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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 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.)

Newsletter

Illinois cannabis banking bill filed (Newsletter: November 13, 2019)

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Kamala Harris jokes about CBD body rubs; Senator tours marijuana chocolate factory; USDA gets hundreds of hemp comments

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…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, made a joke about CBD body rubs while making a more serious point about the need for equity in the marijuana industry.

  •  “Let’s talk about CBD, right? All these products, right? That are all of a sudden going to relieve every problem I have, because I’m going to rub it all over my body, right?”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) toured a marijuana-infused chocolate factory operated by Grön Cannabis Confections.

  • “I will keep fighting for this growth industry so it can continue to generate jobs in Oregon and nationwide.”

An Illinois representative filed a bill that would allow marijuana businesses to access some basic banking services and create “special purpose checks” that cannabis operators could use to pay taxes and rent.

More than 500 people have already submitted official comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed hemp regulations, weighing in on issues relating to THC testing, “hot” hemp disposal procedures, the implementation of a ban on participation by people with felony drug convictions and more.

/ FEDERAL

Former Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin again spoke in support of medical cannabis research that the department blocked under his leadership.

Sen. Angus King (I-VT) tweeted, “Maine’s hemp farmers are building businesses the right (and legal) way, but outdated federal regulations are blocking their access to vital financial services. This is backwards – we should be encouraging new businesses, not holding them back.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “#Veterans and their doctors should be empowered to make informed decisions about medical marijuana without political interference. My Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act would allow veterans to use medicinal marijuana in states where it’s legal.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said in a Veterans Day message that “protecting care for our wounded warriors and giving vets recovering from PTSD and chronic pain safer alternatives to opioids through medical cannabis should be a top priority.”

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R), the lieutenant governor and the House speaker appointed members to a body charged with expanding the state’s medical cannabis program.

Massachusetts regulators issued a quarantine order on all marijuana vaping products except for devices intended for vaping medical cannabis flower.

The Wisconsin Assembly approved a bill aligning the state’s hemp regulations with new proposed federal rules.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against doctors who challenged state investigations into their medical cannabis recommendation practices.

Illinois lawmakers are considering legislation to undo a lifetime ban on legislators and their immediate family members from investing in marijuana stocks or owning cannabis business licenses that was mistakenly included in the legalization bill.

A proposed Florida marijuana legalization ballot measure raised more than $1 million in donations from MedMen and Surterra, while a competing measure received a $5,000 contribution from a Trulieve official.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated that a proposed psilocybin decriminalization ballot measure would reduce criminal justice costs by a sum “not likely to exceed a few million dollars annually” and could potentially raise some revenues.

A Connecticut representative hosted a press conference to discuss opposition to federal marijuana banking legislation.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on December 12.


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 El Paso, Texas City Council voted to take steps toward implementing a policy to let police issue citations instead of make arrests in marijuana possession cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian Securities Administrators issued guidance warning the cannabis industry about “deficient” corporate governance disclosures.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabinoids exhibit antibacterial activity against MRSA, inhibit its ability to form biofilms and eradicate stationary phase cells persistent to antibiotics.”

A review concluded that “large-scale surveys suggest that cannabis may be effective in reducing anxiety, however, these results stand in contrast to equivocal findings from clinical trials.”

A study found that “CBD promoted cell death in gastric cancer.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno spoke about the organization’s recent restructuring and layoffs in an interview at its biennial conference.

Texas Veterans for Medical Marijuana was barred from participating in Austin’s Veterans Day parade.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is urging people to be cautious about marijuana vaping as legalization comes online in Illinois.

/ BUSINESS

Leafly launched a program to assess and certify marijuana testing labs for accuracy and quality.

Terrapin Care Station announced a guaranteed $15/hour minimum wage for all employees.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $22.4 million.

Tilray, Inc. reported $51.1 million in quarterly revenue.

Cronos Group Inc. reported $12.7 million in quarterly revenue.

