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

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

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

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.

/ FEDERAL

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.”

/ STATES

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.

/ LOCAL

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

/ INTERNATIONAL

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.

/ ADVOCACY

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.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

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.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

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.

/ BUSINESS

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.

/ CULTURE

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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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.)

Newsletter

Illinois cannabis banking bill filed (Newsletter: November 13, 2019)

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Kamala Harris jokes about CBD body rubs; Senator tours marijuana chocolate factory; USDA gets hundreds of hemp comments

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

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, made a joke about CBD body rubs while making a more serious point about the need for equity in the marijuana industry.

  •  “Let’s talk about CBD, right? All these products, right? That are all of a sudden going to relieve every problem I have, because I’m going to rub it all over my body, right?”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) toured a marijuana-infused chocolate factory operated by Grön Cannabis Confections.

  • “I will keep fighting for this growth industry so it can continue to generate jobs in Oregon and nationwide.”

An Illinois representative filed a bill that would allow marijuana businesses to access some basic banking services and create “special purpose checks” that cannabis operators could use to pay taxes and rent.

More than 500 people have already submitted official comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed hemp regulations, weighing in on issues relating to THC testing, “hot” hemp disposal procedures, the implementation of a ban on participation by people with felony drug convictions and more.

/ FEDERAL

Former Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin again spoke in support of medical cannabis research that the department blocked under his leadership.

Sen. Angus King (I-VT) tweeted, “Maine’s hemp farmers are building businesses the right (and legal) way, but outdated federal regulations are blocking their access to vital financial services. This is backwards – we should be encouraging new businesses, not holding them back.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “#Veterans and their doctors should be empowered to make informed decisions about medical marijuana without political interference. My Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would allow veterans to use medicinal marijuana in states where it’s legal.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said in a Veterans Day message that “protecting care for our wounded warriors and giving vets recovering from PTSD and chronic pain safer alternatives to opioids through medical cannabis should be a top priority.”

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), the lieutenant governor and the House speaker appointed members to a body charged with expanding the state’s medical cannabis program.

Massachusetts regulators issued a quarantine order on all marijuana vaping products except for devices intended for vaping medical cannabis flower.

The Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill aligning the state’s hemp regulations with new proposed federal rules.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against doctors who challenged state investigations into their medical cannabis recommendation practices.

Illinois lawmakers are considering legislation to undo a lifetime ban on legislators and their immediate family members from investing in marijuana stocks or owning cannabis business licenses that was mistakenly included in the legalization bill.

A proposed Florida marijuana legalization ballot measure raised more than $1 million in donations from MedMen and Surterra, while a competing measure received a $5,000 contribution from a Trulieve official.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated that a proposed psilocybin decriminalization ballot measure would reduce criminal justice costs by a sum “not likely to exceed a few million dollars annually” and could potentially raise some revenues.

A Connecticut representative hosted a press conference to discuss opposition to federal marijuana banking legislation.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on December 12.


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 El Paso, Texas City Council voted to take steps toward implementing a policy to let police issue citations instead of make arrests in marijuana possession cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian Securities Administrators issued guidance warning the cannabis industry about “deficient” corporate governance disclosures.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabinoids exhibit antibacterial activity against MRSA, inhibit its ability to form biofilms and eradicate stationary phase cells persistent to antibiotics.”

A review concluded that “large-scale surveys suggest that cannabis may be effective in reducing anxiety, however, these results stand in contrast to equivocal findings from clinical trials.”

A study found that “CBD promoted cell death in gastric cancer.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno spoke about the organization’s recent restructuring and layoffs in an interview at its biennial conference.

Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana was barred from participating in Austin’s Veterans Day parade.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is urging people to be cautious about marijuana vaping as legalization comes online in Illinois.

/ BUSINESS

Leafly launched a program to assess and certify marijuana testing labs for accuracy and quality.

Terrapin Care Station announced a guaranteed $15/hour minimum wage for all employees.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $22.4 million.

Tilray, Inc. reported $51.1 million in quarterly revenue.

Cronos Group Inc. reported $12.7 million in quarterly revenue.

4Front Ventures Corp. announced preliminary quarterly revenue of $16.9 million.

/ CULTURE

Family Feud had a question about where grandma hides her marijuana stash.

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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.
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Newsletter

Medical cannabis included in candidates’ veterans plans (Newsletter: November 12, 2019)

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Santa Cruz considers psychedelics decrim; Barbara Lee addresses legal marijuana activists; UK approves cannabis medicines for some conditions

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

Presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) all included medical cannabis planks in Veterans Day plans their campaigns released.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) highlighted the benefits of medical cannabis for military veterans in a Veterans Day email to NORML’s list, and she delivered a video message on broader marijuana and drug reform at the Drug Policy Alliance conference over the weekend.

The Santa Cruz, California City Council will consider a proposal this week to join other cities in decriminalizing psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump tweeted, “Will be meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma. Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that some vaping products should be removed from the market.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Facts, figures, and justice are on our side. We will decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and we will finally provide restorative justice to communities of color hit hardest by the failed #WarOnDrugs. We will win this fight.”

/ STATES

The Wisconsin Assembly is expected to take up hemp legislation on Tuesday.

Ohio regulators adopted resolutions clarifying that pharmacists can participate in the state’s medical cannabis program without punishment.

