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Judge dismisses cannabis lawsuit (Newsletter: Feb. 27, 2018)

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MA will delay social use & deliveries; Governors weigh in on marijuana; 1st Denver social use permit

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A federal judge acknowledged plaintiffs’ claims that “medical marijuana has, quite literally, saved their lives,” but dismissed their lawsuit challenging cannabis’s Schedule I status.

Massachusetts regulators agreed to delay considering proposed rules allowing marijuana social use areas and delivery services until a later date after receiving intense pressure over those license categories from state officials. But the commission also decided that when it does authorize the services, initial licenses will only be available to people with past drug convictions or who live in neighborhoods with high drug arrest rates.

/ FEDERAL

An unnamed U.S. Department of Justice official says there are “rumblings” that the Trump administration will issue further marijuana guidance.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said he’s working with a bipartisan group of senators on marijuana legislation.

The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on responses to opioid issues on Wednesday.

Illinois Democratic congressional candidate Benjamin Thomas Wolf holds a lit joint in a campaign ad.

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Justin Santopietro supports legalizing marijuana.

/ STATES

A number of governors visiting Washington, D.C. spoke about efforts to implement marijuana laws in light of federal enforcement policy changes:

  • New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D): “It has not impacted us and we believe it will not, although that doesn’t mean we’re not paying attention… We’re proceeding apace, again, beginning to make sure we get the medical piece right because it’s life or death. And then we will deliberately and steadily get to the recreational side.”
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D): “I think that it would be great if at the federal level they could change the schedule of marijuana so that we can get more data on it – do more research. I remind people all the time that probably over 100 medicines that we use routinely in health care come from plants, so let’s be a little bit more open minded and look at potential uses for medicinal marijuana.”
  • Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R): “It’s something that we’re weighing with our attorney general to see what the U.S. attorney general’s doing too. But we do think that if it’s implemented there are some guidelines, as far as licensing and how it is regulated in the state of Oklahoma, that will have to be addressed by our legislature.”
  • Utah Gov. Gary Herbet (R): “[The Obama administration]  turned a blind eye to it. They just let states do it in open violation of the federal law. That’s not how we do things in this country. I think that’s bad process. It’s bad form and sends a bad message… It ought to be a controlled substance just like anything else. It ought to be approved by the FDA. It ought to be in fact prescribed by a doctor and administered by a pharmacist. We probably ought not to have self-medication. The physiology of different people would require probably different quantities of the medicine, and I just think that’s prudent.”
  • Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: “I tried [to ask U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions a question about marijuana], but I couldn’t get called on. He only took about six questions. There were probably 40 governors in the room.”
  • Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D): “As Canada moves in that direction, as Massachusetts and Vermont, it’s going to be a neighborhood thing, and I understand that… I told [Sessions] to stop messing around with marijuana, because it really isn’t important. I have not taken the opportunity to endorse marijuana, but that’s very different than spending resources trying to combat marijuana use. And, quite frankly, if you’re going to be serious about opioids, you can’t be screwing around with marijuana.”
  • Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D): “It’s a shame that [Sessions] has a closed mind, and he’s much more attentive to his old ideology than to the new facts. The fears that he might have had 30 years ago have not been realized, and we wish he would just open his eyes to the reality of the situation. If he did, I think he would no longer try to fight an old battle that the community and the nation is moving very rapidly forward on.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) signed into law a bill fixing a drafting error in marijuana tax legislation.

The Georgia House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee approved legislation to add PTSD and intractable pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Oklahoma Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to restrict medical cannabis if voters approve a June ballot measure.

Tennessee’s House speaker and Health subcommittee chair signed on as cosponsors of medical cannabis legislation.

A Utah representative filed a bill to delay implementation of any ballot measure enacted this November, including the medical cannabis proposal.

Many New Jersey African-American lawmakers are skeptical of marijuana legalization.

Washington State lawmakers’ budget proposals include money to resume issuing and renewing hemp cultivation and processing licenses, contrary to a request from Gov. Jay Inslee (D) to zero out funds.

The Connecticut Board of Physicians approved albinism and osteogenesis imperfecta medical as cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Tuesday.

/ LOCAL

Denver, Colorado regulators approved the city’s first marijuana social use area license.

New York City Council committees held a hearing on marijuana enforcement.

Seattle, Washington Mayor Jenny Durkan (D), a former U.S. attorney, tweeted in support of opening safe injection facilities for illegal drug consumers.

The Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky Urban County Council will vote on a resolution endorsing medical cannabis on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the country’s police oppose allowing medical cannabis exports.

Canadian military officials are grappling with how to handle the country’s impending legalization of marijuana.

Here’s a look at three marijuana bills being considered by German lawmakers.

/ ADVOCACY

The California Democratic Party approved several marijuana platform planks and withheld a reelection endorsement from prohibitionist U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) at its convention.

Hundreds of students from across the world with participate in Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s conference and Capitol Hill lobby day this weekend.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis as a palliative treatment for cancer patients seems to be well tolerated, effective and safe option to help patients cope with the malignancy related symptoms.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Herald editorial board is happy that Massachusetts regulators delayed some marijuana rules.

/ BUSINESS

Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics project in a new report that global consumer spending on legal cannabis will reach $57 billion by 2027.

Canadian firm Cronos Group will be the first marijuana stock listed on Nasdaq.

Massachusetts regulators suspended sales at Healthy Pharms dispensaries after finding pesticide contamination in medical cannabis products.

/ CULTURE     

National Football League teams reportedly don’t care as much about marijuana use by recruits as they used to.

Actress Charlize Theron says  she was “a wake-and-baker for most of my life” and “really appreciated marijuana way more than alcohol or anything else.” She stopped using it because she “just became boring on it,” but is open to “retrying it again because now there’s all these different strains and you can be specific with it.”

Comedian Lewis Black spoke about his consumption of marijuana edibles.

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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 Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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