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Key congressional chair sends cannabis email to NORML activists (Newsletter: August 13, 2019)

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POTUS candidate wants to bank marijuana biz; Top Senate Dem calls for hemp banking guidance; OR psilocybin measure ballot title draft; DEA app delays

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In one of his only on-the-record comments about marijuana policy to date, 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer hinted that he would be financing cannabis businesses through his own bank if not for federal prohibition.

In a notable signal of how the marijuana legalization movement has entered the mainstream corridors of power on Capitol Hill, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent NORML’s email list a request to help build support for his new cannabis bill.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter urging federal financial regulators to provide clarity on banking access for hemp businesses. He also visited a hemp farm.

Oregon’s attorney general filed a draft ballot title for a proposed initiative to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for medical use. Notably, the measure states that regulators “may not require a client to be diagnosed with or have any particular medical condition as a condition to being provided psilocybin service.”

A full three years ago on Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it was accepting applications for additional growers of marijuana to be used in research—but it hasn’t yet acted on a single proposal, despite pledges from the attorney general.

/ FEDERAL

Attorney General William Barr criticized reform-minded local district attorneys who are “refusing to prosecute…drug cases, even where the suspect is involved in distribution.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture data indicates that hemp crop acreage in the U.S. has more than quadrupled in the past year.

The Department of Justice charged a friend of the man who carried out a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio with lying about his mariuana consumption on a federal form used to purchase a handgun that was not used in the killings.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, called it a “crazy injustice” that New Hampshire stores sell alcohol along the highway while marijuana remains illegal.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about how his fears about marijuana legalization didn’t come true.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) said that while he doesn’t think his state should change its marijuana laws, he is examining ways to address cannabis businesses’ banking access issues.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) tweeted, “Legal marijuana businesses need to be able to open a bank account, pay employees, take out credit cards, & write checks. The SAFE Banking Act is a game changer. It gives cannabis businesses access to basic banking services, making the industry safer and the future brighter.”

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) published an op-ed urging New Mexico lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill expanding the state’s medical cannabis program.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) tweeted about her administration’s move to let patients from any state go to the city’s medical cannabis dispensaries. Separately, a District Council staffer was charged with firing a gun outside a marijuana pop-up store.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the odor of unburnt marijuana coming from a warehouse is not in itself probable cause to search the building. Separately, regulators will hold public hearings on cannabis social use areas and delivery services on Wednesday and Thursday.

Guam regulators are asking lawmakers for funding to implement a medical cannabis program.

Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Commission will hold its first meeting on Tuesday.

Oregon regulators tweeted about a national hemp conference being hosted in Portland this week.

Washington State regulators will host a session on marijuana quality assurance testing and product requirements on August 22.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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

Manhattan’s district attorney reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit to seal the records of about 350 people convicted of misdemeanor marijuana offenses.

Cincinnati, Ohio’s vice mayor announced that prosecutions and charges of 100 grams of marijuana or less will be dismissed.

The Cutler Bay, Florida Town Council passed a resolution supporting marijuana legalization.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney tweeted, “In a deeply unequal society with a broken health care system, smart drug policy driven by good science and harm reduction strategies can save more lives than law enforcement alone could ever hope to.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexican lawmakers held the first in a series of scheduled public meetings on marijuana legalization.

Barbados’s attorney general said a medical cannabis bill is being introduced in Parliament.

The son of UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is opening an “all hemp” shop and cafe.

/ ADVOCACY

The Greater Baltimore Urban League rejected a request to let police use its headquarters to conduct covert surveillance of suspected nearby drug dealing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of a cannabis flavinoid demonstrated “the potential for this new cannabis derivative in the treatment of both localized and advanced pancreatic cancer.”

A survey of attendees at electronic dance music events found that “34.3% posted on social media while high (with 21.4% regretting it), 55.9% had texted or called someone while high (with 30.5% regretting it), and 47.6% had been in a photo while high (with 32.7% regretting it).”

/ BUSINESS

A second CannTrust marijuana cultivation facility was found to be “non-compliant with certain regulations.”

Flower Co. bought cats.com.

Headset and PAX Labs entered into a data-sharing deal.

FlowerCraft, an Oklahoma medical cannabis business run by the couple that got legalization on the state’s ballot, is closing, citing regulatory hurdles and banking issues.

/ CULTURE

The new HBO show “Pico de Neblina” depicts a fictional Brazil where marijuana has just been legalized.

Musician Carlos Santana spoke about how he performed at Woodstock under the influence of mescaline.

