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Inside McConnell’s cannabis industry lunch (Newsletter: October 11, 2019)

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Mexican cabinet member accepts marijuana gift; Trucking org adopts cannabis stance; Scratch-n-sniff cannabis packaging; Texas cancels dispensary apps

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana Moment got a look inside a private luncheon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) held with cannabis industry representatives during a marijuana-focused visit to Southern California.

Ahead of an expected vote on marijuana legalization this month, a  key Mexican cabinet member happily accepted a lawmaker’s gift of a joint during a legislative session.

American Trucking Associations adopted new cannabis policy recommendations, including removing federal research roadblocks, creating a “marijuana victim’s compensation fund” paid for by the industry and reporting purchases to prescription drug monitoring programs.

The congressional marijuana banking vote “signals a positive shift in House members’ attitudes toward marijuana” but “does not go nearly far enough,” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights wrote in a letter asking lawmakers to cosponsor a comprehensive cannabis descheduling bill.

Texas regulators won’t explain why they suddenly suspended the application process for low-THC medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Inventors filed a patent application for scratch-and-sniff marijuana packaging. One concept uses terpenes to mimic cannabis smells, while another would use scents like bacon, fish and chips, the seaside, shampoo and a Sunday roast.

/ FEDERAL

Two associates of President Trump’s attorney Rudolph Giuliani were arrested on charges that they, along with two other defendants, allegedly plotted to illegally funnel foreign money to politicians in an effort to secure marijuana business licenses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are now 1,299 known cases of severe lung injury believed to be associated with vaping, including 26 deaths.

The Drug Enforcement Administration published technical corrections to information about marijuana cultivation license applications.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb suggested in an op-ed that Congress “take marijuana out of the existing paradigm for drug scheduling” and that “regulation of the potency of THC compounds, the forms they take, how they’re manufactured, and who can make purchases ought to be possible.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke about the importance of solving banking and tax issues for the marijuana industry.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “The House did the right thing by passing the SAFE Banking Act to allow legal marijuana businesses to bank without fear of federal interference. Now, the Senate should do the same.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “I come from the pro-science wing of the Republican Party. I understand that the Earth is warming, that medical marijuana can help people live better lives and no one chooses to be gay.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The failed War on Drugs has disproportionately targeted and continues to harm communities of color. As our country continues to move forward on decriminalizing cannabis, it’s critical we prioritize real marijuana justice.”

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Ted Terry, the Clarkston mayor, touted his local marijuana decriminalization policy and launched an online petition calling on Congress to enact cannabis reform.

/ STATES

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) defended his administration’s temporary ban on vaping products in response to criticism. Separately, regulators are publishing guidance warning marijuana entrepreneurs about scams targeting small businesses. They also approved licenses for companies to train cannabis business employees.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said it is important to legalize marijuana for social justice reasons. (About 16:45 into the audio.)

Mississippi Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Hood, currently the state attorney general, said medical cannabis should be up to doctors to decide and that he has seen studies indicating it can help people get off of opioids. Republican candidate Tate Reeves, the current lieutenant governor, said he plans to vote against a medical marijuana ballot measure.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor clashed with prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana on Twitter.

Florida’s surgeon general appointed a new marijuana coordinator.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner visited a hemp farm at harvest time.

A Louisiana judge halted juror selection in a felony marijuana case after too many potential jurors in the pool said they support legalization.

The California Veterinary Medical Board’s Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee discussed guidelines for the appropriate administration of medical cannabis to animals. Separately, regulators are being sued over a decision to allow some marijuana billboards.

Oregon regulators will discuss vaping issues in a special meeting on Friday.

Michigan regulators will hold a meeting to take public comments on marijuana on October 28.


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

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor tweeted, “Why is municipal government in the marijuana ordinance enforcement business at all? #KCMO is considering 100 gram decriminalization as an ordinance matter, but the better move may be to remove marijuana as an offense from the municipal code altogether. It doesn’t change state treatment of marijuana possession, distribution, etc., as an offense, and thus our 4 local prosecutors would still have ability to prosecute or decline. We won’t create inconsistency with state law… instead we will just get out of the business.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Quebec, Canada government is appealing a court ruling that invalidated the province’s ban on marijuana home cultivation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “although cannabis use is mostly found to be associated with increased incidence of anxiety disorders, these findings are generally not sustained in adjusted analyses controlling for multiple confounders” and that “the scarce data available indicates no clear effect of cannabis use on the course and treatment outcomes of anxiety disorders.”

