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Key chairman to file federal cannabis bill again (Newsletter: March 12, 2021)

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RI gov’s legal marijuana plan; DOJ nom’s drug decrim flip; Top NY lawmaker optimistic for deal; HI legalization imperiled; VA gov weighs bill changes

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for assistant attorney general, supported decriminalizing drugs as an activist with the American Civil Liberties Union, but that’s no longer her position, she told senators at a confirmation hearing—a shift she said she’s “not too proud to admit.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said at a hearing on drug enforcement that he plans to refile his federal marijuana legalization bill this year.

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee (D) included a marijuana legalization plan in his budget proposal—two days after Senate leaders released a legal cannabis bill of their own.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said she’s “really encouraged” about “fruitful” marijuana legalization negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) office and that the reform could happen this month outside of the budget process—comments that came one day after she said talks with the governor were so contentious they’ve reached the point of screaming.

The chairman of Hawaii’s House Judiciary Committee is signaling that he may kill a Senate-passed marijuana legalization bill by simply refusing to give it a hearing.

Under the marijuana bill on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) desk, legalization of possession isn’t set to take effect until 2024 when sales begin. But top staffers for the governor say he is considering speeding up the timeline as lawmakers pressure him to do so.

/ FEDERAL

The federal coronavirus relief and stimulus bill signed into law by President Biden contains $30 million in emergency funding for harm reduction programs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture sent a notice about the finalization of hemp rules.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education held a hearing on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on substance use and mental health issues.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in a floor speech, criticized San Francisco for paying for marijuana and alcohol for homeless people.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) criticized efforts to enact THC potency caps on marijuana, with Gaetz authoring an op-ed urging Florida Republican state lawmakers to drop plans to advance legislation on the idea.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) tweeted, “We’ve seen hundreds of thousands of Americans organizing for DC statehood, marijuana legalization, and a $15 minimum wage. We’ve never seen a single person organizing for preserving the filibuster. We should adjust our priorities accordingly.”

/ STATES

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said she has no plans to pursue further legislation on medical cannabis after her plan to delay its implementation failed to be approved by lawmakers, but she expressed continuing concerns about home cultivation. She also said she hasn’t decided whether to sign or veto a hemp bill on her desk. Meanwhile, the House majority leader said the legislature could establish a summer study committee on medical cannabis.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor posted a tweet with an image that he described as himself acting as the “anger translator” for Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and saying, “There’s already a thriving marijuana industry in PA: a black market that makes criminals rich while we SPEND taxpayer money to prosecute regular people.”

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed legislation to cap medical cannabis business licenses and create a lottery system for awarding them and to strengthen compliance enforcement.

Montana House Republican leaders expect that a bill to implement the voter-approved legalization of marijuana will be filed soon.

The Idaho House State Affairs Committee approved a proposed constitutional amendment to require a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the legislature before any Schedule I or II drug could be legalized.

The Arkansas Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee advanced a bill to extend medical cannabis taxes for another two years.

The New Jersey Assembly Health Committee approved legislation to revise ownership restrictions on medical cannabis dispensaries.

The Georgia Senate Agriculture Committee approved a bill to revise hemp farming and processing rules.

A Colorado lawmaker is revising planned legislation to institute marijuana potency caps.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that regulators must consider a medical cannabis cultivation company’s request to expand.

Arizona regulators reportedly confirmed that every existing nonprofit medical cannabis dispensary in the state applied for and received a recreational marijuana license.

Maine regulators issued guidance on E. coli testing requirements for marijuana.

Florida regulators are conducting a survey of hemp businesses.

Texas regulators posted updated information about the state’s hemp program.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 800 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

People of color accounted for 94% of New York City marijuana arrests last year.

Detroit, Michigan regulators have received nearly 600 applications for marijuana dispensary licenses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government launched a public consultation on medical cannabis home cultivation.

Hungary’s government is opposed to legalizing medical cannabis.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency updated its criteria for which CBD products can stay on the market as of April 1.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that”endocannabinoids are better candidates than endorphins to explain a runner’s high in humans.”

A study of rats found that “CBD prevents cellular metabolic disturbances, protecting the epidermis against UV damage.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board is urging New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujam Grisham (D) to play a more active role in shaping marijuana legalization legislation making its way to her desk.

The New York State PTA sent an email asking its members to urge lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

The Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation is a new organization backed by  Altria, Constellation Brands, Molson Coors Beverage Company and other businesses, and is run by a consultant whose firm has advised governors on criminalizing home cultivation and delaying medical cannabis implementation.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America and Consumer Reports are urging Congress to reject a bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement.

