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Hemp amendments blocked by House GOP (Newsletter: May 17, 2018)

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Primary winners on marijuana; Thailand cabinet OKs medical cannabis; Another PA decrim vote

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. House Rules Committee blocked floor consideration of three industrial hemp amendments, but anti-cannabis Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) suggested that the issue might be worked out later as part of an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). He also claimed, seemingly incorrectly, that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration supports reclassifying hemp.

Here’s a look at where the winners of this week’s primary elections in four states stand on marijuana law reform.

/ FEDERAL

A California district attorney told President Trump during a meeting on immigration policy that the state’s legalization of marijuana has led to more illegal cultivation on public lands.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted, “We need to stop imprisoning people for smoking marijuana and start prosecuting the crooks on Wall Street whose greed and illegal behavior caused the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Black and Hispanic citizens are arrested at a much higher level than white residents in marijuana-related incidents even though these communities have been found to use marijuana at similar rates. This flagrant racial discrimination must end.”

The U.S. Senate hemp legalization bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 19.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana and withhold funding from states with discriminatory enforcement got two new cosponsors, for a total of 37.

/ STATES

Kansas Gov. Jeff Coyler (R) signed a bill exempting CBD from the definition of marijuana.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said he supports medical cannabis but opposes legalizing marijuana.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “Because so few doctors have access to medical marijuana to study its treatment potential, Pennsylvania’s clinical research program will serve as a model to the nation in developing new and innovative treatment options for patients who are suffering.”

Efforts to pass a medical cannabis bill through the Missouri legislature ended after marijuana language was removed from a larger healthcare omnibus bill. [Via a source]

A Florida judge heard a case seeking to overturn the state’s ban on smoking medical cannabis. Separately, the state Supreme Court is asking the regulators to file a response to a lawsuit on patients’ rights to grow their own marijuana.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a gubernatorial candidate, is being accused by the Nevada Democratic Party of not doing more to defend the state’s marijuana law because of campaign contributions from prohibitionist casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

Iowa Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated medical cannabis.

Supporters and opponents of Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure are battling over confusion about when the deadline to turn in signature removal forms lapsed.

A Rhode Island senator plans to file a marijuana legalization bill.

West Virginia lawmakers are pushing to enact a fix to medical cannabis businesses’ banking access issue during a special session.

A New York senator filed legislation to allow veterinarians to recommend medical cannabis to animals.

Ohio regulators awarded an additional provisional medical cannabis cultivation license to a company whose application was initially rejected due to a scoring error.

Indiana’s Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources will examine industrial hemp issues.

Louisiana lawmakers approved legislation to expand the medical cannabis program. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) dodged a question about whether he would sign the bills, and said he opposes legalizing marijuana. Separately, a medical cannabis pharmacy applicant is suing regulators for awarding a license to a lower-ranked competitor.

Washington State regulators released guidance on new rules concerning CBD products.

North Dakota regulators selected two finalists for medical cannabis production licenses.

California’s insurance commissioner hosted a webinar on the unique insurance needs of the cannabis industry.

A Colorado senator says he trusts President Trump not to interfere with the state’s marijuana laws.

/ LOCAL

The Allentown, Pennsylvania City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Activists are asking why Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania marijuana arrests are rising following the enactment of a decriminalization ordinance.

Staten Island’s district attorney seemed to criticize moves by his Manhattan and Brooklyn counterparts to stop prosecuting marijuana possession and smoking offenses.

Ithaca, New York Mayor Svante Myrick (D) wants state officials to approve a safe consumption facility for illegal drugs in his city.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s cabinet approved legislation to allow medical use of cannabis and other drugs.

A local government in Estonia approved using a flag with a cannabis leaf image after people in an online poll overwhelmingly voted for it.

/ ADVOCACY

Kevin Sabet of Smart Approaches to Marijuana is billing his prohibitionist movement as “the resistance.”