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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

Mexican president forms cannabis committee (Newsletter: January 28, 2020)

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Pentagon sends CBD warning to soldiers; VT gov “at the table” in legal marijuana sales talks; More USDA hemp approvals; Legalizers bash Trump comments

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There are now 1,132 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the government is forming a commission to study marijuana issues and make recommendations on legalization legislation ahead of an April 30 deadline to end prohibition.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) is “at the table” in ongoing negotiations about legislation to legalize marijuana sales, the state’s House majority leader said in a new interview.

  • “I think there’s a lot of interest from the governor on this bill and even use some of the funding for some of his programs and ideas, taking some of the money that would come from a taxed system for marijuana.”

The Department of Defense and Air Force issued notices warning service members not to use CBD products.

  • “Bottom line, even if legal on the state level, and even if the label of the CBD product states there is no THC content, CBD use remains prohibited for military members.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave federal approval to more state and tribal hemp plans—including  those for Delaware, Nebraska and Texas.

Marijuana legalization advocates are pushing back against President Trump’s secretly recorded claim that cannabis use lowers IQ.

  • “What truly causes a decline in an individual’s intelligence is adhering to false Reefer Madness rhetoric that flies in the face of available science,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri, said. “If President Trump truly believes that responsible marijuana use by adults leads to a loss of IQ points, we suggest he immediately consults his physician to see if he is suffering from this affliction or at the very least consults the wide body of available research that debunks this old talking point.”

/ FEDERAL

The House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on legislation to grant the Drug Enforcement Administration class-wide scheduling authority for fentanyl analogues.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) tweeted about discussing marijuana legalization with medical professionals.

North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Steve Woodsmall tweeted, “Hemp is the perfect crop for North Carolina’s agricultural future – we must invest in this industry. In congress I’ll fight for hemp and hemp farmers.”

/ STATES

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said he’ll work to get bipartisan support for marijuana legalization.

Nebraska Gov Pete Ricketts (R) authored an op-ed outlining his concerns about marijuana reform.

New York’s lieutenant governor said legalizing marijuana is “an important way to right a wrong that has historically disadvantaged communities of color.” On Tuesday, the Assembly speaker is scheduled to speak alongside other lawmakers and advocates at a rally to build support for legalization legislation.

Kentucky’s Senate president said there is a “narrow path” to pass medical cannabis legislation.

The Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments regarding the language of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure on February 4.

The Maine legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs held a hearing on several marijuana bills.

Rhode Island lawmakers are amending pending medical cannabis regulatory reform legislation that Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) opposes.

California regulators announced they seized more than 10,000 illegal vape pens from unlicensed marijuana retailers.

Arizona regulators announced that more than half a billion dollars of medical cannabis was sold in the state last year.

New Mexico regulators reported that the state’s medical cannabis program now has more than 80,000 registered patients.

Kansas regulators said that hemp license applications are up 30% since last year.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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 Cleveland, Ohio City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s marijuana legalization referendum has been scheduled for September 19.

Uganda’s government proposed medical cannabis rules.

Trinidad and Tobago’s government is being pressured to include the concerns of Rastafarians when it crafts legal marijuana rules.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabis may have medicinal benefits for treating symptoms of advanced chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease including as a pain adjuvant potentially reducing the need for opioids” and that “cannabis does not seem to affect kidney function in healthy individuals.”

A study found that “legalization and greater retail availability of recreational marijuana are positively associated with marijuana use among adolescents.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 40% of Baltimore, Maryland residents want the city to stop punishing people for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

Independent Community Bankers of America and other financial services industry groups are pushing Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) to approve marijuana banking legislation in his panel.

Kevin Sabet of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana said he is working on a new book in which he talks to “whistleblowers and regulators” who think the legal cannabis system “is a joke.”

The National Cannabis Industry Association published recommendations for safe vaping.

/ BUSINESS

Evolve Funds Group Inc. announced that it plans to close its Evolve Marijuana Fund and the Evolve U.S. Marijuana ETF by the end of March.

Hexo Corp. is reportedly the unnamed marijuana producer being sued by MediPharm Labs Corp. over an alleged failure to pay owed sums.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. entered into a long-term lease for an Ohio property with Cresco Labs Inc.

Massachusetts marijuana company CommCan had a donation rejected by a local homeless shelter.

/ CULTURE

Actress Olivia Newton-John credits medical cannabis for helping her fight cancer.

