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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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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


Senators blocks cannabis banking measure (Newsletter: June 22, 2018)



Legalization advances in US territory; SEC chair addresses marijuana investments; MA grants first license

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The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted to block an amendment that would have protected banks that work with marijuana businesses from being punished by federal regulators. Several Democrats who said they support cannabis banking raised procedural objections. I have the full roll call vote, amendment text and quotes from senators at Forbes.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee made amendments to a marijuana legalization bill that should help to speed passage.


Key committee chairs in Congress are not planning to hold hearings on bipartisan marijuana reform legislation supported by President Trump. But U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), historically one of the most ardent prohibitionists in Congress, announced that she will cosponsor the bill.

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration withdrew funding from a pain management group that scheduled a training for doctors about medical cannabis.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Chairman Jay Claxton was asked about impediments to investing in marijuana businesses during a congressional hearing.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health tweeted false information about the availability of pediatric medical cannabis.

The U.S. attorney for West Virginia’s Southern District, a staunch legalization opponent, is hosting a seminar on marijuana.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) tweeted that he supports legislation to encourage research on the medical benefits of cannabis for military veterans.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “2018 must be the year that we push for real criminal justice reform: ✔ End the cash bail system ✔ Stop mass incarceration ✔ Legalize marijuana  ✔ Replace the ‘war on drugs’ with harm reduction and rehabilitation” He also tweeted, “Even in the 21st century, the “war on drugs” continues to oppress communities of color. Justice, fairness, and equality will remain impossible until we end this double standard which has ruined so many lives.”


Massachusetts regulators granted the state’s first recreational marijuana business license, subject to conditions including a clarified plan to positively impact communities. The chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission said that retail sales will likely begin later than expected.

The Arkansas Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that had halted the state’s medical cannabis business licensing process. More litigation is anticipated. Separately, regulators approved hemp rules.

The Maine Senate is reportedly threatening to block medical cannabis expansion legislation unless the House agrees to support a bill to repeal marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at how Oklahoma regulators plan to implement medical cannabis if voters approve a ballot measure on Tuesday.

Alaska regulators proposed changes to marijuana sampling, testing, reporting and harvesting rules.

The Hawaii House Judiciary Committee approved a resolution calling for state-level marijuana rescheduling.

Here’s a look at where New Jersey marijuana legalization and medical cannabis legislation stands in the legislature.

Early voting on Oklahoma’s medical cannabis ballot measure and primary elections has begun.


Brown County, Wisconsin supervisors are considering placing a marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot.

Minneapolis, Minnesota’s mayor tweeted in support of legalizing marijuana.


Canada’s governor general provided royal assent to the government’s marijuana legalization bill.

The Philippines is considering instituting mandatory drug testing for children.

Japanese authorities found marijuana plants growing near an office building where lawmakers work.


In contrast to prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s public stance about winning the debate against legalization, an internal document uploaded to the group’s website admits, among other things, that “Legalization is now a reality. And it is gaining support every year, “Our message has become stale” and “Legalization proponents have been brilliant… And we have not been!” Meanwhile, the organization is cheering the defeat of cannabis banking legislation.

The Texas Democratic Party is moving to reiterate its support for marijuana legalization. (The linked story misstates the current platform, which already supports legalization.)


Federal data shows that teen marijuana use in Colorado is decreasing.

A study concluded that “marijuana use significantly affects acute pain management and results in increased consumption of opioid analgesics and greater self-reported pain following traumatic injury, especially in patients who did not report using other drugs.”


A poll found that 80% in Scotland support medical cannabis.


High Times acquired Culture magazine.

MJ Freeway’s cannabis tracking software is continuing to experience issues in Washington State.

Michelle Alexander, a marijuana legalization supporter and author of “The New Jim Crow” has been named a New York Times columnist.


The New York Times takes a whiff of the prevalent smell of marijuana in New York City.

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Canada announces cannabis legalization date (Newsletter: June 21, 2018)



House GOP blocks drug war apology; Senate considers cannabis research amendment; WA treasurer wants banking solution

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that legal recreational marijuana sales will begin on October 17, and that the government will consider clemency for people with cannabis criminal records after that date.

The U.S. House Rules Committee blocked an amendment that would have provided a congressional apology to people harmed by the war on drugs.

The U.S. Senate could vote this week on an amendment to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the medical benefits of marijuana for military veterans.


President Trump nominated a new U.S. attorney for Colorado, a move that could have implications for the state’s marijuana businesses.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) inserted remarks into the Congressional Record about her new bill to allow marijuana use in public housing.

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted, “Canada’s Senate votes to legalize recreational use of #marijuana and House has already voted for it so it’s #Trudeau signature and #Canada becomes 2nd nation to legalize #cannabis .Oh Canada leads the way! #marijuananews #marijuana failed #WarOnDrugs”

The U.S. House resolution calling for equity in the marijuana industry got two new cosponsors, for a total of 15.

The U.S. House bill to prevent federal agencies from punishing people following state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of 16.

The U.S. House bill to require the licensing of more marijuana cultivators for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 36.

The U.S. House bill to address the gap between federal and state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 10.