270 Strategies’s Jeremy Bird, who served as field director for Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, tweeted, “legalizing marijuana is not some extremist view anymore. It’s just the right thing to do for criminal justice reform, for our economy.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded, “Among children and adults with the Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, the addition of cannabidiol at a dose of 10 mg or 20 mg per kilogram per day to a conventional antiepileptic regimen resulted in greater reductions in the frequency of drop seizures than placebo.”

A study found that “driving stability was significantly impaired after THC, both in simulated and real driving conditions.”

A study concluded that “state implementation of medical marijuana laws between 2004 and 2012 was associated with a 4.72% point increase in the probability that young adults perceived no/low health risk related to marijuana use.”

/ BUSINESS  

Beer Canada, a trade association that represents 50 beer makers, is asking Canadian lawmakers to raise marijuana taxes.

/ CULTURE     

Snoop Dogg said that Tupac and Madonna brought him a big bag of marijuana when he hosted Saturday Night Live in the 1990s.

Actress Hilary Duff is in a dispute with her neighbor over his alleged frequent marijuana smoking.

The Onion riffed on the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a federal gambling prohibition:

  • “On the heels of this week’s decision lifting a federal ban on sports betting, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 7-2 ruling Wednesday that legalizes all worldly vices, with the justices decreeing that immoral behaviors such as gambling, drug use, prostitution, and incest are ‘all good now.’ ‘It is the opinion of this court that the right to participate in various forms of debauchery, whether heroin injection, illicit sex, or cannibalism, should not be impeded by any law,’ Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority, adding that if something is considered unethical or depraved, but you feel like doing it anyway, the court ‘doesn’t give a shit’ and you should just do whatever you want.”

/ CORRECTION

An item in Wednesday’s newsletter about a federal judge sentencing Detroit-area men to prison in a scheme to pay bribes for approval for a medical cannabis dispensary contained the incorrect link.

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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.)

Newsletter

Congress to vote on cannabis banking next week (Newsletter: September 16, 2019)

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Lawmakers press FDA to allow CBD products; Marijuana rescheduling bill would fix 280E; Dan Aykroyd & Joe Rogan on psychedelics

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives plans a floor vote on cannabis banking legislation by the end of this month, the office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told Marijuana Moment.

Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and James Comer (R-KY) are asking fellow lawmakers to sign a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration to issue a memo on CBD enforcement discretion and formulate an interim final rule establishing a clear regulatory framework allowing use of CBD in food products and dietary supplements.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed a bill to move marijuana to Schedule III. While his stated aim is to expand research, the reform would also end the application of the 280E tax penalty on state-legal cannabis businesses.

/ FEDERAL

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing to strengthen its drug testing rules.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a request for information about contractors who can help recruit and screen participants for drug use surveys.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “There’s no question that people of color continue to be hit the hardest by the failed War on Drugs. Enough. It’s time we passed my bill to legalize marijuana and expand opportunities for communities of color.”

House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) said it is “a political liability not to take action on” marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) urged that any federal crackdown on vaping should focus on marijuana products.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) tweeted about discussing hemp at an agriculture town hall meeting.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “We must reinvest in the black and brown communities hardest hit by the failed war on drugs while fighting for real restorative justice.”

The House bill to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical cannabis and prevent the denial of benefits for marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of six.

/ STATES

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) issued an order providing guidance on workplace issues for medical cannabis patients. She also tweeted about signage that registered dispensaries can post to show their official participation in the District’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted that “cannabis has led to- checks notes- none overdose deaths-checks notes- never.” In another tweet, he criticized a judge’s ruling barring medical marijuana for people on probation.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner and chief financial officer sent a letter urging Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation. Separately, an appeals court allowed the state House of Representatives to intervene in a lawsuit challenging medical cannabis regulations.

California’s treasurer sent an update on efforts to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banking. Separately, regulators took enforcement actions against two unlicensed marijuana retailers selling illegal vape cartridges.

Hawaii regulators said they will remove unregulated CBD products from the market.

