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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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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

North Dakota legal cannabis measure qualifies for ballot (Newsletter: August 14, 2018)

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New MPP executive director; UN launches first-ever marijuana review; McConnell visits another hemp facility

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

North Dakota activists collected enough signatures to qualify a far-reaching marijuana legalization initiative for the November ballot, the secretary of state’s office determined. The measure sets no limits on possession amounts or plant counts.

The Marijuana Policy Project has a new executive director. Steve Hawkins, who is taking over this week, previously worked at the NAACP and Amnesty International.

The United Nations World Health Organization has agreed to conduct a first-ever critical review of whether marijuana and its extracts and compounds are properly classified under international drug treaties. In a related move, a critical review of CBD concluded that the substance “has been found to be generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and does not meet the criteria for being controlled under the conventions.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for Colorado touted previous prosecutions for marijuana growing on public lands as harvest season approaches.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles office tweeted, “Don’t poison your baby by using #marijuana during pregnancy. Check out this link for the dangers of #pot + #pregnancy. It is also illegal in #Cali to possess #marijuana. Don’t ruin the life of your unborn child.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) toured a hemp processing facility.

North Dakota’s two U.S. senators and House member discussed the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said she intends to support at least one of Missouri’s medical cannabis ballot measures.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level isn’t just the smart thing to do, it’s also the right thing to do. We can’t keep repeating the same mistakes of the past. Too many lives have been ruined by these regressive policies.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time to pass the REFER Act and prohibit federal spending on efforts to interfere in state and municipal laws dealing with cannabis use, possession, cultivation, and distribution.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “Our fight to win back the Majority is important for several reasons, & ending the failed prohibition on marijuana is one of them.”

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Josh McCall is hosting a marijuana rally.

/ STATES

The campaign behind one Missouri medical cannabis initiative filed lawsuits seeking to block two other measures from appearing on the ballot.

Oklahoma lawmakers and advocates are close to releasing draft medical cannabis implementation legislation. Meanwhile, regulators will discuss medical cannabis food and safety standards on Tuesday.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke about the state’s legalization of marijuana in a speech at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants conference.

Michigan lawmakers are calling on Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to prevent regulators from shutting down medical cannabis businesses that miss a key license application deadline.

A Georgia court is weighing the scope of the state’s 911 medical amnesty law. Separately, the House Study Committee on Industrial Hemp Production held its first meeting.

/ LOCAL

Dallas County, Texas’s policy to avoid arrests for small amounts of marijuana has only been used in 65 out of a total of 1,544 cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ontario, Canada officials announced that marijuana will be sold in private retail stores will the government will handle online sales.

/ ADVOCACY

The California League of Cities is opposing a proposed change to allow marijuana deliveries in municipalities that ban retail sales.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “CBD was associated with sustained reduction in seizure frequency and severity at 24 months.”

Research on impaired driving found that “higher CBD levels predicted greater impairment” and that “there was relatively little evidence of impairment when CBD was zero, even at high THC levels,” suggesting that “THC concentrations alone are not sufficient to predict impairment due to cannabis use.”

A study of mice found that cannabinoids help control and prevent intestinal inflammation.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Tulsa World editorial board defended Oklahoma colleges’ decision to ban medical cannabis from campus.

/ BUSINESS

A doctor named Sanjay Gupta signed a branding agreement for CBD products with Tree of Knowledge International, and Hemp Industry Daily initially incorrectly reported that it was the CNN star of the same name.

Harborside is going public through a reverse takeover of a Canadian company.

Canadian marijuana industry job postings have more than quadrupled in a year, one site found.

/ CULTURE

Hackers at the Def Con conference demonstrated artificial intelligence software that can determine the health of cannabis plants by looking at photos of them.

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Photo courtesy of Carlos Gracia.

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Newsletter

Workplace deaths drop in medical cannabis states, study finds (Newsletter: August 13, 2018)

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Rapper who opposed legalization opens marijuana store; Racial equity update in MA; Congressman debates cannabis at town hall

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A study found “evidence that legalizing medical marijuana improved workplace safety,” concluding that workplace deaths significantly decline in medical cannabis states.

