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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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VA opening up to cannabis? (Newsletter: Feb. 20, 2018)

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NBA players push league for marijuana changes; AL decrim hearings; Bill Nye talks legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A little-noticed update to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs webpage admits that it “can look at marijuana as an option for treating Veterans.” And new documents reveal that Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin discussed medical cannabis as part of an overseas trip.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump tapped a Pennsylvania state representative who vigorously opposed medical cannabis to serve as a regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Pennsylvania congressional candidates Conor Lamb and Rick Saccone debated about medical cannabis.

/ STATES

A Virginia  bill allowing doctors to recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition is on its way to Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) desk.

The Alaska House of Representatives approved an industrial hemp bill.

An Indiana court ruled that admitting to past possession of marijuana — even in a state where doing so is legal — is sufficient justification for police to deploy a drug-sniffing dog.

A report concluded that fewer than one percent of California’s marijuana growers have been licensed by the state.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

Alabama’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees will hear marijuana decriminalization bills on Wednesday.

Maine lawmakers are considering reducing the number of marijuana plants people can grow at home.

Colorado regulators released a bulletin about upcoming changes to marijuana packaging and labeling requirements.

A Tennessee judge is allowing stores that were shuttered by police for selling CBD products to reopen.

Tuesday is Arkansas regulators’ deadline for reviewing and scoring medical cannabis cultivation license applications. Winners will be announced next week.

Oklahoma senators debated medical cannabis in a TV appearance.

Here’s a look at competing Missouri medical cannabis ballot measures that may qualify for the ballot this year.

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet said marijuana doesn’t bother her. (About 18:00 into the audio.)

/ LOCAL

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is holding public hearings on medical cannabis this and next week.

Activists behind Detroit, Michigan medical cannabis ballot initiatives that were overturned by a judge are considering whether to appeal the ruling.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment debated medical cannabis.

The New Zealand House of Representatives will debate a bill to increase drug penalties this week.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “the oral fluid test is a highly valid method for detecting the presence of THC in the blood but cannot be used to accurately measure the blood THC concentration.”

UC San Diego Health hasn’t seen a rise in marijuana-related hospitalizations since legalization went into effect in California.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Herald editorial board is criticizing legalization advocates’ reaction to officials’ suggestion that rules for marijuana delivery services and social use areas be slowed down.

/ CULTURE     

The National Basketball Players Association is pushing the NBA to allow medical cannabis use.

Scientist Bill Nye spoke with Rolling Stone about his support for legalizing marijuana.

MMA fighter Nate Diaz was shown lighting a joint on a UFC TV broadcast.

Comedian Seth Rogen posted a video of himself using a high-tech gravity bong.

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Kennedy doesn’t want cannabis crackdown, despite voting record (Newsletter: Feb. 19, 2018)

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Arpaio “kind of” backs medical cannabis; Israel decrim advances; CA warning letters go out

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) acknowledged that his anti-marijuana views are out of step with his constituents and said he’s “not proposing a crackdown,” even as he has repeatedly voted to allow federal agents to interfere with state laws.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Army Sec. Mark Esper spoke about enlistment waivers for recruits who have used marijuana.

Republican Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff, voiced support for medical cannabis.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that a key part of anti-drug strategy should be to tell “young people and adults don’t get started” using drugs.

Former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan is considering running for Congress in New York, and his tentative campaign site says he supports decriminalizing drugs.

/ STATES

Colorado gubernatorial candidates spoke about marijuana legalization implementation.

California regulators sent hundreds of warning letters to unlicensed marijuana businesses.

The co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy is not happy about proposed rules that would allow cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Utah’s House speaker spoke about efforts to enact medical cannabis legislation despite federal prohibition.

Here’s a look at where individual New Jersey lawmakers stand on legalizing marijuana.

Ohio regulators are offering to pause medical cannabis business licensing in light of a “critical flaw'” discovered in a recent audit.

Montana regulators released final medical cannabis rules.

A Missouri representative introduced bills to decriminalize marijuana and remove cannabis’s classification as a controlled substance.

A New York assemblymembers filed a bill to add autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition. Separately, the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Conference held a panel discussion on marijuana legalization.

Colorado arrests for illegal marijuana manufacturing are reportedly on the rise.

The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners will hear testimony about adding PTSD and chronic pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions on Monday.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will hold a public meeting on Tuesday.

The Seattle Times look at issues related to possible diversion of marijuana from Washington State.

/ LOCAL

A judge struck down a Detroit, Michigan voter initiative that allowed medical cannabis businesses to operate in more locations.

Nearly four percent of Denver, Colorado’s electricity use is devoted to growing marijuana, new data shows.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Alberta, Canada’s provincial government released marijuana regulations.

UK regulators denied a medical cannabis license for a six-year-old boy with severe epilepsy.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana in an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show.

