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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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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 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 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.)


North Dakota legal cannabis measure qualifies for ballot (Newsletter: August 14, 2018)



New MPP executive director; UN launches first-ever marijuana review; McConnell visits another hemp facility

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North Dakota activists collected enough signatures to qualify a far-reaching marijuana legalization initiative for the November ballot, the secretary of state’s office determined. The measure sets no limits on possession amounts or plant counts.

The Marijuana Policy Project has a new executive director. Steve Hawkins, who is taking over this week, previously worked at the NAACP and Amnesty International.

The United Nations World Health Organization has agreed to conduct a first-ever critical review of whether marijuana and its extracts and compounds are properly classified under international drug treaties. In a related move, a critical review of CBD concluded that the substance “has been found to be generally well tolerated with a good safety profile” and does not meet the criteria for being controlled under the conventions.


The U.S. attorney for Colorado touted previous prosecutions for marijuana growing on public lands as harvest season approaches.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles office tweeted, “Don’t poison your baby by using #marijuana during pregnancy. Check out this link for the dangers of #pot + #pregnancy. It is also illegal in #Cali to possess #marijuana. Don’t ruin the life of your unborn child.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) toured a hemp processing facility.

North Dakota’s two U.S. senators and House member discussed the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said she intends to support at least one of Missouri’s medical cannabis ballot measures.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level isn’t just the smart thing to do, it’s also the right thing to do. We can’t keep repeating the same mistakes of the past. Too many lives have been ruined by these regressive policies.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time to pass the REFER Act and prohibit federal spending on efforts to interfere in state and municipal laws dealing with cannabis use, possession, cultivation, and distribution.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “Our fight to win back the Majority is important for several reasons, & ending the failed prohibition on marijuana is one of them.”

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Josh McCall is hosting a marijuana rally.


The campaign behind one Missouri medical cannabis initiative filed lawsuits seeking to block two other measures from appearing on the ballot.

Oklahoma lawmakers and advocates are close to releasing draft medical cannabis implementation legislation. Meanwhile, regulators will discuss medical cannabis food and safety standards on Tuesday.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke about the state’s legalization of marijuana in a speech at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants conference.

Michigan lawmakers are calling on Gov. Rick Snyder (R) to prevent regulators from shutting down medical cannabis businesses that miss a key license application deadline.

A Georgia court is weighing the scope of the state’s 911 medical amnesty law. Separately, the House Study Committee on Industrial Hemp Production held its first meeting.


Dallas County, Texas’s policy to avoid arrests for small amounts of marijuana has only been used in 65 out of a total of 1,544 cases.


Ontario, Canada officials announced that marijuana will be sold in private retail stores will the government will handle online sales.


The California League of Cities is opposing a proposed change to allow marijuana deliveries in municipalities that ban retail sales.


A study concluded that “CBD was associated with sustained reduction in seizure frequency and severity at 24 months.”

Research on impaired driving found that “higher CBD levels predicted greater impairment” and that “there was relatively little evidence of impairment when CBD was zero, even at high THC levels,” suggesting that “THC concentrations alone are not sufficient to predict impairment due to cannabis use.”

A study of mice found that cannabinoids help control and prevent intestinal inflammation.


The Tulsa World editorial board defended Oklahoma colleges’ decision to ban medical cannabis from campus.


A doctor named Sanjay Gupta signed a branding agreement for CBD products with Tree of Knowledge International, and Hemp Industry Daily initially incorrectly reported that it was the CNN star of the same name.

Harborside is going public through a reverse takeover of a Canadian company.

Canadian marijuana industry job postings have more than quadrupled in a year, one site found.


Hackers at the Def Con conference demonstrated artificial intelligence software that can determine the health of cannabis plants by looking at photos of them.

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Photo courtesy of Carlos Gracia.

