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NY legal cannabis push ‘effectively over’ for 2020, gov says (Newsletter: April 6, 2020)

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AZ legal marijuana effort sues for e-sigs; Rep wants DC cannabis fix in COVID bill; ND campaign looks to 2022; VA gov pressed on decrim amendments

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the legislative session and the push to legalize marijuana are “effectively over” for 2020.

  • “It’s up to the legislature, but I think it’s fair to say it’s effectively over.”

Arizona’s marijuana legalization campaign, along with organizers working to place other initiatives on the November ballot, are asking the state Supreme Court to allow electronic signature collection in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

North Dakota’s marijuana legalization campaign is the latest drug policy reform effort to suspend signature gathering amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Rep.  Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) is calling on her colleagues in Congress to finally lift the ban on legal marijuana sales in the nation’s capital—and she wants to do it through the next round of coronavirus relief legislation.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is being pushed by advocacy groups to recommend that lawmakers make amendments to a marijuana decriminalization bill that’s currently on his desk. NORML wants an emergency clause enacting the legislation immediately, while ACLU—which opposed the incremental reform as worse than the status quo—wants broader changes.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge ruled that a medical cannabis investor could not recoup $4.7 million in loans, saying it would undermine federal prohibition enforcement.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams held up a “Got Naloxone?” shirt in a PSA on how to make a face mask out of cloth at home.

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow authored an article on potential risks to people who smoke and consume drugs during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ STATES

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he will consider allowing medical cannabis delivery services during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, regulators said patients can pick up their medicine at dispensaries’ curbsides.

Massachusetts regulators reported a large spike in medical cannabis patient registrations as recreational marijuana stores have been shuttered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New Jersey regulators are declining to clarify whether a recent move to generally allow telemedicine during the coronavirus outbreak means that doctors can make medical cannabis recommendations without meeting patients in person.

Pennsylvania regulators issued a notice that temporary medical cannabis rules won’t expire until November 20, 2021 or upon publication of final regulations.

Illinois regulators published updated data about the state’s medical cannabis program.

Alaska regulators are accepting hemp registration applications electronically only due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Oregon medical marijuana program Rules Advisory Committee canceled its April 13 meeting.


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

San Francisco, California officials released a coronavirus FAQ that covers what cannabis businesses can and can’t do.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ontario, Canada is closing its marijuana stores as they are no longer deemed essential during the coronavirus outbreak, though delivery will still be available.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that Connecticut hemp farmers in the 2020 growing season could earn “$5,086 in profits per acre, or $11,656 per acre net return over variable costs.”

Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center is asking people to fill out a survey on “the issues cannabis businesses and consumers are experiencing” during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

National Cannabis Industry Association Executive Director Aaron Smith published an op-ed arguing that if marijuana businesses are being deemed “essential” by so many state governments, they should be eligible for federal coronavirus relief funds.

The New Mexico Cannabis Chamber of Commerce is urging businesses to postpone 4/20 promotions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. temporarily furloughed 122 employees, announced the resignation of an executive, terminated a proposed Rhode Island dispensary acquisition and canceled a merger with Deep Roots Medical, LLC, among other moves.

Canopy Growth Corp. temporarily laid off 200 retail staffers.

Storz & Bickel received approval from Canadian regulators for its Volcano Medic 2 medical cannabis vaporizer device.

Planet 13 is distributing 100 free meals each weekday to seniors and people with disabilities at high risk of being exposed to coronavirus if they leave home.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Playboi Carti was arrested on drug and gun charges.

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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 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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DEA faces cannabis rescheduling lawsuit (Newsletter: May 29, 2020)

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Fed judge boosts AR legal marijuana signature drive; Study: Legal medical cannabis lowers opioid prescriptions; USDA approves hemp plans

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  • Gary Weinstein: “As a former assistant attorney general and in-house deputy general counsel, Marijuana Moment is the first substantive email I dive into every day. It keeps me informed, engaged, and excited about our rapidly developing and dynamic industry.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Drug Enforcement Administration is facing a new lawsuit from scientists and military veterans who are challenging the agency’s decisions to deny marijuana rescheduling petitions.

