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NM legal cannabis bill likely dead for 2020 (Newsletter: February 14, 2020)

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GOP lawmakers praise marijuana banking delay; Pennsylvania rep unveils new legalization plan; Study: Lasers can tell hemp and marijuana apart

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There are now 1,273 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The New Mexico Senate Judiciary Committee dealt a major procedural defeat to a marijuana legalization bill that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) had considered a priority for 2020.

Twelve Republican House members sent a letter thanking Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) for delaying consideration of a marijuana financial services bill. Meanwhile, more than 1,300 cannabis industry professionals sent a separate letter urging the chairman to hold a vote on the legislation soon.

A Pennsylvania representative revealed provisions of a newly updated marijuana legalization bill in a letter to colleagues.

  • “The failed war on drugs produced countless victims to heavy handed, unreasonable drug laws.”

A new study highlights how lasers can be used to tell hemp and marijuana apart with “100% accuracy.”

  • The device “can be an ideal tool for police officers and hemp breeders to enable highly accurate diagnostics of THCA content in plants.”

/ FEDERAL

The Library of Congress published an overview of a new local Australian marijuana legalization law.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “While investors make millions on marijuana in the states where it’s legal, hundreds of thousands of Americans are arrested and end up with criminal records for use. Bold criminal justice reform must include ending the federal prohibition of cannabis in the United States.”

/ STATES

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) spoke about the importance of justice and equity provisions in marijuana legalization legislation.

Florida’s House speaker said enacting a THC cap for medical cannabis products is a priority.

The New Jersey Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee approved a bill to shield insurance companies from being punished for working with marijuana businesses and consumers.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on a bill to sell legal marijuana in state liquor stores.

The Minnesota House Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division held a hearing on the state’s hemp program.

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on a medical cannabis bill next week.

Two companies with ties to Utah lawmakers applied for medical cannabis cultivation licenses, a public records request shows.

Here’s a look at where pending Massachusetts marijuana reform bills stand in the legislature.

The California Office of Administrative Law approved emergency rules on Quick Response Code requirements for marijuana businesses..

Nevada regulators approved settlements with marijuana companies for not keeping accurate records, including with a testing lab that reported THC results appearing to be inflated by as much as 10 percent.

Georgia’s number of approved medical cannabis patients has grown by more than 70% in a year.

Ohio regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.


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 Los Angeles County, California district attorney is partnering with Code for America to clear up to 66,000 prior marijuana convictions from people’s records.

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council approved a measure to let people apply for pardons for past marijuana or paraphernalia possession convictions without having to pay a fee.

Denver, Colorado officials are accepting applications from people who want to serve on a new Marijuana Licensing Work Group.

/ INTERNATIONAL

South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa said the country will “open up and regulate the commercial use of hemp products” and “formulate policy on the use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes” in his State of the Nation address.

Uruguayan officials released research showing that youth marijuana consumption did not rise following legalization.

The UK’s Food Safety Authority is requiring all CBD product manufacturers to submit valid novel food authorization applications by March 31, 2021 or be taken off the shelves.

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland released a study finding that the majority of CBD products analyzed were in violation of food laws and that some posed potential safety risks for consumers.

The mayor of Amsterdam, in The Netherlands, is circulating survey results showing that foreign tourists would be less likely to visit the city if they couldn’t purchase marijuana at coffee shops.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study identified “interesting implications for the potential use of CBD in treating impairment deficits after chronic exposure to psychostimulant drugs such as METH.”

A study concluded that “few consumers can understand and apply quantitative THC labelling; in contrast, THC labels that provide ‘interpretive’ information, such as descriptors, symbols, or references to servings have greater efficacy.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of New Zealand voters found that 51% plan to vote against a marijuana legalization referendum and 39% will support it.

United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council, Teamsters locals and the California Labor Federation are asking California Democratic lawmakers to leave the California Cannabis Industry Association out of negotiations on marijuana legislation because the group allegedly circulated “a piece of anti-union literature.”

