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McConnell files hemp legalization bill (Newsletter: April 13, 2018)

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Senators press Sessions on cannabis research; Boehner won’t lobby for legalization; Albuquerque decrim signed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and three cosponsors filed a  hemp legalization bill.

Congressman James Comer (R-KY) and one cosponsor filed a House companion hemp bill.

U.S. Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) are demanding that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stop blocking research on marijuana’s medical benefits.

/ FEDERAL

Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) elaborated that he supports letting states set their own marijuana laws, not necessarily that he wants states to legalize cannabis.

Boehner also predicted that more members of Congress would soon get on board with marijuana law reform:

  • “As public opinion shifts, members’ opinions on this are going to shift — I’m a prime example. Over these last 10 years, my attitude has changed pretty dramatically on this.. Members will see the light.”

Although Boehner joined the advisory board of a cannabis company, his spokesman says he “has no plans to lobby on this or any other issue.”

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) ignored a question about whether he would join Boehner in entering the marijuana industry upon his retirement.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) said he hopes Boehner will support marijuana reform legislation “so those most hurt by misguided War on Drugs can also benefit from society’s evolution on this issue.”

A U.S. Government Accountability Office study found that federal agencies are not effectively tracking the effectiveness of efforts to combat synthetic opioids.

The U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General released a report raising concerns about the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s handling of contracts.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is expected to advance a prison reform bill next week.

Here’s a look at White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s long involvement in international drug enforcement issues.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission unanimously adopted new sentencing guidelines for distribution of synthetic drugs.

New Mexico Democratic congressional candidate Deb Haaland tweeted, “We as a state and country need to legalize marijuana.  Treat the opioid crisis. Treat veterans with PTSD. Stop locking up people of color.  Help New Mexico’s lagging economy.”

Several Pennsylvania Democratic congressional candidates discussed marijuana law reform during a forum.

/ STATES

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) signed a hemp bill into law using a pen made of hemp.

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a bill to allow more medical cannabis qualifying conditions. Two representatives disclosed that they have possible conflicts of interest on marijuana legislation.

New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon tweeted about the importance of expunging prior marijuana convictions following legalization. She is also asking supporters to sign up for $4.20 per month campaign contribution pledges. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that legalization is currently a “non-starter.”

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich (D) tweeted, “It’s time we replace the disastrous War on Drugs with policies rooted in evidence, compassion, and justice for all Ohioans.”

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner praised new U.S. Senate industrial hemp legislation.

The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on legislation to place a nonbinding marijuana legalization question on the November ballot as well as a separate bill to prohibit employers from refusing to hire, discharging or discriminating against people who test positive for medical cannabis use.

The Illinois Senate Agriculture Committee approved a hemp bill. Separately, a  senator filed CBD legislation.

A New Jersey assemblyman introduced a new marijuana legalization bill.

Maryland regulators approved the opening of seven new medical cannabis dispensaries.

/ LOCAL

Albuquerque, New Mexico’s mayor signed a marijuana decriminalization ordinance into law.

The sheriff of Rogers County, Oklahoma said that passage of a medical cannabis ballot measure would be “demoralizing.”

A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania city councilman is pushing to eliminate a policy that can cause reincarceration of parolees for positive marijuana tests.

The campaign of Denver, Colorado mayoral candidate Kayvan Khalatbari, a marijuana industry entrepreneur, raised $69,569 in the first quarter of 2018.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s tourism minister said states should legalize marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that 14.6% of Colorado workers “reported current marijuana use, with the highest reported prevalence among workers in the Accommodation and Food Services industry (30.1%) and Food Preparation and Serving (32.2%) occupations.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. adults found that 83% think marijuana should be legal in some form and that 64% believe cannabis has medical benefits.

/ BUSINESS  

DICA Distribution, a company founded by Weedmaps CEO Doug Francis, President Chris Beals and Chief Operating Officer Steven Jung received a conditional approval for a marijuana distribution facility in West Sacramento, California.

New Belgium Brewing launched an action center where people can ask lawmakers to legalize industrial hemp.

A survey of Eaze customers found that 82 % said they decreased their alcohol intake due to cannabis consumption.

Here’s a look at creative marketing tactics being used by Canadian marijuana companies.

/ CULTURE     

NORML put together a roundup of select 4/20 events.

Here’s a look at VICE’s Weed Week programming.

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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 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 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.)

