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Feds clear DC legal cannabis prep (Newsletter: March 9, 2021)

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New USDA head approves hemp rules; GOP rep asks VA gov to veto legal marijuana; CT gov on legalization’s odds; NY cannabis plan & Cuomo scandals

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has signed off on final U.S. Department of Agriculture hemp rules despite concerns stakeholders had raised about certain provisions amid a review conducted during the presidential transition.

The Government Accountability Office rejected a complaint from Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) by ruling that Washington, D.C. officials can take steps to prepare to legalize marijuana sales while a congressional ban remains on the books. They just can’t vote on it yet.

Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) sent a letter urging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to veto his own bill to legalize marijuana, calling it a “gateway drug” and saying it would “undermine the rule of law” and “expose more children to drug use at young impressionable ages.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said his marijuana legalization bill has a “60-40” chance of passing this year. He also said it “wouldn’t be the end of the world” to amend it to let people grow their own cannabis.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) mounting list of scandals could give added momentum to a marijuana legalization plan that leading lawmakers are proposing as an alternative to the governor’s own relatively restrictive measure. Two of those legislators spoke at a Women in Cannabis event on Monday.

/ FEDERAL

The Congressional Research Service published a report on the presidentially determined list of drug-producing and drug-transit countries.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) and 18 other lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken promoting human rights in the U.S.-Mexico relationship and saying that “an excessive focus on arresting cartel kingpins—an approach that the U.S. Government has at times promoted—has not effectively reduced violence.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said he thinks a marijuana banking bill will pass “relatively early in this session of Congress.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “The filibuster is the reason we can’t pass: -Marijuana legalization… It is strangling our democracy.”

/ STATES

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) and Senate leaders are expected to unveil separate marijuana legalization plans this week.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he thinks proposed legislation to allow police to notify the parents of minors caught with marijuana is a “step in the right direction.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor posted a Twitter thread about his efforts to help people get their past marijuana and drug convictions pardoned.

The South Dakota Senate amended a medical cannabis delay measure by reducing the amount of marijuana that would be covered under an affirmative defense provision for patients but also to decriminalize possession for all adults.

The Idaho House of Representatives passed a hemp legalization bill.

The Florida House Professions and Public Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing on a proposal to place THC potency caps on medical cannabis on Tuesday.

The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee is considering a bill to amend marijuana regulations this week.

A Texas lawmaker filed a bill to allow localities to legalize marijuana.

A Massachusetts senator is introducing a bill to allow marijuana social use areas.

Some West Virginia Democratic lawmakers proposed legalizing marijuana as a way to keep young people from leaving the state.

A Wisconsin senator authored an op-ed on why the state should legalize marijuana.

New York regulators published guidance on the use of medical cannabis to treat opioid use disorder.

California regulators launched a “This is California Cannabis” campaign designed to promote the state’s legal marijuana cultivation market.

Maine regulators sent an update on efforts to formulate state hemp rules.

Michigan regulators are hosting a marijuana social equity education and outreach session on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 800 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.

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/ LOCAL

A San Diego, California judge signed an order reducing nearly 26,000 felony marijuana convictions to misdemeanors and dismissing about 1,000 misdemeanor cannabis convictions.

The Port Townsend, Washington City Council could consider a psychedelics decriminalization proposal next month.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government is studying legalizing cultivation of opium poppies.

New Zealand’s justice minister said the government has no plans to decriminalize marijuana but would allow its party members to vote freely on the issue if it came up.

Canadian regulators are circulating draft guidance laying out criteria that could be used to deny or revoke medical cannabis home cultivation registrations. They are also reportedly investigating complaints of inaccurately-labelled potency levels on some marijuana products.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the majority of women would consider using cannabis to treat gynecological conditions” and that “respondents who had a history of cannabis use were more likely to report willingness to use cannabis for all gynecological conditions, but a large proportion of those who reported never using cannabis were also willing to use it.”

A study of mice found that “significant reduction in ear edema, a marker for localized cutaneous inflammation, could be attributed to anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 49% of New Zealand voters support legalizing marijuana and another 20% back decriminalization.

Decriminalize Nature Michigan filed as a ballot committee to pursue a potential statewide psychedelics decriminalization measure and also wants to work with state lawmakers on the policy change.

Representatives of the American Lung Association, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and other organizations coauthored an op-ed opposing Denver, Colorado’s plans to allow marijuana social use areas.

U.S. Hemp Roundtable released a statement saying it is “opposed to marketing products, under the guise of the hemp name, for any intoxicating value or euphoric effect.”

The National Cannabis Industry Association announced its revised 2021 events schedule.

/ BUSINESS

Harborside Inc. completed a $5 million strategic investment in LPF JV, LLC, also known as Loudpack.

Charlotte’s Web, Inc. launched THC-free CBD oil tinctures.

/ CULTURE

Master P is rolling out a line of marijuana products.

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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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