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Sessions admits ‘some benefits from medical marijuana’ (Newsletter: April 26, 2018)

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Cannabis research bill has key GOP support; Gardner discusses draft legislation; Lawmakers talk cannabis on House floor

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions  admitted “there may well be some benefits from medical marijuana” and said that the Justice Department will soon issue more licenses to cultivate cannabis for research.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers took to the House floor to argue in favor of marijuana law reform, with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) saying, “Medical marijuana is like the Fourth of July. It is almost universally accepted.”

Marijuana Moment obtained the text of a new marijuana research bill being cosponsored this week by U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) spoke about marijuana legislation he is drafting with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) that they expect the White House to support in line with President Trump’s pledge to respect state cannabis laws. Gardner said the bill will be a “one stop shop that fixes and corrects” the marijuana industry’s federal problems.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee pulled a scheduled vote on a prison reform bill.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accepted a “Friend of Hemp” award.

U.S. Sen. Dennie Stabenow (D-MI) said that as states continue to legalize marijuana, “at some point the federal government is going to have to act in order to make it uniform across the country.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) tweeted about racial disparities in marijuana arrests.

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, tweeted, “From young children with epilepsy to veterans living with PTSD, families across Texas know that criminalizing marijuana often means criminalizing the medication that could improve their lives. It’s time we end the federal prohibition on marijuana.”

The U.S. Senate bill to remove marijuana research roadblocks got one new cosponsor, for a total of seven.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana and withhold funding from states with discriminatory enforcement got one new cosponsor, for a total of 28.

California Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Hartson released an ad criticizing U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) position on marijuana.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Brian Flynn supports legalizing marijuana.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Michael DeVito supports rescheduling marijuana.

/ STATES

New Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Susana Martinez’s veto of hemp legislation was invalid.

In an address marking his first 100 days in office, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy touted his administration’s expansion of the state’s medical cannabis program and work “toward the legalization of marijuana to to combat the trend of mass incarceration.” Separately, the health commissioner said the state’s medical cannabis patient count is expected to more than double by June 2019.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has on his desk a bill to allow federally approved CBD medicines.

Iowa’s House speaker is opposing moves to expand the state’s CBD medical cannabis law.

An Illinois House committee approved a bill to allow the expungement of marijuana convictions.

The New Hampshire Senate Health and Human Services Committee defeated a bill to allow medical cannabis home cultivation.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidates discussed marijuana legalization at a forum.

Puerto Rico’s Senate held a hearing on medical cannabis.

The Vermont House Human Services Committee will consider a bill to prevent medical cannabis patients from being denied organ transplants on Thursday.

The California Governance and Finance Committee approved a bill to allow state-chartered banks and credit unions to serve the marijuana industry. Separately, lawmakers are considering legislation to add workplace protections for medical cannabis patients.

Alaska regulators filed rules concerning marijuana quality control samples and the reporting of theft.

An Associated Press analysis suggests that Oregon regulators don’t have enough staff to adequately track the marijuana industry.

Washington State regulators sent an update about marijuana rules and compliance.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian Conservative members of Parliament are criticizing the Liberal government about its party members adopting a resolution in support of decriminalizing all drugs. Meanwhile, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is exploring whether to support decriminalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

Washington State University researchers are halting development of a marijuana breath test because they fear interference from the federal government.

A study found that “cannabis users were less likely to have” atrial fibrillation.

/ BUSINESS  

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses released a proposed set of advertising standards for the marijuana industry and is accepting public comment on the draft for the next month.

Marijuana publisher Dope Media raised $875,000 in funding.

Leafbuyer is launching an online marijuana video platform.

Simplifya is offering a free audit compliance product to California marijuana businesses.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian Jeff Garlin encouraged Conan O’Brien to start consuming marijuana.

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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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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GOP rep withdraws DC psychedelics decrim block (Newsletter: July 16, 2020)

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CO proposes marijuana equity franchise model; USDA approves more hemp plans; Therapists want permission to dose themselves with psilocybin

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There are now 1,528 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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  • Pat Cromwell, candidate for South Dakota state representative: “I’ve followed Marijuana Moment for a couple of years and decided it was long past time for me to subscribe. Marijuana Moment is useful, educational and important. I appreciate the work you do and respect how well you do that work. I am running for state representative and support our two marijuana initiatives on the ballot this fall. Marijuana Moment helps me keep current with what other states are doing and allows me to articulate what we are doing and how that compares. Besides the legal and legislative news, Marijuana Moment is great for summaries and links to cannabis studies. Of all of the cannabis related sites and newsletters I follow, I consider Marijuana Moment to be top of my go-to list for accurate and timely information. Thanks for the work you do. I am better informed for it.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) introduced an amendment to block Washington, D.C.’s psychedelics decriminalization ballot measure and then withdrew it before a likely losing vote in the House Appropriations Committee. But he hinted he may try again later on the House floor or in conference committee.

