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Federal court orders DEA to ‘promptly’ weigh cannabis rescheduling (Newsletter: May 31, 2019)

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Fed prosecutor caught lying about medical marijuana use; Lawmakers push to revise anti-cannabis immigration policy; FDA CBD hearing agenda

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There are now 1,116 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a unique opinion keeping open a challenge to marijuana’s Schedule I status and warning that it may take matters into its own hands if the Drug Enforcement Administration doesn’t “promptly” consider medical cannabis patients’ rescheduling request.

  • “We are troubled by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s history of dilatory proceedings.”
  • “Taking the facts as alleged, and, accordingly, taking the supposed benefits some Plaintiffs have experienced from marijuana as true as well, we—like the District Court below—are struck by the transformative effects this drug has assertedly had on some Plaintiffs’ lives. As a result, we are troubled by the uncertainty under which Plaintiffs must currently live.”
  • “It is possible that the current law, though rational once, is now heading towards irrationality; it may even conceivably be that it has gotten there already.”

The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General disclosed that a federal prosecutor who admitted to using medical marijuana for back pain—and lying about it on a security clearance form—will not be prosecuted for violating both state and federal laws.

A bipartisan group of 43 members of Congress sent a letter pressing the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security about the policy deeming that immigrants who work in the marijuana industry don’t have “good moral character.”

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration released the final agenda for Friday’s public hearing on CBD regulations.

The Department of Justice, in a court brief defending a law aimed at curbing sex trafficking that sex workers’ rights advocates argue could criminalize the dissemination of advocacy or harm reduction information, wrote,  “Advocacy for the decriminalization of an activity does not suggest any intent to encourage violation of the law. (For example, no one would think that members of Congress who advocate for the decriminalization of marijuana are thereby attempting to encourage violations of existing marijuana laws.)”

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “Hope we can agree, kids & pregnant women should NOT use cannabis, or be encouraged to think it is safe.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, cheered a Nevada law that seals past marijuana records, tweeting, “We have to repair the damage done to those who were targeted by the war on drugs. This is what justice looks like.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, released a video about grandmothers being arrested for CBD.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “Nevada’s cannabis industry is booming, but it is missing out on valuable @SBAgov assistance because of outdated federal laws. We need to provide marijuana businesses with the resources they needed to continue to succeed.”

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) tweeted, “5 years ago today we struck a blow for freedom in passing the Rohrabacher/Farr amendment in the House, a bipartisan victory for America that prohibited the federal government from superceding state laws that permitted the use of #cannabis for medical purposes. #10thAmendment”

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill defelonizing drug possession.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) signed a hemp bill into law.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said, “Every man, woman and child would have to smoke about $2,500 of marijuana a year to fix the roads, and let’s be honest, (if that happens) nobody’s going to care about the damn roads.” Separately, the Senate Majority Leader said he thinks voters will come to regret legalizing cannabis. Meanwhile, regulators released a mariuana licensing update and published an advisory bulletin on medical cannabis advertising restrictions.

Connecticut’s House speaker said that marijuana legalization is dead for the year.

Louisiana lawmakers sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a bill creating a tax on sales of hemp and CBD products.

The New Jersey Senate approved a bill to expand the state’s medical cannabis program, but a vote on separate legislation to provide for the expungement of marijuana records was delayed due to a drafting error. Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) touted his administration’s expansion of medical marijuana in a press release about his 500th day in office.

The Nevada Assembly passed a bill to create a Cannabis Compliance Board and block local governments from licensing marijuana consumption lounges.

The New Hampshire Senate voted to refer a marijuana legalization bill back to committee until December or early next year.

New York marijuana legalization legislation could potentially be included in an end-of-session omnibus bill addressing a number of other issues.

The Illinois House Judiciary-Criminal Committee advanced a Senate-passed marijuana legalization bill, with a floor vote expected on Friday.

The North Carolina Senate Agriculture Committee voted to delay a proposed ban on smokable hemp until December 2020.

The Wisconsin Senate Agriculture, Revenue and Financial Institutions Committee held a hearing on a hemp bill.

A California Assemblyman pulled his bill to force more municipalities to allow marijuana businesses because it didn’t have the two-thirds support needed to pass.

Oregon lawmakers are considering legislation to allow regulators to deny marijuana licenses based on available supply and demand.

Massachusetts regulators delayed their consideration of rules to allow marijuana social consumption areas and home delivery services. Separately, they issued the state’s first cannabis microbusiness‘ license.

