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NJ gov wants medical cannabis expansion (Newsletter: Jan. 24, 2018)

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VT committee hears legal sales bill (already!); Fed court expands MMj rider reach; CA Senate prez pushes feds

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order directing officials to examine ways to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

The U.S.  Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling containing a broadened interpretation of the protections provided by a congressionally-approved medical cannabis rider, finding that it can be invoked to prevent the Department of Justice from spending money to defend against appeals from people convicted of medical marijuana activity that was in compliance with state laws.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) is urging Nevada’s U.S. attorney not to intefere with the state’s marijuana laws.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said he wants his state to legalize marijuana and expunge past convictions.

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) sent a letter asking U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to respect the state’s cannabis laws.

Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), a member of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, is calling the Trump administration’s efforts on the issue a “charade” and a “sham.”

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, tweeted, “Jeff Sessions wants to double down on the failed war on drugs. Here’s a different idea, let’s end it altogether.”

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL) published an op-ed criticizing federal anti-marijuana moves.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) sent a series of tweets about the marijuana industry’s banking access issues.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 29.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got two new cosponsors, bringing the total to 42.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — a key decider on marijuana rescheduling — hired a former Trump campaign staffer with cannabis advocacy on her resume as special assistant in the Immediate Office of the Secretary, a Freedom of Information Act release shows.

/ STATES

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) appears ready to veto a bill extending a moratorium on legal marijuana sales through April 18.

California Senate President Kevin de León, a U.S. Senate candidate, is calling on Congress to pass legislation to prevent federal intervention in state marijuana laws.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) made a curious remark about marijuana at a rally in favor of school choice.

Nevada Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak, currently a Clark County commissioner, is calling on state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, to push back on federal marijuana moves. The Nevada A.G. is the only one from the legal cannabis state not to sign a recent letter about banking access, which is being criticized by the state Democratic Party.

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant (R), a gubernatorial candidate, said he opposes legalizing marijuana but is open to limited medical cannabis.

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated legalizing marijuana.

Vermont’s House Committee on General, Housing and Military Affairs held a hearing on a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana sales. The move comes just one day after the enactment of a noncommercial legalization law.

A Virginina House Courts of Justice subcommittee will hold a Wednesday hearing on legislation to decriminalize marijuana and reform the state’s limited CBD medical cannabis program.

The Georgia House Medical Cannabis Working Group will hold its first meeting on Wednesday.

Nevada regulators have suspended the licenses of nearly half the state’s marijuana testing labs.

Kentucky’s Republican House speaker said he has mixed feelings about medical cannabis.

Indiana’s Senate Corrections and Criminal Code Committee approved a CBD medical cannabis bill.

Pennsylvania lawmakers and advocates held a rally at the state capitol to call for marijuana law reform.

/ LOCAL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania officials are moving to open safe injection sites for illegal drug consumers.

DeKalb County, Georgia commissioners are asking state lawmakers to change the law to allow counties to enact policies to reduce marijuana arrests.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government’s point man on marijuana legalization will make a Wednesday announcement about cannabis research.

/ ADVOCACY

The Drug Policy Alliance released a report tracking the effects of state marijuana legalization.

The California Growers Association filed a lawsuit against regulators’ decision to allow unlimited stacking of cannabis cultivation licenses.

Here’s an interview with the prohibitionist leading the campaign to defeat Michigan’s proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

Researchers developed a method for using “social media data to uncover previously unknown (to researchers) drug terms.”

/ BUSINESS

The New York Times is conducting a reader survey about its coverage of opioid issues.

/ CULTURE     

Video game streaming service Twitch allowed Snoop Dogg to smoke a blunt on air.

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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.)

Newsletter

More banks working with cannabis businesses, feds say (Newsletter: June 25, 2019)

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USDA announces hemp regs target date; Analyzing Congress’s marijuana vote; POTUS candidate Joe Setak on cannabis; Hawaii decrim

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana Moment conducted a deep analysis of Congress’s recent vote to block the Department of Justice from interfering with state marijuana laws. Find out who flipped their votes from the amendment’s last consideration in 2015, how state legalization laws made a difference in the tally and which lawmakers from legal states voted to let the feds arrest their constituents.

New data from the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network shows a huge uptick in the number of banks willing to work with marijuana businesses as cannabis financial services legislation gains momentum in Congress.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture quietly noted in a larger regulatory update document that it is aiming to publish legal hemp rules by August.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) said he will allow a legislature-passed bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana to take effect.

