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New congressional bills on small biz aid for cannabis firms (Newsletter: July 1, 2019)

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McConnell’s FDA CBD push; NM gov preps for legal marijuana; Senate cannabis research bill; Malaysia to decrim drugs; Hickenlooper legalization claim

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Heads up from Tom: I’ll be taking a bit of “vacation” time on some days this week and next week, so the newsletter might go out a little bit later in the day, and also be slightly thinner, than usual.

Congress is also on recess during this period, so there’s not likely to be a lot of major national legislative developments—but we’ll still be sending you the newsletter most days, and will be publishing stories on the Marijuana Moment website every day.

If there’s big news, we’ll make sure you know about it. By the way, you can always follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss anything throughout the week. I’m at @tomangell and Kyle is at @kylejaeger.

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY),  Jared Golden (D-ME) and Dwight Evans (D-PA) filed three new bills aimed at helping small marijuana firms by making them eligible for loans and other Small Business Administration services.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles Grassley (R-IA) and others introduced legislation to remove barriers to research on marijuana and CBD.

In a meeting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pressed the head of the Food and Drug Administration to hurry up and enact regulations allowing CBD in foods and dietary supplements.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) formed a working group to prepare the state to legalize marijuana next year. The announcement says she “will place the matter of legalization on her call for the Second Session of the 54th Legislature, a 30-day session which will begin January”—meaning that the state could be the next to end cannabis prohibition, very early in 2020.

During last week’s Democratic presidential debate, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) claimed credit for the marijuana legalization law his state’s voters enacted in 2012—even though he actively campaigned against it…and advocates are not happy about it.

The health minister in Malaysia—which has hundreds of people on death row for drug offenses—says the government is now considering decriminalizing drugs.

/ FEDERAL

Surgeon General Jerome Adams again laid out his concerns about marijuana.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy released a report finding that youth use of marijuana and other drugs is down in areas with Drug-Free Communities-funded programs.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, said, “We should not be sending anyone with a drug problem into a prison, They should go into rehabilitation system.” He also reiterated his support for decriminalizing marijuana and expunging records.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Congratulations to Illinois for legalizing marijuana and expunging 770,000 marijuana-related cases. It is time to legalize marijuana nationwide.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, cited the war on drugs as a reason people from South and Central American countries are seeking to immigrate to the U.S.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said she will keep fighting to remove barriers to psychedelic research.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “While states continue to legalize cannabis, we must do the same on the federal level. Let’s pass the Marijuana Justice Act, legalize cannabis, and implement restorative justice for people whose lives have been decimated by the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Instead of spending billions locking people up for using marijuana, we could earn billions in tax revenue by legalizing cannabis and taxing at the same levels of alcohol and tobacco. With most Americans in support, this should be a no-brainer.” He also said he hopes marijuana “will be one of the top issues that candidates run on,” giving the next president a “mandate to implement change.”

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got two new cosponsors, for a total of 68.

The House bill to protect Second Amendment rights for medical cannabis patients got one new cosponsor, for a total of one.

/ STATES

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill allowing the CBD drug Epidioloex. Separately, a new hemp law takes effect on Monday.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he will sign a medical cannabis expansion bill on Tuesday.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) spoke about the economic benefits of marijuana legalization in his state.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said she “won’t be the governor” to legalize marijuana.

Delaware lawmakers sent Gov. Jay Carney (D) a bill to expand the decriminalization of marijuana possession to juveniles.

Rhode Island lawmakers sent Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) a budget bill that increases the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the state.

Wisconsin’s Assembly speaker said lawmakers may take up medical cannabis legislation in the fall, but the Senate majority leader might not be on board.

The North Carolina House Agriculture Committee approved a bill with a ban on smokable hemp starting in December.

Massachusetts regulators unanimously approved draft rules allowing marijuana delivery services and social consumption, among other changes. Separately, the state awarded grant funding to a startup that has developed a method to detect THC in saliva. Meanwhile, lawmakers filed a bill to legalize CBD products.

Missouri regulators received more than 500 medical cannabis patient applications on the first day.

Monday is the deadline for California’s Department of Justice to complete a review on prior marijuana convictions that are eligible for reduction or expungement.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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 South Miami, Florida City Commission adopted a resolution endorsing marijuana legalization.

The Bexar County, Texas district attorney is implementing a program to replace arrests for some low-level marijuana offenses with citations.

A report found that Fayetteville, Arkansas marijuana arrests increased 284% in the decade since voters approved a ballot measure making it the lowest law enforcement priority.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Zambian court rejected a case seeking to force regulators to grant a medical cannabis license.

