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



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

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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.”


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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


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 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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