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Federal courts hear two big cannabis cases this week (Newsletter: Feb. 14, 2018)

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Senators push new marijuana protections; NJ gov legalization walkback?; Jackson, MS approves decrim

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A bipartisan group of 18 U.S. senators is asking congressional leaders to insert new far-reaching protections for state marijuana laws into a must-pass federal spending bill.

Federal courts are hearing arguments in two separate far-reaching cannabis cases this week.

/ FEDERAL

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) discussed his ongoing blockade on Justice Department nominees over a marijuana policy dispute.

Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) tweeted, “The war on drugs has created vast racial inequality in America’s justice system – we must reverse its devastating impact here in #NYC and across the nation.”

The U.S. Senate comprehensive medical cannabis bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 10.

Pennsylvania Democratic congressional candidate Susan Wild sent a press release calling for an end to marijuana prohibition and the war on drugs.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) seemed to potentially walk back his pledge to legalize marijuana by describing it in terms of “if we were to pursue this,” but then said “when we do, it has to be done right.” (Roughly 15 minutes into the clip.)

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo (R) signed medical cannabis regulations into law.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), in his State of the State address, criticized lawmakers for trying to raise the age for tobacco purchases but thinking that “18-year-olds are adult enough to vote on complex referendums like the legalization of marijuana.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced the list of dispensaries where patients can begin buying medical cannabis this week.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew White supports decriminalizing marijuana.

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, a former state representative, supports reducing marijuana penalties.

The Massachusetts House speaker is urging regulators to slow down implementation of rules to allow marijuana social use areas and delivery services.

The Utah House of Representatives reconsidered and approved a medical cannabis cultivation bill that it narrowly defeated last week.

The Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to allow regulators to add new CBD medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Kentucky House Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee approved a resolution urging the federal government to remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

A Connecticut representative will hold a Thursday press conference to tout marijuana legalization.

An Arizona senator removed a provision lowering patient registration fees from legislation mandating medical cannabis quality control testing.

West Virginia delegates filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Maryland lawmakers are considering several pending marijuana law reform bills.

Here’s a look at changes that New Jersey regulators are considering for the state’s medical cannabis program.

A Vermont man whose car was impounded by police after they smelled marijuana is appealing his case to the state Supreme Court. Separately, state lawmakers are using medical cannabis revenue to pay for other programs.

Tennessee police raided nearly two dozen stores accused of illegally selling CBD products.

A Wyoming bill to set penalties for marijuana-infused drinks and foods cleared a Senate procedural hurdle.

An Alaska senator introduced a bill to make low-level marijuana records confidential.

/ LOCAL

The Jackson, Mississippi City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Berkeley, California City Council approved a proposal to prevent local officials from assisting in federal marijuana crackdowns.

A St. Louis, Missouri Board of Aldermen committee debated a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Politico looks at continued racial disparities in New York City marijuana arrests. The City Council’s Public Safety and Justice System Committees will hold a joint oversight hearing on cannabis enforcement this month.

The Detroit, Michigan City Council enacted a moratorium on processing medical cannabis business license applications.

The New Haven, Connecticut Board of Alders is considering a resolution urging the state to legalize marijuana.

The Los Angeles County, California  Board of Supervisors voted to develop a policy making it easier for people to expunge marijuana convictions. And the city of Los Angeles’s top marijuana regulator hosted a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government’s point man in the Senate said he is prepared to invoke a procedural move to expedite consideration of a pending marijuana legalization bill.

Israel’s health minister, once a strong medical cannabis proponent, now opposes exporting the drug.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “daily cannabis use was associated with slower rates of injection [drug use] initiation,” a finding that “challenges the view of cannabis as a gateway substance that precipitates the progression to using harder and more addictive drugs.”

A study’s findings “support efficacy of artisanal CBD preparations in seizure reduction with few significant side effects.”

An analysis in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs recommends “requiring plain packaging and large warning labels, reducing visual appeal to minors, and putting strict limits on the potency of cannabis products.”

