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Nebraska lawmakers hear powerful medical cannabis testimony (Newsletter: Jan. 28, 2019)



Update: 10 states that could legalize marijuana in 2019; Study documents 10,000 years of humans & cannabis; Shutdown over & marijuana riders extended

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There are now 463 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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Lawmakers in at least 17 states have already filed marijuana legalization bills for 2019 sessions, but here’s a look at the 10 states where proposals to end cannabis prohibition have the best chance of being enacted this year.

The Nebraska Legislature’s Judiciary Committee held a lengthy hearing on a bill to legalize medical cannabis and took testimony from people who have seen the therapeutic benefits of marijuana.

A recent study looks back at humanity’s relationship with marijuana over 10,000 years of history and shows that Egyptian pharaohs, Chinese emperors and Greek physicians all utilized cannabis.


The House of Representatives and Senate passed, and President Trump signed, legislation to end the federal government shutdown for at least three weeks (and extend marijuana-related riders such as protections for state medical cannabis laws).

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), during a speech announcing her presidential candidacy, said, “Once and for all, we have got to call drug addiction what it is: a national, public health emergency. And what we don’t need is another war on drugs.”

Former West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D), who sponsored his state’s successful medical cannabis bill, ended his presidential campaign.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana is crucial to addressing institutional racism and injustice in our criminal justice system. Plain and Simple.”

The House bill to force the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got 16 new cosponsors, for a total of 17.


Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed an executive order establishing an advisory panel for creating a Cannabis Compliance Board.

The timeline for implementing Maine’s marijuana legalization law is in question after one consulting firm succeeded in overturning regulators’ contract award to another company. Separately, Gov. Janet Mills (D) said she’s looking to Massachusetts for lessons on cannabis policy.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) tweeted that she spent time talking on the phone to constituents about medical cannabis, among other issues. Separately, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear a case about whether a township can restrict where medical cannabis is grown.

California’s treasurer plans to “announce big news” about marijuana on Monday. Separately, regulators will hold a meeting about proposed changes to cannabis tax rules on February 5.

The Colorado House of Representatives gave second reading approval to legislation adding autism spectrum disorders as medical cannabis qualifying conditions. Separately, a court will hear a public marijuana consumption case against a founder of the International Church of Cannabis on Tuesday.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering taxing recreational marijuana by weight, rather than by price, a change that could help boost stalled negotiations on legalization legislation with Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

The New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drugs voted to oppose marijuana legalization legislation.

The Indiana Senate Commerce and Technology Committee approved a bill to establish an industrial hemp advisory committee.

Washington State regulators temporarily suspended the requirement that marijuana products be testing for heavy metal because there are currently no labs certified to do so.

New Mexico lawmakers think a marijuana legalization bill is likely to pass the House of Representatives, but its chances in the Senate are more questionable.

An Illinois representative introduced a marijuana legalization bill that mandates that at least half of cannabis cultivation and retail facilities be located in “communities disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs.”

A Connecticut senator filed a bill to create a cannabis equity policy.

The sponsor of Texas’s marijuana decriminalization bill is optimistic it can get out of committee and onto the House floor this year. A senator filed a separate cannabis decriminalization proposal.

Arkansas officials found that an owner of one of the state’s first licensed medical cannabis cultivation companies provided conflicting information in applications about his residency.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 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.

We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.


Manor Township, Pennsylvania officials are considering a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.


Israel’s cabinet approved medical cannabis exports.

Details are starting to emerge about what New Zealand’s 2020 marijuana legalization referendum might look like.

The Philippine House of Representatives majority leader said it is likely lawmakers will give third reading approval to a medical cannabis bill this week. Separately, Senate candidates unanimously endorsed medical marijuana during a debate.


A National Institute on Drug Abuse overview says that the CB2 receptor “is emerging as a potential therapeutic target for treating inflammatory and neuropathic pain.”

Science Magazine takes a look at concerns about air pollution related to marijuana cultivation.


The Charleston Post and Courier editorial board is calling on South Carolina lawmakers to approve medical cannabis.


Because of the government shutdown and related furloughs, cannabis companies that need to pay their taxes in cash weren’t able to do so.

The CEO of Starbucks said that cannabis-infused beverages are “not on the roadmap” for the company but that it is “mindful” of the trends around the issue.

The former owners of the Colorado marijuana dispensary chain Sweet Leaf pleaded guilty to drug and racketeering charges.

Bloomberg looks at marijuana businesses’ advertising difficulties.


Jimmy Kimmel Live produced a spoof medical-cannabis-for-dogs ad to air during the Puppy Bowl in light of CBS rejecting a Super Bowl spot on marijuana.

The Daily Show also had fun joking about the rejected cannabis ad for the Super Bowl.

NFL player De’Anthony Thomas was arrested for possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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