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Medical cannabis protections set to expire Friday, again (Newsletter: Dec. 18, 2017)

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No 280E fix in final tax bill; Congressman gets marijuana socks for Xmas; VA decrim bill filed

 

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Sen. Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) spoke about how provisions protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference “were approved with bipartisan support,” and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) predicted they “will ultimately be protected” in Fiscal Year 2018 spending legislation. The protections, along with funding for the federal government, are currently set to expire on Friday.

/ FEDERAL

A congressional conference committee did not include a fix to the 280E penalty on marijuana businesses in the final tax reform bill expected to be approved by the House and Senate next week.

A Politico investigation revealed that the Obama administration, in its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, derailed law enforcement efforts against drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah, even as it funneled cocaine into the U.S.

Dan Pfeiffer, former senior advisor to President Obama, tweeted that he supports legalizing marijuana and seemed to joke that cannabis reform would be included in a broad bill Democrats should pass after presumably taking over Congress and the presidency in 2021.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) decried the arduous “regulatory acrobatics” that researchers wishing to study medical cannabis must perform:

  • “Under current law, those who want to complete research on the benefits of medical marijuana must engage in a complex application process and interact with several federal agencies… The longer researchers have to wait, the longer patients have to suffer… The regulatory hoops researchers have to jump through significantly delay the production of potentially life-changing medications that Americans need.”

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent morale is reportedly being undermined by a federal law that makes it harder for them to go after suspicious opioid shipments.

Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) bought Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) a pair of marijuana print socks to keep “spirits high during the holidays.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted that “ending the ‘war on drugs’ includes making sure that full rights are restored to every American who spent time in jail for marijuana possession.”

The U.S. House bill to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 58.

/ STATES

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said the state’s CBD medical cannabis law needs clarification. Meanwhile, the state’s attorney general is asking a court to rule against a cannabis church.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) predicts that recreational marijuana consumers will flock to the state’s medical cannabis market unless “loopholes” in the law are fixed.

Minnesota Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tina Liebling, a state representative, is calling for the repeal of the prohibition on marijuana use.

North Dakota’s attorney general approved the format for a proposed 2018 marijuana legalization ballot initiative.

An Arizona county attorney dropped a multi-year bid to overturn the state’s medical cannabis law, opting not to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether state marijuana policies are preempted by federal prohibition.

California officials are actively working on a solution to the marijuana industry’s banking access issues. Separately, the Washington Post looks at opportunities for people in the state to expunge their past cannabis convictions.

A Florida judge will hear arguments next month in a case concerning a ban on medical cannabis smoking that lawmakers enacted this year.

Tennessee’s medical marijuana task force is drafting a cannabis oil bill.

New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study commission meets on Monday.

Colorado regulators laid out changes to marijuana excise tax categories that will go into effect on January 1. Separately, some police forces in the state are easing restrictions on past marijuana use by recruits.

A Virginia senator introduced a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Michigan regulators began accepting medical cannabis business license applications.

The Associated Press looks at confusion over the legality of CBD medical cannabis oil in Idaho.

A survey found that 82% of West Virginia doctors are interested in medical cannabis.

Only six Louisiana doctors have applied to recommend medical cannabis.

A Florida representative introduced legislation to appropriate $1.7 million for medical cannabis research.

A Utah representative filed a bill to change the composition and duties of the state Cannabinoid Product Board.

The Council of State Governments held a day-long series of discussions about marijuana policy.

/ LOCAL

A Little Rock, Arkansas city director is pushing to make marijuana arrests a lower law enforcement priority.

The Columbia, Missouri City Council will vote on a resolution endorsing medical cannabis on Monday.

Here’s a look at how Colorado Springs, Colorado is reconsidering its ban on recreational marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a bill to legalize medical cannabis will be introduced this week.

/ ADVOCACY

Follow The Money has a look at campaign spending on ballot initiatives concerning marijuana and other issues.

Scott Greenlee, head of anti-legalization campaign Healthy and Productive Michigan, posted a Facebook photo of himself buying a new gun after he allegedly received threats from cannabis activists.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies received a $1 million Bitcoin donation.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Denver Post editorial board fears that the city “overplayed its regulatory authority” implementing a voter-approved marijuana social use initiative.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board is worried that California marijuana regulations will push out smaller growers.

The Boston Herald editorial board is not happy that Massachusetts regulators approved marijuana deliveries and social use areas.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board is skeptical of a proposed local marijuana legalization ordinance.

The Portland Press Herald editorial board says Republicans’ efforts to block marijuana regulation bolsters the criminal market.

