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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

Senator does impression of McConnell talking cannabis (Newsletter: Oct. 19, 2018)

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Study: CBD reduces public speaking anxiety; Missouri medical marijuana campaign finance reports; SXSW announces 2019 cannabis panels

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) recounted a funny marijuana conversation he had with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on the Senate floor. In the video, the Colorado senator has a spot-on impression of the majority leader acting shocked that Utah is about to legalize medical cannabis.

South by Southwest announced that a slew of marijuana-focused panels will be featured at its 2019 event. Everything from CBD to technology, sex to aging and race issues to feminism will be covered through the lens of cannabis at SXSW2019.

A study concluded that CBD reduces anxiety during public speaking.

Marijuana Moment analyzed recently filed Missouri medical cannabis campaign finance reports. Take a look at how the various committees stack up.

/ FEDERAL

Conference committee negotiations on the Farm Bill, to which advocates are hoping to attach hemp legalization language, may slide into 2019 as a result of a potential need for lawmakers to spend time considering emergency hurricane relief legislation.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, spoke about his support for marijuana legalization at a CNN town hall.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said, “If Missouri is willing to resoundingly support medical marijuana, I think the tide changes nationally, and I think we’re in the home stretch.”

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted, “Modernized federal #Marijuana policy that respects states’ rights would be welcome news!”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Ending marijuana prohibition isn’t a radical idea. It’s common sense. Let’s expand legalization nationwide and create good jobs, generate tax revenue, expunge prior offenses and bring restorative justice to the communities that were harmed by the failed ‘war on drugs.'”

Competing New Hampshire congressional candidates agreed that states should be able to set their own marijuana policies.

South Carolina congressional candidates debated marijuana policy.

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Jim Francis tweeted, “I am 100% in support of legalizing marijuana.”

/ STATES

Iowa gubernatorial candidates debated medical cannabis expansion.

Connecticut Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont spoke about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement during a debate.

Massachusetts regulators approved a final license for a marijuana testing lab, a key step toward getting recreational sales online. And a commissioner proposed allowing microbusinesses to conduct cannabis home deliveries.

An Oklahoma judge ruled that municipalities cannot place greater restrictions on medical cannabis businesses than are allowed under state law.

Colorado regulators are accepting public feedback on proposed changes to the process for adding new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Florida Republican lawmakers are uring Gov Rick Scott (R) to seek a temporary injunction on a court ruling invalidating portions of the state’s medical cannabis law.

Washington State regulators arrested marijuana business licensee for illegal possession and distribution.

Indiana lawmakers held a study committee meeting on medical cannabis, but did not muster enough votes to pass a resolution in support of legislative changes.

California employment regulators tweeted about their presence at an upcoming marijuana industry conference.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner visited a hemp farm.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider proposed marijuana rule changes.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “The old approach to #cannabis didn’t work. It was too easy for our kids to get it and gangs & drug dealers were reaping the profits. That changes from now on. #promisekept” Meanwhile, the leader of the Conservatives won’t commit to not repealing legalization if his party takes over the government.

/ ADVOCACY

A staffer for prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana appeared to be  wildly off-message in an interview, admitting, “The industry’s not targeting necessarily 12- or 13-year olds.” That seems to run counter to the group’s repeated claims that cannabis businesses are making gummy bears and “pot tarts” to appeal to kids.

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report detailing racial disparities in Alabama marijuana enforcement.

The Missouri Catholic Conference said it opposes one of the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures because it would “create a tax-funded stream of revenue for potentially unethical biomedical research.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

An analysis suggests that car crashes are up as much as 6% in states with legal marijuana, as compared with neighboring states that maintain prohibition.

A study concluded that marijuana “has a potential link to stroke owing to cerebrovascular effects of cannabinoids.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 61% of Delawareans support legalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on October 23.

As of August, Colorado retailers had sold more than $1 billion worth of marijuana products this year, generating $200 million in tax revenue.

The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgement against a founder of a medical cannabis company and twenty affiliated entities for allegedly seeking investments without having a registration statement on file.

/ CULTURE

Musician David Crosby joined NORML’s advisory board.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley said that basketball players who claim to use marijuana medicinally are “full of shit.”

Comedian Conan O’Brien tweeted, “Now that Canada has legalized marijuana, maybe Canadians will finally mellow out.”

A South Dakota judge denied a motion to dismiss a marijuana case against rapper Chief Keef.

The Onion poked fun at Canada’s legalization of marijuana.