Utah lawmakers will hold a special session on Monday to consider changes to the medical cannabis distribution system.

An Arizona grand jury indicted a woman on 10 counts of forgery and one count of fraudulent schemes related to a potential medical cannabis zoning conspiracy.

Ohio regulators are urging medical cannabis patients to avoid vaping.

Washington State regulators will hold a listen and learn session about draft conceptual marijuana penalty rules on September 26.

The company suing the Idaho State Police for seizing a hemp shipment says it will drop the lawsuit if its product is returned and officials pledge not to stop future shipments through the state.

A group of Illinois women lawmakers who worked together to pass marijuana legalization legislation are calling themselves “the Cannabitches.”


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

Boston, Massachusetts’s mayor signed an executive order stipulating that city employees and their immediate family members cannot open marijuana businesses or participate in companies seeking cannabis licenses. Shortly after, a Zoning Board of Appeal member resigned.

Davenport, Iowa activists are pushing local officials to decriminalize marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s government said it is committed to making sure the public debate in advance of next year’s marijuana legalization referendum is focused on facts and evidence.

The UK Labour Party pledged to launch a commission to review “all drugs legislation” if it forms a government.

Ontario, Canada officials accused cannabis company officials of fraudulent activity.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “patients with neuropathic pain, cancer pain, and migraine headache may benefit from the analgesic effects of a cannabis-based medicine (CBM), but not necessarily patients with chronic abdominal pain,” that “equivocal results were shown in fibromyalgia and postoperative orthopedic pain” and that “the opioid-sparing properties of CBM make it an attractive option for pain management.”

A study of mice suggested that “combination of THC+CBD suppresses neuroinflammation and attenuates clinical [experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis] development.”

/ BUSINESS

Mind Medicine Inc. will reportedly announce on Monday that it is developing a synthetic drug based on the chemical structure of ibogaine.

A Washington Post investigation looks at how pharmaceutical companies successfully worked to restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to regulate opioids.

Colorado retailers sold more than $166 million in marijuana products in July, setting a new monthly record.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dan Aykroyd discussed use of marijuana and psychedelics with Joe Rogan.

Rapper Lil Wayne cancelled a concert following a hotel dispute about the smell of marijuana emanating from his room.

Kim Kardashian said CBD helps her deal with a busy lifestyle as a mom and businesswoman.

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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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GOP Senate chair plans cannabis banking vote (Newsletter: September 13, 2019)

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Dems debate drugs; DEA marijuana stall tactics in court; Legalization boosts Colorado population; Black Caucus cannabis focus; New rescheduling bill

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) said he plans to hold a vote on a marijuana banking bill in his panel by the end of the year.

Democratic presidential candidates clashed on marijuana and drug policy at a debate, with former Vice President Joe Biden (D) saying that cannabis should remain illegal as a misdemeanor.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is holding four separate panels focused on marijuana at its conference this week.

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL), who strongly opposed marijuana reform in the 1990s as secretary of health and human services during the Clinton administration, joined with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to introduce a bill that would reschedule cannabis and expand research opportunities.

A research group that applied to get Drug Enforcement Administration approval to grow marijuana to be used in scientific studies accused the agency of delay tactics in a federal court filing.

A study examined how cannabis factors into people’s decision to move to a new state and found that “marijuana legalization increased Colorado’s population by 3.2% as of 2015” because “potential migrants view legalized marijuana as a positive amenity.”

/ FEDERAL

Members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology discussed detecting marijuana-related impairment among drivers at a hearing.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) blamed the Obama and Trump administrations for “a failure of political leadership not to deal with the marijuana issue.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “Systemic racism is a root ideology that propped up an extractive economic system that prioritizes profit over human & environmental considerations. The injustices of slavery evolved into Jim Crow, redlining, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, & beyond.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Even in states where marijuana is legal, many people don’t have the time or money to individually petition the court to expunge their marijuana records. More communities need to join Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago in automatically clearing marijuana offenses.”

