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James Cole speaks about Sessions undoing his cannabis memo (Newsletter: July 12, 2018)

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New marijuana amendments in Congress; Study: medical cannabis laws lower opioid prescriptions; OK regs signed into law

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana Moment talked cannabis with former top U.S. Department of Justice  official James Cole. He told us:

  • Good people smoke marijuana, contrary to Jeff Sessions’s claim
  • Federal legalization is inevitable
  • He spoke to President Obama while drafting the Cole Memo

He also said a key reason why there haven’t actually been marijuana enforcement actions since Sessions rescinded the Cole Memo is that many U.S. attorneys are politically ambitious, and cracking down on cannabis is a political loser in many states.

The U.S. House Rules Committee will decide next week whether to allow floor votes on new measures to let marijuana businesses access banks and give Washington, D.C. the ability to spend its own money legalizing and regulating cannabis sales.

Another study found that state medical cannabis laws are associated with significant reductions in opioid prescriptions. “[I]f all the states had legalized medical cannabis by 2014, Medicaid annual spending on opioid prescriptions would be reduced by 17.8 million dollars,” the researchers projected.

/ FEDERAL

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration spokesperson said that Oklahoma medical cannabis regulations requiring that dispensaries have pharmacists on staff could put those workers at risk of losing their prescribing licenses. The agency is slated to meet with federal prosecutors to determine how to respond to the new state law.

The U.S. Senate’s hemp legalization language in the Farm Bill would bar people with felony drug convictions from participating in the newly legal industry.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing for James Carroll’s nomination to be director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The U.S. Department of Justice finalized rules that will allow the Drug Enforcement Administration to take into consideration the extent to which a drug is diverted for illegal use when it sets annual opioid production limits.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a blog post on how science is being used to detect illegal marijuana grow operations.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) slammed Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) for vetoing a medical cannabis expansion bill, saying that she supports Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa’s (D) primary challenge against him.

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA), who supports medical cannabis, said that he opposes marijuana decriminalization but thinks it’s going to happen anyway. Democratic challenger Anthony Flaccavento supports it.

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a U.S. Senate candidate, tweeted that her opponent, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), “stood on the sidelines while Attorney General Jeff Sessions attacked Nevada’s legal marijuana industry. I’ll work with both parties to defend the will of the voters and keep these businesses free from federal interference.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who supports legalization, dismissed a question about U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s position on marijuana.

Florida Democratic congressional candidates Lauren Baer and Pam Keith support decriminalizing marijuana.

The U.S. House bill to respect state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of 23.

/ STATES

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed medical cannabis regulations into law. Democratic gubernatorial nominee Drew Edmondson said the new rules, which ban the sale of smokable forms of marijuana, “represent yet another failure of government.” Advocates are considering a lawsuit.

A woman whose daughter suffers from a seizure disorder filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Washington State restrictions on marijuana advertising because those policies allegedly block patients from receiving information about treatments.

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Flynn said that countywide marijuana legalization advisory ballot questions will boost voter turnout.

Kansas Democratic gubernatorial candidates voiced support for medical cannabis.

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson said he supports medical cannabis but not marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at workplace issues related to New York’s medical cannabis law.

/ LOCAL

A La Crosse County, Wisconsin Board committee advanced a marijuana legalization advisory measure for the November ballot.

The Walworth County, Wisconsin Board killed a marijuana legalization advisory measure proposed for November’s ballot.

At least two Vermont municipalities have preemptively enacted local prohibitions on marijuana sales in anticipation of potential future broad statewide legalization.

Here’s a look at how the lure of marijuana tax revenue affects Oregon municipalities’ decision on local cannabis commerce bans.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canada’s public safety minister says he has discussed the U.S.’s policy of applying lifetime bans on foreigners who have used marijuana  in “virtually every conversation with American counterparts, including the previous and current Secretary of Homeland Security.”

The parents of an epileptic girl who has been hospitalized are asking UK regulators to issue a special license allowing medical cannabis use.

