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Legalization advances to VT gov’s desk (Newsletter: Jan. 11, 2018)



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Sessions & Gardner meet (it didn’t go well); Poll: Americans don’t want feds in state laws; Trump supporters turn over cannabis move

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The Vermont Senate voted to send a noncommercial marijuana legalization bill to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott (R), who has pledged to sign it into law. Supporters are already talking about pushing to pass a more far-reaching bill to allow legal sales this year.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) indicated his marijuana meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wasn’t particularly productive. He will now pursue legislative options. Sessions agreed to meet with a larger group of senators to discuss the issue.


Sessions did not inform the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network about his marijuana enforcement plans in advance.

At a signing ceremony for a bill providing drug screening technology to border patrol agents, President Trump ominously suggested he has a solution to drug problems in mind that he’s not sure the county is ready for yet:

  • “So we’re going to sign this. And it’s a step. And it feels like a very giant step, but unfortunately it’s not going to be a giant step, because no matter what you do, this is something that keeps pouring in. And we’re going to find the answer. There is an answer. I think I actually know the answer, but I’m not sure the country’s ready for it yet. Does anybody know what I mean? I think so.”

The Marijuana Policy Project has a compilation of U.S. attorneys’ comments on marijuana enforcement following the federal shift.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) said that he personally doesn’t support marijuana legalization but does think states’ rights should be respected. He also backs medical cannabis.

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called Sessions’s marijuana move “heartless and mean.”

Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA) mentioned medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids.

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) gave a House floor speech about federal marijuana enforcement changes.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted that “no one except Jeff Sessions likes” the federal marijuana policy change.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana has become a major industry that raises millions for schools and education programs. It’s legal in eight states. AG Sessions will not win this fight.”

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 20.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got two new cosponsors, bringing the total to 37.

Paula Swearengin‏, a Democratic primary challenger to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), supports legalizing marijuana.

A Washington Post analysis suggests that the Trump administration’s marijuana position could be politically damaging to Republicans’ 2018 electoral prospects.

The Associated Press talks to Trump voters who are upset by the administration’s marijuana decision.


A budget proposal from California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) projects that marijuana excise taxes will generate $175 million in 2017-18 and $643 million in 2018-19, but adds: “Given the timing of the legalized market’s opening and the release of the Governor’s Budget, the Administration is deferring all cannabis-related budget proposals until the May Revision.” At a press conference, he predicted that federal prosecutors in the state would “be more restrained in carrying out Jeff Sessions’ obsession with marijuana.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) says he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) said the state will not legalize marijuana “on my watch.”

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) is reiterating his request to meet with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about marijuana.

The Arizona Supreme Court agreed to hear a case about criminalizing legal medical cannabis patients who possess the drug on college campuses.

Maryland’s House speaker said it’s too soon to have a “serious discussion” about legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, A Legislative Black Caucus member says she is confident a bill to ensure minority ownership in medical cannabis businesses will be passed by the end of the month.

Indiana’s attorney general spoke about his opposition to marijuana legalization.

New York Assembly committees will hold a joint hearing on marijuana legalization on Thursday.

North Dakota regulators are expected to approve medical cannabis rules on Thursday.

A Maine legislative committee took testimony about a number of medical cannabis reform bills.

An Arizona representative filed legislation to prevent state and local police from assisting federal agents in enforcement activities against people following state medical cannabis laws.

A Missouri representative introduced a noncommercial marijuana legalization bill.

A Mississippi senator filed a medical cannabis bill.

Alaska representatives are pushing a resolution urging the federal government to respect state marijuana laws. Separately, regulators will hold a meeting on marijuana licenses on January 24-16.

A Florida senator is calling for marijuana legalization.

California regulators issued guidance on marijuana taxes.

Oregon marijuana retail locations did not perform well in underage sales sting operations last month.


The mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey says the city is going to plan ahead for statewide marijuana legalization and change zoning laws soon.

A St. Louis, Missouri Board of Aldermen committee approved legislation to lower the fine for getting caught with small amounts of marijuana to as low as $25.

Portland, Oregon’s mayor and City Council members sent a letter to the state’s U.S. attorney asking him not to interfere with the legal marijuana industry.

Colorado Springs, Colorado’s mayor supports the Sessions marijuana move.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he supports plain packaging for marijuana products.


A study found that “unlike illicit drug use, marijuana use was not associated with worse outcomes on the [liver transplant] waitlist.”

A study examined the sexual effects of marijuana and other drugs.


A poll found that 56% of Americans oppose federal intervention in state marijuana laws.

A poll found that only 9% of U.S. likely voters think the war on drugs is working.

A poll found that South Carolina voters favor medical cannabis, 61%-31%.

