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First look at Sen. Gardner’s cannabis bill (Newsletter: May 9, 2018)

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House committee passes marijuana bill; DEA says cannabis kills; Schumer & McConnell talk cannabis

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  • Josh Kirby of Kin Slips: “It seems like there’s a breaking cannabis story every 2 minutes these days and it’s exhausting to try to keep up with all of them on your own. Tom’s Marijuana Moment makes it easy to stay on top of and understand the ever changing political sentiment around our industry. It’s the perfect compendium to this crazy cannabis adventure.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana Moment got a first look at the provisions of a bipartisan marijuana bill that could be filed as soon as this week by U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in line with President Trump’s agreement to respect state cannabis laws.

In an historical first, a congressional committee has advanced marijuana law reform legislation. The bill is fairly limited in that it would encourage the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct more studies on cannabis’s medical benefits, but it likely signals the first in a series of votes on broader marijuana bills in the coming months. In a related development, the House Appropriations Committee included report language attached to the VA funding bill encouraging the department to conduct cannabis research.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Robert Patterson claimed that marijuana kills people. He also made a number of other questionable and interesting remarks.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he has no plans to support Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) marijuana descheduling bill despite the two working together on hemp legalization. Schumer replied, “Come on, Mitch.”

/ FEDERAL

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and local law enforcement agencies conducted raids on Adelanto, California’s city hall, the home of the mayor and a marijuana dispensary as part of “an investigation into criminal activity.”

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, “The war on crime and drugs did not fail. It was a roaring success.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) campaign Twitter account appeared to make a reference to losing Senate candidate Don Blankenship’s “cocaine Mitch” ad.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of 34.

The U.S. House bill to increase military veterans’ access to medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 25.

The U.S. House bill to encourage the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to research cannabis got 14 new cosponsors, for a total of 53.

The U.S. House bill to remove roadblocks to marijuana research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 28.

Mississippi Democratic U.S. Senate candidate David Baria, currently a state representative, supports medical cannabis.

/ STATES

The Missouri Senate advanced a House-passed medical cannabis bill on second reading.

California regulators reported that marijuana tax revenues are significantly below projections.

Some New York lawmakers are hopeful that marijuana legalization can get a vote this year.

Connecticut’s legislative leaders said marijuana legalization is off the table for the session.

Idaho Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan spoke about her support for marijuana law reform.

Utah’s medical cannabis initiative got an endorsement from the Salt Lake City district attorney. Meanwhile, opponents accused the measure’s campaigners of illegally trying to prevent the submission of signature removal forms that threaten its path to the ballot.

Massachusetts regulators gave an update on the number of marijuana business license applications they’ve received. They also announced that they accidentally approved several applications against staff recommendations because of a “transcription error.”

/ LOCAL

The Allentown, Pennsylvania City Council gave initial approval to a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance, and also adopted a resolution calling on state lawmakers to end cannabis criminalization. Meanwhile, Lehigh County’s district attorney is speaking out against the move.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade issued a report on pending marijuana legalization legislation.

A leading Mexican presidential candidate says the country should debate legalizing drugs.

An Australian senator filed a marijuana legalization bill.

/ ADVOCACY

Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele cheered congressional moves to expand medical cannabis research.

/ BUSINESS  

Marijuana Business Daily projects that U.S. marijuana sales will reach $8 billion-$10 billion this year and rise as high as $22 billion by 2022.

Quest Diagnostics reported that fewer U.S. workers tested positive for prescription painkillers last year, but that cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana use surged.

/ CULTURE     

Actor Woody Harrelson said that he’s consuming cannabis again after a hiatus, adding that musician Willie Nelson got him back into marijuana.

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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.)

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Governor signs legal cannabis bill in US territory (Newsletter: Sep. 21, 2018)

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FDA head: marijuana more dangerous than nicotine; NY lawmakers schedule legalization hearing; NJ sheriff’s racist legalization comments caught on tape

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 335 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making the territory the first place in the U.S. to end prohibition without first having a medical cannabis program.

U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that we should be more worried about teens using marijuana than nicotine.

The sheriff of New Jersey’s most populous county was caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization:

  • “Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

Four New York Assembly committees scheduled the first of what will be four separate joint hearings on marijuana legalization this fall.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is facing a potential lawsuit over its role in an investigation into a California marijuana distribution company.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office tweeted, “IS EATING MARIJUANA MORE DANGEROUS THAN SMOKING MARIJUANA? YES! There is high potential for overdose from #marijuana #edibles. #DontDoDrugs”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “We just have to be not so stupid as to impair our own progress. There is no reason for us to be creating wealth in Canada for cannabis companies by importing Canadian weed.”

