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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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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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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 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.)


US government’s tame response to Canadian legalization (Newsletter: Oct. 18, 2018)



Likely next House Judic chair suggests legalizing drugs; Bizarre legal strategy sent marijuana to DOJ & courts; Canadian pardon process announced

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So far the U.S. government’s official response to Canadian marijuana legalization seems very calm and consists of just a few polite videos reminding people not to bring cannabis over the border and a FAQ explaining how use affects entry and visas.

Does the next chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee want to legalize LSD, psilocybin, MDMA or other drugs in addition to marijuana? That’s what Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) seemed to imply in a radio interview.

  • “From everything we have learned, people are going to do drugs. And certainly the softer drugs like marijuana, there’s no good reason at all that they cannot be legalized and regulated properly.”

One man’s bizarre legal strategy involved sending marijuana samples to the Department of Justice and the federal courts. Spoiler alert: It didn’t work, and now the U.S. Marshals have been informed.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continues to express optimism about industrial hemp.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Republican challenger Rob Arlett debated marijuana policy.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted, “Today, Canada is recognizing what Oregonians and Americans across the country already understand: marijuana prohibition is an outdated, dangerous policy. It’s time to bring America’s marijuana policy into the 21st century.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time for the United States to follow suit. Legalizing marijuana at the federal level would make our justice system more fair—it’s the smart thing to do and it’s the right thing to do.”

Assistant House Democratic Leader James Clyburn (D-SC) said that marijuana reform is “not important to me.”

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Republican challenger Vickie Yates Brown Glisson debated marijuana policy.

Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), currently a U.S. Senate candidate, is pushing the federal government to let marijuana businesses access banks.

  • “I think it frankly cries out for a federal solution. And this is tough stuff — this is hard stuff to talk about — because I’m a law-and-order congressman, but it’s impossible to ignore what’s going on… If the federal government itself doesn’t do something to sort of at least provide the banking system that allows for greater oversight and regulation, I think we’re just setting ourselves up for a bit of a rogue industry rather than a highly regulated one.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and other elected officials will speak in support of a Missouri medical cannabis ballot measure at an event on Saturday.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “Proud to be endorsed by @NORML. As a member of the House Cannabis Caucus, I will continue my work to increase MJ research, change banking regs, and give vets access to MMJ.”

Several members of Congress expressed concern about border issues stemming from conflicting U.S. and Canadian marijuana laws.


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he hopes the legislature’s investigation into sexual assault allegations against an administration official won’t prevent lawmakers from being able to legalize marijuana. Separately, lawmakers filed bills to establish a state bank to serve the marijuana industry and to exempt medical cannabis from sales and use taxes. A separate resolution calling on Congress to pass legislation increasing cannabis businesses’ access to banks was also introduced.

Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo (R) vetoed a bill that would have given him waiver authority over certain requirements for medical cannabis program.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he opposes legalizing marijuana but supports medical cannabis.

Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner implied that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Utah lawmakers began considering a medical cannabis compromise bill, with Republicans mostly on board with the proposal.

North Dakota regulators will begin accepting medical cannabis patient and caregiver applications on October 29.

Michigan regulators will meet on Thursday to consider medical cannabis license applications.

Here’s a look at activists’ efforts to qualify a medical cannabis measure for Mississippi’s 2020 ballot.

Iowa’s first medical cannabis facility is preparing to open.


A draft Seattle, Washington 2019 legislative agenda says the city supports state legislation to allow marijuana delivery services and cannabis vaping lounges, as well as expunging misdemeanor convictions.

The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors voted to establish a Cannabis Oversight Committee.

Weatherford, Oklahoma is the target of the fifth lawsuit against local medical cannabis ordinances in the state.

The Adair County, Oklahoma district attorney is dismissing a case against a registered medical cannabis patient who was charged with possession due to apparent confusion over which drug crime statute should apply.


The Canadian government implemented marijuana legalization and also announced a process to expedite the process of pardoning people with past cannabis possession convictions. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented on legalization going into effect.

  • “Promise Made, Promise Kept.”

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox tweeted, “Congratulations to the Canadian government on its remarkable leadership in today legalizing the sale and use of recreational cannabis. The first country in the G7 and and an important step in the global adoption of legalized cannabis for medical and recreational use.”


Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana launched a new microsite it says it will use to track violations of Canada’s marijuana legalization laws.

Republican operative Roger Stone says Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) was “dealing marijuana to other staffers” on Ronald Reagan’s 1976 presidential campaign and is now messing up medical cannabis implementation in his state.

The Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert clashed with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson in a testy interview.


Marijuana stocks dipped as Canada’s legalization went into effect, and by the end of the day a few had risen.

The New York Stock Exchange approved Aurora Cannabis for listing and registration.