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Newsletter

Trump talks cannabis on secret recording (Newsletter: January 27, 2020)

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Andrew Yang pushes legal psilocybin for veterans; Tom Steyer backs decriminalizing opioids; Austin police to continue marijuana arrests

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump can be heard saying marijuana use makes people “lose IQ points” in a new secretly recorded video in which he also discusses cannabis businesses’ access to banks and marijuana’s role as a potential opioid alternative.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said at a town hall meeting that he wants to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for military veterans. He also spoke about ending federal cannabis prohibition, pardoning people incarcerated for weed on 4/20 and high-fiving them on their way out of jail.

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer’s new criminal justice reform plan includes legalizing marijuana, decriminalizing opioids, banking for cannabis businesses and ending the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, among other reforms.

  • “Tom believes we must end the failed War on Drugs. Based on the flawed idea that incarceration is the answer to addiction, federal and state elected officials passed severe sentencing laws that encouraged incarceration for low-level drug offenses. Unfortunately, communities of color were and continue to be disproportionately affected and targeted by these laws, even when other ethnicities were committing the same drug crimes at the same rates.”

The Austin, Texas police chief said marijuana arrests will continue in the city despite a unanimous City Council vote aimed at ending such cannabis enforcement.

/ FEDERAL

A Department of Health and Humans Services clerical error meant that the Trump administration’s public health emergency on opioids lapsed for nine days.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “Concerned that people with serious health issues may defer real treatment to self-treat based on UNPROVEN health claims by CBD sellers. FOLLOW ADVICE OF REAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. Don’t rely on UNPROVEN claims that might be wrong or worse. Could be very dangerous or fatal.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about clearing marijuana records.

Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD) cited the case of a child being separated from their mother over a prior marijuana possession charge in a letter to Acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolf.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 69.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she will use diplomacy instead of hardball tactics to win over skeptical lawmakers on marijuana legalization.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) spoke about efforts to ensure equity in the marijuana industry for communities harmed by the drug war.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) office is expected to propose an amendment to pending hemp legislation.

California’s insurance commissioner said his department will use its discretion on applications from people with past marijuana convictions who want to be licensed to become an insurance agents or brokers. Separately, here’s a look at how the state’s cannabis revenue is allocated.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted about meeting with the Kentucky Hemp Industries Association and the Kentucky Hemp Farmers Association.

The Louisiana Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Monday in a case challenging a life sentence over selling $30 worth of marijuana.

A Massachusetts judge granted a temporary injunction against Cambridge’s plan to give economic empowerment marijuana business license applicants a two-year head start over existing medical cannabis dispensaries. Separately, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis approved a bill to let regulators review agreements and payments between marijuana businesses and the communities that host them. And regulators moved the medical cannabis dispensary license application process to an online portal.

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committee will hold Tuesday hearings on legislation to overhaul medical cannabis regulations.

Florida regulators filed hemp seed rules.

Questions are being raised about the propriety of a top Michigan marijuana regulator being married to the head of a lobbying firm that works on cannabis issues. Separately, regulators sent a bulletin about temporary marijuana events.

Montana regulators provided updated medical cannabis patient statistics.

Missouri regulators released the final scores for medical cannabis dispensary license applicants.

A Tennessee senator filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Washington State regulators discussed hemp regulations and other cannabis issues in a newsletter.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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

Denver, Colorado police will host an event on marijuana retail outlet safety on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Uganda’s health minister will put a proposal on guidelines for growing cannabis before the Cabinet on Monday.

Several Irish lawmakers are acknowledging their past marijuana use.

A Philippine senator speculated that the cancellation of his U.S. visa may have been due to extrajudicial killings in the nation’s bloody “drug war” during his time as chief of the Philippine National Police.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “in addition to the symptomatic therapy of cancer patients, the antitumor effects of cannabinoids (whether in monotherapy or in combination with other cancer therapies) have promising potential in the treatment of cancer patients.”

A study found that “smartphone-based marijuana testing is more accurate than urine-based tests but slightly less accurate than oral fluid based testing.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 45% of U.S. adults are more likely to support criminal justice reform if it meant nationwide legalization of marijuana, while 22% would be less likely to support it.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. secured a $100 million strategic investment from an institutional investor.

Levi Strauss & Co. has developed an optimized method of making clothing out of hemp.

MediPharm Labs Corp. is suing an unnamed Canadian marijuana producer relating to outstanding payment of approximately $9.8 million.

Coda Signature’s marijuana products will be included in gift bags given to Academy Award nominees.

