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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.


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

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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Trump talks cannabis on secret recording (Newsletter: January 27, 2020)

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Andrew Yang pushes legal psilocybin for veterans; Tom Steyer backs decriminalizing opioids; Austin police to continue marijuana arrests

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump can be heard saying marijuana use makes people “lose IQ points” in a new secretly recorded video in which he also discusses cannabis businesses’ access to banks and marijuana’s role as a potential opioid alternative.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said at a town hall meeting that he wants to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for military veterans. He also spoke about ending federal cannabis prohibition, pardoning people incarcerated for weed on 4/20 and high-fiving them on their way out of jail.

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s new criminal justice reform plan includes legalizing marijuana, decriminalizing opioids, banking for cannabis businesses and ending the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, among other reforms.

  • “Tom believes we must end the failed War on Drugs. Based on the flawed idea that incarceration is the answer to addiction, federal and state elected officials passed severe sentencing laws that encouraged incarceration for low-level drug offenses. Unfortunately, communities of color were and continue to be disproportionately affected and targeted by these laws, even when other ethnicities were committing the same drug crimes at the same rates.”

The Austin, Texas police chief said marijuana arrests will continue in the city despite a unanimous City Council vote aimed at ending such cannabis enforcement.

/ FEDERAL

A Department of Health and Humans Services clerical error meant that the Trump administration’s public health emergency on opioids lapsed for nine days.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “Concerned that people with serious health issues may defer real treatment to self-treat based on UNPROVEN health claims by CBD sellers. FOLLOW ADVICE OF REAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. Don’t rely on UNPROVEN claims that might be wrong or worse. Could be very dangerous or fatal.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about clearing marijuana records.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) cited the case of a child being separated from their mother over a prior marijuana possession charge in a letter to Acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 69.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she will use diplomacy instead of hardball tactics to win over skeptical lawmakers on marijuana legalization.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) spoke about efforts to ensure equity in the marijuana industry for communities harmed by the drug war.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) office is expected to propose an amendment to pending hemp legislation.

California’s insurance commissioner said his department will use its discretion on applications from people with past marijuana convictions who want to be licensed to become an insurance agents or brokers. Separately, here’s a look at how the state’s cannabis revenue is allocated.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted about meeting with the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association and the Kentucky Hemp Farmers Association.

The Louisiana Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Monday in a case challenging a life sentence over selling $30 worth of marijuana.

A Massachusetts judge granted a temporary injunction against Cambridge’s plan to give economic empowerment marijuana business license applicants a two-year head start over existing medical cannabis dispensaries. Separately, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis approved a bill to let regulators review agreements and payments between marijuana businesses and the communities that host them. And regulators moved the medical cannabis dispensary license application process to an online portal.

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committee will hold Tuesday hearings on legislation to overhaul medical cannabis regulations.

Florida regulators filed hemp seed rules.

Questions are being raised about the propriety of a top Michigan marijuana regulator being married to the head of a lobbying firm that works on cannabis issues. Separately, regulators sent a bulletin about temporary marijuana events.

Montana regulators provided updated medical cannabis patient statistics.

Missouri regulators released the final scores for medical cannabis dispensary license applicants.

A Tennessee senator filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Washington State regulators discussed hemp regulations and other cannabis issues in a newsletter.


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 police will host an event on marijuana retail outlet safety on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Uganda’s health minister will put a proposal on guidelines for growing cannabis before the Cabinet on Monday.

Several Irish lawmakers are acknowledging their past marijuana use.

A Philippine senator speculated that the cancellation of his U.S. visa may have been due to extrajudicial killings in the nation’s bloody “drug war” during his time as chief of the Philippine National Police.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “in addition to the symptomatic therapy of cancer patients, the antitumor effects of cannabinoids (whether in monotherapy or in combination with other cancer therapies) have promising potential in the treatment of cancer patients.”

A study found that “smartphone-based marijuana testing is more accurate than urine-based tests but slightly less accurate than oral fluid based testing.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 45% of U.S. adults are more likely to support criminal justice reform if it meant nationwide legalization of marijuana, while 22% would be less likely to support it.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. secured a $100 million strategic investment from an institutional investor.

Levi Strauss & Co. has developed an optimized method of making clothing out of hemp.

MediPharm Labs Corp. is suing an unnamed Canadian marijuana producer relating to outstanding payment of approximately $9.8 million.

Coda Signature’s marijuana products will be included in gift bags given to Academy Award nominees.

