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GOP congressman says “merchants of addiction” push cannabis (Newsletter: Jan. 18, 2018)

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V.A. sec. clarifies cannabis research comments; KY GOP senator files legalization bill; MD racial disparity study

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

During a debate on an amendment to protect state marijuana laws from federal interference, U.S. House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) said, “Marijuana is an addictive product, and the merchants of addiction make it that way. They make it for addiction.”

The Kentucky Senate’s Republican caucus chair introduced a bill to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, Gov. Matt Bevin (R) says he’s open to medical cannabis but not recreational legalization.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin clarified that his department can do research on medical cannabis but faces restrictions in doing so. (1:56:50 into the video.)

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reportedly blocking sentencing reform from becoming part of the White House’s agenda.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and 18 cosponsors  introduced a bill to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and withhold funding from states with racial disparities in cannabis enforcement. She, along with Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), discussed the bill on Facebook Live.

Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) and three cosponsors introduced a bill to restrict civil asset forfeiture funds from being used for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication / Suppression Program.

Thirty-one U.S. House members sent a letter urging the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to maintain existing guidance on the marijuana industry’s access to banking services.

Ten Democratic U.S. senators sent a letter to President Trump criticizing the fact that he hasn’t appointed leaders for the Drug Enforcement Administration or Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Four U.S. House members delivered successive floor speeches condemning federal interference with state marijuana laws.

Earlier in the day, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) delivered a House floor speech criticizing Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

As did Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR).

Connecticut’s U.S. attorney said he would “continue to prosecute violations of federal law consistent with priorities established by the Justice Department and our office.”

While the Massachusetts U.S. attorney issued a marijuana enforcement statement that concerned many in the industry, people who know him say he is unlikely to crack down.

Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Congressman Jason Lewis (R-MN) spoke about federal intervention in state marijuana policies in a joint appearance on C-SPAN.

Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) is criticizing the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs for blocking medical cannabis research.

The U.S. Senate comprehensive medical cannabis bill got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to nine.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 25.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 40.

The U.S. House bill to allow marijuana businesses to access banks got six new cosponsors, bringing the total to 64.

The U.S. House bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 23.

/ STATES

At least half a dozen New Jersey Democratic senators are opposed to marijuana legalization, putting its passage in serious jeopardy.

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidates discussed marijuana legalization at a forum.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich, a former congressman, said he would protect “Ohio’s right to dispense medical marijuana” from federal interference.

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn said he supports legalizing marijuana and would pardon everyone with low-level cannabis convictions.

A study requested by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) recommended “the use of race- and gender-based measures to remediate discrimination affecting minority- and women-owned businesses in the types of industries relevant to the medical cannabis business.”

Colorado’s attorney general spoke about her efforts to defend the state’s marijuana laws from federal interference.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) discussed his proposal for the state to study legalizing marijuana. Separately, an assemblymember introduced a bill to add opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Rhode Island’s marijuana legalization study commission heard from Massachusetts officials.

The Florida Senate Health Committee approved a bill to repeal a requirement that a medical cannabis cultivation license be issued to a member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association.

West Virginia lawmakers filed legislation to allow the smoking of medical cannabis.

Michigan representatives introduced a resolution calling on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to respect the state’s “constitutionally-protected right to regulate medical marihuana at the state level, and if he fails to do so, we call upon the President of the United States to replace him with a successor who will more faithfully fulfill this constitutional duty.”

A Pennsylvania senator is introducing a resolution calling for marijuana to be rescheduled. Separately, regulators issued guidance on medical cannabis testing.

California regulators released a series of videos to help marijuana businesses learn about their tax responsibilities.

Nevada Sen. Tick Segerblom (D) disclosed that he sits on the board of a Canadian marijuana company.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The National Assembly for Wales voted to pressure the UK government to allow medical cannabis.

/ ADVOCACY

A poll funded by prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana found that 49% of US. voters support legalization, another 29% support medical cannabis, 5% back decriminalization and 16% support keeping current policy as-is.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study determined that “cannabis use is associated with reduced incidence of liver disease in alcoholics.”

