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



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

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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.


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.


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.


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.”


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


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.”


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.


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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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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