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GOP blocks cannabis votes again (Newsletter: June 7, 2018)

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Press conference on Warren/Gardner bill; Wyden brings hemp onto Senate floor; Meet the drone weed wizard

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  • Nathan Riley: “Hard news sensitive to the intricacies of drug law reform is hard to find. Marijuana Moment provides it daily.”

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. House Rules Committee blocked three amendments concerning medical cannabis access for military veterans and one on water rights for marijuana and hemp growers from reaching the House floor.

U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) have called a press conference for Thursday morning to discuss legislation they are introducing to end federal marijuana prohibition.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) brought two huge baskets of hemp products onto the Senate floor and referred to them in a speech about the crop’s current Schedule I status:

  • “It is Hemp History Week again, and that is why I’m back on the Senate floor to talk about the only Schedule One controlled substance that you can sew into a t-shirt and wear through TSA… Before growing hemp was made illegal, hemp was among the predominant American crops for generations… If hemp was easier to rhyme, it might even have its own lyric in ‘America the Beautiful’ right alongside the amber waves of grain.”

/ FEDERAL

President Trump commuted the sentence of a woman serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) ruled out allowing a vote on making marijuana legal at the federal level.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) shot a TV ad opposing Oklahoma’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) tweeted, “If we can get this bipartisan, job-creating #hemp bill signed into law, it will be a big win for Virginia’s ag industry.”

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) mentioned taking time to meet with researchers to learn about medical cannabis during a floor speech about congressional recesses.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got one new cosponsor, for a total of 46.

The U.S. House bill to let marijuana businesses access banks got one new cosponsor, for a total of 91.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana and withhold funding from states with discriminatory enforcement got one new cosponsor, for a total of 38.

The U.S. House bill to prevent federal agencies from spending money to punish people complying with state marijuana laws got three new cosponsors, for a total of 14.

The U.S. House bill to increase military veterans’ access to medical cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of 26.

The U.S. House bill to remove roadblocks to marijuana research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 15.

The U.S. House bill to add a federal tax on marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of ten.

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

/ STATES

Colorado Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (D), at the direction of Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), issued an executive order directing officials to study the safety and efficacy of allowing medical cannabis for autism spectrum disorders, one day after legislation on the topic was vetoed. She also signed into law bills concerning local marijuana taxes, testing facility standards and water use in hemp cultivation. Meanwhile, Republican gubernatorial candidates debated Hickenlooper’s vetoes of the autism proposal and other marijuana bills. GOP candidate Victor Mitchell said recreational use of all drugs should be decriminalized.

The New York Assembly approved a bill to add opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Arkansas regulators are asking that some documents in a case challenging their medical cannabis license award process be kept secret.

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham is defending her opposition to legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, attorney John Morgan, who largely funded the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure, is offering a $100,000 donation to the U.S. Senate campaign of Gov. Rick Scott (R) to debate him on the issue.

Revised California marijuana regulations appear to favor delivery services.

Oregon regulators adopted new marijuana packaging and labeling rules.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

Oklahoma religious leaders are divided on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

/ LOCAL

Fulton County, Georgia commissioners voted to decriminalize marijuana in unincorporated areas.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government narrowly avoided a delay in marijuana legalization implementation by making concessions to Indigenous senators. The body faces a final vote on the legalization bill on Thursday.

Lawmakers in Valencia,  Spain are considering medical cannabis legislation.

/ ADVOCACY

The Independent Community Bankers of America endorsed congressional legislation to allow marijuana businesses to access financial services.

The Marijuana Policy Project released a South Carolina primary voter guide.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted his support for ending the war on drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “males reporting any experience using lysergic acid diethylamide and/or psilocybin mushrooms had decreased odds of perpetrating physical violence against their current partner.”

A study found that “social norms around medical cannabis use remain unfavourable for many users, despite that fact that medical cannabis has been legal in Canada for more than a decade.”

/ BUSINESS  

Alaska collected more than $1 million in marijuana tax revenue in April.

Bloomberg looks at High Times’s struggles to remain relevant and turn a profit as more outlets cover cannabis.

/ CULTURE     

Marijuana Moment spoke with Eric Mercer, who is drawing a viral following for videos he makes showing himself consuming cannabis with the aid of drones.

