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MN gov wants legal cannabis for revenue & justice (Newsletter: January 28, 2021)

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PA Lt. Gov.’s escalating marijuana flag battle; HI psilocybin therapy bill; Study: More cannabis dispensaries tied to lower opioid deaths

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

At a press conference about his budget, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said he would rather lawmakers legalize marijuana than allow sports betting. Cannabis revenues would “dwarf” those from gambling, he said, also noting the “racial impact” of prohibition.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) spoke to Marijuana Moment about how he simply hung his cannabis and gay rights flags back up after GOP leaders allegedly got state officials to take them down from his office balcony this week.

  • “It shouldn’t have to be this way. These are not controversial things. These are very fundamentally American things. It’s freedom-related. It’s individuality-related. It’s jobs. It’s revenue.”

Hawaii senators filed a bill to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapy, similar to the measure that Oregon voters approved in November.

A new study published by the British Medical Association found that U.S. counties with more marijuana dispensaries have fewer opioid-related deaths, “particularly deaths associated with synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.”

  • “Cannabis is generally thought to be a less addictive substance than opioids. Cannabis can potentially be used medically for pain management and has considerable public support.”

/ FEDERAL

An attorney in the Internal Revenue Service’s Office of Chief Counsel discussed issues related to the 280E tax penalty on marijuana businesses.

The Biden administration is reportedly planning to halt a Trump administration plan to allow more doctors to prescribe buprenorphine.

Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) touted the marijuana regulation experience of a candidate they are recommending President Joe Biden appoint as a U.S. attorney.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) touted his work on cannabis banking issues in a press release about being selected to chair the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), in a tweet about joining the House Judiciary Committee, cited its jurisdiction over hemp issues.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) set a Friday deadline to resolve differences with lawmakers about provisions concerning underage people in marijuana legalization implementation legislation, or he will issue a conditional veto.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “I’m with @FettermanLT — we should legalize adult-use marijuana in Pennsylvania. An overwhelming majority of residents want to see this happen. It would provide a much-needed economic boost and would be a boon for PA farmers.”

Illinois’s lieutenant governor tweeted about how marijuana tax revenue is being used to support a program that records incarcerated parents reading books to their children.

A South Dakota judge held the first hearing on a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization measure.

Rhode Island’s House speaker discussed considerations for legalizing marijuana this year.

New York Assembly Republicans are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to remove marijuana legalization from his budget and pursue the issue as a standalone bill.

The Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to require the Arizona Biomedical Research Centre to provide grants for clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee  voted to “retain” two marijuana legalization bills, effectively blocking their advancement.

The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee delayed a planned vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to block the legalization of marijuana or other drugs.

A Mississippi senator introduced a bill to create a separate medical cannabis program from the one voters approved as a ballot measure.

A Tennessee filed a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Connecticut lawmakers spoke about ongoing efforts to draft a marijuana legalization bill for this session.

A Michigan testing lab operator says marijuana contaminated with mold and yeast is being sold in the state, but regulators have not issued a recall.

Nevada regulators pointed out that a one-time tax amnesty program launching on February 1 includes marijuana excise taxes.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The San Diego County, California Board of Supervisors voted to allow marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas.

The Des Moines, Iowa City Council voted to lobby state lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor tweeted about a nearby city considering marijuana decriminalization, saying, “Kansas City was proud to rid our City Code of marijuana offenses last year. This is welcome news from our friends in Kansas.”

A Rochester, New York woman who was denied a city job over a positive marijuana test is running for City Council.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian health officials will formally discuss a Vancouver resolution calling for drug decriminalization, the city’s mayor announced.

Costa Rican lawmakers are stepping up their push for medical cannabis and hemp legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “easier access to cannabis for pain may reduce opioid use for both public and private drug plans.”

Massachusetts General Hospital is partnering with Atai Life Sciences to research psychedelics’ effects on the brain.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Marijuana Policy Project announced that a former Colorado lawmaker is its new board chair.

The American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp launched a new Cannabis Beverage Council.

A former federal prosecutor said that Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio “cooperated with local and federal law enforcement, to aid in the prosecution of those running other, separate criminal enterprises, ranging from running marijuana grow houses in Miami to operating pharmaceutical fraud schemes.”

/ BUSINESS

A California judge ordered MedMen Enterprises Inc. to pay its former chief financial officer at least $500,000 in legal fees for his case alleging unlawful termination.

A Washington State court revived a lawsuit alleging that the former owner of Triple C Collective LLC violated the terms of the sales contract.

Horizons ETFs Management launched what it said is the world’s first psychedelics-focused exchange traded fund.

