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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

Senate cannabis banking hearing scheduled for next week (Newsletter: July 17, 2019)

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Berkeley considers psychedelics decrim; Lawmaker files marijuana bill after leaving GOP; USDA official speaks at hemp conference

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee scheduled a hearing on marijuana banking issues for next week. Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) had previously said cannabis’s legal status would have to be amended before the panel addressed financial services issues, but his thinking has apparently changed.

A Berkeley, California City Council committee will consider a measure to decriminalize psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin on Wednesday. The move follows neighboring Oakland’s enactment of a similar resolution last month.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official and Colorado’s pro-hemp Gov. Jared Polis (D) are scheduled to discuss CBD as a dietary supplement and related issues at an American Herbal Products Association conference next month.

Just days after leaving the Republican Party, Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) filed a new marijuana bill in Congress. It’s nearly identical to the bipartisan STATES Act, with one exception.

/ FEDERAL

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on efforts to combat illicit fentanyl.

The Congressional Black Caucus tweeted about pending legislation allowing certain federal drug war prisoners to have their cases reconsidered.

Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL) noted in a report on a visit to the border that “the main drug they’re seizing between ports is marijuana, and that’s decreasing due to domestic legalization.”

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) said she is “so excited that now, finally in our country, we are looking at the war on drugs, we’re looking at mass incarceration, and the consequences that that has had on our country.”

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 71.

/ STATES

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) cheered news of the opening of a CBD extraction facility in the state, saying, “As the commonwealth becomes a focal point for hemp-related businesses, this latest project significantly accelerates our progress.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) discussed his concerns about marijuana reform.

The Florida House of Representatives moved to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s medical cannabis regulations. Separately, here’s a look at the chances of getting a marijuana legalization measure on the state’s 2020 ballot.

A Michigan senator filed a bill to expunge marijuana records. Separately, regulators released updated lists of banned chemical active ingredients in marijuana products and for growers.

California regulators will hold a meeting about efforts to create a cannabis program comparable to the National Organic Program next Wednesday.

Utah regulators are dropping a proposed residency requirement for medical cannabis cultivation.

New Mexico’s medical cannabis patient count is up nearly 10% since the beginning of the year.

Washington State regulators will consider changes to marijuana packaging and labeling rules on Wednesday.

Massachusetts regulators will begin accepting applications for state certification as responsible vendor trainers for marijuana establishment agents on Wednesday.

Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Study Commission will hold its first meeting on August 13.


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 Fayetteville, Arkansas City Council approved a resolution urging the city prosecutor to use discretion to “to ensure that appropriate cases of misdemeanor possession of marijuana for personal, private, adult use be considered for dismissal.”

Santa Cruz County, California is being sued for allegedly violating state law by blocking marijuana deliveries from out-of-county companies.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Cabinet approved 34 medical cannabis licenses.

A French judge ruled that a man who killed a neighbor can’t be held criminally responsible for his actions because he smoked marijuana beforehand.

Thai regulators are denying accusations that they have unduly delayed approval of medical cannabis oil.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

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

A study of qualitative reports of psychedelic microdosing found “beneficial outcomes, such as improved mood (26.6%) and focus (14.8%)” as well as “challenging outcomes, such as physiological discomfort (18.0%) and increased anxiety (6.7%).”

/ BUSINESS

Advertising firm Havas is launching a cannabis-focused consulting arm.

The Arcview Group closed a $7.7 million Series A funding round.

A former Walt Disney World bartender says she was fired for using CBD oil for foot pain.

/ CULTURE

Musician Flea joked about the differences between indica and sativa cannabis.

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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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Legal cannabis reduces illegal growing in national forests, study finds (Newsletter: July 16, 2019)

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Former GOP rep says Trump will help legalize by 2020; BVI considers legal marijuana bill; SXSW wants cannabis panel ideas

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…

There are now 1,161 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A study found that legalizing marijuana reduces illegal cultivation on public lands.

  • “Outright, national recreational cannabis legalization would be one means by which illegal growing on national forests could be made to disappear.”

Former Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) spoke to Marijuana Moment in a recent interview about why he believes President Trump will help achieve broad cannabis reform in 2020. He also addressed former House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) industry involvement, decriminalizing psychedelics and the role marijuana played in his failed reelection effort last year.

Officials in the British Virgin Islands are reviewing draft marijuna legalization legislation.

SXSW is asking people to suggest marijuana-focused panel ideas for the Cannabusiness Track at next year’s festival. The deadline for submissions is this Friday.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) introduced legislation allowing certain federal prisoners to petition courts to take a “second look” at their cases. Booker tweeted, “There are hundreds of thousands of people behind bars–most of them people of color–who were sentenced under draconian laws during the height of the War on Drugs that we have since recognized were unfair. But many of the changes we’ve made to these laws have not been retroactive.”

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for letting states set their own marijuana laws during an Iowa campaign appearance.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, made a joke about marijuana legalization.

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang signed a bong.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said he is “going to bring the Food and Drug Administration kicking and screaming and hollering in to getting [hemp-derived CBD] issues resolved.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) spoke with local law enforcement officials about marijuana issues.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said he supports legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “People of color are disproportionately targeted in marijuana-related offenses. We should all follow Illinois’ lead to expunge these discriminatory and unnecessary offenses.”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tweeted, “I’m all about connecting the dots. It’s time to connect the dots between racial disparities and economic inequity by legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.”

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) discussed medical cannabis on his podcast.

An Oklahoma representative is pushing for an interim study on the safety of medical cannabis.

