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McConnell presses FDA nominee on CBD regs (Newsletter: November 22, 2019)

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RI governor to pursue legal marijuana in 2020; Virginia AG hosts cannabis summit; Senators push USDA hemp rules fixes

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) says she’ll pursue legalizing marijuana again in 2020.

  • “You’re going to have to do it, so you probably should do it and do it right,” she said Massachusetts’s governor told her in a recent meeting.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) is hosting a Cannabis Summit next month to strategize with lawmakers about the opportunity for 2020 marijuana reform following this month’s elections in which Democrats took control of the legislature.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) discussed the importance of developing CBD regulations in a meeting with the FDA commissioner nominee Meanwhile, more consumer groups are pressing the agency on cannabidiol rules.

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make five key changes to proposed federal hemp regulations.

/ FEDERAL

The Senate passed, and President Trump signed,  a bill to extend funding for the federal government—including riders such as provision protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference—through December 20.

Food and Drug Administration Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernathy tweeted that the agency is “working quickly to clarify our regulatory approach for products containing CBD while continuing to monitor the marketplace & protect public health. We’re also creating consumer content to help people understand CBD & potential safety concerns.” In an interview she said her “commitment is to work as quickly as possible” on developing CBD regulations.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he thinks lawmakers should consider reinstating federal parole.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, discussed his marijuana attack on former Vice President Joe Biden (D) in post-debate interviews.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said that Booker’s cannabis quip to Biden was a “good moment” for the senator but that it’s “not really my style to even make a joke like that towards Joe.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, called for legalizing marijuana and other criminal justice reforms in a speech.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) took hemp questions from constituents during a telephone town hall.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) tweeted, “The Judiciary Committee considered a bill to legalize marijuana. Instead of fully considering it with hearings and negotiations, the majority spent valuable time this year chasing their tail on impeachment.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “I’ve spent my career fighting to legalize marijuana and provide restorative justice to communities of color. This bill is HUGE and I’m proud that key tenets from my own legislation have been included to help correct the wrongs of the failed #WarOnDrugs.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Even though 11 states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and many large cities have decriminalized, people continue to get arrested for use. Together we are going to end this injustice by legalizing marijuana nationwide.”

Arizona Democratic congressional candidate Eva Putzova tweeted, “It’s a no-brainer. Of course marijuana should be legalized.”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he will refocus his efforts on marijuana expungements after legalization stalled in the legislature.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “I am looking forward to meeting with Governor-Elect @AndyBeshearKY later today. Whether it is ag tech, hunger, or hemp, there are areas of cooperation available. I hope the Governor-Elect will listen to the concerns of our ag community as the transition moves forward.”

California regulators announced that marijuana taxes will increase as of January 1.

Rhode Island regulators released proposed medical cannabis regulations.

Michigan regulators released the Medical Marijuana Operation and Oversight Grant application for counties. They also published a cannabis tax bulletin.

Only about three dozen people have applied under a new North Dakota policy that creates a process to have marijuana convictions pardoned.

Here’s a look at the challenges South Dakota elections officials face in certifying marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot petitions.

A New York senator and advocates held a rally to build support for legalizing marijuana.


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.

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/ LOCAL

Chicago, Illinois officials launched a “Cannabis Facts Chicago” campaign to educate the public in advance of legalization taking effect.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The government of Madhya Pradesh, India plans to legalize cannabis for medical and industrial uses.

Israeli regulators issued guidelines for medical cannabis exports.

Ontario, Canada’s government is considering an overhaul of its marijuana business approval process that could dramatically expand the number of retail outlets.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD-enriched [cannabis extract] may ameliorate multiple [Autism Spectrum Disorder] symptoms even in non-epileptic patients, with substantial increase in life quality for both ASD patients and caretakers.”

A study found that “it is safe to administrate a single dose of Sativex to elderly patients with indolent B-cell lymphoma with regards to adverse events” and that “the cannabis compound quickly reduces lymphoma cell numbers in peripheral blood.”

A study concluded that “lifetime classic tryptamine use was associated with a decreased odds of past month psychological distress and past year suicidal thinking,” while “lifetime novel phenethylamine use, on the other hand, was associated with an increased odds of past year suicidal thinking and past year suicidal planning,”indicating that “classic tryptamines may hold the greatest therapeutic potential of the psychedelics, whereas novel phenethylamines may pose risk for harm.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Daily News editorial board is cheering on the House Judiciary Committee’s passage of a marijuana descheduling bill.

The Tulsa World editorial board is calling on Congress to reschedule marijuana and enact cannabis banking legislation.

/ BUSINESS

Vertical Bliss, Inc., also known as Kushy Punch, had its licenses revoked by California regulators.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sent an email to employees saying that the company “maintains a drug free workplace” following his on-camera marijuana smoking during a podcast, which he wrote he did “with no skill, obviously” and admitted that “it was not wise.”

Marijuana stocks rose following the House Judiciary Committee’s passage of a cannabis descheduling bill.

Employees at Sira Naturals unionized.

/ CULTURE

The son of late musician Leonard Cohen spoke about how his father used medical cannabis toward the end of his life.

Podcaster Joe Rogan slammed former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) comments on marijuana as a potential gateway drug.

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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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