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Marijuana Moment: NJ medical cannabis expansion moves ahead (Newsletter: March 28, 2018)

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Congressman invites industry to lobby day; DC activists hand out marijuana at gov’t building; IA dispensary licenses

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Jersey regulators moved to expand the state’s medical cannabis program by adding new qualifying conditions, lowering patient and caregiver fees, allowing dispensaries to add satellite locations and increasing possession limits for patients. But Gov. Phil Murphy (D) suggested he won’t support allowing home cultivation. Separately, the state’s  Legislative Black Caucus held a hearing on decriminalization.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration added 250 task force officers and dozens of analysts who will focus on opioids issues.

The White House is hosting a “Prescribed to Death” opioid memorial.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) cheered the inclusion of medical cannabis protections in federal spending legislation:

  • “Parents should be able to give their sick children the medicine they need without having to fear that they will be prosecuted. Veterans should be able to come home from combat and use the medicine they need without having to fear that they will be prosecuted. I will continue to urge my colleagues to pass my bipartisan legislation, the CARERS Act, so that the children and families who desperately need this medicine can finally access it without fear.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) recorded a video inviting people to participate in the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Capitol Hill lobby days in May.

Congressman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) is optimistic that hemp legislation can be enacted soon.

Congressman Ruben Kihuen (D-NV) discussed marijuana legalization with a Native American tribe.

The U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe will hold a hearing on opioid issues and the “dark web” on Wednesday.

Virginia Republican U.S. Senate candidates debated medical cannabis.

/ STATES

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has on his desk legislation to remove a requirement that a medical cannabis cultivation license be awarded to a member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association.

South Carolina Republican gubernatorial candidate Yancey McGill, a former lieutenant governor, supports medical cannabis.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidates discussed medical cannabis’s role in reducing opioid issues.

Iowa regulators offered medical cannabis dispensary licenses to five businesses.

The Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee will hear legislation to add reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients on Thursday.

Michigan regulators will begin applying a 6% tax on medical cannabis purchased from caregivers.

Some California marijuana businesses say that legal regulations and being subject to public records laws makes them more vulnerable to robberies.

Rhode Island medical cannabis dispensaries are so worried about the governor’s proposal to add more licensees that one business is offering the state $5 million not to do so.

/ LOCAL

A Smith County, Texas commissioner suggested that cannabis oils would be a more affordable alternative to a $35,000 medication that officials removed from the county’s prescription drug benefit plan.

/ ADVOCACY

Washington, D.C. activists handed out free marijuana at a local government building in protest of a congressional rider blocking the city from legalizing and regulating cannabis sales.

NORML scheduled its national conference for July in Washington, D.C.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study demonstrated that “cannabidiol acts to protect synaptic plasticity in an in vitro model of Alzheimer’s disease.”

In a study of THC oil, “subjects described themselves as more energetic, relaxed, and calm,” suggesting “neuromodular activity in cases of stress, depression, and anxiety.”

A study concluded that “cannabis use was associated with increased initiation of, persistence of, and relapse to cigarette smoking.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Public Policy Polling had a little fun comparing the growing number of Americans who say a hot dog is a sandwich to rising support for marijuana legalization.

/ BUSINESS

The Nightclub & Bar Convention taking place in Las Vegas this week includes a track dedicated to marijuana-related panels.

Marijuana Business Daily looks at wine companies’ interest in joining the cannabis industry.

Craft beer brewers want in on the marijuana business as well.

The Associated Press looks at Weedmaps’s ongoing battle with California regulators over listing unlicensed marijuana businesses.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

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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