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Feds want to test workers’ hair for cannabis (Newsletter: September 15, 2020)

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TX official wants medical marijuana for toothaches; MO funds vets’ health with cannabis money; USDA OKs hemp plans; New psychedelic science center

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Department of Health and Human Services’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is proposing allowing federal agencies and certain regulated businesses to drug test workers’ hair—a method that science shows could disproportionately lead to people of color losing their jobs.

Texas’s agriculture commissioner said he supports expanding the state’s limited medical cannabis law to allow patients to use it for toothaches and other maladies.

  • “If it’ll help somebody, I’m for it. Whatever it is. I mean, a toothache, I don’t care. If it’s a cure, if it [alleviates] pain, we should be able to use that.”

Missouri sent $2.1 million in medical marijuana revenue to a program that funds military veterans’ health services, and legal sales haven’t even started yet. This first haul—funds left over after implementation costs—is from business and patient licensing fees.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for Utah and another Indian tribe. The number of state, territory and tribal hemp proposals that federal officials have signed off on now stands at 60.

The University of California, Berkeley launched a new center dedicated to research and education on psychedelics.

/ FEDERAL

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) reiterated a pledge to decriminalize marijuana under a Biden administration.

The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent a press release highlighting some apparent Democratic discontent with plans to hold a House vote on marijuana legalization next week.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pledged to move marijuana reform legislation if Democrats win control of the Senate. He also tweeted, “Senator McConnell has said he will never bring any marijuana bill to the floor of the Senate. Here’s what I told @Leafly: If Democrats retake the majority in the Senate, I am going to do everything I can to put the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act on the floor.”

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) touted federal funding for a project to use hemp for “improving environmental effects of acid mine drainage.”

Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate Christopher Hale tweeted, “Why is that kids and veterans who smoke marijuana in rural Tennessee have criminal records, but the Wall Street executives who committed billions of dollars of consumer fraud and wrecked our economy do not? Let’s legalize weed now and invest the money in our schools and roads.”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) appointed members to the Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee.

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes adopted the marijuana legalization platform of his former primary rival.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Pennsylvania’s recreational cannabis revenue? $0. Now more than ever, we need to take that money away from illegal dealers and use it to offset the burden to taxpayers. Please tell your legislators to act now.”

A Texas judge heard arguments in a case challenging the state’s ban on smokable hemp.

The California Osteopathic Medical Board discussed guidelines for the recommendation of medical cannabis.

A lawsuit challenging Utah lawmakers’ move to replace a voter-approved medical cannabis ballot measure with an alternate law is being dropped.

Maine regulators adopted amended marijuana testing rules.

Hawaii and Virginia are suspending state hemp production regulations and are directing farmers to apply for licenses from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Oregon regulators published guidance on medical cannabis caregiver issues.

Washington State regulators will consider marijuana rules on Wednesday.

Ohio regulators released updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

A San Francisco. California supervisor filed legislation to postpone the implementation of a voter-approved tax on marijuana sales.

Denver, Colorado’s Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel held its fourth meeting.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The British Virgin Islands’s medical cannabis industry is on hold while the governor reviews relevant legislation.

The Canadian government awarded a contract to the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs to study the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on harm reduction services.

Here’s a look at possible challenges to the European Union’s classification of CBD products.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis use worked as an alternative to prescription opioids in just over half of patients with low back pain and as an adjunct to diminish use in some chronic opioid users.”

Vaping of marijuana and nicotine by U.S. 19-to-22-year-olds more than doubled between 2017 and 2019.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board said that Missouri’s medical cannabis rollout has been a “debacle.”

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana is closing its Manhattan office and is selling expensive furniture, including a $1,400 dining table, $1,500 set of chairs and a $2,500 pair of lounge chairs.

The Montana Chamber of Commerce is opposing the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measures.

Americans for Safe Access filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case challenging marijuana’s federally illegal status.

/ BUSINESS

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc.  reported quarterly revenue of $21.6 million and a net loss of $14.4 million.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. plans to divulge “certain material weaknesses in the Company’s internal control framework” in its upcoming quarterly financial filings.

/ CULTURE

Travel writer Rick Steves is campaigning for marijuana reform ballot measures in several states.

Jeopardy had a question about the congressional marijuana bill H.R. 420.

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Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.

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 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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Missouri & Virginia medical cannabis sales begin (Newsletter: October 19, 2020)

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Biden talks marijuana at town hall; VA gov signs decrim fine prepay bill; MT lawsuit challenges legalization initiative; NJ poll; OR drug decrim ads

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…

Before you dig into today’s cannabis news, I wanted you to know you can keep this resource free and published daily by subscribing to Marijuana Moment on Patreon. We’re a small independent publication diving deep into the cannabis world and rely on readers like you to keep going.