A Philippine representative refiled a medical cannabis bill for the new session.

Thirty-nine kilograms of cocaine were found on the plane transporting the team of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the G20 meeting.

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Governors Association tweeted about Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signing marijuana legalization into law.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies issued a critical response to a recent National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration letter about psychedelic research.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on cannabis consumption and alcohol drinking noted a “significant interaction between marijuana use and type of user” such that “recreational users drank more on marijuana use days, but medicinal users drank less.”

A study found that “associations between problem-gambling severity and psychopathologies were weaker among the lifetime-cannabis-using group as compared to the never-using group” and that “cannabis use moderates the relationships between problem-gambling severity and psychiatric disorders.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Tulsa World editorial board says that the large number of registered Oklahoma medical cannabis patients shows that voters’ approval of the legalization ballot measure last year wasn’t a fluke.

/ BUSINESS

Facebook is now allowing some CBD ads.

Eaze removed in-app purchases to comply with a new Google Play Store policy.

U.S. marijuana stocks dropped for the third month in a row.

/ CULTURE

The Onion has some fun with Illinois’s move to legalize marijuana.

Musician Liam Gallagher spoke about his decision to stop consuming marijuana.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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

AG could be impeached over cannabis biz probes (Newsletter: July 1, 2020)

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Feds’ new hemp banking memo; DC psychedelics campaign aided by OR/CO teams as sig deadline nears; TN senator visits IL marijuana dispensary?

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and nearly three dozen other House members filed a resolution calling for an impeachment inquiry of Attorney General William Barr, who the measure says “abused the power of his office” to improperly investigate cannabis business mergers.

  • “He’s using antitrust not for the purpose of helping consumers and businesses that might be disadvantaged by monopoly, but doing it as a vehicle for his social policies, which is unheard of,” Cohen told Marijuana Moment in an interview.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued new guidance on banking for hemp businesses, including how financial institutions should handle clients that sell both hemp and marijuana.

Activists behind successful psilocybin campaigns in Denver and Oregon have flown to Washington, D.C. to help collect the final signatures needed to qualify a psychedelics decriminalization measure for the city’s ballot ahead of a Monday deadline.

Did a Tennessee lawmaker take a road trip in a state vehicle to buy marijuana in Illinois? Internet sleuths are on the cannabis case after someone posted a photo of a vehicle with a state Senate license plate parked outside a dispensary.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Border Patrol agents are reportedly seizing legal marijuana products at checkpoints in Southern California.

A White House Office of National Drug Control Policy analysis concludes that overdose deaths are rising amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse reported that almost half of commercial driver license holders’ positive drug tests so far this year were for marijuana.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) gave a House floor speech about the need to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill streamlining hemp regulations.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued an executive order delaying the issuance of marijuana craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses as well as extending the deadline for submission of community college cannabis vocational pilot program applications due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) touted the job-creating potential of a new hemp processing lab.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said she is in “constant conversation” with the speaker about marijuana legalization and questioned Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) commitment to working to get the policy enacted.

Maine regulators adopted rules for licensing marijuana sample collectors for testing.

Nevada regulators released draft regulations allowing CBD as a dietary supplement, food additive and cosmetic.

New Mexico will begin allowing out-of-state patients to purchase medical cannabis on Wednesday.

Arkansas regulators voted to release additional medical cannabis cultivation and dispensary licenses.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on July 15.


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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


British Virgin Islands lawmakers are considering legislation to legalize medical cannabis and expunge prior marijuana records.

The Philippine government created a panel to investigate deaths in the nation’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that marijuana’s “therapeutic application in areas such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and in the relief of some cancer patient’s symptoms is promising.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Colorado State Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted about a marijuana social equity bill being signed into law.

The Illinois State Senate Democratic Caucus tweeted about a grant program that is “creating opportunities for those most impacted by the War on Drugs.”

/ BUSINESS

Dixie Brands announced it will change its name due to the racist historical connotations of the word Dixie.

GW Pharmaceuticals plc announced a strategy to bring its THC and CBD drug nabiximols to the U.S. market.

Hightimes Holding Corp. extended its public stock offering deadline again.

Southern University will unveil its first line of medical cannabis products on Wednesday.

Louis Del Faveo Orchids is asking a federal court to recognize what it says is its right to a medical cannabis license.

A survey of Canadian cannabis consumers found that brand awareness is low.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted to urge Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to free a man serving a life sentence for selling marijuana.