A study examines how environmental movement organizations “have avoided America’s fastest growing agricultural sector: newly legalized cannabis.”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation named Constellation Brands, Inc.’s chief financial officer as the chair of its board.

Canopy Growth Corporation and Go Farm Hemp are suing each other in federal court over allegations of missed payments and poor crops.

New Frontier Data announced plans to acquire Civilized Worldwide Inc.

HEXO Corp reported that quarterly revenues are below initial expectations.

Leafly informed customers of a breach of one of its databases involving customer records.

Colorado retailers sold more than $173.2 million in marijuana products in August, a new monthly record.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Jamal Mashburn was appointed as an advisor to the board of directors of cannabis company Revolution Global.

Anderson Cooper will lead a 60 Minutes report on psychedelic research on Sunday.

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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 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

Legal psilocybin therapy qualifies for Oregon ballot (Newsletter: July 9, 2020)

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Fed marijuana PSA filmed like horror movie; Congressman wants to block DC psychedelics decrim; Study: Legal cannabis reduces crime

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There are now 1,525 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Oregon secretary of state announced that activists collected enough signatures to put a measure to legalize psilocybin therapy on the November ballot. This comes one week after a separate initiative to decriminalize all drug possession in the state and expand treatment services also qualified for the ballot.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), whose budget rider has prevented Washington, D.C. from legalizing marijuana sales, is now trying to block a psychedelics decriminalization measure that could be on the November ballot in the nation’s capital.

  • “This is a bald-faced attempt to just make these very serious, very potent, very dangerous—both short-term and long-term—hallucinogenic drugs broadly available.”

A new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration PSA on impaired driving is styled like a horror film and urges people not to operate a car while high on marijuana even if they are being chased by an axe-wielding murderer.

A study found that “border counties in the Colorado region saw substantial decreases in overall property crime rate and larceny rate relative to nonborder counties following Colorado’s legalization” of marijuana.

  • “This finding suggests that recreational marijuana legalization in a state (e.g., Colorado) may not bring about negative consequences on crime in neighboring states, which challenges the assertions made by public officials in these neighboring states arguing a crime-inducing effect of legalization.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture added hemp to a list of seed kinds for which it maintains standards for certification.

Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate Christopher Hale tweeted, “Why is that kids and veterans who smoke marijuana have criminal records, but Wall Street executives who committed massive fraud and wrecked our economy do not? I’ll be the most pro-weed Congressman God ever made. I’m asking for your support.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor is touting marijuana legalization as a fiscal stimulus for the state.

Ohio regulators added cachexia as a medical cannabis qualifying condition, but rejected anxiety and autism spectrum disorder.

Oklahoma regulators agreed to temporarily not enforce rules that could force some medical cannabis businesses to close down while a judge considers a lawsuit challenging them.

Guam regulators plan to finalize a draft of legal marijuana rules for public comment by next month.

Nevada regulators are projecting $10 million less revenue from recreational marijuana sales for Fiscal Year 2021.

Massachusetts regulators will consider marijuana vaping issues and enforcement actions on Thursday.

Florida regulators will hold a workshop on hemp rules 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.

/ LOCAL

The Grand Rapids, Michigan City Commission approved a measure to advance social equity in the marijuana industry and to fast-track approval of businesses.

The Nevada County, California district attorney filed a motion to dismiss nearly 600 prior marijuana convictions and reduce more than 50 cannabis felonies to misdemeanors.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care is conducting an open consultation looking at “the ways in which drugs are fuelling serious violence and at treatment, recovery and prevention.”

The Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana plans to resume its review of cannabis issues soon.

The Colombian government gave approval for a company to grow, produce and export high-THC medicinal cannabis extracts.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “pre-clinical and clinical data suggest a potential for therapeutic benefit [of medical cannabis] amongst some persons with [autism spectrum disorder] and that it is overall well tolerated.”

A study concluded that “current school-based cannabis prevention efforts do not appear sufficiently effective.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Marijuana activist and lobbyist Eapen Thampy pleaded guilty to federal charges of attempted cannabis distribution.

A Harm Reduction International analysis found that “around a fourth of countries implementing [coronavirus-related prison] decongestion schemes explicitly excluded people incarcerated for drug offences; effectively prioritising punitive approaches to drug control over the health of the prison population and the individual.”

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses said it will be drafting recommendations for marijuana social equity programs.

