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Lawmakers want veterans cannabis research dollars (Newsletter: March 29, 2018)



IRS rule jeopardizes marijuana nonprofits; Senators want banking hearing; Scaled-down TN MMj bill advances

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A bipartisan group of 43 U.S. House members wants to direct the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to set aside money to fund research on the potential of medical cannabis to help military veterans. Meanwhile, President Trump ousted VA Sec. David Shulkin, who has consistently misstated federal law to excuse his failure to change internal department policies on medical marijuana recommendations and research.

The Internal Revenue Service quietly enacted a rule change in January to deny tax-exempt status for organizations whose purpose is “directed to the improvement of business conditions of one or more lines of business relating to an activity involving controlled substances (within the meaning of schedule I and II of the Controlled Substances Act) which is prohibited by Federal law regardless of its legality under the law of the state in which such activity is conducted.”

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators is pushing for a hearing on legislation to let marijuana businesses access banks.


A federal judge ordered that a man charged with threatening to kill Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) over his support for marijuana law reform be held while awaiting trial.

Members of Ohio’s congressional delegation spoke about marijuana policy:

  • U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH): “States that have legalized marijuana, we’ll see what happens in those states. If that means less addiction to more powerful drugs, or if it’s a gateway. And I don’t think we don’t know that yet.”

  • Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH): “What is going on, on the street, is that marijuana is being laced with heroin and now we have this problem with fentanyl and carfentanyl, which are deadly. And I think we have to be really careful. What I have voted for, requires regulation and that is my position and I will maintain it.”

A U.S. Sentencing Commission analysis found that people released early from prison for crack cocaine offenses under a 2011 guideline change had no difference in recidivism rates from people who were released before the guideline change took effect.

Rolling Stone spoke to several U.S. senators about pending proposals to drastically increase fentanyl penalties.

Pennsylvania Democratic congressional candidate Shavonnia Corbin-Johnson said she supports medical cannabis.


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted about the expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed spoke about the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana.

The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a local ordinance in Grants Pass requiring personal marijuana plants to be grown indoors.

The Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee voted 9-4 to approve a bill to add conditions associated with autism spectrum disorder as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Tennessee House Criminal Justice Committee voted to significantly scale back a pending medical cannabis bill and then approved it. Separately, the state attorney general claimed that high-potency marijuana causes violence.

The Kansas House of Representatives approved a hemp bill.

North Dakota activists say they’ve collected more than half the signatures they need to qualify a marijuana legalization ballot measure.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee held a hearing on marijuana legalization legislation.

Utah regulators will hold a public hearing next month to receive comment on the implementation of three new cannabis laws.

New Jersey senators filed legislation to allow medical cannabis for any condition.

An Arkansas company that won a medical cannabis cultivation license is asking a judge to lift his order that declared the state’s award process invalid.

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


New Orleans, Louisiana marijuana arrests are dramatically down following the enactment of an ordinance that allows police to issues summonses for low-level possession.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Mayor Jim Kenney (D) spoke about his support for safe injection facilities for illegal drug consumers.


Two Canadian Senate committees held hearings on marijuana legalization legislation. Separately, the mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia is calling for drug decriminalization.

The Australian Senate approved a medical cannabis proposal.

A German court halted the application process for medical cannabis producers.

Jamaican regulators warned people to use only legal and regulated marijuana products.


A review concluded that “the studies available provide evidence to support the use of cannabinoids for some cancer, neuropathic, and chronic pain conditions.”

Commentary in The Lancet suggests that developing a standardized cannabis unit for studies “might help differentiate users at high versus low risk for problematic use.”


Massachusetts medical cannabis provider Patriot Care, which previously pledged not to enter the recreational marijuana business and whose lobbyist formed an organization to campaign against legalization, is now trying to move into the adult-use market.

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses launched a Blue Ribbon Affiliate program to vet ancillary marijuana businesses.

/ CULTURE     

MLB pitcher Trevor Bauer launched a charity drive filled with references to marijuana.

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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 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.)


Feds issue trademark for ‘psilocybin’ (Newsletter: January 21, 2020)



USVI gov pushes legal marijuana in annual speech; Idaho senator files drug decrim bill; White House official voices cannabis concerns

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There are now 1,076 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) pushed lawmakers to legalize marijuana in his State of the Territory speech, saying that the move will help fund a struggling government employees retirement fund.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded a company a trademark for the word “psilocybin,” and some decriminalization advocates are not happy about it.

