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Presidential candidate floats national cannabis referendum (Newsletter: October 15, 2019)

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Major UK party backs drug decrim; Dietary supplement industry pushes CBD rules; Former FDA head says feds should regulate marijuana

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There are now 1,208 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer cited marijuana reform as an example of an issue voters have advanced at the ballot box on the state level as part of his push to allow a new nationwide referendum process.

After months of ambiguous comments about marijuana without a specific proposal, former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is finally speaking more clearly, saying in a CNBC interview that Congress should “allow federal regulatory authorities to impose appropriate supervision.

  • While he’d prefer recreational cannabis be “shut down entirely” he concedes it’s not “politically practicable” and says FDA and the Drug Enforcement Administration can regulate potency, manufacturing, ingredients and claims on marijuana products.

The Scottish National Party—that country’s biggest party and the third-largest in the UK Parliament—unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing drug decriminalization.

The American Herbal Products Association, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition and United Natural Products Alliance sent a letter urging Congress to “clarify that CBD derived from the hemp plant is a lawful dietary ingredient” as long as it “meets established product safety and quality criteria.”

/ FEDERAL

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating whether marijuana businesses near Sacramento, California have paid public officials in attempts to win licenses.

Attorney General William Barr criticized safe consumption sites for illegal drugs as part of a wide-ranging speech decrying progressive policies.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted a picture of a “Legalize Marinara” t-shirt, saying, “Okay, I’m a reasonable person- how’s this for a compromise everyone???”

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, said that as a school superintendent he was initially worried about kids’ access to marijuana edibles under legalization but it’s “something we’ve been able to fix over time.”

Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) said he thinks restorative justice-focused marijuana legislation “sets a bad precedent for other laws” and is “not germane to the issue of whether or not these states should have the ability to act in the way they see fit.”

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted, “Hemp farming has the potential to transform Southside Virginia and #VA05’s agricultural sector. I am proud of my efforts to add Virginia to the @USDA USDA hemp crop insurance program so that farms like the one I visited yesterday can expand and succeed.”

Iowa Democratic House candidate J.D. Scholten tweeted, “Marijuana should be legal. For vets, it can help treat chronic pain, PTSD, and TBI without the addictiveness of opioids. It would also take some weight off our criminal justice system that has locked up too many people for non-violent marijuana possession.”

/ STATES

A Florida marijuana legalization campaign raised another $535,000 in September.

An Arizona marijuana legalization campaign brought in more than $300,000 in the third quarter.

The California Assembly Governmental Organization, Business And Professions and Health Committees will hold a joint hearing on vaping products on Wednesday. Separately, the Cannabis Advisory Committee will hold meetings next week.

Iowa Senate Democrats posted information about how to encourage regulators to add PTSD as a low-THC medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Colorado regulators will hold a public hearing on Tuesday about proposed rules to ban certain additives in marijuana vaping products.

Oklahoma regulators released an updated list of medical cannabis dispensaries and reported that more than 200,000 patients have now been certified.

Here’s a look at the prospects for marijuana reform in Georgia.


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 Fall River, Massachusetts mayor who was indicted on federal charges of allegedly extorting marijuana businesses is taking a leave of absence and suspending his reelection campaign.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Australian Capital Territory officials sent a letter warning the federal government not to interfere with its new local marijuana legalization law.

Zimbabwe’s first hemp crop was planted at a prison.

French lawmakers are considering legislation to fund a two-year medical cannabis trial program.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A survey of multiple sclerosis patients found that medical cannabis “use is common based on volunteer reporting, with approximately one out of four patients who” participated saying they use marijuana products.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that two-thirds of UK adults incorrectly believe CBD oil is illegal, while eight-in-ten think it has the same effects as smoking marijuana.

The Los Angeles County Bar Association created a new practice section focused on cannabis.

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses adopted standards on security.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter tweeted, “I didn’t realize being a cannabis fanatic creates so many social ills, including: *Hallucinations *Strawmen *Inability to formulate an argument #WhatElseDoesCannabisZealotryCause?”

/ BUSINESS

CannTrust Holdings plans to destroy $65 million worth of marijuana as well as $12 million worth of plants in an effort to regain regulatory approval following the revelation it illegally grew cannabis in unlicensed rooms.

