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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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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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Cannabis companies lobbied against home grow, document shows (Newsletter: Feb. 22, 2019)

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NH legal marijuana bill advances; ND activists plan 2020 ballot measure; Baltimore billboard urges end to cannabis arrests; Banking testimony

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

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  • Rowby Goren of CBD for SHOPIFY: “I am pleased to support via Patreon (and encourage others to do the same) MarajuanaMomement.net because of its comprehensive reporting of the fast-moving and exciting marijuana and CBD / Hemp market — all of which is being powered by enlightened public demand. Receiving marijuanamomement.net in my inbox provides reliable real-time cannabis / CBD / hemp updates — all in one convenient one-stop center.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A document Marijuana Moment obtained through a public records request shows New York’s licensed medical cannabis companies urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to ban consumers from growing their own. And that’s exactly what he recommended in his budget last month.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to approve a marijuana legalization bill.

Just hours after North Dakota lawmakers narrowly voted down a marijuana decriminalization bill, activists announced that they plan to put a full cannabis legalization measure before voters on the 2020 ballot.

A group of Baltimore, Maryland mothers is calling on cops and the mayor to end marijuana arrests and instead focus on solving murders, and they’re driving a truck with a huge billboard featuring that message around City Hall and police headquarters.

Marijuana Moment compiled some of the nearly 100 pieces of written testimony that National Cannabis Industry Association members submitted to Congress last week about why their businesses need access to banks.

/ FEDERAL

Surgeon General Jerome Adams and other federal officials met to discuss “the state of science around marijuana.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration is bringing its “Drugs: Costs and Consequences” travelling museum exhibit to New Mexico.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Jack Riley spoke about his concerns with marijuana legalization in a C-SPAN appearance.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We need to invest in jobs and education for our kids, not more jails and incarceration. We need to end the destructive ‘war on drugs,’ eliminate private prisons and cash bail and bring about major police department reform.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said he will “work for” cannabis rescheduling and that “medicinal marijuana is one thing, recreational is another. I do not favor recreational marijuana.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) tweeted, “#TBT That time I rode in a car with an Oregon cannabis business owner to deliver a $70,000 tax payment. I fully support removing #cannabis from the list of controlled substances to ensure they have safe access to banking.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, during an appearance in Iowa, said, “Stop throwing people in prison for smoking a joint and instead go after those like Purdue Pharma who are proliferating their opioids on our streets and taking people’s lives.”

Rep. Barbra Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The United States has a long and dark history of racial oppression. We must work to correct our wrongs by reforming our criminal justice system — including decriminalizing marijuana and abolishing private prisons.”

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) joined the Cannabis Trade Federation as a strategic adviser.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted, “I’m for full legalization of marijuana; remove it from the Controlled Substance List. I would go a step further and pardon everyone who’s in jail for a low-level, non-violent drug offense. It makes no sense to have people in jail for something that is legal in other states.”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders are working to persuade a list of seven key Democratic senators to support marijuana legalization legislation. The Senate president said not to expect legal sales before January.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) spoke about the research showing medical benefits of cannabis and public support for reform. Meanwhile, the Assembly speaker is upset that the governor is including broader marijuana decriminalization in his medical cannabis plan.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted that the state’s medical cannabis program “is working and patients are realizing its benefits.”

The South Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill to remove the cap on the number of hemp growers that are allowed in the state.

The Florida House Appropriations Committee approved a bill to let patients smoke medical cannabis.

The Oklahoma House Rules Committee advanced legislation to revise the state’s medical cannabis framework.

Michigan regulators have started the process of drafting rules for recreational marijuana businesses.

Massachusetts regulators discussed ways to boost women- and minority-owned marijuana businesses.

The Oregon Senate Committee on Business and General Government will hold a hearing on Thursday on a bill to allow marijuana social consumption lounges. Separately, regulators approved amendments to hemp rules.

An Iowa representative filed a bill to allow regulators to reschedule MDMA for medical purposes.

Colorado regulators will meet on March 20 to consider changes to medical cannabis rules.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 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.

We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Bridgeport, Connecticut officials are asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a man who claims he was blocked from becoming a firefighter due to his state-legal medical cannabis use.

The Bronx, New York’s borough president said that “if we are going to legalize marijuana the state must pardon and expunge marijuana convictions, and ensure that marginalized communities have a chance to profit from a new cannabis market.”

Denver, Colorado officials developed a food safety course for marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harri said the government is accepting the recommendations of a commission to legalize medical cannabis and hemp and decriminalize marijuana possession.

The British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, which receives some funding from the Canadian province, issued a report recommending the legalization and regulation of heroin sales.

/ ADVOCACY

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck spoke about the harms of the drug war.