A study on the combined effects of marijuana and alcohol on driving is currently enrolling participants.

/ BUSINESS

US Bank alleged that it is not allowed to notarize petition signatures for a proposed North Dakota marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian Chelsea Handler announced she is launching her own line of marijuana products.

MMA fighter Conor McGregor was seen visiting an Amsterdam cannabis cafe.

Comedian Bill Maher made a marijuana joke in an interview with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA).

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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.

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.)

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State treasurers group endorses cannabis banking legislation (Newsletter: May 20, 2019)

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Presidential candidate jokes about psychedelic decrim; GOP congressman presses feds on hemp/CBD credit; Texas medical marijuana expansion advances

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There are now 1,103 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The National Association of State Treasurers adopted a resolution endorsing congressional marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) pressed federal federal regulators about hemp and CBD businesses’ access to credit card processing during a hearing.

  • “I’ve had constituent businesses tell me that their access to financial products, specifically card services, have actually deteriorated since we descheduled industrial hemp in the Farm Bill. This obviously conflicts with congressional intent.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, had some jokes about why Denver voted to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and how it might have something to do with the supply of marijuana.

The Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services approved a House-passed bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis law.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration’s principal deputy commissioner and acting CIO posted several tweets about the agency’s efforts to formulate a regulatory strategy for CBD.

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll will travel to China to discuss cracking down on fentanyl production.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and allowing retroactive expungements. He also listed legalization in a new issues section of his website.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, published an op-ed on his efforts to expand medical cannabis access for military veterans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has reportedly occasionally answered the phone as “Cocaine Mitch.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted about helping to initiate a marijuana competition, saying it “highlights Oregon as the nation’s best place for clean, craft cannabis & celebrates the evolution of the industry in our community, setting the bar nationally.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s no secret that people of color are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement for marijuana. We must learn from the failed #WarOnDrugs and end today’s war on marijuana.”

The House marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 182.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) tapped marijuana industry veteran Ean Seeb as his cannabis policy advisor. Separately, the state attorney general tweeted in support of Denver’s efforts to help people expunge marijuana records.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) directed lawmakers to consider legislation on vertical integration of medical cannabis companies during a special session.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (NP) appointed a director for the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) said the state isn’t generating much revenue from medical cannabis sales yet.

Missouri lawmakers sent Gov. Mike Parson (R) a bill to remove restrictions on industrial hemp.

The New Jersey Assembly is scheduled to vote on medical cannabis expansion and marijuana record expungement bills on Thursday. The expungement legislation would reportedly decriminalize cannabis possession.

The Alabama House Health Committee is reportedly stalling a Senate-passed medical cannabis bill.

A Connecticut representative who supports marijuana legalization said the chances of getting it done within the next two years are “grim” and suggested that lawmakers are considering putting the issue on the ballot.

Rhode Island regulators sent a bulletin about the prohibition on business relationships between medical cannabis dispensaries and physicians.

The Associated Press looks at efforts to ensure social equity in state marijuana legalization bills.


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

New York City’s public advocate authored an op-ed about his support for legalizing marijuana and how he used to sell it.

/ ADVOCACY

NAACP tweeted about the participation of its president and vice chairwoman in the Cannabis Trade Federation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of research on oral fluid testing devices concluded that “no THC concentration has been determined that indicates impairment” and that “currently available devices do not meet recommended effectiveness.”

A study concluded that Colorado’s implementation of marijuana legalization is “largely and positively related with marijuana-related traffic fatalities.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Los Angeles Times editorial board is critical of California legislation to force municipalities to allow marijuana businesses.

/ BUSINESS

Organigram will begin trading on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

Cannaramic Media, Inc. is suing Facebook for blocking marijuana-related content.