/ BUSINESS

British American Tobacco is acquiring a nearly 20% stake in Organigram Holdings Inc.

Cresco Labs announced that the required waiting period for it to acquire Bluma Wellness Inc. has expired.

Akerna is acquiring Viridian Sciences.

Silver Spike Acquisition Corp II priced its initial public offering at $250 million.

A Green Thumb Industries employee was reportedly fired after reporting to human resources that managers allegedly stole cannabis products and cash for personal use and then directed him to cover up the theft.

/ CULTURE

The website for Seth Rogen’s marijuana brand Houseplant crashed due to heavy interest.

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Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Cannabis arrests dropped amid COVID, FBI says (Newsletter: September 28, 2021)

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NY gov touts marijuana’s jobs potential; FL psychedelics bill; MA drug decrim hearing

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  • Ticio Vargas: “I have followed Marijuana Moment for a while. I’m always impressed how MM is the first to report the most up-to-date news on US cannabis regulation.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Federal Bureau of Investigation data shows that marijuana arrests dropped by more than a third in the U.S. last year as both the COVID-19 pandemic and the legalization movement spread. Still, there was a cannabis bust every 90 seconds on average, and an arrest for drugs in general every 27 seconds.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said the state’s new marijuana market will create “thousands and thousands of jobs.”

  • “So count me in as an ally—someone who’s going to be there for you.”

Florida’s Senate minority leader filed a bill that would require the state to study the medical benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use & Recovery held a hearing on bills to decriminalize drugs and allow safe consumption sites where people could consume illegal substances under medical supervision.

Mississippi’s agriculture and commerce commissioner held a press conference to reiterate his opposition to having any part in regulating medical cannabis while it remains federally illegal.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is being asked to reconsider a decision to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Drug Enforcement Administration’s marijuana scheduling decisions.

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public safety alert about fake prescription pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.

The State Department published a readout of a meeting with Colombian officials to discuss counternarcotics issues.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “Legalize marijuana so we can bring these jobs to communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs.”

Former Rep. Greg Ganske (R-IA) authored an op-ed calling for marijuana legalization.

/ STATES

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Niki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, tweeted, “We need to legalize marijuana and expunge most marijuana convictions. And we can do that in Florida right after we beat @GovRonDeSantis.”

Illinois’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Justice is more than jails, policing, and prisons—it includes healthy communities. I commit to fairness and equality. That’s why @govpritzker, @ICJIA_Illinois, and I aim to Restore, Reinvest, and Renew (#R3) communities devastated by the failed war on drugs through grantmaking. #DYK the #R3 Program receives 25% of tax revenue from adult-use cannabis? Depending on the growth of the market, the R3 Board could disburse up to $125 million per year to address: -Economic development -Violence prevention -Re-entry -Youth development -Civil legal aid.”

The Washington, D.C. Council scheduled a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill for November 19.

A Wisconsin senator who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill posted a photo of herself riding a tractor at a hemp farm.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands regulators are endorsing pending legislation to make changes to marijuana rules.

Massachusetts’s top marijuana regulator criticized how municipalities impose impact fees on marijuana businesses.

Washington State’s Office of Fiscal Management said cannabis revenues appear to be moderating.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board and its advisory subcommittees will hold several meetings this week.

California regulators will discuss dual cannabis and gaming licensing on Monday.

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana rules amendments on October 26.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Los Angeles County, California district attorney dismissed nearly 60,000 marijuana convictions.

Here’s a look at which New York municipalities are opting out of allowing certain cannabis businesses before the deadline.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Toronto, Ontario, Canada is moving to ask the federal government for permission to decriminalize drugs.

Italian activists are pushing the country’s Council of Ministers to extend the deadline to certify signatures on a marijuana referendum because some local officials are taking too long to do so.

Thailand’s government produced a video touting the country’s medical cannabis laws.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “medicinal cannabis use may reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms in clinically anxious and depressed populations.”

A study found “no overall protective relationship between state [medical cannabis laws] and opioid overdose.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

District of Columbia Marijuana Justice is holding a rally on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to push for a legalization vote in Congress.

The Washington Post editorial board criticized a Virginia judge who jailed a witness for admitting that she smoked marijuana earlier in the day before testifying against her alleged domestic violence abuser.

A marijuana stocks investor created a video juxtaposing Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) pledge to block cannabis banking legislation with news coverage of robberies at dispensaries.

