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New GOP federal legal cannabis bill (Newsletter: May 13, 2021)

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NE medical marijuana bill filibustered; MN House leader expects Republican legalization votes; LA smokable marijuana heads to Senate floor

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) and Don Young (R-AK) filed a new bill to federally legalize marijuana while providing specific protections for banking and military veterans. The Food and Drug Administration and Treasury Department would be required to issue cannabis regulations—modeled on those for alcohol—within a year. It also has research provisions.

Nebraska’s unicameral legislature failed to overcome a filibuster on a medical cannabis bill, only getting 31 of a needed 33 votes to advance the measure. Supporters say they’ll take the marijuana issue to the ballot in 2022.

Minnesota’s House majority leader, whose cannabis legalization bill is up for a floor vote on Thursday, told Marijuana Moment in an interview that he expects it to get Republican votes. The GOP-controlled Senate is another matter, though.

The Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved a House-passed bill to legalize smokable medical cannabis, sending it to the floor for a final vote. Meanwhile, a House vote on recreational marijuana legalization was delayed again—until next week.

The Missouri House of Representatives approved an amendment to require regulators to disclose medical marijuana business ownership information. The vote comes after a recent analysis found instances where single entities were connected to more licenses than is allowed.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Americans are sending a clear message—they want an end to marijuana prohibition. I’m working with @RonWyden and @SenBooker to end the federal prohibition and to repair the damage done by the War on Drugs.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana is not enough. We must also repair the damage done to those communities most harmed by a failed Drug War and expunge records. We should be demanding restorative justice.”

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) tweeted, “Laws prohibiting adult cannabis use defy common sense and the will of the people. I respectfully urge #MNLeg to meet the moment and pass H.F. 600, joining states – Red and Blue – who have already recognized the sensibility of legalization.” He also sent a letter urging state lawmakers to approve the bill.

Rep. Betty McCollum’s (D-MN) campaign tweeted, “Legalizing cannabis for adult use will offer broad benefits across Minnesota, but we need a responsible regulatory framework to make it happen. If any state can do this right, Minnesota can.”

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) tweeted, “We must secure our border and ensure law enforcement have the support and resources they need if we want to stop the rising number of illegal marijuana grows and related crime in Southern California.”

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got two new cosponsors for a total of 25.

/ STATES

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said she is reviewing a medical cannabis bill that lawmakers sent to her desk and spoke positively about its benefits for patients.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tweeted, “I couldn’t say it better myself: we have more than $165M reasons to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin. Legalizing, taxing, and decriminalizing marijuana—much like we do with alcohol—makes economic sense for our state and can help us create a more equitable Wisconsin.”

Minnesota’s attorney general tweeted, “Af-Am and white ppl in MN consume cannabis at v similar rates—yet while Black ppl are just 5% of MN pop they make up 30% of cannabis arrests. Criminalizing a product most ppl want legalized, and continuing a legacy of racial injustice in doing so, is not defensible.” Separately, the House Democrat-Farmer-Labor Caucus tweeted, “Legalizing adult-use cannabis in MN is a growing movement led by the House DFL in partnership with advocates and people of all backgrounds. Tomorrow, the MN House will vote to expand freedom and address harms caused by current cannabis laws.”

The Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld a life sentence for a man convicted of marijuana possession.

Hawaii regulators revoked a medical cannabis dispensary’s license over its alleged failure to submit annual independent financial audits.

Pennsylvania regulators published guidelines for hemp sample compliance testing. Separately, the Department of Agriculture tweeted, “Right now, Pennsylvania’s hemp crop is in the seedling stage. But these now-small plants pack a mighty punch! After harvest, their stalks can be used for biofuel, fire-proof building material, and even bullet-proof vests!”

Washington State regulators approved a statement of inquiry on establishing new rules for evaluating whether ingredients used in the production or processing of marijuana products pose a risk to public health or youth access.

Oregon regulators released an updated list of approved marijuana retail businesses.

Colorado’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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

New York City police department sources claim that the state’s new marijuana legalization law is making it harder to take guns off the streets.

A former Buffalo, New York firefighter who was fired for medical cannabis use is suing to get his job back.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera said the country should switch from growing tobacco to cannabis.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has received at least seven queries about listing cannabis companies.

New Zealand’s health minister said he wants drug-checking services to be widely available, but hasn’t committed funding to support it.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabinoids prevent the negative effects of chronic unpredictable stress, suggesting that the development of cannabinoid-based drugs has the potential to treat stress-related disorders such as depression.”

A study of rats suggested that “marijuana may be helpful for motor disorders and synaptic changes in patients with Parkinson’s disease.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Louisiana Democratic Party tweeted about the House’s passage of a marijuana decriminalization bill.

The Alabama Democratic Party is selling a marijuana legalization sticker.

The Nebraska Democratic Party tweeted about the legislature debating a medical cannabis bill.

The United States Cannabis Council joined the alcohol-industry-funded Responsibility.org as a corporate partner.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana is taking out newspaper ads aimed at influencing senators who have expressed reservations about federal legalization.

/ BUSINESS

Green Thumb Industries Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $194.4 million.

Columbia Care Inc. launched a new retail brand called Cannabist.

Wasatch Global Investors sold off its marijuana stock holdings under instructions from its compliance unit.

Flora Growth Corp. began trading on the Nasdaq.

Arkansas dispensaries have now sold more than $300 million worth of medical cannabis.

/ CULTURE

Jane Fonda spoke about her affinity for hemp and her partnership with CBD company Uncle Bud’s.

Slipknot’s Clown is launching a line of marijuana products.

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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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