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Biden begins to shift longtime cannabis opposition (Newsletter: May 17, 2019)

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Oakland City Council psychedelics decrim hearing; Dems’ DOJ bill has medical marijuana rider; Decrim states see less severe domestic violence injuries

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  • Martin Kamerman: “I’m a member of the cannabis committee of the Westchester County Bar Association. I am joining with other professionals who want to make sure that marijuana laws mean fairness for all the communities that make up our great country. Supporting Marijuana Moment helps get the word out.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, now supports decriminalizing marijuana, moving it to Schedule II and letting states set their own laws—but he is not endorsing cannabis legalization like most other 2020 contenders have.

The Oakland, California City Council has scheduled a hearing on a measure supporting the decriminalization of psychedelic drugs like mescaline cacti, ayahuasca and ibogaine—going much further than the psilocybin-focused initiative that Denver voters approved last week.

A 2020 Department of Justice spending bill released by a House subcommittee includes state medical cannabis protections but not a broader rider shielding adult-use marijuana laws from federal interference.

Sens.  Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), both presidential candidates, joined with other senators to file a bill to repeal the law that strips federal financial aid from college students with drug convictions.

A study found that states see significant reductions in the severity of injuries stemming from domestic violence after the enactment of marijuana decriminalization, although there is not a drop in overall domestic violence incidents.

/ FEDERAL

Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and former San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julián Castro (D), all presidential candidates, contributed essays to a publication on ending mass incarceration—several of which mention marijuana law reform.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted, “Instead of pardoning billionaires I’d pardon non-violent marijuana and opiate offenders.”

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) spoke about his opposition to legalizing marijuana.

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got four new cosponsors, for a total of 47.

The House bill to seal past marijuana records got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he supports legalizing hemp. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives rejected a bill to impose a tax on hemp and CBD products. And the House Judiciary Committee reported a marijuana legalization bill without action, recommending that it be sent to a different committee.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said she thinks it’s “very likely” lawmakers will approve marijuana legalization by the end of the session.

Massachusetts regulators voted to approve a social marijuana consumption pilot program.

The California Senate Appropriations Committee approved a hemp bill. Meanwhile, the Assembly Appropriations Committee rejected legislation to temporarily lower marijuana taxes.

New Jersey Assembly committees will hear medical cannabis expansion and marijuana expungement bills on Monday.

Delaware lawmakers filed a marijuana legalization bill.

A Nebraska senator, reacting to his colleagues’ failure to vote on a medical cannabis bill, tweeted, “The Legislature has had their chance, it’s time to go to the ballot!”


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

Denver, Colorado officials certified the results of last week’s election in which a measure to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms was approved.

The Bexar County, California district attorney said his office will reject low-level marijuana and drug cases.

A Jacksonville, Florida City Council member hosted a meeting to tout a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israel’s health ministry is removing marijuana from the country’s list of dangerous drugs, which will allow its sales in pharmacies.

Brazil’s Senate approved legislation to increase penalties for selling drugs and force consumers to enter treatment.

Mexico’s interior secretary said the country “has marijuana of the highest quality” and “our ancestors used it in their rituals.”

/ ADVOCACY

The Cannabis Trade Federation launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force that includes, among others, NAACP’s president and CEO, National Urban League’s CEO,  former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and a former director of the ACLU’s Washington, D.C. office.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found a “negative, yet insignificant relationship between” marijuana legalization and alcohol consumption.

A review concluded that “oromucosal nabiximols and THC have no effect on pain, sleep problems and opioid consumption in patients with cancer pain with insufficient pain relief from opioids.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Tulsa World editorial board is calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

Author Michael Pollan said that he basically approves of Denver’s psilocybin decriminalization measure despite a general concern he has about using ballot initiatives to advance the issue.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Seth Meyers joked about CBD.