A report from Washington State University found that in 2020 the state’s cannabis sector contributed $1.85 billion to gross state product and directly and indirectly supports nearly 18,700 full time equivalent jobs.

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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 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.)

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USPS says hemp and CBD vapes are banned from the mail (Newsletter: October 21, 2021)

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FDA will use Reddit to learn about CBD & delta-8; Top Mexican senator: marijuana vote soon; Activist apes erect monolith at DEA headquarters

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Postal Service released its final rule to implement a ban on shipping vaping devices, and it clarified that hemp, CBD and marijuana vapes are generally not mailable—even if the products are federally legal.

The Food and Drug Administration announced a plan to search Reddit and additional “novel” data sources to better understand the health effects of CBD and other marijuana-derived compounds like delta-8 THC “in real-time.”

Mexico’s Senate president said lawmakers will finally pass a marijuana legalization bill “in the coming weeks or months” because there’s “no longer room for the prohibitionist policy.”

  • “We are the Mexico of freedoms, and the people are aware of it.”

Activists dressed as apes erected a 2,001-pound monolith in front of Drug Enforcement Administration headquarters to urge the agency to “evolve” from its drug war mindset—a play on Stanley Kubrick’s classic film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released new podcasts about hemp.

Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control Co-chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked witnesses at a hearing if the U.S. has “lost the war on marijuana.”

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said there’s momentum behind marijuana reform at the state level and “it’s a matter of time” before it is federally legalized, though there needs to be action on cannabis banking “right now.”

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 32.

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

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill to ease restrictions on owning and investing in minority-, women- and veteran-owned medical cannabis businesses.

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, called for a state investigation into a new medical cannabis rule issued by regulators that she says creates financial and regulatory burdens that only apply to black farmers.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Cranley, currently Cincinnati’s mayor, tweeted, “Instead of criminalizing marijuana we should legalize it and invest that money back into our communities. My plan will tax marijuana and use the revenue to create 30,000 jobs per year that pay a minimum of $60,000 per year to build the vital infrastructure that Ohio needs.”

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee voted to send marijuana legalization bills to interim study, delaying their consideration.

A Mississippi senator detailed new changes in the latest version of a draft medical cannabis bill.

A New York senator slammed the New York Post for its alarmist reporting about a new law that decriminalizes syringes.

An Oklahoma activist filed a court challenge against other activists’ proposed marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot initiatives.

Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development sent a press release urging farmers to participate in a federal hemp survey.

Montana regulators proposed marijuana rules and will hold a public hearing on November 16.

Louisiana regulators proposed changes to medical cannabis cultivation rules.

Connecticut regulators proposed recommendations for a public education campaign about marijuana.

South Dakota regulators issued a contract to a company to manage the state’s medical cannabis patient and business registration system.

Massachusetts regulators posted a medical cannabis FAQ.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government will explore ways to reduce barriers to research on psilocybin and other drugs.

Switzerland’s Social Security and Health Commission of the Council of States recommended that the country legalize marijuana.

Costa Rica’s Congress approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

The Philippine Department of Justice released information about 50 deadly operations in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “about half of participants who ever used CBD for pain reported improved pain, and many substitute CBD for pain medications including opioids and benzodiazepines.”

A case study suggested “a significant analgesic effect of cannabis in the treatment of symptomatic headaches.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of German citizens found that 30 percent support legalizing marijuana and 59 percent back medical cannabis.

Americans Against Legalizing Marijuana highlighted the fact that Nikolas Cruz, who pleaded guilty to committing the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said he believes “this country would do better if everyone would stop smoking marijuana and doing all these drugs” during remarks in court.

The American Family Association is working to dissuade Mississippi lawmakers from passing a medical cannabis bill.

The HIV Legal Network, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canadian Association of People who Use Drugs and other groups sent a letter urging Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to prioritize drug policy reform in mandates to his new Cabinet.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp has a new CEO.

COMPASS Pathways plc was granted a U.S. patent for crystalline psilocybin.

/ CULTURE

Ziggy Marley called out Singapore’s government for sentencing a man to death for possessing two pounds of cannabis.

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Senate leaders back DC cannabis sales, bucking Biden (Newsletter: October 20, 2021)

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NY restricts workplace marijuana testing; SD lawmakers approve legalization proposal; CA cannabis environmental cleanup grants

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate Appropriations Committee released FY2022 spending legislation that would finally let Washington, D.C. legalize marijuana sales—in contravention of President Joe Biden’s budget request. The House already signed off on eliminating the ban, and Democratic leaders plan to enact a final appropriations package by December 3,

  • The new Senate bills would also protect state medical cannabis laws from federal interference, call to reconsider policies that fire federal workers for marijuana and criticize Schedule I research roadblocks.