The former owner of OG Analytics filed a defamation lawsuit against activists who exposed her ties to white nationalists.


Actor Seth Rogen tweeted, “Few moments in my life have brought me pride like I feel today. Canada, I love you.  – one of your smiling citizens.”

The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah expressed frustration that Canada legalized marijuana before the U.S.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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GOP congressman visits cannabis store with busload of senior citizens (Newsletter: Oct. 17, 2018)



Dem’s memo on passing marijuana bills in 2019; ND legalization oppo outraises supporters; Senator congratulates Canada on legalization

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  • Chris Hager: “As an attorney representing people victimized by civil rights violations at work and outside of work, I am certain that the legalization of marijuana will continue to challenge our society’s norms and progress. I look to use my legal skills and commitment to representing people to further that crucial progress. I look forward to seeing your newsletter and updates.”


Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) issued a memo to his party’s leadership laying out a step-by-step process for how they can pass marijuana legislation in 2019 should they control one or both chambers of Congress.

The congressman is also filing legislation addressing border-related cannabis issues in light of Canada’s legalization law going into effect on Wednesday.

In less than a week, the Food and Drug Administration has already received more than 2,000 submissions in response to its request for cannabis rescheduling comments. Marijuana Moment compiled some of the best (and worst).

New North Dakota campaign finance filings show that supporters of the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure are being heavily outraised by prohibitionists.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a statement celebrating Canada’s marijuana legalization policy going into effect.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) took time to accompany a literal busload of senior citizens on their trip to a marijuana dispensary.


A Customs and Border Protection official said that a Canadian move to grant pardons for past marijuana offenses wouldn’t necessarily shield those individuals from being denied entry into the U.S.

The head of the U.S. Consulate in Calgary met with local business leaders to discuss Canada’s legalization of marijuana.

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to develop standards for devices police can use  test drivers for drug impairment on the roadside.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Reason #6 why you should vote: to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. Too many lives have been ruined because of our regressive policies.”

Rep. Dan Donovan (R) and Democratic challenger Max Rose debated marijuana policy reform.

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) said he’s hopeful for the prospects of marijuana law reform if Democrats take control of Congress.


Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed legislation prohibiting marijuana-infused alcoholic beverages.

New Mexico gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy reform.

Rhode Island regulators added autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Four New York Assembly committees held a joint hearing on marijuana legalization.

Vermont’s Opioid Coordination Council said it is “virtually impossible” to open a safe injection site for illegal drug consumers due to legal obstacles.

Louisiana’s first medical cannabis crop is being harvested this week.

Utah Democratic lawmakers will hold a town hall meeting on medical cannabis next week.

Ohio regulators extended the deadline for medical cannabis processor license applicants to submit clarifications on their plans.

Arkansas regulators met to discuss scoring of medical cannabis dispensary license applications and a change in ownership by a cultivation licensee.

Guam regulators made medical cannabis license applications available.

Kentucky regulators held an informational session about applying for industrial hemp licenses.


Chicago, Illinois Democratic mayoral candidate Paul Vallas said the city should demand half of the tax revenue from any marijuana sales in city after legalization.


The Canadian government will launch a process to grant pardons to people with past convictions for simple possession of marijuana under 30 grams. Separately, a former Canadian army captain who was in the U.S. waiting to get a green card after marrying an American woman has spent the past 75 days detained because of a decades-old marijuana conviction for which he was pardoned in Canada.

A Thai lawmaker said that the vast majority of members of the public who have weighed in on potential marijuana legislation support reform.


The Michigan Republican Party criticized Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gretchen Whitmer for supporting marijuana legalization and greater restrictions on tobacco.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico tweeted, “It’s important to remember that this future billion dollar industry was opposed by Republicans like Susana Martinez because they couldn’t understand the difference between hemp and marijuana.”

The Marijuana Policy Project published new voter guides for Illinois, South Carolina and Vermont.


Almost half of the most popular hip-hop and R & B music videos depict marijuana or tobacco consumption, a new study found.


A poll found that Utah voters narrowly support the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure, 51%-45%.

A poll found that U.S. likely voters support drug testing lawmakers in their state, 65%-26%.


Terra Tech placed ads in the Wall Street Journal and on Fox & Friends urging President Trump to support marijuana reform.

Acreage Holdings is adding former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to its board of directors.

The CEO of Starbucks Corp. said the company has no plans to enter the marijuana industry.

Poynter looks at parts of the marijuana media landscape.

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Banking lobby group surfaces cannabis issues (Newsletter: Oct. 16, 2018)



Marijuana science grows faster than general research; Melissa Etheridge on art & cannabis activism; Fed prosecutor floats charging real estate agents

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

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.