Utah regulators will begin accepting medical cannabis cultivation license applications this weekend.

North Dakota regulators will allow medical cannabis patients to carry electronic registration cards on their mobile devices.


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

San Diego, California officials delayed a planned crackdown on marijuana billboards.

The Los Angeles, California City Council president tweeted about the importance of expunging marijuana convictions and “righting the wrongs for those whose lives have been negatively impacted by the #WarOnDrugs.”

The New York City Council speaker tweeted, “Marijuana is a social justice issue, and legalization is long overdue. We need a more just framework for use in NYC, with a better plan for addressing how convictions have disproportionately impacted communities of color. The time to act is now.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

An Italian court ruled that selling “cannabis light” products is a crime.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “prolonged CBD treatment has no negative effect on the behavior of adult” mice.

A study found that “patients using medical cannabis for intractable pain experienced a significant reduction in the number of [milligram morphine equivalents] available to use for pain control” but that “no significant difference was noted in [diazepam equivalents] from baseline.”

/ BUSINESS

Ben & Jerry’s said it wants to make CBD-infused ice creams when it is allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Curaleaf Holdings Inc. reported quarterly losses of $10.2 million but a 288% increase in revenue from a year ago.

/ CULTURE

National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver spoke about the league’s consideration of amending its marijuana policies.

National Football League team owners are reportedly open to supporting a loosening of restrictions on marijuana use by players.

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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 15-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

House passes tribal cannabis protection amendment (Newsletter: June 20, 2019)

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Committee debates small marijuana biz issues; Senator gets FDA to admit psychedelic benefits; Studies examine dispensary impact on youth cannabis use

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives debated amendments to protect state and territory marijuana laws, as well as those of Indian tribes, from federal interference. Both passed in voice votes, but a roll call vote was requested on the first measure, likely to occur on Thursday.

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on opportunities and challenges for small marijuana businesses.

In a letter to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health acknowledged that studies have shown medical benefits of psychedelic drugs but that the federal government doesn’t currently have any plans to reschedule substances like psilocybin, MDMA and LSD.

Three separate new studies published this month examine the impact of nearby marijuana dispensaries on youth cannabis use in Los Angeles—with differing findings.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration is extending the deadline to comment on CBD regulations to July 16.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and concerns about racial disparities in prohibition enforcement.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) tweeted, “It is not safe to walk around with duffel bags full of cash – but that’s what’s happening right now. The SAFE Banking Act is a common-sense bill that will allow the marijuana industry to use banks. The Federal gov’t must recognize legitimate businesses.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is a racial justice issue and all low-level offenses should be expunged. As the $1 billion in state revenue in Colorado shows, it’s also about creating jobs and economic growth.”

The House bill to force the Department of Justice to license more growers of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 11.

/ STATES

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill letting regulators deny marijuana business licenses based on supply and demand.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill on certifying marijuana testing facilities.

New York lawmakers failed to reach a deal of marijuana legalization legislation, but a backup plan to expand decriminalization and provide for record expungements is still under consideration.

Massachusetts’s secretary of state warned about marijuana-related fraud cases and charged one company with securities violations. Separately, agriculture regulators are cracking down on CBD products. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved a hemp bill.

Ohio’s House speaker said that lawmakers will not vote on a hemp bill before the summer break.

California lawmakers are putting a bill to allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs on hold until next year.

Michigan regulators released updated guidance for marijuana testing facilities.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats held a press conference about marijuana reform.


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 Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council Public Safety Committee approved a measure to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority.

New York City’s Council speaker said he is “disappointed our outdated marijuana laws will remain on the books for now but the fight to end them is NOT over.”

The Clark County, Nevada Commission voted to spend more than $6.1 million raised from marijuana business license fees to add hundreds of beds for homeless families with children.

Denver, Colorado hired a cannabis process navigator to “help the industry navigate the rules, to fortify and expand trust and transparency between the cannabis industry and Denver’s marijuana regulatory agencies, and serve as a point-of-contact between marijuana businesses and the City of Denver.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate gave final approval to a bill to expedite pardons for cannabis possession convictions.

French lawmakers are filing a marijuana legalization bill that gives the government a monopoly on production and sales.

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office ordered that electricity be cut off to a region of the country in an attempt to disrupt marijuana cultivation.

Thai regulators are developing medical cannabis rules.

