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McConnell slipping hemp legalization into Farm Bill (Newsletter: April 27, 2018)

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VT could have votes to legalize sales; Trump lawyer loaned millions to marijuana biz; MI legalization on ballot

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is moving to include the language of his hemp legalization legislation into the broader Farm Bill expected to advance in Congress next month.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified that activists collected enough signatures to place a marijuana legalization initiative on the state’s November ballot. Now the Republican-led legislature has a chance to enact legalization themselves or allow the measure to go before voters, which could boost Democratic turnout. But the GOP House speaker indicated his chamber would not be voting on the measure.

Barely three months after legalizing low-level marijuana possession and  homegrow, Vermont lawmakers now believe they have the votes to enact a broader system of legal cannabis sales.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced more questions about marijuana during his second day in a row of appearances on Capitol Hill.

A poll from Quinnipiac University found record-high support for legalizing marijuana among U.S. voters.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, reportedly loaned millions of dollars to a businessman involved in the marijuana industry.

U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration official Elinore McCance-Katz said marijuana is “not a safe drug.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and other lawmakers held a press conference to tout new legislation removing roadblocks to marijuana research. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has promised to move the bill to a vote, Gaetz said.

U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) and other lawmakers held a roundtable meeting to discuss a bill to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level is about stopping our country from repeating the same mistakes of the past. Too many lives have been ruined because of the War on Drugs and our regressive policies.”

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) said she supports descheduling marijuana but prefers certain legislation to accomplish that over others.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “As corporations profit from legal weed, marijuana arrests continue to go up in many communities of color. The #MarijuanaJusticeAct would legalize cannabis, expunge prior convictions, and invest in the communities most ravaged by the failed war on drugs.”

The U.S. House bill to prevent federal agencies from going after people who are in compliance with state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 11.

Potential Rhode Island Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former senator and governor, said he would fight for marijuana rescheduling.

/ STATES

Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) has on his desk a bill to legalize CBD products.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said he is not against medical cannabis but opposes a proposed ballot initiative on the issue. And Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) tweeted, “Am I crazy for thinking that medical marijuana has a much bigger chance to impact turnout and change the electoral demographic this year?”

The Illinois Senate approved a bill to allow people to get medical cannabis for any “medical condition for which an opioid has been or could be prescribed by a physician based on generally accepted standards of care,” and to expand the program in other ways.

The Colorado Senate approved a bill to treat hemp like any other food ingredient.

The Louisiana House of Representatives defeated legislation to lift the cap on medical cannabis pharmacy licenses. And the House Criminal Justice Committee voted to defer two bills to decriminalize marijuana.

Missouri legislative analysts estimated that more than 150,000 patient and caregiver registration cards would be issued annually under a pending medical cannabis bill.

Alaska regulators proposed rules on plant counts, new strain introduction, seed-to-sale tracking and to define mature and immature marijuana plants. They are also considering separate proposed rules on signs, merchandise, advertisements and promotions for licensed marijuana businesses.

Michigan regulators will receive public testimony on adding new medical cannabis qualifying conditions on Friday.

The law firm of former New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R), who opposed legalization during her failed gubernatorial campaign, is a member of the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association.

/ 👀

On Thursday, I received a Justice Department response to a Freedom of Information Act request I filed back in 2015 about federal marijuana policy. The feds say there are 505 pages (!) of responsive documents…but they are referring my request to another office for processing.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government released financial and employment data about the country’s licensed marijuana producers. Separately, the British Columbia government filed proposed legal marijuana regulation legislation.

/ ADVOCACY

The UK’s Royal College of Physicians is calling for the decriminalization of all drugs.

The Utah Democratic Party will consider endorsing medical cannabis this weekend.

The National Cannabis Industry Association has retained VS Strategies and Steve Fox to bolster its federal lobbying efforts, and is hiring Morgan Fox away from the Marijuana Policy Project as its new media relations director.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana posted an overview of a recent conference it hosted, including a claim that its side is “winning.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

University of Utah researchers are starting a $740,000 study examining how compounds in marijuana affect the human brain.

/ BUSINESS  

Dixie Brands Inc. is considering an initial public offering.

USA Today looks at how legal marijuana might affect the alcohol industry.

