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Illinois lawmakers approve cannabis legalization ballot measure (Newsletter: March 2, 2018)

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Trump talks up death penalty for drugs; RI legalization referendum proposed; Savannah, GA decrim OKed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In televised remarks from the White House, President Trump strongly implied he supports executing people who sell illegal drugs.

The Illinois Senate voted to place a marijuana legalization question on the state’s November ballot.

A new Rhode Island bill would place a marijuana legalization question before voters in November. Lawmakers in at least right other states are weighing similar cannabis referendum proposals.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed the Drug Enforcement Administration to consider amending regulations governing aggregate productions quotas for Schedule I and II drugs.

President Trump nominated four people to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

The White House hosted a summit on responding to opioid issues.

A recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit opinion highlights uncertainties surrounding bankruptcy proceedings involving marijuana-related assets.

An analysis suggests that the U.S. State Department is shifting away from a hardline stance on drug production in Colombia.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said he doesn’t support legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana but does back the right of states to set their own laws.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) cited marijuana reform as an area where he can work with Republicans.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “There have been far too many lives destroyed by the ‘war-on-drugs.'”

New Jersey Republican senatorial candidate Bob Hugin says he opposes legalizing marijuana but supports decriminalization.

A onetime aide to former Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-CA) was convicted in federal court  of promising to “make things happen” for an unlicensed medical cannabis business business and taking a $5,000 bribe.

/ STATES

The New Jersey Assembly Regulatory Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Monday. On a train trip to Washington, D.C., several legislators spoke about their position on ending prohibition.

The Vermont House of Representatives preliminarily approved a bill allowing police to test saliva for marijuana during traffic stops.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R) is predicting that medical cannabis legislation will fail.

The New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee may kill a marijuana legalization bill that already passed the full chamber.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee filed a bill directing state officials to “develop a plan to legalize and regulate the retail sale of marijuana in the state.”

The Rhode Island Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on legislation proposed by Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) to allow reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients, quintuple the number of dispensaries and add acute pain as a qualifying condition. Separately, a representative filed a bill to expand employment protections for patients.

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidates all agreed on opposition to legalizing marijuana during a debate.

Minnesota lawmakers are considering legislation to let medical cannabis providers deduct business expenses from taxes.

Illinois lawmakers delivered petition signatures in support of adding intractable pain as a medical cannabis qualifying condition to the office of Gov. Bruce Rauner (R).

The chair of the Kentucky Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection says he is working to move medical cannabis legislation forward.

Arkansas regulators released information about successful medical cannabis cultivation license applicants.

/ LOCAL

The Savannah, Georgia City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

A Denver County, Colorado judge declared a mistrial in a case against the founders of the International Church of Cannabis after prosecutors determined they couldn’t seat an impartial jury.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Greek lawmakers approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis production.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ordered police and military personnel not to cooperate in investigations into the country’s bloody “war on drugs.”

Singapore’s health minister said the country should not decriminalize drugs.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A Pew Research Center analysis, using data from a poll the organization conducted in January, shows that 71% of Millennials support legalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Organizers of the 1969 Woodstock music festival are suing the Woodstock American Products marijuana company over alleged trademark violations.

Alaska collected more than $1 million in marijuana tax revenue in January.

Bloomberg looks at the valuations of marijuana stocks.

Rolling Stone examines evolving efforts to test marijuana for contaminants.

Here’s a look at the tobacco industry’s evolving interest in marijuana.

/ CULTURE     

Texas Wesleyan University fired a baseball coach who said he wouldn’t recruit students from Colorado due to its marijuana legalization law.

Jimi Hendrix’s fingerprint card from when he was arrested for heroin and marijuana in 1969 is being auctioned.

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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.

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.)

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New York could vote to legalize cannabis this week (Newsletter: June 17, 2019)

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20 governors press Congress on marijuana banking; Texas gov signs medical cannabis expansion; Canadian House committee backs drug decrim; CBD poll

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There are now 1,129 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

All of a sudden, a number of indicators are pointing to a possible vote this week on a New York marijuana legalization bill that many pronounced dead months ago. With the session set to end on Wednesday, things will have to move quickly.

A bipartisan group of 20 governors sent a letter urging congressional leaders to pass marijuana banking legislation.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill to expand the state’s limited CBD medical cannabis program.

The Canadian House of Commons Health Committee issued a report recommending that the government decriminalize drug possession.