Here’s a look at the Medical Cannabis Alliance of Illinois’s efforts to shape marijuana laws.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis likely does not have widespread effects on brain structure.”

An analysis found that “with respect to male factor fertility using semen parameters as a surrogate, cannabinoids likely play an inhibitory role” and that “data on marijuana and male sexual function are mixed but suggest that marijuana may enhance the subjective experience of sexual intercourse while potentially contributing to [erectile dysfunction] in a dose‐dependent manner,” among other findings.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation’s losses doubled in an amended quarterly report as compared to the initial version, with the company blaming a spreadsheet error for the first filing.

/ CULTURE

Former NFL player Calvin Johnson’s proposed medical cannabis dispensary received preliminary approval from Michigan regulators.

Melissa Etheridge’s new song “Faded by Design” is about her relationship with marijuana.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said, apparently sarcastically, that “there’s literally nothing cooler than marijuana. Cool people smoke weed. And that’s why total legalization nationwide seems inevitable.”

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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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Two governors talk legal cannabis in big budget speeches (Newsletter: Feb. 21, 2019)

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North Dakota marijuana decrim narrowly fails; Obama urges youth to work on drug reform; Study: The munchies are real

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 377 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 Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) both spoke about the fiscal and other benefits of legalizing marijuana in budget speeches. Pritzker included legal cannabis revenue in his formal budget proposal to lawmakers, while Lamont’s plan includes a system of hemp licensing.

Former President Barack Obama, who has in the past scolded young people for caring about marijuana policy, said during an event with young men of color that it is important for them to be involved in the process of shaping drug laws.

  • “Nothing changes if citizens…aren’t paying attention and aren’t educating themselves about…how are decisions made about drug laws.”

The North Dakota House of Representatives narrowly defeated a bill to decriminalize marijuana by a vote of 43-47.

A study showed that sales of “junk food” rise after states legalize marijuana, seemingly confirming that the munchies are a real phenomenon.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a drug case that the Constitution places limits on civil asset forfeiture policies that allow states and localities to seize private property that was allegedly used to commit crimes.

A federal judge denied a request to release a disputed cannabis crop that Idaho law enforcement seized as illegal marijuana but the Colorado company in question says is legal hemp.

The Department of Justice announced that the owners of a Colorado unlicensed marijuana business pled guilty to filing a false federal income tax return.

Several major news outlets have picked up a Jamaican website’s claim that the father of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, pointedly took issue with the way she discussed her Jamaican heritage in relation to her past marijuana use. Marijuana Moment has not been able to verify the original report.

/ STATES

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed a bill to let farmers plant hemp crops earlier than originally planned. Separately, the House Committee on Public Safety advanced legislation to clarify that medical cannabis extracts and edibles are legal.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) has no plans to change the state’s marijuana legalization laws, a spokesman said, despite concern from industry players about his appointments to a regulatory body.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) is pushing lawmakers to hold hearings on marijuana legalization.

Delaware’s attorney general said her office will stop prosecuting people for possessing less than six ounce of marijuana in most cases.

The Florida Senate Rules Committee voted to approve a bill to let patients smoke medical cannabis.

Iowa regulators added ulcerative colitis and severe pediatric autism with self-injurious or aggressive behaviors as CBD medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Michigan regulators will consider medical cannabis license applications at a meeting on Thursday. Separately, the state appeals court ruled against a woman who had a job offer rescinded for state-legal medical cannabis use.

The Nevada Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor held a hearing on a bill to make it illegal to disqualify job applicants due to positive marijuana tests.

No hearings on Indiana marijuana legalization or medical cannabis bills have been scheduled ahead of key deadlines, indicating the issues are likely dead for the year.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 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.

We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Salt Lake City, Utah’s former mayor, a medical cannabis supporter, sent a letter warning local officials that the law legislators passed to replace a voter-approved ballot initiative is preempted by federal law.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s king signed a decree legalizing medical cannabis and kratom.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May defended her government’s approach to medical cannabis in response to a question from a lawmaker.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said his nation’s bloody “drug war” will get “harsher in the days to come.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The first clinical trial looking at whole-plant marijuana in treating PTSD was completed, with data now being analyzed and prepared for publication.

A study on marijuana consumers found that “solitary users were significantly more likely to screen positive for psychosis, endorse more symptoms of cannabis abuse/dependence, report using cannabis to cope, and use cannabis on more days within the previous 30 days,” while “social users were significantly more likely to report using alcohol in addition to cannabis during their most recent cannabis‐using occasion.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. voters commissioned by prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana found that when given options, 39% support medical cannabis, 33% back marijuana legalization, 18% want decriminalization and 11% want broad prohibition. The survey also asked whether voters were more or less likely to support presidential candidates who take cannabis industry money.

