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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.)

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Texas cannabis bills advance to House floor (Newsletter: April 19, 2019)

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Congressional bill would allow marijuana in public housing; FDA receives hundreds of CBD comments; Boehner could cash in big with Acreage/Canopy deal

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) filed a bill that would allow people to use marijuana in public housing.

More than 400 people have already submitted CBD regulation comments to the Food and Drug Administration ahead of an upcoming public hearing on the topic.

Three major Texas cannabis reform bills—to decriminalize marijuana, legalize hemp and expand medical cannabis—have cleared committees and are on their way to the House floor.

/ FEDERAL

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reportedly stands to make nearly $20 million from a deal involving the marijuana firm he is a board member for.

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted, “When will Congress catch up with the American people on #cannabis? Representatives like @RepDaveJoyce and @mattgaetz are leading the way.”

/ STATES

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) said that a marijuana sales legalization bill would need to allow roadside saliva testing in order to win his support.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is not on board with a proposal to send most of the revenue from legal marijuana to municipalities.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and regulators announced the launch of a hemp pilot program. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved legislation to block unlicensed marijuana businesses that remain open after June 1 from becoming licensed for a year.

The Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill to defelonize drug possession.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved bills concerning medical cannabis disposal and businesses in foreclosure or bankruptcy.

The Florida House of Representatives approved legislation to expand syringe exchange programs around the state. Separately, the House State Affairs Committee advanced a hemp bill.

Wisconsin representatives filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Oregon regulators approved six marijuana violation settlement agreements and indicated they would consider stiffening penalties in the future.

Arkansas medical cannabis sales are expected to begin on May 12.

Washington State regulators certified a lab to test for heavy metals in marijuana. Separately, here’s a look at where cannabis bills stand in the legislature.

Guam’s marijuana regulatory board has been formed and will meet soon.

Montana activists are working to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the state’s 2020 ballot.


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.


/ SCIENCE & HEALTH


A study found that “life satisfaction at age 21 was not associated with cannabis cessation,” suggesting that “the predictive value of life satisfaction in cannabis use is questionable and may be accounted for by other behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol use.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Americans found that 53% support legalizing marijuana and 76% back medical cannabis.

A poll found that Louisiana residents support legalizing marijuana, 55%-42%.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. plans to acquire Acreage Holdings Inc. in a $3.4 billion deal that will be triggered when cannabis is federally legalized in the U.S.

Eaze is donating $4.20 for every delivery on April 20, up to $100,000, to Code for America’s efforts to expunge drug convictions.

Lyft is offering $4.20 rides in Massachusetts on 4/20.

New England Treatment Access is being sued for alleged trademark infringement in its logo by Boise Cascade Company.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Kodak Black was arrested for possessing marijuana and a firearm at the U.S.-Canada border.

The office of Denver’s CBS affiliate received a  mistaken delivery of a large box of marijuana products.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Alabama lawmakers approve cannabis decrim in committee (Newsletter: April 18, 2019)

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McConnell touts hemp legalization in campaign ad; Study: CBD helps epileptic dogs; Georgia medical marijuana expansion signed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) reelection campaign launch ad prominently touts his leadership on hemp legalization.

A study on treating epileptic dogs with CBD found that “seizure frequency improved considerably and owners reported a positive impression.”

/ FEDERAL

A Farm Services Agency official is being sued in federal court for allegedly threatening Oklahoma farmers who express interest in growing hemp.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The effort to legalize marijuana –and I can’t emphasize this enough– MUST include criminal justice measures like expunging records & investing in communities hurt by the failed war on drugs. I will not support legalization efforts that don’t address this.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The failed War On Drugs disproportionately affects communities of color – we have to take real steps to right the wrongs of history.”

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill allowing in-state cultivation and sales of low-THC medical cannabis products.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a spending bill containing start-up funding for the state’s medical cannabis program. Separately, the House of Representatives defeated a marijuana decriminalization amendment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed off on a settlement deal to approve eight new medical cannabis nurseries so that a lawsuit challenging how the state’s determines awards such licenses will be dropped.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “3 YEARS AGO TODAY: I signed the law that legalized medical marijuana in PA. Now, more than 100,000 Pennsylvanians with serious illnesses have a medical marijuana patient certification and can access life-changing medication.” Separately, regulators revoked the medical license of a prolific medical marijuana doctor.

Alaska lawmakers rejected Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) nomination of a cannabis opponent to serve on the state Marijuana Control Board.

The Arizona House of Representatives defeated a bill to require the release of more information about medical cannabis businesses.

The Texas House Public Health Committee amended and approved a bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

Nevada regulators shuttered marijuana dispensaries over a failure to pay taxes.

The Massachusetts Securities Division charged an investment adviser with allegedly soliciting funds for medical cannabis projects that were never licensed.

Louisiana regulators are working to test medical cannabis in time for a planned May rollout of legal sales to patients.

Here’s a look at why New Mexico’s marijuana legalization bill died this session and the future prospects of legislation to end prohibition.


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

The Daytona Beach, Florida City Commission voted to approve a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Los Angeles, California city attorney sued an unlicensed marijuana dispensary for allegedly selling product tainted with an unapproved pesticide.

