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GOP bill might accidentally allow medical cannabis (Newsletter: March 14, 2018)

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NJ gov puts marijuana revenue in budget; UN chief touts decrim; CT legalization hearing

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Republican-backed “right to try” legislation that could have the unintended consequence of allowing seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana fell narrowly short of getting enough votes to pass on the House floor. The Senate has previously approved a similar bill.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) included marijuana legalization in his budget proposal and used a related speech to hit back at fellow Democrats who say mere decriminalization is enough.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres touted his home country of Portugal’s successful decriminalization of all drugs in a speech before the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

/ FEDERAL

Congresswoman Norma Torres (D-CA) and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) are asking the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for information on “past instances of narcotics-related money laundering in Panama’s real estate sector, as well as the possibility that this criminal activity may have tainted the Panama business interests of the Trump Organization, and, by extension, of President Trump.”

Congressman John Yarmuth (D-KY) said he supports legalizing medical cannabis in Kentucky.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “As state after state has shown, the best economic policy when it comes to marijuana is legal regulation. Ending the prohibition of cannabis will create millions in revenue that can be used to support local and state services. It’s that simple.”

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Jennifer Wexton, currently a state senator, cheered a new state law allowing doctors to recommend CBD or THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition.

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a bill specifying that regulators may receive criminal background checks on any applicant for a marijuana business license. Separately, regulators posted guidance on paying taxes for cannabis businesses.

A Washington State court ruled that local jurisdictions have the authority to ban marijuana sales. And Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill removing a requirement to include information about retailers on marijuana packaging.

The Arizona House of Representatives approved a bill to prevent the marketing of medical cannabis products to children.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee will hold a Thursday hearing on marijuana legalization. In a related development, the Judiciary Committee introduced its own cannabis legalization bill.

Two Arkansas companies that failed to win medical cannabis cultivation licenses filed lawsuits against regulators.

A New Jersey assemblyman filed a marijuana legalization bill.

A Vermont bill to allow municipalities to punish people for the smell of marijuana failed to cross over from the House to the Senate by a key deadline, but isn’t necessarily dead for the year.

Here’s a look at Louisiana’s pending marijuana law reform bills.

Alaska’s marijuana regulatory board is accepting applications for an open seat.

Hawaii regulators certified another medical cannabis testing lab.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Mexican senator introduced a marijuana legalization bill.

The Philippines is moving to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, which is investigating the country’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “decriminalization of cannabis in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maryland resulted in large decreases in drug-related arrests for both youth and adults” and “did not find any increase in the prevalence of youth cannabis use.”

A review concluded that “all cannabis-based medicines pooled together were better than placebo for the outcomes substantial and moderate pain relief and global improvement” and “in reducing pain intensity, sleep problems and psychological distress.” But there was “no difference between all cannabis-based medicines pooled together and placebo in improving health-related quality of life, stopping the medication because it was not effective, and in the frequency of serious side effects.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Intercept looks at how the “exclusive focus on white casualties of the [opioid] epidemic has obscured the brutality of the drug war being waged against both white and black users.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board wants more health networks to encourage their doctors to recommend medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Colorado retailers sold more than $117 million worth of marijuana products in January, and the state collected more than $21 million in cannabis tax revenue and fees in February.

Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital closed its debut fund with $45 million.

/ CULTURE     

Actor Armie Hammer shared his mugshot from a 2011 marijuana arrest.

Rapper U-God supports legalizing 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.

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.)

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White House reviewing cannabis research plan from FDA (Newsletter: June 3, 2020)

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Trump campaign attacks Biden’s drug war record. Poll: 2/3 AZ voters back legal marijuana; Booker calls out cannabis arrest disparity

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing draft Food and Drug Administration guidance on marijuana and CBD research.

President Trump’s reelection campaign is attacking presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as “the chief architect of mass incarceration and the War on Drugs, which targeted Black Americans.”

  • “Joe Biden’s policies destroyed millions of black lives. Joe Biden may not remember. But we do.”

A poll found that two-thirds of Arizona likely voters support a marijuana legalization measure that is on track to qualify for the November ballot.

  • “All signs point to 2020 being the year that recreational marijuana finally becomes legal in Arizona.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) cited racial disparities in marijuana enforcement as an example of what’s motivating police accountability protests.

  • People “can’t get a job, can’t get a loan from the bank for doing things that two of the last three presidents have admitted to doing.”

In an op-ed, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri makes the case for how legalizing marijuana is just one part of the broader fight for racial justice, but an important one.

  • “Of course, marijuana prohibition isn’t the sole cause of America’s racial inequities, nor is it the sole reason why certain members of the police continue to engage in racially-aggressive policing and misconduct. But its criminalization is one of the tools commonly used to justify and perpetuate these injustices.”