Marijuana Moment’s latest presidential candidate overview takes a look at the cannabis record of former Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA).

/ FEDERAL

Leaked Trump transition team documents obtained by Axios mention the marijuana policy positions of former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and former Homeland Security Secretary and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams said “there’s no such thing as medical marijuana.” He also published a Twitter thread laying out his concerns about marijuana use by pregnant women. And he tweeted a photo of himself discussing marijuana with public health and law enforcement officials and posted another tweet saying, “The increased potency of #marijuana today does not only pose major dangers to our physicality, but it poses major dangers to our communities as well.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “While more and more people are making money from the legalization of marijuana, in some states, thousands sit in prison for doing the same thing. It’s time for those people to come home.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said voting for the 1994 crime bill and its drug war provisions was “the worst vote I ever gave since being in Congress.”

Rep. Donald McEachin  (D-VA) spoke in support of decriminalizing marijuana, vacating sentences and expunging records.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “If our economy can afford endless wars, a GOP tax scam and the war on drugs, we can afford to end the student debt crisis.”

Rep. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (I-CNMI) wrote in his newsletter about voting for an amendment to protect state and territory marijuana laws from federal interference.

/ STATES

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill to establish a process to expunge marijuana convictions.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a budget bill including funding to implement marijuana legalization.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said that marijuana won’t be legalized while he is governor and that it has a “detrimental effect” on young people. Separately, the agriculture commissioner said her department is working on CBD regulations that may force currently marketed products out of stores.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said he doesn’t think legalizing marijuana “will lead anyone to the promised land” and that he’s “asked the federal government to enforce the law as it is, and I’ve let them know that we’re a law-and-order state.”

The New York Assembly majority leader spoke about lawmakers’ passage of a bill to expand marijuana decriminalization and provide for record expungements.

Puerto Rico’s Senate approved a medical cannabis reform bill.

The Utah Senate unanimously voted to confirm members of the state’s Compassionate Use Board for medical cannabis.

The Washington, D.C. Council Health Committee marked up a bill to increase access to medical cannabis and allow safe-use facilities.

Massachusetts regulators announced that starting on July 1, medical cannabis patients will be able to enter dispensaries and access medicine while their formal registration cards are being processed.

Guam regulators are holding a labor clinic focused on marijuana businesses on July 9.

Washington State regulators included information about returning marijuana products, intellectual property contract reviews and other issues in a newsletter.


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

Denver, Colorado police made zero psilocybin arrests in the month following decriminalization.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs held preliminary discussions on the World Health Organization’s recommendations to reschedule marijuana and its derivatives.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about killings related to the bloody “war on drugs” in the Philippines.

Canadian regulators announced funding for community-based organizations to carry out marijuana public education projects.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabidiol possesses surprisingly effective activity as an antibiotic, comparable to widely used antibiotics…but with retention of activity against bacteria that have become resistant to these drugs” and that “the combination of inherent antimicrobial activity and potential to reduce damage caused by the inflammatory response to infections is particularly attractive.”

A study on children with epilepsy found a “reduction in seizure frequency” and suggested “improved seizure control when a whole plant [cannabis herbal extract] is used.”

A study on using “an eye tracking sensor to detect cannabis-related impairment” will soon be seeking participants.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that U.S. adults support legalizing marijuana, 63%-27%, and that 32% believe CBD is similar to marijuana while 40% say it is different.

A poll funded by prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana found that when given options, 38% of U.S. registered voters want to legalize marijuana, 15% support decriminalization, 29% back medical cannabis and 14% want to outlaw marijuana altogether.

/ BUSINESS

High Times Holding Corp. fell far short of raising its $50 million funding target.

Aurora Cannabis is urging UK regulators to let general practitioners prescribe medical marijuana oil.

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy launched a master of science in medical cannabis science and therapeutics program.

Weedmaps is opening a Museum of Weed in Hollywood in August.

/ CULTURE

Filmmaker Ken Burns spoke about his experiences with psychedelic drugs.

Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted about receiving a package of cannabis products.