An Idaho senator filed a bill to decriminalize possession of currently illegal drugs.


Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll discussed his opposition to safe consumption sites for illegal drugs and spoke about the potential harms of marijuana.

A Drug Enforcement Administration official said the agency won’t “turn our head away from” marijuana just because it is legalized under state law.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said that the last time he smoked marijuana was “a past life.” (Around 1:27:55 into the linked video.)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a presidential candidate, said you’d “have to go back to college days” when asked about the last time she smoked marijuana. (Around 3:55:15 into the linked video.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Marijuana must be legalized. All our people imprisoned because of it must be returned home to their families and their records expunged.”

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) tweeted, “We owe a national apology to the Black men and women  who were targeted, harassed, and incarcerated in the failed war on drugs.” He also tweeted, “It is up to us to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with action — to march for environmental justice, to demand equal pay for our Black brothers and sisters, and to fight for justice for those incarcerated in the failed war on drugs.”

California Democratic congressional candidate Ben Emard tweeted, “To bring the US into the 21st century, we must federally legalize the sale and use of cannabis. To right the wrongs of the past, we must expunge criminal records, release those currently incarcerated, and create equity programs to repay impacted communities.”


Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said he thinks the state will consider legalizing marijuana at some point but that he’s focused on implementing medical cannabis right now.

New York’s lieutenant governor said that legalizing marijuana is an opportunity to help raise revenues in the budget but also to correct the injustices of the criminal justice system. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committee is now on board with legalizing cannabis.

Twenty-seven West Virginia delegates are calling on the state Department of Commerce to study the economic impact of legalizing marijuana.

The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on legislation to change medical cannabis regulations on Tuesday.

Michigan regulators removed a series of public service announcements videos that advocates had criticized as perpetuating anti-marijuana stereotypes.

Oregon regulators approved marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements and adopted rules changes.

Arizona regulators reported that 41% of hemp plants tested have excessive THC levels.

California regulators are hosting a series of cannabis permitting workshops this month and next month.

Arkansas regulators rejected the sale of two medical cannabis licenses.

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.


A candidate for leadership of the UK Labour Party said there needs to be a “national discussion about the war on drugs.”

Italian regulators set THC limits for hemp foods.


A review concluded that “there is currently encouraging, albeit embryonic, evidence for medicinal cannabis in the treatment of a range of psychiatric disorders.”

A study found that “cannabinoids can promote progression of [human papilloma virus] positive [neck squamous cell carcinoma] through p38 MAPK pathway activation.”


FSD Pharma Inc. is scheduled to ring the Nasdaq Stock Market opening bell on Wednesday.

Surterra Wellness stopped making most medical cannabis deliveries.

Wellcana Group plans to significantly expand its Louisiana medical cannabis operation.


Actress Gwyneth Paltrow spoke about an “emotional” experience she had on MDMA.

A UFC vice president spoke with former boxer Mike Tyson about efforts to remove marijuana from state athletic commissions’ lists of banned substances.

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Legal cannabis could be on Missouri 2020 ballot (Newsletter: January 20, 2020)



Gabbard backs legalizing drugs; Biden reiterates legal marijuana opposition; Record expungement movement grows

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, is calling for the U.S. to legalize currently illicit drugs.

  • “If we take that step to legalize and regulate, then we’re no longer treating people who are struggling with substance addiction and abuse as criminals and instead getting them the help that they need.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, reiterated his opposition to legalizing marijuana in an interview with the New York Times editorial board.

  • “What I’m arguing is there have been studies showing that it complicates other problems if you already have a problem with certain drugs.”

Missouri activists are taking steps to place a marijuana legalization measure on the state’s November ballot.

A new report on National Expungement Week shows that efforts to help people clear past marijuana records are rapidly growing.


First daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner reportedly attended a fundraising dinner with marijuana industry professionals in October 2018,

The Food and Drug Administration approved an expanded access protocol allowing a small number of patients to treat PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is being asked to let states continue structuring their hemp programs under the more limited provisions of the earlier 2014 Farm Bill through 2020.

