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Missouri & Virginia medical cannabis sales begin (Newsletter: October 19, 2020)

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Biden talks marijuana at town hall; VA gov signs decrim fine prepay bill; MT lawsuit challenges legalization initiative; NJ poll; OR drug decrim ads

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Trump addressed drug and crime policy issues at dueling town halls. Biden spoke about decriminalizing marijuana, clearing past cannabis records and forcing people into treatment instead of jail for drug possession. Meanwhile, Trump attempted to cast himself as the criminal justice reform candidate.

Missouri dispensaries made the state’s first medical marijuana sales—nearly two years after voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for approved patients.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill that allows people to prepay marijuana decriminalization fines instead of having to go to court. Meanwhile, the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened over the weekend. The governor also has more marijuana bills on his desk for action later this month.

Montana marijuana opponents are trying to block the state’s legalization ballot measure because they say it violates the state constitution by appropriating tax revenue to specific programs. Voting is already underway, so it’s unclear what will happen if the challenge succeeds in the state Supreme Court.

A new poll shows New Jersey’s marijuana legalization ballot referendum passing by a nearly three-to-one margin.

The campaign working to pass Oregon’s drug decriminalization ballot measure released a new series of TV and online ads. 

  • “Putting people in jail ruins families, when treatment can help families. Yes on 110 will help.”

/ FEDERAL

Leaders at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Training Academy are being accused of having a pattern of making racist comments towards recruits.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy updated its Freedom of Information Act policies.

Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) criticized President Trump, tweeting that he “expanded civil asset forfeiture/marijuana enforcement.”

Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) and Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis shared their positions on marijuana legalization during a debate.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) tweeted, “Happy Wisconsin Hemp Day! Throughout the early part of the 20th Century, Wisconsin was proudly a national leader in #hemp production. I have championed legalizing industrial hemp for years and am glad that our farmers are once again able to produce this lucrative, useful crop.”

South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana.

West Virginia democratic Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin tweeted, “This isn’t a partisan issue- it’s a greed issue. People from all walks of life want to legalize cannabis, except for those who want to make money off our backs instead of empowering our farmers, small businesses, & working people. We need restorative #cannabis legalization NOW”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I will fight to legalize cannabis, let our District 1 farmers grow it as a cash crop, & tax it to bring money into our system to fix our infrastructure!”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed a proclamation declaring Wisconsin Hemp Day.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “I’m calling on the PA legislature to move toward legalizing adult-use marijuana. Here’s why: 👍 Pennsylvanians support legalization 💵 Revenues would help us recover from #COVID19 🚜 Pennsylvania agriculture would see a boost 💚 Decriminalization of marijuana is long overdue 🌱 Justice would be restored to those impacted by over-criminalization 🛡 Regulations would be implemented to keep people safe ↔️ Pennsylvanians with medical issues could better access relief 💰 Pennsylvania would keep revenue instead of losing it to neighboring states”

Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers spoke about his support for decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing medical cannabis.

Arizona’s secretary of state held two town hall meetings to discuss the state’s ballot measures, including one to legalize marijuana.

Oklahoma regulators adopted emergency rules on medical cannabis reporting and testing. They also announced a recall of products sold by Green Motavation that failed pesticide testing.

Colorado regulators adopted new marijuana waste management rules.

Tennessee regulators extended the state’s hemp pilot program.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole granted parole to a disabled Iraqi War veteran who is serving a five-year prison sentence after being arrested for possessing medical cannabis that is legal in his home state of Arizona.

California regulators are proposing new rules on marijuana business license application requirements.

The Illinois Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.

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


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 Will County, Illinois Board is advancing a proposal to use marijuana tax revenue as reparations for “Transgenerational Damage Done through Slavery, the Black Codes, the War on Drugs, and Mass Incarceration.”

San Francisco, California regulators made grant funding available to marijuana social equity businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s former defense minister was arrested on drug charges by U.S. officials.

Reelected Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke about her priorities for addressing marijuana policy regardless of the outcome of the nation’s legalization referendum. Meanwhile, the unexpected victory of a Green Party parliamentary candidate could bode well for the referendum, preliminary results of which will be announced later this month.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky included a question about legalizing medical cannabis in an exit poll to be conducted along with local elections this month.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “accommodating assisted injection within [supervised injection services] may be providing opportunities to engage and reduce harms among higher-risk subpopulations” of people who inject drugs.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Policy Center for Public Health and Safety, American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp and ASTM International launched a pilot certification program for the cannabis industry.

The Irish Farmers Association says the country could be a “major player” in the production of medicinal cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

GenGanna Global, now known as OGGUSA Inc., is suing its board chairman for allegedly diverting more than $4 million in cash and benefits to his own company, Southern Tier Hemp.

Schwazze canceled its planned acquisition of Canyon.

/ CULTURE

The NFL Players Association sent a letter warning players that they could be violating collectively bargained rules by entering into partnerships with CBD companies.

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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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