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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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/ 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.


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/ 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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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.

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