/ ADVOCACY

The Oklahoma Democratic Party criticized regulators’ decision to ban the sale of smokable medical cannabis.

The NAACP’s annual convention will feature programming on “the Fight for Racial Justice on the Cannabis Frontier.”

The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association formed in anticipation of at least one medical marijuana ballot measure being approved this November.

NORML is questioning police tactics that led to the death of a Pennsylvania man being pursued for suspected low-level marijuana cultivation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A survey found that 50% of Canadian pediatricians have encountered patients who had used medical cannabis.

A survey found that a majority of Australian general practitioners support medical cannabis access.

The journal Nature looks at genetically modified marijuana.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A New England Journal of Medicine op-ed endorses modernizing federal marijuana laws in light of state legalization.

/ BUSINESS

Marijuana dispensaries that sold TreatWell products until the company’s then-CEO Alison Ettell called the police on an eight-year-old girl for selling water without a permit are now holding a fundraiser for the young entrepreneur.

Maryland medical cannabis dispensaries sold $36,654,926 worth of product in the program’s first six months.

The creator of the marijuana-focused podcast High, Good People was chosen as one of ten people to participate in a Spotify workshop for women of color—out of 18,000 applicants.

Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail is hiring three marijuana reporters.

/ CULTURE

The executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association said that the union is considering whether league drug policy changes are needed in light of Canada’s legalization of marijuana.

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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 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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Governor signs legal cannabis bill in US territory (Newsletter: Sep. 21, 2018)

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FDA head: marijuana more dangerous than nicotine; NY lawmakers schedule legalization hearing; NJ sheriff’s racist legalization comments caught on tape

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 335 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making the territory the first place in the U.S. to end prohibition without first having a medical cannabis program.

U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that we should be more worried about teens using marijuana than nicotine.

The sheriff of New Jersey’s most populous county was caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization:

  • “Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

Four New York Assembly committees scheduled the first of what will be four separate joint hearings on marijuana legalization this fall.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is facing a potential lawsuit over its role in an investigation into a California marijuana distribution company.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office tweeted, “IS EATING MARIJUANA MORE DANGEROUS THAN SMOKING MARIJUANA? YES! There is high potential for overdose from #marijuana #edibles. #DontDoDrugs”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “We just have to be not so stupid as to impair our own progress. There is no reason for us to be creating wealth in Canada for cannabis companies by importing Canadian weed.”

  • Gaetz also tweeted, “Last week, the @HouseJudiciary passed my bill, the Medical Cannabis Research Act, which will help scientists and researchers study #cannabis and #unlock its medical potential. Congress must continue working across party lines to pass meaningful #CannabisReform”

West Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Richard Ojeda defended himself from attacks by the state’s Republican Party for meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), tweeting, “Yep. I was out there with a congressman who wants to work together to create legislation to protect 2nd Amendment Rights for those who receive a medical cannabis card. Are you guys pro 2nd???”

  • Ojeda also tweeted, “Hemp and medical cannabis combined with the jobs those industries create would be a game changer for our state.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information for commercial purposes.

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said the state should not legalize marijuana but instead expand access to medical cannabis.

Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any final licenses at its Thursday meeting.

Florida regulators are asking an appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling allowing a man to grow his own medical cannabis.

West Virginia lawmakers are asking the state attorney general for an update on his legal opinion about providing banking services to medical cannabis businesses.

A Utah billboard urging people to support the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure is being temporarily taken down while the advertising company reviews election laws concerning anonymous political ads.

A Missouri medical cannabis ballot initiative campaign is raising money to place its first ad on TV.

Maryland regulators have been forced to repeatedly override medical cannabis rules in recent weeks due to problems with the state’s track-and-trace software.

Alaska regulators will meet on October 16 and 17 to consider marijuana establishment license applications and related rules.

Arkansas’s hemp research program is experiencing delays.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney tweeted a video of a talk he gave at a marijuana event.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s incoming government will approve medical cannabis regulations, a top health official said.

/ ADVOCACY

A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that “black people were 2.9 times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Louisiana,11 despite evidence that black people and white people use marijuana at similar rates.”

