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New Hampshire House approves legal cannabis (Newsletter: Jan. 10, 2018)

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VT Senate voting today; 2nd biggest VA city backs state decrim; Congressional bills get lots of new cosponsors

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a marijuana legalization bill.

Norfolk, Virginia, the second-largest city in the commonwealth, is calling on state lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana and expand the limited medical cannabis program.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will meet to discuss marijuana policy on Wednesday, as Gardner has already placed holds on numerous Department of Justice nominations over the issue. On Tuesday, Gardner led a meeting of a bipartisan group of senators to plan a pushback. U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) attended the meeting, reportedly with about ten other senators.

President Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner will host a listening session on prison reform at the White House on Thursday.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said she’s working on legislation to protect state marijuana laws from federal interference.

Marijuana reform champion U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has been appointed as a new member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who tweets a lot about cannabis lately but hasn’t yet cosponsored any legislation, was also named to the panel.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) is concerned that medical cannabis is at risk under the new federal marijuana enforcement policy.

The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio said, “We’re going to still continue to be in a position to prosecute those cases, and marijuana’s still illegal under federal law just like it was last week, so that doesn’t change.”

Four members of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent a letter asking Sessions to rethink his marijuana policy decision. Members of Congress from the state also held a meeting to plot strategy on Tuesday.

Nevada’s congressional delegation pushed back against the federal cannabis change as well. Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) wrote a letter telling congressional leaders she will oppose a big spending bill unless it includes protections for state marijuana laws. In an interview, she suggested the Trump administration change could spur legislative action. Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV) sent a letter urging Sessions to reverse his marijuana directive. Congressman Mark Amodei (R-NV), who also opposes the federal shift, nevertheless  said, “I don’t think there’s a reason for panic.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) gave a House floor speech pushing back against the Trump administration’s marijuana move.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted about marijuana’s health benefits.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got four new cosponsors, bringing the total to 19.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got 11 new cosponsors, bringing the total to 35.

The U.S. House bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol got four new cosponsors, bringing the total to 21.

The U.S. House bill to create a federal tax structure for legal marijuana got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to nine.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) sent a letter to President Trump requesting he support extending state medical cannabis protections.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said that federal prosecutors should not focus on marijuana.

Vermont’s Senate is set to vote on sending a House-passed marijuana legalization bill to the governor on Wednesday. Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (VPP) suggested lawmakers might pass full-scale legal marijuana sales legislation this year after the noncommercial bill is signed into law.

Maine marijuana legalization supporters and opponents reportedly reached a deal on an implementation plan.

Michigan’s House speaker and other candidates for state attorney general are criticizing the federal marijuana policy change.

A Kansas representative who made racist comments about marijuana has stepped down from committee leadership positions following criticism.

New Jersey’s Senate Republican whip has “major concerns” about marijuana-impaired driving under legalization.

The State of New York is providing funding to open a hemp processing facility.

Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wakely supports legalizing marijuana.

A Florida judge ruled in favor of a black farmer in a medical cannabis licensing case.

A Mississippi representative introduced a marijuana legalization bill.

A California assemblyman is filing a bill to make it easier to expunge past marijuana convictions. Separately, regulators proposed a timeline and strategy for cannabis rulemaking.

A New Mexico representative filed a resolution calling on the state’s congressional delegation to “create new legislation protecting medicinal cannabis users in New Mexico from the threat of being sent to federal prison.”

A Nebraska senator introduced a bill to exempt substances containing ten percent or less CBD by weight and three-tenths of one percent or less THC by weight from the definition of marijuana.

The parents of a Vermont prosecutor who were arrested transporting 60 pounds of marijuana across the country last month were busted again, this time on suspicion of carrying drug money.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner approved more than 12,000 acres for industrial hemp research in 2018.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Paraguay President Horacio Cartes signed medical cannabis regulations.

Canadian Prime MInister Justin Trudeau answered questions about marijuana legalization at a town hall meeting.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox will host a marijuana conference at Centro Fox facilities in May.

/ ADVOCACY

Conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos says he’s conflicted about the federal anti-marijuana move.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A survey found that 60% of adults in the Birmingham, Alabama metro area support legalizing marijuana for medical and/or recreational use.

The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

The News & Observer editorial board isn’t happy with the change either.

The Toledo Blade editorial board wants Congress to amend federal marijuana laws.

The Washington Times editorial board wants Sessions to “take the lead” in resolving the federal-state marijuana conflict.

/ BUSINESS

Medical cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been shut off from debit card processing in the wake of federal changes.

Iowa State University has agreed to pay more than $300,000 in damages and legal fees after a federal court found it improperly prevented a student group from making t-shirts that featured school mascot and a marijuana leaf.