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been given temporary authority to “enforce any federal crime committed as a result of protests over the death of George Floyd” and to “conduct covert surveillance” on protestors.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke during a Judiciary Committee hearing about a man who died of coronavirus while serving a federal prison sentence for marijuana.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, “We hold more prisoners, by far, than any other country in the world.  This is largely due to the failed war on drugs, which disproportionately and unjustly targeted people of color.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said that “too often marijuana arrests and prosecutions are a gateway to criminalizing the minority population.”

/ STATES

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) reiterated his call for lawmakers to pass marijuana legalization legislation and celebrated federal approval of the territory’s hemp program.

Maine regulators are being sued over a decision not to enforce a state residency requirement for marijuana business licensees.

California regulators are seeking funding to hire 87 officers to enforce marijuana rules.

The Connecticut legislature’s Regulations Review Committee approved adding Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and certain instances of chronic pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Massachusetts regulators are investigating the looting of multiple marijuana dispensaries.


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

The UK secretary of state for health and social care pledged to look into medical cannabis access delays.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “there is substantial evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids in treating cancer-related pain; specifically, oromucosal THC/CBD spray” and that “there is conclusive evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids in relieving chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; specifically, oral THC.”

A study found that hemp protein products “may improve chronic inflammatory states and promote regenerative processes.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights led more than 400 organizations in calling on Congress to enact policing reforms, including legislation to “prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches.”

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is organizing a virtual lobby day next week.

/ BUSINESS

Hightimes Holding Corp. plans to launch a marijuana delivery service in California next month.

PetSmart is being sued for allegedly using  false and deceptive practices to sell hemp products for pets.

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LA lawmakers send medical cannabis expansion to gov’s desk (Newsletter: June 2, 2020)

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MI lawmakers vote on letting their spouses get marijuana licenses; MedMen closes all stores; Study discovers cannabis use at ancient biblical site

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There are now 1,506 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Louisiana lawmakers sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a bill to let doctors recommend medical cannabis for any debilitating condition they see fit. They also approved legislation on marijuana business banking access, legal immunity for doctors and a study on the cannabis industry workforce.

The Michigan House of Representatives is set to vote Tuesday on a bill to let elected officials’ spouses get medical cannabis business licenses. Meanwhile, many people with past drug convictions remain ineligible.

Researchers discovered evidence of marijuana use at an ancient biblical site in Israel.

  • “It seems likely that cannabis was used at Arad as a deliberate psychoactive, to stimulate ecstasy as part of cultic ceremonies.”

MedMen has closed all of its marijuana stores nationwide following the looting of several locations over the weekend.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), in a letter to Attorney General William Barr about transferring incarcerated people to home confinement, cited the case of a man who died from coronavirus while serving a marijuana sentence.

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said in a press release that “the history and trauma of racism and Jim Crow is not a memory of the past, but is a reality still today, exacerbated by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices ranging from mass incarceration and police brutality, to the War on Drugs and COVID-19.”

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Qasim Rashid tweeted, “We must decriminalize & stop the drug war, invest in treatment, invest in training officers, stop militarization of police, and divert those resources to education & healthcare.”

New York Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel tweeted, “Sentencing disparities, selective enforcement of the law, and police brutality disproportionately harm Black Americans. We must legalize marijuana and retroactively expunge all marijuana related records.”

/ STATES

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill tying state approval of cannabis-based medicines to federal law.

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stephen Smith tweeted, “We’re the only leading campaign that supports full cannabis legalization. With that extra $194mil/year, what would you fix first?”

The Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit from a medical cannabis patient who was fired by his employer for refusing to take a drug test.

The Virginia State Police reported that marijuana arrests declined more than eight percent from 2018 to 2019.

Missouri regulators have approved more than 50,000 medical cannabis patients and caregivers.

Ohio regulators sent reminders about medical cannabis vaporizer requirements and the issue of dispensaries permitting entry to non-patient juveniles.


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

A majority of Baltimore, Maryland mayoral and City Council candidates said in a survey that they would “actively support establishing overdose prevention sites.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A former New Zealand prime minister is part of a campaign urging voters to approve a marijuana legalization referendum.

Maltese regulators said they are weighing five applications to cultivate cannabis for medical and research purposes.

Colombian regulators touted a new digital tool they are using for medical cannabis licensing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “inhaled cannabis acutely reduced PTSD symptoms by more than 50%” and “higher doses of cannabis predicted larger reductions in anxiety and intrusions,” but “cannabis did not appear to improve or worsen PTSD symptoms in the long-term.”

