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KY gov weighs mass cannabis pardons (Newsletter: October 14, 2022)

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Fed report on marijuana pardon scope; Fetterman touts Biden cannabis chat; SD poll: Legalization losing; Congresswoman pushes president on DC autonomy

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Sentencing Commission released a report analyzing the scope of President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardon proclamation—including a state-by-state breakdown of where people who stand to get relief were convicted.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) is “actively considering” taking up President Joe Biden’s request to issue mass marijuana pardons and is asking courts officials to compile data on how many people may have relevant cannabis convictions. In the meantime, he’s urging people to start the process by getting pardon applications in.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), a U.S. Senate candidate, touted the “great conversation” about marijuana that he had with President Joe Biden just ahead of the president’s cannabis pardon proclamation.

A new poll shows that South Dakota voters narrowly oppose the marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot—the second recent public survey to find the measure trailing.

Rep. Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC) is calling on President Joe Biden to follow up on his marijuana pardons by ending his support for a continued blockade on legal cannabis sales in Washington, D.C. and by allowing the District to issue clemency locally.

Missouri’s marijuana legalization campaign has raised nearly $700,000 in large donations from medical cannabis businesses since October 1.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is cohosting a hemp industry research needs workshop on November 15.

The Federal Aviation Administration tweeted, “Impairment from over-the-counter medication 💊 and CBD products 🌱 can affect your judgment and decision-making when flying an aircraft.”

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo tweeted, “Traveling to #Japan? 💊 Drugs that are illegal in Japan may surprise you! Note that some medications that are prescribed in the U.S., including Adderall, are prohibited in #Japan. Smart to leave CBD products at home too!”

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) said psychedelic therapy “obviously has potential,” but he isn’t taking a position on the psychedelics legalization initiative on Colorado’s November ballot.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) filed a bill to temporarily schedule fentanyl analogues for two years while requiring the Department of Justice to evaluate them and then delist any that are not shown to be harmful.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) spoke about the benefits of medical cannabis.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized a Fox Business contributor for complaining about how much his Taco Bell lunch cost, tweeting, “If someone is talking politics and eating $28 of Taco Bell in one sitting then my immediate follow up question is what their thoughts are on Biden’s executive order on cannabis rescheduling.”

Former Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) said marijuana is “definitely a gateway drug.”

North Carolina Senate candidate Cheri Beasley, a former state Supreme Court chief justice, tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana will strengthen our economy and help our farmers. It just makes sense.”

/ STATES

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) suggested he thinks marijuana should be rescheduled.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) touted actions that a task force he convened took to destroy illegal cannabis worth an estimated retail value of more than $15 million. Separately, the attorney general tweeted, “The people being forced to live and work in squalid conditions at illegal grow sites aren’t the ones profiting from the illicit cannabis market. They’re being exploited by a bigger, more organized machine. It cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) tweeted about Colorado officials sending a letter urging Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation, saying, “Happy to see Colorado joining us in continuing to urge our federal leaders to save lives by protecting cannabis-related businesses.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) claimed that drug cartels will benefit if the marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot is approved.

South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham, a former congressman, held a press conference to reiterate his pledge to legalize marijuana. He also spoke about his support for legalization in a new TV ad.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman, said that if he wins, “we must prioritize legalizing marijuana.”

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore tweeted, “If Marylanders vote to legalize recreational marijuana, our administration will make sure that its rollout is going to be fair and equitable. This is a unique opportunity for the state of Maryland to get this right – both on the economic equity, but also on social justice. If Marylanders legalize recreational marijuana, we have to talk about automatic expungement for those who have cannabis convictions, particularly black and brown communities that have been disproportionately harmed.”

Nebraska medical cannabis activists dropped their lawsuit that sought to overturn the state’s geographic requirements for ballot initiative signatures.

A Rhode Island representative spoke about his successful legislation that legalized safe consumption sites for illegal drugs that are expected to open soon.

A Mississippi representative spoke about the economic benefits of pardoning people for marijuana.

New York’s top marijuana regulator expressed uncertainty about when recreational marijuana sales will be able to start. Separately, regulators are launching a cannabis compliance training and mentorship program.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission delayed action on final approval for a business that the state’s top marijuana regulator says she gave up ownership and control over through an attestation that officials have not yet formally processed.

The director of Alabama’s Bureau of Pardons and Paroles said any move to pardon people for marijuana possession “just won’t have an impact in our state.” Separately, regulators have received more than 380 medical cannabis dispensary application requests.

Washington, D.C.’s government is being sued by an unregulated marijuana business that says police improperly seized cash without returning it.

Colorado regulators sent a health and safety advisory about  marijuana products with levels of yeast and mold above the acceptable limits. They also sent a notification about products that were not tested in accordance with requirements. Separately, the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 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

Denver, Colorado’s mayor announced a program to use marijuana revenue to provide minority- and women-owned businesses with access to investors, grants and loans.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor tweeted, “The Star’s ‘Vote Yes’ endorsement on Amendment 3/marijuana legalization is the right take.  While imperfect, the current alternative is not a better, fair system, it’s gridlock in the MO legislature, prohibition of marijuana, and perpetuation of an unjust criminal justice system.”

Denton, Texas’s police chief expressed some concerns about the local marijuana decriminalization initiative on the city’s November ballot.

A judge overturned Great Falls, Montana’s ban on marijuana dispensaries.

Roswell, New Mexico school officials are considering a new policy on student medical cannabis use.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Mexican lawmaker smoked marijuana outside of the legislative building.

The son of the Philippine justice secretary was arrested for marijuana.

London, England’s mayor dodged questions about cannabis enforcement.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study indicated that “CBD might be beneficial in alleviating UVB-induced skin damage in humans.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Canadians found that they support marijuana being legal, 66 percent to 30 percent, and back expunging past records, 64 percent to 20 percent.

The Economist is calling on the U.S. to legalize cocaine.

The Kansas City Star editorial board is urging Missouri voters to approve the marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.

The Globe and Mail editorial board is calling on the Canadian government to make it easier to clear people’s marijuana conviction records.

The Portland Press Herald editorial board is criticizing Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage, a former governor, over his repeated false claims that the government is giving out “crack pipes.”

Open Secrets analyzed campaign finance contributions to committees supporting and opposing marijuana legalization initiatives on states’ November ballots.

/ BUSINESS

MMJ Biopharma Cultivation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Drug Enforcement Administration to receive a marijuana cultivation license.

urban-gro, Inc. is acquiring Dawson Van Orden, Inc.

Colorado retailers sold $150.4 million worth of legal marijuana products in August.

/ CULTURE

Elon Musk reportedly often shows people he meets with “a chart explaining that MDMA and mushrooms are better for human health than alcohol.”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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