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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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Newsletter

Biden task force weighs legal cannabis recommendation (Newsletter: June 30, 2020)

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OR psilocybin sigs submitted; Senate marijuana research amendment; CO gov signs equity/pardons bill; Baltimore tosses drug cases; HBO gummies promo

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Subscribers who value this daily dispatch enough to show their support with a few dollars help us keep doing this. Please chip in and help ensure Marijuana Moment’s continued operations.

  • Justin Leiby: “One can view drug policy through many lenses: economic, individual liberty, social equity, criminal justice, personal interest, etc. The common thread should always be the search for up-to-date, comprehensive information, which Marijuana Moment provides better than any news outlet. Whether you want to drill down into source documents or just browse the headlines, Marijuana Moment is the best source and it deserves our support.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

As more members of a criminal justice task force created by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speak out publicly about the need to reform marijuana laws, the panel has reportedly discussed behind closed doors whether to recommend the former vice president finally endorse legalizing cannabis.

An Oregon measure to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use has enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot, activists say.  A handful of petitions must still be verified by the state, but the campaign collected tens of thousands of extra submissions and is confident.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill outlining criteria for marijuana business social equity applicants and expanding his ability to unilaterally grant pardons for past cannabis convictions.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are seeking to attach an amendment to expand marijuana and CBD research to the National Defense Authorization Act that’s on the Senate floor this week.

The Baltimore, Maryland state’s attorney has closed nearly 600 warrants and dismissed cases for certain offenses, including drug possession, that her office is no longer pursuing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

HBO Max is teaming up with Kanha Edibles and Eaze to offer a new line of marijuana-infused gummies promoting the new animated series “Close Enough.”

/ FEDERAL

The Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee will discuss the impact of hemp legalization on the safety oversight of commercial motor vehicle drivers at a meeting next month.

The Department of Health and Human Services tweeted, “More research is needed to understand the specific relationship between marijuana use and COVID-19. But smoking of any kind might increase a person’s risk for severe illness from the virus.”

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take a case on whether possessing marijuana is grounds to show a person is “armed and presently dangerous” for purposes of a search.

Sen. Amy Klobychar (D-MN) tweeted, “When 1/3 of the U.S. Justice Department Antitrust resources are going to failed cannabis investigations then yes, I am calling for an immediate hearing.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidates Christine Eady Mann and Donna Imam support decriminalizing marijuana while Mann also backs legalization.

/ STATES

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a medical cannabis reform bill that replaces a 3% THC per-product cap with a 4.5 grams of THC per 90-day period limit and adds new qualifying conditions, among other changes.

A federal judge denied a request from Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) and the secretary of state to stay his ruling clearing the path for a non-marijuana initiative to the November ballot in a case that could also have implications for a proposed medical cannabis measure.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) said he will not fill remaining seats on the Cannabis Advisory Board unless lawmakers approve legislation to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, the Senate approved legislation to change the makeup of that body and confirmed the nomination of the territory’s agriculture commissioner to join it.

California regulators are letting marijuana businesses with expiring licenses request 60-day deferrals of their license fee payments.

West Virginia regulators said they will resume accepting applications for medical cannabis testing lab licenses.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

Tennessee regulators sent a notice about the deadline to renew hemp cultivation licenses.

Alaska regulators will discuss coronavirus-related marijuana issues on July 17.


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

Pueblo County, Colorado is using $2.3 million in marijuana excise tax revenue to fund scholarships for local students.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thai officials prepared draft legislation to let private companies manufacture cannabis-based medicines and to allow foreigners to invest in the industry.

The Western Australia state government rejected a series of drug policy reforms such as safe injection sites and pill testing services.

The Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada medical officer of health is stepping up his call to decriminalize drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the addition of cannabis flour to bakery products increases the protein content of the final product, total phenolic substance, dietary fiber, free amino acid content, protein digestibility of the products and reduces the glycemic index” and that “in spite of its negative effects on dough rheology and bread characteristics, cannabis flour has been determined to be a valuable resource in bread production with its fiber, mineral substance and total unsaturated fatty acids content.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealand voters oppose a marijuana legalization referendum, 49%-40%.

A poll found that New York college students support legalizing marijuana, 91%-9%,

The National Farmers Union tweeted about the Farm Bill provision that blocks people with drug felony records from getting hemp licenses.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s co-founder retired from the company’s board of directors.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. closed its acquisition of a New Jersey medical cannabis company.

Vireo Health International, Inc. hired a new chief financial officer.