The Center for New Revenue’s Pat Oglesby takes a look at key questions in federal marijuana tax legislation.

/ BUSINESS

Dixie Brands CEO Tripp Keber stepped down to take a new role with BR Brands.

Alaska regulators revoked the license of Frozen Buds and fined the company $500,000 for allegedly selling untested marijuana edibles. Separately, cannabis growers in the state are upset that wholesale taxes aren’t dropping along with prices.

/ CULTURE     

Here’s a fun Family Feud clip about men, mothers-in-law and marijuana.

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 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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Trump says Harris ‘lied’ when questioned on cannabis (Newsletter: August 13, 2020)

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USDA explains hemp benefits denial; DC legal marijuana sales measure filed for ballot; A look at Kamala Harris’s cannabis record

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There are now 1,533 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana Moment put together a comprehensive 4,000-word overview of where Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris stands on cannabis, from campaigning against legalization as a California prosecutor to being the lead sponsor of a Senate bill to end federal prohibition and numerous points of evolution in between.

President Trump, asked about Democratic vice presidential designee Kamala Harris’s claim she smoked marijuana in college while listening to yet-to-be-released Snoop Dogg and Tupac albums, said “she lied.” But he declined the opportunity to go after her broader cannabis policy record in response to a follow-up question.

  • “Well, she lied. I mean, she said things that were untrue. She is a person that’s told many, many stories that weren’t true.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a Federal Register notice that despite appeals from the hemp industry, the crop didn’t experience significant enough price declines for farmers to qualify for a coronavirus relief program.

Washington, D.C. activists recently filed a new proposed ballot initiative to legalize marijuana sales in the city, but it’s not clear how it would get around a congressional rider blocking such cannabis reforms in the nation’s capital.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) tweeted, “We owe more than an apology to a generation of Black men criminalized by the war on drugs. That’s why I co-sponsored @CoryBooker’s Next Step Act for transformative criminal justice reform and why we must adjust our budgets to invest in our communities, not in punishment.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted that he’s “proud to support bipartisan legislation like the SAFE Banking Act to provide access to banking services for legal cannabis businesses.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said in a Senate floor speech that marijuana business banking access is worth debating but that the issue doesn’t belong in coronavirus legislation.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tweeted, “Pelosi is using the pain of the unemployed as a bargaining chip for the HEROES Act that mentions marijuana more than jobs. We need to come together and pass meaningful relief that will help American families.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “Kamala Harris will be a terrific Vice President. I have had the privilege of working with the senator on our legislation to legalize cannabis and am ready to do everything I can to send Joe Biden and her to the White House.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war gort two new cosponsors for a total of 83.

Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate Christopher Hale tweeted, “Why is it that kids and veterans who smoke marijuana have criminal records but the Wall Street crooks who wrecked our economy do not? I’ll be the most pro-weed Congressman that God ever made.”

/ STATES

The Oregon secretary of state designated initiatives to legalize psilocybin therapy and to decriminalize drugs and fund treatment as Measures 109 and 110, respectively.

Vermont’s House speaker and Senate president said they expect a conference committee on pending marijuana sales legalization legislation to meet this month.

Idaho House and Senate leaders discussed their views of medical cannabis legislation.

Illinois regulators adopted permanent rules for marijuana business license application tie-breaking processes.

New York regulators proposed rules allowing access to CBD prescription medication Epidiolex.

Washington, D.C. schools officials released information about employee drug testing and medical cannabis use.

Michigan regulators will hold a marijuana social equity outreach and education session on August 26.

The Florida Boards of Medicine and Osteopathic Medicine’s Joint Committee on Medical Marijuana will meet on August 27.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Dallas, Texas Community Police Oversight Board adopted a recommendation that the City Council mandate police issue citations instead of making arrests for low-level marijuana possession.

Drug policy reform advocate Dave Silberman won the Democratic nomination for Addison County, Vermont high bailiff.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “marijuana smoking was not associated with a significant increase in risk of pneumonia among HIV-infected or -uninfected men.”

A case study examines a man who died with the “greatest number of cannabis capsules ever swallowed, which accounted for 250 packages.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Oregon campaign to decriminalize drugs and fund treatment announced a list of new endorsing organizations and individuals.

/ BUSINESS

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. reported $120.8 million in quarterly revenue.

Green Thumb Industries Inc.  reported $119.6 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss attributable to the company of $12.9 million.

Hobo Cannabis Company changed its name to Dutch Love following criticism that the former name was offensive.

Colorado marijuana businesses sold more than $198 million worth of products in June, a new record.

