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NJ legalization hearing scheduled (Newsletter: Feb. 9, 2018)

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Bernie Sanders marijuana petition; Another (brief) gov’t shutdown; MA gov wants slowdown on cannabis cafes

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The government briefly shut down overnight as appropriations legislation — and the medical marijuana rider — expired. But the House and Senate approved legislation early Friday morning temporarily extending federal funding levels — and policy riders like state medical cannabis protections — through March 23 while full Fiscal Year 2018 spending legislation is negotiated.

A New Jersey Assembly committee scheduled the first marijuana legalization hearing of the year for next month. In a related development, some lawmakers and local officials are currently on a cannabis fact-finding tour in Nevada.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration denied an Information Quality Act petition from Americans for Safe Access, but removed the targeted anti-marijuana documents from its website anyway.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) launched a petition on marijuana and ending the “war on drugs,” and sent a lengthy pro-legalization email to his supporters.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is seizing an increasing number of packages containing marijuana originating from Colorado.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) claimed on the Senate floor that drug dealers are lacing marijuana with fentanyl.

The U.S. House bill to increase military veterans’ access to medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of 20.

/ STATES

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) said regulators should focus on getting marijuana retail sales implemented by July and wait until later to work on rules for cannabis social use areas and other plans.

Washington State regulators said that their marijuana track-and-trace system was hacked. They also finalized rules on cannabis advertising and proposed rules on packaging and labeling and retail license forfeiture.

Nebraska lawmakers held a hearing on a bill to refer a medical cannabis question to voters this November.

A new report examines Rhode Island police departments’ enforcement of marijuana laws following decriminalization.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is teaming up with the cannabis industry on an effort to reduce marijuana-impaired driving.

Here’s a look at where Illinois lawmakers and legislative candidates stand on legalizing marijuana.

The Lansing State Journal takes a look back to when a court ruling effectively made marijuana legal in Michigan for about three weeks in 1972.

/ LOCAL

Seattle, Washington Mayor Jenny Durkan (D), a former U.S. attorney, announced that the city is moving to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Denver, Colorado activists are working to place a measure allowing psilocybin mushrooms on the city ballot.

The Columbia, Missouri City Council unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing statewide medical cannabis legalization.

/ ADVOCACY

The New York Times looks at potential conflicts of interest within anti-addiction groups that take money from the pharmaceutical industry.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “chronic cannabis users exhibited exaggerated, immediate attentional bias and exaggerated, extended attentional bias compared to non-users” and “the intensity of cannabis-use (grams per week) correlated with more errors at the extended attentional bias durations.”

/ BUSINESS

Canadian stock regulators published revised disclosure expectations for issuers with U.S. marijuana-related activities.

Alliance One International, a global contractor, processor and supplier of tobacco, is entering the U.S. hemp industry and taking controlling stakes in two Canadian cannabis companies.

Aspen, Colorado marijuana retailers outsold liquor stores for the first time in 2017.

Adweek looks at marijuana businesses’ continued social media blackout issues.

/ CULTURE     

Fact-checking site Snopes shot down an Internet parody video claiming that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sang pro-marijuana songs in a rock band in college.

Travel writer and TV host Rick Steves is lobbying Vermont lawmakers to tax and regulate marijuana sales.

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VA opening up to cannabis? (Newsletter: Feb. 20, 2018)

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NBA players push league for marijuana changes; AL decrim hearings; Bill Nye talks legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A little-noticed update to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs webpage admits that it “can look at marijuana as an option for treating Veterans.” And new documents reveal that Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin discussed medical cannabis as part of an overseas trip.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump tapped a Pennsylvania state representative who vigorously opposed medical cannabis to serve as a regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Pennsylvania congressional candidates Conor Lamb and Rick Saccone debated about medical cannabis.

/ STATES

A Virginia  bill allowing doctors to recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition is on its way to Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) desk.

The Alaska House of Representatives approved an industrial hemp bill.

An Indiana court ruled that admitting to past possession of marijuana — even in a state where doing so is legal — is sufficient justification for police to deploy a drug-sniffing dog.

A report concluded that fewer than one percent of California’s marijuana growers have been licensed by the state.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

Alabama’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees will hear marijuana decriminalization bills on Wednesday.

Maine lawmakers are considering reducing the number of marijuana plants people can grow at home.