A federal judge gave Arkansas marijuana activists a boost toward qualifying a legalization measure for the state’s ballot by ruling that people can download and sign petitions at home without having to get them notarized.

A study found that state medical cannabis laws lead to a “statistically significant reduction in aggregate opioid prescribing of 144,000 daily doses”—a 20% drop annually.

  • “We found that overall opioid prescribing by orthopaedic surgeons in this cohort was reduced in states permitting patient access to medical cannabis, compared with those who do not. In addition, states that permit access to in-state medical cannabis dispensaries were associated with a statistically significant reduction in total opioid prescriptions by orthopaedic surgeons.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for the U.S. Virgin Islands and four more Indian tribes. That brings the total number of approved plans across states, territories and tribes to 47.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Justice is blocking bankruptcy filings for people who work in the marijuana industry.

The Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to more companies claiming that their CBD products could prevent or treat coronavirus.

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker said he supports legalizing marijuana.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Jonathan Herzog tweeted, “Ban private prisons. Reduce mass incarceration. Legalize and regulate marijuana. Decrease the use of pre-trial cash bail.”

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed a bill outlining inspection processes for medical cannabis businesses.

The Nevada secretary of state’s office is reviewing allegations that MedMen Enterprises Inc. executives orchestrated illegal campaign donations to Gov. Steve Sisolak (D).

The Arkansas Supreme Court rejected regulators’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging they improperly denied review of a medical cannabis cultivation license application.

Florida regulators filed briefs in a state Supreme Court case challenging the state’s vertical integration requirements for medical cannabis businesses.

West Virginia’s top medical cannabis regulator said he hopes products will be available to patients in spring of 2021.

Washington State regulators adopted emergency rules on vitamin E acetate and licenses for marijuana processing and retail businesses, and proposed additional rules.

The chairman of the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee said a new draft of medical cannabis legislation will be prepared before the new session begins in January.

Michigan regulators published an updated bulletin on marijuana business operations during the coronavirus pandemic.

South Carolina regulators published a list of approved hemp labs.


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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs proposed a timeline for discussions on World Health Organization recommendations to reschedule marijuana and its components leading up to an expected December vote.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of dogs “supports the safety and therapeutic potential of hemp-derived CBD for relieving arthritic pain and suggests follow-up investigations in humans is warranted.”

A review concluded that “the evidence for behavioral counseling interventions to prevent initiation of illicit and nonmedical drug use among adolescents and young adults was inconsistent and imprecise, with some interventions associated with reduction in use and others associated with no benefit or increased use” and that “health, social, and legal outcomes were sparsely reported, and few showed improvements.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. adults found that 25% think psilocybin mushrooms should be legal under limited circumstances such as for medical or religious reasons and 13% believe they should be legal under all circumstances.

The Colorado Democratic Party tweeted, “When it comes to cannabis, it’s a tale of two Colorado legislators. 👍 @RepPerlmutter has worked his tale off for years, and got the SAFE Banking bill through the House. 👎 @CoryGardner ‘hasn’t delivered any legislative wins.'”

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to make farmers of the crop eligible for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

/ BUSINESS

Harborside Health Center is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to overturn the 280E tax penalty on marijuana businesses.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. completed its acquisition of Reliva, LLC.

Cannasortium founder and CEO George Dickson III is reportedly helping former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) to finance a documentary about presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son’s work in Ukraine.

Cresco Labs reported $66.4 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $13.4 million. The company also opened the first recreational marijuana dispensary in downtown Chicago.

Internal Eaze documents show that the company has scaled back its ambitions.

Organigram Holdings Inc. added vape pens and chocolates to its medical cannabis offerings.

