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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.)

Newsletter

First federal cannabis bill of new Congress filed (Newsletter: January 22, 2021)

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CT gov’s draft legal marijuana bill; Poll: TX adults say legalize cannabis to fund schools; IL uses marijuana-funded grants to repair drug war harms

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Free to read (but not free to produce)! We’re proud of our newsletter and the reporting we publish at Marijuana Moment, and we’re happy to provide it for free. But it takes a lot of work and resources to make this happen. 

  • Russell Sumners: “I’ve been reading your daily newsletters for a while and decided it was (past) due for me to contribute to those who put together these amazingly consistent and informational newsletters. I live in Texas and our state legislature is back in session this year. I hope to read positive news on medical marijuana policy changes to make cannabis more available to those in need in the great Lone Star State.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed the first federal marijuana reform bill of the new Congress. It would simply move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III, which would not end prohibition but would have a number of other effects.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is circulating a draft marijuana legalization bill for feedback.

A new poll found that 64% of Texans support legalizing and taxing marijuana to fund schools. That’s more than those who want to increase the sales tax, put a new tax on sugary drinks or raise taxes on corporations, hotel occupancy or motor vehicles.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced $31.5 million in grant awards funded by marijuana tax revenue to aid communities harmed by the war on drugs. One NAACP branch got $1.8 million. Branches of the Urban league, United Way and YMCA are also getting  cannabis funds.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said state-licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Rural Business Development Grant Programs.

No members of the Senate Finance Committee asked Janet Yellen, treasury secretary nominee, questions about marijuana banking or tax issues during her confirmation hearing or in written queries for the record.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order extending the validity of medical cannabis cards through the coronavirus pandemic. Separately, he tweeted about Jay-Z’s fund for minority-owned marijuana businesses, saying, “I led the effort to decriminalize & legalize cannabis because the war on drugs has been an abject failure—with disproportionate & devastating impacts on communities of color. These are the types of entrepreneurial opportunities we dreamed of—thanks Jay-Z!”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said her administration is working to prepare to implement marijuana legalization if litigation she is backing to overturn the voter-approved measure is not successful.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) latest coronavirus order allows marijuana businesses to stay open after 9:30 PM.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) tweeted about a study linking marijuana use by young people with mood disorders to an increased risk of self-harm, suicide attempts and death.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor posted on Facebook, “For decades, we’ve criminalized a plant + people who consumed it. What a bizarre, destructive superstition. Legal Weed for USA. 🇺🇸”

The North Dakota House of Representative approved a bill to tie the state’s definition of hemp to federal law.

New Mexico lawmakers spoke about the details of marijuana legalization bills they plan to file soon.

A protest against Georgia’s medical cannabis production license request for proposals from Trulieve GA Inc. has been withdrawn, and applications are now due on Wednesday.

Michigan regulators began hemp sampling.

Florida lawmakers filed legislation to protect public employees from being fired for medical cannabis use.

A Maryland delegate tweeted about a bill she is sponsoring that “will allow medical marijuana businesses to obtain state tax benefits for their business expenses — a standard benefit for businesses in every other industry. We must have equitable financial conditions in place for these businesses to thrive!”

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana business issues on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 300 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

The Prairie Village, Kansas City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

San Francisco, California officials sent an update on the timeline for cannabis permanent permit applications.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s Department of Health said the country’s medical cannabis access program will launch this year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical marijuana patients were positive about the health benefits they received and the fact they were able to reduce or eliminate many prescription medications; however, there were concerns about the costs.”

A study concluded that “the way people experience mystical occasions due to psychedelic use have archetypical patterns, but culturally specific storylines.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Sacramento Bee editorial board is pushing California officials to do a better job expunging past marijuana convictions.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. entered into a deal to sell 12 million units of the company for gross proceeds of approximately $125 million.

Harborside Inc. announced that a lawsuit alleging it committed securities violations has been voluntarily dismissed.