Marijuana Moment spoke to Massachusetts cannabis commission Shaleen Title about efforts to ensure participation in the legal marijuana industry by communities harmed by the war on drugs. She also addressed the reasons she publicly rejected an invitation to speak at a cannabis conference last week.

  • “You can’t just hope for fairness and inclusion and have it happen…. The main challenge has been to structure the program so that it has a real impact rather than being lip service.”

Rapper B-Real of Cypress Hill, who campaigned against California’s marijuana legalization measure in 2016, is now opening a cannabis retail outlet.

/ FEDERAL

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City published a magazine article about marijuana legalization’s economic impact in Colorado.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement.

Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) debated marijuana policy with constituents at a town hall meeting.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is “confident” state medical cannabis protections will be extended.

Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA) said, “I believe states like Massachusetts that have legalized marijuana should be allowed to regulate distribution and use within its borders. Businesses and communities should not be penalized when they are in compliance with state laws.”

Congressman James Comer (R-KY) said, “There’s no question that industrial hemp is economically viable. I get a call from a farmer every other day. More and more farmers want to grow it.”

Congresswoman VIcky Hartzler (R-MO) tweeted, “In Colorado, the annual rate of marijuana-related emergency room visits increased 35% between 2011 and 2015.”

Congressman John Carter (R-TX) and his Democratic challenger disagree on marijuana policy.

The U.S. House bill to respect state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 27.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Learned tweeted that the war on drugs is ” a lost cause, a waste of resources, and terrible for our marginalized communities. Mandatory minimums are abhorrent, marijuana scheduling is stupid, and our law enforcement has its hands tied enforcing dated laws instead of keeping our community actually safe.”

/ STATES

Florida has spent nearly $2 million in legal bills in various lawsuits concerning the state’s medical cannabis program.

Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy.

New York Democratic attorney general candidate Letitia James, currently New York City’s public advocate, tweeted, “Last year, over 85% of people arrested for possessing less than TWO ounces in a public place in NY were people of color. Let’s restore the justice in our criminal justice system by legalizing recreational marijuana.”

Maryland regulators issued a bulletin clarifying how patients should report potential adverse reactions to medical cannabis products.

Indiana lawmakers and advocates held a town hall meeting to discuss 2019 marijuana reform efforts.

North Dakota regulators received 19 medical cannabis dispensary license applications.

Alaska regulators adopted rules concerning marijuana handler permits.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney tweeted about how local prosecutors across the country are “ending the unnecessary criminalization of marijuana, which alters lives and perpetuates racial disparities for virtually no public safety reason.”

Harris County, Texas District Attorney Kim Ogg ran as a reformer who pledged to reduce marijuana prosecutions, but her office is pushing for high bond amounts for cannabis possession.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Politicians in Northern Ireland are pushing for a medical cannabis expansion.

Here’s a look at Bangladesh’s bloody “drug war.”

The Organization of Legalizing Medical Cannabis in Korea was formed.

/ ADVOCACY

The Colorado Bankers Association hosted a national conference on marijuana banking issues.

New Mexico marijuana industry players are increasing their political donations.

Here’s a look at funding behind Utah’s medical cannabis ballot campaign.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of children with epilepsy found that “cannabidiol as an adjunct treatment had some subjective benefit for overall health, with a manageable adverse event profile.”

A study of rates concluded that “CBD exert an antiinflammatory effect in early phase of wound healing process although it was not sufficient promote clinical improvement of oral traumatic ulcerative lesions.”

Spinal Cord Series and Cases published dueling opinion pieces on the role of medical cannabis in treating spinal cord injury.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board says Florida’s attorney general should stop defending the state’s ban on smoking medical cannabis.

The Journal Times editorial board is worried that Wisconsin marijuana advisory ballot questions could increase turnout and affect the results of other elections.

