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Federal commission wants cannabis & psychedelics research expanded (Newsletter: June 25, 2020)

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House panel examines AG’s marijuana investigations; ID medical cannabis measure gets another shot; DARPA funds psychedelic science

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There are now 1,618 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A little-noticed report from the federal Creating Options for Veterans Expedited Recovery Commission appointed by President Trump and congressional leaders recommends expanding research into the potential of marijuana and psychedelics to treat military veterans with PTSD and other conditions.

  • “The U.S. federal government’s policies have blocked externally valid, randomized clinical trials on the effects of cannabis. Scientists seeking to conduct research on cannabis must submit to an arduous application process that may last years. The research requires approval from multiple government agencies, including some with stated opposition to any therapeutic uses of cannabis.”

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from a whistleblower who says Attorney General William Barr improperly directed investigations of cannabis company mergers due to his personal animosity towards the marijuana industry. The career official also revealed that a second whistleblower’s concerns prompted an internal inquiry that determined no rules were broken.

  • “That’s very concerning to me because it seems so self-evident that if your sole motivation is animosity that that’s impermissible.”

An Idaho medical marijuana cannabis initiative might have another shot at the November ballot after a federal judge ruled the state must make signature gathering concessions to a separate campaign. If Idahoans get a chance to vote on the measure it could have far-reaching federal implications since the chair of the Senate Banking Committee, who is holding up marijuana financial services legislation, represents the state.

The Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is investing $26.9 million to create new drugs modeled after psychedelics such as psilocybin that can rapidly treat depression and anxiety but without “major side effects” like hallucination.

/ FEDERAL

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is urging Congress to consider withdrawing funding from the World Anti-Doping Agency if it doesn’t enact reforms.

No members of the House of Representatives filed amendments to add marijuana language to a police reform bill coming to the floor on Thursday.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and six other senators sent a letter urging the Senate Judiciary Committee hold a hearing on allegations that Attorney General William Barr improperly ordered investigations into cannabis company mergers and other matters.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) ran Facebook ads touting her belief that “marijuana should be legalized, and that drug consumption should be decriminalized.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “AG Barr has politicized DOJ by firing the prosecutors who investigated Trump & his allies. He’s interfered with state-legal cannabis industries under the guise of anti-trust investigations, once again putting his interests above those of the American people. It’s outrageous!”

/ STATES

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted that the Cannabis Compliance Board “will help ensure this critical part of our State’s economy is positioned to become the gold standard for the nation.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court cleared a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure for signature gathering. Meanwhile, a judge is being asked in a separate case to block residency and location regulations that could force some existing medical cannabis businesses to close.

North Dakota marijuana activists formally shifted their focus for a proposed legalization ballot measure to 2022 after a court ruled against electronic signature gathering.

Petitioners collected signatures for a proposed Arizona marijuana legalization ballot measure outside a rally President Trump held in Phoenix.

An Arkansas Legislative Council committee discussed but failed to reach a consensus on whether to add more medical cannabis cultivation permits.

Michigan marijuana regulators will meet on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Kansas City, Missouri City Council’s Finance and Public Safety Committee voted in favor of removing marijuana offenses from city code, with the full body expected to consider the issue next month.

The Los Angeles, California City Council gave initial approval to a proposal to overhaul the city’s marijuana social equity program.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israel’s Knesset gave preliminary approval to two marijuana legalization bills.

Swiss regulators are proposing to expand access to medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “there is an overwhelming preference towards plant-derived cannabidiol in epilepsy patients, driven by the idea of organic substances being safer and better tolerated than synthetic.”

A study examined how “active police enforcement of civic norms against marijuana smoking in public settings has influenced the locations where marijuana is smoked.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug User Liberation Front handed out free tested illegal drugs in British Columbia, Canada to highlight the dangers of contaminated supplies on the unregulated market.

The National Cannabis Industry Association is offering complimentary membership to all marijuana social equity applicants and licensees.