/ CULTURE     

Jimmy Kimmel Live visited the MedMen marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-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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Cannabis arrests are rising even as more states legalize (Newsletter: Sep. 25, 2018)

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Trump wants to ban chocolate?; Police use official resources to oppose legal marijuana; Idaho gubernatorial candidates on cannabis

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Marijuana arrests rose in the U.S. in 2017 despite the fact that more states are legalizing cannabis, new FBI data shows. The increase is driven by a rise in possession busts, while arrests for sales and manufacturing were down.

President Trump hosted an anti-drug event at the United Nations and called for an end to “cocoa production,” but he probably meant coca…

Police in two states are being accused of illegally using official social media accounts to campaign against marijuana ballot measures.

Idaho gubernatorial candidates are taking opposite positions on marijuana legalization, with Democrat Paulette Jordan in support and Republican Brad Little opposed.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied a petition to review the Drug Enforcement Administration’s rejection of marijuana rescheduling.

A former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s to investigate Elon Musk’s marijuana consumption.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) criticized marijuana’s Schedule I status. (Roughly 11 minutes into the linked audio.)

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is refusing to answer questions about her stance on North Dakota’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) sent a press release criticizing the federal government’s decision to allow importation of marijuana products from Canada:

  • “Allowing a Canadian company to do what American companies are still waiting on the Department of Justice to grant them permission to do is incomprehensible. The United States has countless companies, including several in my home state of Florida, that are well-equipped to provide high quality cannabis extracts, but they are being roadblocked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ senseless witch hunt against an entire industry of legal, state-regulated small businesses. With this announcement, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice’s arcane prohibition on researching the effects of cannabis are now complicit in shipping American jobs and dollars abroad.”

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) tweeted, “Legalizing #marijuana has no impact on crime rates, in some cases decreases crime.”

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) tweeted a photo of himself meeting with hemp business owners.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “I’m very proud of our city for leading the way on decriminalization. The War on Drugs has been a terrible failure.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “#Cannabis has the potential to mitigate opioid abuse and addiction, and early studies indicate that it may even help veterans who suffer from PTSD. We must push for more research access to #UnlockCures.”

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) tweeted, “Since legalized recreational marijuana use, in 2016 alone, law enforcement officers in Colorado confiscated 7,116 pounds of marijuana, carried out 252 felony arrests, and made 346 highway interdictions of marijuana headed to 36 different states.”

Utah U.S. Senate candidates agree that marijuana should be rescheduled and both oppose recreational legalization, but are split on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Josh McCall tweeted, “And we can work at the federal level to remove #cannabis from Schedule 1.”

New Mexico Democratic congressional candidate Deb Haaland tweeted, “I am in full favor of the legalization of marijuana. In doing so, we can we can create a major funding source for our public schools and put an end to the disproportionately high sentencing of people of color for marijuana-related offenses. NM is ready.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill adding acute pain management to the list of conditions for which medical cannabis can be recommended as an alternative to opioid use. Separately, he tweeted about the marijuana legalization listening sessions his administration is holding across the state.

A Pennsylvania representative filed a marijuana legalization bill, and advocates held a rally.

Oklahoma regulators announced they have received more than 7,000 medical cannabis license applications, and have approved nearly 5,000.

New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study commission is nearing the end of its review.

Arizona officials added marijuana questions to the state’s car accident reporting form.

North Dakota regulators approved two companies to move ahead in the medical cannabis dispensary licensing process.

Arkansas regulators are expected to finalize a contract this week with a consulting company that will help score medical cannabis dispensary license applications.

/ LOCAL

Seattle, Washington municipal court judges have agreed to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession stemming from before legalization.

  • Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) tweeted, “Great news! This is the next step in tearing down barriers created by a misdemeanor marijuana conviction that has prevented too many Seattle residents from accessing good jobs, housing, loans or education.”

San Francisco, California regulators still haven’t approved any cannabis equity program permits.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thai officials are considering using a procedural move to expedite consideration of a medical cannabis bill.

Colombian President Ivan Duque said he will sign a decree allowing police to confiscate small amounts of drugs, despite warnings that the move would be in violation of the country’s Constitution.

A group led by the former presidents and prime ministers of Colombia, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and other countries released a report calling for the legalization and regulation of drugs.

Canada is being criticized for signing onto a U.S.-led drug war declaration.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The Journal of Adolescent Health published a series of letters about whether marijuana legalization increases emergency room visits by youth.

/ BUSINESS

Leafly removed its CEO.

CNBC analyst Jim Cramer tweeted, “I don’t think people realize how beneficial cannabis is versus the typical western world pill.”

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss lost a defamation suit over comments related to their consideration of investing in Eaze.