Someone stole cannabis from a marijuana amnesty box at Chicago Midway Airport.

/ CULTURE

Wrestler Fred Rosser said he has used CBD to deal with pain.

Rapper Snoop Dogg visited a Massachusetts marijuana dispensary.

Police said they found marijuana in the car of football player Kareem Hunt.

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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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Virginia cannabis decriminalization bill advances (Newsletter: January 24, 2020)

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WI gov slams lawmakers over marijuana; CT Senate president: legalization a 2020 priority; Austin decrim approved; Sanders campaign’s marijuana op-ed

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There are now 1,085 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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  • Danny Danko: “You have the best cannabis political content of any news source I’ve found.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) used part of his State of the State speech to blast lawmakers for failing to legalize medical marijuana despite overwhelming public support.

  • “When more than 80 percent of our state supports medical marijuana…and elected officials can ignore those numbers without consequence, folks, something’s wrong.”

Connecticut Senate leaders announced at a press conference that legalizing marijuana is a priority for the 2020 session.

  • “I think the time has come. We need to recognize it. There’s broad based public support for it.”

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Criminal Law Subcommittee approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

The Austin, Texas City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to effectively end low-level marijuana arrests.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on a bill that would legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation—although no retail dispensaries would be allowed. A vote is expected in the panel as soon as next week.

The Nevada co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) presidential campaign submitted a new op-ed to Marijuana Moment about the senator’s plans to legalize cannabis and ensure equity in the marijuana industry for communities harmed by the drug war.

/ FEDERAL

The newly appointed Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice is charged with examining “refusals by State and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes,” among other issues.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer raised hypothetical questions about state marijuana legalization laws during oral arguments in a case on the definition of a “serious drug offense.”

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quickly approve Virginia’s hemp plan.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) spoke about marijuana policy with a group of Illinois mayors.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is backing legislation to limit the medical cannabis program to only state residents. Separately, the Senate Public Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

Vermont’s attorney general is scheduled to speak at a marijuana education event on Sunday.

The West Virginia House of Representatives rejected a move to discharge a marijuana legalization bill from an unfavorable committee.

A second Montana group of activists filed a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Alaska regulators approved the state’s first on-site marijuana consumption areas at dispensaries.

California regulators adopted emergency rules requiring marijuana businesses to post QR code certificates so consumers can identify licensed operations.

Missouri regulators began issuing medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Washington State regulators approved rules on marijuana quality control testing and penalties. They also sent an update on the ban on flavored vaping products.

A New York senator who opposed marijuana legalization last session is now in support.

Indiana senators held a press conference to build support for marijuana decriminalization legislation.

Louisiana regulators gave a presentation detailing the state’s hemp program.

Michigan regulators posted a video of their marijuana social equity program presentation.

Massachusetts regulators hosted a forum to receive feedback from marijuana license applicants.


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 Springfield, Illinois City Council approved the state’s first marijuana social consumption area.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor spoke about plans to pardon people with past marijuana convictions.

A Spokane, Washington city councilwoman violated the city’s ethics code by advocating on behalf of a marijuana business, a volunteer panel determined.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told the Department of Correctional Services to get ready to “free our young people” who are locked up on marijuana possession charges.

New Zealand’s Health Ministry said that edibles won’t be allowed under the country’s medical cannabis program.

French regulators announced that a medical cannabis pilot program will launch in September.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical cannabis use “may have an overall positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night in chronic pain patients” but that “tolerance towards potential sleep-inducing properties of MC may occur with frequent use.”

A study found that “adolescents with any cannabis use history have significantly higher rates of [major depressive disorder]” but that “the directionality between frequency of use and MDD is counter to what was expected.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Texas Democratic Party cheered Austin’s move to end most marijuana arrests.

The American Bar Association is hosting a webinar on what it’s like to be a marijuana lawyer on Friday.

/ BUSINESS

The personal information of more than 30,000 marijuana business customers were exposed via a data leak in the THSuite point-of-sale system.

MedMen’s CEO spoke about the company’s struggles to pay vendors.

Microsoft Advertising Support tweeted that “at this time, drugs and related paraphernalia, including CBD Oil, can’t be advertised, according to our Disallowed Content Policies.”

Cresco Labs announced it entered into an agreement for a $100 million loan that can be extended to $200 million.

/ CULTURE

Musician Neal Young’s U.S. citizenship application was approved despite a delay due to his admission of marijuana consumption.

