MD & DE legal cannabis bills advance (Newsletter: February 21, 2022)
Top NY lawmaker’s PAC has marijuana focus; KY legalization bills; Wells Fargo: Fed cannabis policy hurts workforce; Canadian drug decrim momentum
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW
The Maryland House Judiciary Committee approved bills to put a marijuana legalization referendum on the November ballot and begin setting up details for the program if voters approve. Floor votes are expected this week.
The Delaware House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill to legalize marijuana. It’s now cleared for a House floor vote as its next stop.
New York’s Assembly majority leader is leaching a new PAC that will focus in part on electing candidates that support equity-centered marijuana reform.
Kentucky Democratic lawmakers, including the Senate minority floor leader, filed new bills to legalize marijuana.
A Wells Fargo analyst said federal marijuana criminalization and resulting drug testing mandates are a major driver of rising costs and worker shortages in the transportation sector.
A bill to decriminalize drugs in Canada is gaining momentum as more localities, police officials and lawmakers express support for the policy—with one member of Parliament saying it has a real chance of becoming law.
Federal judge Michelle Childs, a top contender to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Joe Biden, once sentenced a man to 12 years in prison for selling less than nine ounces of marijuana. The White House reacted by saying it was just one of “thousands” of decisions she made on the bench.
Congress passed, and President Joe Biden signed, legislation again extending the classification of fentanyl-related substances under Schedule I.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Comprehensive federal cannabis legalization with justice for the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs—especially communities of color—is a Senate priority. This is long overdue, and we will move forward.”
Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said making it hard for licensed marijuana businesses to access bank accounts is “perfect for organized crime.”
Rep .Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called out Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), tweeting, “One US Senator ‘heard stories; about people allegedly using the Child Tax Credit ‘for drugs’ without any evidence or data to back it up. He then used that as justification to nuke the entire national program, causing millions of kids to fall into poverty in weeks. Horrifying.”
Louisiana Democratic Senate candidate Gary Chambers tweeted, “Kim Potter getting 2 years for murdering a Black man is America’s latest example of an inequitable criminal legal system, it is NOT justice for all. There are people serving more time for cannabis than this woman will serve for murder. This is America. It’s shameful.”
Virginia Republican congressional candidate Heerak Christian Kim tweeted, “Let’s illegalize marijuana & get rid of drugs from the streets & form USA public schools & save American children from drug overdose death & unemployment & broken marriages!”
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed several medical cannabis reform bills into law. Separately, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to let people clear certain marijuana records.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) nominated a member of the Medical Cannabis Commission. Separately, the House of Delegates approved a bill to add a representative of the hemp industry to the state Agricultural Commission.
South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mia McLeod, currently a state senator, tweeted, “Every day South Carolinians like me live with chronic conditions and experience excruciating pain. We must recognize that medical marijuana is a safe alternative to opioids. It’s time to vote in favor of our residents.”
Texas Democratic attorney general candidate Lee Merritt tweeted, “Cannabis use should never be a reason for arrest and imprisonment. Its criminalization is nothing more than another way for law enforcement to harass and arrest Black and Brown communities. It’s time we legalize it.” He also tweeted, “The War on Drugs is and always has been nothing more than a war on communities of color.”
The Utah Senate approved a bill to allow medical cannabis for acute pain post-surgery, let students receive cannabis medications at school from a nurse and make other changes to the program.
The Georgia Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee approved a bill to remove certain limitations on hemp grower licenses.
A New Mexico bill to increase marijuana production limits for small businesses and to make other changes to the legalization program failed to pass by the end of the session.
California’s Senate majority leader tweeted about his bill to eliminate the marijuana cultivation tax, saying, “We can’t continue to tax family farmers based on the product’s weight — because when prices fall, the taxes remain disproportionately high. It’s simply not sustainable.”
Washington State Senate Republicans tweeted, “Cannabis stores are falling victim to armed robbery. Senator Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, filed legislation (SB 5927) to halt this trend. The bill would increase the penalty for these heinous acts and it passed the Senate.”
A Michigan representative filed a bill to allow Indian tribes to sell recreational marijuana on tribal lands.
A Pennsylvania representative tweeted, “Any conversation on decriminalizing #cannabis must have an emphasis on equity and correcting the harms to communities that have been most affected by the enforcement of cannabis laws. #HB2050 enacts the Cannabis Clean Slate that will expunge non-violent cannabis-related charges.”
Connecticut regulators increased monthly medical cannabis purchase limits.
Arizona regulators are threatening to revoke medical cannabis testing labs’ licenses over inflated potency reports and other issues.
New York regulators published hemp licensing guidance.
Vermont regulators posted information about the prequalification process for marijuana business licenses. They will also meet on Tuesday.
Oregon regulators reduced a backlog of marijuana business violation cases.
New Jersey regulators will hold a public meeting on marijuana issues on Thursday.
Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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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Kittery, Maine’s marijuana license lottery is under investigation by the state attorney general.
The Linn County, Iowa attorney’s office released a report on a marijuana arrest diversion program.
Colorado Springs, Colorado activists resubmitted proposed local ballot measures to allow recreational marijuana sales.
Colombian President Iván Duque announced a resolution setting procedures for non-psychoactive use of cannabis in foods, beverages and textiles.
The European Parliament passed a resolution condemning killings in the bloody Philippine “drug war.”
A Victoria, Australia lawmaker is planning to introduce a drug decriminalization bill, though the state government is expressing its opposition.
/ SCIENCE & HEALTH
A study of Reddit posts found that “cannabis-related posts were about twice as prevalent in the recovery subreddit than in the active opioid use subreddit” and “the most frequent phrases from the recovery subreddit referred to time without using opioids and the possibility of using cannabis as a ‘treatment.'”
A study found that “the substantial antidepressant effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy may be durable at least through 12 months following acute intervention in some patients.”
/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS
A poll looked at French cannabis consumers’ political views.
The Capital Times editorial board is calling on Wisconsin lawmakers to legalize marijuana.
Texas NORML published a primary election voter guide.
Walgreens’s CEO said she’s “not quite sure that our customer base is ready to turn a Walgreens into a cannabis location.”
Cronos Group Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $20.4 million.
4Front Ventures Corp. is being sued by a former employee who claims the company’s time clocks, which used workers’ fingerprints, required biometric data in violation of Illinois law.
MedMen Enterprises Inc. appointed a permanent CFO.
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