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House approves state cannabis protections (Newsletter: July 31, 2020)

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White House faith advisor bashes Biden’s marijuana record; CA AG: court should block DEA cannabiz subpoena; Legalization an issue in House primary

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives passed an amendment to block the Department of Justice from interfering with all state, territory and tribal marijuana laws.

White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative Advisor Paula White-Cain blasted presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s record of supporting harsh criminal justice legislation that sent people to prison for cannabis and other drugs.

  • “Everyone forgets Clinton’s bill that Joe Biden went along with and signed people to prison for 30 years for three ounces of marijuana.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) filed a brief asking a federal court to block a Drug Enforcement Administration subpoena seeking to force state regulators to hand over information about marijuana businesses.

Marijuana is becoming a key issue in one of the most-watched congressional primaries of 2020. The challenger, Holyoke, Massachusetts Mayor Alex Morse (D), is calling out longtime incumbent Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) for not acting on a cannabis legalization bill that’s before his committee and for remarks where he referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Sentencing Commission reported that drug offenses were the most common primary offense type for federal probation and supervised release violations.

The Drug Enforcement Administration sent out an alert about “telephone calls by scammers posing as DEA employees attempting to defraud and extort victims.”

The Food and Drug Administration announced a voluntary recall of Summitt Labs CBD products due to high lead content.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) criticized House Democrats for including “all kinds of things related to marijuana” in their coronavirus relief bill.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called it “embarrassing” that Democratic officials rejected a marijuana legalization amendment for the party platform and said she is “not confident” that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden would evolve on the issue.

Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) said it is “odd” that Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is criticizing the congressman for being slow to evolve on marijuana legalization when he appears to have publicly endorsed the reform before the senator did.

Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) tweeted, “Let’s remember just how unserious House Democrats were when they passed a so-called COVID-19 relief bill that included…benefits for lobbyists and the cannabis industry.”

California Democratic congressional candidate Shahid Buttar tweeted, “Legalize marijuana nationwide and expunge records for cannabis-related offenses. Pass it on.”

/ STATES

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) cited his previously signing a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession in a message about vetoing legislation that would have allowed people to petition to have some drug crime records annulled.

Pennsylvania regulators removed the requirement for medical cannabis patients to renew their registrations in order to maintain participation in the program. The state’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “I fully, fully support, lobbied + endorse home grow for medical marijuana patients.   Especially during the pandemic.”

Nevada regulators and businesses challenging their marijuana licensing process have reached a proposed settlement in the case.

Oregon regulators will hold a hearing on proposed marijuana business inspections and on-site delivery rules on August 17.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Several countries expressed concerns about a World Health Organization recommendation to clarify that CBD is not under international control at a United National Commission on  Narcotic Drugs meeting.

Netherlands regulators received 149 applications to grow legal recreational marijuana to supply coffee shops.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study identified a “‘reverse gateway effect‘ among some street entrenched young people, whereby cannabis use was associated with the intermittent reduction, elimination or prevention of more harmful forms of drug use such as meth and opioid use.”

A study found that “high concentrations of airborne fungi were identified” at indoor marijuana grow operations.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Colorado hemp industry participants are protesting state regulators’ selection of the Marijuana Policy Group to establish the state Hemp Center of Excellence.

/ BUSINESS

High Times Productions, Inc. is being accused of reneging on its obligations in an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit related to accessibility issues at its Cannabis Cup events.

FSD Pharma Inc. is forfeiting its Canadian licenses and is exiting the marijuana business.

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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 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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

VT gov may veto cannabis sales bill (Newsletter: October 1, 2020)

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CA gov signs marijuana banking & labelling bills; NJ gov campaigns for legalization referendum; AZ polls show differing ballot results

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The fate of a bill to legalize marijuana sales in Vermont is in question after Gov. Phil Scott (R) cited new racial justice and equity concerns during a debate.