  • Gaetz also tweeted, “Last week, the @HouseJudiciary passed my bill, the Medical Cannabis Research Act, which will help scientists and researchers study #cannabis and #unlock its medical potential. Congress must continue working across party lines to pass meaningful #CannabisReform”

West Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Richard Ojeda defended himself from attacks by the state’s Republican Party for meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), tweeting, “Yep. I was out there with a congressman who wants to work together to create legislation to protect 2nd Amendment Rights for those who receive a medical cannabis card. Are you guys pro 2nd???”

  • Ojeda also tweeted, “Hemp and medical cannabis combined with the jobs those industries create would be a game changer for our state.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information for commercial purposes.

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said the state should not legalize marijuana but instead expand access to medical cannabis.

Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any final licenses at its Thursday meeting.

Florida regulators are asking an appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling allowing a man to grow his own medical cannabis.

West Virginia lawmakers are asking the state attorney general for an update on his legal opinion about providing banking services to medical cannabis businesses.

A Utah billboard urging people to support the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure is being temporarily taken down while the advertising company reviews election laws concerning anonymous political ads.

A Missouri medical cannabis ballot initiative campaign is raising money to place its first ad on TV.

Maryland regulators have been forced to repeatedly override medical cannabis rules in recent weeks due to problems with the state’s track-and-trace software.

Alaska regulators will meet on October 16 and 17 to consider marijuana establishment license applications and related rules.

Arkansas’s hemp research program is experiencing delays.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney tweeted a video of a talk he gave at a marijuana event.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s incoming government will approve medical cannabis regulations, a top health official said.

/ ADVOCACY

A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that “black people were 2.9 times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Louisiana,11 despite evidence that black people and white people use marijuana at similar rates.”

The Marijuana Policy Project published a voter guide for New Hampshire’s general election.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A federal survey found that Americans aged 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke marijuana on a monthly basis than teens aged 12 to 17.

A review concluded that “cannabinoid drugs were associated with modest increases in experimental pain threshold and tolerance, no reduction in the intensity of ongoing experimental pain, reduced perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli, and no reduction of mechanical hyperalgesia.”

A study found that MDMA “enhances acute prosocial behaviors” in octopuses.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Mexico voters support legalizing marijuana, 60%-32%.

/ BUSINESS

Bloom Automation is building robots to harvest marijuana.

The Associated Press looks at growing interest in marijuana stocks on Wall Street.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dax Shepard defended his wife Kristen Bell’s marijuana use.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Congressman want feds to “buy American’ cannabis (Newsletter: Sep. 20, 2018)

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OH & NM gov candidates clash on marijuana; PETA says getting lobsters high isn’t “humane”; CA gov vetoes bill letting cannabiz write off expenses

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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 332 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is questioning why the federal government approved a deal to import marijuana products from Canada for a research study instead of granting more licenses to domestic cannabis cultivators.

  • “What happened to ‘buy American, hire American?'”

Gubernatorial candidates in Ohio and New Mexico clashed on marijuana legalization during debates.

A Maine restaurant is getting lots of press for its supposedly “humane” practice of blowing marijuana smoke on lobsters before boiling them. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is not buying it:

  • “It is highly unlikely that getting a lobster high would make a lick of difference when it comes to the full-blown agony of being boiled or steamed alive.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted again from a Department of Justice marijuana meeting.

A provision of a House-passed opioids bill, which is not in the Senate version, would give the U.S. attorney general the power to create a new category of scheduling for synthetic drugs.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and her Democratic challenger debated marijuana research restrictions.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) tweeted about an upcoming event to help people clear their misdemeanor marijuana convictions and outstanding summons warrants.

North Dakota congressional candidates said they will vote against the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure but believe that the federal government should not interfere with state cannabis laws.

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Mimi Methvin tweeted about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement.

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed bills clarifying that marijuana distributors can transport products to other distributors and that labs can test home-grown cannabis. He also vetoed a bill that would have allowed marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses under the state’s personal income tax law.

Staffers for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders are expected to meet on Thursday to hammer out details of a marijuana legalization bill that could be introduced and voted on soon.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tweeted, “We want to hear from communities across the state as we work to draft legislation on a regulated marijuana program in New York.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana.

An Oregon advisory committee is urging regulators to rescind purchasing restrictions on medical cannabis.

A Montana judge indicated he may overturn regulators’ decision to strip licenses from two medical cannabis businesses.

Guam senators are set to consider three medical cannabis expansion bills next month.

Massachusetts regulators are accepting public comment about the state’s medical cannabis program.

Here’s a look at the looming launch of California’s marijuana track-and-trace system.

Alaska marijuana businesses are criticizing regulatory hurdles and delays.

/ LOCAL

Minneapolis, Minnesota’s mayor tweeted, “A majority (56%!) of Minnesotans understand that marijuana legalization is a huge opportunity to improve our criminal justice system while increasing important resources for social services & drug treatment.”