/ ADVOCACY

The president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys claimed that “nobody’s going to jail” for marijuana possession.

The executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law appeared to blame the Department of Justice’s focus on drug law enforcement for the FBI not preventing the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The Conservative Political Action Conference this month will feature a debate about marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that policies allowing homegrown marijuana lead to “lower health and social risks.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district support legalizing marijuana, 46%-43%.

/ BUSINESS

The Girls Scouts of Colorado moved to treat marijuana dispensaries like any other business, allowing girls to sell cookies outside them.

The National Conference of Weights and Measures formed a Cannabis Task Group to develop uniform weights and measures standards for the industry.

New Hampshire medical cannabis sales are increasing.

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Cannabis banking access at “top of the list” for Treasury Dept. (Newsletter: Feb. 16, 2018)

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Canadian legalization delayed; Gardner lifts some DOJ holds; Amendment shields immigrants from deportation for cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said that fixing marijuana businesses’ access to banks is at the “top of the list” of his department’s concerns.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is lifting holds he placed on some Department of Justice nominees over a marijuana policy dispute after U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein showed “good faith” and “willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought,” according to the senator.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced, but did not force a vote on, a far-reaching marijuana reform proposal as an amendment to broad criminal justice reform legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) filed an amendment to protect immigrants from being deported or denied visas for marijuana activity that complies with state laws.

Congressional appropriations leaders are currently negotiating whether language allowing military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors will be included in Fiscal Year 2018 legislation.

Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and two cosponsors filed legislation to codify the provisions of the now-rescinded Cole Memo into law.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver office is pushing Colorado regulators to release updated data about marijuana legalization.

The U.S. Secret Service settled a lawsuit concerning access to visitor logs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and other agencies.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) cited marijuana law reform as an issue on which he is working to find “common ground” with Republicans.

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) supports adding PTSD and chronic pain as CBD medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) indicated he won’t necessarily sign pending legislation directing the state to grow medical cannabis for certain patients.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) told regulators to slow down with proposed far-reaching marijuana rules. And nearly 80 lawmakers also want to delay allowing cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (D) held a debate about marijuana legalization with Republican congressional candidate Joe Peters.

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich (D), a former congressman, said that if elected he would review cases of all people convicted of low-level non-violent drug crimes to consider commutations.

The New Mexico Senate approved resolutions requesting that regulators add opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition and urging Congress to expand medical cannabis protections to cover people who live on tribal lands. Lawmakers also passed legislation creating a study commission to examine allowing safe injection sites for illegal drug consumers.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee voted to consider marijuana legalization legislation.

The Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee amended a previously approved bill to let doctors recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition so that it will take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

The Oregon Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill easing hemp cultivation.

New Jersey senators filed a marijuana decriminalization bill in a move that is seen as an attempt to undercut the push for full legalization. Separately, an assemblywoman introduced legislation to remove limits on the amount of medical cannabis allowed to be dispensed at one time and expand access to edible forms.

The Arizona House Health Committee voted 6-3 to approve legislation making it a felony for doctors to violate medical cannabis regulations.

A California senator filed a bill to allow special needs students to use medical cannabis at school.

Ohio regulators said a human error led to a proposed medical cannabis cultivation business being inadvertently left off a list of successful applicants.

Maryland regulators settled a lawsuit with companies that failed to win medical cannabis business licenses.

Michigan regulators released the design of an official symbol that will need to appear on packaging for all medical cannabis products.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider proposed rules on marijuana packaging and labeling.

Here’s a look at the prospects for medical cannabis in Missouri.

/ LOCAL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney is directing prosecutors to drop marijuana possession cases that are still charged as misdemeanors. And along with the mayor, he co-authored an op-ed calling the war on drugs “a big mistake.”

A lawyer for Denver, Colorado recommended that regulators approve the city’s first marijuana social use area.

Dekalb County, Georgia commissioners approved a resolution asking state lawmakers to allow counties to decriminalize marijuana.

A proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Easton, Pennsylvania appears to not have enough support to pass.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Canadian government move to escalate Senate consideration of pending marijuana legalization legislation has failed. A final vote is expected on or before June 7, which would not leave enough time for the government to implement the law by its original July target.

/ ADVOCACY

Prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana released a report claiming that the costs of legalizing marijuana in Connecticut would outweigh tax revenues.

/ BUSINESS

Pennsylvania medical cannabis sales began.

Canadian Securities Administrators  published guidance outlining disclosure expectations for issuers with U.S.-based marijuana interests.

BioTrackTHC was chosen to run North Dakota’s medical cannabis seed-to-sale tracking system.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian David Spade smoked marijuana at Ellen Degeneres’s birthday party.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley said he doesn’t understand “the fascination” with marijuana, but doesn’t judge other people for using it.

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