New York’s Department of Labor issued guidance saying that employers cannot drug test most workers for marijuana—going so far as to say the odor of cannabis cannot be used to prove impairment on the job.

  • “Observable signs of use that do not indicate impairment on their own cannot be cited as an articulable symptom of impairment. Only symptoms that provide objectively observable indications that the employee’s performance of the essential duties or tasks of their position are decreased or lessened may be cited.”

The South Dakota legislature’s Adult-Use Marijuana Study Subcommittee approved a bill to legalize recreational cannabis. Activists don’t necessarily trust that lawmakers will follow through and still plan to move forward with a plan to put another legalization initiative before voters next year.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold a workshop this week about a new grants program to help small marijuana cultivators with environmental clean-up and restoration. The funds come from cannabis tax revenue.

/ FEDERAL

Former President Donald Trump reportedly planned to send 250,000 troops to the border and stage military raids against drug cartels inside Mexico until he was dissuaded from doing so by the secretary of defense.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “The federal prohibition on marijuana has disproportionately harmed young people of color. @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and I are working to pass our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to end the federal prohibition and undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) wrote about his support for federal marijuana law reform in a constituent letter.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a press release and posted a tweet cheering the removal of a rider blocking Washington, D.C. from legalizing marijuana sales in newly released Senate appropriations legislation.

Washington State Democratic congressional candidate Jason Call tweeted, “Let it be known that the incumbent in my district has never supported federal legalization. To be sure, worse than that, he’s voted at least 4 times to allow the DOJ to continue to prosecute people in states where cannabis has been legalized. Like my own state of WA.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair drug war harms got 11 new cosponsors for a total of 87.

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor of a total of 31.

/ STATES

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, currently a congressman, tweeted, “18 states have already legalized recreational marijuana — it’s time Florida does too.”

Virginia Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Hala Ayala, currently a delegate, highlighted marijuana legalization as a key accomplishment.

Washington, D.C.’s attorney general tweeted, “After 6 years of advocacy, I’m glad to see Congress respecting the will of DC voters. I hope DC will soon be able to regulate our local marijuana market, direct new tax revenue to communities most impacted by over-criminalization, & take steps to expunge related criminal records.” The Council chairman tweeted, “This is a step in the right direction. We hope that, as the bill moves through the Senate, no rider language is inserted so we can honor the will of District voters and set up a safe, equitable recreational cannabis market.”

California’s attorney general and other officials will participate in a conference commemorating the 25th anniversary of the state’s medical cannabis law on November 5.

Wisconsin’s Assembly speaker said he supports medical cannabis but does not support recreational marijuana legalization “at this time.” (About 18:00 into the audio.)

Pennsylvania’s House minority leader said marijuana legalization bills don’t yet have enough momentum to pass.

The chairwoman of Delaware’s Senate Health & Social Services Committee said she is eager to hold a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill if it can clear the House.

The Illinois Supreme Court ordered the consolidation of various lawsuits challenging regulators’ marijuana business licensing award processes.

The South Dakota legislature’s Rules Review Committee will consider newly revised medical cannabis regulations on Monday.

A Wisconsin senator who is sponsoring a marijuana legalization bill held a virtual roundtable meeting about the issue.

A New Jersey judge pointed out that the legalization of marijuana is reducing the number of required court appearances.

Nevada regulators proposed rules on cannabis weighing and measuring.

Colorado regulators are forming a work group on cannabis cross pollination.

Ohio regulators published question and answer responses about medical cannabis dispensary license applications.

Montana regulators will host a cannabis virtual listening session on Friday.

Michigan regulators will host a marijuana social equity education session on October 28.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

A policy by Baltimore, Maryland’s district attorney not to prosecute minor drug possession and prostitution led to fewer new low-level drug and prostitution arrests, almost no rearrests for serious crimes for those who had charges dropped, and fewer 911 calls.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Spain’s Congress rejected a marijuana legalization bill.

Western Australia’s Parliament formed a Select Committee into Cannabis and Hemp.

The Philippine Department of Justice said it will make public information about certain killings in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A case study appears to “demonstrate a possible benefit of ‘CBD oil’ intake that may have resulted in the observed tumour regression.”

A study of rats found that “cannabidiol at dose 10 mg/kg bw exerts anxiolytic effect in a model of acute cold stress.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, “Kristi Noem opposed medical cannabis. Now she’s using $700,00 from South Dakota taxpayers, meant to implement these measures, as thinly-veiled political ads.”