The Supreme Court declined to take up a case concerning a tax fine against a marijuana business.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, sent a letter welcoming members of the National Cannabis Industry Association to a conference in Boston.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The criminalization of marijuana has been a disaster. We need to legalize it. We need to expunge past convictions.And we need to invest in communities destroyed by the war on drugs.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted about the 100-year anniversary of alcohol prohibition, saying, “Let’s raise a glass and toast one of the least successful government regulatory schemes ever enacted. Turns out, Liberty works; statism, not so much.”

Rep,. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted about smokable hemp, saying, “Seems like it would be easier just to legalize marijuana for adult use already.”

Here’s a look at where members of the Illinois congressional delegation stand on marijuana.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund expungement efforts got one new cosponsor for a total of 40.

The House resolution calling for marijuana legalization and decriminalizing addiction got 12 new cosponsors for a total of 15.

Alabama Republican congressional candidates said they oppose marijuana legalization but support medical cannabis.


New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is stepping up her push to legalize marijuana within the next month, though some leading Republican lawmakers are expressing concerns.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) pardoned 16 people for low-level marijuana offenses.

California’s attorney general tweeted, “Illegal cannabis grows on California lands are damaging wildlife habitats, poisoning our water, and hurting our communities.” Separately, lawmakers filed legislation to simplify and reduce marijuana taxes.

Rhode Island’s House speaker said “this is not the year” for legalizing marijuana.

Kansas’s House majority leader acknowledged broad public support for medical cannabis.

A Missouri judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking regulators from acting on a medical cannabis dispensary license application.

Arizona activists have so far collected more than 150,000 signatures in support of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure, and so far there’s no well-organized opposition.

Oregon regulators issued a recall of marijuana products that failed pesticide testing. Separately, a report found that marijuana sales in the state “along the Idaho border are 420% the statewide average.”

Michigan regulators issued a health and safety bulletin about the recall of marijuana products that failed safety compliance testing. Officials are also under fire for new public service ads that perpetuate anti-cannabis stereotypes.

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.


The Las Cruces, New Mexico mayor is urging state lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.


Thailand’s first medical cannabis clinic has seen thousands of patients in its first 10 days of operation.

Veterans Affairs Canada is considering is considering adding disposable cannabis vaping pens to a reimbursement program.


A review concluded that “cannabinoids demonstrate some efficacy in the treatment of pain and chemotherapy-related nausea; limited data suggest potential benefits in the treatment of spasticity and anxiety” and that “risks of cannabinoids in older patients appear to be moderate, and their frequency comparable to other analgesic drug classes.”

A study found that “chronic, heavy, recreational cannabis use was associated with worse driving performance in non-intoxicated drivers, and earlier onset of use was associated with greater impairment.”


The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association is speaking out against legalizing marijuana.

A report from New Mexico Ethics Watch examines marijuana industry campaign contributions in the state.


Fyllo acquired CannaRegs.

Canopy Growth Corporation is delaying the launch of its cannabis-infused beverages.

Union workers at Vireo Health New York ratified a new three-year contract.

Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Hexo Corp. are all facing potential class-action lawsuits.


The National Football League and NFL Players Association are close to an agreement on “significant modifications to the drug and disciplinary policies,” with sources saying that a less punitive marijuana policy is likely to be enacted.

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China will import more U.S. hemp under Trump trade deal (Newsletter: January 17, 2020)



RI gov wants state-run marijuana stores; Congressman backs psilocybin ballot measure; NFL panel says CBD is “hype”; NM legal cannabis bill filed

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Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) submitted a 2021 budget proposal to lawmakers that includes a plan to legalize marijuana and sell it through state-run stores.

China has agreed to import more hemp from the U.S. over the next two years under the trade deal President Trump this week. Historically, the U.S. has purchased a lot of the nonintoxicating cannabis crop from China.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who has been a leading cannabis reform champion on Capitol Hill, told Marijuana Moment in an interview that he supports a 2020 ballot measure to legalize psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic use in his home state of Oregon.

One day after New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) put marijuana legalization on the legislature’s 2020 agenda, lawmakers filed a new bill to make it happen. With a short 30-day session starting next week, votes will likely happen soon.

An expert committee created by the National Football League and NFL Players Association published a report saying that CBD is mostly “hype” instead of a proven treatment for the pain experienced by football players, and also taking the stance that medical cannabis itself is “a substance to approach with extreme caution.”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture filed a Federal Register notice about a new data collection system it is creating to keep track of hemp production license applications.