The Boston Herald editorial board is concerned about legal marijuana’s impact on workplaces and road safety.

The Tulsa World editorial board slammed Oklahoma activists for lying about marijuana legalization signature counts.

/ BUSINESS

The Guardian profiles women leaders in the marijuana industry.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Action Bronson was arrested for smoking marijuana onstage at a concert in Kosovo.

Rappers Method Man and Redman missed a scheduled appearance at a High Times event in Alaska due to the airplane theft incident that occurred at the Seattle airport.

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Newsletter

Cannabis legalization working well in Denver, gov’t analysis finds (Newsletter: August 10, 2018)

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Indian state decriminalizing drugs; Congresswoman has cannabis quips in TV interview; WA moves to overhaul testing & packaging regs

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…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon — or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter — you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment  

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A government report from Denver, Colorado finds that the city is having success regulating the marijuana industry and is generating increasing amounts of tax revenue.

The Indian state of Sikkim is moving to decriminalize drugs.

Washington State regulators began a process that could significantly overhaul rules for marijuana testing and packaging.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) delivered hilarious and sharp cannabis quips in a Comedy Central appearance.

A research trial on the benefits of medical marijuana for military veterans with PTSD only needs a handful of additional enrollees.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI coordinated with state and local police in a raid of more than a dozen suspected illegal marijuana growing operations near Denver, Colorado.

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a U.S. Senate candidate, tweeted, “Since Nevadans made it clear that marijuana should be legal, our state has enjoyed more jobs and a strong tax revenue. This is why I’m supporting legislation to regulate marijuana like alcohol.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “I work for the communities ravaged by the “war on drugs” and trapped in a cycle of poverty and mass incarceration by cash bail, payday lenders, mandatory minimums and the school-to-prison pipeline.”

/ STATES

New Jersey’s Senate president said lawmakers are close to agreeing on a final draft of a marijuana legalization bill and that a vote could happen next month. Separately, regulators hosted a conference for people interested in applying for medical cannabis business licenses.

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson said he opposes legalizing marijuana but understands that “culture is passing me by.”

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine spoke in support of legalizing marijuana at a forum.

Ohio regulators said medical cannabis products should be available to patients by the end of the year.

California water officials are helping to flag illegal marijuana grows for law enforcement.

Michigan regulators approved medical cannabis business licenses. They will not delay a key licensing deadline that could force many businesses to close.

Massachusetts regulators approved more recreational marijuana business licenses. And the state launched a new public education campaign about marijuana.

North Dakota regulators sent an update on medical cannabis implementation.

/ LOCAL

Activists in Fremont, Ohio qualified a marijuana depenalization measure for the November ballot.

The Sacramento, California City Council approved an equity plan intended to let people impacted by the war on drugs participate in the legal cannabis industry.

Boston, Massachusetts city councilmembers are pressing officials for more information about how they make marijuana businesses permitting decisions.

Local officials at the West Virginia Municipal League conference heard a presentation about marijuana reform.

Los Angeles, California marijuana regulators are now accepting anonymous complaints through their website.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Welsh police chief is calling for legalization marijuana collectives where people can obtain and socially use cannabis.

The Canadian government released new data from an ongoing survey on marijuana usage patterns.

/ ADVOCACY

Massachusetts regulator and longtime activist Shaleen Title rejected an invitation to speak at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, an event that last year caused controversy and sparked a boycott by inviting Trump ally Roger Stone to be a keynote speaker.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners formed a Cannabis Insurance Working Group.

Here’s a lengthy look at the fight for military veterans to get medical cannabis access.

Clarity PAC is a new Florida marijuana legalization advocacy organization.

/ BUSINESS

The Common Application, used my many college admissions officials, is dropping a question about students’ criminal histories.

Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma announced that medical cannabis will not be allowed on their campuses.

Leafwire is hosting a pitch competition for marijuana companies seeking investment this month.

/ CULTURE

Musician David Crosby spoke about his new marijuana brand.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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