The Marijuana Policy Project published a voter guide for New Hampshire’s general election.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A federal survey found that Americans aged 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke marijuana on a monthly basis than teens aged 12 to 17.

A review concluded that “cannabinoid drugs were associated with modest increases in experimental pain threshold and tolerance, no reduction in the intensity of ongoing experimental pain, reduced perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli, and no reduction of mechanical hyperalgesia.”

A study found that MDMA “enhances acute prosocial behaviors” in octopuses.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Mexico voters support legalizing marijuana, 60%-32%.

/ BUSINESS

Bloom Automation is building robots to harvest marijuana.

The Associated Press looks at growing interest in marijuana stocks on Wall Street.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dax Shepard defended his wife Kristen Bell’s marijuana use.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Congressman want feds to “buy American’ cannabis (Newsletter: Sep. 20, 2018)

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OH & NM gov candidates clash on marijuana; PETA says getting lobsters high isn’t “humane”; CA gov vetoes bill letting cannabiz write off expenses

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 332 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is questioning why the federal government approved a deal to import marijuana products from Canada for a research study instead of granting more licenses to domestic cannabis cultivators.

  • “What happened to ‘buy American, hire American?'”

Gubernatorial candidates in Ohio and New Mexico clashed on marijuana legalization during debates.

A Maine restaurant is getting lots of press for its supposedly “humane” practice of blowing marijuana smoke on lobsters before boiling them. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is not buying it:

  • “It is highly unlikely that getting a lobster high would make a lick of difference when it comes to the full-blown agony of being boiled or steamed alive.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted again from a Department of Justice marijuana meeting.

A provision of a House-passed opioids bill, which is not in the Senate version, would give the U.S. attorney general the power to create a new category of scheduling for synthetic drugs.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and her Democratic challenger debated marijuana research restrictions.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) tweeted about an upcoming event to help people clear their misdemeanor marijuana convictions and outstanding summons warrants.

North Dakota congressional candidates said they will vote against the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure but believe that the federal government should not interfere with state cannabis laws.

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Mimi Methvin tweeted about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement.

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed bills clarifying that marijuana distributors can transport products to other distributors and that labs can test home-grown cannabis. He also vetoed a bill that would have allowed marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses under the state’s personal income tax law.

Staffers for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders are expected to meet on Thursday to hammer out details of a marijuana legalization bill that could be introduced and voted on soon.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tweeted, “We want to hear from communities across the state as we work to draft legislation on a regulated marijuana program in New York.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana.

An Oregon advisory committee is urging regulators to rescind purchasing restrictions on medical cannabis.

A Montana judge indicated he may overturn regulators’ decision to strip licenses from two medical cannabis businesses.

Guam senators are set to consider three medical cannabis expansion bills next month.

Massachusetts regulators are accepting public comment about the state’s medical cannabis program.

Here’s a look at the looming launch of California’s marijuana track-and-trace system.

Alaska marijuana businesses are criticizing regulatory hurdles and delays.

/ LOCAL

Minneapolis, Minnesota’s mayor tweeted, “A majority (56%!) of Minnesotans understand that marijuana legalization is a huge opportunity to improve our criminal justice system while increasing important resources for social services & drug treatment.”

New York’s City Council speaker tweeted, “New York is about to enter the 21st century when it comes to marijuana. I 100% support the full legalization of marijuana – always have & always will. From decreasing number of arrests to creating jobs & revenue, it’s a no-brainer.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The chief minister of Australia’s Capital Territory said he’s “favourably disposed towards” legalizing marijuana.

Georgia’s government halted plans to legalize medical cannabis cultivation following protests from the Orthodox Church.

Colombia saw a record level of coca production last year.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Cannabis Industry Association released a report making the case that marijuana reform is a winning issue for whichever candidates or political parties fully embrace it first. (Disclosure: I worked with NCIA to compile the report.)

Opponents of Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure held a press conference.