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US government’s tame response to Canadian legalization (Newsletter: Oct. 18, 2018)

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Likely next House Judic chair suggests legalizing drugs; Bizarre legal strategy sent marijuana to DOJ & courts; Canadian pardon process announced

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.

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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 338 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

So far the U.S. government’s official response to Canadian marijuana legalization seems very calm and consists of just a few polite videos reminding people not to bring cannabis over the border and a FAQ explaining how use affects entry and visas.

Does the next chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee want to legalize LSD, psilocybin, MDMA or other drugs in addition to marijuana? That’s what Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) seemed to imply in a radio interview.

  • “From everything we have learned, people are going to do drugs. And certainly the softer drugs like marijuana, there’s no good reason at all that they cannot be legalized and regulated properly.”

One man’s bizarre legal strategy involved sending marijuana samples to the Department of Justice and the federal courts. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work, and now the U.S. Marshals have been informed.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to express optimism about industrial hemp.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Republican challenger Rob Arlett debated marijuana policy.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted, “Today, Canada is recognizing what Oregonians and Americans across the country already understand: marijuana prohibition is an outdated, dangerous policy. It’s time to bring America’s marijuana policy into the 21st century.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time for the United States to follow suit. Legalizing marijuana at the federal level would make our justice system more fair—it’s the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do.”

Assistant House Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-SC) said that marijuana reform is “not important to me.”

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Republican challenger Vickie Yates Brown Glisson debated marijuana policy.

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), currently a U.S. Senate candidate, is pushing the federal government to let marijuana businesses access banks.

  • “I think it frankly cries out for a federal solution. And this is tough stuff — this is hard stuff to talk about — because I’m a law-and-order congressman, but it’s impossible to ignore what’s going on… If the federal government itself doesn’t do something to sort of at least provide the banking system that allows for greater oversight and regulation, I think we’re just setting ourselves up for a bit of a rogue industry rather than a highly regulated one.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and other elected officials will speak in support of a Missouri medical cannabis ballot measure at an event on Saturday.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “Proud to be endorsed by @NORML. As a member of the House Cannabis Caucus, I will continue my work to increase MJ research, change banking regs, and give vets access to MMJ.”

Several members of Congress expressed concern about border issues stemming from conflicting U.S. and Canadian marijuana laws.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he hopes the legislature’s investigation into sexual assault allegations against an administration official won’t prevent lawmakers from being able to legalize marijuana. Separately, lawmakers filed bills to establish a state bank to serve the marijuana industry and to exempt medical cannabis from sales and use taxes. A separate resolution calling on Congress to pass legislation increasing cannabis businesses’ access to banks was also introduced.

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo (R) vetoed a bill that would have given him waiver authority over certain requirements for medical cannabis program.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he opposes legalizing marijuana but supports medical cannabis.

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner implied that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Utah lawmakers began considering a medical cannabis compromise bill, with Republicans mostly on board with the proposal.

North Dakota regulators will begin accepting medical cannabis patient and caregiver applications on October 29.

Michigan regulators will meet on Thursday to consider medical cannabis license applications.

Here’s a look at activists’ efforts to qualify a medical cannabis measure for Mississippi’s 2020 ballot.

Iowa’s first medical cannabis facility is preparing to open.

/ LOCAL

A draft Seattle, Washington 2019 legislative agenda says the city supports state legislation to allow marijuana delivery services and cannabis vaping lounges, as well as expunging misdemeanor convictions.

The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors voted to establish a Cannabis Oversight Committee.

Weatherford, Oklahoma is the target of the fifth lawsuit against local medical cannabis ordinances in the state.

The Adair County, Oklahoma district attorney is dismissing a case against a registered medical cannabis patient who was charged with possession due to apparent confusion over which drug crime statute should apply.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government implemented marijuana legalization and also announced a process to expedite the process of pardoning people with past cannabis possession convictions. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on legalization going into effect.

  • “Promise Made, Promise Kept.”

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox tweeted, “Congratulations to the Canadian government on its remarkable leadership in today legalizing the sale and use of recreational cannabis. The first country in the G7 and and an important step in the global adoption of legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use.”

/ ADVOCACY

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana launched a new microsite it says it will use to track violations of Canada’s marijuana legalization laws.

Republican operative Roger Stone says Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) was “dealing marijuana to other staffers” on Ronald Reagan’s 1976 presidential campaign and is now messing up medical cannabis implementation in his state.

The Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert clashed with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson in a testy interview.

/ BUSINESS

Marijuana stocks dipped as Canada’s legalization went into effect, and by the end of the day a few had risen.

