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Gabbard doesn’t rule out decriminalizing all drugs (Newsletter: March 12, 2019)



Congressional veterans medical cannabis bill; VT House takes up legal marijuana sales; Model equity ordinance; MN legalization killed

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, was asked at a televised town hall meeting if she would decriminalize all drugs. She didn’t rule it out and, in a separate interview with Marijuana Moment last week, she hinted her campaign will soon be rolling out some platform positions that go beyond cannabis.

The Minority Cannabis Business Association released a draft ordinance to help cities encourage participation in the legal marijuana industry by communities most harmed by the war on drugs.

Here’s a look at where Vermont’s Senate-passed bill to legalize marijuana sales stands in the larger House, which has historically been more reluctant on cannabis reform.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and a bipartisan group of cosponsors filed a bill to allow Department of Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical cannabis to military veterans.

The  Minnesota Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee killed a marijuana legalization bill.


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, posted on Facebook, “The War on Drugs has failed and we must end it. Not only do we need to legalize marijuana, we must expunge the records of marijuana offenses and eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenses. We need to treat drug addiction and drug abuse with rehabilitation not with long prison sentences. It is absolutely unacceptable that in America today, a homeless African American male can go to prison for life for selling $20 of marijuana to buy food, but not one major Wall Street executive went to jail for committing rampant mortgage fraud during the financial crisis. That is wrong and that has got to change. We need real criminal justice reform in America.”

During a hearing, Rep. Thomas Reed (R-NY) briefly discussed and dismissed the idea of using marijuana legalization revenue to fund infrastructure projects.

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) said he may seek to amend marijuana banking legislation to add closer federal scrutiny and taxes for cannabis businesses.

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) tweeted, “Legitimate businesses of any kind should never be forced to operate on a cash-only basis. That’s why I cosponsored the #SAFEBankingAct to protect banks from federal action so they can provide services to legal cannabis businesses in states like IL.”

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) tweeted, “I support the legalization of cannabis at the federal level. As one of the first two states to legalize marijuana, Colorado has paved the way for an end to the ignorance and prejudice that pervades this issue.”

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) tweeted, “I’ve asked FDA officials for their timeline to develop legal pathways for #CBD. The delay is causing confusion and costing businesses money.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “We must repair what is broken, reinvest in communities & provide real opportunities to participate in the cannabis industry. Legalization is not enough.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “For decades, people of color have been targeted by our unjust, discriminatory war on drugs.It isn’t enough to legalize marijuana. We must also expunge the records of people who were arrested for using marijuana, and invest in the communities most affected.”

The Library of Congress published a brief about a Czech Republic proposal to require health insurance plans to cover medical cannabis.


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he’s “no longer confident marijuana will be done in the budget.” Meanwhile, black lawmakers are planning to block any legalization plan that does not include sufficient equity provisions.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders have reportedly reached an agreement on the last remaining sticking point for marijuana legalization legislation. The Assembly speaker said March 25 is a good target date for a vote.

South Dakota lawmakers passed, and Gov. Kristi Noem (R) vetoed, a hemp legalization bill.

Oklahoma lawmakers sent a medical cannabis regulation bill to the desk of Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) expressed openness to legislation to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis law.

The Washington State Senate approved a bill to require courts to vacate certain misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions.

The office of Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) said that “marijuana taxes wouldn’t generate nearly enough revenue to fix the roads in Michigan.” Separately, regulators added cerebral palsy as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, but they rejected adding chronic aggressive behavior.

Guam lawmakers held a hearing on a bill to remove residency requirements to open a medical cannabis testing lab.

A California judge is allowing a lawsuit seeking to force Calaveras County to return fees after instituting a ban on cannabis cultivation to proceed.

Colorado lawmakers are considering legislation to allow marijuana social use areas.

A Delaware senator filed a bill to let doctors recommend medical cannabis for any condition.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is considering legalizing marijuana.

The Philippine Senate will not advance medical cannabis legislation following opposition from President Rodrigo Duterte. Duterte’s daughter, however, spoke in support of medical marijuana.

The UK’s first medical cannabis clinic opened.


The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, “[T]here’s no good reason not to move forward with the bipartisan plan to legalize industrial hemp in South Dakota – unless you’re more interested in helping Wyoming’s economy than South Dakota’s.”

The Mississippi Republican Party tweeted, “According to Mississippi Democrats, all of our problems would be solved if we legalize marijuana, expand medicaid and increase abortion-on-demand.  Voting records will be an interesting discussion this election year.”

The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association is proposing to create a $25 million fund that would provide no-interest loans to women- and minority-owned businesses seeking to enter the marijuana industry.


A study found that “reported unintentional pediatric marijuana exposure has increased in the state of Washington since recreational marijuana was legalized.”

An article in Marine Corps Gazette argues that the military should explore the “innovative cognitive benefits gained through microdosing with psychedelics.”

Politico is seeking sources for a story about medical cannabis and CBD.


The Tampa Bay Times editorial board is calling on Florida lawmakers to let patients smoke medical cannabis.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board slammed Missouri regulators’ secrecy surrounding medical cannabis business license applications.


Citigroup is reportedly conducting an internal review of how closely it should work with marijuana companies.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. began selling cannabis oil to German pharmacies.

Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc. is acquiring Verano Holdings, LLC.

Levi Strauss & Co. tweeted about its new line of hemp clothing.


Malcolm Gladwell defended his writing about marijuana.

Comedian Pete Davidson was spotted visiting a marijuana store.

Snoop Dogg spoke about marijuana use by football players.

Comedy Central made a spoof video about CBD blow darts.

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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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