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HHS & FDA already talking cannabis scheduling review (Newsletter: October 10, 2022)

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Govs answer Biden’s marijuana pardon call; Labor sec: Help pardoned people get jobs; NC gov backs decrim; NY psychedelics bill

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Governors across the U.S. are reacting to President Joe Biden’s call that they issue mass marijuana pardons at the state level—with some saying they’re weighing action, others expressing opposition and a few touting cannabis clemency moves they’ve already made.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said the administration will “move as quickly as we can” on reviewing marijuana’s scheduling status under the president’s directive—and he’s already spoken to the Food and Drug Administration commissioner about starting the process.

Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said his department will help people who are getting marijuana pardons “to make sure that they can get into good employment—that this is not an impediment to their ability to get into the middle class and get a good paying job.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) endorsed marijuana decriminalization and directed state attorneys to review his power for cannabis pardons—moves that show the momentum and broader impact being generated by Biden’s actions  just a few days earlier.

A new poll found that a majority of Americans support President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardon move and want their governors to take similar steps at the state level. The survey also shows majority support for removing cannabis from Schedule I.

A New York assemblymember significantly expanded her psychedelics bill so that it won’t just merely legalize psilocybin but will apply to DMT, mescaline and ibogaine as well—while also adding broad new protections for consumers.

The Missouri AFL-CIO, the state’s largest labor organization, is endorsing the marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.

/ FEDERAL

Former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Bill Bennett coauthored an op-ed arguing that President Joe Biden’s cannabis clemency move will increase crime.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Democratic challenger Mike Franken discussed marijuana during a debate.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said during a debate that marijuana should be a “state-by-state decision” and indicated that he supports cannabis banking legislation but has concerns with legalization, while his Democratic opponent Mandela Barnes, currently the lieutenant governor, discussed his support for legalization.

A spokesperson for Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said he opposes President Joe Biden’s blanket pardon for marijuana possession.

Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) and Democratic challenger Glenn Wright discussed marijuana reform at a debate.

A spokesperson for former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he supports President Joe Biden’s cannabis move and hopes it builds momentum for reform legislation.

North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cheri Beasley, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, said during a debate that she supports legalizing marijuana, while her opponent, Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), said President Joe Biden’s cannabis clemency move sends a “bad message to our children.”

Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Mehmet Oz said he has “become more and more comfortable with the idea that we can use medical marijuana to handle all kinds of complaints from patients.”

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 44.

/ STATES

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) is behind schedule in appointing members to the Cannabis Control Commission.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tweeted, “I’m working for common sense policy. We’re going to: 👉 Legalize marijuana…  It starts with you. Vote on Election Day.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “One year ago today, Pennsylvania’s prison population reached its 20-year low. This is an important milestone as we work to remedy overincarceration, historical racism, and the damage caused by the war on drugs.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) defended his opposition to legalizing marijuana on Bill Maher’s show.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore tweeted about meeting with cannabis entrepreneurs, saying, “I’ll always support our minority business owners. We will close the racial wealth gap and ensure every person has access to #WorkWagesWealth. This November, voters have the opportunity to legalize recreational marijuana in Maryland. If voters adopt this measure, I’ll work to ensure equity within the cannabis industry and to rectify the injustices done to those harmed by the war on drugs and mass incarceration.”

Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon said she voted against the state’s marijuana legalization ballot initiative in 2018.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner spoke at a cannabis event, tweeting, “The landscape for cannabis/cannabis products in our state is constantly shifting, but I am proud to see progress being made federally & will continue fighting for action at the state level.” Separately, a senator is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to issue mass cannabis pardons.

Ohio lawmakers are pushing Gov. Mike DeWine (R) to issue mass marijuana pardons.

An Indiana senator tweeted, “Republican leaders have used the lack of Federal action on cannabis as an excuse to do nothing. That excuse is ending. Hoosiers are ready: let’s legalize cannabis in Indiana.”

Connecticut’s Social Equity Council reached settlements with marijuana cultivation business license applicants that sued after they were denied social equity status.

Colorado regulators are considering instituting  expiration dates for marijuana products.

Missouri regulators said the state now has more than 200,000 registered medical cannabis patients.

The California Department of Public Health published information about calls to poison control about marijuana exposure among children.

The Oregon Task Force on Cannabis-Derived Intoxicants and Illegal Cannabis Production’s Funding Subcommittee will meet on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 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

Stevens Point, Wisconsin will have a nonbinding marijuana legalization referendum on the November ballot.

A former San Bernardino County, California planning commissioner agreed to plead guilty in federal court to funneling bribes through his company to a former Baldwin Park city councilmember in exchange for votes and influence over the local cannabis permitting process.

The Providence, Rhode Island City Council approved a ban on marijuana use in city parks, playgrounds and recreational centers.

Boston, Massachusetts’s Cannabis Board will meet on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Colombian President Gustavo Petro tweeted, “The White House takes a fundamental step to change the vision of the fight against drugs. The user of marijuana will not be treated as a criminal.”

The UK’s home secretary is considering reclassifying cannabis under Class A, a more restrictive category than its current status.

The mayor of Amsterdam, Netherlands is pushing European countries to decriminalize cocaine.

The Canadian Senate Committee on Indigenous Peoples held a hearing on the impacts of marijuana legalization on indigenous communities.

Thailand’s Pheu Thai Party is pushing to revive the “war on drugs” following the massacre of children by a former police officer who was fired for possessing methamphetamine.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study showed “the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in the face of barriers to pain management.”

A study found that “lifetime ecstasy use was associated with significantly lower risk of self-reported overweightness and obesity and lower odds of self-reported past year heart condition and/or cancer, hypertension , and diabetes” and “was also associated with significantly higher odds of better self-reported overall health.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison cheered President Joe Biden’s cannabis clemency announcement.

The Washington Post editorial board said it hopes President Joe Biden’s cannabis announcement builds momentum for decriminalization.

The Heritage Foundation tweeted, “Biden’s marijuana amnesty—18 months into his presidency and less than a month before a midterm election—is an example of convenient and cheap politics, not honest statesmanship. 👎”

Fox news host Laura Ingraham suggested that President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardon program could lead to broad drug decriminalization.

/ BUSINESS

Cannabis stocks rose following President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardons and scheduling review announcement.

Tilray Brands, Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $153.2 million and a net loss of $65.8 million.

Canopy Growth USA LLC reached a lawsuit settlement with a former events manager who claimed she was fired because she is Latina.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. repurchased an aggregate of approximately $23 million principal amount of its convertible senior notes at a total cost of $21.8 million.

Arkansas dispensaries sold $23.9 million worth of medical cannabis in September.

/ CULTURE

Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert and Trevor Noah all joked about President Joe Biden’s cannabis pardons move.

Wiz Khalifa cheered President Joe Biden’s cannabis clemency announcement.

Former football player Eugene Monroe authored an op-ed calling on Maryland voters to approve the marijuana legalization referendum on the November ballot.

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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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