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Holder says cannabis isn’t addictive (Newsletter: May 21, 2018)

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US attys talk marijuana enforcement; de Blasio preps NYC for legalization; UT oppo sues to keep cannabis off ballot

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says he hasn’t seen any evidence that marijuana is addictive, an analysis that undermines cannabis’s status as a Schedule I drug.

Oregon’s U.S. attorney issued a memo saying he would focus marijuana prosecutions on several priority areas, including overproduction and interstate trafficking, providing cannabis to minors, protecting federal lands and the environment, organized crime, violence and the use of firearms.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is directing the NYPD to stop arresting people smoking marijuana in public, and is moving to draft a plan to prepare the city for eventual legalization.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for West Virginia’s Southern District left the door open to prosecuting banks that work with medical cannabis businesses.

The owner of a Nevada marijuana business denied that President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, had any connection to the operation despite earlier reports that he had lent it money.

President Trump spoke at a prison reform summit at the White House.

The Congressional Black Caucus pushed back against prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s claim that legalization harms minority communities.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) got emotional during an interview about the medical benefits of cannabis for children who are suffering with serious conditions.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) questioned the nominee to lead the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about marijuana-impaired driving (about 1:53:00 into the video).

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) is working to sink prison reform legislation backed by the White House.

Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said in a House floor speech that she is disappointed leadership blocked votes on hemp amendments.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cited marijuana legalization as an example of an issue once seen as radical that mainstream Democrats are now embracing.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said “we don’t need a War on Drugs approach” to opioid issues.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted, “Don’t arm teachers. Don’t prosecute marijuana. Don’t rip off working people. Don’t increase the cost of healthcare. Don’t treat immigrants poorly. Don’t make climate change worse. Don’t be cruel to LGBTQ people. Don’t eliminate net neutrality. Don’t forget to register and vote.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “When a white student in a suburban school is caught with marijuana, they will usually get a warning. If you’re a black or brown student in an urban environment, law enforcement is called and your future could be destroyed for use. Marijuana legalization is a racial justice issue.”

The U.S. Senate hemp legalization bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 21.

/ STATES

A group formed to oppose Michigan’s marijuana legalization measure is now urging lawmakers to amend and enact it.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous wants to fund universal pre-k with marijuana tax revenue.

Opponents of Utah’s medical cannabis initiative are suing the lieutenant governor in an attempt to keep the measure off the ballot.

California regulators are proposing to readopt emergency cannabis rules that are already in effect, with some changes.

An Ohio judge denied a request for a preliminary injunction on medical cannabis business licensing.

Florida regulators filed a brief in a state Supreme Court case about the right of patients to grow their own medical cannabis.

Nevada regulators determined for the first time that a landlord can lease properties to both gaming and marijuana businesses.

West Virginia delegates filed a bill to solve medical cannabis businesses’ banking access issues, but it faces serious procedural hurdles during a special session.

A New Jersey assemblywoman filed a bill to allow reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients. Another assemblywoman filed a resolution calling on the federal government to consider rescheduling marijuana.

Here’s a look at the collapse of efforts to get Missouri lawmakers to pass a medical cannabis bill.

A Pennsylvania senator is asking district attorneys to stop prosecuting marijuana possession and smoking cases.

North Dakota regulators awarded a medical cannabis testing contract. Separately, one of the state’s medical marijuana cultivation license winners was previously cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for pesticide violations.

/ LOCAL

New York City’s City Council speaker is calling for marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at several ways Denver, Colorado is spending marijuana tax revenue.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Two major Barbados political parties are promising marijuana law reform.

Zambia’s health minister said the government is considering legalizing medical cannabis.

Northern Territory, Australia is exploring decriminalizing marijuana.

/ ADVOCACY

Advocacy journalist Shaun King wrote about his use of medical cannabis.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana will hold a Capitol Hill briefing on Tuesday.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that CBD “exhibits lesser side effects and more therapeutic benefits as compared to recent available medical therapies” for some conditions and “is a promising substance for the development of new drug.”

A study of medical cannabis on pediatric movement disorders found “significant improvement in spasticity and dystonia, sleep difficulties, pain severity” and quality of life.

A study found that CBD “exhibits antioxidant and neuroprotective effects in neuronal Alzheimer’s cell model.”

A study “does not support previous findings of hippocampal and/or amygdala structural changes in long-term, heavy cannabis users” but does “provide evidence of basal ganglia volume increases.”

/ BUSINESS  

The New York Times looks at the marijuana industry’s banking access issues.

/ CULTURE     

A National Hockey League official said the league might have to reexamine its marijuana policies as legalization spreads.

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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.