/ BUSINESS

Several ancillary marijuana businesses—including Akerna, Metrc and Arcview Group— received Paycheck Protection Program loans from the Small Business Administration.

The Justice Department is reportedly investigating whether Wirecard participated in an alleged $100 million bank fraud conspiracy connected to Eaze, which hasn’t been charged or named directly in documents in the case.

Ignite International, Ltd. is being sued by its former president who says he was fired for refusing to go along with founder Dan Bilzerian’s efforts to classify “extravagant personal expenses” as business-related.

Enlighten says it is the first cannabis company to have data listed on Amazon’s AWS Data Exchange.

KushCo Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $22.3 million and a net loss of approximately $13.5 million.

Insurance costs for marijuana businesses are reportedly rising as more cannabis companies face shareholder lawsuits.

/ CULTURE

Ice Cube tweeted an editorial cartoon of an incarcerated person reading a newspaper with the headline, “Marijuana Is OK Now.”

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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.
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Congress puts new cannabis provisions in spending bills (Newsletter: July 8, 2020)

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NYC finalizes marijuana testing ban; Study: CBD mouthwash works better than regular products; IL cannabis sales spike in June

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Appropriations Committee leaders included provisions in new 2021 spending legislation to protect marijuana business banking, shield medical cannabis laws from federal interference, let Washington, D.C. legalize recreational sales, expand research and fund hemp and CBD regulations.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights finalized a local ban on pre-employment marijuana testing for most workers, but added new last-minute exceptions that will still allow some companies to screen applicants for cannabis. The policy takes effect on July 24.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation announced that the state’s marijuana businesses had their biggest month of legal sales yet in June. Retailers sold $47.6 million worth of recreational cannabis products last month, with $12.4 million of that being bought by out-of-state residents.

A study found that mouthwash products infused with CBD, CBG and other marijuana compounds “offer a much safer, efficient and natural alternative to alcohol and/or fluoride containing mouthwashes.”

  • “Cannabinoids (CBD / CBG) infused mouthwashes together with other natural key ingredients shows promising bactericidal activity in vitro against total-culturable aerobic bacterial content in dental plaque with efficiency equivalent to or better than that of the gold standard (0.2% chlorhexidine),” the research, which was funded by a company that makes cannabinoid-based dental products, found.

/ FEDERAL

The National Institute on Drug Abuse funded a Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America publication that suggests communities enact policies banning or restricting legal marijuana businesses.

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) tweeted, “Cannabis legalization is a matter of justice for veterans & POC. We know cannabis helps vets with PTSD & chronic injuries. We know black men are 4x more likely to be jailed over cannabis. Sean Worsley is in prison for treating the injuries the VA couldn’t. Where’s his justice?”

Washington Democratic congressional candidate Jason Call tweeted, “I support the federal decriminalization of marijuana/cannabis.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor wrote in an op-ed that policing reform should include marijuana legalization.

Oklahoma regulators are ready to begin enforcing a requirement that medical cannabis products sold by processors and growers be tested by a licensed laboratory.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

Oregon 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.

/ LOCAL

The Napa County, California district attorney announced her office has identified additional prior marijuana cases that can be reduced or dismissed.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s chief science advisor published an overview of evidence about marijuana ahead of a legalization referendum vote.

Mexican regulators said they plan to finalize medical cannabis regulations by September.

Jamaican regulators proposed a new medical cannabis permit with reduced fees for small and subsistence farmers.

Ontario, Canada marijuana stores must stop delivery and curbside pickup services this month.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study analyzing county-by-county support for marijuana legalization ballot measures found that “stronger Republican political leanings and/or higher percentages of Black or Hispanic residents were associated with reduced support, whereas higher education, male sex composition, and greater past criminalization were associated with increased support for cannabis legalization.”

A review concluded that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy produces a “clinically significant reduction in PTSD symptoms and enduring improvements in functioning and overall life satisfaction” and that “results have been promising for psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for those afflicted with Major Depressive Disorder and end of life illnesses such as terminal cancer, indicating not only improved mood and functioning, but additional peripheral benefits such as acceptance of death, participation in social relationships, and positive personality changes.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Industrial Hemp Council and Hemp Industries Association are working to explore the creation of a marketing checkoff program to promote hemp.

/ BUSINESS

Steep Hill is accusing its former CEO of improperly revealing a previously confidential transaction with EVIO, Inc.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. is reportedly at risk of losing a chance to get a Pasadena, California marijuana business permit due to substantial changes to its corporate ownership structure.

