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NJ lawmakers approve legal cannabis bill (Newsletter: March 19, 2019)



Trump budget loosens DC marijuana restrictions; Booker disses Harris’s cannabis jokes; Decrim psychedelics in Oakland; Penn. legal marijuana bill

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New Jersey Senate and Assembly committees  voted to approve amended marijuana legalization legislation as well as bills on expungement and medical cannabis expansion. Floor votes could come next week.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request would restore a loophole that Washington, D.C. could use to spend local tax money on legalizing and regulating marijuana sales. It does not contain a rider protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference, however.

During a campaign speech in Iowa, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, appeared to criticize the way rival contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-C) has treated the marijuana issue as a laughing matter. He repeated a similar message in a separate MSNBC interview.

  • “Then we have presidential candidates, senators, bragging about their pot use while there are kids who can’t get a job because they have a nonviolent offense for doing things that two of the last three presidents did.”

Activists in Oakland, California are planning an initiative to decriminalize psychedelic “mushrooms, cacti, iboga containing plants and/or extracted combinations of plants similar to ayahuasca.”

Pennsylvania senators released details of a soon-to-be-filed  marijuana legalization bill. It includes provisions for home cultivation, delivery services, social use areas, industry equity and more.


Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll argued that a Mexican border wall would interrupt the flow of drugs into the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a recording of last week’s hemp regulations webinar.

Former Drug Czar and Secretary of Education Bill Bennett spoke about his continued opposition to marijuana reform.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a presidential candidate, said during a New Hampshire campaign stop that she supports decriminalizing marijuana and making it retroactive, as well as getting rid of the prison-industrial complex. In a separate appearance in Michigan she spoke about cannabis reform as a racial justice issue.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “It’s not enough to simply decriminalize marijuana—we must repair the damage done to those communities that have been most harmed by the failed War on Drugs, and we must expunge the records of those who have served their time.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) mentioned the fact that people can be barred from enlisting in the military over marijuana offenses in a speech about national security.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill letting patients smoke medical cannabis and filed a court motion to dismiss and vacate cases that held the state’s prior ban unconstitutional.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who recently vetoed a hemp legalization bill, said she’s open to reconsidering the issue after the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases regulations on the crop.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) included “Expanding hemp manufacturing” in a list of achievements from this legislative session.

The Idaho House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize industrial hemp.

New York’s lieutenant governor said that the administration and lawmakers are not giving up on trying to include marijuana legalization in the budget.

Washington, D.C.’s attorney general is urging Congress to allow marijuana businesses to access banks.

Illinois’s treasurer spoke in support of state marijuana banking legislation.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner announced that the state’s hemp processors had $57.75 million in gross product sales in 2018, compared with $16.7 million in 2017.

Rhode Island’s State Police colonel said that the state is already dealing with marijuana-related issues due to legalization in neighboring states and that the governor assured him his forces would have additional resources if the state ends prohibition. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees will hold a joint hearing on legalization on Tuesday, with the House Finance Committee doing so on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania State Police are being sued by the family of a man who was crushed to death by a bulldozer during an attempted marijuana arrest.

Ohio’s former top medical cannabis regulator is now working for a marijuana company.

Vermont regulators reported that the the number of registered medical cannabis patients has dropped since recreational marijuana legalization went into effect last summer.

California regulators released guidance on cannabis events.

Oregon activists submitted a proposed ballot initiative that would allow marijuana social use areas and provide employment protections for consumers, among other changes. Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering several cannabis bills.

Arizona activists and medical cannabis businesses are working on a proposed 2020 marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Michigan medical cannabis businesses are reportedly preparing to push legislation that would restrict home cultivation and eliminate marijuana gifting, among other changes.

Utah regulators are seeking vendors to build the medical cannabis program’s electronic verification and inventory control systems.

Here’s a look at how West Virginia marijuana legislation fared this session.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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.


Burlington, Vermont’s Electric Department is offering tips on how to efficiently grow marijuana.

Sarasota, Florida City Commission unanimously voted to direct the city attorney to draft a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance.


Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said that the country will decriminalize marijuana.

Here’s a look at how Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s position on marijuana has evolved over time.

Canadian regulators released an updated on marijuana business licensing.


The Kansas Democratic Party tweeted about support for medical cannabis.

The New York State School Boards Association said that marijuana legalization needs to be carefully considered and shouldn’t be done through the budget.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Action Network are calling on New York lawmakers to tie marijuana legalization to economic equity.

Staff from prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana met with anti-drug organizers from Singapore, which has the death penalty for possessing 500 grams of cannabis.


A study in Washington State found that “between 2010 and 2016, marijuana use decreased significantly among working and nonworking 8th and 10th graders” but that “among working 12th graders, marijuana use increased significantly over time relative to nonworking youth.”

Colorado State University is launching a national medical cannabis patient data registry.


A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 53%-43%.


Canadian bank Canaccord Genuity is seeking approval from the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to act as a custodian for U.S. marijuana industry investors.

A representative for Altria cited the legal age of use for marijuana in states that have ended prohibition in testimony supporting Texas legislation to raise the legal age of purchase for tobacco to 21.

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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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