/ ADVOCACY

A representative from prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana will debate a pro-legalization Pennsylvania senator on July 8.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis-exposed hospitalized patients with [acute pancreatitis] had lower age-adjusted, mortality, morbidity, and hospitalization-cost than non–cannabis-exposed patients.”

A study of rats found that hemp extract “improves semen parameters by reducing plasma prolactin and enhancing plasma anti-oxidant status” and that “its pro-fertility potential might be associated with its deficiency in the widely known gonadotoxic phytocannabinoids.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll funded by the AAA Foundation surveyed Americans’ attitudes about driving under the influence of marijuana.

The New York Times editorial board endorsed a Queens district attorney candidate who has pledged to stop prosecuting low-level marijuana and drug cases.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. and Acreage Holdings Inc. shareholders both voted to approve the former company’s planned acquisition of the latter in the event of U.S. federal marijuana legalization.

Thrive Market is ceasing to sell CBD and hemp products at the demand of its merchant processor.

Shoppers Drug Mart and TruTrace Technologies are partnering to use blockchain technology to track marijuana products.

Quiznos launched a “Magic Mushroom Melt” sandwich in Denver.

/ CULTURE

Musician Willie Nelson joked about how he is the chief tester of his brand Willie’s Reserve’s marijuana products.

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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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Cannabis measures cleared for House floor votes (Newsletter: June 19, 2019)

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FAA CBD/marijuana guidance for pilots; Senators press against anti-cannabis immigration policy; NY legalization still in flux

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 1,131 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 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

The House Rules Committee cleared several drug policy amendments for floor action, including measures to shield all state and territory marijuana laws from federal interference, extend protections to tribes, support CBD regulations and allow military veterans to get medical cannabis recommendations from government doctors.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a bulletin clarifying CBD and marijuana rules for pilots.

A group of 10 U.S. senators sent a letter calling on the Trump administration to end a policy that says immigrants who work in the marijuana industry don’t have “good moral character” and are not eligible for citizenship.

The question of whether New York lawmakers will vote to legalize marijuana this week remains a very fluid situation, with indications that the session could be extended beyond Wednesday’s initial deadline through Friday.

Killer Mike said that rappers should get more credit for the legalization of marijuana:

  • “A lot of people are going to get credit for it—a lot of activists, a lot of workers. But I can show you a line that leads straight back to Cypress Hill, that leads straight back to Snoop Dogg.”  

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles office tweeted, “#marijuana remains illegal throughout California and is extremely dangerous. Schedule I controlled substance!! Don’t end up in federal prison! #justsayno”

Rep. French Hill (R-AR) spoke about his support for marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Together we are going to end the prohibition of marijuana in the United States.”

/ STATES

The Washington, D.C. Council unanimously approved emergency legislation to protect some, but not all, government workers from employment discrimination over medical cannabis use.

Rhode Island’s House speaker said that there was “no appetite” among lawmakers or constituents to legalize marijuaan this year.

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a revised medical cannabis expansion bill aimed at avoiding a potential veto from Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

Connecticut regulators are approving hemp cultivation licenses.

Ohio regulators scheduled a public hearing on medical cannabis rules for July 23.

Arkansas regulators approved a third medical cannabis dispensary to open.

Lawmakers from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota discussed marijuana policy at a conference.


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 Hattiesburg, Mississippi City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee will consider a proposed ordinance to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority on Wednesday.

The Monroe County, New York district attorney said her office will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate Legal Committee approved a bill to expedite marijuana pardons, setting it up for third reading before the full body this week.

Maltese President George Vella said he has “major reservations” about legalizing marijuana.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar gave a dismissive response when asked by a lawmaker for a status update on medical cannabis access.

Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babiš hosted a medical cannabis seminar.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “arrest rates of youths significantly decreased in states that decriminalized cannabis possession for everyone but did not decrease in states that legalized adult use.”

A review concluded that “pain (64%), anxiety (50%), and depression/mood (34%) were common reasons for medical cannabis use.”

A study found that “prevalence and frequency of past-month cannabis use among pregnant women increased between 2002 and 2017 and were higher for the first trimester than later trimesters.”

/ BUSINESS

The Global Cannabis Partnership brought together 45 marijuana companies to set environmental, social and governance standards for the industry.

High Times Holding Corp. is being sued for allegedly failing to pay up to $4 million owed as part of its acquisition of Culture Magazine.

/ CULTURE

Martha Stewart spoke at a marijuana conference and said that “the dialogue around cannabis is finally going positive.”