Colorado regulators are proposing a model where marijuana social equity applicants could essentially be franchises of existing cannabis businesses. The program could help people harmed by the drug war get to market earlier, but some advocates are skeptical that upstart entrepreneurs could be taken advantage of by larger operators.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans from Minnesota, Tennessee and Puerto Rico, bringing the total number of proposals from states, territories and Indian tribes that the federal government has signed off on to 53.

A group of psychedelic therapists are petitioning the Canadian government for permission to legally dose themselves with psilocybin in order to better understand and treat patients, some of whom have also formally requested an exemption to use the substance.

  • Few people “would advise going to a sex therapist who’s never had sex before,” said TheraPsil  executive director Spencer Hawkswell.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Veterans Affairs said that veterans must abstain from using marijuana and other drugs while participating in the Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that marijuana accounted for nearly half of positive drug tests of transportation workers in June.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) cheered a provision in a spending bill that would protect universities from losing their funding for studying marijuana.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) touted his work to insert a provision protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference in an appropriations bill.

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain tweeted, “Sessions earned his fate. Not only was his tenure as AG a disgrace, but his laser-like focus on marijuana while he ignored much bigger issues revealed him to be the worst sort of bureaucrat.”

Wisconsin Democratic congressional candidate Matthew Boor said that decriminalizing marijuana is one of his priorities.

/ STATES

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a bill limiting the forms and packaging of medical cannabis edibles and requiring business employees and owners to submit fingerprints to the state background check system.

An aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called accusations that he hasn’t done enough to help enact marijuana legalization and other progressive priorities “small and asinine palace intrigue.”

Illinois’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “The #R3 program is an example where communities lifted their voices and said look… communities have been arrested, detained, incarcerated for cannabis—even small amounts of cannabis—for decades…and you are not going to start this new industry & make money?”

New Mexico regulators are being sued over medical cannabis testing, labelling and facility safety standards rules.

Colorado generated $33.6 million in marijuana tax revenue and fees in June.

Nevada regulators posted an agenda for a Monday meeting.

Wisconsin regulators tweeted about a hemp variety performance private-public partnership.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


Newfoundland, Canada’s justice minister said he is open to having conversations about decriminalizing drug possession.

Marijuana plants are growing outside of Mexico’s Senate building.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “THC‐CBD spray improved spasticity and pain in secondary progressive” multiple sclerosis patients.

A review concluded that “the evidence regarding complementarity and substitution of cannabis and alcohol is mixed” but that “we identified stronger support for substitution than complementarity, though evidence indicates different effects in different populations and to some extent across different study designs.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that drug overdose deaths in the U.S. increased in 2019.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Marijuana Policy Project, NAACP, Seth Rogen and others hosted a web chat about cannabis legalization and racial justice.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana and the Illinois NAACP launched a microsite to further the idea that legalizing cannabis is bad for social justice.

The American Psychological Association did a podcast with the head of a psychedelic research center.

/ BUSINESS

ManifestSeven received conditional approval to trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

/ CULTURE

Rapper GZA is partnering with Sackville & Co. on a cannabis stash kit, with proceeds going to the Last Prisoner Project.

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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.
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Newsletter

Congress pushes fed employee cannabis protections (Newsletter: July 15, 2020)

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NJ gov: Legal marijuana would help COVID recovery; ID medical cannabis activists threaten lawsuit; IL announces legalization tax haul

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 465 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.

  • Rob from Michigan: “I pledged to help Tom and Marijuana Moment in hopes that the silence about cannabis from Republican legislators will be broken. Republican House and Senate members need to be publicly questioned, recorded and forced to stop ignoring all matters related to removing marijuana from the Schedule I list of the Controlled Substances Act. If this happens, we may just get Trump to finally submit his clear stance on the matter. So we need journalists out there to ask these questions.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Appropriations Committee is directing the Office of Personnel Management to reconsider the current practice of firing federal employees for state-legal marijuana use. Other new directives attached to annual spending bills include expanding cannabis research and funding hemp and CBD regulations.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said legalizing marijuana should be a “no-brainer” part of the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “It’s a job creator, it’s a tax revenue raiser, it checks a lot of boxes.”