The professional minor league basketball team the Rochester RazorSharks is partnering with the Rochester, New York NORML chapter.

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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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Connecticut leaders plan legal cannabis push in 2020 (Newsletter: January 23, 2020)

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Congressman tours dispensary for Bernie Sanders; Mexican marijuana bill circulating; Vermont statewide psychedelics decrim filed

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 445 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

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) and top lawmakers are saying that 2020 could be the year the state legalizes marijuana, with the Senate Democratic caucus expected to outline the details of a cannabis plan on Thursday.

Mexican lawmakers are circulating a new draft marijuana legalization bill ahead of the start of a new session next month. The nation’s Supreme Court set a deadline of April 30 to end cannabis prohibition.

Vermont representatives filed a bill to decriminalize psychedelics—such as psilocybin, ayahuasca and peyote—at the state level. Kratom is also included.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) toured a Las Vegas marijuana dispensary as part of a delegation representing the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief of operations and other law enforcement officials were appointed to a new Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration officials are part of a Consumer Brands Association advisory board on CBD products.

Former Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin said that medical cannabis is part of a “multifaceted” approach to prevent suicides by military veterans.

A former Maryland delegate pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of soliciting and accepting bribes from marijuana businesses.

Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA) toured a marijuana cultivation facility.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted about discussing hemp at the Virginia Agriculture Growers Association conference.

Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidates discussed marijuana policy during a debate.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted that medical cannabis for military veterans “was a fundamentally recurring theme throughout our 67 county tour.  Vet after Vet, often in tears, describing their anguish and how marijuana was the only thing that made them feel “normal” enough to embrace other therapeutic avenues. Marijuana is truly, truly bipartisan.”

Texas’s agriculture commissioner hosted a public hearing on proposed hemp rules.

South Carolina’s House majority leader called for medical cannabis legalization in his response to Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) State of the State address.

The new chairman of the New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee opposes legalizing marijuana.

Key New York senators are expressing concerns about including marijuana legalization in the state budget.

The Idaho Senate Health and Welfare Committee voted to take up hemp legislation.

Pending U.S. Virgin Islands marijuana legalization legislation is being amended to remove a requirement that adult-use consumers register with the territory, among other changes.

Michigan regulators issued a health and safety bulletin about the recall of marijuana vaping cartridges that contain vitamin E acetate.

Oklahoma’s interim top medical cannabis regulator was named to the position permanently.

Alaska’s interim top marijuana regulator is proposing that boards that regulate cannabis and alcohol each get their own administrators instead of sharing one.

Massachusetts cannabis regulators will hold a public forum on Thursday to “to enable applicants to discuss their experience with the licensing process and related concerns.”


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

Austin, Texas’s police chief said the City Council “does not have the authority to direct APD not to enforce a state law” through a marijuana decriminalization proposal up for a vote on Thursday.

The Alexandria, Virginia commonwealth’s attorney said he will continue pursuing marijuana cases until the state decriminalizes it.

New York City’s City Council speaker tweeted, “Albany must legalize and regulate marijuana and provide justice to the communities that have been and continue to be harmed by decades of misguided drug laws.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said he supports releasing people who are incarcerated for possessing small amounts of marijuana. He also moved the National Commission on Marijuana from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health following a leak of its draft report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the mother of an American-Israeli tourist jailed on marijuana charges and told her that “everything will be okay,” hinting at a possible pardon.

Dutch lawmakers and other leaders issued a manifesto calling for major drug policy reforms.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “unlike [medical marijuana laws], which are associated with fewer fatal crashes, cities experienced a relative increase in fatal crashes involving young male drivers following marijuana decriminalization.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance raised concerned about a lack of specificity in equity provisions in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) marijuana legalization budget proposal.

The Drug Policy Alliance published a report warning against moves to ramp up punishments for fentanyl.

The legislative director of Concerned Women for America wrote a white paper criticizing federal marijuana reform legislation.

South Carolina medical cannabis supporters held a rally.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Holdings Inc. is reportedly struggling to pay owed sums to vendors.

The CEO of Powerplant Global Strategies, a cannabis-focused PR firm, endorsed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) for president even though he opposes legalizing marijuana.

Canopy Growth Corporation named a Constellation Brands, Inc. director as the chair of its board.

Investor Peter Thiel discussed his involvement with Atai Life Sciences AG, a company developing psychedelic medicines.

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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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