Jefferson County, Alabama’s district attorney is working with other officials on a plan to end low-level marijuana arrests.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ghana’s Mental Health Authority is raising concerns about the possible legalization of marijuana.

A Malaysian medical cannabis advocate who faced the death penalty for trafficking was instead sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 strokes of the cane.

Vice looks at the prospects for marijuana reform in countries around the world.

/ ADVOCACY

The Kansas Democratic Party tweeted about Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signing a hemp bill.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Commentator Geraldo Rivera tweeted, “Agree with @BetoORourke His Big Ideas and gymnastic speaking style aside, he is right about ending marijuana prohibition, halting all arrest for pot now, and purging criminal records that are small scale pot related. This appeals to right and left, stop #ReeferMadness”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. is reportedly nearing a deal to buy Acreage Holdings Inc.

The Vitamin Shoppe began selling CBD products.

Carl’s Jr. is testing a CBD burger.

Bank of America began covering marijuana stocks.

/ CULTURE

Musician Jimmy Buffett’s marijuana product brand is launching on Friday.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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State officials press Congress to pass cannabis banking bill (Newsletter: April 17, 2019)

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Denver begins voting on psilocybin measure; Dems discuss how, not whether, to legalize marijuana; Colorado US attorney supports Cole memo rescission

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressional Democrats held a panel focused specifically on how—not whether—to legalize marijuana at their retreat last week.

The top financial officials from 25 states and U.S. territories sent a letter urging Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The nation’s first vote to decriminalize psilocybin is happening right now, as mail ballots containing the mushroom measure were sent to Denver, Colorado voters this week.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for Colorado said he agrees with the rescission of the Cole Memo and has concerns about marijuana concentrates.

Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders coauthored an op-ed on modern-day “Reefer Madness.”

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a presidential candidate, implied that he consumed high-quality marijuana in the 1970s.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Let us not just end the prohibition of marijuana and expunge the records of those arrested solely for possession but let us also end cash bail, prisons for profit, mandatory minimums, and the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, said he is working with the sponsors of the STATES Act to try to add criminal justice reform components to the bill.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “In my view, it is long past time that we in the United States end the federal prohibition on marijuana. Now is the time to decriminalize marijuana and expunge criminal records associated with the drug.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We must not only legalize and regulate marijuana, but we need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions who have been arrested or incarcerated.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “Nevada’s cannabis businesses are operating as cash-only because of federal laws blocking access to financial services. I’m supporting the #SAFEBankingAct to give marijuana businesses access to the banking services they need to continue to grow.”

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) spoke in support of marijuana banking access in a speech before the Nevada legislature.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) tweeted a photo of herself meeting with marijuana business owners who “are worried that the feds could step-in at any moment and shut them down. Marijuana is now a multi-billion-dollar industry in our state. We shouldn’t have to worry about suddenly losing a key part of our economy.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Despite dozens of states legalizing some form of cannabis, thousands of people continue to be criminalized for possession. It’s critical we do more than just legalize – we need to address the legacy of the failed War on Drugs too.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and punish states with discriminatory enforcement got two new cosponsors, for a total of 36.

The House bill to prevent federal agencies from spending money to interfere with state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of nine.

The House bill to federally legalize medical cannabis for military veterans got one new cosponsor, for a total of one.

The House resolution calling on states to provide for equity in the marijuana industry got one new cosponsor, for a total of six.

/ STATES

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a bill to streamline the process for applications for lower-level medical cannabis and hemp business owners.

The office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has drafted a list of eight nurseries that would be allowed to cultivate medical cannabis under a tentative settlement of a lawsuit challenging how the state awards such licenses.

The Washington State House of Representatives approved a bill to vacate past marijuana convictions.

Montana’s House of Representatives approved legislation to change medical cannabis testing requirements.

The Oregon Senate defeated a bill to limit marijuana cultivation to reflect supply and demand.

The Colorado House Appropriations Committee approved a bill to defelonize drug possession. Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation is launching a survey to inform future ad campaigns discouraging marijuana-impaired driving.

North Carolina representatives filed a marijuana decriminalization bill.

A Wisconsin representative plans to introduce a marijuana legalization bill on Thursday.


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

Here’s a look at the road to the ballot for Denver, Colorado’s psilocybin measure.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Philippine Supreme Court reiterated its request for documents related to the government’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin tweeted, “83% of Wisconsinites support legalizing medical marijuana — Governor Evers has proposed doing just that.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “odds of reporting a greater number of adverse health outcomes were 1.83 times higher for children of families with indoor cannabis smoking vs families without cannabis smoking, after controlling for exposure to cigarette smoke and other covariates” but that “our results do not indicate a statistically significant association.”

A study of police officers’ exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke at open-air stadium events found “measurable amounts of THC in personal and area air samples” and that “small amounts of THC-COOH, a chemical marker of THC exposure, were detected in urine samples, but not in blood samples,” but that “the amount found in the urine would not be considered positive in a routine drug screening test.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that when given options, 42% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, 42% back medical cannabis, 3% want it illegal with distributors prosecuted and 13% want consumers and sellers prosecuted.

A poll found that 46% of U.S. adults would consider investing in the marijuana industry.

/ BUSINESS

Urban Outfitters will begin selling CBD products.

Citigroup is considering ending its practice of testing job applicants for marijuana.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Ned L. Siegel joined the board of Maridose LLC.

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