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OK cannabis signatures certified, but might miss Nov ballot (Newsletter: August 23, 2022)

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NE medical marijuana not on ballot; CA gov vetoes safe consumption; Opponents try to block AR & MO legalization votes; PA Senate race’s cannabis focus

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Oklahoma’s secretary of state certified that activists collected enough signatures to put a marijuana legalization initiative before voters. But it may not end up on November’s ballot, because there are still additional formalities it needs to go through as deadlines to print voting materials approach.

Nebraskas’s secretary of state announced that activists failed to collect enough valid signatures to qualify two medical cannabis initiatives for the November ballot.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D)—who has long called the war on drugs a failure—just vetoed a bill to allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs that harm reduction advocates say could save lives.

Marijuana prohibitionists have filed legal challenges that seek to prevent Missouri and Arkansas voters from having a chance to legalize cannabis in November. Legalization opponents have increasingly relied on courts to block voters’ popular will over the past several election cycles.

In Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, Republican candidate Mehmet Oz is attacking Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s support for marijuana reform—even as polls show a majority of the state’s voters back legalization and Oz himself has previously touted the benefits of cannabis, calling it “a lot safer than alcohol.”

Here’s a look at how the Missouri secretary of state played an unusual role in securing a ballot spot for a marijuana legalization initiative after initial county petition analyses indicated that activists didn’t have enough valid signatures to qualify.

/ FEDERAL

Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram said that “anyone with a smartphone has a drug dealer with them.”

The White House Office of National Drug Policy appointed new members to its Performance Review Board.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “We’ve accomplished so much meaningful reform since our Democratic majorities took office. But our job isn’t finished — from student debt cancellation to cannabis legalization to defunding forever wars, there is more work ahead of us. And I intend to keep fighting for it.”

Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-OR) tweeted. “Thankfully, law enforcement in southern Oregon are busting massive illegal marijuana grows run by cartels. The problem? Joe Biden’s Border Crisis. Cartels are flooding to southern Oregon and will continue to do so until the border is secure.”

Louisiana Democratic Senate candidate Gary Chambers said “there are people in Congress that are smoking weed,”

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker tweeted, “Kentucky has some of the best soil in the world for growing cannabis, but our politicians would rather criminalize a plant than put more money in the pockets of small farmers.”

New York Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel tweeted, “#NY12 and America have a mental health problem, 1 in 5 NYers suffer from mental illness. Lack of affordable housing & our mental health crisis is also a driver of homelessness. We need new thinking- a mental health moonshot that unshackles the potential power of psychedelics.”

/ STATES

New Mexico Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Ronchetti’s campaign did not respond to media requests for comment on his position about marijuana policy.

Illinois’s lieutenant governor tweeted about the state’s marijuana revenue-funded Restore, Reinvest, and Renew grants program.

Tennessee’s agriculture commissioner said the future of the hemp industry is “very uncertain.”

The Indiana legislature’s Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services is examining marijuana decriminalization and other cannabis issues.

A Missouri senator expressed concerns about the marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.

Pennsylvania regulators withdrew their appeal of a preliminary injunction placed on their recall of certain medical cannabis vapes. Separately, a court ordered the Department of Health to reveal data on how many patients have been recommended medical cannabis for opioid addiction treatment.

Nevada regulators provided resources to help people apply for cannabis consumption lounge licenses.

Minnesota’s Board of Pharmacy wants to create a “Cannabis Management Office to oversee all aspects of the manufacturing and sale of cannabis products.”

California regulators are accepting applications from businesses that want to manufacture hemp products and extracts.

Oregon’s Measure 110 Oversight and Accountability Council approved funds made available by the voter-approved drug decriminalization initiative for behavioral health resource networks in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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

Albany, New York’s mayor highlighted the city’s first Cannabis Advisory Board Meeting on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s justice minister spoke about expanding research on psilocybin.

Malaysia’s health minister is visiting Thailand to study the country’s medical cannabis and kratom policies.

A Colombian senator spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and cocaine.

Jamaica’s Fair Trading Commission is recommending that the government create a funding facility for cannabis business.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A federally funded study found that marijuana and psychedelics use by young adults between the ages of 19 and 30 hit an all-time high in 2021.

A study found that “previous use of cannabis was associated with a lower risk of bladder cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and prostate cancer” and that “the inverse association between cannabis and both renal cell carcinoma and bladder cancer was only found in females but not in males.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Kentucky Democratic Party tweeted, “As agriculture commissioner, Ryan Quarles promised a hemp boom for Kentucky farmers. He promised to make Kentucky the thriving epicenter of hemp. Quarles failed to keep his promises. And Kentucky farmers paid the price.”

The National Conference of State Legislatures published an overview of state laws on marijuana-impaired driving.

The Toronto Star editorial board is calling on the Canadian government to scale up safe supply programs for illegal drugs.

The St. Louis American editorial board criticized the marijuana legalization initiative on the Missouri ballot, saying it is “perhaps one of the worst recreational cannabis laws that our state could possibly pass.”

/ BUSINESS

SNDL Inc. is acquiring The Valens Company.

ETF Mangers Group LLC is adding multi-state cannabis operators to its ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Dennis Rodman said he will travel to Russia to seek the release of American WNBA star Brittney Griner, who was convicted of possessing cannabis vapes.

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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.

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