Newsletter

House send hemp legalization to Trump’s desk (Newsletter: Dec. 13, 2018)

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New bill would solve marijuana industry border issues; Chicago mayor wants cannabis revenue for pensions; “CBD gummies” a top 2018 search, Google says

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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 352 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

  • Matt Ferner of The Justice Collaborative: “What Tom is doing with Marijuana Moment is extremely unique and valuable. Tom is always on top of the latest developments and trends in the marijuana legalization movement from a local, state, national and even global perspective. I’ve come to rely on Marijuana Moment’s accurate coverage to stay up to date on the movement. I used to have to cobble together reports from all over the web, while still missing so much. But now I can just read Tom’s newsletter in the morning, and follow Marijuana Moment during the day for breaking news — Tom doesn’t miss a thing.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives voted to approve the Farm Bill, which contains provisions to legalize hemp. It now heads to President Trump’s desk for signature.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered to let President Trump use his hemp pen to sign the Farm Bill into law.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) filed legislation that would solve the issue of Canadian marijuana industry participants being denied entry to the U.S. and also shield immigrants from being deported for state-legal cannabis activity.

Chicago, Illinois Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said in a speech that he wants legal marijuana revenue to fund pension programs, though he stopped short of a direct endorsement of ending cannabis prohibition.

Google trend data says that “CBD gummies” was the third most searched for food term of 2018, just behind “romaine lettuce” and ahead of “keto pancakes.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard arguments in an appeal of a case seeking to overturn marijuana’s federal Schedule I status.

The Government Accountability Office released a report criticizing the State Department for not comprehensively reviewing the effects of U.S. anti-drug efforts in Colombia.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia held an anti-marijuana event.

House and Senate lawmakers released a revised version of criminal justice reform legislation that is expected to be voted on before the end of the year.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) spoke about the benefits of medical cannabis for military veterans.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “Hey, NV farmers. How about growing #hemp instead of alfalfa? A breakthrough in the #FarmBill2018 lifts restrictions on legalized hemp production. Together we can cultivate a potentially multi-billion dollar crop that makes everything from rope to soap!”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted about how the Farm Bill “has finally opened the door for industrial hemp — a domestic industry that already has a market value of roughly $620 million in the U.S. per year — creating great opportunity for sustainable jobs across many sectors.”

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said the legalization of hemp “will be a boon to Oregon’s economy by allowing farmers to expand their markets while continuing to research and cultivate their crops.”

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) included legalizing cannabis in a list of issues the political press could discuss instead of whether she should be able to run for president.

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got four new cosponsors, for a total of 40.

/ STATES

New Jersey’s Senate president and Assembly speaker said a vote on marijuana legalization is unlikely by the end of the year unless lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) come to an agreement at a Thursday meeting.

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s (D) transition team created a Cannabis Legalization Subcommittee.

Ohio regulators cleared the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary to begin operations, though there are not yet any products for it to sell to patients.

The Kentucky legislature’s Interim Health, Welfare and Family Services Committee discussed medical cannabis. Separately, the state agriculture commissioner tweeted happily about the passage of hemp legalization through Congress via the Farm Bill.

Vermont’s marijuana legalization study committee held its final meeting. Their report is expected to be delivered to Gov. Phil Scott (R) on Monday.

The Colorado Supreme Court is considering a case on the use of police dogs trained on now-legal marijuana in searches that find other, still-illegal drugs.

Washington State regulators approved interim policies on marijuana packaging and labeling requirements and the use of personal funds for business activities.

Maryland regulators will hold a hearing next month on medical cannabis licensing ownership rules.

A California assemblywoman said she will file a bill to “to legalize the sale of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), so that Californians have better access to natural products that help many people relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and manage anxiety.”


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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 St. Paul, Minnesota City Council adopted a resolution endorsing marijuana legalization and record expungement.

Asheville, North Carolina alcohol regulators said they are already preparing for the possible legalization of marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lawmakers voted to legalize marijuana for medical and scientific purposes.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A survey of schools and colleges of pharmacy found that “62% include medical marijuana content in their curriculum” and that “of the schools and colleges that do not include it, 23% plan to incorporate medical marijuana topics within the next 12 months.”

New York’s Health Department and other researchers are conducting a survey on marijuana use patterns.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray announced that former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele have joined its advisory board, along with former foreign ministers of Germany and Australia.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest pension fund in the U.S., has a position in Tilray.

New Belgium Brewing reacted to the legalization of hemp through the Farm Bill, tweeting, “We can already smell the dankness in our brewhouse.” 