A poll found that among Americans who are familiar with CBD, 61% want it available over the counter without a prescription required and 92% said that the cannabis-derived compound has at least some medical benefits.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration published a blog post outlining its efforts to formulate CBD regulations.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “Cannabis components can be passed to baby in utero and in breast milk, and there are numerous concerns regarding exposing the developing brain to cannabis – especially with more potent strains and consumption methods that mean even more THC for baby.  #nocannabis4kids!”

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, said he thinks the federal government has a role to play in regulating the marijuana industry.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, spoke about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We will reform our criminal justice system so that people affected by the failed War on Drugs can apply for loans and have access to capital.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Too many fathers are unjustly away from their kids today because of a failed war on drugs waged disproportionately on communities of color, a cash bail system that punishes people for being poor, and a private prison industry funded by needlessly putting more people behind bars. To permanently reshape the justice system, we must not just end the prohibition of marijuana and expunge the records of those arrested for possession but we must end cash bail, prisons for profit, mandatory minimums, & the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline. As president, I will.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted, “Congrats to @OregonState on the launch of its Global Hemp Innovation Center. OSU has been blazing the trail in research and development of new and innovative ways to use hemp. This project will lead the way in unlocking the hemp industry’s huge economic potential.”

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) spoke about his failed effort to scale back marijuana banking protections in a funding bill to only cover medical cannabis financial services.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tweeted a video of himself visiting a hemp farm.

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got four new cosponsors for a total of 56.

The House bill to seal marijuana convictions got two new cosponsors, for a total of 10.

/ STATES

Virginia’s attorney general published an op-ed arguing that the state should “decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, address past convictions and start moving toward legal and regulated adult use.” Separately, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) spoke about the role that support for marijuana reform played in recent commonwealth’s attorneys races.

Ohio’s attorney general blasted Cincinnati’s decriminalization of marijuana as showing “arrogance” and “disrespect” for state law.

Florida lawmakers sent a hemp and CBD regulation bill to the desk of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

A budget released by Rhode Island House leaders does not include a marijuana legalization plan proposed by Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) but does increase the number of medical cannabis dispensaries from three to nine.

Here’s a look at marijuana reform legislation pending on the desk of New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R).

The Alabama House minority leader wants marijuana decriminalization and sentencing reform addressed in a special legislative session.

The Maine Legislature’s Veteran and Legal Affairs Committee approved draft marijuana rules that relax residency requirements for business license owners.

California regulators are extending the period during which marijuana growers and retailers can operate on provisional permits by five years.

Missouri regulators will begin accepting medical cannabis patient and caregiver applications a week ahead of schedule. They also posted new frequently asked questions pages.

Maryland regulators issued an advisory warning of lead contamination in medical cannabis products.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis program no longer applies solely to residents of the state.

Michigan regulators are accelerating the speed with which they process marijuana business license applications.


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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


Canadian regulators finalized rules for marijuana edibles, extracts and topicals, with sales set to begin no earlier than mid-December.

The head of the China National Narcotics Control Commission blamed the legalization of marijuana in Canada and U.S. states for drug smuggling in his country.

UK regulators approved a license for a facility where people can receive free heroin and consume it under medical supervision.

New Zealand’s government is investing in a marijuana startup.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on kidney donations concluded that “there was no difference in donor or recipient perioperative characteristics or postoperative outcomes based upon donor marijuana use” and that “considering individuals with a history of marijuana use for living kidney donation could increase the donor pool and yield acceptable outcomes.”

A study concluded that “CBD may have beneficial effects in patients with [developmental and epileptic encephalopathy] and an acceptable safety profile.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Daily News editorial board is urging lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

The Star-Ledger editorial board is calling on New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and lawmakers to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

The Providence Journal editorial board is calling for greater transparency in the state’s medical cannabis program.

/ BUSINESS

Surterra Wellness hired a former Patrón Spirits CEO as its executive director.

/ CULTURE

Former boxer Mike Tyson was spotted appearing to hold a joint at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Former basketball player Paul Pierce tweeted, “I started using CBD after i was stabbed 11 times. The recovery wasn’t easy and I’m lucky I had CBD oils to help reduce the pain and anxiety.”