The Drug Policy Alliance, American Civil Liberties Union, NORML and other organizations sent a letter supporting congressional pressure on the Trump administration to stop using the Drug Enforcement Administration to surveil protestors.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Reports, Consumer Federation of America and Public Health Institute are urging Congress not to rush the Food and Drug Administration into allowing CBD as a dietary supplement.

/ BUSINESS

GW Pharmaceuticals plc announced that UK regulators reclassified its CBD drug EPIDYOLEX.

Euphoria Wellness said in a court filing that a lawsuit alleging it sent unsolicited text messages is a “cut-and-paste” effort.

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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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AZ legal cannabis measure gets 420k ballot signatures (Newsletter: July 2, 2020)

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OR will vote on drug decrim in Nov; OH Senate votes to double marijuana decrim limit; VA cannabis decrim takes effect

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.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,522 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

Oregon’s secretary of state announced that activists officially collected enough signatures to put a measure decriminalizing drug possession and using marijuana tax revenue to fund expanded treatment services on the November ballot.

Arizona marijuana activists filed 420,000 signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the November ballot. That’s way more than they need.

The Ohio Senate approved a bill to double the amount of marijuana that’s decriminalized in the state to 200 grams and to downgrade possession of many other drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Virginia’s marijuana decriminalization law went into effect.  As of Wednesday, getting caught with up to an ounce of cannabis comes with a $25 fine, no threat of jail time and no criminal record.

/ FEDERAL

Federal prosecutors charged two men with conspiring with an unnamed “leading on-demand marijuana delivery company” to deceive banks and other financial institutions into processing more than $100 million in credit and debit card payments for cannabis transactions.

A federal judge is giving U.S. Customs and Border Protection until July 31 to provide information in response to a lawsuit on its policies for denying entry to the country over marijuana use or industry involvement.

The special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s San Antonio district suggested that high taxes for marijuana in legal states are driving an underground market in Texas.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) filed an amendment seeking to provide protections to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children that would exempt marijuana convictions in states that have since legalized from being used as grounds for ineligibility.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) again spoke on the House floor about the need to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order extending medical cannabis identification card renewal deadlines for another 60 days.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) touted his signing legislation to decriminalize marijuana and fast-track annulments of past records in a letter to Black Lives Matter activists.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted about the launch of the state’s Cannabis Control Board. A law transferring most marijuana regulatory responsibilities to the new body took effect on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor spoke about efforts to pardon people for past marijuana convictions.

Rhode Island’s House minority leader said there’s a rumored grand jury investigation of Joint Committee on Legislative Services staff benefiting from marijuana legislation.

Arkansas regulators are being sued by a company that wants to stop them from approving additional medical cannabis dispensary licenses until their licensing process can be reviewed.

Michigan regulators released guidance on marijuana retesting and remediation.

Montana’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Davidson County, Tennessee district attorney said his office will no longer prosecute people for possessing less than half an ounce of marijuana, and Nashville’s mayor said he supports the policy.

The La Crosse, Wisconsin City Council’s Judiciary & Administration Committee advanced a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Los Angeles, California City Council approved changes to the marijuana licensing system.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “following oral consumption of cannabis, THC was detected in blood much later, and at far lower peak concentrations, compared to what has been observed with inhaled cannabis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealand Maori support a marijuana legalization referendum, 72%-27%.

NORML removed the chapter charter for MassCann after a board member of the local group who organized a “straight pride parade” and pro-police rally resigned but the national organization did not see “tangible steps to address these flaws in their organization nor movement in the right direction to address these issues within their ranks.”

The Marijuana Policy Project is asking people to send testimony requesting that the New Hampshire Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency recommend that the state legalize marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Steep Hill, Inc.’s  former CEO and chairman is suing the company in an attempt to stop its sale to EVIO, Inc.