/ CULTURE

A Massachusetts YMCA is apologizing after a staffer posted a notice threatening to call the authorities on parents who smell like 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.
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Newsletter

Senate votes to legalize hemp; House vote soon (Newsletter: Dec. 12, 2018)

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Gov’t shutdown could put medical marijuana at risk; UK lawmakers vote to reject legalization; Anti-cannabis US attorney hosts summit

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 352 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

As President Trump threatens a government shutdown over border wall funding, it could put medical cannabis. patients at risk. Here’s why: A shutdown would mean that the “Rohrabacher-Farr” protections for state medical marijuana laws would expire, but Drug Enforcement Administration agents and federal prosecutors are exempt from furlough.

The Senate approved the Farm Bill, which includes provisions to legalize hemp.  A House vote is expected soon.

A bipartisan collection of House and Senate members cheered the inclusion of hemp legalization in the Farm Bill.

The UK House of Commons rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana, with the opposition Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn reportedly whipping its members to abstain on the vote.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, who has consistently spoken out against cannabis reform, is holding a “Marijuana Summit” on Wednesday. Prohibitionist activist Kevin Sabet is scheduled to speak.

/ FEDERAL

Former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Chief of Staff Regina LaBelle answered questions about legalizing marijuana and other drugs in a C-SPAN appearance.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said he is “concerned” by how rapidly states are moving to legalize marijuana.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Senate will vote on criminal justice reform legislation before the end of the year.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tweeted, “Reforming our criminal justice system is about redemption—giving many Americans another chance to achieve a more fulfilling future. The House has already demonstrated our commitment to making substantive reforms and we welcome the Senate’s consideration of the FIRST STEP Act.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) filed a bill that would, among other things, seek to recover lands affected by illegal marijuana cultivation. Separately, she tweeted, “As states moves toward legalizing marijuana, let’s remember how many lives have been ruined because of our regressive policies. We must focus on restorative justice.”

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got seven new cosponsors, for a total of 36.

/ STATES

The Michigan House of Representatives approved a bill to ease background check requirements on low-level marijuana business investors.

Legislative sources are suggesting it is unlikely New Jersey lawmakers will pass a marijuana legalization bill by the end of the year.

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker (D) spoke about the need to include expungement of past convictions in marijuana legalization legislation. He also said he wants the state to jump ahead of Michigan and become the first state in the Midwest to launch recreational cannabis sales.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), who supports legalization of marijuana, suggested that Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who does not, may “evolve” on the issue. Separately, Wolf tweeted, “Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is now accepting requests for new qualifying conditions. Doctors and patients can submit recommendations to the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board for review.”

Georgia House and Senate study committees voted to recommend expanded cannabis oil distribution and hemp farming.

California regulators proposed an emergency rule on tracking wholesale cost and retail selling price of marijuana.

Oklahoma regulators approved food safety standards for medical cannabis processors.

South Carolina’s House minority leader said legalizing medical cannabis is a personal goal of his.

A Missouri senator filed a bill to give minority- and women-owned medical cannabis business license applicants a scoring boost.

Connecticut’s Office of Legislative Research released a brief about marijuana legalization considerations. Separately, regulators doubled the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the state by approving nine new ones.

Massachusetts’s third recreational marijuana store is set to open this week.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner cheered the passage of hemp legalization provisions in the Farm Bill.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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

Chicago, Illinois Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is reportedly preparing to call for legalizing marijuana, with revenues to be dedicated entirely to pensions.

The Boston, Massachusetts City Council held a hearing on creating “buffer zones” between substance abuse treatment centers and marijuana dispensaries or liquor stores.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee is requesting submissions of evidence on the use of medical cannabis “as the first part of a wider inquiry into the impact of drugs policy on public health.”

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament began debate on medical cannabis bills.

Chilean lawmakers debated a medical cannabis bill.

Some advocate in Thailand are concerned about foreign control of medical cannabis companies.

/ ADVOCACY

The Republican Party of Kentucky tweeted, “With the Farm Bill passed in the Senate, we’re one step closer to hemp legalization! Thank you @SenateMajLdr, @RandPaul, @KYComer, and @RyanQuarlesKY for all that you’ve done fighting for our farmers and leading the charge for Industrial Hemp!”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

In a review of studies on THC and oncologic pain, “five found THC to be more effective than placebo, one found THC to be more effective than placebo in American patients but ineffective in patients from other countries, and two found THC to be no more effective than placebo.”

A study found that “plain packaging and health warnings [on marijuana products] may reduce brand appeal and increase health knowledge among young adults.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board wants more transparency in the marijuana business licensing process.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria, Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit over allegedly misleading shareholders.