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported a quarterly loss of  $80.2 million.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. appointed a new CEO and plans to file for its license to be reinstated months after it was discovered the company illegally grew marijuana in unlicensed rooms.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. announced that the Department of Justice review period for its planned acquisition of GR Companies, Inc. has expired.

Trading of Celexus, Inc. stock was suspended by the Securities and Exchange Commission as a result of ” a lack of current and accurate information concerning” the business.

/ CULTURE

Musician David Crosby, replying to a tweet about mushrooms, said, “I know a little about the psychedelic ones but I don’t like the food ones at all.”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

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 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

Trump-appointed prosecutor’s cannabis warning (Newsletter: October 20, 2020)

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Top NY gov aide: Legal marijuana in 2021; AOC teams up with GOP on drug reform; USDA OKs more hemp plans; NM voters back legal cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Montana penned a statement warning the state’s voters that legalizing marijuana will increase car crashes, cause addiction and make it harder to take custody of kids away from parents just for using cannabis.

The top cannabis advisor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said marijuana legalization will be included in his budget again in January, with the goal of enacting it into law by April. He also spoke about forthcoming rules to allow CBD-infused foods and drinks.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke about how more Republicans are joining Democrats in working to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs.

  • “We’ve been able to propose solutions on a wide spectrum towards decriminalization, towards legalization, and that is increasingly becoming a position that more Republicans are amenable to… There are some areas where you can find common ground.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved hemp plans from six additional states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota—and three Indian tribes. The total number of hemp proposals to have received federal clearance now stands at 69.

As Arizona appears poised to approve a marijuana legalization ballot measure next month, a new poll shows that voters next door in New Mexico also back legalizing cannabis by a strong margin and that nearly half want to decriminalize drugs as well.

/ FEDERAL

A new page about race and the criminal justice system on the campaign website of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden reiterates, “Our administration will work to end mandatory minimums and private prisons, reform our broken cash bail system, and decriminalize the use of cannabis. And let me be clear: we need to help people with mental health challenges or substance use disorders receive treatment –– not a prison sentence.”

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent a letter warning For Our Vets LLC dba Patriot Supreme to stop claiming its CBD products can prevent and treat coronavirus.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and thirteen other senators briefly cited the economic opportunities created by hemp in a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to modernize rulemaking for biogenic carbon emissions.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) included several pieces of marijuana and psychedelics legislation in a list of congressional bills she is highlighting that seek to interfere in Washington, D.C.’s local affairs.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tweeted, “Industrial hemp production is a huge opportunity for our region’s ag sector. This bill helps give farmers the tools they need to produce this cash crop on a larger scale. Congrats to @GovNedLamont for getting this important effort across the finish line.”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I want to legalize cannabis [and] make it a cash crop for [our] 1st District farmers. We can then tax the sale of cannabis and use that revenue to pay for rebuilding and improving our infrastructure!”

/ STATES

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) tweeted, “Let’s listen to the science and vote no on legalizing marijuana.”

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Salango tweeted, “After years of delay, the state finally selected its medical cannabis growers, but WV based companies were left out in favor of out-of-state firms and a political donor of Jim Justice. Are you tired of the corruption? We can do better.”

Indiana attorney general candidates discussed their views on marijuana.

The New Mexico legislature’s Economic & Rural Development Committee discussed hemp production.

Oregon regulators eased marijuana business license application requirements and streamlined the process for approvals.

Washington State regulators adopted rules on a voluntary marijuana licensee consultation and education program and rescinded a policy on the use of personal funds for business.

Colorado regulators published a marijuana market report.

Nevada regulators issued guidance on marijuana agent card expiration dates.

Some Massachusetts lawmakers are pushing back against proposed marijuana delivery regulations.

Pennsylvania drug courts may face a lawsuit for barring participation by medical cannabis patients.