  • “In terms of the pot bill, I haven’t made up my mind about that. I have received a lot of groups—racial equity groups—that are asking me to veto it. I was leaning towards letting it go, but I’m really questioning that at this point. I want to hear and listen from them.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) sent an email blast urging voters to support the marijuana legalization referendum on the November ballot.

  • “Black residents are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than White residents. Legalization would right those wrongs while also spurring massive economic development opportunities, job creation, and new tax revenue.”

One day after a poll showed Arizona’s marijuana legalization measure virtually tied, the cannabis campaign shared a separate newly conducted internal survey finding the measure ahead, 57%-38%. They also say the other poll boosted fundraising bigtime.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed bills on marijuana banking and to create a system of labeling for cannabis appellations of origin. He also acted on marijuana testing legislation, signing two proposals and vetoing one.

/ FEDERAL

The Senate sent President Trump a short-term funding bill, which he signed, that continues state medical cannabis protections through December 11 and extends the hemp pilot program for another year.

The Drug Enforcement Administration proposed rules on hearing procedures for revoking registrations to handle controlled substances.

Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) tweeted, “Speaker Pelosi & House Dems’ latest bill is riddled with flaws. Their “skinny” $2T bill mentions the word ‘cannabis’ more than ‘jobs’ & includes legislation to:  ❌ Defund police ❌ Give illegal immigrants stimulus checks ❌ Bail out Planned Parenthood with PPP funds”

The House bill to require the Food and Drug Administration to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got two new cosponsors for a total of five.

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Russell Foster tweeted, during the presidential debate, “Tonight is the reason we need to Legalize Cannabis & #LegalizeIt this minute!”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “Other states are pushing to legalize adult-use marijuana. Tell your legislator: Let’s legalize in Pennsylvania and keep those profits here, in our own backyard.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that people who use illegal drugs in public deserve to be arrested.

Mississippi’s secretary of state host the first in a series of public hearings on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures.

The Connecticut House of Representatives approved a bill to align the state’s hemp program with federal law.

The Illinois Senate Criminal Law Committee and Special Committee on Public Safety held a hearing on drug penalties.

New Mexico regulators are being sued over medical cannabis reciprocity rules.

Oregon regulators suspended a marijuana testing lab’s license.

Michigan regulators completed a phaseout of allowing products produced by medical cannabis caregivers to be sold in retail marijuana dispensaries.

Maryland medical cannabis regulators will meet on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern admitted she used cannabis “a long time ago” but continued to refuse to say how she plans to vote on the country’s marijuana legalization referendum.

Brazil’s minister of justice sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing a bill to legalize medical cannabis cultivation.

A UK member of Parliament filed a bill to decriminalize drug possession.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “unlicensed dispensaries were more likely than licensed dispensaries to sell products in packaging designed to be attractive to children and in non–child-resistant packaging and were more likely allow on-site consumption” and that “licensed dispensaries showed high compliance with regulations, regardless of whether they were in areas of high or low health advantage.”

A case study provided evidence that “a lower than previously reported dose of a phytocannabinoid in the form of a cannabidiol-based extract may be capable of aiding in autism spectrum disorder-related behavioral symptoms, core social communication abilities, and comorbid anxiety, sleep difficulties, and weight control.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealanders oppose the country’s marijuana legalization referendum, 51%-38%.

The American Psychiatric Association opposes Oregon’s ballot measure to legalize psilocybin therapy.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board says Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) should stop “wasting time” on the “lost cause” of pushing marijuana legalization.

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is opposing the state’s medical cannabis ballot initiative.

/ BUSINESS

MedPharm Holdings announced that it is not moving forward with its planned acquisition by Schwazze, Inc.

Green Growth Brands Inc.’s interim CEO resigned.

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Dems put cannabis banking in another COVID bill (Newsletter: September 30, 2020)

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Where Trump stands on marijuana; MT environmental groups back legal cannabis; MI prosecutor won’t pursue psychedelics cases

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Democratic leaders again included marijuana banking provisions in their latest coronavirus relief bill after Republican lawmakers slammed cannabis financial services language in the last version. The industry-focused move comes shortly after the chamber delayed a planned vote on an  equity-focused legalization bill.