Model Kathy Ireland tweeted about her company’s CBD products.

/ CULTURE

Take a look at these photos of marijuana under an electron microscope.

Comedian Pete Davidson spoke about his decision to consume cannabis again.

Actor Timothée Chalamet said he supports marijuana legalization, citing racial disparities in enforcement.

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O’Rourke And Cruz clash on cannabis at debate (Newsletter: Sep. 24, 2018)

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Kenyan lawmaker files marijuana legalization bill; Willie Nelson want to smoke weed with Trump & Putin; Trump to talk drugs at UN

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  • Curt Robbins of Robbins Group LLC: “Thanks for your dedication and hard work, Tom. It definitely helps me do my job and best serve my clients.”

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U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) clashed on marijuana and drug policy in a heated exchange during their first debate.

A Kenyan member of Parliament is filing a marijuana legalization bill.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump will host an event on the “World Drug Problem” at the United Nations on Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice is moving to dismiss a landlord’s chapter 11 bankruptcy case because he leased space to a marijuana producer.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly considered naming James Cole, author of the famous cannabis Cole Memo, as special counsel before he settled on Robert Mueller.

A federal judge ruled that the Ohio municipalities of Garrettsville and Windham must place marijuana decriminalization measures on their November ballots after local officials initially rejected them.

Former White House Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, citing the fact that it took a court ruling for a California girl to be able to use medical cannabis at school, said, “We are turning into a nation of rule bound nincompoops.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “The fact that #BothamJean was murdered by a police officer who entered his apartment thinking it was hers, and then police only searched his apartment and revealed that he was in possession of marijuana, highlights what is wrong with our criminal justice system.”

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) tweeted about events to help people expunge low-level marijuana convictions and outstanding summons warrants.

Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) tweeted, “Apparently US will import #MedicalMarijuana from Canada because ⁦AG Sessions and @TheJusticeDept⁩ won’t approve US grower applications. This is peak of absurdity!”

The U.S. House bill to require the federal government to study the impact of state marijuana legalization got one new cosponsor, for a total of 28.

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Colin Allred criticized incumbent Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX):

  • His outdated views on the war on drugs are frozen in the 1980s. There are veterans who are suffering from PTSD and other combat injuries and could benefit from medical marijuana right now. They want it, their doctors want to prescribe it, and Congressman Sessions is standing in the way.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced two new marijuana legalization listening sessions in addition to the 15 that had already been scheduled.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill to expand marijuana research. He also signed a bill to define cannabis microbusinesses and make changes to fingerprint requirements. Separately, a judge ruled that a kindergartener can bring her cannabis medicine to school.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that some arrests for public use of marijuana will result in citations, rather than people being taken into custody.

Florida Democratic attorney general candidate Sean Shaw announced that if elected he would drop appeals the state is mounting against challenges to medical cannabis restrictions. Separately, a newspaper investigation found that at least 80 candidates for public office are at risk of having their bank accounts closed due to marijuana industry donations.

The sponsor of New Jersey’s marijuana legalization bill expects a vote next month.

A Pennsylvania representative will file a marijuana legalization bill on Monday.

Maine regulators are investigating a restaurant’s practice of blowing marijuana smoke onto lobsters before boiling them to death.

Colorado regulators sent a bulletin about the testing of hemp products by marijuana testing facility licensees.

Oregon regulators upheld the license suspension of marijuana business after it became the subject of a federal criminal investigation.

Questions are being raised about marijuana industry donations to the campaign of Ohio Republican attorney general candidate Dave Yost that came in while he was reviewing the medical cannabis program as state auditor.

Pennsylvania regulators certified eight medical schools as medical cannabis research centers.

Michigan regulators are allowing medical cannabis patients and their doctors to register online.

A Nebraska senator said she will file a medical cannabis bill next year.

/ LOCAL

The Bergen County, New Jersey sheriff caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization has resigned.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country will not be signing onto a Trump administration anti-drug proposal for the United Nations.

A Uruguayan ambassador criticized the U.S. drug war document.

UK regulators released guidance on the definition of medical cannabis products that will be available for prescription. Separately, a former justice secretary is calling for the legalization of all drugs.

Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board is pushing the government to legalize medical cannabis.

Russia and the European Union held consultations on drug policy.

/ ADVOCACY

The Maryland Democratic Party tweeted about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous’s support for legalizing marijuana.

The Idaho Republican Party tweeted about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan’s support for legalizing marijuana.

Progressive group Our Revolution endorsed Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “among people who use illicit drugs initiating opioid agonist treatment in Vancouver, at least daily cannabis use was associated with approximately 21% greater odds of retention in treatment compared with less than daily consumption.”