Join us at https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Trump addressed drug and crime policy issues at dueling town halls. Biden spoke about decriminalizing marijuana, clearing past cannabis records and forcing people into treatment instead of jail for drug possession. Meanwhile, Trump attempted to cast himself as the criminal justice reform candidate.

Missouri dispensaries made the state’s first medical marijuana sales—nearly two years after voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for approved patients.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill that allows people to prepay marijuana decriminalization fines instead of having to go to court. Meanwhile, the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened over the weekend. The governor also has more marijuana bills on his desk for action later this month.

Montana marijuana opponents are trying to block the state’s legalization ballot measure because they say it violates the state constitution by appropriating tax revenue to specific programs. Voting is already underway, so it’s unclear what will happen if the challenge succeeds in the state Supreme Court.

A new poll shows New Jersey’s marijuana legalization ballot referendum passing by a nearly three-to-one margin.

The campaign working to pass Oregon’s drug decriminalization ballot measure released a new series of TV and online ads. 

  • “Putting people in jail ruins families, when treatment can help families. Yes on 110 will help.”

/ FEDERAL

Leaders at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Training Academy are being accused of having a pattern of making racist comments towards recruits.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy updated its Freedom of Information Act policies.

Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) criticized President Trump, tweeting that he “expanded civil asset forfeiture/marijuana enforcement.”

Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) and Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis shared their positions on marijuana legalization during a debate.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) tweeted, “Happy Wisconsin Hemp Day! Throughout the early part of the 20th Century, Wisconsin was proudly a national leader in #hemp production. I have championed legalizing industrial hemp for years and am glad that our farmers are once again able to produce this lucrative, useful crop.”

South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana.

West Virginia democratic Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin tweeted, “This isn’t a partisan issue- it’s a greed issue. People from all walks of life want to legalize cannabis, except for those who want to make money off our backs instead of empowering our farmers, small businesses, & working people. We need restorative #cannabis legalization NOW”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I will fight to legalize cannabis, let our District 1 farmers grow it as a cash crop, & tax it to bring money into our system to fix our infrastructure!”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed a proclamation declaring Wisconsin Hemp Day.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “I’m calling on the PA legislature to move toward legalizing adult-use marijuana. Here’s why: 👍 Pennsylvanians support legalization 💵 Revenues would help us recover from #COVID19 🚜 Pennsylvania agriculture would see a boost 💚 Decriminalization of marijuana is long overdue 🌱 Justice would be restored to those impacted by over-criminalization 🛡 Regulations would be implemented to keep people safe ↔️ Pennsylvanians with medical issues could better access relief 💰 Pennsylvania would keep revenue instead of losing it to neighboring states”

Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers spoke about his support for decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing medical cannabis.

Arizona’s secretary of state held two town hall meetings to discuss the state’s ballot measures, including one to legalize marijuana.

Oklahoma regulators adopted emergency rules on medical cannabis reporting and testing. They also announced a recall of products sold by Green Motavation that failed pesticide testing.

Colorado regulators adopted new marijuana waste management rules.

Tennessee regulators extended the state’s hemp pilot program.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole granted parole to a disabled Iraqi War veteran who is serving a five-year prison sentence after being arrested for possessing medical cannabis that is legal in his home state of Arizona.

California regulators are proposing new rules on marijuana business license application requirements.

The Illinois Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.

Michigan regulators will hold a marijuana social equity education and outreach session on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Will County, Illinois Board is advancing a proposal to use marijuana tax revenue as reparations for “Transgenerational Damage Done through Slavery, the Black Codes, the War on Drugs, and Mass Incarceration.”

San Francisco, California regulators made grant funding available to marijuana social equity businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s former defense minister was arrested on drug charges by U.S. officials.

Reelected Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke about her priorities for addressing marijuana policy regardless of the outcome of the nation’s legalization referendum. Meanwhile, the unexpected victory of a Green Party parliamentary candidate could bode well for the referendum, preliminary results of which will be announced later this month.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky included a question about legalizing medical cannabis in an exit poll to be conducted along with local elections this month.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “accommodating assisted injection within [supervised injection services] may be providing opportunities to engage and reduce harms among higher-risk subpopulations” of people who inject drugs.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Policy Center for Public Health and Safety, American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp and ASTM International launched a pilot certification program for the cannabis industry.

The Irish Farmers Association says the country could be a “major player” in the production of medicinal cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

GenGanna Global, now known as OGGUSA Inc., is suing its board chairman for allegedly diverting more than $4 million in cash and benefits to his own company, Southern Tier Hemp.