Verano Holdings, LLC completed a concurrent brokered and non-brokered private placement financing of subscription receipts worth $100 million.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. announced that a previously announced deal to sell units has been upsized to C$17.5 million.

Wesana Health closed a $4 million convertible note financing round.

Wurk founder and CEO Keegan Peterson died.

/ CULTURE

Jay-Z started a $10 million fund to invest in minority-owned cannabis startups.

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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Newsletter

Trump pardons cannabis prisoners on last day (Newsletter: January 21, 2021)

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VA legalization bill amended; USDA puts hemp rep on trade panel; NY legal marijuana details; NV gov touts money for schools; SD Cannabis Caucus

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…

Free to read (but not free to produce)! We’re proud of our newsletter and the reporting we publish at Marijuana Moment, and we’re happy to provide it for free. But it takes a lot of work and resources to make this happen. 

  • Kimberly Pham: “Tom and the team at Marijuana Moment have been a staple to my morning routine. I have learned and grown so much in the cannabis industry over the past few years by following Marijuana Moment, and it’s even helped me with advocating and networking within the cannabis industry. I know I can always count on Marijuana Moment to keep me up-to-date with the most accurate and timely cannabis news!”

If you value Marijuana Moment, invest in our success on Patreon so we can expand our coverage and more readers can benefit: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Donald Trump, in one of his final acts in office, granted pardons and commutations to dozens of people with marijuana and drug convictions.

  • “It feels like a new life,” one of the clemency recipients told Marijuana Moment.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released the full legislative details of his marijuana legalization plan though his budget proposal. No home cultivation, delivery services or on-site consumption at dispensaries would be authorized, and advocates are underwhelmed with the equity provisions. Meanwhile, lawmakers are pushing a different framework.

The new Virginia Senate Marijuana Subcommittee debated and approved amendments to the governor’s legalization bill. Among key changes were a decision to move cannabis to the jurisdiction of a new agency instead of under the state’s alcohol regulator, a delay in the implementation of sales, switching to local opt out instead of opt in and equity reforms.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative appointed a second official from the National Industrial Hemp Council to serve on a federal agricultural trade advisory committee.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) pledged in his State of the State address that his budget will keep using marijuana tax revenue to fund schools.

South Dakota lawmakers formed a Cannabis Caucus to coordinate efforts on marijuana bills after voters approved legalization in November. But the Senate majority leader said implementation could end up taking more than one legislative session.

/ FEDERAL

President Joe Biden named a new acting director for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

/ STATES

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held a hearing on a bill to expand the state’s marijuana decriminalization law.

Top New Hampshire Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation to limit the potency of medical cannabis for patients under 21.

New Mexico representatives coauthored an op-ed on the need to legalize marijuana with equity and justice in mind.

Michigan regulators sent bulletins on marijuana social equity fee reductions.

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

Washington State’s Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force will meet on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 300 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

The Burlington, Vermont City Council voted to place a question allowing marijuana sales on the March ballot.

The Las Cruces, New Mexico City Council voted to endorse statewide marijuana legalization.

Los Angeles County, California’s district attorney tweeted, “Today, the justice reform movement gains an ally in White House. Biden’s promise to confront mass incarceration fills me with hope.  It’s past time to reform our bail system, decriminalize marijuana, abolish the death penalty & so so much more.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Costa Rican lawmakers are pressing the government to support medical cannabis and hemp legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “heavy drinkers engaged in treatment to reduce their alcohol consumption who also use cannabis appear to increase their cannabis use on days when they reduce their alcohol consumption.”

A review concluded that “overall results demonstrate potential usefulness of cannabinoids as adjunctive analgesics and in mitigating opioid use” but that “current evidence is far from convincing.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana released cannabis recommendations for the Biden administration.

/ BUSINESS

Fyllo acquired DataOwl.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement with plaintiffs who sued the company after it was sanctioned by Canadian officials for growing marijuana in unlicensed rooms, including a C$50 million trust that will be established to settle claims.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. announced a deal to sell 40,550,000  units for gross proceeds of C$15,003,500.