Oklahoma regulators touted the fact that the state Department of Education has received enough medical cannabis revenue to pay the salaries of 794 teachers.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Tuesday.

Kansas representatives will participate in a chat about the prospects of legalizing medical cannabis in the state on Tuesday.

/ LOCAL

The Henderson, Nevada City Council is considering a proposal to allow marijuana delivery services.

Paterson, New Jersey is set to enact a medical cannabis transfer tax.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The West Midlands, UK Police Department is ending arrests for low-level drug possession.

The Dutch justice minister told concerned lawmakers that no extra policies are needed to prevent people possessing or smoking marijuana in public places during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of research on Huntington disease found “strong evidence for significant improvement in the neurologic symptoms of spasms, tremors, spasticity, chorea, and quality of sleep following treatment with medical marijuana,” ” significant improvement after treatment in tremors and rigidity” and “a significant increase in average number of hours slept.”

A study identified “potentially beneficial effects of Cannabis sativa whole extracts on the initial phase of atherosclerosis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police published an op-ed outlining concerns about marijuana legalization ahead of the state’s vote on a referendum to end prohibition.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative explained its decision to fund Oregon’s drug decriminalization campaign in a press release.

The Sussex County, New Jersey Democratic Committee published an op-ed urging voters to approve the state’s marijuana legalization referendum.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced the repayment of some of its debts.

Harborside Inc. reached an agreement to acquire majority ownership of FGW Haight, Inc., which has a conditional use approval to operate a dispensary in San Francisco, California.

Zenefits touted a cannabis-specific payroll guide, tweeting, “At Zenefits we support SMBs with our mission to “level the playing field” for the smaller guys. #Cannabis companies included.”

/ CULTURE

Seth Rogen spoke about how he has been smoking marijuana all day long during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Newsletter

Missouri & Virginia medical cannabis sales begin (Newsletter: October 19, 2020)

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Biden talks marijuana at town hall; VA gov signs decrim fine prepay bill; MT lawsuit challenges legalization initiative; NJ poll; OR drug decrim ads

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Trump addressed drug and crime policy issues at dueling town halls. Biden spoke about decriminalizing marijuana, clearing past cannabis records and forcing people into treatment instead of jail for drug possession. Meanwhile, Trump attempted to cast himself as the criminal justice reform candidate.

Missouri dispensaries made the state’s first medical marijuana sales—nearly two years after voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for approved patients.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill that allows people to prepay marijuana decriminalization fines instead of having to go to court. Meanwhile, the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened over the weekend. The governor also has more marijuana bills on his desk for action later this month.

Montana marijuana opponents are trying to block the state’s legalization ballot measure because they say it violates the state constitution by appropriating tax revenue to specific programs. Voting is already underway, so it’s unclear what will happen if the challenge succeeds in the state Supreme Court.

A new poll shows New Jersey’s marijuana legalization ballot referendum passing by a nearly three-to-one margin.

The campaign working to pass Oregon’s drug decriminalization ballot measure released a new series of TV and online ads. 

  • “Putting people in jail ruins families, when treatment can help families. Yes on 110 will help.”

/ FEDERAL

Leaders at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Training Academy are being accused of having a pattern of making racist comments towards recruits.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy updated its Freedom of Information Act policies.

Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) criticized President Trump, tweeting that he “expanded civil asset forfeiture/marijuana enforcement.”

Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) and Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis shared their positions on marijuana legalization during a debate.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) tweeted, “Happy Wisconsin Hemp Day! Throughout the early part of the 20th Century, Wisconsin was proudly a national leader in #hemp production. I have championed legalizing industrial hemp for years and am glad that our farmers are once again able to produce this lucrative, useful crop.”

South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana.