The Washington Post’s executive editor was reportedly concerned that a piece about people getting high and seeing the film “Cats” glorified drug use.

Arkansas dispensaries have sold nearly $100 million worth of medical cannabis products since the program launched a little more than a year ago.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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Newsletter

Fewer banks working with cannabis biz, feds say (Newsletter: June 29, 2020)

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Lawmakers push legal marijuana in police reform debate; Pro-legalization Dem leads race to face McConnell; How cannabis is a trans health issue

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  • Elizabeth Foster: “I felt like I finally had to stop being a bystander and contribute to all you’re doing.  Medical marijuana helps with my anxiety, depression, tinnitus and numerous aches and pains… I want to see marijuana legal so that my dispensary can cut costs way down and provide even a better product and at a MUCH cheaper price! Thanks Tom for all you and this movement are doing.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New data from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network shows that the number of banks maintaining accounts for marijuana business clients declined in the last fiscal quarter. That’s despite the House of Representatives approving cannabis financial services legislation on two occasions.

Kentucky Rep. Charles Booker (D), currently in the lead to face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in November as Democratic primary votes are counted, has sponsored marijuana legalization legislation and supports decriminalizing all drugs.

  • “We deserve a commonwealth where we don’t criminalize a plant,” he said in his election night speech.

Bipartisan Reps. Lou Correa (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) took to the House floor to urge that legalizing marijuana not be forgotten in the debate about police reform. (NOTE: None of these lawmakers, nor any others, filed cannabis amendments to the law enforcement overhaul bill that the body passed on Thursday.)

Actress and activist Blossom C. Brown explains how cannabis is crucial for trans health and self-care in an op-ed sponsored by Weedmaps.

  • “As transitioning brought my full and true self to the world, cannabis helped my true self achieve its full potential.”

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge ruled that a proposed safe consumption site for illegal drugs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania should be barred from opening while the government appeals a ruling determining that it would not violate federal law.

Federal prosecutors indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff for advocating on behalf of a marijuana business, including by meeting with a member of Congress, without properly registering.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission tweeted, “Marijuana offenses accounted for 9% of the federal drug caseload in 2019. Federal marijuana offenses have decreased by more than half since 2015.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) cited congressional interference in Washington, D.C.’s marijuana laws in a floor speech in favor of a bill to give statehood to the District.

An unnamed Republican congressman showed a reporter pictures of his hemp crop.

/ STATES

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) and the secretary of state refused to choose between two options given by a federal judge in a case about a non-marijuana ballot initiative that could have implications for a proposed medical cannabis measure, and are instead appealing his ruling.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) granted pardons to several people with marijuana convictions.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor did a radio interview about efforts to pardon people for marijuana convictions.

A Virginia delegate who is running for governor said she will be introducing a marijuana legalization bill in the special session.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Rules & Judiciary Committee approved legislation to change the makeup of the Cannabis Advisory Board and advanced the nomination of the agriculture commissioner to join it.

Montana regulators said that medical cannabis cardholders can continue to submit renewal applications without physician statements though July 30.

Florida regulators published an FAQ on weights and measures considerations for cannabis and hemp products.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Tuesday.

Michigan regulators are hosting a marijuana social equity program educational session on Wednesday.


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 Sonoma County, California district attorney is moving to dismiss 2,735 marijuana convictions.

A Pueblo County, Colorado commissioner says a marijuana dispensary violated campaign finance laws by sending out a text urging customers to vote in favor of his opponent while also offering a discount.

/ INTERNATIONAL

South Africa’s government is developing legislation to allow use of marijuana in accordance with a court ruling.

Bermuda’s premier encouraged people to submit feedback on their concerns with a proposed marijuana legalization bill.

Fiji’s economy minister said the government has no plans to legalize marijuana.

A former Canadian health minister joined the advisory board of psilocybin company Red Light Holland.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that most parents of children with epilepsy “encountered resistance from their child’s neurologist to discuss and/or authorize medical cannabis, and many parents experienced difficulty in obtaining authorization from a member of the child’s existing care team, leading them to seek authorization from a cannabis clinic.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 56% of New Zealand residents plan to vote for a marijuana legalization referendum.

The American Civil Liberties Union cited congressional interference in Washington, D.C.’s marijuana laws in a letter urging statehood for the District.

Ten antitrust experts took issue with a Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility memo’s conclusion that investigations of marijuana company mergers directed by Attorney General William Barr were not improper.

/ BUSINESS

Liberty Health Sciences Inc. reported annual net income of $22.3 million.

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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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