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Former fed prosecutor backs legal cannabis in AG campaign (Newsletter: March 8, 2018)

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CA officials warn Weedmaps; OH gov candidates debate legalization; Massive ME medical expansion approved

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Michigan Democratic attorney general candidate Pat Miles, a former federal prosecutor who previously refused to answer questions about his position on the issue, endorsed legalizing marijuana just days after a poll showed voters overwhelmingly support ending prohibition.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) defended the city’s racially disproportionate marijuana arrest rate.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, a former congressman, rolled out a marijuana policy platform.

/ FEDERAL

Taylor Weyeneth, the young former Trump campaign staffer who rose to a leadership position at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy before leaving following media reports about his inflated resume, is now working on opioid policy at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) plans to introduce legislation to repeal the law that strips financial aid from college students with drug convictions.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that the average length of imprisonment for marijuana cases increased slightly last year, from 28 months to 29 months.

In a statement praising the U.S. Department of Justice’s immigration lawsuit against California, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) slammed the Trump administration’s position on marijuana.

Congressman Joe Crowley (D-NY) tweeted, “The failed war on drugs has worsened racial inequities in our criminal justice system.”

Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) met with former NFL players to discuss medical cannabis.

The U.S. House bill to prevent federal agencies from enforcing marijuana laws against people in compliance with state policies got one new cosponsor, for a total of ten.

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

Illinois Democratic congressional candidate Benjamin Thomas Wolf, who supports marijuana legalization and was featured holding a lit joint in a campaign ad, is facing accusations of physical abuse and resume inflation.

Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate Justin Kanew tweeted in support of legalizing medical cannabis.

/ STATES

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Marchand says legalizing marijuana can help reduce opioid issues.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (NPP) spoke about the economic impact of medical cannabis implementation during his State of the State speech.

California regulators sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding that Weedmaps stop listing unlicensed marijuana businesses.

The Maine Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to expand the state’s medical cannabis program, including by allowing doctors to recommend it for any condition.

The Kentucky House Judiciary Committee voted to delay consideration of medical cannabis legislation. The bill’s sponsor is working with other lawmakers on revisions that may give it a chance to pass. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) co-authored an op-ed calling for medical cannabis legalization with a Marine Corps Medal of Honor winner.

The Idaho House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee approved a bill to let judges deviate from mandatory minimum sentences in drug cases.

The Alaska Senate refused to consider a scheduled resolution denouncing federal interference in state marijuana laws.

The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections blocked a proposed ballot measure to legalize and regulate marijuana sales.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee introduced a marijuana legalization bill.

The Maryland House of Delegates is scheduled to vote Thursday on legislation to expand the number of medical cannabis cultivation licenses in an effort to increase minority business ownership.

A New Jersey assemblywoman filed a bill to prevent certain businesses from punishing employees for marijuana use. She also introduced legislation to expunge prior cannabis convictions.

Washington State regulators temporarily lifted a 24-hour quarantine requirement on transferring marijuana products between licensees.

A Colorado lawyer representing people indicted for illegal marijuana distribution is seeking to have the charges dismissed because, he says, the state attorney general is improperly licensed to practice law under her maiden name.

Five separate cannabis initiatives are seeking Arizona ballot access.

Campaign committees have formed in support of and in opposition to Oklahoma’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

/ LOCAL

Cook County, Illinois released sample ballots showing how the marijuana legalization advisory question before voters on March 20 appears.

Juneau, Alaska police said marijuana businesses can transport product by airplane.

A judge rejected Lansing, Michigan’s move to dismiss a lawsuit from a group challenging local medical cannabis restrictions.

Denver, Colorado officials may soon approve signature gathering for a proposed ballot measure decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israeli lawmakers gave initial approval to a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Canadian First Nations leaders want indigenous peoples to receive a cut of marijuana tax revenue.

/ ADVOCACY

NORML released a packet of information aimed at encouraging political candidates to adopt peo-legalization platforms.

The West Virginia Democratic Party is pushing for expansions to the state’s medical cannabis law.

The Drug Policy Alliance is sending a delegation of people impacted by the war on drugs to visit Portugal, where drugs are decriminalized.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “among adults with mood or anxiety disorders, living in a medical marijuana law state is associated with self-medication with marijuana.

A review concluded that the “potential benefits of cannabis-based medicine (herbal cannabis, plant-derived or synthetic THC, THC/CBD oromucosal spray) in chronic neuropathic pain might be outweighed by their potential harms.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A Politico Magazine essays suggests that gun control advocates should take a cue from the marijuana legalization movement and focus on state ballot initiatives instead of lobbying Congress.

/ BUSINESS

Marijuana delivery service Eaze is expanding its policy and communications teams.

Relatively high wages paid by Colorado marijuana businesses are apparently shrinking the available labor pool for restaurants.

IHOP said that a viral photo of a sign at one of its St. Louis, Missouri locations saying it “will not serve/seat guest with strong marijuana odor” does not represent company policy.

Cannabis company Flow Kana provided a backstage gift pack for the Academy Awards.

The American Trade Association for Cannabis & Hemp was named Campaigns & Elections Magazine’s Trade Association of the Year.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center cleared its doctors to recommend medical cannabis.

The USA TODAY NETWORK and the Reno Gazette Journal are launching a marijuana-focused podcast called The Potcast.

Alex Halperin’s Weed Week also recently started a podcast.

Denver-based Simplifya began offering its compliance software to California marijuana companies.

/ CULTURE     

Filmmaker Jordan Peele said consuming cannabis inspired him while writing “Get Out.”

Musician Melissa Etheridge said her branded line of marijuana products will “roll out in a big way this summer.”

Actress Charlize Theron said her mom buys marijuana for her.

UFC fighter Cynthia Calvillo accepted a six-month suspension for testing positive for marijuana metabolites.

The Los Angeles 420 Games are being held this month to dispel stereotypes about lazy cannabis consumers.

/ CORRECTION

In Wednesday’s Marijuana Moment I mistakenly included an item about Puerto Rico under the International section. I usually list developments about U.S. territories under States and should have done so this time as well. I apologize for the oversight.

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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.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
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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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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

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.

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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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