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Formerly anti-cannabis congressman sponsors legalization bill (Newsletter: January 10, 2020)

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VA gov pushes marijuana decrim in State of Commonwealth; Federal Reserve studies Colorado’s market; MS gov floats alternate cannabis ballot question

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There are now 889 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) used his State of the Commonwealth speech to push for decriminalizing marijuana and clearing past cannabis records.

  • “We need to take an honest look at our criminal justice system to make sure we’re treating people fairly and using taxpayer dollars wisely.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), who unsuccessfully campaigned against marijuana legalization in his home state of Massachusetts, cosponsored a bill to end federal cannabis prohibition and repair the harms of the drug war.

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank Of Kansas City looks at Colorado’s legal marijuana market, finding that “there still is room for growth”—though perhaps not as much as that seen in the early years of legalization.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) seems to be hinting that the legislature should use its authority to put an alternate medical marijuana measure on the November ballot, saying he opposes activists’ newly qualified version “in its current form.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that applications for farmers to grow hemp in states that don’t adopt their own regulatory plans are delayed due to ongoing discussions with the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The Senate adopted a resolution condemning the “Government of the Philippines for its role in state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings by police and other armed individuals as part of the ‘War on Drugs.'”

The Republican minority on the House Energy and Commerce Committee characterized a scheduled marijuana policy hearing next week as focusing on “federally-sanctioned research on cannabis.”

A federal judge slammed the Drug Enforcement Administration for “sneak and peek deception” used in a marijuana investigation.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D), a presidential candidate, refused to autograph “a doctored image of him smoking marijuana in a Knicks uniform.”

The House bill to protect the Second Amendment rights of medical cannabis patients got one new cosponsor for a total of two.

Texas Democratic Senate candidate Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez endorsed decriminalizing opioids and allowing safe consumption sites, tweeting, “With over 2.2 million behind bars, we lock up more people than any other country on Earth. This is an opportunity to build a safer and more just America. With this legislation, we will end the war on drugs, decriminalize poverty, and guarantee voting rights for all Americans.”

/ STATES

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) released a video about her proposed “guardrails” for hemp legislation.

Vermont’s attorney general and lawmakers held a press conference to push for legalizing marijuana sales.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner touted hemp program progress in a year-in-review post.

Michigan’s chief deputy treasurer said sales tax revenue from marijuana is estimated to hit $97.5 million in 2020 and $143 million in 2021.

Illinois’s secretary of state tweeted to urge people not to drive under the influence of marijuana.

New York’s Assembly speaker touted the enactment of marijuana decriminalization expansion last year and said he looks forward “developing a thoughtful approach to legalization.” He also spoke about the growth of the state’s hemp industry.

The chairman of the Rhode Island Senate Health and Human Services Committee said he thinks drug decriminalization could work in the state.

A New Mexico judge is considering a lawsuit filed by a man who says he should have the right to use medical cannabis while on house arrest.

Alaska regulators are asking consumers to surrender contaminated marijuana products for “proper destruction.”

Massachusetts regulators approved 31 provisional marijuana licenses in the span of five minutes at a meeting at which economic empowerment applicants and their supporters hoped to voice concerns about inaction on their proposals.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 800 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 New York City Commission on Human Rights held a public hearing on what kind of jobs should be exempt from a new prohibition on pre-employment testing for marijuana.

The Contra Costa, California district attorney is moving to clear 3,264 prior marijuana convictions.

Bessemer, Michigan officials are planning to crack down on marijuana odors.

/ INTERNATIONAL

South Africa’s finance minister said he will put a marijuana legalization proposal before the cabinet this month.

Jamaica’s minister of state for industry, commerce and agriculture said that regulations for medical cannabis exports will “come in short order.”

The UK House of Lords published a briefing on medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “acute CBD administration at a dose of 300 mg decreased anxiety in patients with [Parkinson’s disease], and there was also decreased tremor amplitude in an anxiogenic situation.”

/ BUSINESS

FSD Pharma Inc. began trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market under the symbol “HUGE.”

GRN Holdings said it plans to soon begin making test deliveries of marijuana to dispensaries via drone.

/ CULTURE

Musician Mike Dirnt of Green Day spoke about Goldenseed, which he invests in, announcing that it is the first private U.S. cannabis cultivator to be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell stock to the general public

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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.

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

Congress votes for researching cannabis from dispensaries (Newsletter: July 3, 2020)

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Military marijuana use waivers advance in House; NE medical cannabis ballot sigs submitted; Austin police end marijuana arrests; 2020 ballot check in

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives approved a 2,000-plus-page infrastructure bill that contains a little-noticed provision directing federal agencies to create a plan for researchers to finally be able to study marijuana that consumers are buying at dispensaries instead of using only government cannabis.

The House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) to encourage military branches to stop blocking reenlistment over marijuana use.

  • “Smoking pot just once shouldn’t prevent a patriotic American from fighting for our country.”