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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

Three federal agencies accept public comments on cannabis (Newsletter: September 17, 2019)

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Former drug czar gives Mexico marijuana advice: Congressman worries about “spiritual war” and cannabis; Study: President influences legalization views

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

  • Gayle Zachaukirk: “I felt strongly to pledge, as a veteran who has suffered many years of inadequate mental health care, via Seattle’s VA CBOC, due simply to my choice of marijuana over deadly opioids, which I became addicted to during active duty, as military’s overwhelming pharmaceutical push.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Three separate federal agencies—the Drug Enforcement Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration—are currently accepting public comments on cannabis-related issues such as global marijuana rescheduling, hemp pesticides and a proposed 2020 cultivation quota.

Former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske, who once said that the word “legalization” isn’t even in his vocabulary, offered some very specific marijuana regulation advice to Mexican lawmakers as they move toward ending prohibition.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) cited the fact that “marijuana dispensaries are on the same streets as thriving churches” as evidence of a “spiritual war our nation is entrenched in.”

A study looking at how the White House shapes public opinion about cannabis finds that “presidential drug rhetoric predicts attitudes toward legalization despite controls for other factors such as estimated levels of marijuana use and arrests.”

/ FEDERAL

The Military Health System tweeted, “Service members should avoid any product with Cannabidiol (CBD), as it could result in a positive drug test.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted that THC vapes are “slipping through a regulatory crack where they’re not actively regulated by the feds (and fall mostly outside FDA’s legal purview) and they’re not carefully scrutinized by states that’ve passed permissive cannabis laws that fueled these products.”

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) apparently want the Trump administration to extend its proposed ban on flavored nicotine vaping devices to cannabis vapes.

Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) is seeking cosponsors for legislation to remove marijuana as a deportable offense for immigrants.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) cited his work on hemp legislation as an example of his effectiveness as a legislator, tweeting, “Ask anyone who takes CBD now.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order increasing enforcement against counterfeit marijuana and nicotine vaping products and increasing warning signs for consumers.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) spoke about how severe lung illnesses associated with vaping seem to be caused by unregulated cannabis preparations.

Utah lawmakers unanimously voted to send legislation revising the state’s medical cannabis distribution system to the desk of Gov. Gary Herbert (R).

An Indiana judge issued a preliminary injunction on a state law that criminalizes smokable hemp.

New Hampshire lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday and Thursday to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) veto of a bill to allow medical cannabis home cultivation. They will also consider an override of a veto on legislation to let dispensaries become for-profit operations.

Nevada regulators are investigating marijuana testing laboratories for allegedly manipulating THC levels. Separately, regulators sent an advisory about moldy and yeasty marijuana.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is investigating threats made against the state’s top medical cannabis regulator.

A Massachusetts representative filed a bill to amend the local approval process for marijuana businesses.

The chair of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Committee on Cannabis said lawmakers look forward to working with regulators to implement the territory’s marijuana legalization law.

Texas regulators are moving to license more low-THC medical cannabis providers.

Colorado regulators are considering how to apportion new marijuana business licenses reserved for low-income demographics.

Maine regulators unveiled the state’s marijuana track and trace program.

Ohio regulators released updated medical cannabis patient and caregivers counts.


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 Cincinnati, Ohio City Council is considering a proposal to expunge marijuana convictions.

Activists in Ann Arbor, Michigan are working to decriminalize psychedelics.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Myanmar is moving to allow hemp farming.

Saint Lucia’s Cannabis Commission held its first meeting.

Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron spoke about his past marijuana use.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that cannabis terpenes and terpenoids “may be an important potential source for new medications for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders.”

A study of marijuana extraction and solvent evaporation methods found that “the use of heating and the presence of oxygen when evaporating the solvents greatly modified the final profiles due to evaporation or chemical reactions.”

/ BUSINESS

Former Canopy Growth Corp. CEO Bruce Linton is signing on as an advisor to a number of smaller marijuana companies.

Cresco Labs Inc. is acquiring assets from Tryke Companies, LLC in a $282.5 million deal.

Coors Distributing Company announced plans to begin distributing CBD beverages.

An Associated Press investigation found unregulated CBD vapes containing illegal synthetic cannabinoids in states across the country.

Two senior VICE employees were reportedly fired after purchasing a large quantity of marijuana for a video in which the rapper Lil Yachty would attempt to roll the world’s heaviest blunt.

A principal of Green Springs Medical in Arkansas is suing his partner for allegedly violating state regulations.

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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 to vote on cannabis banking next week (Newsletter: September 16, 2019)

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Lawmakers press FDA to allow CBD products; Marijuana rescheduling bill would fix 280E; Dan Aykroyd & Joe Rogan on psychedelics

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

  • Koala Authentix: “Staying up to date with hemp and cannabis news and legislation is extremely important to our clients and our business overall.  Tom Angell and Marijuana Moment are trusted primary sources for that information. We appreciate the timeliness, accuracy, and depth of coverage we get from Marijuana Moment.”   