The Maryland Minority Cannabis Business Association was recently formed to advocate for diversity in the marijuana industry.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported quarterly revenue of C$54.8 million and an adjusted EBITDA loss of C$13.9 million.

MarinHealth Medical Center is calling on California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to sign a bill requiring hospitals to allow medical cannabis use.

Sedona Ranch Retreats, which has held cannabis coaching sessions, has banned people who get COVID-19 vaccinations.

Harborside Inc. intends to transition to domestic issuer status in the U.S.

Missouri dispensaries have sold more than $113 million worth of medical cannabis since sales began.

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Newsletter

Federal legal cannabis bill gets vote this week in House panel (Newsletter: September 27, 2021)

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More banks work with cannabis biz; Seattle psychedelics decrim advances; KC restricts marijuana testing; WashPost cannabis prisoner ad

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Judiciary Committee will vote on Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s (D-NY)  federal marijuana legalization bill on Wednesday. The measure passed the full House last Congress but did not advance in the Senate. Advocates are hoping this time will be different.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported that the number of banks and credit unions that say they’re serving marijuana businesses ticked up in the past three months following several quarters of declines.

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved the mayor’s proposal to ban pre-employment marijuana testing for most city workers.

The Seattle, Washington City Council Public Safety and Human Services Committee considered a measure to decriminalize psychedelics. The full Council is expected to take up the measure within the next few weeks.

The family of a marijuana prisoner took out a full-page Washington Post ad calling for his freedom and noting that large cannabis companies and celebrities—including Beyonce, Jay Z, Seth Rogen and others—stand to make money in the industry.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report on China’s hemp market.

Customs and Border Protection sent a warning to travelers to stop trying to bring marijuana through the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “‘An estimated 321,000 Americans now work in the legal cannabis industry, outnumbering the country’s dentists, paramedics & electrical engineers.’ Yet the industry & their employees are still forced to operate in cash. It’s past time to pass #SAFEBanking.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tweeted that the National Defense Authorization Act “includes ‘red flag’ provisions that deprive servicemembers of their Second Amendment rights and a provision to allow illicit cannabis businesses to use the banking system, advancing the legalization agenda.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair drug war harms got two new cosponsors for a total of 66.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill on waivers and deferrals for marijuana licensing and application fees.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) reportedly dismissed Norman Birenbaum, director of cannabis programs under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), whom advocates had opposed becoming the head of the new Office of Cannabis Management.

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor and House speaker asked Gov. Tate Reeves (R) to schedule a special session to consider medical cannabis and other legislation this Friday. Meanwhile, the Special Select Committee of the Legislative Black Caucus will hold a medical marijuana hearing on Tuesday.

The Washington State Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s decision that had allowed Chelan Count to shut down a marijuana business.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that evidence of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms discovered during a search by a Customs and Border Protection officer is inadmissible in state court.

Illinois regulators are facing new lawsuits from companies whose applications for marijuana craft grower and transporter applications were disqualified.

Oregon regulators expanded a recall of products with mislabeled THC content.

Michigan regulators announced a voluntary recall of marijuana products due to use of a contaminated trimmer.

Oklahoma’s top medical cannabis regulator met with industry representatives.

New Jersey regulators published an updated list of medical cannabis dispensaries.

A former Maryland delegate authored an op-ed calling for a free market approach to regulating the marijuana industry.

Nevada’s Cannabis Advisory Commission Public Health Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday.

The Louisiana House Medical Cannabis Commission will meet on Friday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Anne Arundel County, Maryland School Board members expressed concerns about a state law requiring policies allowing medical cannabis use at schools.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Italian municipal elections officials are missing deadlines to certify signatures on a marijuana referendum, jeopardizing its chances of qualifying.

Gibraltar’s Parliament approved a medical cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “medical cannabis and cannabinoids may improve impaired sleep among people living with chronic pain, but the magnitude of benefit is likely small.”

The University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Science of Psychedelics received five philanthropic donations worth a total of $7 million.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Washington Post editorial board is urging the Biden administration to support safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

The Des Moines Register editorial board is calling on Iowa lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

The Brookings Institution published a blog post calling on President Joe Biden to end the war on drugs.

The Marijuana Policy Project is hiring a legislative counsel for the southeastern U.S.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $42 million and a net loss of $46.2 million.

Vice looks at the tension between psychedelic companies that want access limited to a medical model and the broader decriminalization movement.

/ CULTURE

Football player La’el Collins was suspended for allegedly trying to bribe a drug test collector.

