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Federal judge says cannabis is likely “greatest thing for pain” (Newsletter: Jan. 24, 2019)



VT legal marijuana sales bill has strong support; NJ OKs medical cannabis for opioid addiction; Bloomberg: marijuana an “addictive narcotic”

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Half of the Vermont Senate—including its president—is cosponsoring a bill to legalize marijuana sales.

A federal judge wrote that she would love to allow a man on probation to use medical marijuana—saying she suspects it is “the greatest thing for pain”—but expressing regret that current laws tie her hands from doing so.

Newly sworn-in Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) is urging other states *not* to legalize marijuana. But he kind of has a good reason for it…

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that opioid use disorder is now a qualifying condition for medical cannabis—effective immediately.

Potential Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said legalizing marijuana is “perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done” and called cannabis an “addictive narcotic.”

Reps. Lou Correa (D-CA) and Clay Higgins (R-LA) filed a bill that would force the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the benefits of medical cannabis for military veterans. Identical Senate legislation was introduced last week.


A federal judge denied a request from the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia to extend a stay on a ruling allowing the transport and sale of industrial hemp.

The House of Representatives voted for the third time this month to pass a bill containing language that would continue blocking Washington, D.C. from spending local tax dollars to legalize marijuana—part of Democrats’ strategy to reopen the federal government by adopting versions of legislation that advanced in the Senate last year. It also contains an extension of state medical cannabis protections. The Senate is expected to vote on separate spending legislation that contains the riders on Thursday.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shared an image on Facebook highlighting strong public support for legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) is scheduled to appear at the harvesting of medical cannabis on Monday.

Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) tweeted that the South Carolina attorney general’s opposition to medical cannabis is “ridiculous.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “When people of color are more likely to be arrested for marijuana, it’s clear we need to reform the discriminatory system.”


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders reportedly remain “far apart” on issues relating to tax rates and regulations in marijuana legalization legislation.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) picks for seats on the state’s marijuana regulatory body are critical of recently approved rules allowing on-site consumption at dispensaries, and their selection is raising concerns that more restrictive regulations could be on the way.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is proposing legislation to address driving under the influence of marijuana, which includes provisions that would suspend driver’s licenses for motorists who refuse to take a drug test and prohibit unsealed packages of cannabis in the driver’s compartment of a vehicle, among other measures. Separately, his budget is projecting $133 in marijuana tax revenue for Fiscal Year 2020.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a potential 2020 presidential candidate, spoke about the political “tipping point” for marijuana legalization.

A Florida appeals court rejected Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) request to put a case challenging the state’s ban on smoking medical cannabis in abeyance while lawmakers consider repealing the underlying policy, but is instead allowing the parties to seek a stay for a specified period of time.

Wisconsin’s attorney general wants lawmakers to clarify the issue of THC testing for hemp.

South Carolina’s attorney general spoke against medical cannabis at a press conference, calling it “the most dangerous drug.”

A Virginia judge blocked an effort by the Norfolk County commonwealth’s attorney to drop a marijuana possession case in line with a newly announced policy not to pursue such prosecutions.

The Colorado House Health and Insurance Committee voted 10-1 to approve legislation to add autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions. Separately, the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee held a hearing on marijuana banking issues. And regulators sent a reminder about new cannabis rules that went into effect on January 1.

The South Dakota Senate Health and Human Services Committee amended a pending bill to specifically schedule Epidiolex rather than CBD in general.

A lawsuit is seeking to force Michigan regulators to remove marijuana from the state’s list of controlled substances.

New Mexico regulators are facing a lawsuit from a medical cannabis company over taxes it claims it shouldn’t have had to pay because its products are medicines.

Iowa regulators are considering adding certain forms of autism as CBD medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Washington State marijuana regulators announced they will take a look at rules regarding acceptable forms of identification.

California insurance regulators released an updated list of companies covering the cannabis industry.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 300 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.

We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.


The New York City police commissioner said in a speech that “the legalization of marijuana is coming.”


Israel’s cabinet is expected to approve a bill legalizing medical cannabis exports on Sunday.

Canadian retailers sold $54.5 million worth of marijuana products in November.


The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy released recommendations about marijuana taxes, including that they be based on weight rather than price.

Colorado and Denver NORML chapters are pressing state lawmakers to mandate that impairment evaluations—rather than analysis of blood and bodily fluids—be used for employment drug testing programs.

A Reason Foundation analysis on drug-impaired driving concluded that states should “mandate evidence of drug impairment as the main criterion for arrest” rather than using per se standards or testing blood plasma levels, which don’t correlate to impairment.


A study found that states with “liberal” marijuana laws “had higher past-year [cannabis use], but lower [cannabis use disorder] prevalence among users, compared to conservative states.”

A study found an increase in emergency department visits related to cannabis use in France, noting that “these trends occurred despite cannabis remaining illegal.”


A poll found that New Jersey certified public accountants support legalizing marijuana, 51%-48%.

The Capital Times editorial board wants Wisconsin to legalize marijuana sooner rather than later.

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board is concerned about the move to legalize marijuana in Illinois.


Acreage Holdings released a rough cut of the medical cannabis ad that CBS refused to air during the Super Bowl.

The CEO of Anheuser-Busch Inbev said he’s not worried about marijuana legalization cutting into the alcohol market.

Marijuana payment processor PayQwick is being sued by an investor for alleged fraud.

Massachusetts retailers sold nearly $24 million in marijuana products in the first two months of recreational sales.


Former NFL player Terrell Davis said he believes CBD could have helped his career last longer.

Actor and game show host Drew Carey tweeted, in response to President Trump’s advocacy for a Mexican border wall, “END THE DRUG WAR AND TREAT ALL SUBSTANCE ABUSE AS A [HEALTH] PROBLEM INSTEAD OF CRIMINALIZING IT & CRIME WILL FALL!”

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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