Nebraska medical cannabis activists submitted more than 182,000 signatures for proposed initiative. That’s way more than they need to qualify for the November ballot.

Several other states where activists are trying to get marijuana legalization, psychedelics decriminalization and drug reform measures on November ballots have signature gathering deadlines this week and next week. Here’s a look at where things stand, from Arizona to Oregon to Washington, D.C.

The Austin, Texas Police Department said in a memo that it will stop making arrests or issuing citations for low-level marijuana possession. The move follows the passage of a City Council resolution urging the end of such cannabis enforcement.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration tweeted, “There’s also a lot of talk on the internet about CBD for treating anxiety in dogs who are afraid of loud noises. You should be aware that FDA has NOT evaluated these products. This means we can’t say whether they are safe or effective.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Rural Cooperative Development Grant program.

/ STATES

Florida’s agriculture commissioner disclosed that she owns a stake in Harvest Health and Recreation, Inc.

Massachusetts regulators are accepting public comment on the continued quarantining of marijuana vaporization products.

A case challenging Nevada regulators’ marijuana licensing process was stayed by a federal judge.

A California court ruled against hemp growers in a case challenging a restrictive count ordinance.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus hosted a town hall meeting about a cannabis-revenue-funded grant program to help communities harmed by the war on drugs.

Oregon regulators published an update on processing dates for marijuana business license applications.

Arkansas regulators included an update on the state’s hemp program in an annual report.

A Pennsylvania senator authored an op-ed on why the state should legalize marijuana for racial justice reasons.


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

San Francisco, California regulators warned marijuana businesses that expected protests this weekend could lead to burglaries.

The Harris County, Texas Commissioner Court adopted a resolution that notes racial disparities in drug law enforcement.

The Santa Barbara County, California Board of Supervisors was criticized by a grand jury report for allegedly mismanaging marijuana production.

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor defended a police plan to step up drug enforcement during the July 4 holiday weekend.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators are discouraging marijuana brands from using “any celebrity-affiliated promotions or packaging and labeling.”

There have been no new prescriptions for full-extract cannabis oil in the 18 months since the UK legalized it.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant.”

A review concluded that “cannabis-based medications were found most effective as an adjuvant therapy in refractory multiple sclerosis, and weak evidence was found to support the treatment of cancer pain especially in advanced stages,” while “chronic rheumatic pain showed promising results.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Nebraska Democratic Party tweeted supportively about signatures being turned in for a proposed medical cannabis ballot initiative.

A South Dakota committee called No Way on Amendment A has been formed to oppose the state’s marijuana legalization initiative.

The Hemp Industries Association hired a new executive director.

/ BUSINESS

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. announced a plan to raise up to C$27,500,000 in a private placement sale of shares.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. announced the full exercise of underwriters’ options to purchase an additional 402,504 shares of common stock, bringing the total to 3,085,867 shares sold in the offering and raising gross offering proceeds to approximately $258.7 million.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg posted on Facebook about a poll showing majority support for New Zealand’s marijuana legalization referendum, saying, “Gandalf smokin that good good!”

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AZ legal cannabis measure gets 420k ballot signatures (Newsletter: July 2, 2020)

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OR will vote on drug decrim in Nov; OH Senate votes to double marijuana decrim limit; VA cannabis decrim takes effect

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…

There are now 1,522 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Oregon’s secretary of state announced that activists officially collected enough signatures to put a measure decriminalizing drug possession and using marijuana tax revenue to fund expanded treatment services on the November ballot.

Arizona marijuana activists filed 420,000 signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the November ballot. That’s way more than they need.

The Ohio Senate approved a bill to double the amount of marijuana that’s decriminalized in the state to 200 grams and to downgrade possession of many other drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Virginia’s marijuana decriminalization law went into effect.  As of Wednesday, getting caught with up to an ounce of cannabis comes with a $25 fine, no threat of jail time and no criminal record.

/ FEDERAL

Federal prosecutors charged two men with conspiring with an unnamed “leading on-demand marijuana delivery company” to deceive banks and other financial institutions into processing more than $100 million in credit and debit card payments for cannabis transactions.

A federal judge is giving U.S. Customs and Border Protection until July 31 to provide information in response to a lawsuit on its policies for denying entry to the country over marijuana use or industry involvement.

The special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s San Antonio district suggested that high taxes for marijuana in legal states are driving an underground market in Texas.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) filed an amendment seeking to provide protections to immigrants brought to the U.S. as children that would exempt marijuana convictions in states that have since legalized from being used as grounds for ineligibility.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) again spoke on the House floor about the need to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) issued an executive order extending medical cannabis identification card renewal deadlines for another 60 days.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) touted his signing legislation to decriminalize marijuana and fast-track annulments of past records in a letter to Black Lives Matter activists.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted about the launch of the state’s Cannabis Control Board. A law transferring most marijuana regulatory responsibilities to the new body took effect on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor spoke about efforts to pardon people for past marijuana convictions.

Rhode Island’s House minority leader said there’s a rumored grand jury investigation of Joint Committee on Legislative Services staff benefiting from marijuana legislation.