Henry Rollins spoke about his support for marijuana law reform.

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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.

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 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

UN delays cannabis rescheduling recommendation (Newsletter: Dec. 10, 2018)

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Where Trump AG pick stands on drugs; Study: Marijuana improves working memory; Cannabis bills already being pre-filed for 2019

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 349 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

  • Adam Gordon of the Oya Group (soon to be Euphoric Cannabis Marketing): “We need more Toms in the cannabis industry; voices that are clear, factual, and and mature. He must have some great sources, because he’s really on top of what’s going on. He saves me hours of research every week.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump announced that he intends to nominate William Barr as U.S. attorney general. Marijuana Moment took a look at his record on drug policy.

In a surprise move, the World Health Organization decided not to publicly release its recommendations on whether marijuana should be rescheduled under international treaties.

Elon Musk told 60 Minutes that his on-camera marijuana smoking earlier this year was just a fluke:

  • “I have no idea how to smoke pot or anything. I don’t know how to smoke anything, honestly.”

2018 isn’t even over yet but lawmakers in a number of states are already pre-filing marijuana bills for 2019 legislative sessions.

A new study seems to undermine the stereotype about forgetful stoners. The research, which involved rats,  found that “cannabis smoke improved working memory accuracy.”

/ FEDERAL

President Trump tweeted, “Hopefully Mitch McConnell will ask for a VOTE on Criminal Justice Reform. It is extremely popular and has strong bipartisan support. It will also help a lot of people, save taxpayer dollars, and keep our communities safe. Go for it Mitch!”

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said “there’s no such thing as medical marijuana.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration clarified in a Federal Register filing that it increased 2018 marijuana production quotas “based solely on increased usage projections for federally approved research projects.”

The Buffalo News looks at the effects of a Department of Housing and Urban Development policy allowing landlords to evict people from public housing for medical cannabis.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is endorsing criminal justice reform legislation after successfully seeking an amendment to “exclude violent offenders from being released early” from prison.

/ STATES

A spokesperson for Florida Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis (R) indicated he plans to drop at least one of the state’s fights to appeal court rulings striking down medical cannabis regulations.

California regulators publicly released final marijuana rules that have been submitted to the state Office of Administrative Law. The plan would allow cannabis delivery throughout the state, even in cities that ban dispensaries.

New Jersey’s Assembly speaker won’t commit to bringing a marijuana legalization bill to a vote by the end of the year. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) reiterated that he supports ending prohibition for social justice reasons. Separately, an Assemblyman filed legislation to apply conflict of interest standards to marijuana regulators and to put constitutional amendment on the ballot directing cannabis revenue to property tax relief.

Oklahoma regulators have licensed 743 medical cannabis dispensaries.

Kentucky’s Senate president is under fire for making a joke comparing medical cannabis to bourbon.

Michigan regulators approved a plan to let medical cannabis businesses obtain products from individual caregivers in order to avoid a shortage. They also rejected a business license application filed by former National Football League players.

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court threw out a marijuana conviction stemming from a police officer’s illegal entry into a home.

Pennsylvania regulators officially launched a process to accept applications for new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Utah regulators are hiring a cannabis program manager to oversee the state’s industrial hemp and medical marijuana programs.

Maine regulators hired a consulting firm to help write marijuana rules.

Here’s a look at the prospects for legalizing marijuana in Minnesota.

North Dakota is likely a few months away from patient access to medical cannabis.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) suggested funding the subway with “all the proceeds that can come from legalizing marijuana.”

The New York Times looks at how Needles, California is banking on marijuana businesses to boost its economy.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the country will “put a framework in place for medical cannabis within the next week or so.”

Malawi’s parliament voted to move forward on considering medical cannabis legislation.

Ireland’s health minister supports medical cannabis.

Canadian lawmakers debated a bill to expunge marijuana convictions.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “cannabidiol tolerance exists and it limits the efficacy of this antiseizure treatment in the long-term clinical management of epilepsy.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

An online survey found that more Americans would choose to ban alcohol than marijuana if forced to choose.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board is urging Missouri officials not to deny welfare benefits to medical cannabis patients.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board called Altria’s investment in the marijuana industry “promising.”