Police raided an illegal marijuana growing operation at a building whose owners include former Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA).

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and direct money to programs to begin repairing the harms of the drug war got two new cosponsors for a total of 39.

/ STATES

California lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) a bill to exempt medical cannabis compassion programs from taxes as well as legislation allowing terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana in healthcare facilities. They also approved a bill to let cannabis businesses deduct expenses on their state tax returns and legislation to ban marijuana party buses.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner said that when people think of his state he wants “them to think the same thing they think about hemp like they do Idaho potatoes and Florida orange juice.”

The New Jersey Senate did not vote as expected on Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) suggested changes to a marijuana expungement bill he conditionally vetoed, instead filing a new proposal for consideration.

Washington, D.C. officials moved to allow patients to use a REAL ID driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles as proof of residency for the medical cannabis program in lieu of two other forms of acceptable identification.

Massachusetts regulators voted to require marijuana companies to disclose all specific ingredients in vaping cartridges. They also approved a requirement that body cameras be used to film cannabis home deliveries while limiting how the video footage can be used and moved to expand the reach of delivery services.

Utah’s Procurement Policy Board rejected an appeal from a medical cannabis company that was denied a cultivation license but said that regulators may have erred in selecting only eight growers.


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

A judge is accusing New York City police of lying about smelling marijuana to justify vehicle searches.

The Miami Beach, Florida City Commission approved a proposal to treat public marijuana smoking at the same level as an open container violation.

Denver, Colorado police issued a bulletin about an uptick in burglaries at marijuana facilities.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A party in Thailand’s ruling coalition is circulating legislation to allow medical cannabis home cultivation.

South Africa’s government is considering expunging past marijuana convictions.

Paraguayan regulators began a process to license medical cannabis businesses.

Vancouver, Canada’s City Council defeated a measure to crack down on the sale of psilocybin mushrooms.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “use of cannabis and cannabinoids via certain administration routes could reduce different types of pain.”

A study found that in “US community samples of cannabis initiates studied soon after first use, the vast majority were free of individual [side effect] experiences counted toward Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition cannabis use disorder diagnoses.”

A review determined that while “standard field sobriety tests have advantages over per se tests for cannabis-impaired driving, limitations of both leave cannabis users and law enforcement officials little guidance in assessing an individual’s driving fitness after recent cannabis use.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

An analysis from prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana found that cannabis industry participants donated $305,675in campaign contributions  to members of Congress in the first half of 2019, compared with $248,504 last year.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing New Jersey over a law requiring tax-exempt organizations to disclose information about donors, saying that it will expose the names of people supporting marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform efforts.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s stock sunk after reporting lower-than-expected earnings.

Some Oregon marijuana retailers began pulling vaping products from their stores over uncertainty about ingredients.

/ CULTURE

Mark Wahlberg and Sean “Diddy” Combs will serve as brand ambassadors for Alkaline Water Company Inc., which sells CBD products.

The Outline look at why some South American indigenous tribes give psychedelic drugs to dogs.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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DEA wants huge increase in legal cannabis growing for 2020 (Newsletter: September 12, 2019)

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USDA hemp regs at White House; Marijuana biz orgs issue vape safety recs; Lawmakers buy cannabis with crypto; POTUS cannabis debate Qs

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Drug Enforcement Administration proposed that 3.2 million grams of marijuana be legally grown in the U.S. in 2020—a more than 30 percent increase from this year’s quota for cannabis to be used in scientific studies.

At last week’s closed-door federal marijuana summit, the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that hemp regulations are undergoing final review at the White House and the Justice Department, and a federal prosecutor said he would not tolerate psilocybin mushroom sales in Colorado dispensaries.

The National Cannabis Industry Association and the Cannabis Trade Federation issued a series of recommendations for cannabis businesses and Congress to keep consumers safe amid an epidemic of vaping-related severe lung injuries.