A New Mexico senator said it’s been difficult to get marijuana incarceration data from state officials.

Ohio regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.

Hawaii medical cannabis patients can apply for two-year registration renewals starting on Thursday.


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

Columbus, Ohio City Council members unveiled the text of a marijuana decriminalization proposal they intend to vote on soon.

Los Angeles, California officials released a report on the health implications of marijuana regulatory options for local jurisdictions.

Denver, Colorado officials announced that the city is hosting a marijuana management symposium in October.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he is “seriously considering” severing ties with Iceland over its United Nations resolution criticizing human rights violations in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

CNBC looks at growing momentum for medical cannabis in Asia.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture urged the Food and Drug Administration “to expeditiously create a clear regulatory framework for hemp products.”

A representative of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials testified in a congressional hearing that “marijuana legalization and opioid addiction may lead to more people driving while impaired.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “a 12-week course of nabiximols, a combination of tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol, resulted in significantly fewer days of illicit cannabis use compared with placebo, and was well tolerated by participants.”

A study found that “the number of foster care entries attributable to parental drug use increased substantially from 2000 to 2017 (from 39,130 to 96,672 removals, an increase of 57,542 removals [147.05%]), even when entries for other removal reasons mostly declined.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board is calling on lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

The Bismarck Tribune editorial board said it wouldn’t be wise to legalize marijuana in North Dakota.

The Columbus Dispatch editorial board said it supports the City Council’s cautious consideration of decriminalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

CBD company Heavenly Rx now owns a quarter of Jones Soda.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Paul Pierce is facing a lien from someone who loaned money for his CBD business.

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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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FDA is expediting CBD regulation process (Newsletter: July 15, 2019)

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House GOP leader notes bipartisan marijuana banking support; Obama writes to former drug war prisoner; POTUS candidate speaks on cannabis panel

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,161 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) noted bipartisan support for marijuana banking legislation.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that it is “expediting” its work on CBD regulations.

  • “We plan to report on our progress around end of summer/early fall.”

Food and Drug Administration Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy Lowell Schiller will deliver a keynote address at a hemp conference next month. Presumably he’ll be discussing the agency’s efforts to formulate CBD rules.

Former President Barack Obama sent a note to a former drug war prisoner whose sentence he commuted, congratulating her on an academic achievement she earned during her first year in college.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a presidential candidate, spoke on a marijuana panel at the Netroots Nation conference alongside Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and others.

/ FEDERAL

The House of Representatives approved a bill to prohibit the federal government and its contractors from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant prior to conditional offer of employment.

Attorney General William Barr visited a federal prison and said the Department of Justice is “all in” on criminal justice reform.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse disagree on proposed rules concerning the scheduling of fentanyl analogues.

The U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania said that legalizing marijuana would be a “bad idea” but praised the state’s medical cannabis law.

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK), a presidential candidate, is proposing a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana.

Sixty-four current and former prosecutors, police chiefs, sheriffs, U.S. attorneys, and Department of Justice officials filed an amicus brief opposing a federal case seeking to prevent a safe consumption site for illegal drugs from opening.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “In suburban America, a white kid caught with marijuana gets a slap on the wrist and a call to their parents. But for too many Black and brown students across the country, a single offense can destroy their entire future. Marijuana legalization is about racial justice.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of 31.

/ STATES

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed legislation letting people apply to annul certain past marijuana possession convictions, but vetoed another bill to remove a requirement for a long-term relationship between doctors and medical cannabis patients.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted that he is “proud” of the medical cannabis expansion law he recently signed.

A spokesperson for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said there are still “more tough questions than we have good answers when it comes to hemp.”

More than 30 cannabis plants were found on the lawn of Vermont’s State House.

Another group of North Dakota activists filed an additional proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Banking access for West Virginia medical cannabis businesses is expected to be an issue in the state treasurer’s race.

Florida prosecutors say that the state’s new hemp law is complicating marijuana cases.

A Nevada judge suggested that hearings in a case challenging the state’s marijuana license awarding process could conclude this week.

Utah regulators are delaying a decision on medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

Maryland regulators set steep fines for medical cannabis advertising violations.

California regulators announced an enforcement action against an unlicensed marijuana shop.

New Mexico regulators held a hearing to receive public testimony about proposed medical cannabis rules changes.

Michigan regulators published a marijuana licensing report.


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 Columbus, Ohio City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ ADVOCACY

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party tweeted, “Medical Marijuana has already helped thousands of Pennsylvanians lead healthier, more comfortable lives, and this change will help thousands more. Thank you to @GovernorTomWolf for bringing #MMJ to PA and @SecretaryLevine for leading its continued growth.”

The Maryland Democratic Party tweeted about the Baltimore state’s attorney’s congressional testimony in support of legalizing marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “CBD can protect against cardiac injuries, mainly through its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic effects on the basis of non-clinical studies.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that UK adults support legalizing marijuana, 48%-24%, and back allowing cannabis-based medicines, 77%-4%, among other findings.

The Boston Globe editorial board is urging caution about CBD.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial board said that medical cannabis was just “smoke and mirrors” and a step toward full marijuana legalization.

/ BUSINESS

BlackRock Inc. is reportedly likely to start a marijuana-focused exchange-traded fund.

Christian Book Distributors changed its name to Christianbook to avoid confusion with CBD.

/ CULTURE

Jimmy Kimmel did a 7/10-themed segment featuring a Las Vegas marijuana dispensary with a drive-thru window.

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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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