A study concluded that “new medical cannabis legislation might reduce the need for opioid analgesics for pain management, which could help to address adverse events associated with opioid analgesic use.”

A study found that “while individuals who use cannabis or cigarettes during adolescence have an increased risk of subsequent psychotic experiences, epidemiological evidence is substantively more robust for cannabis use than it is for tobacco use.”

/ BUSINESS

Pennsylvania’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened.

/ CULTURE     

Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs spoke about his thoughts on marijuana legalization.MMA fighter Cynthia Calvillo tested positive for marijuana metabolites.

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.)

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Senate cannabis banking hearing scheduled for next week (Newsletter: July 17, 2019)

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Berkeley considers psychedelics decrim; Lawmaker files marijuana bill after leaving GOP; USDA official speaks at hemp conference

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee scheduled a hearing on marijuana banking issues for next week. Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) had previously said cannabis’s legal status would have to be amended before the panel addressed financial services issues, but his thinking has apparently changed.

A Berkeley, California City Council committee will consider a measure to decriminalize psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin on Wednesday. The move follows neighboring Oakland’s enactment of a similar resolution last month.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official and Colorado’s pro-hemp Gov. Jared Polis (D) are scheduled to discuss CBD as a dietary supplement and related issues at an American Herbal Products Association conference next month.

Just days after leaving the Republican Party, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) filed a new marijuana bill in Congress. It’s nearly identical to the bipartisan STATES Act, with one exception.

/ FEDERAL

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on efforts to combat illicit fentanyl.

The Congressional Black Caucus tweeted about pending legislation allowing certain federal drug war prisoners to have their cases reconsidered.

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) noted in a report on a visit to the border that “the main drug they’re seizing between ports is marijuana, and that’s decreasing due to domestic legalization.”

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) said she is “so excited that now, finally in our country, we are looking at the war on drugs, we’re looking at mass incarceration, and the consequences that that has had on our country.”

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 71.

/ STATES

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) cheered news of the opening of a CBD extraction facility in the state, saying, “As the commonwealth becomes a focal point for hemp-related businesses, this latest project significantly accelerates our progress.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) discussed his concerns about marijuana reform.

The Florida House of Representatives moved to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s medical cannabis regulations. Separately, here’s a look at the chances of getting a marijuana legalization measure on the state’s 2020 ballot.

A Michigan senator filed a bill to expunge marijuana records. Separately, regulators released updated lists of banned chemical active ingredients in marijuana products and for growers.

California regulators will hold a meeting about efforts to create a cannabis program comparable to the National Organic Program next Wednesday.

Utah regulators are dropping a proposed residency requirement for medical cannabis cultivation.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis patient count is up nearly 10% since the beginning of the year.

Washington State regulators will consider changes to marijuana packaging and labeling rules on Wednesday.

Massachusetts regulators will begin accepting applications for state certification as responsible vendor trainers for marijuana establishment agents on Wednesday.

Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Study Commission will hold its first meeting on August 13.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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 Fayetteville, Arkansas City Council approved a resolution urging the city prosecutor to use discretion to “to ensure that appropriate cases of misdemeanor possession of marijuana for personal, private, adult use be considered for dismissal.”

Santa Cruz County, California is being sued for allegedly violating state law by blocking marijuana deliveries from out-of-county companies.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Cabinet approved 34 medical cannabis licenses.

A French judge ruled that a man who killed a neighbor can’t be held criminally responsible for his actions because he smoked marijuana beforehand.

Thai regulators are denying accusations that they have unduly delayed approval of medical cannabis oil.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medicinal cannabis is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for a number of [spinal cord injury]-related symptoms.”

A study of qualitative reports of psychedelic microdosing found “beneficial outcomes, such as improved mood (26.6%) and focus (14.8%)” as well as “challenging outcomes, such as physiological discomfort (18.0%) and increased anxiety (6.7%).”

/ BUSINESS

Advertising firm Havas is launching a cannabis-focused consulting arm.