A review of patent filings suggest that Altria may be trying to corner the market for cannabis vaporization devices.

The New York Times looks at the growing interest of alcohol and tobacco companies in the marijuana industry.

/ CULTURE

Martha Stewart spoke about trying marijuana edibles.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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

Trump official defends medical cannabis in public housing (Newsletter: Dec. 11, 2018)

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Feds highlight marijuana research opps; Cuomo might legalize through New York budget; McConnell uses hemp pen to sign Farm Bill

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 350 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Department of Housing and Urban Development official said that landlords should be required to “legally permit” medical cannabis in federally-subsidized housing. Her comments came in response to the case of a 78-year-old man who was evicted from his New York apartment due to medical marijuana use. Amid media coverage of the move, his landlord reversed its position on Monday and invited him to move back in.

After hosting a day-long marijuana research workshop, the National Institutes of Health released a list of funding opportunities for cannabis studies—several of which don’t even explicitly mention cannabinoids, which suggests an effort to greatly expand cannabis science.

The final text of the Farm Bill was released—including hemp legalization provisions and a scaled back ban on participation in the newly legal economy by people with felony drug convictions. House and Senate votes to send the bill to President Trump’s desk are expected this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) used a hemp pen to sign off on the Farm Bill conference report.

New York lawmakers are hearing signals that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) may include marijuana legalization in his state budget proposal due out next month.

/ FEDERAL

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said his agency is working to “make sure that that transition to national legalization [of marijuana] in Canada goes smoothly” at the border.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday titled, “Narcos: Transnational Cartels and Border Security.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level isn’t just a smart thing to do —it’s the right thing to do. We can’t keep repeating the same mistakes of the past. Too many lives have been ruined by these regressive policies.”

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) criticized Michigan Republican lawmakers for seeking to “overturn the will of the voters” by, among other things, considering legislation to scale back marijuana legalization.

/ STATES

Kentucky’s attorney general wants to put medical cannabis legalization before voters in a referendum.

The Utah Supreme Court is considering two emergency petitions seeking to overturn the legislature’s move to replace the voter-approved medical cannabis ballot measure with a “compromise” bill.

Some details are beginning to emerge about 2019 Illinois marijuana legalization legislation, including expungement and licensing provisions, as well as those aimed at ensuring equity in the industry for people of color.

New Jersey mayors met with the House speaker to advocate for social justice provisions in marijuana legalization legislation.

Ohio regulators announced that nearly 2,000 patients and caregivers have already signed up in the first week of the state’s  medical cannabis registry being active.

Oklahoma officials are being asked to investigate possible collusion between state agencies when drafting medical cannabis regulations.

California regulators released guidance about marijuana product testing requirements.

Michigan regulators released guidance about selling medical cannabis to patients with registrations from other states.

Massachusetts regulators are co-hosting a forum for municipal officials to discuss the decision-making process for regulating or banning marijuana commerce at the local level next week.

Nevada regulators awarded 61 new recreational marijuana retailer conditional licenses.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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

Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney is hosting events to help people erase prior marijuana convictions.

The Boston, Massachusetts City Council will hold a hearing on a proposal to bar marijuana businesses from operating within a half-mile of addiction treatment centers on Tuesday. Separately, the mayor wrote an op-ed about the implementation of recreational marijuana sales in the city.

The Norman, Oklahoma City is considering decriminalizing marijuana. 

Los Angeles, California officials held a press conference about driving under the influence of marijuana and other drugs.

The Chatham, New Jersey Borough Council passed a resolution opposing marijuana legalization.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand lawmakers approved medical cannabis legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of Washington State adolescents before and after marijuana legalization “provided no evidence that policy change influenced heavy-using adolescents’ rates of use nor the proposed risk factors associated with problematic use patterns.”

A study “illustrates that CBD is a well-tolerated and effective antiseizure agent and illustrates a potential disease-modifying effect of CBD on both reducing seizure burden and associated comorbidities well-after the onset of symptomatic seizures.”

A study’s results “support” medical cannabis “as an option for treatment of concussion-related chronic pain.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 73% of New Zealanders voters think medical cannabis should be treated like any other medicine.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. is acquiring licensed Mexican marijuana product importer Farmacias Magistrales S.A.

Dixie Brands Inc. announced a net loss of $2.4 million in the third quarter of the year.

/ CULTURE

Miley Cyrus says her mom got her back into smoking marijuana again.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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