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OK Supreme Court delays cannabis ballot ruling (Newsletter: August 31, 2022)

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Top MO black lawmaker opposes marijuana ballot measure; SC gov attacks challenger’s legalization stance; CA cannabis employment protections to gov

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Oklahoma Supreme Court issued an order assuming jurisdiction for a case on whether a marijuana legalization initiative can appear on the November ballot, but is deferring a final decision until a challenge period expires. Advocates are optimistic that the justices will ultimately force state officials to put the measure before voters this year despite their arguments that ballot deadlines have already passed.

California lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) bills to protect people from being fired for off-the-job marijuana use and allowing veterinarians to recommend medical cannabis for animals. Also already on his desk is legislation to allow interstate marijuana commerce, streamline record sealing and facilitate industry insurance coverage.

The chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus—who otherwise supports legalizing marijuana—launched a campaign to defeat the cannabis initiative on the November ballot, arguing it has “no social equity” and that “the capitalism monster loves to exploit you.”

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) campaign is airing an attack ad criticizing Democratic challenger Joe Cunningham, a former congressman, over his support for legalizing marijuana—but the challenger is thanking the incumbent for highlighting his popular cannabis stance.

Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race pits Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is campaigning on his support for marijuana legalization, against Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who has called cannabis reform a “stupid idea” that turns states into “rat holes.”

Fewer Arizonans are enrolling in the state’s medical cannabis program as recreational marijuana sales expand, even though becoming certified as a patient comes with lower taxes, access to delivery, higher possession limits and housing and employment protections.

/ FEDERAL

President Joe Biden’s proposal to forgive federal student loans will not provide aid to people who weren’t able to access Pell grants due to drug convictions and as a result had to take out private loans that are not covered by the new effort.

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning about “an alarming emerging trend of colorful fentanyl” that the agency claims is a “new method used by drug cartels to sell highly addictive and potentially deadly fentanyl made to look like candy to children and young people.”

Indiana Democratic Senate candidate Thomas McDermott, currently the Hammond mayor, tweeted, “18 states have legalized the personal use of #cannabis, and 37 have legalized medical use for certain conditions. Many recognize the economic benefits: direct tax proceeds, employing workers, & potential savings from law enforcement.”

/ STATES

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Sherman, currently a state senator, tweeted, “As governor, I’ll take common-sense steps like broadening our energy sources to lower costs and finally legalizing adult-use cannabis so we stop sending that revenue to our surrounding states.”

Colorado’s attorney general tweeted, “Colorado’s General Assembly recently authorized our office to take action with respect to misleading and dangerous hemp-based products, including those containing higher levels of THC than permitted by law. Please consider joining our team to do this work.”

California’s attorney general toured illegal marijuana grow sites with law enforcement, tweeting, “Illegal grows harm the environment, threaten public safety and exploit laborers. As the cannabis industry moves into the legal marketplace, we’re working with our partners to shut down illegal operations.” Separately, regulators are proposing changes to rules on large and medium marijuana cultivation licenses.

Missouri’s secretary of state said he does not support the marijuana legalization initiative on the November ballot.

Massachusetts’s treasurer appointed a former treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate as the state’s new top marijuana regulator.

A Minnesota representative is urging the Willmar City Council to delay decisions on THC products until state lawmakers pass additional legislation on the issue.

A Virginia senator tweeted, “More Americans smoke marijuana than cigarettes and we still can’t decide what to do about it in Virginia – are we waiting for a sign from above?”

North Dakota regulators filed changes to medical cannabis rules.

New York regulators clarified that a notice of rules adoption “incorrectly indicated that the proposed regulations do not insist upon applicants to use New York Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund locations.”

A Michigan man launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign to get Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) to appoint him as the state’s top marijuana regulator.


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

Shelby County, Tennessee’s new district attorney said his office will “deprioritize lesser offenses like marijuana prosecution and possession.”

A former New York City Department of Records commissioner criticized the state’s move to reserve the first recreational marijuana dispensary licenses for people who have been directly impacted by cannabis criminalization.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s Senate majority leader said lawmakers will pass a marijuana legalization law in the new session beginning on Thursday.

Jersey’s home affairs minister said she’s “open to looking at the decriminalization of cannabis within an overall substance strategy.”

Israel’s High Court rejected a case seeking to establish the right to grow cannabis at home for personal use.

British Columbia, Canada’s General Employees’ Union ended a strike that has prevented marijuana products from reaching store shelves.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis use was inversely associated with [body mass index]” and “was associated with a lower and higher risk of overweight and underweight, respectively.”

A study indicated “higher [nature relatedness] in users of classic serotonergic psychedelics (ayahuasca/DMT, psilocybe mushrooms, LSD), cannabis, and MDMA/ecstasy” and that “current use of ayahuasca/DMT and psilocybe mushrooms, and past use of LSD had a positive association with NR.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Students for Sensible Drug Policy ended its partnership with Decriminalize Nature’s national leadership over what it said was “anti-Semitic messaging” in a recent graphic the latter organization posted that attempted to lay out an alleged conspiracy of “financial entanglement” around peyote scarcity.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review editorial board is calling on Pennsylvania regulators to be more transparent with information about the medical cannabis program.

Cannabis Consumer Watch is a new effort from the National Consumers League, Consumer Federation of America and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America focused on “educating consumers about the potential dangers of cannabis in an underregulated market and encouraging state and federal regulators and policymakers to take strong, effective, and prompt action to protect the public from the potential harms posed by unregulated, untested cannabinoids.”

/ BUSINESS

Greenlane Holdings, Inc. announced it regained compliance with Nasdaq minimum bid price requirements to be listed.

Verano Holdings Corp. appointed a new member of its board of directors.

/ CULTURE

Singaporean Olympic swimmer Joseph Schooling apologized for using marijuana.

Alyssa Milano interviewed the author Michael Pollan about psychedelics.

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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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