Someone stole cannabis from a marijuana amnesty box at Chicago Midway Airport.

/ CULTURE

Wrestler Fred Rosser said he has used CBD to deal with pain.

Rapper Snoop Dogg visited a Massachusetts marijuana dispensary.

Police said they found marijuana in the car of football player Kareem Hunt.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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.
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Virginia cannabis decriminalization bill advances (Newsletter: January 24, 2020)

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WI gov slams lawmakers over marijuana; CT Senate president: legalization a 2020 priority; Austin decrim approved; Sanders campaign’s marijuana op-ed

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,085 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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  • Danny Danko: “You have the best cannabis political content of any news source I’ve found.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) used part of his State of the State speech to blast lawmakers for failing to legalize medical marijuana despite overwhelming public support.

  • “When more than 80 percent of our state supports medical marijuana…and elected officials can ignore those numbers without consequence, folks, something’s wrong.”

Connecticut Senate leaders announced at a press conference that legalizing marijuana is a priority for the 2020 session.

  • “I think the time has come. We need to recognize it. There’s broad based public support for it.”

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Criminal Law Subcommittee approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

The Austin, Texas City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to effectively end low-level marijuana arrests.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on a bill that would legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation—although no retail dispensaries would be allowed. A vote is expected in the panel as soon as next week.

The Nevada co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) presidential campaign submitted a new op-ed to Marijuana Moment about the senator’s plans to legalize cannabis and ensure equity in the marijuana industry for communities harmed by the drug war.

/ FEDERAL

The newly appointed Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice is charged with examining “refusals by State and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes,” among other issues.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer raised hypothetical questions about state marijuana legalization laws during oral arguments in a case on the definition of a “serious drug offense.”

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quickly approve Virginia’s hemp plan.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) spoke about marijuana policy with a group of Illinois mayors.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is backing legislation to limit the medical cannabis program to only state residents. Separately, the Senate Public Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

Vermont’s attorney general is scheduled to speak at a marijuana education event on Sunday.

The West Virginia House of Representatives rejected a move to discharge a marijuana legalization bill from an unfavorable committee.

A second Montana group of activists filed a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Alaska regulators approved the state’s first on-site marijuana consumption areas at dispensaries.

California regulators adopted emergency rules requiring marijuana businesses to post QR code certificates so consumers can identify licensed operations.

Missouri regulators began issuing medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Washington State regulators approved rules on marijuana quality control testing and penalties. They also sent an update on the ban on flavored vaping products.

A New York senator who opposed marijuana legalization last session is now in support.

Indiana senators held a press conference to build support for marijuana decriminalization legislation.

Louisiana regulators gave a presentation detailing the state’s hemp program.

Michigan regulators posted a video of their marijuana social equity program presentation.

Massachusetts regulators hosted a forum to receive feedback from marijuana license applicants.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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 Springfield, Illinois City Council approved the state’s first marijuana social consumption area.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor spoke about plans to pardon people with past marijuana convictions.

A Spokane, Washington city councilwoman violated the city’s ethics code by advocating on behalf of a marijuana business, a volunteer panel determined.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told the Department of Correctional Services to get ready to “free our young people” who are locked up on marijuana possession charges.

New Zealand’s Health Ministry said that edibles won’t be allowed under the country’s medical cannabis program.

French regulators announced that a medical cannabis pilot program will launch in September.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical cannabis use “may have an overall positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night in chronic pain patients” but that “tolerance towards potential sleep-inducing properties of MC may occur with frequent use.”

A study found that “adolescents with any cannabis use history have significantly higher rates of [major depressive disorder]” but that “the directionality between frequency of use and MDD is counter to what was expected.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Texas Democratic Party cheered Austin’s move to end most marijuana arrests.

The American Bar Association is hosting a webinar on what it’s like to be a marijuana lawyer on Friday.

/ BUSINESS

The personal information of more than 30,000 marijuana business customers were exposed via a data leak in the THSuite point-of-sale system.

MedMen’s CEO spoke about the company’s struggles to pay vendors.

Microsoft Advertising Support tweeted that “at this time, drugs and related paraphernalia, including CBD Oil, can’t be advertised, according to our Disallowed Content Policies.”

Cresco Labs announced it entered into an agreement for a $100 million loan that can be extended to $200 million.

/ CULTURE

Musician Neal Young’s U.S. citizenship application was approved despite a delay due to his admission of marijuana consumption.

The professional minor league basketball team the Rochester RazorSharks is partnering with the Rochester, New York NORML chapter.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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.
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