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives plans a floor vote on cannabis banking legislation by the end of this month, the office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told Marijuana Moment.

Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and James Comer (R-KY) are asking fellow lawmakers to sign a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration to issue a memo on CBD enforcement discretion and formulate an interim final rule establishing a clear regulatory framework allowing use of CBD in food products and dietary supplements.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed a bill to move marijuana to Schedule III. While his stated aim is to expand research, the reform would also end the application of the 280E tax penalty on state-legal cannabis businesses.

/ FEDERAL

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing to strengthen its drug testing rules.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a request for information about contractors who can help recruit and screen participants for drug use surveys.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “There’s no question that people of color continue to be hit the hardest by the failed War on Drugs. Enough. It’s time we passed my bill to legalize marijuana and expand opportunities for communities of color.”

House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) said it is “a political liability not to take action on” marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) urged that any federal crackdown on vaping should focus on marijuana products.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) tweeted about discussing hemp at an agriculture town hall meeting.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “We must reinvest in the black and brown communities hardest hit by the failed war on drugs while fighting for real restorative justice.”

The House bill to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical cannabis and prevent the denial of benefits for marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of six.

/ STATES

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) issued an order providing guidance on workplace issues for medical cannabis patients. She also tweeted about signage that registered dispensaries can post to show their official participation in the District’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted that “cannabis has led to- checks notes- none overdose deaths-checks notes- never.” In another tweet, he criticized a judge’s ruling barring medical marijuana for people on probation.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner and chief financial officer sent a letter urging Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation. Separately, an appeals court allowed the state House of Representatives to intervene in a lawsuit challenging medical cannabis regulations.

California’s treasurer sent an update on efforts to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banking. Separately, regulators took enforcement actions against two unlicensed marijuana retailers selling illegal vape cartridges.

Hawaii regulators said they will remove unregulated CBD products from the market.

Utah lawmakers will hold a special session on Monday to consider changes to the medical cannabis distribution system.

An Arizona grand jury indicted a woman on 10 counts of forgery and one count of fraudulent schemes related to a potential medical cannabis zoning conspiracy.

Ohio regulators are urging medical cannabis patients to avoid vaping.

Washington State regulators will hold a listen and learn session about draft conceptual marijuana penalty rules on September 26.

The company suing the Idaho State Police for seizing a hemp shipment says it will drop the lawsuit if its product is returned and officials pledge not to stop future shipments through the state.

A group of Illinois women lawmakers who worked together to pass marijuana legalization legislation are calling themselves “the Cannabitches.”


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

Boston, Massachusetts’s mayor signed an executive order stipulating that city employees and their immediate family members cannot open marijuana businesses or participate in companies seeking cannabis licenses. Shortly after, a Zoning Board of Appeal member resigned.

Davenport, Iowa activists are pushing local officials to decriminalize marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s government said it is committed to making sure the public debate in advance of next year’s marijuana legalization referendum is focused on facts and evidence.

The UK Labour Party pledged to launch a commission to review “all drugs legislation” if it forms a government.

Ontario, Canada officials accused cannabis company officials of fraudulent activity.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “patients with neuropathic pain, cancer pain, and migraine headache may benefit from the analgesic effects of a cannabis-based medicine (CBM), but not necessarily patients with chronic abdominal pain,” that “equivocal results were shown in fibromyalgia and postoperative orthopedic pain” and that “the opioid-sparing properties of CBM make it an attractive option for pain management.”

A study of mice suggested that “combination of THC+CBD suppresses neuroinflammation and attenuates clinical [experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis] development.”

/ BUSINESS

Mind Medicine Inc. will reportedly announce on Monday that it is developing a synthetic drug based on the chemical structure of ibogaine.

A Washington Post investigation looks at how pharmaceutical companies successfully worked to restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to regulate opioids.

Colorado retailers sold more than $166 million in marijuana products in July, setting a new monthly record.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dan Aykroyd discussed use of marijuana and psychedelics with Joe Rogan.

Rapper Lil Wayne cancelled a concert following a hotel dispute about the smell of marijuana emanating from his room.

Kim Kardashian said CBD helps her deal with a busy lifestyle as a mom and businesswoman.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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.
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Newsletter

GOP Senate chair plans cannabis banking vote (Newsletter: September 13, 2019)

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Dems debate drugs; DEA marijuana stall tactics in court; Legalization boosts Colorado population; Black Caucus cannabis focus; New rescheduling bill

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Subscribers who value this daily dispatch enough to show their support with a few dollars help us keep doing this. Please chip in and help ensure Marijuana Moment’s continued operations.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) said he plans to hold a vote on a marijuana banking bill in his panel by the end of the year.

