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GOP House leader backs legal cannabis in Rhode Island (Newsletter: Dec. 3, 2018)

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Utah lawmakers weigh medical marijuana in special session; Viruses caused THC & CBD to develop; McConnell says legal hemp is soon

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rhode Island’s Republican House leader said he supports legalizing marijuana.

Utah’s legislature will hold a special session on Monday to consider medical cannabis compromise legislation. Meanwhile, lawmakers who say the proposal undermines the will of voters filed an alternate set of bills.

THC and CBD developed in marijuana thanks to viruses colonizing cannabis’s genome millions of years ago, a new study found.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Veterans Affairs reiterated that it believes federal law prevents it from allowing its doctors to fill out medical cannabis recommendation forms.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spoke about hemp legalization before the Kentucky Farm Bureau and state Republican Party, saying, “We’re inside the end zone.” He also said, “I’m not here to spike the ball in the end zone yet. But I think all the pieces are in place. And one of those pieces is the legalization of industrial hemp.”

Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) spoke about “the mostly White towns in West Virginia  devastated by an opioid epidemic, and the communities of color across  our country terrorized by the war on drugs” in a House floor speech.

Rep.-elect Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted about marijuana licensing and equity.

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D) reiterated his support for legalizing marijuana.

The Illinois House of Representatives approved a bill creating a process to expunge marijuana possession convictions that occurred prior to decriminalization.

The Nevada Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a case challenging regulators’ moves to license marijuana distribution businesses from outside the alcohol industry.

The Florida House of Representatives is appealing a court ruling saying that it could not intervene in a lawsuit challenging the state’s medical cannabis regulations.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) sent a press release about a hemp processing and CBD extraction company opening a facility in the state.

Iowa CBD medical cannabis sales began.

New York Assembly committees will hold a Monday hearing on marijuana legalization.

California regulators are expected to submit final permanent marijuana rules for review on Monday, though they likely won’t become public until next month.

Vermont officials estimated that legalizing marijuana sales would generate $13.7 to $26.4-million in tax revenue per year.

A Michigan judge issued a stay in a case over the state’s licensing deadline for medical cannabis dispensaries, effectively allowing them to stay open indefinitely until a further order is issued.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted about huge growth in the number of industrial hemp grower applications the state has received.

A high-ranking Pennsylvania Republican senator said there is “no possibility” the state will legalize marijuana soon.

Ohio regulators issued a large-scale medical cannabis cultivation provisional license.

Fewer than 600 patients are currently participating in Texas’s limited CBD medical cannabis program.


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/ LOCAL

Boulder County, Colorado’s district attorney is preparing to vacate and seal thousands of marijuana possession convictions.

Boston, Massachusetts’s mayor said it is important for”people of color having a real stake in [marijuana] companies and not having these companies coming from all over the country.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has waged a bloody “drug war,” said that he consumes marijuana to stay awake, later maintaining that the comment was a joke. Separately, Senate candidates weighed in on medical cannabis during a debate.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox is holding an “Ask Me Anything” session on the weedstocks subreddit. Meanwhile, regulators approved 19 additional cannabis-based products. Separately, the nation’s former foreign minister suggested the incoming administration could face “serious reprisals” from the U.S. for pursuing marijuana legalization and drug policy reforms.

The Canadian government is expected to issue regulations allowing the sale of marijuana edibles and concentrates this month.

Palau’s president said he is likely to support medical cannabis legislation.

A UK woman is believed to be the first person prescribed medical cannabis in the country.

/ ADVOCACY

The Republican Party of Kentucky tweeted, “Ever wondered what Congress might get @senatemajldr for Christmas? Well he’s hoping that it’s the legalization of hemp! He knows how important it is for Kentucky and the nation and he’s determined to get it done!” It also tweeted, “Sen. @RandPaul has been a national leader on legalizing hemp. He was even the lead cosponsor for the first senate bill to legalize hemp.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of patients with sickle cell disease suggested that medical cannabis “allowed patients to improve their pain relief and thereby reduce admission rates.”

A study “demonstrates the nutraceutical potential of hempseed from a neuroprotective perspective.”

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs Inc. will begin trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Monday.

CNBC looks at how various states tax marijuana at differing rates.

/ CULTURE

The Washington Post examines the diminishing stigma around marijuana use.

Actor Billy Connolly said he used medical cannabis to treat symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Actor Seth Rogen said he wouldn’t rule out getting involved in the marijuana industry.

ESPN host Katie Nolan said her mom grows marijuana.

Musician Melissa Etheridge tweeted, “As I get ready to watch @Chiefs in an hour I can’t help thinking if the @NFL would let player use #cannabis instead of only alcohol we might not be losing young, talented players like #KareemHunt to aggressive mistakes brought on by drinking.”

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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