Earthly Labs, Denver Beer Co. and The Clinic announced the success of a pilot program to use CO2 captured in the beer fermentation process to stimulate marijuana plant growth.

New England Treatment Access cultivation facility workers voted to unionize with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445.

Terrapin announced that it will use only made-in-the-USA packaging throughout its operations.

Cresco Labs and Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed on an agreement for the former company to sell and lease back a Massachusetts property to the latter firm.

/ CULTURE

“Half Baked 2” is moving toward production after it got a tax credit from the California Film Commission.

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AG could be impeached over cannabis biz probes (Newsletter: July 1, 2020)

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Feds’ new hemp banking memo; DC psychedelics campaign aided by OR/CO teams as sig deadline nears; TN senator visits IL marijuana dispensary?

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and nearly three dozen other House members filed a resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry of Attorney General William Barr, who the measure says “abused the power of his office” to improperly investigate cannabis business mergers.

  • “He’s using antitrust not for the purpose of helping consumers and businesses that might be disadvantaged by monopoly, but doing it as a vehicle for his social policies, which is unheard of,” Cohen told Marijuana Moment in an interview.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued new guidance on banking for hemp businesses, including how financial institutions should handle clients that sell both hemp and marijuana.

Activists behind successful psilocybin campaigns in Denver and Oregon have flown to Washington, D.C. to help collect the final signatures needed to qualify a psychedelics decriminalization measure for the city’s ballot ahead of a Monday deadline.

Did a Tennessee lawmaker take a road trip in a state vehicle to buy marijuana in Illinois? Internet sleuths are on the cannabis case after someone posted a photo of a vehicle with a state Senate license plate parked outside a dispensary.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Border Patrol agents are reportedly seizing legal marijuana products at checkpoints in Southern California.

A White House Office of National Drug Control Policy analysis concludes that overdose deaths are rising amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse reported that almost half of commercial driver license holders’ positive drug tests so far this year were for marijuana.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) gave a House floor speech about the need to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill streamlining hemp regulations.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued an executive order delaying the issuance of marijuana craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses as well as extending the deadline for submission of community college cannabis vocational pilot program applications due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) touted the job-creating potential of a new hemp processing lab.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said she is in “constant conversation” with the speaker about marijuana legalization and questioned Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) commitment to working to get the policy enacted.

Maine regulators adopted rules for licensing marijuana sample collectors for testing.

Nevada regulators released draft regulations allowing CBD as a dietary supplement, food additive and cosmetic.

New Mexico will begin allowing out-of-state patients to purchase medical cannabis on Wednesday.

Arkansas regulators voted to release additional medical cannabis cultivation and dispensary licenses.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on July 15.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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


British Virgin Islands lawmakers are considering legislation to legalize medical cannabis and expunge prior marijuana records.

The Philippine government created a panel to investigate deaths in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that marijuana’s “therapeutic application in areas such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and in the relief of some cancer patient’s symptoms is promising.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Colorado State Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted about a marijuana social equity bill being signed into law.

The Illinois State Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted about a grant program that is “creating opportunities for those most impacted by the War on Drugs.”

/ BUSINESS

Dixie Brands announced it will change its name due to the racist historical connotations of the word Dixie.

GW Pharmaceuticals plc announced a strategy to bring its THC and CBD drug nabiximols to the U.S. market.

Hightimes Holding Corp. extended its public stock offering deadline again.

Southern University will unveil its first line of medical cannabis products on Wednesday.

Louis Del Faveo Orchids is asking a federal court to recognize what it says is its right to a medical cannabis license.

A survey of Canadian cannabis consumers found that brand awareness is low.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted to urge Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to free a man serving a life sentence for selling marijuana.

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Biden task force weighs legal cannabis recommendation (Newsletter: June 30, 2020)

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OR psilocybin sigs submitted; Senate marijuana research amendment; CO gov signs equity/pardons bill; Baltimore tosses drug cases; HBO gummies promo

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

As more members of a criminal justice task force created by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speak out publicly about the need to reform marijuana laws, the panel has reportedly discussed behind closed doors whether to recommend the former vice president finally endorse legalizing cannabis.