Woody Harrelson will play Timothy Leary in a television series.

Actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted to ask people to oppose New York bills that he said could “impair the hemp industry, particularly the retail sale of hemp-derived CBD.”

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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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Congress wants docs on JUUL’s cannabis collaborations (Newsletter: June 18, 2019)

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Psychedelics decrim takes off around the country; Dispensaries don’t increase youth marijuana use; NY legalization situation fluid

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) is asking JUUL for documents about any “intended partnerships or collaborations” with “cannabis-related companies, including but not limited to Cronos Group.”

In the wake of successful measures in Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California, activists in cities across the U.S.—and beyond—are planning local moves to decriminalize psychedelics.

A new Colorado marijuana study undermines a key anti-legalization argument, finding that “permitting or not permitting recreational cannabis dispensaries in a community does not appear to change student cannabis use or perceptions towards cannabis.”

/ FEDERAL

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll claimed that building a border wall would be a “force multiplier” to stop drug smuggling.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “Whataboutisn is rarely productive- or reasonable. Additives/ chemicals in food are legal & tested to be below scientifically determined safety thresholds- NONE of which is true for cannabis. If we can’t even agree that babies shouldn’t be consuming pot, I worry for us all.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that some claims about CBD are “pretty hokey.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The fact that the United States continues to arrest hundreds of thousands of black and brown Americans every year for possession of marijuana, while wealthy investors on Wall Street make huge profits off of it, is completely outrageous.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “Nevada’s marijuana businesses are creating jobs and raising millions of dollars in revenues for our state. We must provide these businesses with the @SBAgov resources they need to continue to grow.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “If a Schedule I drug shows promise in treating [PTSD, severe depression, opioid addiction], then perhaps it is not the drug that is ‘morally wrong,’ but the law, the schedule – the statute. It’s time to end the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) tweeted a photo of himself visiting a hemp farm.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed bill allowing patients to inhale medical cannabis and setting fees on sales. Separately, regulators released the application form for permits to sell CBD products.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed bills clarifying how medical cannabis dispensaries can become for-profits and making technical changes to marijuana laws.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he thinks lawmakers should not pass legislation to expand marijuana decriminalization without tying it to broader legalization and that he’s “cautiously optimistic” lawmakers can get it done this week. Talks on the issue between the governor’s office and legislative leaders continued on Monday without a deal.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted, “Forcing Nevada’s cannabis businesses to operate on a cash-only basis poses a public safety risk to consumers and employees. I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of 20 governors urging Congress to pass the #SAFEBanking Act.”

The North Carolina Senate passed agricultural legislation containing hemp provisions.

Delaware lawmakers are expected to vote on legislation extending the decriminalization of marijuana to juveniles on Tuesday.

Virginia lawmakers from both parties voiced support for the state attorney general’s endorsement of marijuana decriminalization.

Lawmakers from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, along with those from a neighboring Canadian province, are set to discuss marijuana laws at a conference this week.

Washington State regulators said that a new marijuana traceability system will go live on July 15.


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 Hattiesburg, Mississippi City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

San Francisco, California’s mayor is proposing increasing funding for the city’s Office of Cannabis from $700,000 to $1.1 million.

Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney said that any marijuana legalization bill should expunge prior convictions.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s health minister said he will probably vote in favor of a marijuana legalization referendum next year.

Brazil’s Federal Council of Medicine is urging the government to cancel a public consultation on allowing medical cannabis cultivation.

Russian lawmakers are considering changes to drug laws following public backlash to a case of an investigative journalist arrested on questionable drug charges.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, in response to a tweet from actress Bette Middler, touted hemp legalization as one of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) accomplishments.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “THC:CBD oromucosal spray proved to be an effective and well-tolerated add-on treatment for patients with elsewhere refractory chronic pain – especially of neuropathic origin.”

A study suggested that “as compared to [benzodiazepines], cannabis can be a healthier and less harmful alternative form of treatment for adults living with anxiety.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board is calling on New Mexico regulators to exercise greater oversight of the medical cannabis industry.

/ BUSINESS

MTech and MJ Freeway combined to form Akerna Corp., which will begin trading on Nasdaq on Tuesday.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Hexo Corp.’s joint venture will start selling marijuana-infused beverages in Canada.

The owner of proposed Massachusetts marijuana dispensary Stem is suing two local businessmen for alleged extortion.

/ CULTURE

BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg spoke about taking psychedelic mushrooms.

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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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