Bonsai Cultivation voluntarily recalled marijuana products in Colorado due to the presence of elevated yeast and/or mold counts.

FedEx tweeted that it “prohibits shipment of plants, leaves & flowers, hemp oil, hemp seed oil and CBD.”

The Sacramento Bee looks at connections between Garib Karapetyan, who holds permits for eight Sacramento, California marijuana dispensaries, and the men indicted on federal charges last week of allegedly attempting to use foreign money to obtain cannabis licenses.

Natria asked Washington State regulators to remove its products from a list of pesticides approved for use on marijuana.

/ CULTURE

Rapper and actor Ice-T narrates a new drug policy documentary called “Public Enemy Number One.”

Actress Kristen Bell spoke about how she uses CBD oil to relax.

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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.

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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LA lawmakers send medical cannabis expansion to gov’s desk (Newsletter: June 2, 2020)

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MI lawmakers vote on letting their spouses get marijuana licenses; MedMen closes all stores; Study discovers cannabis use at ancient biblical site

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…

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

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Louisiana lawmakers sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a bill to let doctors recommend medical cannabis for any debilitating condition they see fit. They also approved legislation on marijuana business banking access, legal immunity for doctors and a study on the cannabis industry workforce.

The Michigan House of Representatives is set to vote Tuesday on a bill to let elected officials’ spouses get medical cannabis business licenses. Meanwhile, many people with past drug convictions remain ineligible.

Researchers discovered evidence of marijuana use at an ancient biblical site in Israel.

  • “It seems likely that cannabis was used at Arad as a deliberate psychoactive, to stimulate ecstasy as part of cultic ceremonies.”

MedMen has closed all of its marijuana stores nationwide following the looting of several locations over the weekend.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), in a letter to Attorney General William Barr about transferring incarcerated people to home confinement, cited the case of a man who died from coronavirus while serving a marijuana sentence.

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said in a press release that “the history and trauma of racism and Jim Crow is not a memory of the past, but is a reality still today, exacerbated by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices ranging from mass incarceration and police brutality, to the War on Drugs and COVID-19.”

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Qasim Rashid tweeted, “We must decriminalize & stop the drug war, invest in treatment, invest in training officers, stop militarization of police, and divert those resources to education & healthcare.”

New York Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel tweeted, “Sentencing disparities, selective enforcement of the law, and police brutality disproportionately harm Black Americans. We must legalize marijuana and retroactively expunge all marijuana related records.”

/ STATES

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill tying state approval of cannabis-based medicines to federal law.

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stephen Smith tweeted, “We’re the only leading campaign that supports full cannabis legalization. With that extra $194mil/year, what would you fix first?”

The Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit from a medical cannabis patient who was fired by his employer for refusing to take a drug test.

The Virginia State Police reported that marijuana arrests declined more than eight percent from 2018 to 2019.

Missouri regulators have approved more than 50,000 medical cannabis patients and caregivers.

Ohio regulators sent reminders about medical cannabis vaporizer requirements and the issue of dispensaries permitting entry to non-patient juveniles.


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

A majority of Baltimore, Maryland mayoral and City Council candidates said in a survey that they would “actively support establishing overdose prevention sites.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A former New Zealand prime minister is part of a campaign urging voters to approve a marijuana legalization referendum.

Maltese regulators said they are weighing five applications to cultivate cannabis for medical and research purposes.

Colombian regulators touted a new digital tool they are using for medical cannabis licensing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “inhaled cannabis acutely reduced PTSD symptoms by more than 50%” and “higher doses of cannabis predicted larger reductions in anxiety and intrusions,” but “cannabis did not appear to improve or worsen PTSD symptoms in the long-term.”

A study concluded that “hemp supplementation improved HDL cholesterol, tended to support psychometric measures of perceived sleep, stress response, and perceived life pleasure and was well tolerated with no clinically relevant safety concerns.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Minority Cannabis Business Association issued a statement of solidarity with people protesting police violence.

/ BUSINESS

PAX Labs launched a web-based desktop app to control its vaporization devices after Apple removed its former product from the App Store.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced it entered into two agreements worth up to $60 million in gross proceeds.