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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.
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Newsletter

Cory Gardner talks cannabis, reelection and Trump (Newsletter: May 28, 2020)

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NY blocks marijuana biz from state COVID aid; LA Senate approves medical cannabis expansion; Fmr. AG backs federal legalization waivers for states

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There are now 1,506 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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  • Kyle Connors: “I had been using recreationally for over 20 years, but the last 6 I have been relying on cannabis to help with the symptoms of ALS. I realize that I’m fortunate to be able to access cannabis because of advocates like yourself and I want to give back.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) spoke about cannabis, President Trump and his reelection bid in a new interview with Marijuana Moment. Among other things, he said that he would vote for legalization if it were on Colorado’s ballot again, takes issue with GOP colleagues’ rhetoric on marijuana language being included in coronavirus relief bills and expects a Senate cannabis banking vote by the end of the year.

New York’s state-level coronavirus relief program blocks marijuana dispensaries from eligibility just like the federal one does. Medical cannabis has been legal in the state since 2014, though the businesses—along with payday loan providers, pawn shops, strip clubs, liquor stores and astrologers—can’t get COVID aid.

The Louisiana Senate approved a House-passed bill to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any debilitating condition they see fit. The House needs to sign off on one last amendment before it goes to the desk of Gov. John Bel Edwards (D).

A task force including former officials like Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, a Georgia governor, a Philadelphia mayor and a Washington, D.C. police chief are calling on the federal government to issue waivers that would let states legalize marijuana without interference.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit put a stay on a judge’s ruling allowing Ohio marijuana activists to electronically collect signatures for local decriminalization ballot measures.

The Government Accountability Office made recommendations to improve Bureau of Prisons drug treatment and education programs.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted in support of a Pennsylvania House candidate he said would work to “end the war on drugs.”

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Mike Broihier tweeted, “Mitch won’t get away with his half-baked hemp hoax. Farmers have been left holding the bag while Mitch’s wealthy donors find a way to profit. Again.”

West Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Hilary Turner tweeted, “We made yard signs out of hemp! It took us a while to make it happen, but we were tired of seeing so many plastic yard signs. We’re hopeful that in the future other campaigns will follow suit in ditching plastic signs, especially those with environmental platforms.”

North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate David Wilson Brown tweeted, “We need to decriminalize marijuana use and expunge the records of drug offenders related to its use. We need to undo our nation’s drive to for-profit prisons and make reducing recidivism the priority by helping those who served their time succeed at re-integrating with society.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) senior marijuana advisor tweeted a link to resources on “what CA is doing to support legal cannabis businesses and consumers during COVID-19.”

One of two separate Arkansas campaigns working to qualify proposed marijuana legalization ballot measures has given up for 2020 and is now focusing on 2022.

New Jersey regulators approved two additional medical cannabis dispensaries to operate.

Michigan regulators issued an updated bulletin on marijuana business operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Massachusetts regulators will begin accepting applications for marijuana delivery licenses on Thursday.

A Montana law allowing medical cannabis patients to purchase from any dispensary goes into effect 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

Boston, Massachusetts’s Cannabis Board is expected to hold its first meeting next month.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Czech Republic’s health minister said the government approved an amendment allowing the issuance of licenses for cultivation and export of medical cannabis.

Zimbabwe’s Health Ministry announced that all local and foreign investors involved in medical cannabis production will be offered 100% ownership of their farms and licenses to improve competitiveness.

A Mexican senator will host a discussion on marijuana legalization on Thursday.

U.S. federal prosecutors charged a former member of Venezuela’s National Assembly with participation in a cocaine importation conspiracy and related weapons offenses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “individuals believe cannabis will improve some [eating disorder] symptoms; however, these expected improvements are not associated with increased cannabis use and problems.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The State Bar of California’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct issued an opinion saying that lawyers can advise cannabis clients.

Human Rights Watch published a report on the harm the bloody Philippine “drug war” causes to children.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $45.9 million and an adjusted loss of $20.7 million.

Tilray, Inc.’s subsidiary Tilray Portugal, Unipessoal Lda. received a Good Manufacturing Practice certification in accordance with European Union standards for its medical cannabis extraction facility.

Harvest Cannabis Dispensary won a preliminary injunction from an Arkansas judge blocking facilities managed by Harvest Health & Recreation from using the Harvest name in the state.

A federal judge paused a  labeling lawsuit against CV Sciences until federal CBD regulations are enacted.

/ CULTURE

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya endorsed marijuana legalization in New Zealand.