Schwazze canceled its planned acquisition of Canyon.

/ CULTURE

The NFL Players Association sent a letter warning players that they could be violating collectively bargained rules by entering into partnerships with CBD companies.

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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

SCOTUS nominee pressed on cannabis (Newsletter: October 16, 2020)

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Polls: AZ legal marijuana leads; CO official touts psychedelic benefits; USDA to survey 18k hemp biz; NZ legal cannabis referendum on Sat.

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  • Ryan McCloskey: “I wanted to contribute something because I’ve been loving your newsletter for so long! You’re such a badass reporter who is doing a groundbreaking public service amid a massive shift in public opinion—and the associated democratic movement(s) to reform our antiquated drug laws.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) pressed Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on marijuana criminalization and racial disparities in the war on drugs during her confirmation hearing.

  • “Because of that felony conviction for doing things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing, they now can’t vote, they now can’t get jobs, they now can’t get business licenses. This is such a deeply affecting system that is disproportionately harming one class of citizens based upon race.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to survey 18,000 hemp businesses about how they grow and sell the newly legal crop, including questions on issues such as acreage, seeds, fertilizer, marketing, labor costs and storage.

Two new polls show Arizona’s marijuana legalization ballot initiative with a solid lead, and increased support from when the same two firms conducted surveys last month.

New Zealand voters will decide on a first-in-the-world national marijuana legalization referendum on Saturday—but don’t expect results to be announced for a few weeks.

  • “We won’t count referendum votes on election night,” the Electoral Commission says.

The Colorado Springs, Colorado City Council president shared an anecdote about how his sister-in-law benefited from using psilocybin mushrooms following a cancer diagnosis. The comments came as activists presented a proposal to locally decriminalize psychedelics in the military-heavy community.

/ FEDERAL

Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Congressman David Trone (D-MD) announced $50,000 in federal funding to support a feasibility study on the hemp processing industry.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) tweeted, “I am disappointed that SCOTUS decided not to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of federal marijuana prohibition. I joined an amicus brief to this case supporting overturning the DEA’s classification of marijuana.”

Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY) and Republican challenger George Mitris said during a debate that they support marijuana legalization.

Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) and Democratic challenger Donna Deegan briefly debated marijuana policy.

Former Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) tweeted, “You can decriminalize #marijuana w/o legalization. Legalization creates an industry where benefits fall to corporate interests & negative impacts fall disproportionately on minorities.”

Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen tweeted, “We would do well to follow Portugal’s decriminalization policy where ‘the drug-induced death rate has plummeted to 5x lower than the E.U. average and stands at 1/50th of the US.'”

/ STATES

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed bills extending the court-ordered receivership process to marijuana businesses.

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) and Republican challenger Julianne Murray debated marijuana legalization.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Illinois just banked $100M in revenue. Let me be clear: Pennsylvania, with a $4B budget deficit, is quite literally rejecting 100’s of millions of *free money* every year with cannabis Prohibition. Billions of dollars to build up PA, not the drug cartels. Legal Weed for PA.”

Colorado’s attorney general delivered the keynote address for George Mason University’s Symposium on the Economics and Law of Cannabis Markets.

Illinois regulators are facing a lawsuit that seeks to force them to issue overdue craft marijuana cultivation and infuser licenses.

New York regulators extended the state’s hemp pilot program.

Wisconsin regulators are extending the state’s hemp pilot program.

Advocates for and against Arizona’s marijuana legalization ballot measure held a debate.

Missouri regulators said they will need to spend another $200,000 in legal fees to handle lawsuits challenging their medical cannabis licensing decisions.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, and the Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will convene on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Delaware County, Pennsylvania Council held a hearing on a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Gilbert, Arizona Town Council approved a ban on recreational marijuana businesses.

A Cook County, Illinois commissioner admitted that she has an ownership stake in a marijuana business license applicant after having previously served as one of the state’s top cannabis regulators.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Colombian legislation to legalize marijuana is in jeopardy.

Victoria, Australia’s state government is supporting a bill to protect driving rights for medical cannabis patients.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “inhaled cannabis appears to have short-term beneficial effects on symptoms of” obsessive-compulsive disorder and that “patients reported a 60% reduction in compulsions, a 49% reduction in intrusions, and a 52% reduction in anxiety from before to after inhaling cannabis.”

A study on psychedelics found that “the perceived benefits associated with microdosing greatly outweigh the challenges” and that “microdosing may have utility for a variety of uses while having minimal side effects.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Montana’s Catholic bishops are opposing the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measures.

The Massachusetts Municipal Association expressed concerns about proposed rules to allow marijuana delivery services.