The New York Stock Exchange approved Aurora Cannabis for listing and registration.

The former owner of OG Analytics filed a defamation lawsuit against activists who exposed her ties to white nationalists.

/ CULTURE

Actor Seth Rogen tweeted, “Few moments in my life have brought me pride like I feel today. Canada, I love you.  – one of your smiling citizens.”

The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah expressed frustration that Canada legalized marijuana before the U.S.

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GOP congressman visits cannabis store with busload of senior citizens (Newsletter: Oct. 17, 2018)

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Dem’s memo on passing marijuana bills in 2019; ND legalization oppo outraises supporters; Senator congratulates Canada on legalization

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  • Chris Hager: “As an attorney representing people victimized by civil rights violations at work and outside of work, I am certain that the legalization of marijuana will continue to challenge our society’s norms and progress. I look to use my legal skills and commitment to representing people to further that crucial progress. I look forward to seeing your newsletter and updates.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) issued a memo to his party’s leadership laying out a step-by-step process for how they can pass marijuana legislation in 2019 should they control one or both chambers of Congress.

The congressman is also filing legislation addressing border-related cannabis issues in light of Canada’s legalization law going into effect on Wednesday.

In less than a week, the Food and Drug Administration has already received more than 2,000 submissions in response to its request for cannabis rescheduling comments. Marijuana Moment compiled some of the best (and worst).

New North Dakota campaign finance filings show that supporters of the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure are being heavily outraised by prohibitionists.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a statement celebrating Canada’s marijuana legalization policy going into effect.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) took time to accompany a literal busload of senior citizens on their trip to a marijuana dispensary.

/ FEDERAL

A Customs and Border Protection official said that a Canadian move to grant pardons for past marijuana offenses wouldn’t necessarily shield those individuals from being denied entry into the U.S.

The head of the U.S. Consulate in Calgary met with local business leaders to discuss Canada’s legalization of marijuana.

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop standards for devices police can use  test drivers for drug impairment on the roadside.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Reason #6 why you should vote: to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. Too many lives have been ruined because of our regressive policies.”

Rep. Dan Donovan (R) and Democratic challenger Max Rose debated marijuana policy reform.

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) said he’s hopeful for the prospects of marijuana law reform if Democrats take control of Congress.

/ STATES

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation prohibiting marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages.

New Mexico gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy reform.

Rhode Island regulators added autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Four New York Assembly committees held a joint hearing on marijuana legalization.

Vermont’s Opioid Coordination Council said it is “virtually impossible” to open a safe injection site for illegal drug consumers due to legal obstacles.

Louisiana’s first medical cannabis crop is being harvested this week.

Utah Democratic lawmakers will hold a town hall meeting on medical cannabis next week.

Ohio regulators extended the deadline for medical cannabis processor license applicants to submit clarifications on their plans.

Arkansas regulators met to discuss scoring of medical cannabis dispensary license applications and a change in ownership by a cultivation licensee.

Guam regulators made medical cannabis license applications available.

Kentucky regulators held an informational session about applying for industrial hemp licenses.

/ LOCAL

Chicago, Illinois Democratic mayoral candidate Paul Vallas said the city should demand half of the tax revenue from any marijuana sales in city after legalization.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government will launch a process to grant pardons to people with past convictions for simple possession of marijuana under 30 grams. Separately, a former Canadian army captain who was in the U.S. waiting to get a green card after marrying an American woman has spent the past 75 days detained because of a decades-old marijuana conviction for which he was pardoned in Canada.

A Thai lawmaker said that the vast majority of members of the public who have weighed in on potential marijuana legislation support reform.

/ ADVOCACY

The Michigan Republican Party criticized Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer for supporting marijuana legalization and greater restrictions on tobacco.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico tweeted, “It’s important to remember that this future billion dollar industry was opposed by Republicans like Susana Martinez because they couldn’t understand the difference between hemp and marijuana.”

The Marijuana Policy Project published new voter guides for Illinois, South Carolina and Vermont.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

Almost half of the most popular hip-hop and R & B music videos depict marijuana or tobacco consumption, a new study found.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Utah voters narrowly support the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure, 51%-45%.

A poll found that U.S. likely voters support drug testing lawmakers in their state, 65%-26%.

/ BUSINESS

Terra Tech placed ads in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox & Friends urging President Trump to support marijuana reform.

Acreage Holdings is adding former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to its board of directors.

The CEO of Starbucks Corp. said the company has no plans to enter the marijuana industry.

Poynter looks at parts of the marijuana media landscape.

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