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Workplace deaths drop in medical cannabis states, study finds (Newsletter: August 13, 2018)



Rapper who opposed legalization opens marijuana store; Racial equity update in MA; Congressman debates cannabis at town hall

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A study found “evidence that legalizing medical marijuana improved workplace safety,” concluding that workplace deaths significantly decline in medical cannabis states.

Marijuana Moment spoke to Massachusetts cannabis commission Shaleen Title about efforts to ensure participation in the legal marijuana industry by communities harmed by the war on drugs. She also addressed the reasons she publicly rejected an invitation to speak at a cannabis conference last week.

  • “You can’t just hope for fairness and inclusion and have it happen…. The main challenge has been to structure the program so that it has a real impact rather than being lip service.”

Rapper B-Real of Cypress Hill, who campaigned against California’s marijuana legalization measure in 2016, is now opening a cannabis retail outlet.


The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City published a magazine article about marijuana legalization’s economic impact in Colorado.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) spoke about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement.

Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD) debated marijuana policy with constituents at a town hall meeting.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is “confident” state medical cannabis protections will be extended.

Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA) said, “I believe states like Massachusetts that have legalized marijuana should be allowed to regulate distribution and use within its borders. Businesses and communities should not be penalized when they are in compliance with state laws.”

Congressman James Comer (R-KY) said, “There’s no question that industrial hemp is economically viable. I get a call from a farmer every other day. More and more farmers want to grow it.”

Congresswoman VIcky Hartzler (R-MO) tweeted, “In Colorado, the annual rate of marijuana-related emergency room visits increased 35% between 2011 and 2015.”

Congressman John Carter (R-TX) and his Democratic challenger disagree on marijuana policy.

The U.S. House bill to respect state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 27.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Andrew Learned tweeted that the war on drugs is ” a lost cause, a waste of resources, and terrible for our marginalized communities. Mandatory minimums are abhorrent, marijuana scheduling is stupid, and our law enforcement has its hands tied enforcing dated laws instead of keeping our community actually safe.”


Florida has spent nearly $2 million in legal bills in various lawsuits concerning the state’s medical cannabis program.

Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy.

New York Democratic attorney general candidate Letitia James, currently New York City’s public advocate, tweeted, “Last year, over 85% of people arrested for possessing less than TWO ounces in a public place in NY were people of color. Let’s restore the justice in our criminal justice system by legalizing recreational marijuana.”

Maryland regulators issued a bulletin clarifying how patients should report potential adverse reactions to medical cannabis products.

Indiana lawmakers and advocates held a town hall meeting to discuss 2019 marijuana reform efforts.

North Dakota regulators received 19 medical cannabis dispensary license applications.

Alaska regulators adopted rules concerning marijuana handler permits.


Manhattan’s district attorney tweeted about how local prosecutors across the country are “ending the unnecessary criminalization of marijuana, which alters lives and perpetuates racial disparities for virtually no public safety reason.”

Harris County, Texas District Attorney Kim Ogg ran as a reformer who pledged to reduce marijuana prosecutions, but her office is pushing for high bond amounts for cannabis possession.


Politicians in Northern Ireland are pushing for a medical cannabis expansion.

Here’s a look at Bangladesh’s bloody “drug war.”

The Organization of Legalizing Medical Cannabis in Korea was formed.


The Colorado Bankers Association hosted a national conference on marijuana banking issues.

New Mexico marijuana industry players are increasing their political donations.

Here’s a look at funding behind Utah’s medical cannabis ballot campaign.


A study of children with epilepsy found that “cannabidiol as an adjunct treatment had some subjective benefit for overall health, with a manageable adverse event profile.”

A study of rates concluded that “CBD exert an antiinflammatory effect in early phase of wound healing process although it was not sufficient promote clinical improvement of oral traumatic ulcerative lesions.”

Spinal Cord Series and Cases published dueling opinion pieces on the role of medical cannabis in treating spinal cord injury.


The Tampa Bay Times editorial board says Florida’s attorney general should stop defending the state’s ban on smoking medical cannabis.