/ BUSINESS

Trulieve donated $250,000 to a campaign seeking to put a marijuana legalization measure on Florida’s 2022 ballot.

iAnthus is being sued by a former employee who alleges he was demoted because he is black.

Harmony Foundation’s former chief administrative officer filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired after speaking up about the firm’s CEO allegedly using $1 million of company money for a personal investment.

Tilray Canada has a new president.

atai Life Sciences formed a nonprofit arm called atai Impact.

Leafly is hosting a contest to celebrate budtenders.

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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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BoA cancels cannabis researcher’s bank account (Newsletter: October 19, 2021)

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States hype USDA hemp survey; Oakland psychedelics sales initiative; Americans want to live where marijuana’s legal; CA fails to seal cannabis records

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Bank of America canceled the account of marijuana and psychedelics researcher Sue Sisley’s Scottsdale Research Institute—even though they have Drug Enforcement Administration approval for their studies.

  • “This decision is final and won’t be reconsidered.”

A U.S. Department of Agriculture survey of more than 20,000 hemp producers across the country is officially in the mail as of this week—and state agriculture departments are working to make sure that farmers in their jurisdictions participate.

The Oakland, California City Council member who sponsored the nation’s first broad psychedelics decriminalization ordinance is partnering with activists on a new “Go Local” initiative to allow people to purchase psilocybin and other entheogens from local producers.

California officials failed to seal thousands of marijuana conviction records in accordance with state legislation.

A new survey from real estate company Redfin found that Americans prefer to live in places where marijuana is legal.

/ FEDERAL

The Congressional Research Service published a report on COVID-19’s impact on Mexican drug cartel operations.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “In state after state, Americans are sending a clear message—they want an end to marijuana prohibition. @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and I released our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to end the federal prohibition & undo harms of the War on Drugs.”

A spokesperson for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) blamed the growing market for unregulated cannabinoid products on ongoing marijuana prohibition and on inaction by the Food and Drug Administration.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jesse Philippe tweeted, “The ‘War on Drug’ has been a war on American minorities.”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) issued a proclamation declaring Monday as Wisconsin Hemp Day.

Medical cannabis public service announcements featuring South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) were paid for with taxpayer dollars on a contract that was originally for a marketing campaign about opioid misuse. Separately, the chairman of the legislature’s Adult-Use Marijuana Study Subcommittee is proposing a “compromise” bill that would legalize adult-use cannabis, and which his panel will consider on Tuesday.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler, a former state attorney general, discussed his support for marijuana legalization with the Maryland Black Caucus Foundation.

California’s attorney general announced that the state eradicated nearly 1.2 million illegally cultivated cannabis plants and seized more than 180,000 pounds of illegally processed marijuana as part of an annual effort.

A Maine law decriminalizing drug paraphernalia took effect.

Ohio’s House speaker said he thinks new marijuana legalization legislation will get hearings.

Oregon’s Senate president is calling for the National Guard to combat illegal marijuana cultivation.

Florida lawmakers filed legislation to allow medical cannabis patients to obtain recommendations via telemedicine.

An Illinois judge will hold a hearing on regulators’ motions to dismiss lawsuits challenging marijuana business licensing award processes on Tuesday.

Texas regulators issued guidance on delta-8 THC.

Connecticut regulators increased medical cannabis purchase limits.

Utah regulators proposed rules for medical cannabis testing labs.

Colorado regulators are convening a work group to examine existing rules concerning wholesale marijuana cultivation.

Michigan regulators published guidance about pesticide use on cannabis.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board and its advisory subcommittees will hold several meetings this week.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Rapid City, South Dakota Area Schools Board of Education will consider a medical cannabis policy on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Italian activists are collecting signatures for a marijuana referendum at in-person events across the country.

A UK lawmaker pressed the government on rescheduling psilocybin.

A Yukon, Canada lawmaker filed an amendment to allow private cannabis retailers conduct e-commerce and home delivery.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabidiol inhibits SARS-Cov-2 spike protein-induced cytotoxicity and inflammation.”

A review concluded that “ingestion of psychedelics is associated with an increase in mindfulness, specifically relating to domains of acceptance, which encompasses non-judgement of inner experience and non-reactivity.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Urban League tweeted about the difference between marijuana legalization and decriminalization.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp.’s CEO has departed the company.

Jushi Holdings Inc. has a new CFO.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. opened its 100th medical cannabis dispensary in Florida.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball players Allen Iverson and Al Harrington spoke about their involvement in the cannabis 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.
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