Idaho medical cannabis activists are threatening to sue the state if officials don’t give them an electronic signature gathering option for their ballot measure by Thursday. A federal judge already granted that relief to a separate education campaign.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that the state brought in $52 million in marijuana tax revenue in the first six months of legal sales.

  • “Since January, over $239 million has been spent on recreational cannabis in Illinois translating to $52 million in tax revenue, and a portion of every dollar spent will be reinvested in communities that have suffered from decades of disinvestment.”

The Drug Policy Alliance is urging the House Appropriations Committee to reject a possible amendment on Wednesday that would block Washington, D.C. from decriminalizing psychedelics through a measure likely to appear on the November ballot.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Transportation’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee heard a presentation on the impact of hemp legalization on road safety.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration enacted a final rule making changes to regulations on the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that licensed hemp businesses are eligible for the Delta Health Care Services grant program.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) tweeted about the case of a military veteran sentenced to five years in prison for marijuana possession, saying, “Folks, there is a lot to unpack here, but first and foremost we cannot allow our veterans to be treated this way. Second, we have to find a way for medical marijuana to be allowed in all 50 states.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Communities of color are still being targeted as a result of discriminatory cannabis policies. We need to focus on restorative justice, which includes ensuring those most impacted by the failed war on drugs have equal access to this industry. We need to pass the MORE Act.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “I support marijuana legalization. My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, does not.”

/ STATES

The Florida Supreme Court ordered a second round of oral arguments in a case challenging the state’s medical cannabis business vertical integration requirements.

Missouri marijuana activists are looking ahead to working to place a legalization measure on the 2022 ballot.

Maryland regulators proposed hemp rules.

Nebraska regulators certified the state’s first hemp testing lab.

Michigan regulators published an updated coronavirus-related advisory bulletin for marijuana businesses.

Utah regulators are now accepting applications from retailers that want to sell hemp products.

Massachusetts regulators sent a reminder that Wednesday is the deadline to submit public comments about quarantined marijuana vaping products.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The attorney general of the Bahamas said a draft marijuana legalization bill will be presented to the Cabinet “in very short order.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “medicinal cannabis is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for a number of [spinal cord injury]-related symptoms.”

A study found that “cannabis use decreased among patients with opioid use disorder” and “increased…in patients with chronic regional pain syndrome, trauma, spondylosis, and failed back surgery syndrome.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. voters found that 65% support banning no-knock warrants in drug cases.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana circulated a sign-on letter thanking presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for refusing to support cannabis legalization.

Code for America’s senior program director authored an op-ed on the organization’s efforts to help people clear their past records.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. and Aurora Cannabis Inc. reportedly held ultimately unsuccessful talks about a potential merger.

4Front Ventures Corp. announced quarterly revenue of $17 million and an adjusted loss of $2.8 million.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed on a Blue Harbor, New Jersey property and reached a lease agreement to rent it to a subsidiary of Curaleaf Holdings, Inc.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. announced that since more than 50% of its issued and outstanding subordinate voting shares are owned by U.S. shareholders, it will receive domestic issuer status.

NC3 Systems, which does business as Caliva is facing a lawsuit over allegations that its website is not Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant.

Metrc LLC is asking a Missouri appellate court to overturn a judge’s decision blocking it from charging fees to medical cannabis businesses for RFID tags.

/ CULTURE

Mike Tyson’s The Ranch Companies is printing CBD-infused cups that can be filled with water to create cannabis beverages.

Jane Fonda appears in an ad campaign for Uncle Bud’s hemp and CBD products.

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Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem.

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Congress will legalize cannabis despite Biden, Dem senator says (Newsletter: July 14, 2020)

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Dr. Oz: DEA & FDA blame each other for keeping marijuana illegal; KC mayor speaks about drug reform plans; WY cops bust hemp activists

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 466 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.

  • Marc Loy: “I’m not an industry professional but I have benefited greatly from the legalization of medical marijuana in my state. I believe knowledge is power and the Marijuana Moment newsletter is the single best source of knowledge regarding local, state, and federal trends. I also believe Tom Angell’s work has ripple effects far beyond just educating his readers. I became a patron to help amplify those ripples. I want other individuals like me to know there are committed folks trying to improve the lives and economies of our friends, neighbors, and communities. I also want politicians at every level to know we’re paying attention.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) said a Democratic Congress will legalize marijuana in 2021 despite opposition from the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden.

