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MA lawmakers consider cannabis biz state COVID aid (Newsletter: May 5, 2020)

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USDA hemp loans memo; NY psilocybin decrim bill filed; Booker praises Baltimore for stopping drug prosecutions during coronavirus

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses will hold a Tuesday hearing on a bill to create a state-level coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program for marijuana businesses and other industries that are ineligible for federal relief.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a memo that lays out guidelines for processing federal loans for the hemp industry.

  • “While it’s understood that this new commodity will likely produce some servicing challenges because of State and Federal regulations, it should be treated as closely as possible to any other agricultural commodity and serviced in the same manner.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ)  praised Baltimore, Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for declining to prosecute most drug cases amid the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “When you start seeing these enlightened prosecutors starting to emerge thanks to elections, you’re getting a lot of different standards of what is success. Success isn’t lock as many people up, success is justice and restorative justice.”

A New York assemblymember filed a bill to decriminalize psilocybin.

  • “With the opportunity to positively affect the lives of millions suffering with mental health and addiction issues, this bill will decriminalize psilocybin and allow further research into the study of the drug and its beneficial uses for treatment.”

/ FEDERAL

Several hemp and CBD companies received federal coronavirus relief loans through the Paycheck Protection Program.

The U.S. Tax Court ruled that the Richmond Patients Group improperly deducted business expenses that shouldn’t have been available to it under 280E.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “No small business should be arbitrarily excluded from #COVID19 relief. That’s why @RonWyden and I are calling for the legal marijuana small businesses to have equal access to @SBAGov loans and grants.”

Oregon Democratic congressional candidate Amanda Siebe tweeted, “@JoeBiden  wont fight to #legalizeIt He believes #Cannabis is a gateway drug &–if used–will buy you luxury accommodations in a private prison… Really, Joe? If you want to lock me up for taking my meds, I’m right here. I proudly smoke pot for my #CRPS!”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate McKayla Wilkes referenced her support for marijuana legalization in an op-ed.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) top marijuana advisor tweeted, “CA cannabis businesses have adopted innovative protocols to ensure worker and community safety. Share how you’re adapting your workplaces to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission & help CA develop its roadmap to community resiliency.”

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted that certain crop technologies have now been approved for use in hemp cultivation.

Illinois regulators reported that retailers sold more than $37 million in recreational marijuana products in April.

New York hemp and CBD regulation legislation took effect on May 1.

A Connecticut representative said marijuana legalization was likely going to have to wait until 2021, regardless of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ohio regulators provided an update on a recall of medical cannabis products determined to be contaminated with a pathogenic fungus.


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 Columbus, Ohio city attorney said his office will continue to decline to prosecute low-level marijuana cases even though the state made a new testing method available to differentiate between hemp and marijuana last week.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “findings support the investigation of cannabinoids as a plausible option to be added as an adjunct to Remdesivir or any new antivirals on SARS-CoV2 induced lung inflammation.

A study of veterinary hemp supplements found that “products analyzed had highly variable concentrations of CBD or total cannabinoids with only 18 of 29 being appropriately labeled according to current FDA non-medication, non-dietary supplement or non-food guidelines” and that “heavy metal contamination was found in 4/29 products, with lead being the most prevalent contaminant.”

/ BUSINESS

MedMen has temporarily closed most of its Florida dispensaries.

Oregonized Hemp Co. LLC is suing the Oregon counties of Josephine and Jackson over the alleged seizure and destruction of its hemp by police.

GX Farms is suing H.E.M.P. Group for allegedly delivering hemp seeds that performed with lower-than-promised germination rates.

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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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