Marijuana Moment published a comprehensive 4,000-word overview of where President Trump stands on marijuana. While the president, when asked, has consistently voiced support for states’ rights to set their own cannabis laws, his administration has taken a number of hostile, anti-marijuana actions that fall short of a broad federal crackdown.

A coalition of environmental groups—including the Montana Conservation Voters and Montana Wildlife Federation—is endorsing marijuana legalization initiatives on the November ballot. Half of the state’s cannabis tax revenue would be earmarked for conservation efforts under the measures.

  • Interestingly, the marijuana-derived funds would open up access to more matching federal dollars to support public lands.

The soon-to-be Washtenaw County, Michigan prosecutor said he won’t pursue psychedelics possession cases throughout the entire county following the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council’s vote to decriminalize entheogens.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden clashed during their debate over drug use by one of Biden’s sons.

President Trumps’ campaign account tweeted, “Democrats’ New $2.2 Trillion COVID Stimulus Includes The Word ‘Cannabis’ 68 Times — Mentioned More Than Jobs.”

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) again pledged that a Biden administration would decriminalize marijuana and expunge past records.

Former White House Physician Ronny Jackson echoed President Trump’s assertion that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden could be taking performance-enhancing drugs.

A federal court ruled that a New Jersey podiatrist can’t proceed with a case alleging he was improperly prevented from issuing medical cannabis recommendations based on his being blind, because he wasn’t otherwise qualified to participate.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) tweeted, “A reminder as to what House Dems’ actual priorities are…in their newest stimulus package, the word ‘jobs’ appears 7 times, and the word ‘cannabis’ appears 68 times.”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “Legalize it.”

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) spoke about his opposition to legalizing marijuana and touted his signing a cannabis possession decriminalization bill.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Legal adult-use cannabis is criminal justice reform. Thousands of Pennsylvanians get a criminal record every year for doing something that 1) most of us don’t even think should be illegal and 2) is legal in 11 states and decriminalized in 26 states and D.C. “

Mississippi’s secretary of state will host the first in a series of public hearings on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures on Wednesday.

Montana marijuana activists commissioned a study that concluded the state will generate $52 million in annual tax revenue by 2026 if legalization ballot measures are approved in November.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the summary for a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure is misleading.

The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of drug dealing charges brought against CBD sellers.

A Missouri House Special Committee on Government Oversight investigation into the state’s medical cannabis program appears to have put its work on hold until at least next year.

Massachusetts regulators are accepting public comment on marijuana delivery rules.

South Carolina regulators released a list of permitted hemp transporters.

Michigan regulators hosted a discussion of hemp issues on a podcast.

Texas regulators published data on the number of physicians approved to recommend low-THC medical cannabis.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Appleton, Wisconsin police chief supports lowering the fine for marijuana possession.

The Baltimore, Maryland City Council is considering placing restrictions on hemp farms.

A former Chicago, Illinois mayor cited his efforts to decriminalize marijuana in a blog post about ending the school-to-prison pipeline.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand regulators extended the transition period during which medical cannabis imports do not need to meet new quality standards.

Three Canadian lawmakers sent a letter pushing the minister of health to grant exemptions letting doctors legally use psilocybin.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of patients with refractory chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting found that “the addition of oral THC:CBD to standard antiemetics was associated with less nausea and vomiting but additional side-effects” and that “most participants preferred THC:CBD to placebo.”

A study of midlife women veterans found that”use of cannabis for menopause symptom management was common.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Parents Opposed to Pot cancelled a planned “Victory Rally over Marijuana.”

The Bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference are speaking out against the state’s marijuana legalization ballot initiative.

The Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board says that marijuana legalization has not been going well.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. secured a $33 million loan and used a portion of it to retire an $11 million debt.

Trym announced a $3.1 million seed round.

ManifestSeven Holdings Corporation will begin trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Wednesday.

A recapitalization plan by iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. was reportedly dismissed by a judge.