Marijuana Moment’s latest presidential candidate overview takes a comprehensive look at the cannabis record of former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), who cosponsored and voted for numerous measures supporting states’ rights to set marijuana policies during his time in Congress.

Berkeley and Emeryville, California city councilmembers purchased marijuana with cryptocurrency.

Advocates from leading marijuana policy organizations suggested cannabis questions they’d like to see asked of presidential candidates at Thursday’s debate.

/ FEDERAL

The Environmental Protection Agency is being urged by the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group to provide guidance to states on pesticide use on cannabis.

The Bay Area News Group took a look at the marijuana prosecution record of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate.

Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro, a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We need to legalize cannabis nationwide and properly regulate products in order to keep folks safe.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, spoke about her work to end federal marijuana prohibition.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) mentioned cannabis banking in a speech at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions conference.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said the “odds are very strong” that legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition will move this Congress.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted about discussing marijuana policy with actor Chris Evans.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and withhold funding from states with discriminatory enforcement got one new cosponsor for a total of 44.

The House bill to prevent federal agencies from spending money to interfere with state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor for a total of 10.

The House bill to allow marijuana in public housing got one new cosponsor for a total of two.

The House resolution urging  states to encourage diversity in the marijuana industry got one new cosponsor for a total of eight.

/ STATES

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) spoke about marijuana at a National Coalition of 100 Black Women event. She also tweeted, “702,000+ tax paying residents deserve the right to make their own decisions on how to regulate marijuana!”

Florida’s attorney general raised concerns about the length of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure. Meanwhile, a separate marijuana legalization ballot initiative campaign received more than $1 million in donations from two cannabis companies.

Kentucky’s Department of Financial Institutions commissioner said he is frustrated that some banks are still refusing to work with hemp businesses.

South Dakota’s House majority leader said lawmakers are prepared to override a potential veto on hemp legislation next year from Gov. Kristi Noem (R).

The New Jersey Senate is expected to vote Thursday on changes Gov. Phil Murphy (D) suggested to a marijuana expungement bill.

Maryland’s top medical cannabis regulator is resigning.

Texas regulators held a hearing on rules to add incurable neurodegenerative diseases as new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Ohio State Medical Board rejected rejected adding anxiety and autism spectrum disorder as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Illinois regulators named vendors that are approved to provide health and safety training to marijuana businesses.

A man facing Idaho felony marijuana charges for an industrial hemp shipment is pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

Oregon regulators are asking marijuana retailers to review vape stocks for safety and to post warning signs on the potential dangers of vaping amidst an outbreak of severe lung injuries. Separately, they are holding a series of meetings to discuss cannabis rules changes.

Massachusetts health officials are mandating that doctors report suspected cases of severe lung injury tied to vaping.


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

Miami Beach, Florida’s mayor is proposing an ordinance to crack down on smoking marijuana in public.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “for each of the opioids investigated (codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, fentanyl and buprenorphine), marijuana use was associated with statistically significant lower urinary opiate levels than in samples without indicators of marijuana use.”

A study concluded that “patients with isolated marijuana use had similar overall graft survival compared to non‐users” and that “marijuana use should not be an absolute contraindication to kidney transplant.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Globe editorial board said that Massachusetts marijuana regulations need to be amended following the federal indictment of a mayor for allegedly extorting marijuana businesses.

The Center for Food Safety issued a scorecard that grades CBD companies’ practices to ensure their products are safe for consumers and the environment.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported 52% quarterly revenue growth and a loss of $11.7 million.

Weedmaps said it has started to implement a policy of only listing licensed businesses. Meanwhile, the United Cannabis Business Association is asking California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to retroactively fine the company for past practices.

Amazon removed from its website products that can be used to make counterfeit marijuana vapes.

Berkeley Patients Group announced it will donate $1 million to 10 nonprofits over 10 years.

/ CULTURE

Polygon takes a look at the rise of psychedelic science fiction.

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