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Newsletter

Veterans’ cannabis amendment withdrawn without vote (Newsletter: June 24, 2019)

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Senators ask about marijuana-impaired driving; SBA urges cannabis companies to submit FDA CBD comments; DOJ enforces anti-cannabis bankruptcy rule

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 444 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) withdrew his amendment to let military veterans get medical cannabis recommendations from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors without bringing it to a vote on the House floor. While the measure has advanced in Congress before, VA is raising new concerns it could put physicians at risk of Justice Department prosecution.

The Small Business Administration is urging cannabis firms to submit CBD regulation comments to the Food and Drug Administration.

The deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration testified at a Senate hearing that “most users of marijuana who have participated in market research we have developed are saying they believe they drive safer when they’re high because they’re very focused and they’re being very cautious.”

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program is increasingly enforcing a ban on bankruptcy protections for marijuana-related businesses and people associated with them.

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his plans for criminal justice reform, ending mandatory minimum sentences and private prisons, bail reform, decriminalizing marijuana and expunging records.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The War on Drugs is a war on people, but not all people. It has disproportionately affected Black communities, low-income people, veterans, people living with mental illness. As president, I will fight to reform the criminal justice system like I’ve been doing in the Senate.” He also tweeted that New York’s move to expunge cannabis records “is great news, we can’t talk about decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana without talking about expunging records.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, spoke about how he was ahead of many other politicians in endorsing legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, spoke about her support for ending marijuana prohibition.

Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) said that four Republicans who voted against marijuana banking legislation in committee will support the bill on the floor because of an amendment.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “The failed war on drugs must end! The bipartisan vote to pass my amendment is the most significant vote on #marijuana reform policy the House has ever taken.”

Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) tweeted a video of himself describing the CBD amendment he attached to a spending bill.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “This week, 267 of my colleagues in the House voted to prevent DOJ from taking action against businesses and individuals in states which have legalized marijuana. We need to continue to respect states’ rights and pass #SAFEBanking.” He also tweeted, “Marijuana industry sales are estimated to reach $23 billion by 2022. We need #SAFEBanking to get cash off our streets and into the banking system.”

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) predicted that “all kinds of big players” will get involved in the marijuana industry following the end of federal prohibition.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and punish states with discriminatory enforcement got three new cosponsors, for a total of 43.

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

/ STATES

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) signed a bill allowing physician assistants to recommend medical cannabis.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) plans to sign a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) intends to sign a bill setting marijuana regulations soon.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) spoke about progress implementing marijuana legalization. Separately, regulators launched a public education campaign urging people to buy marijuana only from licensed businesses. Meanwhile, lawmakers are amending legislation to reduce an extension of the period during which cannabis businesses can operate on provisional permits through 2022 instead of 2025.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor estimated that 65%-70% of the state’s residents support legalizing marijuana after he conducted a statewide listening tour on the issue.

New York lawmakers sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) a bill regulating hemp and CBD. The governor rejected a request from lawmakers to make a procedural move allowing a medical cannabis expansion bill to pass before the end of the session, and he criticized the legislature for failing to include legalization in the budget earlier in the session.

Virginia’s Senate majority leader spoke about his support for decriminalizing marijuana but declined to back legalization. Separately, regulators published frequently asked questions about access to CBD and THC-A medical cannabis oil.

The Rhode Island House minority leader spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, lawmakers approved budget that adds new medical cannabis dispensaries and makes other changes to the program.

A Missouri judge rejected regulators’ request to dismiss a newspaper’s lawsuit seeking to force the publication of the names of medical cannabis business license applicants.

A Montana judge said that a new law complicates a lawsuit challenging regulators’ decision to deny medical cannabis business licenses.

Nebraska regulators are accepting hemp applications.


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

Brooklyn, New York’s borough president said that marijuana decriminalization is “long overdue” but that he hopes lawmakers go further by  legalizing cannabis.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian legislation to expedite marijuana pardons received royal assent.

An Argentinian judge revoked the authorization for eight mothers to grow medical cannabis for their children and instead ordered the government to import cannabis-based medicines from Canada.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on an animal model of multiple sclerosis found that “cannabinoid treatment produces improvements in neurological disability scoring” and “improves behavioral assessments of neuropathic pain.”

A study concluded that “long-term administration of pharmaceutical grade CBD is overall cognitively well-tolerated in adults with” treatment-resistant epilepsy.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll showed that U.S. adults favor legalizing marijuana, 63%-34%, that they back medical cannabis 87%-11%, that 26% are interested in purchasing marijuana and that 39% are interested in buying CBD products.