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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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House defeats AOC psychedelics amendment (Newsletter: June 14, 2019)

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Committee approves marijuana military waiver; Another cannabis hearing scheduled for next week; Congress to consider several more marijuana amendments

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  • Angela Lucas of Sterling Compliance LLC: “Tracking cannabis-related legislative updates and industry highlights is a daunting task, but Marijuana Moment provides an efficient and effective means to stay on top of cannabis issues. As we look to further efforts in the financial services sector to bring simple banking solutions to cannabis-related businesses, Marijuana Moment helps us to make the case, to demonstrate how the issues change day-to-day and enforce the critical need for banking legislation.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly defeated an amendment from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to remove barriers to research on Schedule I drugs like cannabis, psilocybin and MDMA. A number of key Democrats voted against the measure, and while the party’s leadership urged YES votes on other Democratic amendments in a memo that Marijuana Moment obtained, they listed “NO RECOMMENDATION” for the psychedelics proposal.

The House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to carve out an exception for military members who want to reenlist after committing a low-level marijuana offense, whereas current law blocks those who have used cannabis—even legally under state law.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee announced it will hold a hearing on four bills dealing with marijuana and military veterans next week. It’s the second cannabis-focused hearing of the week, with the Small Business Committee also convening about the issue.

The House Rules Committee is considering several new cannabis-related amendments to a spending bill expected to hit the floor next week, including proposals to shield all state marijuana laws from federal interference, provide protections to tribal legalization programs, let military veterans get medical marijuana recommendations from government doctors and fund CBD regulations.

/ FEDERAL

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration posted a lengthy Twitter thread about what its director sees as the harms of marijuana.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report outlining the collateral consequences of drug and other criminal convictions.

The U.S. Coast Guard is being sued for allegedly chaining fishermen to their decks and sailing into a hurricane following a marijuana interdiction operation.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) tweeted, “On Tues we defeated serial home-rule violator @RepAndyHarrisMD’s attempt to block DC bill decriminalizing prostitution that hasn’t even had a hearing.  W/ Ds in charge, he gave up on trying to block DC recreational marijuana commercialization, aid in dying and wet wipes labeling.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) explained that he didn’t file an amendment to block Washington, D.C. from legalizing marijuana sales by saying, “We’re not in charge anymore.”

The House bill to seal marijuana convictions got one new cosponsor, for a total of eight.

/ STATES

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he doesn’t think Cincinnati’s move to decriminalize marijuana is “a good idea.” Meanwhile, lawmakers passed legislation to create a Governor’s Office of Drug Policy. Separately, regulators released updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver counts.

The California Senate Health Committee approved a bill regulating CBD in food products.

Connecticut regulators added new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Massachusetts health regulators posted a frequently asked questions document about CBD in foods.

Utah regulators said they will release medical cannabis business license applicant information when licenses are awarded in mid-July.


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

New York City’s police commissioner said he has “great concern” about legalizing marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators will hold a briefing about “the next steps in the legalization and regulation of cannabis” on Friday.

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin tweeted, “A majority of Wisconsinites agree: our state should legalize medical marijuana. 83% support it & voters in 16 co’s supported referendums last fall. But @WisGOP is intent on ensuring our state is an island in the Midwest w/o legalization.”

American Trucking Associations testified in a congressional hearing that marijuana legalization makes it harder to hire drug-free drivers.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A survey found that more than half of arthritis patients reported trying medical cannabis.

Oregon State University launched the nation’s largest hemp research center.

/ BUSINESS

Columbia Care Inc. launched its own credit card that can be used only at its locations.

Field Trip Ventures is a new venture capital fund focused solely on psychedelics.

IBM used crowdsourced marijuana legalization arguments to demonstrate its AI-driven Project Debater — Speech by Crowd service.

Merida Capital Partners and the Minority Cannabis Industry Association are partnering to launch an accelerator for minority-owned marijuana businesses.

Regent Pacific plans to launch Asia’s first CBD e-commerce platform.

New England Treatment Access won approval from Massachusetts regulators to be sold to Surterra Wellness.

Cultivate agreed to pay a $75,000 fine as part of a settlement with Massachusetts regulators over violations found during an inspection.

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

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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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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

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.

/ FEDERAL

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.

/ STATES

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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

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

/ INTERNATIONAL

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.

/ ADVOCACY

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.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

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.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Economist supports moves to decriminalize psychedelic drugs.

/ BUSINESS

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.

/ CULTURE

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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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.

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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