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board wants Congress to change federal marijuana laws.


New Frontier Data projects that the legal marijuana industry has the potential to create cumulatively $131.8 billion in federal tax revenue and 1.1 million new jobs by 2025.

Former High Times editor Steven Hager is suing the company.

Cannabis investment firm 4Front Holdings announced it raised approximately $6 million late last year.

Colorado retailers sold $119.6 million in marijuana products in November.

Digiday looks at the marijuana industry’s online advertising issues.

The Miami New Times is looking to hire a freelance reporter to cover marijuana in Florida.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-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.)


Americans back legal cannabis by 2-1 margin in Gallup poll (Newsletter: Oct. 23, 2018)



Chris Christie says states can legalize marijuana; National expungement week is here; NJ doubles medical cannabis patient count

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A Gallup poll found that Americans now support legalizing marijuana by a more than two-to-one margin of 66%-32%.

Among other findings in the new survey:

  • Republican support for legal marijuana is rising, with 53% now on board — a two-point bump from last year.
  • People on East Coast now slightly more likely to back legal marijuana than those out West.
  • Support is huge among younger Americans, with 78 percent of those aged 18 to 34 calling for cannabis to be legal.
  • Fifty-nine percent of Americans over the age of 55 now support legalizing marijuana, a nine-point bump from one year ago.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) was one of the only 2016 presidential contenders to say he’d enforce federal marijuana laws in legalization states, but this past weekend he said that “states have the right to do what they want to do” on cannabis.

As part of National Expungement Week, advocates are holding events in at least 13 cities this week to help people clear marijuana convictions from their records.


President Trump is expected to sign opioids legislation into law on Wednesday.

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) tweeted a photo of himself visiting a marijuana testing lab.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Not only should the United States legalize recreational marijuana as our Canadian neighbors have recently done, we must also expunge criminal records for marijuana related convictions for recreational use. We must undo the damage done by the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) tweeted about his opposition to legalizing marijuana.

Mississippi Democratic U.S. Senate candidate David Baria said he supports medical cannabis and decriminalizing marijuana.

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Jennifer Lewis tweeted, “Voters know it’s time to legalize marijuana & hemp – politicians have just been too risk averse to say so.”

Utah Democratic congressional candidate Shireen Ghorbani tweeted about marijuana rescheduling.


New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) and Democratic challenger Molly Kelly debated marijuana legalization.

Nevada Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak spoke at a cannabis event.

Arizona’s attorney general withdrew a state Supreme Court argument urging that medical cannabis edibles and extracts be declared illegal.

Rhode Island’s House speaker said he still doesn’t favor legalizing marijuana but will continue to consider it.

Top New Jersey lawmakers conceded that they will miss a target date of passing a marijuana legalization bill by the end of this month. Separately,  regulators announced that the state’s medical cannabis patient count has doubled since Gov. Phil Murphy (D) took office. The governor tweeted, “New Jersey’s medical marijuana program has made incredible strides in expanding access and becoming a compassionate, consumer-friendly service for patients. This is only the beginning.”

Washington State lawmakers are asking regulators to rethink a proposed ban on some marijuana edibles.

An Indiana Republican representative tried to consume as much marijuana as he could on a trip to Colorado to see how dangerous it is. It was the “best night sleep I’ve ever had,” he said.

A Mississippi representative will hold an unofficial hearing on medical cannabis on Thursday.

Minnesota regulators will meet on Wednesday to consider adding opioid use disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, panic disorder and psoriasis as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Michigan regulators released guidance about a 30-day transition period to enter medical cannabis products into the state’s tracking system.

Nebraska’s attorney general said he’ll keep fighting to oppose marijuana legalization.


A Green Bay, Wisconsin City Council committee approved a proposal to lower marijuana penalties.

Los Angeles, California police responded to what they believed was an attempted robbery and hostage situation at a marijuana dispensary, but found no suspects when they entered the building.


Antigua and Barbuda’s agriculture minister said the government will encourage lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

Jamaica’s minister of industry, commerce, agriculture and fisheries is optimistic about the fiscal impact of legalizing marijuana.

South Korea’s government warned its citizens not to use marijuana, not even in legalized Canada.

Activists in Colombia are protesting the new president’s move to crack down on drug possession.


The Detroit NAACP is reportedly expected to oppose Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure on Tuesday.

The New Hampshire Association of Chiefs of Police is restating its opposition to marijuana legalization.

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy released a voter guide for the upcoming election.


A study found that “among young recreational cannabis users, a 100-mg dose of cannabis by inhalation had no effect on simple driving-related tasks, but there was significant impairment on complex tasks, especially when these were novel.”