A review found that “marijuana use did not increase the prevalence or progression of hepatic fibrosis in [hepatitis C virus] and HCV–HIV-coinfected patient” and that “on the contrary, we noted a reduction in the prevalence of [nonalcoholic fatty liver disease] in marijuana users.

A study concluded that “cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) can have remarkable analgesic capabilities, as adjuvant of [spinal cord stimulation], for the treatment of chronic refractory pain of [failed back surgery syndrome] patients.”

A study found that “maternal cannabis use may be a risk factor for early initiation among their offspring.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Detroit Free Press editorial board endorsed Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings plans to go public in a reverse takeover.

TD Ameritrade said men account for 75% of all marijuana-related securities trades.

Canadian newspapers are creating marijuana-focused beats.

/ CULTURE

Comedy Central’s Jim Jefferies discovered that Amsterdam’s marijuana tolerance means police have basically nothing to do. Two cops even waited outside a coffeeshop while he smoked a joint before joining them on a tour of the city.

The Onion asks, “Can A Serial Marijuana User Like Josh Gordon Fit In With The Patriots’ Cocaine-Based Culture?”

The TV show Snowfall featured a discussion among characters about the racist motivations for and failure of the war on drugs.

Musician Willie Nelson says he’d like to consume cannabis with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.

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Governor signs legal cannabis bill in US territory (Newsletter: Sep. 21, 2018)

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FDA head: marijuana more dangerous than nicotine; NY lawmakers schedule legalization hearing; NJ sheriff’s racist legalization comments caught on tape

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 335 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
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Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making the territory the first place in the U.S. to end prohibition without first having a medical cannabis program.

U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that we should be more worried about teens using marijuana than nicotine.

The sheriff of New Jersey’s most populous county was caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization:

  • “Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

Four New York Assembly committees scheduled the first of what will be four separate joint hearings on marijuana legalization this fall.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is facing a potential lawsuit over its role in an investigation into a California marijuana distribution company.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office tweeted, “IS EATING MARIJUANA MORE DANGEROUS THAN SMOKING MARIJUANA? YES! There is high potential for overdose from #marijuana #edibles. #DontDoDrugs”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “We just have to be not so stupid as to impair our own progress. There is no reason for us to be creating wealth in Canada for cannabis companies by importing Canadian weed.”

  • Gaetz also tweeted, “Last week, the @HouseJudiciary passed my bill, the Medical Cannabis Research Act, which will help scientists and researchers study #cannabis and #unlock its medical potential. Congress must continue working across party lines to pass meaningful #CannabisReform”

West Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Richard Ojeda defended himself from attacks by the state’s Republican Party for meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), tweeting, “Yep. I was out there with a congressman who wants to work together to create legislation to protect 2nd Amendment Rights for those who receive a medical cannabis card. Are you guys pro 2nd???”

  • Ojeda also tweeted, “Hemp and medical cannabis combined with the jobs those industries create would be a game changer for our state.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information for commercial purposes.

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said the state should not legalize marijuana but instead expand access to medical cannabis.

Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any final licenses at its Thursday meeting.

Florida regulators are asking an appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling allowing a man to grow his own medical cannabis.

West Virginia lawmakers are asking the state attorney general for an update on his legal opinion about providing banking services to medical cannabis businesses.

A Utah billboard urging people to support the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure is being temporarily taken down while the advertising company reviews election laws concerning anonymous political ads.

A Missouri medical cannabis ballot initiative campaign is raising money to place its first ad on TV.

Maryland regulators have been forced to repeatedly override medical cannabis rules in recent weeks due to problems with the state’s track-and-trace software.

Alaska regulators will meet on October 16 and 17 to consider marijuana establishment license applications and related rules.

Arkansas’s hemp research program is experiencing delays.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney tweeted a video of a talk he gave at a marijuana event.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s incoming government will approve medical cannabis regulations, a top health official said.

/ ADVOCACY

A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that “black people were 2.9 times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Louisiana,11 despite evidence that black people and white people use marijuana at similar rates.”

The Marijuana Policy Project published a voter guide for New Hampshire’s general election.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A federal survey found that Americans aged 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke marijuana on a monthly basis than teens aged 12 to 17.

A review concluded that “cannabinoid drugs were associated with modest increases in experimental pain threshold and tolerance, no reduction in the intensity of ongoing experimental pain, reduced perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli, and no reduction of mechanical hyperalgesia.”

A study found that MDMA “enhances acute prosocial behaviors” in octopuses.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Mexico voters support legalizing marijuana, 60%-32%.

/ BUSINESS

Bloom Automation is building robots to harvest marijuana.

The Associated Press looks at growing interest in marijuana stocks on Wall Street.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dax Shepard defended his wife Kristen Bell’s marijuana use.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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