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Next Judiciary chair friendlier to cannabis reform than Grassley (Newsletter: Nov. 19, 2018)



Michigan legalization goes into effect Dec. 6; Feds issue ‘Danksgiving’ warning; Whole Foods says hemp a ‘top 10’ 2019 product

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), a longtime legalization opponent who has refused to bring marijuana bills up for a vote, is stepping down from the role. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), next in line for the gavel, has cosponsored and voted for several far-reaching cannabis reform measures—a switch that bodes extremely well for reform in 2019.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency, put out an advisory warning people not to consume marijuana and drive on what they are actually calling “Danksgiving.”

Whole Foods said hemp will be a “Top 10” product in 2019.

  • “Culinary experts and consumers can’t miss the cannabis craze… It’s clear that hemp-derived products are going mainstream.”

Michigan’s new marijuana legalization law is expected to go  into effect on December 6. That’s when adults can start legally growing and possession cannabis.


Politico Magazine looks at how members of Congress who support cannabis reform place differing emphasis on the inclusion of racial justice provisions in legislation.

Former Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Peter Bensinger is urging Illinois lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

The reelection campaign of Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) used marijuana-focused digital ads targeting voters who support legalization.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) tweeted, “Injustice against one of us is an injustice against all of us. We need to fight discriminatory marijuana policies, end mass incarceration and come together to create an economy where the playing field is fair for everyone.” She also tweeted, “Millions of Americans’ lives have been devastated by our broken marijuana laws. I’m cosponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act because we need to right the wrongs caused by the failed war on drugs.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted a link to a New York Times op-ed that questions the effectiveness and harms of the war on drugs.

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) said legislation to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis “is a very logical” first step toward marijuana reform in the 116th Congress.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) tweeted, “This week I introduced legislation that aims to reform VA medical marijuana practices. We should support our veterans who seek alternatives to highly addictive opioids ravaging our communities.”

Former Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), once one of Congress’s leading marijuana reform opponents, now says cannabis is a “winning issue.”


Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales will begin on Tuesday. A pair of military veterans, one of whom is a mayor, are expected to be the first customers.

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker (D) said the state will benefit from being able to look at the experiences of other states that legalized marijuana first. A key senator said that there is now momentum to pass a legal cannabis bill “in short order.”

An Ohio judge ruled that a quota for 15% of medical cannabis business licenses to go to businesses owned by racial minorities is unconstitutional. Separately, the state Supreme Court may have to eventually decide whether police department have to abide by local marijuana decriminalization measures.

Washington, D.C.’s attorney general said he supports legalizing marijuana sales if a congressional block is removed.

Missouri regulators released a timeline and FAQ about implementing medical cannabis.

Oklahoma regulators removed the address of medical cannabis license holders from an online database.

Utah’s Senate president is warning lawmakers that he may use special powers to compel their presence for a special session to consider medical cannabis compromise legislation. Separately,  regulators released new rules for selling CBD products.

The New Mexico Legislature’s Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee will discuss federal rules on income taxation of medical cannabis businesses on Monday.

Several national marijuana firms are moving to take ownership of Maryland medical cannabis companies in apparent violation of state law.

Iowa doctors are not participating in the state’s limited medical cannabis program in great numbers.


Kalamazoo County, Michigan’s prosecutor is dismissing marijuana cases.

The Door County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors rejected a proposal to place marijuana advisory questions on the April 2019 ballot.


Canada’s privacy commissioner is preparing to issue guidance for buyers and sellers of legal marijuana in light of U.S. border issues and other concerns.

The chair of the Caribbean Community Commission on Marijuana said countries should enact legalization.

Here’s a look at the prospects for legalizing marijuana in Mexico.

The New York Times looks at New Zealand’s moves toward medical cannabis and marijuana legalization.


A study’s findings “lend to the increasing evidence of CBD as a potential viable, alternative, and less harmful treatment option against prostate and breast cancer.”

A review concluded that “cannabis use doubles the risk of developing psychosis in vulnerable people.”

A study concluded that “among young adult marijuana users, those with [a medical marijuana] card had a higher risk profile for marijuana use and related problems compared to those without an MM card.”


The Detroit Free Press editorial board says Michigan should expunge marijuana convictions and pursue broader criminal justice reforms.

The Kansas City Star editorial board criticized policies that prevent legal medical cannabis patients from purchasing guns.


Coca-Cola’s president and CEO spoke about how the company views the potential of cannabis-infused beverages.

Paragon Coin, Inc. reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over its failure to register the offering of its cannabis-focused cryptocurrency.

Microsoft touted the use of its data visualization tool in helping a journalist track how Washington State marijuana tax revenue is spent.


Actor Zach Braff said that ABC once refused to air an episode of “Scrubs” that focused on medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at where Sean Azzariti, who was the first person to legally buy recreational marijuana in Colorado in 2014, is now.

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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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