West Virginia democratic Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin tweeted, “This isn’t a partisan issue- it’s a greed issue. People from all walks of life want to legalize cannabis, except for those who want to make money off our backs instead of empowering our farmers, small businesses, & working people. We need restorative #cannabis legalization NOW”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I will fight to legalize cannabis, let our District 1 farmers grow it as a cash crop, & tax it to bring money into our system to fix our infrastructure!”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed a proclamation declaring Wisconsin Hemp Day.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “I’m calling on the PA legislature to move toward legalizing adult-use marijuana. Here’s why: 👍 Pennsylvanians support legalization 💵 Revenues would help us recover from #COVID19 🚜 Pennsylvania agriculture would see a boost 💚 Decriminalization of marijuana is long overdue 🌱 Justice would be restored to those impacted by over-criminalization 🛡 Regulations would be implemented to keep people safe ↔️ Pennsylvanians with medical issues could better access relief 💰 Pennsylvania would keep revenue instead of losing it to neighboring states”

Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers spoke about his support for decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing medical cannabis.

Arizona’s secretary of state held two town hall meetings to discuss the state’s ballot measures, including one to legalize marijuana.

Oklahoma regulators adopted emergency rules on medical cannabis reporting and testing. They also announced a recall of products sold by Green Motavation that failed pesticide testing.

Colorado regulators adopted new marijuana waste management rules.

Tennessee regulators extended the state’s hemp pilot program.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole granted parole to a disabled Iraqi War veteran who is serving a five-year prison sentence after being arrested for possessing medical cannabis that is legal in his home state of Arizona.

California regulators are proposing new rules on marijuana business license application requirements.

The Illinois Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.

Michigan regulators will hold a marijuana social equity education and outreach session on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Will County, Illinois Board is advancing a proposal to use marijuana tax revenue as reparations for “Transgenerational Damage Done through Slavery, the Black Codes, the War on Drugs, and Mass Incarceration.”

San Francisco, California regulators made grant funding available to marijuana social equity businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s former defense minister was arrested on drug charges by U.S. officials.

Reelected Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke about her priorities for addressing marijuana policy regardless of the outcome of the nation’s legalization referendum. Meanwhile, the unexpected victory of a Green Party parliamentary candidate could bode well for the referendum, preliminary results of which will be announced later this month.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky included a question about legalizing medical cannabis in an exit poll to be conducted along with local elections this month.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “accommodating assisted injection within [supervised injection services] may be providing opportunities to engage and reduce harms among higher-risk subpopulations” of people who inject drugs.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Policy Center for Public Health and Safety, American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp and ASTM International launched a pilot certification program for the cannabis industry.

The Irish Farmers Association says the country could be a “major player” in the production of medicinal cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

GenGanna Global, now known as OGGUSA Inc., is suing its board chairman for allegedly diverting more than $4 million in cash and benefits to his own company, Southern Tier Hemp.

Schwazze canceled its planned acquisition of Canyon.

/ CULTURE

The NFL Players Association sent a letter warning players that they could be violating collectively bargained rules by entering into partnerships with CBD companies.

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SCOTUS nominee pressed on cannabis (Newsletter: October 16, 2020)

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Polls: AZ legal marijuana leads; CO official touts psychedelic benefits; USDA to survey 18k hemp biz; NZ legal cannabis referendum on Sat.

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  • Ryan McCloskey: “I wanted to contribute something because I’ve been loving your newsletter for so long! You’re such a badass reporter who is doing a groundbreaking public service amid a massive shift in public opinion—and the associated democratic movement(s) to reform our antiquated drug laws.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) pressed Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on marijuana criminalization and racial disparities in the war on drugs during her confirmation hearing.

  • “Because of that felony conviction for doing things that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing, they now can’t vote, they now can’t get jobs, they now can’t get business licenses. This is such a deeply affecting system that is disproportionately harming one class of citizens based upon race.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to survey 18,000 hemp businesses about how they grow and sell the newly legal crop, including questions on issues such as acreage, seeds, fertilizer, marketing, labor costs and storage.

Two new polls show Arizona’s marijuana legalization ballot initiative with a solid lead, and increased support from when the same two firms conducted surveys last month.

