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Harris’s cannabis position now ‘the same’ as Biden’s (Newsletter: Mach 2, 2021)

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Garland puts marijuana pledge in writing; NM legalization bills merging; Competing DC cannabis measures; PA gov pardons; Seth Rogen & Jay-Z moves

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A staffer for Vice President Kamala Harris revealed that her views on marijuana “are now the same as Biden’s,” meaning that she has seemingly flip-flopped on the cannabis issue yet again and potentially no longer supports the federal legalization bill she filed last Congress.

Attorney general nominee Merrick Garland put into writing his views that prosecuting people complying with state marijuana laws is not a good use of resources and that criminalizing cannabis has “contributed to mass incarceration and racial disparities.”

New Mexico lawmakers made clear during a Saturday hearing that they’re going to spend the next week merging three Senate marijuana legalization bills with one that passed the House on Friday in order to get something to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) by March 20.

The chairman of the Washington D.C. Council and a majority of his colleagues filed a marijuana legalization bill that competes with a separate plan introduced just days earlier by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D).

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that he granted pardons to 69 more people for past marijuana convictions.

  • “These pardons will give…people a chance to put the conviction behind them, offering them more opportunities as they build careers, buy homes, and move on with their lives free of this burden.”

The Rhode Island Senate passed a bill to legalize safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

Seth Rogen’s marijuana company Houseplant launched products in the U.S. market and Jay-’s Monogram brand released ads highlighting how some states are tougher on marijuana than on cousin marriage, cannibalism or sex with farm animals.

/ FEDERAL

A former Food and Drug Administration chief scientist said there is “promise” in the  medical benefits of cannabis components but that more data is needed.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is looking to purchase an infrared cannabis analyzer device.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted that the end of drug arrests in Seattle following a Washington State Supreme Court ruling invalidating the criminalization of possession is “good news. A failed war on drugs has long led to Black and Brown people being targeted and arrested at disproportionately higher rates. Sending someone to prison is not the way to treat addiction or Substance Use Disorder.”

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) said she has moved closer to supporting legalizing marijuana and at a minimum decriminalizing it. The comments came in a joint interview with her son, with whom she co-wrote a book about his struggles with substance misuse and who discussed his opposition to legalization in the appearance.

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) said the war on drugs is “stupid crime policy” and that legalization is better than decriminalization.

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) tweeted, “It’s time to legalize recreational cannabis in our state and expunge small-possession charges from the records of thousands of Minnesotans.”

/ STATES

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) tweeted about a new law going into effect that “limits on the ability of police to engage in warrantless searches based on the smell of marijuana alone.” Separately, the state attorney general tweeted, “I helped decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and have been advocating for full legalization for some time now. This is a step in the right direction to promote public safety, justice, equity, and economic opportunity in Virginia.”

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) appointed a director for the state’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office.

Pennsylvania’s secretary of drug and alcohol programs spoke to lawmakers about the implications of legalizing marijuana.

South Dakota lawmakers sent Gov. Kristi Noem (R) a bill allowing marijuana and hemp businesses to access banks.

The Minnesota Senate Health and Human Services Finance and Policy Committee advanced legislation to allow medical cannabis flower.

The Illinois House Consumer Protection Committee approved a bill to regulate CBD products.

The Missouri House Crime Prevention Committee approved a bill to defelonize drug possession.

A Delaware representative spoke about the marijuana legalization bill he plans to file this month.

A Massachusetts court ruled that a worker injured on the job can’t charge his health insurer for the cost of his medical cannabis.

Michigan’s Racial Equity Advisory Workgoup recommended the creation of a statewide marijuana-focused stock market.

New York regulators are being sued by an unsuccessful medical cannabis business license applicant.

Maine regulators published an annual report and issued new guidance on testing issues.

Rhode Island regulators are seeking to hire a vendor to run a lottery for new medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Florida lawmakers are considering several marijuana reform bills this session.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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

Dallas, Texas’s police chief is proposing to the City Council that officers no longer arrest or cite most people caught possessing less than two ounces of marijuana.

Police departments in several Washington State cities and counties are pushing back against a state Supreme Court ruling invalidating the law that criminalizes drug possession.

Baltimore, Maryland’s state’s attorney eliminated warrants for drug possession and other crimes.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor tweeted that legal marijuana is “coming. Missouri should be an early adopter.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Argentine President Alberto Fernández said he is going to propose medical cannabis legislation.

A French lawmaker suggested that voters be able to decide on marijuana legalization via a referendum.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that medical cannabis use “can lead to the reduction or discontinuation of several categories of prescription medications for symptoms of” multiple sclerosis.

A study found that “although CBD showed both neurotoxic and neuroprotective effects on hippocampal neurons in the in vitro setting, the use of low-concentrated (i.e., 5 μM) CBD, not causing toxic effects on the neurons, significantly rescued the neurons from the oxidative stress (H2O2), confirming its neuroprotection capability.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party tweeted, “In the PA Senate, @StreetForPA just made history with his plan to legalize adult-use marijuana—the first such bill ever to gain bipartisan sponsorship. He works tirelessly for racial, social, and economic justice, and we are proud to call him our Vice Chair!”

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted about ongoing efforts to craft marijuana legislation.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board cheered a new bipartisan marijuana legalization bill being introduced in the Pennsylvania Senate.

A group of South Carolina military veterans held a press conference to push lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Mydecine Innovations Group said it completed the world’s first international legal export of dried psilocybin mushrooms, from Jamaica to Canada.

Cresco Labs filed a preliminary prospectus allowing it to raise up to $1 billion in securities.

Delic Holdings Inc. is acquiring Complex Biotech Discovery Ventures.

Novamind Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $1.29 million and a net loss of $3.5 million.

A federal court rejected Woodstock Root’s request to block Woodstock Ventures from selling marijuana products.

The executive director of New MexiCann Natural Medicine was charged with arson following an explosion that injured two employees.

/ CULTURE

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” did a segment that traced the rise of deadly police raids to the war on drugs.

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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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