/ CULTURE

Aubrey Plaza lamented that she couldn’t take marijuana gummies with her on a trip to Qatar.

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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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NY gov releases cannabis equity funding info (Newsletter: January 20, 2021)

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Biden team touts health pick’s marijuana work; VA senators debate legalization bill; WA cannabis homegrow hearing

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  • Liz Tiger: “I am a cannabis advocate in South Dakota where we are fighting our governor for access even after passing both medical and adult-use laws in November. MM has been incredibly helpful in keeping me informed and up to date on cannabis news across the nation. Thank you for all you do!”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) released more details of his latest marijuana legalization plan as part of his annual budget proposal, including tax rates and information on funding for a cannabis equity program.

President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team noted the medical cannabis implementation work that his new pick for assistant health and human services secretary did in Pennsylvania. If confirmed, she’d play a key role in a health review that could reschedule marijuana.

The Virginia Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Marijuana Subcommittee held its first hearing on a legalization bill that was filed last week by the governor and top legislative leaders. Much of the debate surrounded which state agency should regulate cannabis. Another hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

The Washington State House Commerce and Gaming Committee held a hearing on a bill to legalize home cultivation of marijuana—and a vote could be held as soon as this Friday.

/ FEDERAL

The National Credit Union Administration touted its work to clarify hemp businesses’ access to financial services.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) spoke about Israeli innovations in medical cannabis science.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said that he and lawmakers are having “very constructive” conversations  about resolving a dispute over provisions in marijuana legalization implementation legislation concerning underage people.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) is pushing to change the name of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which regulates marijuana, to the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It’s past time to correct an unjust system that targeted communities of color. It’s time to legalize recreational marijuana. TY @NYGovCuomo for pushing this agenda forward.”

Texas’s agriculture commissioner said new final federal hemp rules address some, but not all, of the industry’s concerns.

New Mexico’s House minority whip said marijuana is “the lazy drug” and that he will oppose legalization.

Massachusetts regulators are being sued over marijuana delivery license rules.

Michigan’s Racial Equity Advisory Workgroup recommended the creation of new taxes on marijuana sales to fund programs to improve diversity in the industry.

Missouri regulators launched an online medical cannabis patients certification system for physicians.

A Virginia delegate is preparing to file legislation to defelonize drug possession.

Colorado regulators sent a bulletin reminding marijuana businesses about changes to sampling, recall and corrective and preventive action rules.

Arizona regulators reported that medical cannabis consumption increased 27% percent last year from 2019.

Maine regulators warned that SeaWeed Co.’s mermaid logo violates rules by potentially appealing to children.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 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

Detroit, Michigan officials began accepting applications for marijuana dispensary permits.

The city of Birmingham, Alabama’s official Twitter account posted about a program that lets people apply for pardons for marijuana convictions.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Polish lawmakers are conducting a public consultation on marijuana policy in preparation for the introduction of reform legislation.

New Zealand police are cancelling an annual marijuana eradication program.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis compounds exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in vitro in COVID-19-related inflammation in lung epithelial cells and pro-inflammatory activity in macrophages.”

A review concluded that “for patients with mood disorder, significant effect sizes were detected on the acute, medium (2–7 days after treatment), and longer-term outcomes favoring psychedelics on the reduction of depressive symptoms.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The California Cannabis Industry Association announced a banking access partnership with the  North Bay Credit Union.

South Carolina medical professionals held a press conference in support of medical cannabis legislation.

/ BUSINESS

Harborside Inc. announced a brokered private placement of units at a price of C$2.55 for gross proceeds of approximately C$20 million.

Cresco Labs has a new chief operating officer.

/ CULTURE

Clint Eastwood is again suing Norok Innovation Inc. for allegedly falsely claiming that he endorses its CBD products.

Dolly Parton said Willie Nelson has offered her some of his branded marijuana products, but that she has not partaken.

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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