New Zealand voters will decide on a first-in-the-world national marijuana legalization referendum on Saturday—but don’t expect results to be announced for a few weeks.

  • “We won’t count referendum votes on election night,” the Electoral Commission says.

The Colorado Springs, Colorado City Council president shared an anecdote about how his sister-in-law benefited from using psilocybin mushrooms following a cancer diagnosis. The comments came as activists presented a proposal to locally decriminalize psychedelics in the military-heavy community.

/ FEDERAL

Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Congressman David Trone (D-MD) announced $50,000 in federal funding to support a feasibility study on the hemp processing industry.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) tweeted, “I am disappointed that SCOTUS decided not to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of federal marijuana prohibition. I joined an amicus brief to this case supporting overturning the DEA’s classification of marijuana.”

Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY) and Republican challenger George Mitris said during a debate that they support marijuana legalization.

Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) and Democratic challenger Donna Deegan briefly debated marijuana policy.

Former Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) tweeted, “You can decriminalize #marijuana w/o legalization. Legalization creates an industry where benefits fall to corporate interests & negative impacts fall disproportionately on minorities.”

Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen tweeted, “We would do well to follow Portugal’s decriminalization policy where ‘the drug-induced death rate has plummeted to 5x lower than the E.U. average and stands at 1/50th of the US.'”

/ STATES

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed bills extending the court-ordered receivership process to marijuana businesses.

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) and Republican challenger Julianne Murray debated marijuana legalization.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Illinois just banked $100M in revenue. Let me be clear: Pennsylvania, with a $4B budget deficit, is quite literally rejecting 100’s of millions of *free money* every year with cannabis Prohibition. Billions of dollars to build up PA, not the drug cartels. Legal Weed for PA.”

Colorado’s attorney general delivered the keynote address for George Mason University’s Symposium on the Economics and Law of Cannabis Markets.

Illinois regulators are facing a lawsuit that seeks to force them to issue overdue craft marijuana cultivation and infuser licenses.

New York regulators extended the state’s hemp pilot program.

Wisconsin regulators are extending the state’s hemp pilot program.

Advocates for and against Arizona’s marijuana legalization ballot measure held a debate.

Missouri regulators said they will need to spend another $200,000 in legal fees to handle lawsuits challenging their medical cannabis licensing decisions.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday, and the Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will convene on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Delaware County, Pennsylvania Council held a hearing on a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Gilbert, Arizona Town Council approved a ban on recreational marijuana businesses.

A Cook County, Illinois commissioner admitted that she has an ownership stake in a marijuana business license applicant after having previously served as one of the state’s top cannabis regulators.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Colombian legislation to legalize marijuana is in jeopardy.

Victoria, Australia’s state government is supporting a bill to protect driving rights for medical cannabis patients.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “inhaled cannabis appears to have short-term beneficial effects on symptoms of” obsessive-compulsive disorder and that “patients reported a 60% reduction in compulsions, a 49% reduction in intrusions, and a 52% reduction in anxiety from before to after inhaling cannabis.”

A study on psychedelics found that “the perceived benefits associated with microdosing greatly outweigh the challenges” and that “microdosing may have utility for a variety of uses while having minimal side effects.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Montana’s Catholic bishops are opposing the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measures.

The Massachusetts Municipal Association expressed concerns about proposed rules to allow marijuana delivery services.

The Marijuana Policy Project published a Pennsylvania voter guide.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $27.4 million and an adjusted loss of $116.1 million.

Aphria Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $145.7 million and a net loss of $5.1 million.

Nabis raised $5 million in Series A funding.

Harborside Inc. launched new products and an initiative to highlight diversity, sustainability and wellness in the cannabis industry.

Vireo Health International, Inc. launched a new product in New York’s medical cannabis market.

Total Arkansas medical cannabis sales crossed the 25,000-pound threshold.

/ CULTURE

Family Feud had a question on where parents go to smoke marijuana.

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