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Legal cannabis left out of NY budget, doc shows (Newsletter: March 31, 2020)



Senate housing bill blocks eviction for marijuana extraction; DC psychedelic decrim effort tries another plan; NZ poll shows legalization support

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There are now 1,462 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.


According to a draft summary document obtained by Marijuana Moment, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) proposal to legalize cannabis will not be included in the state budget set to be passed this week.

A housing bill filed by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) would block landlords from evicting people for state-legal marijuana extract manufacturing, but it contains no similar provision protecting people from losing their homes over simple cannabis possession.

Washington, D.C. officials are resisting calls to let activists digitally collect signatures to put a psychedelics decriminalization measure on the November ballot in light of the coronavirus outbreak. But before the campaign gives up, it is floating a new plan that involves mailing petitions to supporters, who would circulate it and collect signatures from voters “in their immediate vicinity, such as family, roommates, friends and close-by neighbors” and then return the signed documents to the campaign headquarters.


The U.S. military is considering using hemp fibers for Army vehicles and uniforms.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tweeted, “There are so many misconceptions about marijuana use, including rumors that marijuana can’t impair you or that marijuana use can actually make you a safer driver. #ShatterTheMyths – If you feel different, you drive different.”

The first coronavirus fatality in the U.S. prison system was a 49-year-old man serving a 27-year sentence for a drug offense.


Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) signed a bill extending the state’s syringe exchange program for another year.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) senior advisor on cannabis said that “access to legal, regulated and safe cannabis is essential, especially for California residents who rely on cannabis as their medicine.”

A Massachusetts regulator joined advocates urging Gov. Charlie Baker (R) to include recreational marijuana businesses as essential and excluded from his coronavirus stay-at-home order.

Colorado regulators issued a memo allowing recreational marijuana businesses to once again conduct in-store sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Maine regulators are temporarily restricting public access to their offices amid the coronavirus outbreak and are encouraging people to make marijuana business license application payments via mail.

A leader of an Oklahoma campaign currently awaiting state Supreme Court approval to begin collecting signatures for a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure said it would be “really difficult, if not impossible, to imagine a scenario in which an initiative petition campaign could responsibly and feasibly collect the signatures necessary” amid the coronavirus outbreak.

New Mexico’s Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, who killed a marijuana legalization bill, is facing a primary challenge from a candidate who backs ending prohibition.

An Illinois representative is pushing to legalize marijuana delivery services amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Georgia regulators began accepting hemp license applications.

Rhode Island regulators issued guidance on medical cannabis regulations concerning packaging and labeling, approval of business logos, the use of a universal warning symbol, product designation and advertising.

Pennsylvania officials deemed syringe exchange services “life-sustaining” and thus exempt from Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) coronavirus stay-at-home order despite the fact that they are illegal under state law.

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.

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Anchorage, Alaska voters are deciding on a ballot question to legalize on-site marijuana consumption at dispensaries during a vote-by-mail election with ballots due April 7.

Humboldt County, California is using satellite imagery to identify unlicensed marijuana growing operations.

The Austin, Texas City Council voted to create a coronavirus-related loan program for small businesses, but stipulated that those involved with cannabis are not eligible.


Lebanon’s deputy parliament speaker said lawmakers plan to pass a bill to legalize cannabis cultivation for medicinal and industrial purposes to improve the country’s economic situation when the legislature returns from a recess caused by the coronavirus outbreak.


Researchers developed a “portable saliva swab [that] serves as a roadside DUI hand-held platform for rapid identification of THC in saliva samples obtained from human subjects.”

A study concluded that the highly potent marijuana products in legal dispensaries “seem unsuitable for medicinal purposes, particularly for patients with chronic neuropathic pain.”


A poll found that New Zealanders support a marijuana legalization referendum, 54%-45%.

Prohibitionist groups Smart Approaches to Marijuana and Parents Opposed to Pot are arguing that cannabis businesses should not be considered essential during the coronavirus pandemic.


4Front Ventures Corp announced leadership changes and that it has laid off nearly 40% of its corporate staff and 45% of staffers in its Mission retail stores.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. appointed a new interim CEO and chief restructuring officer.

Cronos Group Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $7.3 million and an adjusted operating loss of $56.6 million.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. named a new chief operating officer.

HEXO Corp. reported $17 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $298.2 million.

Harvest Inc. completed a purchase of Franklin Labs, LLC.

Columbia Care Inc. received approval to trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

Massachusetts marijuana businesses are beginning to lay off or furlough employees after recreational dispensaries were not deemed essential under a coronavirus stay-at-home order from Gov. Charlie Baker (R). Meanwhile, several cannabis businesses sent a letter urging that sales be allowed to resume.

A survey of U.S. consumer spending during the coronavirus pandemic found that marijuana is one of a handful of categories that had the fewest respondents indicating they are spending less.

Here’s a lengthy look at the case of former United Food and Commercial Workers cannabis organizer Dan Rush, who pleaded guilty to federal crimes related to his work in the industry.

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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.


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