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

Three federal agencies accept public comments on cannabis (Newsletter: September 17, 2019)

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Former drug czar gives Mexico marijuana advice: Congressman worries about “spiritual war” and cannabis; Study: President influences legalization views

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 441 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

  • Gayle Zachaukirk: “I felt strongly to pledge, as a veteran who has suffered many years of inadequate mental health care, via Seattle’s VA CBOC, due simply to my choice of marijuana over deadly opioids, which I became addicted to during active duty, as military’s overwhelming pharmaceutical push.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Three separate federal agencies—the Drug Enforcement Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration—are currently accepting public comments on cannabis-related issues such as global marijuana rescheduling, hemp pesticides and a proposed 2020 cultivation quota.

Former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, who once said that the word “legalization” isn’t even in his vocabulary, offered some very specific marijuana regulation advice to Mexican lawmakers as they move toward ending prohibition.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) cited the fact that “marijuana dispensaries are on the same streets as thriving churches” as evidence of a “spiritual war our nation is entrenched in.”

A study looking at how the White House shapes public opinion about cannabis finds that “presidential drug rhetoric predicts attitudes toward legalization despite controls for other factors such as estimated levels of marijuana use and arrests.”

/ FEDERAL

The Military Health System tweeted, “Service members should avoid any product with Cannabidiol (CBD), as it could result in a positive drug test.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted that THC vapes are “slipping through a regulatory crack where they’re not actively regulated by the feds (and fall mostly outside FDA’s legal purview) and they’re not carefully scrutinized by states that’ve passed permissive cannabis laws that fueled these products.”

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) apparently want the Trump administration to extend its proposed ban on flavored nicotine vaping devices to cannabis vapes.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) is seeking cosponsors for legislation to remove marijuana as a deportable offense for immigrants.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) cited his work on hemp legislation as an example of his effectiveness as a legislator, tweeting, “Ask anyone who takes CBD now.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order increasing enforcement against counterfeit marijuana and nicotine vaping products and increasing warning signs for consumers.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) spoke about how severe lung illnesses associated with vaping seem to be caused by unregulated cannabis preparations.

Utah lawmakers unanimously voted to send legislation revising the state’s medical cannabis distribution system to the desk of Gov. Gary Herbert (R).

An Indiana judge issued a preliminary injunction on a state law that criminalizes smokable hemp.

New Hampshire lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday and Thursday to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) veto of a bill to allow medical cannabis home cultivation. They will also consider an override of a veto on legislation to let dispensaries become for-profit operations.

Nevada regulators are investigating marijuana testing laboratories for allegedly manipulating THC levels. Separately, regulators sent an advisory about moldy and yeasty marijuana.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating threats made against the state’s top medical cannabis regulator.

A Massachusetts representative filed a bill to amend the local approval process for marijuana businesses.

The chair of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Committee on Cannabis said lawmakers look forward to working with regulators to implement the territory’s marijuana legalization law.

Texas regulators are moving to license more low-THC medical cannabis providers.

Colorado regulators are considering how to apportion new marijuana business licenses reserved for low-income demographics.

Maine regulators unveiled the state’s marijuana track and trace program.

Ohio regulators released updated medical cannabis patient and caregivers counts.


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 Cincinnati, Ohio City Council is considering a proposal to expunge marijuana convictions.

Activists in Ann Arbor, Michigan are working to decriminalize psychedelics.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Myanmar is moving to allow hemp farming.

Saint Lucia’s Cannabis Commission held its first meeting.

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about his past marijuana use.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that cannabis terpenes and terpenoids “may be an important potential source for new medications for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.”

A study of marijuana extraction and solvent evaporation methods found that “the use of heating and the presence of oxygen when evaporating the solvents greatly modified the final profiles due to evaporation or chemical reactions.”

/ BUSINESS

Former Canopy Growth Corp. CEO Bruce Linton is signing on as an advisor to a number of smaller marijuana companies.

Cresco Labs Inc. is acquiring assets from Tryke Companies, LLC in a $282.5 million deal.

Coors Distributing Company announced plans to begin distributing CBD beverages.

An Associated Press investigation found unregulated CBD vapes containing illegal synthetic cannabinoids in states across the country.

Two senior VICE employees were reportedly fired after purchasing a large quantity of marijuana for a video in which the rapper Lil Yachty would attempt to roll the world’s heaviest blunt.

A principal of Green Springs Medical in Arkansas is suing his partner for allegedly violating state regulations.

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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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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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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 440 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

  • Koala Authentix: “Staying up to date with hemp and cannabis news and legislation is extremely important to our clients and our business overall.  Tom Angell and Marijuana Moment are trusted primary sources for that information. We appreciate the timeliness, accuracy, and depth of coverage we get from Marijuana Moment.”   

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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.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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Newsletter

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.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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