An Oregon measure to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use has enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, activists say.  A handful of petitions must still be verified by the state, but the campaign collected tens of thousands of extra submissions and is confident.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill outlining criteria for marijuana business social equity applicants and expanding his ability to unilaterally grant pardons for past cannabis convictions.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are seeking to attach an amendment to expand marijuana and CBD research to the National Defense Authorization Act that’s on the Senate floor this week.

The Baltimore, Maryland state’s attorney has closed nearly 600 warrants and dismissed cases for certain offenses, including drug possession, that her office is no longer pursuing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

HBO Max is teaming up with Kanha Edibles and Eaze to offer a new line of marijuana-infused gummies promoting the new animated series “Close Enough.”

/ FEDERAL

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee will discuss the impact of hemp legalization on the safety oversight of commercial motor vehicle drivers at a meeting next month.

The Department of Health and Human Services tweeted, “More research is needed to understand the specific relationship between marijuana use and COVID-19. But smoking of any kind might increase a person’s risk for severe illness from the virus.”

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take a case on whether possessing marijuana is grounds to show a person is “armed and presently dangerous” for purposes of a search.

Sen. Amy Klobychar (D-MN) tweeted, “When 1/3 of the U.S. Justice Department Antitrust resources are going to failed cannabis investigations then yes, I am calling for an immediate hearing.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidates Christine Eady Mann and Donna Imam support decriminalizing marijuana while Mann also backs legalization.

/ STATES

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a medical cannabis reform bill that replaces a 3% THC per-product cap with a 4.5 grams of THC per 90-day period limit and adds new qualifying conditions, among other changes.

A federal judge denied a request from Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) and the secretary of state to stay his ruling clearing the path for a non-marijuana initiative to the November ballot in a case that could also have implications for a proposed medical cannabis measure.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) said he will not fill remaining seats on the Cannabis Advisory Board unless lawmakers approve legislation to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, the Senate approved legislation to change the makeup of that body and confirmed the nomination of the territory’s agriculture commissioner to join it.

California regulators are letting marijuana businesses with expiring licenses request 60-day deferrals of their license fee payments.

West Virginia regulators said they will resume accepting applications for medical cannabis testing lab licenses.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

Tennessee regulators sent a notice about the deadline to renew hemp cultivation licenses.

Alaska regulators will discuss coronavirus-related marijuana issues on July 17.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

Pueblo County, Colorado is using $2.3 million in marijuana excise tax revenue to fund scholarships for local students.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thai officials prepared draft legislation to let private companies manufacture cannabis-based medicines and to allow foreigners to invest in the industry.

The Western Australia state government rejected a series of drug policy reforms such as safe injection sites and pill testing services.

The Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada medical officer of health is stepping up his call to decriminalize drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the addition of cannabis flour to bakery products increases the protein content of the final product, total phenolic substance, dietary fiber, free amino acid content, protein digestibility of the products and reduces the glycemic index” and that “in spite of its negative effects on dough rheology and bread characteristics, cannabis flour has been determined to be a valuable resource in bread production with its fiber, mineral substance and total unsaturated fatty acids content.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealand voters oppose a marijuana legalization referendum, 49%-40%.

A poll found that New York college students support legalizing marijuana, 91%-9%,

The National Farmers Union tweeted about the Farm Bill provision that blocks people with drug felony records from getting hemp licenses.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s co-founder retired from the company’s board of directors.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. closed its acquisition of a New Jersey medical cannabis company.

Vireo Health International, Inc. hired a new chief financial officer.

The Washington Post’s executive editor was reportedly concerned that a piece about people getting high and seeing the film “Cats” glorified drug use.

Arkansas dispensaries have sold nearly $100 million worth of medical cannabis products since the program launched a little more than a year ago.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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