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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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State treasurers group endorses cannabis banking legislation (Newsletter: May 20, 2019)

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Presidential candidate jokes about psychedelic decrim; GOP congressman presses feds on hemp/CBD credit; Texas medical marijuana expansion advances

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There are now 1,103 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The National Association of State Treasurers adopted a resolution endorsing congressional marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) pressed federal federal regulators about hemp and CBD businesses’ access to credit card processing during a hearing.

  • “I’ve had constituent businesses tell me that their access to financial products, specifically card services, have actually deteriorated since we descheduled industrial hemp in the Farm Bill. This obviously conflicts with congressional intent.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, had some jokes about why Denver voted to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and how it might have something to do with the supply of marijuana.

The Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services approved a House-passed bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis law.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration’s principal deputy commissioner and acting CIO posted several tweets about the agency’s efforts to formulate a regulatory strategy for CBD.

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll will travel to China to discuss cracking down on fentanyl production.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and allowing retroactive expungements. He also listed legalization in a new issues section of his website.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, published an op-ed on his efforts to expand medical cannabis access for military veterans.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has reportedly occasionally answered the phone as “Cocaine Mitch.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted about helping to initiate a marijuana competition, saying it “highlights Oregon as the nation’s best place for clean, craft cannabis & celebrates the evolution of the industry in our community, setting the bar nationally.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s no secret that people of color are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement for marijuana. We must learn from the failed #WarOnDrugs and end today’s war on marijuana.”

The House marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 182.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) tapped marijuana industry veteran Ean Seeb as his cannabis policy advisor. Separately, the state attorney general tweeted in support of Denver’s efforts to help people expunge marijuana records.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) directed lawmakers to consider legislation on vertical integration of medical cannabis companies during a special session.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló (NP) appointed a director for the Medicinal Cannabis Regulatory Board.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) said the state isn’t generating much revenue from medical cannabis sales yet.

Missouri lawmakers sent Gov. Mike Parson (R) a bill to remove restrictions on industrial hemp.

The New Jersey Assembly is scheduled to vote on medical cannabis expansion and marijuana record expungement bills on Thursday. The expungement legislation would reportedly decriminalize cannabis possession.

The Alabama House Health Committee is reportedly stalling a Senate-passed medical cannabis bill.

A Connecticut representative who supports marijuana legalization said the chances of getting it done within the next two years are “grim” and suggested that lawmakers are considering putting the issue on the ballot.

Rhode Island regulators sent a bulletin about the prohibition on business relationships between medical cannabis dispensaries and physicians.

The Associated Press looks at efforts to ensure social equity in state marijuana legalization bills.


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

New York City’s public advocate authored an op-ed about his support for legalizing marijuana and how he used to sell it.

/ ADVOCACY

NAACP tweeted about the participation of its president and vice chairwoman in the Cannabis Trade Federation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of research on oral fluid testing devices concluded that “no THC concentration has been determined that indicates impairment” and that “currently available devices do not meet recommended effectiveness.”

A study concluded that Colorado’s implementation of marijuana legalization is “largely and positively related with marijuana-related traffic fatalities.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Los Angeles Times editorial board is critical of California legislation to force municipalities to allow marijuana businesses.

/ BUSINESS

Organigram will begin trading on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

Cannaramic Media, Inc. is suing Facebook for blocking marijuana-related content.

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Biden begins to shift longtime cannabis opposition (Newsletter: May 17, 2019)

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Oakland City Council psychedelics decrim hearing; Dems’ DOJ bill has medical marijuana rider; Decrim states see less severe domestic violence injuries

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  • Martin Kamerman: “I’m a member of the cannabis committee of the Westchester County Bar Association. I am joining with other professionals who want to make sure that marijuana laws mean fairness for all the communities that make up our great country. Supporting Marijuana Moment helps get the word out.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, now supports decriminalizing marijuana, moving it to Schedule II and letting states set their own laws—but he is not endorsing cannabis legalization like most other 2020 contenders have.

The Oakland, California City Council has scheduled a hearing on a measure supporting the decriminalization of psychedelic drugs like mescaline cacti, ayahuasca and ibogaine—going much further than the psilocybin-focused initiative that Denver voters approved last week.

A 2020 Department of Justice spending bill released by a House subcommittee includes state medical cannabis protections but not a broader rider shielding adult-use marijuana laws from federal interference.

Sens.  Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), both presidential candidates, joined with other senators to file a bill to repeal the law that strips federal financial aid from college students with drug convictions.

A study found that states see significant reductions in the severity of injuries stemming from domestic violence after the enactment of marijuana decriminalization, although there is not a drop in overall domestic violence incidents.

/ FEDERAL

Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) and former San Antonio, Texas Mayor Julián Castro (D), all presidential candidates, contributed essays to a publication on ending mass incarceration—several of which mention marijuana law reform.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted, “Instead of pardoning billionaires I’d pardon non-violent marijuana and opiate offenders.”

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) spoke about his opposition to legalizing marijuana.

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got four new cosponsors, for a total of 47.

The House bill to seal past marijuana records got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he supports legalizing hemp. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives rejected a bill to impose a tax on hemp and CBD products. And the House Judiciary Committee reported a marijuana legalization bill without action, recommending that it be sent to a different committee.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said she thinks it’s “very likely” lawmakers will approve marijuana legalization by the end of the session.

Massachusetts regulators voted to approve a social marijuana consumption pilot program.

The California Senate Appropriations Committee approved a hemp bill. Meanwhile, the Assembly Appropriations Committee rejected legislation to temporarily lower marijuana taxes.

New Jersey Assembly committees will hear medical cannabis expansion and marijuana expungement bills on Monday.

