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Obama considered cannabis decrim, but then Trump won (Newsletter: Sep. 13, 2018)

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Leaked video: Google execs told marijuana jokes to soften blow of Trump win; Groups slam cannabis bill’s drug conviction ban; IN Senate candidates on marijuana

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A little-noticed passage in former White House aide Ben Rhodes’s book suggests President Obama might have decriminalized marijuana in late 2016 were it not for President Trump’s surprise Election Day win, though it’s not clear why the  election result prevented cannabis reform moves.

Indiana’s U.S. Senate race is one of only a handful this year where the Republican candidate seems more supportive of marijuana law reform than the Democrat. Incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) voted against protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference, but recently cosponsored a bill encouraging research on the therapeutic benefits of marijuana for military veterans. Republican Mike Braun has voiced support for letting states set their own medical marijuana policies.

The ACLU, Human Rights Watch, the Drug Policy Alliance and  other organizations signed a letter slamming restrictive drug conviction language in a marijuana reform bill being voted in on Congress on Thursday:

  • “We should be making it easier for people with records to obtain jobs, not more difficult.”

A leaked video shows that Google executives used marijuana jokes to lighten the mood after Trump’s 2016 victory:

  • “I was asking if we could serve joints outside on the patio.” — Google co-founder Sergey Brin

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions avoided specific mention of marijuana during a speech about drugs before the National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition.

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, a federal agency, released another report purporting to show the negative effects of marijuana legalization in Colorado.

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) spoke about their bill to seal marijuana convictions.

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a U.S. Senate candidate, tweeted, “It should come as no surprise that AG Sessions is leading the charge on spreading misinformation about marijuana legalization in states like NV. Congress must take action. I’m supporting a number of bipartisan plans to protect states’ rights and the will of Nevada voters.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “Tomorrow my bill, the Medical Cannabis Research Act, will go before the House Judiciary Committee. This will be the first time a cannabis reform bill will make it through the Judiciary Committee during Republican control of the Congress, ever!”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) tweeted, “Ashley’s Law, signed this summer, makes it possible for students suffering from extremely painful illnesses or conditions to receive doctor prescribed medical marijuana treatment on school grounds.”

Connecticut gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana legalization.

North Dakota officials projected that the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure would cost more than $6.6 million over the next few years to implement, but tax revenue estimates have not yet been formulated.

Massachusetts health regulators are being criticized for allegedly signaling that it was OK for a medical cannabis dispensary to use an organic pesticide and then later cracking down on it.

Oklahoma’s legalization of medical cannabis won’t change the Cherokee Nation’s prohibition on marijuana, tribe officials said. Separately, the legislature’s Medical Marijuana Working Group discussed cannabis testing.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday. Meanwhile, regulators added 71 more physicians to the list of those certified to recommend medical cannabis.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney appeared in court to move to dismiss 3,000 marijuana cases dating back to 1978.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government said that the country’s medical cannabis system will continue for now, but a review will be conducted within five years of recreational legalization’s going into effect next month. Separately, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pushing provinces to allow homegrown marijuana.

/ ADVOCACY

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said that Mormon doctors who recommend medical cannabis, and voters who support legalization, are not at risk of jeopardizing their standing with the church.

NORML chapters in key states are focusing on voter registration and education.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “approximately one in five patients with cancer who were receiving chemotherapy were using marijuana, and the frequency was equal in early- and advanced-stage cancer groups.”

The latest issue of the International Review of Psychiatry has a number of articles focused on marijuana research.

/ BUSINESS

Tobacco company Alliance One International Inc. is changing its name to Pyxus International Inc. and is investing in the marijuana industry.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. acquired Agropro UAB, Europe’s biggest producer, processor and supplier of hemp, as well as hemp processor and distributor Borela UAB, for $6.2 million.

The great-great-grandson of the founder of Anheuser Busch launched a marijuana company, ABV Cannabis Co., which is not affiliated with the beer maker.

