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



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.

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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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