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MS medical cannabis deal reached for special session (Newsletter: September 24, 2021)

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House officials sends marijuana banking to Senate; Feds fund psilocybin for cigarette cessation study; FBI changes marijuana policy again

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives formally passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains marijuana banking provisions. But the path ahead in the Senate is complicated, with key lawmakers indicating they are not in favor of the move.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which loosened its marijuana policy for agent applicants earlier this summer, more recently added a new arbitrary restriction:  Anyone who has used cannabis more than 24 times as an adult is disqualified.

Mississippi lawmakers reached a deal on medical cannabis legislation to replace the voter-approved measure that was overturned by the state Supreme Court, and they’ll ask Gov. Tate Reeves (R) for a special session as soon as Friday. In a related development, the commissioner of agriculture and commerce told lawmakers in a letter that he wants no part of regulating medical marijuana as long as it remains federally illegal.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is funding research on whether psilocybin can help people quit smoking cigarettes.

  • “To my knowledge it’s the 1st grant from the US government in over a half century to directly study therapeutics of a classic psychedelic.”

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Health and Human Services said a study it funded on differences in opioid-related outcomes among pregnant and parenting women in states with and without medical cannabis laws has been submitted to a scientific journal for publication.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) spoke in a Senate floor speech about a departing staffer’s role in helping to craft cannabis legislation.

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) tweeted, “A few months ago, the largest illegal drug bust in LA County History was conducted in #CA25. While progress was made to combat the illegal marijuana grows, there is still more work to be done to eradicate this problem. I promise to continue to work to combat this problem.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, spoke about both major parties’ reluctance to embrace marijuana reform.

Kentucky Democratic congressional candidate William Compton tweeted, “Here is something that hasn’t been talked about lately: Marijuana. It needs to be legalized. The revenue, alone, would create a massive boost to KY’s economy. Tobacco is our cash crop, it’s time we add Marijuana into that!”

/ STATES

Florida Senate Agriculture Committee members pressed regulators on the lack of medical cannabis licenses awarded to black farmers.

Oklahoma regulators are being sued over the revocation of medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

Montana regulators gave lawmakers an update on formulating marijuana rules. They also revealed that regulations will ban hemp-derived CBD from being sold in marijuana dispensaries.

A new Washington State policy will take effect next month that makes it easier for people with criminal records to participate in the marijuana industry.

An Ohio representative who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill tweeted that it’s been referred to the House Finance Committee and that he’s pushing to get a hearing scheduled.

Missouri regulators said that some medical cannabis products were put on hold in the state’s track and trace system “inadvertently.” Meanwhile, the state has now spent more than $6.7 million defending against legal challenges to licensing decisions.

Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission met.

Nevada regulators will discuss marijuana business issues on Tuesday.

New Jersey regulators will host a webinar on marijuana rules on Tuesday.

Maine regulators will convene the first meeting of the new Medical Marijuana Workgroup on Tuesday.

Michigan regulators will hold a quarterly meeting on marijuana issues on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Missoula County, Montana officials held a meeting to explain a marijuana tax ballot measure.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Scotland’s lord advocate announced a plan to allow police to issue warnings for Class A drugs instead of making arrests.

Canadian retailers sold C$338.9 million worth of legal marijuana in July.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the price of Ohio’s medical marijuana continues to drive dissatisfaction” with the state program.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Cannabis Regulators Association sent comments about federal marijuana legalization provisions to senators.

The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, Oklahoma Dairy Producers Association and other groups sent a letter asking regulators to place a moratorium on issuing new medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

NBC’s Brian Williams made a marijuana edibles joke on air.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs Inc. is acquiring Bay, LLC d/b/a Cure Pennsylvania.

Green Market Report is being acquired by Crain Communications.

Investors in Civilized are pushing out the company’s founders.

Several unlicensed marijuana dispensaries are now operating on the St. Regis Mohawk reservation located within New York.

Eaze launched a program to bring free medical cannabis to low-income patients.

Cookies launched a new product that combines THC and non-psychedelic mushrooms.

The Associated Press Stylebook tweeted, “THC is OK in all references to tetrahydrocannabinol, the compound that gives marijuana its high. CBD is OK for cannabidiol, a compound in cannabis that does not cause a high and is often sold as a dietary supplement or included in creams and other personal care products.”

/ CULTURE

Clint Eastwood won a court default against the CEO of Norok Innovation Inc., which the actor says misappropriated his name to falsely make people think he endorsed its CBD products.

PBS’s Nova will air an episode on the science and criminalization of cannabis on Wednesday.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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