Businessman Peter Thiel, who financed the lawsuit that put Gawker out of businesses, implied that the site’s former editor smoked marijuana during a lunch break on a key day of testimony in the case.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the rise of CBD products.

The ABA Banking Journal published an overview of the marijuana industry’s financial services access issues.

MassRoots relocated its headquarters from Denver, Colorado to Los Angeles, California. (Disclosure: Marijuana Moment’s publisher is a former employee of and minority shareholder in the company.)

/ CULTURE

Musician Paul McCartney recounted a story about when he smoked marijuana with Fela Kuti.

Ricki Lake’s marijuana documentary “Weed the People” got a distribution deal.

Drug cartel leader Pablo Escobar’s cousin criticized people who consume marijuana.

A Canadian marijuana dispensary employee fended off three would-be robbers by swinging a large bong at them.

Marijuana.com takes a look at the Stoned Gamer League.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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 15-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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Where does next House speaker stand on cannabis? (Newsletter: Nov. 16, 2018)

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Mormon church faces lawsuit over marijuana opposition; Study: Cannabis doesn’t impact kidney transplants; Marijuana company’s bizarre court argument

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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 new subscriber Quentin Daufeldt and our 344 other Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Here’s a look at where potential candidates to be the new speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives stand on marijuana reform.

A lawyer for Utah medical marijuana patients and advocates is formally requesting that the Mormon church and others preserve records ahead of a potential lawsuit over the proposed “compromise” bill that could undermine the voter-approved ballot measure.

Despite widespread policies denying organ transplants due to marijuana use by patients or donors, a new study on kidney transplants found there is “no difference” in postoperative outcomes based on cannabis use.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit heard arguments from a marijuana security company that claims its workers aren’t protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act because its own operation is illegal under federal law.

A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania doctor filed a federal lawsuit challenging the  law that prevents people who use marijuana from purchasing firearms.

The Food and Drug Administration moved to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars.

Former National Transportation Safety Board chair Deborah A.P. Hersman published an op-ed expressing concerns about marijuana-impaired driving.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) spoke about his support for criminal justice reform legislation. The legislation could run into roadblocks, however.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) tweeted, “This week I introduced legislation that aims to reform VA medical marijuana practices. We should support our veterans who seek alternatives to highly addictive opioids ravaging our communities.”

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted about cannabis companies being forced to pay taxes in cash, adding, “So ridiculous. Federal #marijuana laws must be reformed.”

The House bill to protect federal employees from being fired for state-legal marijuana use got five new cosponsors, for a total of 12.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) spoke about his continued support for legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, a key senator who was once opposed to ending prohibition is now expressing support.

A New York senator said she believes Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and lawmakers will legalize marijuana in the state via the 2019 budget.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) released a statement on his support for medical cannabis compromise legislation.

Kansas could legalize medical cannabis with the support of Gov.-elect Laura Kelly (D).

Connecticut’s Office of Policy and Management, in a budget submission to Gov.-elect Ned Lamont (D), said “the state could also access additional revenue from any newly authorized activities such as…recreational marijuana sales.”

The Vermont marijuana legalization study commission’s taxation and regulation subcommittee formally recommended a 26% tax rate for cannabis sales.

Oregon officials reported that marijuana tax collections “have come in 7% higher than expected so far in the 2017-19 biennium.”

A North Dakota representative plans to file a marijuana decriminalization bill. Separately, regulators approved additional medical cannabis dispensaries.

Here’s a look at how the results of Indiana state legislative races could impact marijuana reform.

/ LOCAL

Albany County, New York’s district attorney said that starting on December 1, he will no longer prosecute simple marijuana possession cases.

Muskegon County, Michigan’s prosecutor is dropping some pending marijuana charges in light of legalization and is considering expunging past convictions.

The mayors of Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey are urging Gov. Phil Murphy (D) to require that medical cannabis companies operate in a way the benefits communities most impacted by the war on drugs.