Leafs by Snoop is the most recognizable cannabis brand, according to a survey conducted by Green Horizons.

Oklahoma dispensaries sold more than $73 million worth of medical cannabis products in May.

/ CULTURE

A survey found that 49.5% of MMA fighters currently use marijuana, and 76.5% say they have used CBD products.

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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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Looted cannabis dispensary owner values justice over business (Newsletter: June 1, 2020)

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Biden puts medical marijuana in disability plan; Lawmakers tie war on drugs to police brutality; Study: Cannabis use can put THC in semen

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s new disability plan includes a pledge to “prioritize the research needed to advance science-based federal policies related to the use of marijuana for medical conditions, chronic pain, and disabilities.”

A new congressional resolution filed by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Karen Bass (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) highlights the war on drugs as a driver of police brutality against people of color. It comes as protests erupt over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • “The system of policing in America, and its systemic targeting of and use of deadly and brutal force against people of color, particularly Black people, stems from the long legacy of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws, and the War on Drugs in the United States and has been perpetuated by violent and harmful law enforcement practices.”

Rapper Berner, whose Cookies cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles was looted on Saturday night, says justice for people brutalized by police is more important than business.

  • “As a human living in the world we’re living in today, I cannot expect anything less until justice is served. We can rebuild our store, but you cannot bring someone back to life.”

A study found that THC can be detected in the semen of some frequent marijuana consumers.

  • “It is puzzling that some, but not all, semen samples tested positive for THC. There were no obvious factors that were strongly associated with detectable semen THC.”

/ FEDERAL

A Department of Justice statement of interest supporting a Colorado church’s lawsuit challenging coronavirus-imposed restrictions notes that marijuana dispensaries are classified by the state as critical businesses.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a dissenting opinion in a case in which the majority rejected a California church’s challenge to restrictions on attendance at religious services during the coronavirus pandemic, wrote that comparable secular businesses, such as cannabis dispensaries, are not subject to similar occupancy limits.

A federal judge rejected Grandpa Bud LLC’s claim that its marijuana growing operation retroactively banned by Washington State county officials is a protectable property under the Constitution.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tweeted, “Any time you mention marijuana more times than jobs in a 1,800-page bill costing $3T that’s supposed to support jobs, it’s obviously not a very serious bill. We need to consider real solutions to solve the public’s problems, not Pelosi’s desire to implement her liberal agenda.”

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) tweeted, “The history & trauma of racism and Jim Crow is not a memory of the past, but is a reality still today, reinforced by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices ranging from mass incarceration & police brutality, to the War on Drugs & COVID-19.”

Kentucky Senate candidate Mike Broihier tweeted, “We need to come to terms with the failed War on Drugs. Our communities have been treated like war zones. And African-American casualties keep growing.”

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended a coronavirus executive order allowing online ordering and curbside pickup at marijuana dispensaries and letting doctors issue medical cannabis recommendations via telemedicine.

Vermont Democratic gubernatorial candidates all agreed on legalizing marijuana sales during a debate.

North Carolina Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Jenna Wadsworth tweeted, “Decriminalize marijuana. Dismiss past misdemeanor possession charges. Free people from a broken, overcrowded, & sometimes corrupt prison system. Combat the school to prison pipeline. Alleviate an overburdened court system from unnecessary possession cases. Legalize cannabis.”

Texas regulators adopted hemp seed certification standards.

Kentucky regulators announced they have licensed 960 hemp growers to grow up to 32,000 acres and 150 hemp processors and handlers for 2020.

Vermont regulators announced that hemp rules they filed have taken effect.

A New Mexico senator said lawmakers should consider legalizing marijuana as a revenue booster during an upcoming special session.


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

A majority of Israeli government ministers support legalizing marijuana or regularizing the medical cannabis market.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “current evidence does not suggest that prenatal cannabis exposure alone is associated with clinically significant cognitive functioning impairments.”

A study found “a high prevalence of work-related allergic- and particularly respiratory symptoms in the employees of one indoor cannabis grow facility in Washington State.”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported C$115 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of C$1.3 billion.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. announced that Canadian regulators reinstated one of its marijuana licenses.

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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.
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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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