Arkansas regulators are being sued by a company that wants to stop them from approving additional medical cannabis dispensary licenses until their licensing process can be reviewed.

Michigan regulators released guidance on marijuana retesting and remediation.

Montana’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet 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 Davidson County, Tennessee district attorney said his office will no longer prosecute people for possessing less than half an ounce of marijuana, and Nashville’s mayor said he supports the policy.

The La Crosse, Wisconsin City Council’s Judiciary & Administration Committee advanced a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Los Angeles, California City Council approved changes to the marijuana licensing system.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “following oral consumption of cannabis, THC was detected in blood much later, and at far lower peak concentrations, compared to what has been observed with inhaled cannabis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealand Maori support a marijuana legalization referendum, 72%-27%.

NORML removed the chapter charter for MassCann after a board member of the local group who organized a “straight pride parade” and pro-police rally resigned but the national organization did not see “tangible steps to address these flaws in their organization nor movement in the right direction to address these issues within their ranks.”

The Marijuana Policy Project is asking people to send testimony requesting that the New Hampshire Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community and Transparency recommend that the state legalize marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Steep Hill, Inc.’s  former CEO and chairman is suing the company in an attempt to stop its sale to EVIO, Inc.

Earthly Labs, Denver Beer Co. and The Clinic announced the success of a pilot program to use CO2 captured in the beer fermentation process to stimulate marijuana plant growth.

New England Treatment Access cultivation facility workers voted to unionize with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1445.

Terrapin announced that it will use only made-in-the-USA packaging throughout its operations.

Cresco Labs and Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed on an agreement for the former company to sell and lease back a Massachusetts property to the latter firm.

/ CULTURE

“Half Baked 2” is moving toward production after it got a tax credit from the California Film Commission.

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AG could be impeached over cannabis biz probes (Newsletter: July 1, 2020)

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Feds’ new hemp banking memo; DC psychedelics campaign aided by OR/CO teams as sig deadline nears; TN senator visits IL marijuana dispensary?

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and nearly three dozen other House members filed a resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry of Attorney General William Barr, who the measure says “abused the power of his office” to improperly investigate cannabis business mergers.

  • “He’s using antitrust not for the purpose of helping consumers and businesses that might be disadvantaged by monopoly, but doing it as a vehicle for his social policies, which is unheard of,” Cohen told Marijuana Moment in an interview.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued new guidance on banking for hemp businesses, including how financial institutions should handle clients that sell both hemp and marijuana.

Activists behind successful psilocybin campaigns in Denver and Oregon have flown to Washington, D.C. to help collect the final signatures needed to qualify a psychedelics decriminalization measure for the city’s ballot ahead of a Monday deadline.

Did a Tennessee lawmaker take a road trip in a state vehicle to buy marijuana in Illinois? Internet sleuths are on the cannabis case after someone posted a photo of a vehicle with a state Senate license plate parked outside a dispensary.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Border Patrol agents are reportedly seizing legal marijuana products at checkpoints in Southern California.

A White House Office of National Drug Control Policy analysis concludes that overdose deaths are rising amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse reported that almost half of commercial driver license holders’ positive drug tests so far this year were for marijuana.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) gave a House floor speech about the need to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill streamlining hemp regulations.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued an executive order delaying the issuance of marijuana craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses as well as extending the deadline for submission of community college cannabis vocational pilot program applications due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) touted the job-creating potential of a new hemp processing lab.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said she is in “constant conversation” with the speaker about marijuana legalization and questioned Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) commitment to working to get the policy enacted.

Maine regulators adopted rules for licensing marijuana sample collectors for testing.

Nevada regulators released draft regulations allowing CBD as a dietary supplement, food additive and cosmetic.

New Mexico will begin allowing out-of-state patients to purchase medical cannabis on Wednesday.

Arkansas regulators voted to release additional medical cannabis cultivation and dispensary licenses.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on July 15.


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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


British Virgin Islands lawmakers are considering legislation to legalize medical cannabis and expunge prior marijuana records.

The Philippine government created a panel to investigate deaths in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that marijuana’s “therapeutic application in areas such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and in the relief of some cancer patient’s symptoms is promising.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Colorado State Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted about a marijuana social equity bill being signed into law.

The Illinois State Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted about a grant program that is “creating opportunities for those most impacted by the War on Drugs.”

/ BUSINESS

Dixie Brands announced it will change its name due to the racist historical connotations of the word Dixie.

GW Pharmaceuticals plc announced a strategy to bring its THC and CBD drug nabiximols to the U.S. market.

Hightimes Holding Corp. extended its public stock offering deadline again.

Southern University will unveil its first line of medical cannabis products on Wednesday.

Louis Del Faveo Orchids is asking a federal court to recognize what it says is its right to a medical cannabis license.

A survey of Canadian cannabis consumers found that brand awareness is low.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted to urge Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to free a man serving a life sentence for selling marijuana.

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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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