A poll of South Carolina likely voters found that when given options, 50% support medical cannabis and 23% back marijuana legalization, with roughly 23% saying the oppose any form of legal access.

/ BUSINESS

GoDaddy announced that the number of Canadian cannabis websites built on its platform increased 700% over a year.

The Globe and Mail looks at how Canadian marijuana companies and government agencies are tracking information about visitors to their websites.

/ CULTURE

Comedy Central’s Jim Jeffries Show hosted a debate between third party candidates, including a member of the U.S. Marijuana Party.

A brick of marijuana was found in a clothing donation bin for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks.

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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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Lawmakers push FDA to allow CBD food products (Newsletter: Feb. 20, 2019)

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Bernie Sanders’s marijuana record; Analysis: Liberal & conservative Dems divided on legalization; NY Senate president doubts legal cannabis in budget

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…

There are now 696 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A bipartisan group of members of Congress is pushing the Food and Drug Administration to hurry up and allow CBD-infused food products in light of hemp legalization.

Marijuana Moment’s latest analysis takes a comprehensive look at the cannabis reform record of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who in 2015 filed the Senate’s first-ever bill to end marijuana prohibition.

An analysis by Gallup shows that within the Democratic Party, self-described liberals and conservatives are sharply divided on marijuana legalization.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Moses-Ones spoke at an Albanian event about the “fight against cannabis production.”

Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) discussed the need to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) tweeted photos of himself meeting with members of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he and lawmakers are still working to finalize details of a marijuana legalization deal but that’s he’s “optimistic” about getting it done.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) said he can “absolutely” win over Republicans on his plan for medical cannabis but that full marijuana legalization is “not going to happen right now.” He also described decriminalization as “a fairness issue.”

New York’s Senate president said she doesn’t think marijuana legalization will end up in the state’s budget this year.

Maryland’s Senate president and House speaker formed a working group to study marijuana legalization.

Ohio’s attorney general said he supports federally rescheduling marijuana. Meanwhile, senators filed a bill to legalize hemp-derived CBD.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed to take a case on whether the odor of unburnt marijuana can be relied on to establish probable cause for a warrant to search a commercial building.

Florida regulators are appealing a court ruling that struck down a limit on the number of medical cannabis dispensaries that a given business can operate.

Guam’s House speaker is pushing regulators to implement the voter-approved medical cannabis law.

The Arizona Senate defeated bills that would have allowed surprise inspections at medical cannabis dispensaries and required that products be tested for carcinogens.

The New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee advanced a marijuana decriminalization bill.

The West Virginia House Health and Human Resources Committee passed a bill to raise the number of medical cannabis growers and processors that are allowed and to allow vertical integration.

The Utah Senate Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed a bill to make technical changes to the state’s medical cannabis law.

An Iowa Senate subcommittee unanimously approved a bill to legalize hemp.

The Vermont Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved a bill setting fees for hemp cultivation.

Nevada Senate and Assembly committees discussed the long-term reliability of marijuana tax revenue as a school funding source.

Oklahoma regulators are urging businesses that manufacture or sell CBD-infused or medical cannabis food products to obtain food licenses.

California regulators reported that the state generated $345 million in tax revenue in 2018, far less than an originally projected $1 billion.

Maine regulators signed a three-year deal with Franwell Inc. to track marijuana products in the state.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 600 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.

We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Denver, Colorado City Council voted to repeal the sunset date of the cannabis social consumption pilot program. Separately, officials compiled tips and best practices for transferring ownership of marijuana businesses.

Seattle, Washington’s mayor spoke about the city’s moves to vacate misdemeanor marijuana convictions during her State of the City address.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said his administration will explore the legal regulation of less-harmful drugs like marijuana.

/ ADVOCACY

The Rhode Island Republican Party’s chairman criticized moves to legalize marijuana, expand gambling and study allowing sex work.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico tweeted, “Our last governor tried to deprive our state of billions in potential economic benefits because she couldn’t tell the difference between hemp and marijuana  — the @NMHouseDems are fixing her mistake.”

The Drug Policy Alliance released a report looking at the costs and benefits of supervised consumption sites for illegal drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study did not find a “statistically significant association between policy ‘liberalization’ and higher odds of adolescent cannabis use.”

A study concluded that marijuana dispensaries “are associated with statistically significant increases in rates of neighborhood crime and disorder” but that associations weakened significantly over time.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Paula Poundstone tweeted, “We have an unstable man in the Presidency. He does not tell the truth about anything. How can we allow this to go on? Our forefathers couldn’t have predicted this because the marijuana wasn’t as potent back then.”

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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