Several Michigan marijuana companies are being sued for allegedly sending unsolicited text messages or automated phone calls.

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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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Arizona legal cannabis measure qualifies for ballot (Newsletter: August 12, 2020)

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VP Pence slams marijuana banking in COVID bill; Joe Kennedy: Psychedelics have medical ‘promise’; Blumenauer talks Biden, cannabis & psilocybin

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By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Arizona’s secretary of state certified that activists collected enough valid signatures to place a marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot.

Vice President Mike Pence criticized Democrats for including cannabis banking provisions in their latest coronavirus relief bill.

  • “The bill that they passed actually mentions marijuana more than it mentions jobs.”

Formerly anti-marijuana-legalization Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) now says that psychedelics are “quite promising” for treating depression and PTSD. He voted against a House amendment last year to expand psilocybin and MDMA research.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) spoke to Marijuana Moment about his view that a President Joe Biden will be a “constructive player” on cannabis He also discussed Oregon ballot measures to decriminalize drugs and legalize psilocybin therapy.

  • Marijuana Moment Patreon supporters can listen to the audio of the full interview, including an unpublished answer about how the House could vote on a bill to deschedule cannabis as soon as next month, and how that would procedurally work.

New Jersey’s attorney general announced an administrative order allowing patients to get medical marijuana recommendations via telehealth services.

A Wyoming judge dismissed drug charges filed against hemp farmers who had successfully lobbied to legalize the non-intoxicating cannabis crop but were later accused by police of growing marijuana. Top state officials and lawmakers testified on their behalf in the case.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration is being criticized for not acknowledging former Federal Bureau of Narcotics Director Harry Anslinger’s racist comments in its museum exhibits and presentations about his legacy.

Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA) said in a telephone town hall meeting that she wasn’t familiar with marijuana provisions in House coronavirus legislation.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) said, “Instead of spending three trillion dollars on things like marijuana banking, early release for criminals, and sending checks to illegal immigrants, we must work together on smart, targeted policies that help American businesses and workers.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) tweeted about a study showing a correlation between maternal marijuana use during pregnancy and autism, saying, “Yet another reason recreational use of marijuana should not be allowed.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Adrienne Bell tweeted, “It is hypocritical to penalize license applicants for marijuana crimes, when the use has become legal in several states. Sentences should be expunged, forgiven, and opportunities created for minority business owners to enter this industry. The war on drugs was a war on communities of color. These same communities should benefit from the profits now being made from the legalization of marijuana.”

/ STATES

Virginia’s attorney general said that building momentum toward legalizing marijuana is one of his priorities for this month’s special legislative session.

South Dakota regulators submitted the state’s plan for federal approval.

The New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners suspended the license of a doctor for alleged “negligence, malpractice or incompetence” related to his recommendations for medical cannabis.

An Arkansas judge denied a motion from Green Thumb Industries to block regulators from issuing a medical cannabis license to another business.

Nevada regulators met with law enforcement to discuss marijuana rules.

Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board met.

California’s Cannabis Advisory Committee is meeting on August 20 and 21.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor issued his first marijuana pardon.

Richmond, Virginia’s mayor sent a letter calling on the governor and top lawmakers to pass marijuana legalization legislation during this month’s special session.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is refusing to reveal how she plans to vote on an upcoming marijuana legalization referendum. Meanwhile, the opposition National Party says it wouldn’t necessarily enact legalization even if voters approve the ballot measure.

South Africa’s justice and correctional services minister published a draft bill to legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “whole dried Cannabis flower may be an effective medication for treatment of migraine- and headache-related pain, but the effectiveness differs according to characteristics of the cannabis plant, the combustion methods, and the age and gender of the patient.”

The University of Pittsburgh and Parallel are collaborating on research on the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis, with an initial focus on treating sickle cell disease symptoms.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Republican Party of Virginia tweeted, “The @vademocrats & @JoeBiden are lying to you when they tell you that they support criminal justice reform. As California AG, Harris worked to keep inmates in overcrowded prisons so they could be used for cheap labor. She also sent almost 2,000 people to jail on marijuana charges, then later joked about smoking weed.”

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $27.1 million and a net loss of $44.4 million.

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $55.7 million and net loss of $18.3 million.

The CEO of Canopy Growth Corp. said the company’s partnership with rapper Drake has “not been progressing as originally intended.”