A study concluded that “hemp supplementation improved HDL cholesterol, tended to support psychometric measures of perceived sleep, stress response, and perceived life pleasure and was well tolerated with no clinically relevant safety concerns.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Minority Cannabis Business Association issued a statement of solidarity with people protesting police violence.

/ BUSINESS

PAX Labs launched a web-based desktop app to control its vaporization devices after Apple removed its former product from the App Store.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced it entered into two agreements worth up to $60 million in gross proceeds.

Leafs by Snoop is the most recognizable cannabis brand, according to a survey conducted by Green Horizons.

Oklahoma dispensaries sold more than $73 million worth of medical cannabis products in May.

/ CULTURE

A survey found that 49.5% of MMA fighters currently use marijuana, and 76.5% say they have used CBD products.

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Looted cannabis dispensary owner values justice over business (Newsletter: June 1, 2020)

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Biden puts medical marijuana in disability plan; Lawmakers tie war on drugs to police brutality; Study: Cannabis use can put THC in semen

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s new disability plan includes a pledge to “prioritize the research needed to advance science-based federal policies related to the use of marijuana for medical conditions, chronic pain, and disabilities.”

A new congressional resolution filed by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Karen Bass (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) highlights the war on drugs as a driver of police brutality against people of color. It comes as protests erupt over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • “The system of policing in America, and its systemic targeting of and use of deadly and brutal force against people of color, particularly Black people, stems from the long legacy of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws, and the War on Drugs in the United States and has been perpetuated by violent and harmful law enforcement practices.”

Rapper Berner, whose Cookies cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles was looted on Saturday night, says justice for people brutalized by police is more important than business.

  • “As a human living in the world we’re living in today, I cannot expect anything less until justice is served. We can rebuild our store, but you cannot bring someone back to life.”

A study found that THC can be detected in the semen of some frequent marijuana consumers.

  • “It is puzzling that some, but not all, semen samples tested positive for THC. There were no obvious factors that were strongly associated with detectable semen THC.”

/ FEDERAL

A Department of Justice statement of interest supporting a Colorado church’s lawsuit challenging coronavirus-imposed restrictions notes that marijuana dispensaries are classified by the state as critical businesses.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a dissenting opinion in a case in which the majority rejected a California church’s challenge to restrictions on attendance at religious services during the coronavirus pandemic, wrote that comparable secular businesses, such as cannabis dispensaries, are not subject to similar occupancy limits.

A federal judge rejected Grandpa Bud LLC’s claim that its marijuana growing operation retroactively banned by Washington State county officials is a protectable property under the Constitution.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tweeted, “Any time you mention marijuana more times than jobs in a 1,800-page bill costing $3T that’s supposed to support jobs, it’s obviously not a very serious bill. We need to consider real solutions to solve the public’s problems, not Pelosi’s desire to implement her liberal agenda.”

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) tweeted, “The history & trauma of racism and Jim Crow is not a memory of the past, but is a reality still today, reinforced by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices ranging from mass incarceration & police brutality, to the War on Drugs & COVID-19.”

Kentucky Senate candidate Mike Broihier tweeted, “We need to come to terms with the failed War on Drugs. Our communities have been treated like war zones. And African-American casualties keep growing.”

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended a coronavirus executive order allowing online ordering and curbside pickup at marijuana dispensaries and letting doctors issue medical cannabis recommendations via telemedicine.

Vermont Democratic gubernatorial candidates all agreed on legalizing marijuana sales during a debate.

North Carolina Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Jenna Wadsworth tweeted, “Decriminalize marijuana. Dismiss past misdemeanor possession charges. Free people from a broken, overcrowded, & sometimes corrupt prison system. Combat the school to prison pipeline. Alleviate an overburdened court system from unnecessary possession cases. Legalize cannabis.”

Texas regulators adopted hemp seed certification standards.

Kentucky regulators announced they have licensed 960 hemp growers to grow up to 32,000 acres and 150 hemp processors and handlers for 2020.

Vermont regulators announced that hemp rules they filed have taken effect.

A New Mexico senator said lawmakers should consider legalizing marijuana as a revenue booster during an upcoming special session.


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

A majority of Israeli government ministers support legalizing marijuana or regularizing the medical cannabis market.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “current evidence does not suggest that prenatal cannabis exposure alone is associated with clinically significant cognitive functioning impairments.”

A study found “a high prevalence of work-related allergic- and particularly respiratory symptoms in the employees of one indoor cannabis grow facility in Washington State.”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported C$115 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of C$1.3 billion.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. announced that Canadian regulators reinstated one of its marijuana licenses.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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