Here’s a look at Denver, Colorado officials’ fight to shut down marijuana tour buses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Israeli Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee approved a bill to allow medical cannabis exports.

Germany’s medical cannabis program is at risk from another lawsuit.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of midterm election voters found that they support legalizing marijuana, 62%-37%.

/ BUSINESS

Columbia Care announced that it is the first U.S. cannabis company authorized to operate in the European Union after receiving a license in Malta.

The Wall Street Journal sheds light on appellation systems for marijuana.

The New York Times looks at rising interest in cannabis-infused beverages.

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DEA’s cannabis eradication program criticized by gov’t watchdog (Newsletter: Nov. 15, 2018)

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How much marijuana reform supporters & opponents spent per vote; Walking Dead actor raises money for cannabis kids; Al Sharpton has marijuana jokes

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 342 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Marijuana Moment analysis of campaign finance data found that, on average, cannabis reform opponents had to spend more for “no” votes than supporters had to shell out to get “yes” voters to the polls in last week’s midterms.

As he weighs a potential 2020 presidential candidacy, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) continues to admit that marijuana legalization has worked out a lot better than he thought it would. It’s “a better system than what we had,” he said in an appearance on Wednesday.

Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus is helping to raise money for kids who use medical cannabis to treat cancer.

Rev. Al Sharpton had some cannabis quips in response to a conference audience’s reaction to a marijuana bill filed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

A report from the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, scolded the Drug Enforcement Administration over procedural lapses in its marijuana eradication program.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump announced his support for pending congressional criminal justice reform legislation.

The Internal Revenue Service is contracting with a private company to handle “large cash payments for processing cannabis federal taxes.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “#MedicalCannabis has huge potential for veterans. It can reduce chronic pain, w/out the harmful side effects of opioids, & some early reports indicate that it may even have potential as a treatment for PTSD. Unfortunately, many veterans fear discussing medical cannabis w/ doctors.”

The Senate bill to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks got one new cosponsor, for a total of 20.

/ STATES

A spokesperson for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the governor plans to “introduce a formal comprehensive [marijuana legalization] proposal during the 2019 legislative session.”  Separately, the state Department of Health issued a report with recommendations to improve the medical cannabis program.

New Jersey’s Assembly speaker and Senate president said they expect committee votes on legalizing marijuana by the end of this month. The Republican Assembly leader said legalization is “inevitable.”

It’s possible that Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales could begin on Sunday. The state’s top regulator said sales will likely start in “a week plus or minus maybe a couple of days longer than that.”

The Vermont marijuana legalization study committee’s taxation and regulation subcommittee plans to recommend a 26% or 27% tax rate on sales.

A top Utah regulator testified before lawmakers about the proposed compromise medical cannabis bill. Separately, House Democrats held a briefing on the issue.

Illinois Republican lawmakers are divided on marijuana legalization.

North Dakota regulators have received fewer than 100 medical cannabis patient applications in the first two weeks of accepting them.

New York magazine put together an oral history of how California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis. Separately, water regulators will hold a cannabis cultivation permitting and compliance workshop next week.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney congratulated a Missouri prosecutor for no longer pursuing most marijuana possession cases.

The Boston, Massachusetts City Council heard complaints about the Boston Freedom Rally at a meeting.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian police have not seen a spike in marijuana-impaired driving in the month since legalization went into effect. Separately, Ontario officials released regulations for private cannabis stores.

/ ADVOCACY

Marijuana policy reform advocates are targeting Arizona and Ohio, and potentially Florida and North Dakota, for 2020 legalization ballot measures. They are also looking at medical cannabis initiatives in Mississippi, Nebraska and South Dakota.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded, “Cannabinoid drugs may prevent the onset of pain by producing small increases in pain thresholds but may not reduce the intensity of experimental pain already being experienced; instead, cannabinoids may make experimental pain feel less unpleasant and more tolerable, suggesting an influence on affective processes.”

A study on marijuana and PTSD in veterans reached its recruitment goal.