Democratic presidential candidates clashed on marijuana and drug policy at a debate, with former Vice President Joe Biden (D) saying that cannabis should remain illegal as a misdemeanor.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is holding four separate panels focused on marijuana at its conference this week.

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL), who strongly opposed marijuana reform in the 1990s as secretary of health and human services during the Clinton administration, joined with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to introduce a bill that would reschedule cannabis and expand research opportunities.

A research group that applied to get Drug Enforcement Administration approval to grow marijuana to be used in scientific studies accused the agency of delay tactics in a federal court filing.

A study examined how cannabis factors into people’s decision to move to a new state and found that “marijuana legalization increased Colorado’s population by 3.2% as of 2015” because “potential migrants view legalized marijuana as a positive amenity.”

/ FEDERAL

Members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology discussed detecting marijuana-related impairment among drivers at a hearing.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) blamed the Obama and Trump administrations for “a failure of political leadership not to deal with the marijuana issue.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “Systemic racism is a root ideology that propped up an extractive economic system that prioritizes profit over human & environmental considerations. The injustices of slavery evolved into Jim Crow, redlining, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, & beyond.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Even in states where marijuana is legal, many people don’t have the time or money to individually petition the court to expunge their marijuana records. More communities need to join Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago in automatically clearing marijuana offenses.”

Police raided an illegal marijuana growing operation at a building whose owners include former Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA).

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and direct money to programs to begin repairing the harms of the drug war got two new cosponsors for a total of 39.

/ STATES

California lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) a bill to exempt medical cannabis compassion programs from taxes as well as legislation allowing terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana in healthcare facilities. They also approved a bill to let cannabis businesses deduct expenses on their state tax returns and legislation to ban marijuana party buses.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner said that when people think of his state he wants “them to think the same thing they think about hemp like they do Idaho potatoes and Florida orange juice.”

The New Jersey Senate did not vote as expected on Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) suggested changes to a marijuana expungement bill he conditionally vetoed, instead filing a new proposal for consideration.

Washington, D.C. officials moved to allow patients to use a REAL ID driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles as proof of residency for the medical cannabis program in lieu of two other forms of acceptable identification.

Massachusetts regulators voted to require marijuana companies to disclose all specific ingredients in vaping cartridges. They also approved a requirement that body cameras be used to film cannabis home deliveries while limiting how the video footage can be used and moved to expand the reach of delivery services.

Utah’s Procurement Policy Board rejected an appeal from a medical cannabis company that was denied a cultivation license but said that regulators may have erred in selecting only eight growers.


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

A judge is accusing New York City police of lying about smelling marijuana to justify vehicle searches.

The Miami Beach, Florida City Commission approved a proposal to treat public marijuana smoking at the same level as an open container violation.

Denver, Colorado police issued a bulletin about an uptick in burglaries at marijuana facilities.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A party in Thailand’s ruling coalition is circulating legislation to allow medical cannabis home cultivation.

South Africa’s government is considering expunging past marijuana convictions.

Paraguayan regulators began a process to license medical cannabis businesses.

Vancouver, Canada’s City Council defeated a measure to crack down on the sale of psilocybin mushrooms.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “use of cannabis and cannabinoids via certain administration routes could reduce different types of pain.”

A study found that in “US community samples of cannabis initiates studied soon after first use, the vast majority were free of individual [side effect] experiences counted toward Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition cannabis use disorder diagnoses.”

A review determined that while “standard field sobriety tests have advantages over per se tests for cannabis-impaired driving, limitations of both leave cannabis users and law enforcement officials little guidance in assessing an individual’s driving fitness after recent cannabis use.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

An analysis from prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana found that cannabis industry participants donated $305,675in campaign contributions  to members of Congress in the first half of 2019, compared with $248,504 last year.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing New Jersey over a law requiring tax-exempt organizations to disclose information about donors, saying that it will expose the names of people supporting marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform efforts.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s stock sunk after reporting lower-than-expected earnings.

Some Oregon marijuana retailers began pulling vaping products from their stores over uncertainty about ingredients.

/ CULTURE

Mark Wahlberg and Sean “Diddy” Combs will serve as brand ambassadors for Alkaline Water Company Inc., which sells CBD products.

The Outline look at why some South American indigenous tribes give psychedelic drugs to dogs.

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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.
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