/ BUSINESS

Altria Group, Inc. is investing $1.8 billion in Cronos Group Inc., for a a 45% equity stake.

Instagram admitted that it inappropriately closed down some Maryland medical cannabis businesses’ accounts.

Maryland’s first year of legal medical cannabis saw $96.3 million in sales to nearly 52,000 patients.

Alaska collected $1.8 million in marijuana tax revenue in October, a monthly record.

Shoppers Drug Mart got a license to sell medical cannabis online in Canada.

Prominent marijuana attorney Robert Raich is being accused of molesting his stepson, which he denied in court testimony.

/ CULTURE

The New York Times looks at how more older Americans are using medical cannabis.

Kentucky racehorse tested positive for CBD.

MMA fighter Elias Theodorou gave an after-win speech about the need to allow marijuana use.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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Surgeon general says Schedule I blocks cannabis research (Newsletter: Dec. 7, 2018)

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Marijuana’s biggest wins of 2018; Advocates say don’t give NY legalization revenue to subways; Report: Former AG considered as Sessions replacement

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 344 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams criticized marijuana’s Schedule I status, saying that it creates unnecessary “difficulty” for scientists who want to research cannabis.

Marijuana had several huge political victories in 2018, including:

  • Legislatures passing legalization for the first time
  • Red states approving medical cannabis
  • President Trump backing reform
  • Longtime prohibitionists in Congress flipping
  • Canada legalizing and Mexico moving  to do so
  • Hemp legalization being included in the Farm Bill

Check out Marijuana Moment’s overview of the ten biggest wins for cannabis this year.

The Drug Policy Alliance and other advocates are pushing back on plans to fund subways with potential New York marijuana tax revenue and instead want the money to go to communities harmed by prohibition.

/ FEDERAL

Former U.S. Attorney General William Barr is reportedly being considered for the job again by President Trump. Also in the running is Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX).

/ STATES

Texas’s agriculture commissioner called on Congress to legalize hemp.

The New York Assembly Republican leader launched a Twitter poll about legalizing marijuana.

Maryland regulators voted to ban most advertising by cannabis companies.

Colorado cannabis reform advocates hope that under Gov.-elect Jared Polis (D) they can pass legislation allowing marijuana social use areas, delivery services and broader investments in the industry. Meanwhile, lawmakers and the state’s attorney general-elect are pushing for legislation to clear past marijuana convictions.

The Washington State Supreme Court blocked a proposed local ballot measure that would have banned public funding for safe injection sites.

Michigan regulators released information about the implementation of legalization and changed their agency’s name to the Bureau of Marijuana Regulation. Also, regulators will consider several medical cannabis license applications on Friday.

Connecticut’s House Progressive Caucus plans to push for legalizing marijuana in 2019.

Massachusetts marijuana regulators are set to take over control of the state’s medical cannabis program from the Department of Public Health this month.

A member of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission plans to resign prior to the end of his term.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

The Hill looks at the growing push to legalize marijuana through state legislatures.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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

Cincinnati, Ohio City Council members want to place a marijuana decriminalization question before voters. 

The Appleton, Wisconsin Common Council endorsed a resolution calling on the state to legalize medical cannabis.

Denver, Colorado is punishing a landlord for his tenant’s marijuana cultivation violations.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A top Israeli lawmaker said the nation will likely allow medical cannabis exports by the end of the year.

Uruguay regulators will accept applications for additional marijuana production and distribution licenses in February.

Dominican President Charles Savarin is asking Israel to assist the Caribbean nations with research on marijuana as the region considers decriminalization.

Politico looks at European countries’ moves to allow medical cannabis. 

/ ADVOCACY

The Connecticut Republican Party included legalizing marijuana in a survey about “the most important issues” people want lawmakers to address in 2019.

Fire It Up Kansas launched a marijuana legalization billboard campaign.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A report found that “supervised injectable [heroin-assisted treatment] — with optional oral methadone — can offer benefits over oral methadone alone” and that “scientific evidence about the effectiveness of [supervised consumption sites] is limited in quality and the number of locations evaluated.”

/ BUSINESS

Wiz Khalifa and Supreme Cannabis are partnering on a line of marijuana products.

MedMen is facing a class action lawsuit from former employees alleging labor law violations by the company.