A survey found that 65% of Minnesota oncology physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants who care for adults and children with cancer support the use of medical cannabis.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Chicago Tribune editorial board wants Illinois lawmakers to take their time in considering marijuana legalization.

/ BUSINESS

California collected $93.1 million in marijuana taxes in 3rd quarter of the year, a figure that does not include revenue to local governments.

Nevada generated $8.1 million in recreational marijuana taxes in August, setting a new monthly record.

Eaze launched delivery of CBD products in 41 states.

Former chewing gum executive William Wrigley Jr. II, is taking over as CEO of Surterra.

Sterling Trustees LLC filed a federal lawsuit over investments it made in Puerto Rican medical cannabis companies.

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Group representing 19,000 US cities pushes cannabis rescheduling (Newsletter: Nov. 14, 2018)

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Michelle Obama talks smoking marijuana; New veterans & cannabis bills in Congress; Why women back legalization less than men

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The National League of Cities—which represents the U.S.’s 19,000 cities, towns and villages— adopted resolutions calling for federal marijuana rescheduling and access to banks for cannabis businesses.

Top lawmakers in Illinois and New Mexico expressed optimism about newly elected governors’ plans to legalize marijuana in 2019.

In a new filing, the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates it wants to hire a new company to:

  • Grow 2,000 kg of marijuana
  • Develop new cannabis cultivation methods
  • Produce THC/CBD extracts
  • Make oral solutions, oils, vaping fluids, capsules/tablets

Former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote about smoking marijuana in her new memoir released on Tuesday, a subject she also discussed in a TV interview.

A new study examines why women are less likely to support legalizing marijuana than men. Contrary to one hypothesis, it has nothing to do with motherhood.

Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are filing three new separate bills on medical cannabis for military veterans.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump is reportedly leaning in favor of backing congressional criminal justice reform legislation.

Newly released documents show that shortly after 9/11 the Central Intelligence Agency considered using a drug it thought might work like a truth serum and force terror suspects to give up information about potential attacks.

The federal trial against Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman began.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “I’ve long supported legislation to give our #veterans access to medical #cannabis. We should empower VA medical personnel to discuss all options for treatments with their patients and promote research. The R’s have blocked this from progressing.”

/ STATES

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura met with Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D) and urged him to push for marijuana legalization. He also suggested the slogan “pot for potholes.”

Ohio regulators released an update on the rollout of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Colorado regulators released guidance about new marijuana rules going into effect on January 1.

Oklahoma regulators have already collected nearly $6.57 million in medical cannabis application fees.

A Wisconsin representative plans to file a marijuana legalization bill in January.

The Washington, D.C. Council chairman said that smoking marijuana doesn’t have victims and shouldn’t be a crime.

Arkansas regulators are responding to public criticism about a lack of transparency in the medical cannabis licensing process.

/ LOCAL

The Jackson County, Missouri prosecutor said she will stop pursuing most marijuana possession cases.

Some Michigan municipalities are already moving to opt out of allowing legal marijuana sales, at least temporarily.

Here’s a look at how Oregon municipalities voted on marijuana regulation ballot measures last week.

Two people were shot and killed in an apparent attempted robbery at an unlicensed Los Angeles, California marijuana dispensary.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s cabinet approved medical cannabis legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “an advantage of [medical cannabis therapy] in [fibromyalgia] patients with [low back pain] as compared with [standardised analgesic therapy].

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is conducting a study on CBD and youth seizures.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Indiana adults found that when given options, 39% support legalizing marijuana, 42% back medical cannabis and 16% don’t want it legal at all. Separately, 78% said that if marijuana is not legalized, people still should not be sent to jail for it. The survey also showed that people see cannabis as less of problem than other drugs, including alcohol.

A poll found that the majority of Canadians want the minimum age for cannabis use to be higher than 18 years old.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray’s earnings report showed lower than expected sales.

Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the growing number of companies interested in making cannabis beverages.

/ CULTURE

Actor Michael Colyar spoke about visiting Mike Tyson’s marijuana farm.

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