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Kennedy acknowledges cannabis opposition is an outlier (Newsletter: Feb. 8, 2018)

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State lawmakers consider marijuana referendums; New Fox News poll; Did Trump pressure Israel on cannabis exports?

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) acknowledged in an interview that his anti-marijuana votes put him at odds with his party.

Lawmakers in at least six states are considering bills that would place marijuana legalization referendums on November ballots this year, while another two are weighing medical cannabis referendums.

The former president of the National Rifle Association is calling for an end to federal restrictions on the purchasing firearms by medical cannabis patients.

/ FEDERAL

Rumors are circulating that President Trump pressured Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to suspend medical cannabis imports.

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he thinks the Obama administration “got it right” on marijuana.

Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) published an op-ed slamming U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s position on marijuana.

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and Congressman Denny Heck (D-WA) co-authored an op-ed pushing for marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “It is time we puff, puff, pass bills to protect marijuana businesses and consumers.”

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted that “prosecution of #marijuana has an opportunity cost: it wastes resources that could be used to prosecute opioid sellers, &crack, meth &heroin dealers.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released information it claims “underscore[s] the serious and sometimes deadly risks” of kratom.

The U.S. House bill to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks got one new cosponsor, for a total of 79.

The U.S. House bill to remove the 280E tax penalty on marijuana businesses got one new cosponsor, for a total of 43.

The U.S. House bill to prevent federal authorities for punishing people following state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of seven.

The U.S. House bill to remove marijuana research roadblocks got three new cosponsors, for a total of 10.

FiveThirtyEight takes a lengthy look at U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s regressive criminal justice views.

/ STATES

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), a gubernatorial candidate, supports medical cannabis legislation.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood (D) said he has some concerns about marijuana legalization but views it as inevitable.

Leaders of the group Legalize Maine are financially backing the gubernatorial campaign of legalization opponent Ken Fredette (R), currently the House minority leader.

Connecticut Republican gubernatorial candidate Erin Stewart, currently the New Britain mayor, said she’s “fine with” marijuana legalization.

The Oregon secretary of state’s office slammed regulators for not having “robust” systems to track and secure marijuana.

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee voted 16-1 to approve a bill allowing people who have been prescribed opioids to apply for temporary medical cannabis cards.

The Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee will hear a medical cannabis bill on Thursday.

A member of Ohio’s medical cannabis advisory committee resigned in protest of what he sees as a process “debilitated by bureaucracy” that will likely fail “to provide adequate patient access and physician participation.”

The chair of Florida’s Senate Appropriations Committee is considering withholding funding from the Department of Health over its delays in implementing medical cannabis.

Georgia representatives filed a resolution urging Congress to “deschedule marijuana or otherwise allow the states and territories of the United States of America to determine for themselves the best means of regulating marijuana.”

Puerto Rico’s Senate is investigating promotional practices in the medical cannabis industry.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering legislation to allow reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients.

California regulators released marijuana tax guidance. And education officials launched resources aimed at preventing teen cannabis use under legalization.

Washington State regulators released guidance on marijuana tracking, and separately canceled the license of a cannabis retail outlet with a $1.4 million delinquent tax bill.

Michigan regulators sent an update to medical cannabis business license applicants.

/ LOCAL

Fulton County, Georgia commissioners are considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is hosting a series of town hall meetings about legalizing medical cannabis.

A new report shows continued racial disparities in New York City marijuana and other drug arrests.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Antigua and Barbuda Parliament approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

The International Criminal Court is launching a “preliminary examination” of the Philippine government’s bloody “war on drugs.”

The Canadian government may need to rely on controversial procedural moves to accelerate the Senate’s consideration of a pending marijuana legalization bill.

Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is pushing legislation to allow medical cannabis production.

Greece is fast-tracking medical cannabis legislation as a move to generate revenue.

A South Korea lawmaker introduced a medical cannabis bill.

/ ADVOCACY

The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund slammed U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) efforts to block Justice Department nominees over federal marijuana policy.

Maryland activists held a lobby day in support of a new marijuana legalization referendum bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of police actions in Nigeria concluded that “crackdowns constitute a form of structural violence in the everyday life of cannabis users, and have negative effects on their health and social and economic well-being.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A Fox News poll found that U.S. voters support legalizing marijuana, 59% – 32%.

A poll found that 76% of Virginia voters support decriminalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

The founder of Lagunitas Brewing Co. says that legal marijuana is going to be “way, way, way, way bigger” than craft beer.

Leafly announced it will stop listing unlicensed marijuana businesses in California.

Tilray raised C$60 million in Series A financing.

USA Today looks at how airports in legalization states are handling marijuana issues.

Legal marijuana production in the small African nation of Lesotho is controlled by a U.S.-based company.

Keystone ReLeaf LLC, which failed to get a Pennsylvania medical cannabis business license, is suing regulators to overturn their selection process.

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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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