The Government Accountability Office found that the quality of information in Treasury Department reporting about individuals and entities sanctioned for involvement in narcotics trafficking could be improved.

The Drug Enforcement Administration published a guide aimed at helping to reduce drug misuse by college students.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation tweeted, “Raise a glass—today is the 100th anniversary of Prohibition, which led to the #FBI’s pursuit of the American gangster. During the Roaring Twenties, mobsters spent their profits from bootlegging & speakeasies on ‘Tommy’ guns & bribes.”

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) tweeted, “At a House Subcommittee on Health hearing, I voiced support for medical cannabis research and highlighted the obstacles that current federal regulations pose to universities and research institutions hoping to study the health benefits of cannabis.”

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) tweeted, “We must decriminalize cannabis & expunge the records of those unfairly harmed by outdated and racist cannabis policies. We must also ensure adequate scientific research around the potential effects and benefits of cannabis use.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “As the first woman and African American co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, I’m fighting with everything I’ve got to update our nation’s outdated and discriminatory marijuana laws.”

Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) tweeted, “Nearly 75% of all people arrested for cannabis related offenses are under the age of 30. 1/4 of those are 18 or younger. That’s almost a quarter of a million teenagers arrested for these types of offenses each year.”

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (R-AZ) is seeking treatment for alcohol dependence.

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 68.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of 102.

The House bill to legalize medical cannabis for military veterans got one new cosponsor for a total of five.

The House bill to remove barriers to marijuana research got one new cosponsor for a total of 17.

California Democratic congressional candidate Emanuel Gonzales tweeted, “Legalize marijuana across the USA, expunge previous offenses, use tax revenue to fund infrastructure projects and apprentice programs, put marijuana dispensaries in @DeptVetAffairs hospitals and clinics.”

New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate Hector Oseguera tweeted, “Many lives have been ruined by the failed #WarOnDrugs & I sincerely look forward to destroying that unjust & racist policy.”


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted a video about a man who benefits from medical cannabis, saying, “We’ve made incredible strides expanding access to medical marijuana to help patients like Darren live fuller, healthier lives. We will continue to expand access to medicine and compassionate care.”

Utah’s Senate majority leader is supporting forthcoming legislation to remove special medical cannabis packaging requirements and allow patients to have prior marijuana convictions expunged.

An Ohio legislative committee approved hemp rules. Meanwhile, the state’s medical cannabis program has 78,000 registered patients one year into legal sales.

New Mexico regulators held a public hearing on proposed medical cannabis rules changes.

California’s Osteopathic Medical Board discussed guidelines for recommending medical cannabis.

Illinois regulators approved another group of medical cannabis dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana.

Nevada regulators released an annual tax report that includes information on marijuana revenue.

Pennsylvania regulators are conducting a survey of medical cannabis patients and caregivers.

Oklahoma lawmakers have filed several bills to enact medical cannabis restrictions.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy will hold a hearing on January 28.


Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor spoke about his move to pardon thousands of misdemeanor marijuana convictions before the Missouri Black Legislative Caucus.


Canada’s health minister said it is premature to consider decriminalizing drugs.

Malta’s parliamentary secretary predicted that marijuana will be legalized within two years.

The UK’s justice secretary said the government will not legalize marijuana anytime soon.


A study of cannabis laws in the Netherlands found that zero tolerance policies are “related to a reduction in jobs and a growth in crime related to hard drugs.”

A study suggested that “psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy holds promise in promoting long-term relief from cancer-related psychiatric distress.”


The National Cannabis Industry Association, Cannabis Trade Federation and dozens of other industry groups sent a letter responding to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo’s (R-ID) concerns about marijuana banking legislation.

A top staffer for prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana stepped down to work for the presidential campaign of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D).

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is partnering with Fight for the Future on a campaign to ban facial recognition technologies from college campuses.

Several Mississippi doctors issued a response to the state Board of Health’s opposition to a medical cannabis ballot measure.


As Eaze plans to soon announce a pivot to launching its own marijuana products, the company has reportedly undergone unannounced layoffs and scrambled to raise a round of funding to address low cash reserves.

High Times plans to open marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics published a report finding that global cannabis sales rose 48% to $15 billion in 2019.

​​​​​​Wikileaf Technologies Inc. has a new CEO.


Actor Brian Cox was dumped as a patron of an elderly care center over his admission that he enjoys consuming marijuana.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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