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House votes to block DOJ enforcement in legal cannabis states (Newsletter: June 21, 2019)

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CBD & DEA amendments approved in House; Veterans & medical marijuana hearing; POTUS candidate pledges drug war commutations

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives voted to pass a measure blocking the Department of Justice from interfering in state and territory marijuana laws—including those legalizing adult use.

The House of Representatives also approved an amendment from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) stripping $5 million from the Drug Enforcement Administration and redirecting it to opioid treatment as well as a separate measure directing the Food and Drug Administration to formulate CBD regulations.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on four bills concerning medical cannabis and military veterans.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, unveiled a plan to grant clemency to 17,000 drug war prisoners if he’s elected president and is pledging to take action on the issue on the very first day of his administration.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, sent a letter pressing federal financial regulators to issue guidance on banking access for hemp businesses.

/ FEDERAL

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted about discussing marijuana while performing chest surgery.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia issued an alert about marijuana-infused candy and kids.

Sen. Kirsten Gilliband (D-NY), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We can’t settle for half-steps on marijuana legalization. If we don’t expunge marijuana records and specifically support the communities who’ve been most hurt by the war on drugs, it’s not true justice.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, tweeted a video of himself speaking about criminal justice reform, noting, “Our criminal justice system is historically unfair. One thing we can do to address it is legalize marijuana and make sure those with minor marijuana offenses—who are overwhelmingly people of color—have their records cleared.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), a presidential candidate, announced that police will limit arrests of students for low-level offenses such as marijuana possession.

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

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said he’s waiting to see what his lieutenant governor’s report on marijuana legalization, informed by a statewide listening tour on the issue, says before he announces whether his position has evolved. Separately, regulators approved three companies to conduct medical cannabis research.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner hosted a hemp workshop.

New York lawmakers sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) a bill to expand marijuana decriminalization and provide for expungements. The Senate also approved hemp legislation, with Assembly action still pending.

Maine lawmakers sent Gov. Janet Mills (D) a bill setting  marijuana regulations.

New Jersey lawmakers sent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) medical cannabis expansion legislation.

The Delaware Senate voted to approve a bill expanding the decriminalization of marijuana to cover juveniles.

Colorado regulators reported average market rates for marijuana.

Michigan regulators released a marijuana licensing report.

California regulators are conducting a survey to assess interest in a comparable-to-organic cannabis certification program.

Nebraska activists said they’ve already collected nearly 10,000 signatures toward placing a medical cannabis measure on the state’s 2020 ballot.

A Nevada regulator testified during a hearing in a  lawsuit that meals he shared with marijuana business representatives did not affect licensing decisions.

Alaska regulators will discuss marijuana licensing and rules at a meeting scheduled for July 10-12. They are also weighing changes to violation fines.


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/ INTERNATIONAL


UK Prime Minister Theresa May fielded a question about medical cannabis access.

Italian regulators posted an application for companies that want to import medical cannabis.

Mexican senators discussed marijuana policy during a hearing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “evidence for the efficacy of cannabis medicine (given as an adjunct to other medication) was found in patients with chronic pain and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis” and that “benefits were also found for appetite stimulation, improvement of nausea, and weight gain in patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS or in palliative care, while that “adverse effects of cannabis medicine are often reported; severe adverse effects were mentioned in single cases only.”

An analysis of wastewater found “a significant increase in consumption in Washington, USA following legalization, and that legal sales appear to have displaced a large portion of the illicit market.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Florida voters support legalizing marijuana, 65%-30% and back legal cannabis sales in their own communities, 61%-34%.

The Detroit News editorial board is calling on Michigan regulators to expand access to medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Google is running a trial program to allow CBD ads.

Canopy Growth Corporation reported annual net revenue growth of 191% to $226.3 million.

S&P Global Ratings published an analysis projecting “slow but substantial growth of legal cannabis over the next decade.”

/ CULTURE

Rapper Ice Cube said it is “cool to be on the right side of history” in supporting marijuana legalization before it was popular.

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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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