  • “We’ll have the majority of the votes in the United States Senate. And I know [Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)] has moved in that direction, he’ll be the majority leader in January. I think we’ll have votes to just move it, and the science has moved there.”

Kansas City, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) spoke to Marijuana Moment about his recently approved measure to remove cannabis from the local code. Now he’s partnering with mayors in other cities who want to do the same thing and is working to more broadly end the war on drugs locally. He also criticized presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s plan to force people caught with drugs into treatment.

  • “The drug war has been an abject failure. I live in a majority black community, was raised in a majority black community and proud to be from it. When I look at the problems on my streets—when I’m looking at what’s going on right now and people addicted to heroin, people addicted to any number of things—our drug laws aren’t helping. Our drug laws aren’t helping people find better treatment.”

Dr. Mehmet Oz claims that he spoke to officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration who want to legalize marijuana but are blaming the other agency for keeping it illegal.

  • “I called the DEA—they said, ‘we don’t want this to be illegal. Your government ought to change that.’”

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is accusing a mother and son who successfully lobbied lawmakers to legalize hemp of illegally growing marijuana. Now, top political officials— including the state treasurer—are prepared to defend them in court.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a congressionally approved appropriations rider protects two California men from being sentenced under federal law for cultivating medical cannabis.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation requested additional records from Independence, Missouri officials in what appears to be the latest step in an investigation into utilities contracts and medical cannabis regulations.

House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) said he hopes presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden “continues to evolve” on marijuana legalization after the election.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “It’s virtually impossible to pay rent on $8/hr. And when you are teenage boy in a fatherless home (his dad passed away), there is a drive to be ‘the man of the house.’ To help your mom. And what makes money fast when a full time job doesn’t pay enough to live? Selling weed.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Richard Thripp tweets, “We should legalize marijuana in the United States of America, from sea to shining sea.”

/ STATES

Hawaii lawmakers sent Gov. David Ige (D) a bill that would ban smokable hemp and CBD-infused edibles.

Utah Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Peterson tweeted, “In 2018, Utahns voted for Medicaid expansion and legalization of medical cannabis prescribed by a doctor. But the legislature repealed and replaced both with weakened laws that ignored voters. If I am elected, I will respect and protect successful ballot measures. #TimeforChange”

A Nevada judge is hearing a case challenging the state’s marijuana business license awarding process.

Missouri regulators posted information about how many medical cannabis business facility minimum standards reviews have been completed and are still pending.

Oklahoma regulators published a video on how medical cannabis patient cards can be renewed.

Colorado’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

Mendocino County, California and a resident are being sued in federal court by a couple who say officials and their neighbor conspired to block their medical cannabis cultivation license application.

All three Democratic candidates for Maricopa County, Arizona attorney say they would decline to prosecute minor marijuana cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s ministry of public health signed a memorandum of understanding on medical cannabis production and processing in Saraburi province.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review suggested “cannabis as a promising alternative to opioids and supports the medical use of cannabis as a safer first-line pharmacological treatment for chronic pain compared to opioids” and concluded that “the use of cannabis as a safer alternative to opioids can promote social change directly and indirectly across a variety of social and economic dimensions due to increased access to medication at reduced cost, elimination of opioid-related death due to overdose, diminished individual and social harms related to cannabis.”

A study found that “cannabis use is increasing among American adults overall, yet is disproportionately common among Americans with anxiety especially among those residing in states where cannabis has been legalized.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The American Medical Association joined the Drug Policy Alliance in signing an amicus brief supporting the right of a safe consumption site for illegal drugs to open in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

/ BUSINESS

Arcview Market Research and BDSA forecast that worldwide legal marijuana industry revenue will grow another 38% to $20.4 billion in 2020.

Caliva received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Small Business Administration.

A deal for New Frontier Data to acquire Civilized fell apart.

Canopy Growth Corp. laid off another 30 employees.

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. announced a restructuring support agreement that will reduce outstanding debts and shrink existing shareholders’ ownership to 2.75% of the company’s equity.

Veritas Farms, Inc. announced that the chairman of the board of 1-800-PET-MEDS joined its board of directors.

Colorado retailers sold more than $192 million worth of marijuana products in May.

The New York Times looks at how marijuana edibles sales grew during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ CULTURE

The Major League Soccer Board of Governors is reportedly likely to approve CBD sponsorships by the end of the year.

Rapper B Real tweeted, “Stand with the @lastprisonerprj to make sure the promises to release  non-violent cannabis offenders.  People that made the ‘release on day 1 of legalization’ promises as usual full of shit!”

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