A poll found that 84% of Duval County, Florida voters support decriminalizing marijuana.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board said marijuana should be legal but advertising should be restricted.

/ BUSINESS

Constellation Brands Inc. disclosed that its share of Canopy Growth Corp. quarterly losses amounted to $106 million.

/ CULTURE

Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper took at look at marijuana social equity efforts in California.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Newsletter

House votes to block DOJ enforcement in legal cannabis states (Newsletter: June 21, 2019)

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CBD & DEA amendments approved in House; Veterans & medical marijuana hearing; POTUS candidate pledges drug war commutations

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives voted to pass a measure blocking the Department of Justice from interfering in state and territory marijuana laws—including those legalizing adult use.

The House of Representatives also approved an amendment from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) stripping $5 million from the Drug Enforcement Administration and redirecting it to opioid treatment as well as a separate measure directing the Food and Drug Administration to formulate CBD regulations.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing on four bills concerning medical cannabis and military veterans.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, unveiled a plan to grant clemency to 17,000 drug war prisoners if he’s elected president and is pledging to take action on the issue on the very first day of his administration.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, sent a letter pressing federal financial regulators to issue guidance on banking access for hemp businesses.

/ FEDERAL

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted about discussing marijuana while performing chest surgery.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia issued an alert about marijuana-infused candy and kids.

Sen. Kirsten Gilliband (D-NY), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We can’t settle for half-steps on marijuana legalization. If we don’t expunge marijuana records and specifically support the communities who’ve been most hurt by the war on drugs, it’s not true justice.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, tweeted a video of himself speaking about criminal justice reform, noting, “Our criminal justice system is historically unfair. One thing we can do to address it is legalize marijuana and make sure those with minor marijuana offenses—who are overwhelmingly people of color—have their records cleared.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), a presidential candidate, announced that police will limit arrests of students for low-level offenses such as marijuana possession.

The Senate bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of six.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said he’s waiting to see what his lieutenant governor’s report on marijuana legalization, informed by a statewide listening tour on the issue, says before he announces whether his position has evolved. Separately, regulators approved three companies to conduct medical cannabis research.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner hosted a hemp workshop.

New York lawmakers sent Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) a bill to expand marijuana decriminalization and provide for expungements. The Senate also approved hemp legislation, with Assembly action still pending.

Maine lawmakers sent Gov. Janet Mills (D) a bill setting  marijuana regulations.

New Jersey lawmakers sent Gov. Phil Murphy (D) medical cannabis expansion legislation.

The Delaware Senate voted to approve a bill expanding the decriminalization of marijuana to cover juveniles.

Colorado regulators reported average market rates for marijuana.

Michigan regulators released a marijuana licensing report.

California regulators are conducting a survey to assess interest in a comparable-to-organic cannabis certification program.

Nebraska activists said they’ve already collected nearly 10,000 signatures toward placing a medical cannabis measure on the state’s 2020 ballot.

A Nevada regulator testified during a hearing in a  lawsuit that meals he shared with marijuana business representatives did not affect licensing decisions.

Alaska regulators will discuss marijuana licensing and rules at a meeting scheduled for July 10-12. They are also weighing changes to violation fines.


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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


UK Prime Minister Theresa May fielded a question about medical cannabis access.

Italian regulators posted an application for companies that want to import medical cannabis.

Mexican senators discussed marijuana policy during a hearing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “evidence for the efficacy of cannabis medicine (given as an adjunct to other medication) was found in patients with chronic pain and spasticity due to multiple sclerosis” and that “benefits were also found for appetite stimulation, improvement of nausea, and weight gain in patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS or in palliative care, while that “adverse effects of cannabis medicine are often reported; severe adverse effects were mentioned in single cases only.”

An analysis of wastewater found “a significant increase in consumption in Washington, USA following legalization, and that legal sales appear to have displaced a large portion of the illicit market.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Florida voters support legalizing marijuana, 65%-30% and back legal cannabis sales in their own communities, 61%-34%.

The Detroit News editorial board is calling on Michigan regulators to expand access to medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Google is running a trial program to allow CBD ads.

Canopy Growth Corporation reported annual net revenue growth of 191% to $226.3 million.

S&P Global Ratings published an analysis projecting “slow but substantial growth of legal cannabis over the next decade.”

/ CULTURE

Rapper Ice Cube said it is “cool to be on the right side of history” in supporting marijuana legalization before it was popular.

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