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NM legal cannabis bill advances in Senate (Newsletter: March 11, 2019)



Video: Cops search cancer patient for marijuana in hospital; Senators compare Manafort sentence to marijuana punishments; Congressman talks cannabis with ‘Captain America’

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Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Angus King (I-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)—along with pretty much everyone on Twitter—are outraged that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been sentenced to serve less time in prison than other people get locked up for marijuana.

The New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee approved a marijuana legalization bill that the full House of Representatives passed last week.

Marijuana opponents often suggest removing possession penalties as an alternative to legal sales—which they believe will create “Big Marijuana” and drive use spikes. But a new study finds allowing possession might increase cannabis use, whereas regulating sales does not.

Police officers were filmed rifling through a cancer patient’s bags in a hospital room in a futile attempt to find marijuana so they could cite him—an event that happened in Missouri, where voters last year legalized medical cannabis.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) talked cannabis with Captain America actor Chris Evans.


Customs and Border Protection is being sued for access to records about border policies related to marijuana.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “More than 2.5 million teens vape marijuana everyday. My office intends to be extremely vigorous enforcing laws to protect our kids & frustrate illegal teen vaping & marijuana use. Marijuana of today is powerfully potent, dangerous drug.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Countless Americans have felt the devastating ramifications of the War on Drugs — millions still remain incarcerated to this day. This is a matter of public health, drug addiction, and economic security. I’ll say it again as I did in 2008: it was a complete failure.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “It’s not enough to legalize marijuana—we must also reinvest in areas that have been most harmed by the failed drug war which have been disproportionately communities of color and low-income.” He also tweeted, “Many states that have already legalized marijuana haven’t done the necessary step of expunging records of past marijuana use and possession. Any federal legalization should also include expungement provisions.” And he talked about criminal justice reform in a Late Show appearance and an op-ed he authored.

Former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), a presidential candidate, said, “I’m in favor of that, which would basically get marijuana out of the shadows, and get it into a market where it could be regulated, where we can make sure it’s labeled and distributed appropriately, where we can tax it.”

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about white privilege in the context of being caught with marijuana while at Harvard.

Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro, a presidential candidate, said he supports legalizing marijuana.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a presidential candidate, is defending his renomination of a member of the state’s marijuana regulatory body in the face of criticism that he has contributed to a “toxic culture” in cannabis enforcement.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “60% of voters support marijuana legalization—great to see Florida coming around! We just introduced a bill to end federal #marijuana prohibition because American citizens should not be made into criminals for choosing to smoke marijuana.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), who is exploring a potential presidential run, discussed marijuana legalization during a visit to New Hampshire.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) spoke at a press conference about racial justice and marijuana reform.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) authored an op-ed on why she introduced the Marijuana Justice Act.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CA) thanked the American Bankers Association for supporting his bill to allow marijuana businesses to access financial services, tweeting, “Our legislation is tailored to specifically address the cannabis banking issue & reduce the public safety risk associated with cash-only businesses.”

Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA) tweeted, “For 6 yrs, @RepPerlmutter and I have been working to let marijuana businesses access banking services. This week, we reintroduced our bill, the SAFE Banking Act, w/ 108 cosponsors. Let’s strengthen public safety by letting these businesses open bank accounts. Let’s pass this bill.”

Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) tweeted, “We need to legalize Marijuana nationwide. Whether you are are a criminal or not shouldn’t be based on your zip code, color or income.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “There are too many Americans from communities of color and low-income neighborhoods who have had their futures destroyed for using cannabis. Not only would the #MarijuanaJusticeAct end federal prohibition, but it would also expunge prior offenses for use.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got two new cosponsors, for a total of 21.

The House comprehensive medical cannabis bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of five.

The House bill to require the federal government to study the impact of state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 24.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got five new cosponsors, for a total of 47.


New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said “we are close but we are not there yet” on a marijuana legalization deal.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tweeted, “✅ HB 581, the Hemp Manufacturing Act, UNANIMOUSLY approved by the Senate! This first of its kind legislation creates an important framework to encourage hemp business in New Mexico and partner with Native nations, tribes and pueblos in this promising industry.”  She also tweeted, “Expanding commercial and industrial hemp will generate millions of dollars for the economy, grow New Mexico’s sustainable agriculture industry, and create jobs across the state.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) spoke about regulatory disputes that are delaying medical cannabis implementation. Meanwhile, the agriculture and forestry commissioner is pushing back against claims that regulators are improperly accusing a medical cannabis operation of violations.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he opposes decriminalizing marijuana.

The West Virginia legislature sent medical cannabis and hemp bills to the desk of Gov. Jim Justice (R).

New York’s Assembly speaker said that marijuana legalization language will be part of at least one chamber’s budget legislation. A news outlet reported that it would be included in the Senate’s proposal.

Wisconsin’s Assembly speaker said he supports medical cannabis but it shouldn’t be in the state budget.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the state’s ban on medical cannabis. Meanwhile, the state agriculture commissioner tweeted about a new hemp historical marker.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill to allow medical cannabis home cultivation.

The Arizona Senate approved a medical cannabis testing bill.

The Minnesota House Government Operations Committee held a hearing on a bill to create a task force to develop a comprehensive plan with recommendations on marijuana legalization.

Idaho activists are seeking to qualify a medical cannabis and hemp measure for the 2020 ballot.

Ohio regulators are proposing several medical cannabis rules changes. They also approved the state’s first medical marijuana processor certificate of operation.

Here’s a look at where South Carolina medical cannabis legislation stands.

Several Iowa marijuana reform bills are still alive.

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.


The Los Angeles, California City Council voted to shut off power and water for unlicensed marijuana businesses.


The International Criminal Court appears to be preparing to launch an investigation into the bloody Philippine “drug war.” Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte said he doesn’t support legalizing medical cannabis.

Thailand is set to begin testing medical cannabis oil on patients. And regulators are preparing to propose medical marijuana advertising rules.


The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee tweeted about a Texas representative’s marijuana decriminalization bill.

The Credit Union National Association endorsed congressional marijuana banking legislation.

The Texas Police Chiefs Association is speaking out against pending marijuana law reform bills.


A study suggested that CBD and CBN “have anti-cancer properties.”

Researchers will soon begin recruiting participants for a study on whether resistance exercise is an effective intervention for cannabis use disorders.


A poll of likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers found that 44% prefer a presidential candidate who fully supports legalizing marijuana nationwide, 33% want one who supports steps toward it and 16% would like a candidate who does not support doing so.


Altria Group, Inc. announced the completion of its approximately $1.8 billion investment in Cronos Group Inc., making it the largest shareholder in the cannabis company.

Levi’s is making hemp jeans.

Journalist Jim Higdon is stepping away from marijuana journalism to start his own CBD company, Cornbread Hemp.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the market for cannabis-infused beverages.


Actress and businesswoman Gwyneth Paltrow said that an understanding of “how psychedelics affect health and mental health and addiction will come more into the mainstream” might be the next big things.

ESPN takes a look at how professional sports leagues treat marijuana.

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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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