Delaware lawmakers filed a marijuana legalization bill.

A Nebraska senator, reacting to his colleagues’ failure to vote on a medical cannabis bill, tweeted, “The Legislature has had their chance, it’s time to go to the ballot!”


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

Denver, Colorado officials certified the results of last week’s election in which a measure to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms was approved.

The Bexar County, California district attorney said his office will reject low-level marijuana and drug cases.

A Jacksonville, Florida City Council member hosted a meeting to tout a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israel’s health ministry is removing marijuana from the country’s list of dangerous drugs, which will allow its sales in pharmacies.

Brazil’s Senate approved legislation to increase penalties for selling drugs and force consumers to enter treatment.

Mexico’s interior secretary said the country “has marijuana of the highest quality” and “our ancestors used it in their rituals.”

/ ADVOCACY

The Cannabis Trade Federation launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force that includes, among others, NAACP’s president and CEO, National Urban League’s CEO,  former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and a former director of the ACLU’s Washington, D.C. office.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found a “negative, yet insignificant relationship between” marijuana legalization and alcohol consumption.

A review concluded that “oromucosal nabiximols and THC have no effect on pain, sleep problems and opioid consumption in patients with cancer pain with insufficient pain relief from opioids.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Tulsa World editorial board is calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

Author Michael Pollan said that he basically approves of Denver’s psilocybin decriminalization measure despite a general concern he has about using ballot initiatives to advance the issue.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Seth Meyers joked about CBD.

The latest episode of American Dad featured a Wonka-style marijuana factory, with Snoop Dogg voicing a character name Tommie Tokes.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Oregon Senate votes to legalize cannabis imports & exports (Newsletter: May 16, 2019)

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Legal marijuana expected for 2020 NJ ballot; Treasury sec.: No tax credit for cannabis biz; Texas Senate OKs hemp; No CBD for horses; Border bill

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Jersey’s Senate president announced that lawmakers are ditching the idea of trying to pass marijuana legalization legislation and will instead put the issue on the 2020 ballot for voters to decide. In the meantime, the legislature will proceed with medical cannabis expansion and expungement proposals.

The Oregon Senate voted to legalize interstate marijuana imports and exports. A change in federal policy is required for the legislation’s provisions to take effect, but the vote itself is a first for any state.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a Senate hearing that marijuana businesses should not be able to qualify for federal “opportunity zone” tax credits aimed at encouraging investments in distressed low-income communities.

The Texas Senate unanimously approved a House-passed hemp legalization bill, but not before making some changes—meaning that a conference committee to reconcile the two chambers’ versions will be necessary before the legislation is sent to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) reintroduced a bill aimed at solving border issues faced by marijuana industry participants, and to prevent immigrants from being deported over state-legal cannabis use.

The U.S. Equestrian Federation, which regulates most equestrian sports, has ruled that competition horses are not allowed to use CBD.

/ FEDERAL

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll argued that increased border security would “save lives.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), in a Senate floor speech,  included marijuana in a list of drugs that have “flooded our streets” and are contributing to “despair.”

Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) is reportedly looking into working on gun access issues for medical cannabis patients.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted that he’s “proud” to work on “legislation to expand access to medical cannabis for our veterans!”

The Senate marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 27.

The House marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 180.

/ STATES

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) announced that regulators launched an online licensing portal for hemp producers and processors.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) made a number of jokes about drugs during a speech at the opening of a new hotel at JFK airport. Meanwhile, the Senate majority leader said that marijuana legalization discussions are still ongoing.

Kentucky Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy.

In a shift, Connecticut’s House speaker said that marijuana legalization could get a vote during the regular session instead of in a later special session.

The Nebraska Senate held a floor debate on a medical cannabis bill, but is not likely to vote on the proposal.

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee held a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill.

An Oregon bill to legalize marijuana social use areas is reportedly dead.

The Rhode Island Senate Labor Committee held a hearing on a bill to expand employment protections for medical cannabis patients.

The Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services will hear a House-passed medical cannabis expansion bill on Friday.

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board rejected a proposal to remove opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, and the health secretary said she needs more time to decide whether to add anxiety and Tourette syndrome. The body also rejected recommending adding nausea as a result of irritable bowel syndrome to the list.

Utah regulators gave an update on medical cannabis implementation, CBD product registration and tracking software, and said that physicians will not be punished for using medical marijuana.

Michigan regulators released a bulletin on homogeneity testing of marijuana products.


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 Cincinnati, Ohio City Council postponed a vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal. A councilmember said he will launch a ballot measure on the issue if his colleagues don’t approve the measure.

New York City’s police commissioner expressed concerns about marijuana legalization during a City Council hearing.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Ukrainian Parliament’s Human Rights, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations Committee filed a medical cannabis bill in response to a citizen petition.

/ ADVOCACY

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, “States across the country (including our neighbors) are taking steps so that their farmers can take advantage of the economic opportunities of industrial hemp. Thanks to Gov. Noem, though, our farmers can’t, and SD is falling further and further behind.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “recreational cannabis legalisation is associated with neutral effects on healthcare utilisation” and “is linked to an increase in motor vehicle accidents, alcohol abuse, overdose injuries and a decrease in chronic pain admissions.”

A study found that “black males had a 2.2% point decrease in the relative probability of college enrollment after the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A survey found that 82% of banking executives want the federal government to allow financial services providers to do business with the marijuana industry.

/ CULTURE

Jeopardy had yet another marijuana question, one of several in recent weeks.

Musician Tom Morello tweeted in support of legalizing marijuana in New York.

Musician Roger Daltrey chastised audience members for smoking marijuana at a recent concert.

The New York Times Magazine has a cover story on CBD.

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