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Federal health official slams cannabis research blocks (Newsletter: May 27, 2021)

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Push for marijuana in public housing protections; ME drug decrim to House floor; PA gov’s cannabis pardon; Poll: NH supports legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins spoke about the therapeutic potential of psychedelics at a Senate hearing. He also slammed barriers to marijuana research created by its Schedule I status.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a letter asking the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge to use executive discretion to stop kicking people out of public housing for marijuana in states where it is legal.

  • “Smoking marijuana in federally assisted housing should be treated in the same manner as smoking tobacco in federally assisted housing.”

The Maine legislature’s Joint Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee advanced a bill to decriminalize drugs to the House floor—but members issued three separate recommendations for what should happen next.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) pardoned a doctor who was prosecuted, convicted, jailed and lost his medical license for growing medical cannabis for his dying wife. His daughter, who also lost her medical license, is up for a pardon next month.

A new poll found that New Hampshire residents’ support for legalizing marijuana continues to grow and now stands at 75%-16%. Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Sununu (R), who opposes cannabis legalization, has only a 51% favorability rating.

/ FEDERAL

Customs and Border Protection is being sued for allegedly improperly seizing pipes, rolling papers and vaporizers for hemp

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the nominees to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “For decades, young Americans—disproportionately Americans of color—have been arrested and jailed for carrying even small amounts of marijuana. I won’t stop working to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) tweeted, “New state laws means that Michiganders may be eligible to have past criminal charges expunged from their record, including misdemeanor marijuana offenses.”

/ STATES

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) vetoed a bill that would have legalized drug paraphernalia.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “Marijuana has been legalized in 17 states and Washington, D.C. What are we waiting for in Pennsylvania? Our citizens want legalization, the profits would boost our commonwealth and agriculture industry, and police could shift their focus to more serious crimes.”

New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidates clashed on marijuana legalization during a debate.

Missouri lawmakers sent Gov. Mike Parson (R) a bill that would have the effect of protecting gun rights for medical cannabis patients under state law.

The Texas Senate approved an amended version of a House-passed bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

Colorado’s House speaker tweeted, “CO is going to lead the way on addressing youth access to high potency cannabis. We will be at the forefront of research and preventing diversion to the black and gray markets, all while protecting patient access.”

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee held a hearing on a House-passed bill aimed at increasing equity in marijuana business licensing.

The South Dakota legislature’s Marijuana Interim Study Committee is holding two days of hearings this week.

A Mississippi senator spoke about efforts to craft a medical cannabis bill in advance of a potential special session.

A lawsuit challenging Indiana’s smokable hemp ban is being voluntarily dismissed by the companies that brought it.

California regulators served a search warrant on an unlicensed marijuana dispensary.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board will meet on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Boston, Massachusetts City Council is considering a proposal to revamp the process for approving and overseeing marijuana businesses.

A study shows that marijuana arrests and prosecutions in Dallas County, Texas are carried out on a racially disproportionate basis.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Morocco’s House of Representatives approved a medical cannabis bill.

Brazilian lawmakers debated a medical cannabis bill.

The head of the UK Labour Party refused to answer repeated questions about whether he has tried illegal drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabis and cannabinoids may have promising effects in the treatment of symptoms related to [autism spectrum disorder], and can be used as a therapeutic alternative in the relief of those symptoms.”

Colorado State University Pueblo’s Institute of Cannabis Research awarding funding for marijuana research projects.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Alabama Democratic Party tweeted, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made the opioid crisis worse. Between June 2019 and May 2020 the CDC reported a record number of opioid overdoses. But cannabis’s effect on reducing opioid abuse is well documented. Legalizing it could save lives.”

The ACLU of Virginia is encouraging people to apply to serve on two state cannabis regulatory bodies.

American Farmers & Ranchers, Oklahoma Agribusiness Retailers Association, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council and Oklahoma Farm Bureau formed a task force to study the impacts of medical cannabis on agriculture.

/ BUSINESS

Ayr Wellness Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $58.4 million and a net loss of $16.6 million.

Quest Diagnostics said the percentage of positive employment tests for marijuana increased last year.

Cybin Inc. filed an international patent application for its psychedelic derivative drug development candidates.

Eaze held a pitch day for participants in its Momentum business accelerator for cannabis social equity entrepreneurs.

Wine Spectator’s June issue is focused on cannabis.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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