Colorado regulators released a bulletin about upcoming changes to marijuana packaging and labeling requirements.

A Tennessee judge is allowing stores that were shuttered by police for selling CBD products to reopen.

Tuesday is Arkansas regulators’ deadline for reviewing and scoring medical cannabis cultivation license applications. Winners will be announced next week.

Oklahoma senators debated medical cannabis in a TV appearance.

Here’s a look at competing Missouri medical cannabis ballot measures that may qualify for the ballot this year.

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet said marijuana doesn’t bother her. (About 18:00 into the audio.)

/ LOCAL

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is holding public hearings on medical cannabis this and next week.

Activists behind Detroit, Michigan medical cannabis ballot initiatives that were overturned by a judge are considering whether to appeal the ruling.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment debated medical cannabis.

The New Zealand House of Representatives will debate a bill to increase drug penalties this week.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “the oral fluid test is a highly valid method for detecting the presence of THC in the blood but cannot be used to accurately measure the blood THC concentration.”

UC San Diego Health hasn’t seen a rise in marijuana-related hospitalizations since legalization went into effect in California.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Herald editorial board is criticizing legalization advocates’ reaction to officials’ suggestion that rules for marijuana delivery services and social use areas be slowed down.

/ CULTURE     

The National Basketball Players Association is pushing the NBA to allow medical cannabis use.

Scientist Bill Nye spoke with Rolling Stone about his support for legalizing marijuana.

MMA fighter Nate Diaz was shown lighting a joint on a UFC TV broadcast.

Comedian Seth Rogen posted a video of himself using a high-tech gravity bong.

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Kennedy doesn’t want cannabis crackdown, despite voting record (Newsletter: Feb. 19, 2018)

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Arpaio “kind of” backs medical cannabis; Israel decrim advances; CA warning letters go out

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) acknowledged that his anti-marijuana views are out of step with his constituents and said he’s “not proposing a crackdown,” even as he has repeatedly voted to allow federal agents to interfere with state laws.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Army Sec. Mark Esper spoke about enlistment waivers for recruits who have used marijuana.

Republican Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff, voiced support for medical cannabis.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that a key part of anti-drug strategy should be to tell “young people and adults don’t get started” using drugs.

Former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan is considering running for Congress in New York, and his tentative campaign site says he supports decriminalizing drugs.

/ STATES

Colorado gubernatorial candidates spoke about marijuana legalization implementation.

California regulators sent hundreds of warning letters to unlicensed marijuana businesses.

The co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy is not happy about proposed rules that would allow cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Utah’s House speaker spoke about efforts to enact medical cannabis legislation despite federal prohibition.

Here’s a look at where individual New Jersey lawmakers stand on legalizing marijuana.

Ohio regulators are offering to pause medical cannabis business licensing in light of a “critical flaw'” discovered in a recent audit.

Montana regulators released final medical cannabis rules.

A Missouri representative introduced bills to decriminalize marijuana and remove cannabis’s classification as a controlled substance.

A New York assemblymembers filed a bill to add autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition. Separately, the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Conference held a panel discussion on marijuana legalization.

Colorado arrests for illegal marijuana manufacturing are reportedly on the rise.

The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners will hear testimony about adding PTSD and chronic pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions on Monday.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will hold a public meeting on Tuesday.

The Seattle Times look at issues related to possible diversion of marijuana from Washington State.

/ LOCAL

A judge struck down a Detroit, Michigan voter initiative that allowed medical cannabis businesses to operate in more locations.

Nearly four percent of Denver, Colorado’s electricity use is devoted to growing marijuana, new data shows.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Alberta, Canada’s provincial government released marijuana regulations.

UK regulators denied a medical cannabis license for a six-year-old boy with severe epilepsy.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana in an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show.

/ ADVOCACY

The president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys claimed that “nobody’s going to jail” for marijuana possession.

The executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law appeared to blame the Department of Justice’s focus on drug law enforcement for the FBI not preventing the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The Conservative Political Action Conference this month will feature a debate about marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that policies allowing homegrown marijuana lead to “lower health and social risks.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district support legalizing marijuana, 46%-43%.

/ BUSINESS

The Girls Scouts of Colorado moved to treat marijuana dispensaries like any other business, allowing girls to sell cookies outside them.