The latest episode of American Dad featured a Wonka-style marijuana factory, with Snoop Dogg voicing a character name Tommie Tokes.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Oregon Senate votes to legalize cannabis imports & exports (Newsletter: May 16, 2019)

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Legal marijuana expected for 2020 NJ ballot; Treasury sec.: No tax credit for cannabis biz; Texas Senate OKs hemp; No CBD for horses; Border bill

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Jersey’s Senate president announced that lawmakers are ditching the idea of trying to pass marijuana legalization legislation and will instead put the issue on the 2020 ballot for voters to decide. In the meantime, the legislature will proceed with medical cannabis expansion and expungement proposals.

The Oregon Senate voted to legalize interstate marijuana imports and exports. A change in federal policy is required for the legislation’s provisions to take effect, but the vote itself is a first for any state.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a Senate hearing that marijuana businesses should not be able to qualify for federal “opportunity zone” tax credits aimed at encouraging investments in distressed low-income communities.

The Texas Senate unanimously approved a House-passed hemp legalization bill, but not before making some changes—meaning that a conference committee to reconcile the two chambers’ versions will be necessary before the legislation is sent to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) reintroduced a bill aimed at solving border issues faced by marijuana industry participants, and to prevent immigrants from being deported over state-legal cannabis use.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation, which regulates most equestrian sports, has ruled that competition horses are not allowed to use CBD.

/ FEDERAL

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll argued that increased border security would “save lives.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), in a Senate floor speech,  included marijuana in a list of drugs that have “flooded our streets” and are contributing to “despair.”

Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) is reportedly looking into working on gun access issues for medical cannabis patients.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted that he’s “proud” to work on “legislation to expand access to medical cannabis for our veterans!”

The Senate marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 27.

The House marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 180.

/ STATES

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that regulators launched an online licensing portal for hemp producers and processors.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) made a number of jokes about drugs during a speech at the opening of a new hotel at JFK airport. Meanwhile, the Senate majority leader said that marijuana legalization discussions are still ongoing.

Kentucky Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy.

In a shift, Connecticut’s House speaker said that marijuana legalization could get a vote during the regular session instead of in a later special session.

The Nebraska Senate held a floor debate on a medical cannabis bill, but is not likely to vote on the proposal.

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee held a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill.

An Oregon bill to legalize marijuana social use areas is reportedly dead.

The Rhode Island Senate Labor Committee held a hearing on a bill to expand employment protections for medical cannabis patients.

The Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services will hear a House-passed medical cannabis expansion bill on Friday.

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board rejected a proposal to remove opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, and the health secretary said she needs more time to decide whether to add anxiety and Tourette syndrome. The body also rejected recommending adding nausea as a result of irritable bowel syndrome to the list.

Utah regulators gave an update on medical cannabis implementation, CBD product registration and tracking software, and said that physicians will not be punished for using medical marijuana.

Michigan regulators released a bulletin on homogeneity testing of marijuana products.


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 Cincinnati, Ohio City Council postponed a vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal. A councilmember said he will launch a ballot measure on the issue if his colleagues don’t approve the measure.

New York City’s police commissioner expressed concerns about marijuana legalization during a City Council hearing.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Ukrainian Parliament’s Human Rights, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations Committee filed a medical cannabis bill in response to a citizen petition.

/ ADVOCACY

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, “States across the country (including our neighbors) are taking steps so that their farmers can take advantage of the economic opportunities of industrial hemp. Thanks to Gov. Noem, though, our farmers can’t, and SD is falling further and further behind.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “recreational cannabis legalisation is associated with neutral effects on healthcare utilisation” and “is linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents, alcohol abuse, overdose injuries and a decrease in chronic pain admissions.”

A study found that “black males had a 2.2% point decrease in the relative probability of college enrollment after the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A survey found that 82% of banking executives want the federal government to allow financial services providers to do business with the marijuana industry.

/ CULTURE

Jeopardy had yet another marijuana question, one of several in recent weeks.

Musician Tom Morello tweeted in support of legalizing marijuana in New York.

Musician Roger Daltrey chastised audience members for smoking marijuana at a recent concert.

The New York Times Magazine has a cover story on CBD.

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