Canopy Growth Corporation is acquiring vaporizer company Storz & Bickel.

The Lansing City Pulse newspaper handed out free joints on the first day of Michigan marijuana legalization.

/ CULTURE

Singer Toni Braxton spoke about how she uses cannabis products to treat pain associated with lupus.

Seth Meyers joked about using marijuana tax revenue to fund the New York City subway.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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NY might use cannabis taxes to fund subway repairs (Newsletter: Dec. 6, 2018)

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New Missouri marijuana legalization bill; Cannabis org wants crackdown on unlicensed dispensaries; Feds block tribe’s medical marijuana policy

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 342 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York lawmakers are considering using legal marijuana tax revenue to fund repairs to the New York City subway system.

Missouri voters only approved medical cannabis one month ago, but now a state representative has already prefiled a bill to legalize marijuana in 2019.

The United Cannabis Business Association is calling on the Los Angeles, California city attorney to crack down on unlicensed marijuana dispensaries.

/ FEDERAL

Farm Bill compromise language would reportedly prevent people with felony drug convictions from participating in the hemp industry for a period of 10 years after being convicted, instead of permanently.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs moved to block a Montana tribe’s legalization of medical cannabis.

President Trump tweeted, “One of the very exciting things to come out of my meeting with President Xi of China is his promise to me to criminalize the sale of deadly Fentanyl coming into the United States. It will now be considered a ‘controlled substance.’ This could be a game changer on what is considered to be the worst and most dangerous, addictive and deadly substance of them all. Last year over 77,000 people died from Fentanyl. If China cracks down on this “horror drug,” using the Death Penalty for distributors and pushers, the results will be incredible!”

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “Looking forward to invite-only marijuana symposium next week. Facts not propaganda. Facts about Colorado. Facts about ecology & environment. Facts about health. Facts about black market. FACTS!Public deserves facts & policy makers, media, law enforcement should know the facts.”

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “The SAFE Banking Act would ensure the #marijuana industry can access our banking system and reduce the public safety risk of having cash on our streets & in our communities. @RepDennyHeck and I plan to continue pushing our legislation in the next Congress.”

Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) tweeted, “I cosponsored the SAFE Banking Act to ensure San Diego #marijuana businesses can safely operate, as permitted by California law. Thanks to @RepPerlmutter and @RepDennyHeck for continuing to advocate for this public safety fix.”

Former Rep. Allen West (R-FL) wrote about meeting mothers whose children use medical cannabis to treat autism.

/ STATES

Michigan’s legalization of marijuana possession and home cultivation went into effect on Thursday. Separately,  the House of Representatives advanced bills concerning disclosure of medical cannabis licensee information to financial institutions and making other changes.

Missouri’s medical cannabis law went into effect on Thursday.

Nevada Gov.-elect Steve Sisolak (D) is floating the idea of creating a new body to regulate marijuana.

Utah medical cannabis advocates filed a lawsuit against Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and the head of the state Department of Health over the “compromise” legislation lawmakers passed to replace the voter-approved ballot measure.

Pennsylvania regulators will open a second round of applications for the state’s medical cannabis research program after no clinical registrant approvals were issued in the first round.

Washington State regulators issued a reminder that cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages are illegal.

A Illinois senator said it is “rather inevitable” that the state will legalize marijuana next year.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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 Statesboro, Georgia City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Luxembourg’s governing coalition released details of a marijuana legalization plan.

Israeli lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill allowing medical cannabis exports.

The International Criminal Court said it is continuing to investigate extrajudicial killings in the bloody Philippine drug war. Meanwhile, a senator is calling on President Rodrigo Duterte to take a drug test after he joked about using marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabidiol probably reduces seizures among children with drug‐resistant epilepsy.”

A study examining the differences between Canadian licensed marijuana producers and unlicensed dispensaries found that “rather than attempts to construct a credible shared identity for legitimacy, the emphasis is on building a distinct identity narrative in the face of market competition.”

A survey determined that “there was discordance among transplant centers in their perceived risks of marijuana use as opposed to complications actually observed.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board is calling on Congress to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

/ BUSINESS

The CEO of Philip Morris International Inc. said it’s not “our priority right now to consider cannabis.”

/ CULTURE

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern says that marijuana may have been “unfairly demonized.”

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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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