/ CULTURE

Johnny Depp acknowledged that he gave his 13-year-old daughter marijuana.

Taiwanese singer Hsieh Ho-hsien was found guilty of disseminating false information and fined after sharing a post on Instagram claiming that marijuana could “kill” coronavirus.

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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.
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DC psychedelics decrim campaign submits ballot signatures (Newsletter: July 7, 2020)

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Forest Service hires hazmat firm for marijuana eradication; MS medical cannabis measure avoids challenge; Study: cannabis consumers exercise more

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…

There are now 1,525 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Activists in Washington, D.C. submitted what they believe are more than enough signatures to qualify a psychedelics decriminalization measure for the November ballot in the nation’s capital.

  • “I can see the Capitol from my house. I think it’s really important to acknowledge that this could lay the groundwork for national reform.”

The U.S. Forest Service is hiring a hazmat firm to train agents on how to safely eradicate marijuana from illegal cultivation sites after too many were “getting sick” and “requiring trips to emergency rooms with possible long term health effects” due to “unique hazardous chemicals” used by unregulated growers.

Mississippi medical cannabis advocates are relieved after one more threat to their legalization measure on the November ballot stalled in the legislature as lawmakers went home for the summer. But they still have an alternate cannabis ballot question to deal with.

A new study of exercise behaviors and body mass index among older adults smashes the ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype.

  • “Current cannabis use was associated with lower BMI and more exercise behavior in healthy older adults wishing to increase their physical activity… These findings suggest that it may be easier for older adults who endorse using cannabis to increase and maintain their exercise behavior, potentially because cannabis users have lower body weight than their non-using peers. At minimum, the evidence suggests that cannabis use does not hinder older adults’ ability to engage in physical activity, to participate in a supervised exercise program, or to increase their fitness as a result of physical activity.”

/ FEDERAL

The policy director for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said that “as science ends up with more conclusive evidence regarding the impact of marijuana, I think he would look at that data. But he’s being asked to make a decision right now. This is where the science guides him.”

The House Armed Services Committee approved report language directing the Department of Defense to compile data on the reasons people are being denied security clearances, including for marijuana and other drugs.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Know this:  marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug federally.  Veterans w PTSD cannot be prescribed cannabis by the VA. On my 67 County tour, we heard from veteran after veteran:  the country I defended considers me a criminal using the 1 thing that makes me feel normal.”

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “60 new full time jobs and $16 million investment in next generation AgTech jobs with @ecofibre grand opening today in Scott Co! They sell hemp products around the world and CVS stores. Congrats!”

North Dakota marijuana activists working on a proposed legalization ballot measure for 2022 say they already have between a third and a half of the signatures they will need.

Illinois regulators adopted a rule clarifying that marijuana-infused foods must be taxed at the 6.25% general merchandise rate instead of the 1% rate that applies to most groceries.

Ohio regulators rejected requests from medical cannabis cultivators to increase their capacity.

Florida regulators are considering allowing medical cannabis recommendations to be made via telehealth on a permanent basis.

Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board will consider adopting regulations on July 21.

Virginia regulators published a FAQ about the state’s medical cannabis law.


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

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris created a new Medicinal Cannabis Authority.

Ireland’s health minister is standing by a prior interview in which he said marijuana possession should be decriminalized and that he supports safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

The Amsterdam, Netherlands City Council voted to explore how to ban marijuana-flavored products sold in tourist shops.

A member of the UK House of Lords pressed government officials on access to cannabis for medical and research purposes.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “low doses of Δ9‐THC are anticonvulsant against hyperthermia‐induced seizures in Scn1a +/ mice, effects that are enhanced by a sub‐anticonvulsant dose of CBD” but that “proconvulsant effects and increased premature mortality are observed when CBD and Δ9‐THC are subchronically dosed in combination.”

A study concluded that “stable isotope ratio analysis of marijuana seizures can significantly improve our understanding of marijuana distribution networks.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s executive director and deputy director are stepping down as the organization experiences budget shortfalls.

The University of Pennsylvania Democrats said that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should endorse legalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company is selling limited edition short shorts for the price of $69.420.

Aphria Inc. issued more than 1.6 million common shares to Aleafia Health subsidiary Emblem Cannabis as part of a previously announced settlement.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. appointed a new chief commercial officer.

Schwazze terminated two planned acquisitions with Dabble Extracts.

/ CULTURE

Elton John said he “saw God” while smoking a joint and listening to a Kraftwerk album.

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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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