The Marijuana Policy Project published a Pennsylvania voter guide.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $27.4 million and an adjusted loss of $116.1 million.

Aphria Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $145.7 million and a net loss of $5.1 million.

Nabis raised $5 million in Series A funding.

Harborside Inc. launched new products and an initiative to highlight diversity, sustainability and wellness in the cannabis industry.

Vireo Health International, Inc. launched a new product in New York’s medical cannabis market.

Total Arkansas medical cannabis sales crossed the 25,000-pound threshold.

/ CULTURE

Family Feud had a question on where parents go to smoke marijuana.

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Newsletter

MT poll shows legal cannabis leading (Newsletter: October 15, 2020)

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IL rakes in $100M in marijuana revenue; DC bill would let formerly incarcerated enter cannabis biz; NJ legalization ads & funding data

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Illinois Department of Revenue announced that the state has generated more than $100 million in marijuana tax revenue since legal recreational cannabis sales launched earlier this year.

  • “Thanks to those who have carefully overseen this brand-new industry’s successful launch in Illinois, revenue is flowing to local governments, to drug treatment programs and law enforcement, and being reinvested in our communities hit hardest by the failed policies of the past.”

Washington, D.C. Council members filed a new bill to encourage participation and ownership in the legal medical marijuana industry by formerly incarcerated people.

  • “There is no reason why those who’ve paid their debt to society should be locked out of this industry any longer.”

A new poll shows that Montana voters are poised to approve marijuana legalization ballot measures next month—but 10% of voters are undecided, and turnout by young people could make all the difference.

New Jersey activists working to pass a marijuana legalization referendum released four English- and Spanish-language ads as new campaign finance data shows supporters out-raising cannabis opponents by a nearly 130:1 ratio.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) cited marijuana legalization as an issue on which he has stood up against his own party during a debate.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said the decision to delay a vote on his marijuana legalization bill by leadership was “the prudent choice, because they weren’t sure of the votes.”

The House bill to require the Food and Drug Administration to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got four new cosponsors for a total of 16.

Mississippi Democratic congressional candidate Antonia Eliason tweeted, “Even with my academic hat on, I’m writing about things that are key to my political campaign. The way we look at drugs domestically and internationally is problematic and we need to legalize medical cannabis as a tiny first step. Please vote for Initiative 65 (NOT 65A) on Nov. 3.”

/ STATES

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) and Democratic challenger Ben Salango debated marijuana legalization.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor did a radio interview about his support for legalizing marijuana.

Michigan’s attorney general tweeted, “I can tell you from first-hand experience that the expungement process in our state was in serious need of reform. We needed to expand the types of offenses that could be eligible for expungement.”

Mississippi’s secretary of state published a brochure with pro and con arguments on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures.

The contract process to run Colorado’s Hemp Center of Excellence has been reopened after a state appeals administrator determined there was a perceived conflict of interest between one of the selection panel members and the organization that initially won the contract.

A New York senator introduced a bill to create a public bank that could accept funds from marijuana businesses.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on October 22.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 West Norriton, Pennsylvania Board of Commissioners approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

Three Colorado municipalities will vote on ballot measures to allow recreational marijuana businesses next month.

The Sacramento, California City Council voted to allow 10 new marijuana dispensaries to open, with the aim of increasing cannabis industry ownership by people of color.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is reportedly considering including a marijuana legalization question in an exit poll to be conducted on election day later this month.

Guyana’s attorney general said the government will soon begin public consultations on marijuana decriminalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “the benefits of cannabidiol in treating symptoms of periodontal diseases outweigh the substance’s disadvantages.”

A study concluded that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy “provided to patients with severe or extreme, chronic PTSD appears to be cost-saving while delivering substantial clinical benefit.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Colorado Democratic Party tweeted, “Like we said: Cory Gardner is all stem and no bud when it comes to cannabis.”

The Drug Policy Alliance and JustLeadershipUSA led a group of 34 organizations founded and led by people directly impacted by the criminal justice system in sending a letter urging members of Congress to support a marijuana legalization bill.

/ BUSINESS

Charlotte’s Web, Inc.’s brand CBDMEDIC signed a sponsorship deal with the Arthritis Foundation.

Stiiizy-Mission voted in favor of a contract negotiated by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Cresco Labs launched a line of cannabis spray tinctures and capsules in New York.

Maine retailers sold more than $250,000 worth of recreational marijuana products in the first weekend of legal sales.

In the latest in a series of 420-themed tweets, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, “The gauntlet has been thrown down! The prophecy will be fulfilled. Model S price changes to $69,420 tonight!”

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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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