Maine regulators are investigating marijuana advertising at a sports arena.

Michigan regulators issued a bulletin on the marijuana licensing process, and are expected to issue the first recreational business licenses by the end of the month.

The The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, located within New York, will hold referendums on medical cannabis and marijuana legalization next month.


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 El Paso, Texas City Council is set to consider a proposal to let police issue citations instead of make arrests for up to four ounces of marijuana on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended that cannabis-based medicines be allowed via the National Health Service for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and intractable nausea and vomiting, but not for chronic pain.

Western Australia officials are moving to let general practitioners prescribe medical cannabis without the involvement of specialists.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “CBD currently represents a promising potential novel treatment for patients with psychosis.”

Yale launched a study into medical cannabis’s effects on chronic pain and stress.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Americans found that 73% believe the “problem of drugs” is extremely serious or very serious in the U.S. and that 41% think the nation has made much or some progress in coping with the problem over the last year or two.

/ BUSINESS

Organigram Holdings Inc. announced that it intends to report quarterly revenue of approximately $16.3 million.

Greyling Insurance Brokerage & Risk Consulting launched what it says is the first nationwide Site Pollution Liability Insurance Program for the cannabis industry.

/ CULTURE

Former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern said the league should reconsider its ban on marijuana.

Former hockey player Jeremy Roenick is promoting CBD products.

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld spoke about his interest in psychedelic drugs.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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.
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Newsletter

Sanders pushes to legalize cannabis for military veterans (Newsletter: November 11, 2019)

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Former FDA head lays out CBD regulation ideas; Congresswoman visits marijuana dispensary; CDC vaping breakthrough

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There are now 1,223 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, signed onto a bill that would federally legalize medical cannabis for military veterans.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is laying out a plan for how the agency can begin regulating CBD products.

  • “FDA can start with supplements and put burden on producers to prove CBD safety at very low levels while ensuring manufacturing standards, purity, minimum levels of active ingredient during a transition period of enforcement discretion – and sweep market of non compliant products.”

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) visited a marijuana dispensary and discussed cannabis banking and descheduling issues.

/ FEDERAL

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reached a “breakthrough” in identifying vitamin E acetate as the likely cause of vaping-related lung injuries, with an official saying that while there are “a few” anecdotal cases of the additive being found in marijuana products from licensed dispensaries, most injuries seem to be linked to informally sourced products. The agency recommended “not using THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, or any e-cigarette, or vaping, products obtained from informal sources.”

Food and Drug Administration Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy Lowell Schiller is raising concerns about creating an exception for CBD supplements without adequate data on safety.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey published an oped on new federal hemp regulations.

Sen. Angus King (I-ME) sent a letter urging the Senate Banking Committee chairman and ranking member to advance marijuana banking legislation.

Sen Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for expunging marijuana records, executive clemency and broader criminal justice reform and said that former Vice President Joe Biden (D) should repent for his role in enacting harsh penalties.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s not enough to end the failed and racist War on Drugs – we need real restorative justice for the communities of color most affected. It’s past time to get serious about #MarijuanaJustice.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 53.

/ STATES

The Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives are asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) brought against a law that gives lawmakers veto power over cannabis regulations.

Pennsylvania’s attorney general spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana.

Ohio regulators banned vitamin E acetate additives in marijuana vaping products.

Washington State regulators asked cannabis processors to immediately stop adding vitamin E acetate to vaping products.

Nevada’s auditor determined that the state’s marijuana business licensing process is adequate.

The California Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee held a hearing on marijuana-related employment and workplace issues.

The Florida Senate Appropriations Committee questioned officials from Florida A&M University about its medical cannabis education program.

Michigan medical cannabis businesses want regulators to launch recreational marijuana sales early by letting them move medical products to the adult-use market.

A man facing South Dakota drug charges after being caught with what he said was shipment of hemp from Colorado to Minnesota has pleaded not guilty.


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

Boston, Massachusetts’s mayor is returning campaign donations received from marijuana company executives. Meanwhile, the City Council is expected to vote on a proposal overhauling the city’s cannabis business approval process.

The Palm Springs, California City Council adopted a “zero-tolerance” policy on odors emanating from marijuana cultivation businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Finland’s health minister endorsed decriminalizing marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis use is increasingly common in women with gynecologic cancer” and that “many women report decreased opioid use after initiation of cannabis for analgesia.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse posted a funding opportunity for research to “determine the biological mechanisms underlying the effects of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system on HIV-associated persistent inflammation and its consequent effects on nervous system function.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Republican Senatorial Committee tweeted, “We can’t believe we’re tweeting a @Playboy article, but we have to agree that @CoryGardner is working hard to find solutions for Coloradans in light of marijuana legalization.”

/ BUSINESS

A medical cannabis employment discrimination case against Amazon was moved from New Jersey state court to federal court.

A Leafly investigation unmasked the man behind Honey Cut, maker of a vaping cartridge thickening agent.

/ CULTURE

Musician Neil Young revealed that his use of marijuana has jeopardized his application for U.S. citizenship.

Basketball player Dion Waiters was suspended for 10 games after he reportedly had a “panic attack” following the consumption of a marijuana edible on a team flight.

A follow up to the TV series “Weeds” is in development.

The New York Times looks at senior citizens’ growing interest in ayahuasca.

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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.
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