A poll found that 68% of Americans say drug addiction is a “very big” problem in the U.S.
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Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly tweeted, “Like Colorado and other states that have legalized pot, Canada will pay a social price for its permissiveness. The liberal press and politicians will tamp down that exposition but it will happen.”


Canadian marijuana stocks fell in Monday trading.

Here’s a look at Vermont banks’ willingness to work with cannabis businesses.


The NHL sent a memo to teams about marijuana legalization and safety.

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams tweeted, “There is speculation that the healthy/protective components of cannabis cancel out what one would assume is an obvious negative of having smoke in your lungs.”

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Mexican officials visit Canada to learn about legal cannabis (Newsletter: Oct. 22, 2018)



Poll: ND legal marijuana measure up 15 points; Canadian lawmaker vapes cannabis; Late-nite TV hosts talk marijuana

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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 338 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.


Seven top officials from Mexico’s incoming new government will travel to Canada this week to discuss marijuana legalization, among other issues.

A poll found that North Dakota likely voters support the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, 51%-36%.

A Canadian member of Parliament openly spoke about his marijuana consumption and said that soon no one will care whether public officials use cannabis.

  • “Just as someone might have a glass of wine or a scotch on a Friday night, I would turn to my vaporizer.”

Here’s a look at  the latest in late-night TV marijuana humor. Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, South Park and The Daily Show all weighed in with cannabis quips last week.


The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “Legalized marijuana linked to a sharp rise in car crashes. A study is not proof but it should be a cautionary sign. Public safety too important for guess work.” He also tweeted about cannabis potency.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) tweeted, “I’ve drafted, but haven’t yet introduced, a bill to remove the marijuana question from ATF form 4473 — the question that requires anyone who uses marijuana (crime) to lie (crime) in order to purchase a gun (crime) from a gun dealer. Any Democrats who would support such a bill?”

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Republican challenger Susan Hutchison debated medical cannabis.

Sen. ELizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her Republican opponent Geoff DIehl agreed on letting states set their own marijuana laws during a debate.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) and his challengers answered a question about marijuana legalization.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) recorded a video message to be played at a cannabis conference.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) said he supports Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Republican challenger Anya Tynio agreed during a debate that states should be able to set their own marijuana laws. (About 51 minutes into the video.)

Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) said he hasn’t smoked marijuana since Washington State legalized it.

The U.S House bill to require the licensing of more cultivators of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 44.


Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) is appealing a judge’s ruling that struck down portions of the state’s medical cannabis law as unconstitutional.

Arizona’s attorney general is asking the state Supreme Court to declare medical cannabis extracts and edibles illegal.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and Democratic challenger Tony Evers clashed on marijuana policy during a debate.

Colorado Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis tweeted about the state’s record-breaking marijuana tax revenues. Separately, regulators sent a letter to Denver officials warning them against allowing indoor marijuana consumption. Also,regulators are proposing to loosen restrictions on hemp products and streamline marijuana license renewals.

New Jersey lawmakers are concerned that an investigation into sexual assault allegations into a member of Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) staff could cause a delay on considering marijuana legalization legislation.

California regulators announced changes to proposed marijuana rules.

Oklahoma regulators are being sued over medical cannabis licensing fees and taxes.

Illinois lawmakers plan to reintroduce a marijuana legalization bill in January.

The chairman of the New York Senate Health Committee said he looks at marijuana legalization “with a very suspicious, not approving view.”

A member of Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board was reappointed by Gov. Rick Snyder (R)


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s mayor spoke in support of legalization at a marijuana event.

The Phoenix, Arizona mayor’s chief of staff resigned after unsuccessfully pushing a plan to heavily tax medical cannabis.

The San Diego, California City Council is considering a proposal to crack down on marijuana advertising.


Following a visit to Colorado, the former commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police is calling for the UK government to undertake an urgent review of whether marijuana should be legalized.

A Georgian presidential candidate was detained by police after handing out joints.


The International Drug Policy Consortium released a report detailing the failure of the war on drugs.


A study concluded that “low concentrations of CBD and CBDV cause damage of the genetic material in human-derived cells” and that “currently available data are indicative for potential carcinogenic properties of the cannabinoids.”

A survey found that “1 in 3 medical students has used cannabis, whereas 8.8% were current users.”


A poll of Missouri likely voters shows one of three medical cannabis ballot measures winning and the other two falling short.

A poll of Utah voters found that the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure is a key motivating factor to show up at the polls this year.

The Globe and Mail editorial board is calling on Canada’s government to expunge marijuana convictions instead of just offering pardons.


Aphria filed for listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

Payment processor Square said it won’t “support sales of CBD at this time.”

Slate’s Working podcast looks at what it’s like to be a marijuana lawyer.


