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House debates AOC’s psychedelic research amendment (Newsletter: June 13, 2019)



Congressional hearing on small cannabis biz; USPS’s new hemp mailing rules; CO touts $1B marijuana revenue; Feds challenged on scheduling analysis

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The House of Representatives held a floor debate on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) amendment aimed at removing barriers to research on Schedule I drugs such as psilocybin, MDMA and marijuana. It was approved in a voice vote, with a formal roll call vote pending on Thursday.

The House Small Business Committee has scheduled a hearing on issues facing small marijuana businesses for next week.

  • In a related move, several lawmakers sent a letter pressing the Small Business Administration about a policy that makes cannabis businesses ineligible for assistance.

The U.S. Postal Service issued new guidelines for mailing hemp and hemp-derived products like CBD, and it’s actually considerably less restrictive than a proposal suggested by a hemp industry group.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) issued a report touting the fact that his state has generated more than $1 billion in marijuana tax revenue and fees since legalization. That’s a big difference in approach to the issue from the one taken by former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who described cannabis revenue as “a drop in the bucket.”

A new Gallup poll sheds light on the most important reasons Americans support or oppose legalizing marijuana. It turns out that attitudes about cannabis’s harmfulness or lack thereof are not big factors, whereas medical value and driving issues are key.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute says that the federal government violated the law by failing to subject its marijuana scheduling evaluation to peer review and is now asking for a do-over.


Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan was receptive to a request from Canadian officials for the U.S. to consider pardons granted to people convicted of marijuana offenses when it comes to border crossing, that nation’s public safety minister said.

National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins tweeted, “Legalized medical marijuana may not have an effect on lowering opioid-related deaths as previously thought. A study by researchers at #NIH-funded @Stanford using recent data found there might not be any correlation between the two.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection returned more than $250,000 that was seized from a licensed California marijuana distribution business.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration made changes to a national drug use survey “to reflect the availability that marijuana can now be purchased from a retail store or dispensary.”

Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK) tweeted, “Laws that keep our banks out of the legal marijuana industry endanger public safety and stifle local businesses. That’s why we need to change them. I was proud to co-sponsor on the SAFE Banking Act.”

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted to thank Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) for “working with #NVLeg to help make Nevada a model for the rest of the nation to follow when it comes to implementing marijuana legalization.”

The wife of Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ) has taken a job as vice president and general counsel for marijuana company Harvest Health & Recreation Inc.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said he supports federally decriminalizing marijuana.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 66.


Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed a bill creating a Cannabis Compliance Board and tweeted that the move “will ensure our legal cannabis industry is positioned to become the gold standard for the nation. #AB533 was one of my top priorities this #nvleg session, and I was thrilled to sign it into law today!”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he’s “not extraordinarily hopeful” about marijuana legalization passing the Senate.

A California appeals court ruled that people who are incarcerated can possess marijuana, but they cannot consume it. Separately, regulators proposed rules on cannabis excise and cultivation taxes.

The Ohio Medical Board voted against adding opioid addiction, depression and insomnia as medical cannabis qualifying conditions and delayed decisions on autism and anxiety.

Massachusetts regulator Shaleen Title slammed a recent statement from scientists and doctors expressing concern about marijuana, calling it a “publicity stunt.”

Oregon regulators tweeted about touring a hemp and CBD company’s operations.

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.

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The Cincinnati, Ohio City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.


In the wake of massive criticism, Russian police dropped drug charges they had filed against an investigative journalist who has focused on exposing government corruption.


The New York State Sheriff’s Association and prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana issued a report purporting to tabulate the costs of legalizing cannabis.

Doctors for Cannabis Regulation sent a letter urging New York lawmakers to legalize marijuana.


A study found evidence that “cannabis was smoked as part of ritual and/or religious activities in western China by at least 2500 years ago and that the cannabis plants produced high levels of psychoactive compounds.”

A study found that cannabis use disorder “is associated with a decrease in responsiveness to the looming threat cue.”

A study looking into whether varenicline, a drug used to combat nicotine craving,  can be used to reduce marijuana use will soon be seeking participants.


The Economist supports moves to decriminalize psychedelic drugs.


Cresco Labs and Origin House received requests for more information about the former company’s planned acquisition of the latter from the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division.


Author Michael Pollan published a blog post clarifying his position on decriminalizing psilocybin.

Travel writer Rick Steves posted and video and blog about his recent visit to Capitol Hill to lobby for marijuana reform.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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