Field Trip Psychedelics Inc. announced that it successfully completed Good Laboratory Practices synthesis of its first molecule in development, FT-104, which is believed to be responsible for psychedelic experiences.

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New NE medical cannabis measure filed after court loss (Newsletter: September 29, 2020)

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3 state lieutenant govs share marijuana advice; AMA campaigns against MS medical cannabis measure; New handbook on how to decriminalize psychedelics

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Nebraska medical cannabis activists—whose measure was removed from November’s ballot by the state Supreme Court because the justices determined it violated the single-subject rule—are filing a new initiative for 2022 that simply states:

  • “Persons in the State of Nebraska shall have the right to cannabis in all its forms for medical purposes.”

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) hosted a marijuana chat with Illinois Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton (D) and Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist (D), during which the legalization state officials gave advice on how to navigate cannabis legislation—including a focus on social equity.

The American Medical Association is partnering with the Mississippi State Medical Association to urge the state’s voters to reject a medical cannabis initiative on the November ballot.

The psychedelics reform group Decriminalize Nature released a 123-page guidebook for how to enact local laws lessening the criminalization of entheogens. It includes model legislation, press release templates and sample educational emails to send to lawmakers.

/ FEDERAL

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign rejected President Trump’s call to take a drug test before the debates, saying the Democrat “intends to deliver his debate answers in words. If the president thinks his best case is made in urine he can have at it.” Trump responded, “Joe Biden just announced that he will not agree to a Drug Test. Gee, I wonder why?”

A federal judge ruled that workers in Pennsylvania can sue employers for alleged discrimination against their use of medical cannabis.

The Internal Revenue Service filed a brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to dismiss a case from Harborside Health Center appealing a ruling on the 280E tax provision.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and four cosponsors filed a resolution that includes a provision criticizing the imprisonment of the Philippine vice president over her advocacy against that nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s cancellation of the November election for her seat that was triggered by the death of the Legalize Marijuana Now Party’s candidate.

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason is hosting a series of four webinars to discuss marijuana reform issues.

/ STATES

Michigan’s attorney general opened an investigation into a group that allegedly misled voters into signing ballot petitions for a measure to reduce the governor’s powers by telling them it was for medical cannabis or other issues.

Texas’s agriculture commissioner toured a hemp farm.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands proposed an expansion of the state’s hemp pilot program.

Utah’s top medical cannabis regulator said patient enrollment is exceeding all expectations.

California regulators published information on how marijuana farmers can get access to disaster relief.

Rhode Island regulators published an annual report on the state’s medical cannabis program.

Maine regulators published guidance on marijuana business expense tax deductions.

New York regulators published information about hemp grower reporting requirements.

Ohio regulators are being sued over failure to act on a medical cannabis cultivation license application.

Wisconsin regulators posted an update on implementation of the state’s hemp program.

Colorado regulators published average market rates for marijuana.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

San Francisco. California’s Cannabis Oversight Committee has several vacancies.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor tweeted about how the state is “missing out” on “how cannabis-related tax revenues have helped fill budget gaps” in other places.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark is part of a new poster campaign in favor of the country’s marijuana legalization referendum.

A New South Wales, Australia lawmaker is pushing to decriminalize marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of studies on the impact of drug decriminalization policies found that “legal reform was most often not associated with changes in use.”

A study will examine the efficacy of CBD and cannabis for treating anxiety aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Pennsylvania voters support legalizing marijuana, 58%-35%.

Drug policy reform funder David Bronner published a post explaining his decision to no longer financially support Decriminalize Nature’s national leadership.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana released a report purporting to show that legalization has not gone well in states that have enacted it.

/ BUSINESS

GW Pharmaceuticals and General Nutrition Centers both met separately with White House Office of Management and Budgets officials to discuss CBD regulatory issues.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced that its senior advisor resigned.

Acreage Holdings, Inc.  announced the opening of its first marijuana dispensary in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

/ CULTURE

A new documentary shows how former basketball player Lamar Odom therapeutically used psychedelics.

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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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