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Inside Schumer’s 1st cannabis meeting (Newsletter: February 8, 2021)



VA lawmakers pass legal marijuana; WI gov puts legalization in budget; COVID vax clarity for CA cannabis workers; NJ gov signs psilocybin bill

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) met with cannabis advocates to begin forming a federal legalization plan for 2021. Marijuana Moment spoke to five people who were there to learn about what commitments were made and what to expect as the 117th Congress unfolds.

The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates both passed their respective marijuana legalization bills. Next, lawmakers will work to merge the legislation into a single proposal to send to supportive Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) announced that he will include a plan to legalize marijuana in his biennial budget proposal next week. He pushed for medical cannabis and marijuana decriminalization two years ago but the Republican-controlled legislature struck out those provisions.

  • “Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin—just like we do already with alcohol—ensures a controlled market and safe product are available for both recreational and medicinal users, and can open the door for countless opportunities for us to reinvest in our communities and create a more equitable state.”

One week after Marijuana Moment pressed state officials on the issue, the California Department of Public Health clarified that cannabis industry workers are generally eligible for priority access to coronavirus vaccines.

  • “Medical cannabis workers should be accommodated as necessary…by nature of their designations in eligible essential workforce classifications.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill to lower penalties for possessing psilocybin mushrooms—the latest move in a growing trend of psychedelic policy reform across the U.S.

Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), along with a bipartisan group of cosponsors, filed a bill to force the Food and Drug Administration to allow hemp-derived CBD to be marketed and sold as a dietary supplement.

As of last week, patients in West Virginia can now officially register with the state’s medical cannabis program—but sales can’t begin until regulators approve a lab to test products.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that many public comments it received about the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program concerned hemp production and regulations.

Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) spoke about the racist nature of marijuana laws and enforcement (about 23:30 into the video).

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “I look forward to seeing progress on cannabis issues this Congress whether it’s #SAFEBanking, research or maybe even the rescheduling of cannabis. We need to do better for these businesses and their employees, to help them stay safe and boost the economy.”

Rep. Ihan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “We need to legalize cannabis and expunge records nationwide to begin undoing the devastation caused by the war on drugs.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “In December, The House passed the #MOREAct to end the federal ban on marijuana. Ending the federal marijuana prohibition is long overdue and a necessary step to reversing the damage the war on drugs has caused to our most vulnerable communities.”


Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) tweeted, “On Monday, I announced legislation to finally expand Medicaid and legalize medical marijuana. This bill will keep our workforce healthy and our economy humming.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, spoke about how his party has evolved on issues such as legalizing marijuana and ending the war on drugs.

The New Jersey Assembly delayed its next quorum to give lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) more time to resolve disagreements about provisions concerning underage people in marijuana legalization enabling legislation, pushing the deadline back to February 18.

The Michigan Supreme Court tweeted about an upcoming State Bar of Michigan seminar on local marijuana regulation issues.

Rhode Island’s Office of Cannabis Regulation has a new director.

Oklahoma has a new top medical cannabis regulator

Hawaii lawmakers are considering bills to legalize marijuana, allow inter-island transport of medical cannabis and reform other aspects of the state’s medical marijuana program.

A Maine representative introduced a bill to loosen restrictions on marijuana advertising.

An Ohio representative filed a bill to add autism spectrum disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

A Colorado representative plans to file legislation to cap marijuana products at 15% THC potency.

California regulators released new forms to facilitate financial institutions receiving information about marijuana businesses.

New Mexico regulators are considering revoking the license of a medical cannabis producer over a fire that injured two employees.

Minnesota regulators will host a hemp forum on Wednesday and Thursday.

Alaska regulators will consider changes to the marijuana fine schedule on Thursday.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.


The Milwaukee County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors is considering a proposal to lower the penalties for marijuana and paraphernalia violations no more than $1.

The Bexar County, Texas district attorney is declining to prosecute some drug cases under a new policy.


Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government is finalizing legislation to legalize medical cannabis.

Jamaica is facing a marijuana shortage.


A study concluded that “there are no significant data associated with periodontal disease and cannabis use.”

A study found that marijuana “may reduce aggressive behaviour towards humans in shelter dogs.”


The Colorado Springs editorial board criticized efforts to decriminalize psychedelics.


The California Labor Commissioner’s Office shut down Castillo Seed Co.’s hemp seed farm after at least 13 full-time employees alleged they have not been paid since December.

Schwazze acquired two additional Star Buds Colorado dispensaries.


David Beckham invested in synthetic CBD product maker Cellular Goods.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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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