The Arcview Group closed a $7.7 million Series A funding round.

A former Walt Disney World bartender says she was fired for using CBD oil for foot pain.

/ CULTURE

Musician Flea joked about the differences between indica and sativa cannabis.

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Legal cannabis reduces illegal growing in national forests, study finds (Newsletter: July 16, 2019)

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Former GOP rep says Trump will help legalize by 2020; BVI considers legal marijuana bill; SXSW wants cannabis panel ideas

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There are now 1,161 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A study found that legalizing marijuana reduces illegal cultivation on public lands.

  • “Outright, national recreational cannabis legalization would be one means by which illegal growing on national forests could be made to disappear.”

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) spoke to Marijuana Moment in a recent interview about why he believes President Trump will help achieve broad cannabis reform in 2020. He also addressed former House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) industry involvement, decriminalizing psychedelics and the role marijuana played in his failed reelection effort last year.

Officials in the British Virgin Islands are reviewing draft marijuna legalization legislation.

SXSW is asking people to suggest marijuana-focused panel ideas for the Cannabusiness Track at next year’s festival. The deadline for submissions is this Friday.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) introduced legislation allowing certain federal prisoners to petition courts to take a “second look” at their cases. Booker tweeted, “There are hundreds of thousands of people behind bars–most of them people of color–who were sentenced under draconian laws during the height of the War on Drugs that we have since recognized were unfair. But many of the changes we’ve made to these laws have not been retroactive.”

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for letting states set their own marijuana laws during an Iowa campaign appearance.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, made a joke about marijuana legalization.

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang signed a bong.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said he is “going to bring the Food and Drug Administration kicking and screaming and hollering in to getting [hemp-derived CBD] issues resolved.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) spoke with local law enforcement officials about marijuana issues.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said he supports legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “People of color are disproportionately targeted in marijuana-related offenses. We should all follow Illinois’ lead to expunge these discriminatory and unnecessary offenses.”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tweeted, “I’m all about connecting the dots. It’s time to connect the dots between racial disparities and economic inequity by legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.”

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) discussed medical cannabis on his podcast.

An Oklahoma representative is pushing for an interim study on the safety of medical cannabis.

A New Mexico senator said it’s been difficult to get marijuana incarceration data from state officials.

Ohio regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.

Hawaii medical cannabis patients can apply for two-year registration renewals starting on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Columbus, Ohio City Council members unveiled the text of a marijuana decriminalization proposal they intend to vote on soon.

Los Angeles, California officials released a report on the health implications of marijuana regulatory options for local jurisdictions.

Denver, Colorado officials announced that the city is hosting a marijuana management symposium in October.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he is “seriously considering” severing ties with Iceland over its United Nations resolution criticizing human rights violations in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

CNBC looks at growing momentum for medical cannabis in Asia.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture urged the Food and Drug Administration “to expeditiously create a clear regulatory framework for hemp products.”

A representative of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials testified in a congressional hearing that “marijuana legalization and opioid addiction may lead to more people driving while impaired.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “a 12-week course of nabiximols, a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, resulted in significantly fewer days of illicit cannabis use compared with placebo, and was well tolerated by participants.”

A study found that “the number of foster care entries attributable to parental drug use increased substantially from 2000 to 2017 (from 39,130 to 96,672 removals, an increase of 57,542 removals [147.05%]), even when entries for other removal reasons mostly declined.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board is calling on lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

The Bismarck Tribune editorial board said it wouldn’t be wise to legalize marijuana in North Dakota.

The Columbus Dispatch editorial board said it supports the City Council’s cautious consideration of decriminalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

CBD company Heavenly Rx now owns a quarter of Jones Soda.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Paul Pierce is facing a lien from someone who loaned money for his CBD business.

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Newsletter

FDA is expediting CBD regulation process (Newsletter: July 15, 2019)

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House GOP leader notes bipartisan marijuana banking support; Obama writes to former drug war prisoner; POTUS candidate speaks on cannabis panel

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,161 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 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.

