is seeking to trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

/ CULTURE

Actor Tom Hanks and Dr. Mehmet Oz decried false claims that they’ve endorsed CBD products.

Musician David Crosby said he still smokes marijuana every night.

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Feds issue trademark for ‘psilocybin’ (Newsletter: January 21, 2020)

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USVI gov pushes legal marijuana in annual speech; Idaho senator files drug decrim bill; White House official voices cannabis concerns

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

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There are now 1,076 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) pushed lawmakers to legalize marijuana in his State of the Territory speech, saying that the move will help fund a struggling government employees retirement fund.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded a company a trademark for the word “psilocybin,” and some decriminalization advocates are not happy about it.

An Idaho senator filed a bill to decriminalize possession of currently illegal drugs.

/ FEDERAL

Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll discussed his opposition to safe consumption sites for illegal drugs and spoke about the potential harms of marijuana.

A Drug Enforcement Administration official said the agency won’t “turn our head away from” marijuana just because it is legalized under state law.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said that the last time he smoked marijuana was “a past life.” (Around 1:27:55 into the linked video.)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a presidential candidate, said you’d “have to go back to college days” when asked about the last time she smoked marijuana. (Around 3:55:15 into the linked video.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Marijuana must be legalized. All our people imprisoned because of it must be returned home to their families and their records expunged.”

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) tweeted, “We owe a national apology to the Black men and women  who were targeted, harassed, and incarcerated in the failed war on drugs.” He also tweeted, “It is up to us to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with action — to march for environmental justice, to demand equal pay for our Black brothers and sisters, and to fight for justice for those incarcerated in the failed war on drugs.”

California Democratic congressional candidate Ben Emard tweeted, “To bring the US into the 21st century, we must federally legalize the sale and use of cannabis. To right the wrongs of the past, we must expunge criminal records, release those currently incarcerated, and create equity programs to repay impacted communities.”

/ STATES

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said he thinks the state will consider legalizing marijuana at some point but that he’s focused on implementing medical cannabis right now.

New York’s lieutenant governor said that legalizing marijuana is an opportunity to help raise revenues in the budget but also to correct the injustices of the criminal justice system. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committee is now on board with legalizing cannabis.

Twenty-seven West Virginia delegates are calling on the state Department of Commerce to study the economic impact of legalizing marijuana.

The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on legislation to change medical cannabis regulations on Tuesday.

Michigan regulators removed a series of public service announcements videos that advocates had criticized as perpetuating anti-marijuana stereotypes.

Oregon regulators approved marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements and adopted rules changes.

Arizona regulators reported that 41% of hemp plants tested have excessive THC levels.

California regulators are hosting a series of cannabis permitting workshops this month and next month.

Arkansas regulators rejected the sale of two medical cannabis licenses.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


A candidate for leadership of the UK Labour Party said there needs to be a “national discussion about the war on drugs.”

Italian regulators set THC limits for hemp foods.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “there is currently encouraging, albeit embryonic, evidence for medicinal cannabis in the treatment of a range of psychiatric disorders.”

A study found that “cannabinoids can promote progression of [human papilloma virus] positive [neck squamous cell carcinoma] through p38 MAPK pathway activation.”

/ BUSINESS

FSD Pharma Inc. is scheduled to ring the Nasdaq Stock Market opening bell on Wednesday.

Surterra Wellness stopped making most medical cannabis deliveries.

Wellcana Group plans to significantly expand its Louisiana medical cannabis operation.

/ CULTURE

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow spoke about an “emotional” experience she had on MDMA.

A UFC vice president spoke with former boxer Mike Tyson about efforts to remove marijuana from state athletic commissions’ lists of banned substances.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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Legal cannabis could be on Missouri 2020 ballot (Newsletter: January 20, 2020)

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Gabbard backs legalizing drugs; Biden reiterates legal marijuana opposition; Record expungement movement grows

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 445 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

  • Michael Mendez: “This is the best resource for cannabis news and policy. Thank you guys so much for everything you do! I wish I had more to pledge!”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, is calling for the U.S. to legalize currently illicit drugs.