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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.
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Supreme Court rejects marijuana ballot case (Newsletter: May 27, 2020)

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OR psilocybin & drug decrim campaigns file signatures; Lawmakers want investigation of botched drug raid; NE gov discourages cannabis petition

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 435 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.

  • Lisa Rough: “I’ve always respected and admired your reporting, especially from a legislative angle. When I need to know the backstory on a piece of cannabis-related legislation or an updated regulation, I know I can count on Marijuana Moment to have the most in-depth coverage, and I believe that is a universally-held truth across the cannabis industry.  Thank you for the work you continue to do, and I will be watching closely, and supporting to ensure that this coverage continues.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Oregon campaigns seeking to legalize psilocybin therapy and decriminalize drugs while expanding treatment access have both submitted what appears to be more than enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The secretary of state’s office has 30 days to verify the petitions, and activists plan to keep collecting signatures in the meantime in case there aren’t enough valid submissions.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case from marijuana advocates who sought to challenge Ohio officials’ refusal to place their decriminalization measures on local ballots.

44 members of Congress, led by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA), are calling on the Department of Justice to investigate Louisville, Kentucky police’s shooting of unarmed woman Breonna Taylor in a botched drug raid.

/ FEDERAL

In a brief in a case challenging Illinois’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, the Department of Justice said that “rules that allow recreational marijuana dispensaries to operate, but not flower shops, may be a sign that State action is impermissibly arbitrary and bears ‘no real or substantial relation’ to its proffered public health end.”

The plaintiff in a federal RICO case against Oregon marijuana dispensaries dismissed her own claims.

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Vangie Williams tweeted, “There exists enough evidence to suggest that medical cannabis can have some positive effects. Let’s conduct more studies and make an informed decision as to whether medical cannabis should be made legal.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Adam Christensen tweeted, “In terms of marijuana, I will fight to:⁠ -Legalize medical&recreational  -Vacate+expunge all past convictions⁠ -Prohibit tobacco companies from entering their market⁠ -Encourage market to be local+use $ from marijuana to reinvest in communities that suffered from War on Drugs”

/ STATES

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) discouraged people from circulating ballot petitions, including one to legalize medical cannabis, because he said it could spread coronavirus. Meanwhile, activists said they are optimistic about qualifying the measure.

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a bill to clarify that licensed facilities and physicians serving medical cannabis patients are exempt from being prosecuted under certain drug laws.

California regulators reported that in the first quarter of the year, cannabis excise tax generated $68.3 million in revenue and the cultivation tax brought in another $16.4 million.

New Jersey’s top medical cannabis regulator suggested the state might make an announcement on allowing delivery services soon.

West Virginia regulators will begin accepting registrations for physicians to recommend medical cannabis on Thursday.

Washington State regulators will consider several marijuana rules on Wednesday.


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.


/ SCIENCE & HEALTH


A study of nursing home residents found that “medical cannabis treatment dramatically improved patients’ symptoms and their medical indexes” and that “as a result, the local physicians stopped prescribing drugs that were defined as unnecessary,” which indicates that “medical cannabis can be an effective treatment that also reduces the environmental drug load, thereby preventing water pollution.”

A study reviewed “the nature of 10 transpersonal or parapsychological experiences that commonly occur spontaneously and in relation to the use of psychedelic substances, namely synesthesia, extradimensional percepts, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, entity encounters, alien abduction, sleep paralysis, interspecies communication, possession, and psi (telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance and psychokinesis).”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Nevada Republican Party is calling for an investigation into allegations that MedMen’s former CEO made an illegal “straw man” donation to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) 2018 campaign.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. is leaving the New York Stock Exchange in favor of being listed on the Nasdaq.

Green Thumb Industries reportedly hired lobbyists to kill an Illinois bill that would have allowed dispensaries to move their locations.

Cresco Labs acquired four new medical cannabis dispensaries in Ohio.

A federal court dismissed a class-action lawsuit alleging that Elixinol, LLC’s CBD products were illegal.

Tilray, Inc. announced it is closing an Ontario cannabis greenhouse.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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.
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