Utah’s lieutenant governor and medical cannabis activists asked a court to dismiss opponents’ lawsuit seeking to remove a legalization measure from the November ballot.

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

Michigan gubernatorial candidates all said they support legalizing marijuana during a debate.

Tennessee Republican gubernatorial candidates debated medical cannabis.

Kansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Carl Brewer tweeted in support of legalizing marijuana.

Washington State’s treasurer is pressing for marijuana banking solutions.

Delaware’s Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a woman who illegally sold medical cannabis.

An Oklahoma medical cannabis advocate sued police after being forcibly removed from an opposition event.

Colorado regulators released a request for applications for medical cannabis research grants.

The Vermont marijuana commission’s taxation and regulation subcommittee scheduled a meeting for July 20.


Canada’s governing Liberal Party is already fundraising off its marijuana legalization victory.


NORML released a comprehensive overview of local marijuana decriminalization policies in the U.S.

The Drug Policy Alliance and allies held a rally about marijuana enforcement outside New York City’s city hall.


The New York Times editorial board criticized New York City’s marijuana enforcement changes, suggesting they could actually intensify racial disparities in arrests.

Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly decried New York City’s marijuana enforcement change.


(Sponsored) Here’s an overview of what marijuana business leaders need to know about protecting their intellectual property rights.

Canadian marijuana stocks surged following the passage of legalization legislation.

Marijuana producer Tilray filed notice of intent to go public on the Nasdaq.

MassRoots is launching a marijuana dispensary finder tool. (Disclosure: I am a former employee and minority shareholder.)


NBA player Nick Young said he supports legalizing cocaine.

Musician Henry Rollins is calling on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pardon people with marijuana convictions.

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Canadian lawmakers approve cannabis legalization (Newsletter: June 20, 2018)



FDIC chair talks cannabis banking; Bill OKs marijuana use in public housing; NY gov admits legalization is inevitable

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The Canadian Senate gave final approval to the government’s marijuana legalization bill as amended. Legal cannabis sales are expected to begin in September.

A poll finds that 68% of U.S. voters — and 57% of Republicans — now support legalizing marijuana.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) filed a bill to allow state-legal marijuana use in public housing.


The chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said that she’s asked staff to think about how to address marijuana banking issues, but that the agency’s hands are “somewhat tied.”

Some details are emerging about Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) marijuana descheduling bill, which could be introduced as soon as this week.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “States across America are already working to stop our country from repeating the same mistakes of the past. We need to move a step further — it’s time to legalize marijuana at the federal level.”

The U.S. Senate bill to respect state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of nine.


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said legalizing marijuana is “not or yes or no, it’s a how.” He added that legalization legislation will not move this year. Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon is taking credit for the governor’s evolution on cannabis.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 167-31 to again approve a medical cannabis research bill.

New Jersey lawmakers are not including revenue from legal recreational marijuana sales in budget legislation, in contrast to a proposal that Gov. Phil Murphy (D) put forth earlier this year.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee will reconsider a marijuana legalization bill on Thursday.

Massachusetts regulators are poised to grant the state’s first recreational marijuana business license on Thursday.

Colorado Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, currently a congressman, tweeted, “Colorado has proven that allowing responsible adults to legally purchase #cannabis gives money to classrooms, not cartels; creates jobs, not addicts; and boosts our economy, not our prison population.” Meanwhile, regulators adopted emergency rules to implement new marijuana legislation recently signed into law.

The California Assembly Committee on Business and Professions approved a bill to allow dispensaries to provide free, untaxed marijuana to low- or no-income people.

A leading advocate for Oklahoma’s medical cannabis ballot measure was forcibly removed from an opposition event by police. Separately, here are two looks at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy.

Arkansas regulators used differing sets of guidelines when scoring medical cannabis business license applications.

Vermont State Police held a press conference about enforcement changes resulting from marijuana legalization.


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and NYPD officials announced that as of September 1, police will no longer arrest people for smoking marijuana publicly, with some exceptions. Brooklyn’s district attorney spoke in support and announced he will move to expunge past cannabis convictions. Manhattan’s district attorney is also on board, but Staten Island’s district attorney said the new enforcement policy will cause “confusion.” Legalization advocates say the exceptions laid out in the new policy will ensure continued racial disparities in arrests. Meanwhile, the city is convening a task force to “to determine the appropriate regulatory framework and identify the public safety, health and financial consequences should the State move forward with legalization.”

The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Los Angeles County, California Board of Supervisors kept in place a ban on marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas.

The San Diego, California City Council voted to ban growing marijuana in urban gardens.


The UK home secretary announced an official review of the legal status of medical cannabis. And the government granted CBD access to a second epileptic child.


Here’s a look at the Marijuana Policy Project’s challenges as it deals with fundraising issues and searches for a new executive director.

Hemp industry advocates do not plan to appeal a federal court ruling in a case they lost concerning a Drug Enforcement Administration filing on CBD.


A study found that “young persons who use alcohol and/or marijuana experience heightened likelihood of condomless sex.”


A poll of UK residents found 82%-8% support for medical cannabis, and 41%-40% support for legalizing marijuana.


Musician Bryan Adams congratulated the Canadian government on legalizing marijuana.

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