  • Khadijah Triblle of Marijuana Matters: “When I founded Marijuana Matters (M2) as a social enterprise last year, it was challenging to make decisions about our startup because the regulatory environment was all over the place. Let’s be clear: it still is, but Marijuana Moment provides consistent reliable information that makes decision-making less daunting.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) noted bipartisan support for marijuana banking legislation.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that it is “expediting” its work on CBD regulations.

  • “We plan to report on our progress around end of summer/early fall.”

Food and Drug Administration Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy Lowell Schiller will deliver a keynote address at a hemp conference next month. Presumably he’ll be discussing the agency’s efforts to formulate CBD rules.

Former President Barack Obama sent a note to a former drug war prisoner whose sentence he commuted, congratulating her on an academic achievement she earned during her first year in college.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a presidential candidate, spoke on a marijuana panel at the Netroots Nation conference alongside Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and others.

/ FEDERAL

The House of Representatives approved a bill to prohibit the federal government and its contractors from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant prior to conditional offer of employment.

Attorney General William Barr visited a federal prison and said the Department of Justice is “all in” on criminal justice reform.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse disagree on proposed rules concerning the scheduling of fentanyl analogues.

The U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said that legalizing marijuana would be a “bad idea” but praised the state’s medical cannabis law.

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), a presidential candidate, is proposing a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana.

Sixty-four current and former prosecutors, police chiefs, sheriffs, U.S. attorneys, and Department of Justice officials filed an amicus brief opposing a federal case seeking to prevent a safe consumption site for illegal drugs from opening.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “In suburban America, a white kid caught with marijuana gets a slap on the wrist and a call to their parents. But for too many Black and brown students across the country, a single offense can destroy their entire future. Marijuana legalization is about racial justice.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of 31.

/ STATES

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed legislation letting people apply to annul certain past marijuana possession convictions, but vetoed another bill to remove a requirement for a long-term relationship between doctors and medical cannabis patients.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted that he is “proud” of the medical cannabis expansion law he recently signed.

A spokesperson for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said there are still “more tough questions than we have good answers when it comes to hemp.”

More than 30 cannabis plants were found on the lawn of Vermont’s State House.

Another group of North Dakota activists filed an additional proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Banking access for West Virginia medical cannabis businesses is expected to be an issue in the state treasurer’s race.

Florida prosecutors say that the state’s new hemp law is complicating marijuana cases.

A Nevada judge suggested that hearings in a case challenging the state’s marijuana license awarding process could conclude this week.

Utah regulators are delaying a decision on medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

Maryland regulators set steep fines for medical cannabis advertising violations.

California regulators announced an enforcement action against an unlicensed marijuana shop.

New Mexico regulators held a hearing to receive public testimony about proposed medical cannabis rules changes.

Michigan regulators published a marijuana licensing report.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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 Columbus, Ohio City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ ADVOCACY

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party tweeted, “Medical Marijuana has already helped thousands of Pennsylvanians lead healthier, more comfortable lives, and this change will help thousands more. Thank you to @GovernorTomWolf for bringing #MMJ to PA and @SecretaryLevine for leading its continued growth.”

The Maryland Democratic Party tweeted about the Baltimore state’s attorney’s congressional testimony in support of legalizing marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD can protect against cardiac injuries, mainly through its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects on the basis of non-clinical studies.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that UK adults support legalizing marijuana, 48%-24%, and back allowing cannabis-based medicines, 77%-4%, among other findings.

The Boston Globe editorial board is urging caution about CBD.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial board said that medical cannabis was just “smoke and mirrors” and a step toward full marijuana legalization.

/ BUSINESS

BlackRock Inc. is reportedly likely to start a marijuana-focused exchange-traded fund.

Christian Book Distributors changed its name to Christianbook to avoid confusion with CBD.

/ CULTURE

Jimmy Kimmel did a 7/10-themed segment featuring a Las Vegas marijuana dispensary with a drive-thru window.

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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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