The American Bankers Association is surveying its members to collect stories about the problems they face in opening accounts for marijuana businesses. The move could be a signal that the group is preparing to ramp up lobbying on cannabis issues.

  • “Answers will be used by ABA and State Banking Associations to help illustrate to regulators and legislators the need for greater clarity.”

A new scientific review finds that legalization seems to be driving more research on marijuana, with the number of cannabis studies per year increasing at a much higher rate than the growth of research in general.

  • “The spike in medical publications on medical cannabis that began in 2013 is impressive and encouraging.”

Melissa Etheridge spoke about the role of activism and art in the cannabis reform movement in an  interview with Marijuana Moment:

  • “It has been many decades of misinformation telling us that cannabis is evil… These are different times and it’s possible to think differently about this medicine.”


The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Detroit police didn’t have free rein to shoot a woman’s dogs during a drug raid just because they weren’t licensed.

The outgoing U.S. attorney for Colorado said that it would not be “far fetched” to prosecute real estate personnel who know that their customers are buying properties for the purposes of growing marijuana.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy designated 10 additional areas as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) said she supports Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure. Republican Senate challenger John James said that while he won’t vote for the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, he’ll support the will of the voters and is calling for more research into medical cannabis as an opioid alternative.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) tweeted, “We should call this country’s war on drugs what it really is: a war on communities of color. It’s time to end this discrimination. We need to pass the Marijuana Justice Act.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Democratic challenger Matt Longjohn debated marijuana legalization.

Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) and Democratic challenger Ben McAdams debated medical cannabis.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “In 2001, only 31 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization. Today, over six-in-ten Americans are in support. The tide has clearly turned. We need to end prohibition, expunge prior convictions, and reinvest in the communities most ravaged by the drug war.”

New Mexico Republican Senate candidate Mick Rich criticized Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for suggesting that legal marijuana can reduce opioid issues.

Utah Democratic Senate candidate Jenny Wilson tweeted her support for legalizing medical cannabis.

Utah Democratic congressional candidate James Courage Singer endorsed the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

Washington State Democratic congressional candidate Sarah Smith tweeted, “We can’t fight the opioid crisis without legalizing cannabis. 🌿We can’t treat addiction like a health crisis without decriminalizing drug use. 🏥 We can’t fight for women’s autonomy without legalizing & protecting sex work. 👠”

New Mexico Democratic congressional candidate Deb Haaland tweeted, “I have been vocal about my support for the legalization of marijuana because people of color have been targeted disproportionately for non-violent crimes for far too long. For-profit prisons are exploiting people of color through mass incarceration, we must end this.”


Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) tweeted about how his administration has “lifted restrictions on industrial hemp.” Separately, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker touted his support for legalizing marijuana during a debate.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) and Republican challenger Andria Tupola debated marijuana policy.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous and his comedian friend Dave Chappelle spoke about marijuana legalization during a CNN interview.

South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate James Smith sent a press release blasting incumbent Gov. Henry McMaster (R) for opposing medical cannabis.

Minnesota Democratic attorney general candidate Keith Ellison, currently a congressman, got the endorsement of the Legalize Cannabis Party candidate after calling for legalization.

Opponents of Utah’s medical cannabis ballot initiative agreed to postpone action in their lawsuit against the measure until after Election Day.

Four New York Assembly committees will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

Guam regulators will make forms available to register for home cultivation of medical cannabis on Tuesday.

Montana regulators issued a rule setting a maximum amount of space on which medical cannabis providers can grow.

Alabama Securities Commission sent an alert cautioning investors about “schemes and risks” associated with marijuana-related investments.

Alaska regulators will consider a resolution on separating marijuana for personal use from cannabis grow for commercial sales on Tuesday.

Colorado’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will meet next week.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider marijuana rule changes.

California regulators will host a workshop on water access issues and requirements for marijuana growers on Tuesday.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s mayor said that legalizing marijuana is a step toward solving inequality.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and leaders of other political parties said they don’t plan to use or purchase marijuana when it becomes legal this week.

The head of the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board said Canada’s legalization of marijuana contravenes international law.


A review demonstrated “good tolerability and safety of cannabidiol in humans and animals” and “the positive effect of the substance in various conditions, inflammatory and oncological.”

A survey found that 65% of Minnesota oncology physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants support the use of medical cannabis.


The Detroit News editorial board is opposing the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

The Tulsa World editorial board is calling on Congress to allow medical cannabis.


Canopy Growth Corporation is acquiring the assets of ebbu, Inc.

Instagram continues to arbitrarily disable marijuana-related accounts.

Hugh Hefner’s belongings are being auctioned off, with the proceeds going to his foundation, which supports the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project.


The National Hockey League and NHL Players’ Association don’t plan changes to the league’s marijuana policy in light of Canada’s legalization.

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