The vice president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police published an op-ed urging lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

The Nevada Resort Association is urging Las Vegas officials to delay consideration of a proposal to allow marijuana consumption lounges.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Long Island and New York City residents support legalizing marijuana, 50% – 40%.

A poll asked Great Britain adults whether they think it is acceptable for CEOs to use marijuana and other drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray Inc. stock took a metaphorical roller coaster ride on Wednesday.

Canopy Rivers Corp. is going public.

The Financial Times looks at the impact of marijuana legalization on property values.

/ CULTURE

Musician Macy Gray spoke about her involvement in the marijuana industry.

Former NBA player Matt Barnes said he smoked marijuana before every game.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Is psilocybin next for drug reformers after cannabis legalization? (Newsletter: Sep. 19, 2018)

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O’Rourke gives fiery speech on marijuana & Botham Jean; CA gov can’t stop dissing cannabis consumers; Trump admin organizing anti-drug meeting at UN

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https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, delivered fired up comments about marijuana, Botham Jean’s killing by police and the racially discriminatory drug war.

Activists in Denver, Colorado and Oregon took steps this month toward qualifying ballot measures allowing psilocybin use.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has a history of saying mean-spirited and inaccurate things about people who use cannabis, took a dig at marijuana consumers in an unrelated comment about fighting back against climate change.

  • “We either do nothing and smoke marijuana because it’s legalized, or we put our shoulder to the plow and do everything we can.”

/ FEDERAL

The Trump administration is organizing a drug policy event outside of this month’s United Nations General Assembly, according to leaked documents.

The Department of Justice convened a meeting in Denver for U.S. attorneys to discuss marijuana policy.

Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT) said she’s undecided on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure, while her Democratic challenger supports it.

Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and his Democratic opponent are taking differing positions on rescheduling marijuana.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) discussed marijuana policy while sampling CBD-infused beer.

The U.S. Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of five.

The U.S. House bill to protect federal employees from getting fired for state-legal marijuana use got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.

/ STATES

Here’s an advance look at the details of New Jersey’s soon-to-be-filed marijuana legalization bill. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) supports a higher tax rate than is proposed in the bill, but said he’s “not ruling anything out.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke about his support for expanding marijuana research.

Utah’s lieutenant governor asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to remove a medical cannabis initiative from the state’s ballot.

California’s treasurer tweeted, “We’re exploring a public cannabis bank so biz don’t have to operate purely in cash. Carrying around thousands of dollars paints a target on legal biz & increases violence in communities. Until DC takes action, CA will lead on legalized cannabis.”

A Missouri appeals court affirmed a judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit that one medical cannabis campaign filed seeking to remove a competing measure from the ballot.

Here’s a look at where Minnesota gubernatorial candidates stand on legalizing marijuana.

Illinois Democratic attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul said he supports legalizing marijuana but wants to regulate edibles.

Alaska regulators certified changes to rules on marijuana advertising and promotions.

Massachusetts regulators will consider granting marijuana retail, cultivation and manufacturing licenses on Thursday.

Here’s a look at where New York is on the path to legalizing marijuana.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney spoke at a marijuana industry event, saying he wants cannabis entrepreneurs to “be successful and legal.”

The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City Council adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The South African government and lawmakers reacted to a court ruling overturning the prohibition on using and growing marijuana for personal use.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the death sentence of a man convicted of selling medical cannabis oil should be reviewed.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study “demonstrated rapid and durable improvement in social anxiety symptoms in autistic adults following MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.”

A majority of participants in a trial on CBD’s effects on severe epilepsy are seeing improvement in seizures.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Maryland residents support legalizing marijuana, 62% – 33%.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. addressed reports that it is in talks with the Coca-Cola Company about making CBD beverages together.

/ CULTURE

Actress Kristen Bell said she likes to vaporize marijuana and watch 60 Minutes.

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted, “Coca-Cola is supposedly considering cannabis-infused drinks. Just a reminder: there are still people in prison because of marijuana. Let’s address that first.”

Maine restaurant Charlotte Grill thinks it’s more “humane” to blow marijuana smoke into a box of lobsters before boiling them to death.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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