  • “If we take that step to legalize and regulate, then we’re no longer treating people who are struggling with substance addiction and abuse as criminals and instead getting them the help that they need.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, reiterated his opposition to legalizing marijuana in an interview with the New York Times editorial board.

  • “What I’m arguing is there have been studies showing that it complicates other problems if you already have a problem with certain drugs.”

Missouri activists are taking steps to place a marijuana legalization measure on the state’s November ballot.

A new report on National Expungement Week shows that efforts to help people clear past marijuana records are rapidly growing.

/ FEDERAL

First daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner reportedly attended a fundraising dinner with marijuana industry professionals in October 2018,

The Food and Drug Administration approved an expanded access protocol allowing a small number of patients to treat PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is being asked to let states continue structuring their hemp programs under the more limited provisions of the earlier 2014 Farm Bill through 2020.

The Supreme Court declined to take up a case concerning a tax fine against a marijuana business.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, sent a letter welcoming members of the National Cannabis Industry Association to a conference in Boston.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The criminalization of marijuana has been a disaster. We need to legalize it. We need to expunge past convictions.And we need to invest in communities destroyed by the war on drugs.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted about the 100-year anniversary of alcohol prohibition, saying, “Let’s raise a glass and toast one of the least successful government regulatory schemes ever enacted. Turns out, Liberty works; statism, not so much.”

Rep,. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted about smokable hemp, saying, “Seems like it would be easier just to legalize marijuana for adult use already.”

Here’s a look at where members of the Illinois congressional delegation stand on marijuana.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund expungement efforts got one new cosponsor for a total of 40.

The House resolution calling for marijuana legalization and decriminalizing addiction got 12 new cosponsors for a total of 15.

Alabama Republican congressional candidates said they oppose marijuana legalization but support medical cannabis.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is stepping up her push to legalize marijuana within the next month, though some leading Republican lawmakers are expressing concerns.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) pardoned 16 people for low-level marijuana offenses.

California’s attorney general tweeted, “Illegal cannabis grows on California lands are damaging wildlife habitats, poisoning our water, and hurting our communities.” Separately, lawmakers filed legislation to simplify and reduce marijuana taxes.

Rhode Island’s House speaker said “this is not the year” for legalizing marijuana.

Kansas’s House majority leader acknowledged broad public support for medical cannabis.

A Missouri judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking regulators from acting on a medical cannabis dispensary license application.

Arizona activists have so far collected more than 150,000 signatures in support of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure, and so far there’s no well-organized opposition.

Oregon regulators issued a recall of marijuana products that failed pesticide testing. Separately, a report found that marijuana sales in the state “along the Idaho border are 420% the statewide average.”

Michigan regulators issued a health and safety bulletin about the recall of marijuana products that failed safety compliance testing. Officials are also under fire for new public service ads that perpetuate anti-cannabis stereotypes.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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 Las Cruces, New Mexico mayor is urging state lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s first medical cannabis clinic has seen thousands of patients in its first 10 days of operation.

Veterans Affairs Canada is considering is considering adding disposable cannabis vaping pens to a reimbursement program.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabinoids demonstrate some efficacy in the treatment of pain and chemotherapy-related nausea; limited data suggest potential benefits in the treatment of spasticity and anxiety” and that “risks of cannabinoids in older patients appear to be moderate, and their frequency comparable to other analgesic drug classes.”

A study found that “chronic, heavy, recreational cannabis use was associated with worse driving performance in non-intoxicated drivers, and earlier onset of use was associated with greater impairment.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association is speaking out against legalizing marijuana.

A report from New Mexico Ethics Watch examines marijuana industry campaign contributions in the state.

/ BUSINESS

Fyllo acquired CannaRegs.

Canopy Growth Corporation is delaying the launch of its cannabis-infused beverages.

Union workers at Vireo Health New York ratified a new three-year contract.

Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Hexo Corp. are all facing potential class-action lawsuits.

/ CULTURE

The National Football League and NFL Players Association are close to an agreement on “significant modifications to the drug and disciplinary policies,” with sources saying that a less punitive marijuana policy is likely to be enacted.

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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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