New York’s City Council speaker tweeted, “New York is about to enter the 21st century when it comes to marijuana. I 100% support the full legalization of marijuana – always have & always will. From decreasing number of arrests to creating jobs & revenue, it’s a no-brainer.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The chief minister of Australia’s Capital Territory said he’s “favourably disposed towards” legalizing marijuana.

Georgia’s government halted plans to legalize medical cannabis cultivation following protests from the Orthodox Church.

Colombia saw a record level of coca production last year.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Cannabis Industry Association released a report making the case that marijuana reform is a winning issue for whichever candidates or political parties fully embrace it first. (Disclosure: I worked with NCIA to compile the report.)

Opponents of Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure held a press conference.

The vice president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police published an op-ed urging lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

The Nevada Resort Association is urging Las Vegas officials to delay consideration of a proposal to allow marijuana consumption lounges.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Long Island and New York City residents support legalizing marijuana, 50% – 40%.

A poll asked Great Britain adults whether they think it is acceptable for CEOs to use marijuana and other drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray Inc. stock took a metaphorical roller coaster ride on Wednesday.

Canopy Rivers Corp. is going public.

The Financial Times looks at the impact of marijuana legalization on property values.

/ CULTURE

Musician Macy Gray spoke about her involvement in the marijuana industry.

Former NBA player Matt Barnes said he smoked marijuana before every game.

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Is psilocybin next for drug reformers after cannabis legalization? (Newsletter: Sep. 19, 2018)

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O’Rourke gives fiery speech on marijuana & Botham Jean; CA gov can’t stop dissing cannabis consumers; Trump admin organizing anti-drug meeting at UN

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, delivered fired up comments about marijuana, Botham Jean’s killing by police and the racially discriminatory drug war.

Activists in Denver, Colorado and Oregon took steps this month toward qualifying ballot measures allowing psilocybin use.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has a history of saying mean-spirited and inaccurate things about people who use cannabis, took a dig at marijuana consumers in an unrelated comment about fighting back against climate change.

  • “We either do nothing and smoke marijuana because it’s legalized, or we put our shoulder to the plow and do everything we can.”

/ FEDERAL

The Trump administration is organizing a drug policy event outside of this month’s United Nations General Assembly, according to leaked documents.

The Department of Justice convened a meeting in Denver for U.S. attorneys to discuss marijuana policy.

Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT) said she’s undecided on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure, while her Democratic challenger supports it.

Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and his Democratic opponent are taking differing positions on rescheduling marijuana.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) discussed marijuana policy while sampling CBD-infused beer.

The U.S. Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of five.

The U.S. House bill to protect federal employees from getting fired for state-legal marijuana use got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.

/ STATES

Here’s an advance look at the details of New Jersey’s soon-to-be-filed marijuana legalization bill. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) supports a higher tax rate than is proposed in the bill, but said he’s “not ruling anything out.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke about his support for expanding marijuana research.

Utah’s lieutenant governor asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to remove a medical cannabis initiative from the state’s ballot.

California’s treasurer tweeted, “We’re exploring a public cannabis bank so biz don’t have to operate purely in cash. Carrying around thousands of dollars paints a target on legal biz & increases violence in communities. Until DC takes action, CA will lead on legalized cannabis.”

A Missouri appeals court affirmed a judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit that one medical cannabis campaign filed seeking to remove a competing measure from the ballot.

Here’s a look at where Minnesota gubernatorial candidates stand on legalizing marijuana.

Illinois Democratic attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul said he supports legalizing marijuana but wants to regulate edibles.

Alaska regulators certified changes to rules on marijuana advertising and promotions.

Massachusetts regulators will consider granting marijuana retail, cultivation and manufacturing licenses on Thursday.

Here’s a look at where New York is on the path to legalizing marijuana.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney spoke at a marijuana industry event, saying he wants cannabis entrepreneurs to “be successful and legal.”

The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City Council adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The South African government and lawmakers reacted to a court ruling overturning the prohibition on using and growing marijuana for personal use.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the death sentence of a man convicted of selling medical cannabis oil should be reviewed.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study “demonstrated rapid and durable improvement in social anxiety symptoms in autistic adults following MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.”

A majority of participants in a trial on CBD’s effects on severe epilepsy are seeing improvement in seizures.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Maryland residents support legalizing marijuana, 62% – 33%.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. addressed reports that it is in talks with the Coca-Cola Company about making CBD beverages together.

/ CULTURE

Actress Kristen Bell said she likes to vaporize marijuana and watch 60 Minutes.

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted, “Coca-Cola is supposedly considering cannabis-infused drinks. Just a reminder: there are still people in prison because of marijuana. Let’s address that first.”

Maine restaurant Charlotte Grill thinks it’s more “humane” to blow marijuana smoke into a box of lobsters before boiling them to death.

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