The Journal Times editorial board is worried that Wisconsin marijuana advisory ballot questions could increase turnout and affect the results of other elections.

The Boston Herald editorial board is concerned about legal marijuana’s impact on workplaces and road safety.

The Tulsa World editorial board slammed Oklahoma activists for lying about marijuana legalization signature counts.


The Guardian profiles women leaders in the marijuana industry.


Rapper Action Bronson was arrested for smoking marijuana onstage at a concert in Kosovo.

Rappers Method Man and Redman missed a scheduled appearance at a High Times event in Alaska due to the airplane theft incident that occurred at the Seattle airport.

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Cannabis legalization working well in Denver, gov’t analysis finds (Newsletter: August 10, 2018)



Indian state decriminalizing drugs; Congresswoman has cannabis quips in TV interview; WA moves to overhaul testing & packaging regs

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A government report from Denver, Colorado finds that the city is having success regulating the marijuana industry and is generating increasing amounts of tax revenue.

The Indian state of Sikkim is moving to decriminalize drugs.

Washington State regulators began a process that could significantly overhaul rules for marijuana testing and packaging.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) delivered hilarious and sharp cannabis quips in a Comedy Central appearance.

A research trial on the benefits of medical marijuana for military veterans with PTSD only needs a handful of additional enrollees.


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the FBI coordinated with state and local police in a raid of more than a dozen suspected illegal marijuana growing operations near Denver, Colorado.

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a U.S. Senate candidate, tweeted, “Since Nevadans made it clear that marijuana should be legal, our state has enjoyed more jobs and a strong tax revenue. This is why I’m supporting legislation to regulate marijuana like alcohol.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “I work for the communities ravaged by the “war on drugs” and trapped in a cycle of poverty and mass incarceration by cash bail, payday lenders, mandatory minimums and the school-to-prison pipeline.”


New Jersey’s Senate president said lawmakers are close to agreeing on a final draft of a marijuana legalization bill and that a vote could happen next month. Separately, regulators hosted a conference for people interested in applying for medical cannabis business licenses.

Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson said he opposes legalizing marijuana but understands that “culture is passing me by.”

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine spoke in support of legalizing marijuana at a forum.

Ohio regulators said medical cannabis products should be available to patients by the end of the year.

California water officials are helping to flag illegal marijuana grows for law enforcement.

Michigan regulators approved medical cannabis business licenses. They will not delay a key licensing deadline that could force many businesses to close.

Massachusetts regulators approved more recreational marijuana business licenses. And the state launched a new public education campaign about marijuana.

North Dakota regulators sent an update on medical cannabis implementation.


Activists in Fremont, Ohio qualified a marijuana depenalization measure for the November ballot.

The Sacramento, California City Council approved an equity plan intended to let people impacted by the war on drugs participate in the legal cannabis industry.

Boston, Massachusetts city councilmembers are pressing officials for more information about how they make marijuana businesses permitting decisions.

Local officials at the West Virginia Municipal League conference heard a presentation about marijuana reform.

Los Angeles, California marijuana regulators are now accepting anonymous complaints through their website.


A Welsh police chief is calling for legalization marijuana collectives where people can obtain and socially use cannabis.

The Canadian government released new data from an ongoing survey on marijuana usage patterns.


Massachusetts regulator and longtime activist Shaleen Title rejected an invitation to speak at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition, an event that last year caused controversy and sparked a boycott by inviting Trump ally Roger Stone to be a keynote speaker.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners formed a Cannabis Insurance Working Group.

Here’s a lengthy look at the fight for military veterans to get medical cannabis access.

Clarity PAC is a new Florida marijuana legalization advocacy organization.


The Common Application, used my many college admissions officials, is dropping a question about students’ criminal histories.

Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma announced that medical cannabis will not be allowed on their campuses.

Leafwire is hosting a pitch competition for marijuana companies seeking investment this month.


Musician David Crosby spoke about his new marijuana brand.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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