Colorado nonprofit ECS Therapy Center is working to create new cannabis-related signs for the deaf community.

Songify the News did a riff on drug policy debates between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX).

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Senator does impression of McConnell talking cannabis (Newsletter: Oct. 19, 2018)



Study: CBD reduces public speaking anxiety; Missouri medical marijuana campaign finance reports; SXSW announces 2019 cannabis panels

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 338 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.


Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) recounted a funny marijuana conversation he had with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) on the Senate floor. In the video, the Colorado senator has a spot-on impression of the majority leader acting shocked that Utah is about to legalize medical cannabis.

South by Southwest announced that a slew of marijuana-focused panels will be featured at its 2019 event. Everything from CBD to technology, sex to aging and race issues to feminism will be covered through the lens of cannabis at SXSW2019.

A study concluded that CBD reduces anxiety during public speaking.

Marijuana Moment analyzed recently filed Missouri medical cannabis campaign finance reports. Take a look at how the various committees stack up.


Conference committee negotiations on the Farm Bill, to which advocates are hoping to attach hemp legalization language, may slide into 2019 as a result of a potential need for lawmakers to spend time considering emergency hurricane relief legislation.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, spoke about his support for marijuana legalization at a CNN town hall.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said, “If Missouri is willing to resoundingly support medical marijuana, I think the tide changes nationally, and I think we’re in the home stretch.”

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted, “Modernized federal #Marijuana policy that respects states’ rights would be welcome news!”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Ending marijuana prohibition isn’t a radical idea. It’s common sense. Let’s expand legalization nationwide and create good jobs, generate tax revenue, expunge prior offenses and bring restorative justice to the communities that were harmed by the failed ‘war on drugs.'”

Competing New Hampshire congressional candidates agreed that states should be able to set their own marijuana policies.

South Carolina congressional candidates debated marijuana policy.

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Jim Francis tweeted, “I am 100% in support of legalizing marijuana.”


Iowa gubernatorial candidates debated medical cannabis expansion.

Connecticut Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont spoke about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement during a debate.

Massachusetts regulators approved a final license for a marijuana testing lab, a key step toward getting recreational sales online. And a commissioner proposed allowing microbusinesses to conduct cannabis home deliveries.

An Oklahoma judge ruled that municipalities cannot place greater restrictions on medical cannabis businesses than are allowed under state law.

Colorado regulators are accepting public feedback on proposed changes to the process for adding new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Florida Republican lawmakers are uring Gov Rick Scott (R) to seek a temporary injunction on a court ruling invalidating portions of the state’s medical cannabis law.

Washington State regulators arrested marijuana business licensee for illegal possession and distribution.

Indiana lawmakers held a study committee meeting on medical cannabis, but did not muster enough votes to pass a resolution in support of legislative changes.

California employment regulators tweeted about their presence at an upcoming marijuana industry conference.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner visited a hemp farm.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider proposed marijuana rule changes.


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “The old approach to #cannabis didn’t work. It was too easy for our kids to get it and gangs & drug dealers were reaping the profits. That changes from now on. #promisekept” Meanwhile, the leader of the Conservatives won’t commit to not repealing legalization if his party takes over the government.


A staffer for prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana appeared to be  wildly off-message in an interview, admitting, “The industry’s not targeting necessarily 12- or 13-year olds.” That seems to run counter to the group’s repeated claims that cannabis businesses are making gummy bears and “pot tarts” to appeal to kids.

The Southern Poverty Law Center released a report detailing racial disparities in Alabama marijuana enforcement.

The Missouri Catholic Conference said it opposes one of the state’s medical cannabis ballot measures because it would “create a tax-funded stream of revenue for potentially unethical biomedical research.”


An analysis suggests that car crashes are up as much as 6% in states with legal marijuana, as compared with neighboring states that maintain prohibition.

A study concluded that marijuana “has a potential link to stroke owing to cerebrovascular effects of cannabinoids.”


A poll found that 61% of Delawareans support legalizing marijuana.


Aurora Cannabis will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on October 23.

As of August, Colorado retailers had sold more than $1 billion worth of marijuana products this year, generating $200 million in tax revenue.

The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgement against a founder of a medical cannabis company and twenty affiliated entities for allegedly seeking investments without having a registration statement on file.


Musician David Crosby joined NORML’s advisory board.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley said that basketball players who claim to use marijuana medicinally are “full of shit.”

Comedian Conan O’Brien tweeted, “Now that Canada has legalized marijuana, maybe Canadians will finally mellow out.”

A South Dakota judge denied a motion to dismiss a marijuana case against rapper Chief Keef.

The Onion poked fun at Canada’s legalization of marijuana.

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Photo courtesy of Kyle Jaeger.

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