Workers at Cultivate Holdings in Massachusetts voted to organize with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

Vireo Health International, Inc. sold its equity in Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC to Jushi Inc.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg said that if New Jersey voters approve a marijuana legalization referendum, he will “will definitely be there to cut the ribbon.”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Top Senate Dem wants delay for hemp final rule (Newsletter: August 11, 2020)

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Clinton implies marijuana makes you dumb; VT Dems poised to back drug decrim; Reform org rolls out plan to end federal drug war

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By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to delay implementation of final legal hemp rules and extend the 2014 Farm Bill’s pilot program, citing coronavirus concerns.

  • “As we move into harvest season, farmers will need to operate with as much certainty as possible but timing and testing requirements will likely create bottlenecks that will push farmers to rush harvests. The potential for greater numbers of people working in facilities to meet the rush may create opportunities for COVID to spread among farm workers.”

2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton implied that consuming marijuana makes people do stupid things, an apparent joke made in response to part of a Maureen Dowd column she took exception to.

The draft Vermont Democratic Party platform set to be finalized next month includes planks supporting decriminalizing drugs and legalizing marijuana sales.

  • “Adopt an approach to the possession and misuse of drugs that is motivated solely by the principles of public health and harm reduction, rather than punishing undesirable private behavior, while avoiding the criminal justice system altogether.”

The Drug Policy Alliance unveiled a framework for how Congress can end the war on drugs. It includes defunding the Drug Enforcement Administration, eliminating possession penalties, ceasing to fund state enforcement, putting health agencies in charge of drug scheduling, expunging records and funding harm reduction services.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) criticized House Democrats for mentioning “cannabis” more times than “jobs” on their coronavirus relief bill.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) tweeted, “But wasting trillions of dollars on liberal priorities like cannabis funding, taxpayer-funded abortion and the federalization of our elections – things that have nothing to do with providing COVID-19 relief – does much more than nickel-and-dime them.”

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted, “#Marijuana reform is #CriminalJustice reform. The war on drugs has targeted and incarcerated Black communities for TOO LONG. We need to decriminalize and deschedule cannabis at the federal level. #LegalizeIt”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is a racial justice issue. The failed War on Drugs continues to devastate communities of color and low-income communities. Social and economic equity must be at the forefront of any marijuana policy.”

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) said in a constituent letter that he will continue to vote to keep marijuana illegal.

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Barrington Martin tweeted, “Legalize and decriminalize marijuana and hemp. It would do more for the environment than people understand. Hemp legalization is a part of my Green New Deal. With hemp farms everywhere, we wouldn’t need to cut forests down!”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Richard Thripp tweeted, “I support #marijuanalegalization. Here are some designs for advertisements in the general election. A big issue with Republican and independent voter support. Enough is enough!”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) appointed a new cannabis regulation oversight officer.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “In 86 days, New Jersey will vote to fully legalize marijuana. In PA, we will send you to prison for 2.5 years with *any* number of plants, label you a felon for life, + fine you. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but *maybe* it’s time we figure out cannabis in PA.”

Minnesota’s House majority leader said a marijuana legalization bill might pass if Democrats take control of the state Senate in the November elections.

A Colorado court ruled that possessing marijuana while being booked is not itself a crime.

Oklahoma brought in more than $12 million in medical cannabis tax revenue in July.

Missouri regulators issued four more medical cannabis infused product manufacturing facility licenses.

The Florida Criminal Standards and Training Commission dismissed an administrative complaint against a corrections officer who tested positive for marijuana after using CBD oil.

Washington State regulators released draft conceptual rules for marijuana business premise certificates of compliance.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

San Francisco, California police and cannabis industry participants will meet on August 18 to discuss safety issues in light of recent burglaries.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bermuda’s attorney general gave lawmakers an update on a public consultation on draft marijuana legalization legislation and said an updated bill will be introduced soon.

New Zealand’s justice minister spoke about being offered marijuana on the street.

A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian citizen to death for allegedly producing MDMA.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “daily and near-daily cannabis use is associated with HIV viral load suppression in people living with HIV who use cocaine.”

A study found “an association between maternal cannabis use in pregnancy and the incidence of autism spectrum disorder in the offspring.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Governors Association is partnering with 10 states to formulate plans to address impaired driving.

Dakota Rural Action endorsed South Dakota marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures.

The Drug Policy Alliance led a sign-on letter of health organizations and professionals calling on congressional leaders to pass legislation to reschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported $110 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $128 million.

Tilray, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $50.4 million and a net loss of $81.7 million.

Columbia Care, Inc. reported quarterly combined revenue of $33 million and a net loss  of $27.3 million.

/ CULTURE

The creators of “The Walking Dead” won a trademark case against a parody cannabis-themed comic “The Toking Dead.”

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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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