The National Conference of Weights and Measures formed a Cannabis Task Group to develop uniform weights and measures standards for the industry.

New Hampshire medical cannabis sales are increasing.

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Cannabis banking access at “top of the list” for Treasury Dept. (Newsletter: Feb. 16, 2018)

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Canadian legalization delayed; Gardner lifts some DOJ holds; Amendment shields immigrants from deportation for cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said that fixing marijuana businesses’ access to banks is at the “top of the list” of his department’s concerns.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is lifting holds he placed on some Department of Justice nominees over a marijuana policy dispute after U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein showed “good faith” and “willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought,” according to the senator.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced, but did not force a vote on, a far-reaching marijuana reform proposal as an amendment to broad criminal justice reform legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) filed an amendment to protect immigrants from being deported or denied visas for marijuana activity that complies with state laws.

Congressional appropriations leaders are currently negotiating whether language allowing military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors will be included in Fiscal Year 2018 legislation.

Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and two cosponsors filed legislation to codify the provisions of the now-rescinded Cole Memo into law.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver office is pushing Colorado regulators to release updated data about marijuana legalization.

The U.S. Secret Service settled a lawsuit concerning access to visitor logs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and other agencies.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) cited marijuana law reform as an issue on which he is working to find “common ground” with Republicans.

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) supports adding PTSD and chronic pain as CBD medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) indicated he won’t necessarily sign pending legislation directing the state to grow medical cannabis for certain patients.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) told regulators to slow down with proposed far-reaching marijuana rules. And nearly 80 lawmakers also want to delay allowing cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (D) held a debate about marijuana legalization with Republican congressional candidate Joe Peters.

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich (D), a former congressman, said that if elected he would review cases of all people convicted of low-level non-violent drug crimes to consider commutations.

The New Mexico Senate approved resolutions requesting that regulators add opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition and urging Congress to expand medical cannabis protections to cover people who live on tribal lands. Lawmakers also passed legislation creating a study commission to examine allowing safe injection sites for illegal drug consumers.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee voted to consider marijuana legalization legislation.

The Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee amended a previously approved bill to let doctors recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition so that it will take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

The Oregon Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill easing hemp cultivation.

New Jersey senators filed a marijuana decriminalization bill in a move that is seen as an attempt to undercut the push for full legalization. Separately, an assemblywoman introduced legislation to remove limits on the amount of medical cannabis allowed to be dispensed at one time and expand access to edible forms.

The Arizona House Health Committee voted 6-3 to approve legislation making it a felony for doctors to violate medical cannabis regulations.

A California senator filed a bill to allow special needs students to use medical cannabis at school.

Ohio regulators said a human error led to a proposed medical cannabis cultivation business being inadvertently left off a list of successful applicants.

Maryland regulators settled a lawsuit with companies that failed to win medical cannabis business licenses.

Michigan regulators released the design of an official symbol that will need to appear on packaging for all medical cannabis products.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider proposed rules on marijuana packaging and labeling.

Here’s a look at the prospects for medical cannabis in Missouri.

/ LOCAL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney is directing prosecutors to drop marijuana possession cases that are still charged as misdemeanors. And along with the mayor, he co-authored an op-ed calling the war on drugs “a big mistake.”

A lawyer for Denver, Colorado recommended that regulators approve the city’s first marijuana social use area.

Dekalb County, Georgia commissioners approved a resolution asking state lawmakers to allow counties to decriminalize marijuana.

A proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Easton, Pennsylvania appears to not have enough support to pass.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Canadian government move to escalate Senate consideration of pending marijuana legalization legislation has failed. A final vote is expected on or before June 7, which would not leave enough time for the government to implement the law by its original July target.

/ ADVOCACY

Prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana released a report claiming that the costs of legalizing marijuana in Connecticut would outweigh tax revenues.

/ BUSINESS

Pennsylvania medical cannabis sales began.

Canadian Securities Administrators  published guidance outlining disclosure expectations for issuers with U.S.-based marijuana interests.

BioTrackTHC was chosen to run North Dakota’s medical cannabis seed-to-sale tracking system.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian David Spade smoked marijuana at Ellen Degeneres’s birthday party.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley said he doesn’t understand “the fascination” with marijuana, but doesn’t judge other people for using it.

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