4Front Ventures Corp. announced preliminary quarterly revenue of $16.9 million.

/ CULTURE

Family Feud had a question about where grandma hides her marijuana stash.

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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

Medical cannabis included in candidates’ veterans plans (Newsletter: November 12, 2019)

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Santa Cruz considers psychedelics decrim; Barbara Lee addresses legal marijuana activists; UK approves cannabis medicines for some conditions

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…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) all included medical cannabis planks in Veterans Day plans their campaigns released.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) highlighted the benefits of medical cannabis for military veterans in a Veterans Day email to NORML’s list, and she delivered a video message on broader marijuana and drug reform at the Drug Policy Alliance conference over the weekend.

The Santa Cruz, California City Council will consider a proposal this week to join other cities in decriminalizing psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump tweeted, “Will be meeting with representatives of the Vaping industry, together with medical professionals and individual state representatives, to come up with an acceptable solution to the Vaping and E-cigarette dilemma. Children’s health & safety, together with jobs, will be a focus!”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that some vaping products should be removed from the market.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Facts, figures, and justice are on our side. We will decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and we will finally provide restorative justice to communities of color hit hardest by the failed #WarOnDrugs. We will win this fight.”

/ STATES

The Wisconsin Assembly is expected to take up hemp legislation on Tuesday.

Ohio regulators adopted resolutions clarifying that pharmacists can participate in the state’s medical cannabis program without punishment.

Maine regulators are investigating marijuana advertising at a sports arena.

Michigan regulators issued a bulletin on the marijuana licensing process, and are expected to issue the first recreational business licenses by the end of the month.

The The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, located within New York, will hold referendums on medical cannabis and marijuana legalization next month.


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 El Paso, Texas City Council is set to consider a proposal to let police issue citations instead of make arrests for up to four ounces of marijuana on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommended that cannabis-based medicines be allowed via the National Health Service for epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and intractable nausea and vomiting, but not for chronic pain.

Western Australia officials are moving to let general practitioners prescribe medical cannabis without the involvement of specialists.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “CBD currently represents a promising potential novel treatment for patients with psychosis.”

Yale launched a study into medical cannabis’s effects on chronic pain and stress.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Americans found that 73% believe the “problem of drugs” is extremely serious or very serious in the U.S. and that 41% think the nation has made much or some progress in coping with the problem over the last year or two.

/ BUSINESS

Organigram Holdings Inc. announced that it intends to report quarterly revenue of approximately $16.3 million.

Greyling Insurance Brokerage & Risk Consulting launched what it says is the first nationwide Site Pollution Liability Insurance Program for the cannabis industry.

/ CULTURE

Former National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern said the league should reconsider its ban on marijuana.

Former hockey player Jeremy Roenick is promoting CBD products.

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld spoke about his interest in psychedelic drugs.

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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Newsletter

Sanders pushes to legalize cannabis for military veterans (Newsletter: November 11, 2019)

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Former FDA head lays out CBD regulation ideas; Congresswoman visits marijuana dispensary; CDC vaping breakthrough

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 1,223 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 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

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, signed onto a bill that would federally legalize medical cannabis for military veterans.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is laying out a plan for how the agency can begin regulating CBD products.

  • “FDA can start with supplements and put burden on producers to prove CBD safety at very low levels while ensuring manufacturing standards, purity, minimum levels of active ingredient during a transition period of enforcement discretion – and sweep market of non compliant products.”

Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA) visited a marijuana dispensary and discussed cannabis banking and descheduling issues.

/ FEDERAL

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reached a “breakthrough” in identifying vitamin E acetate as the likely cause of vaping-related lung injuries, with an official saying that while there are “a few” anecdotal cases of the additive being found in marijuana products from licensed dispensaries, most injuries seem to be linked to informally sourced products. The agency recommended “not using THC-containing e-cigarette, or vaping, products, or any e-cigarette, or vaping, products obtained from informal sources.”

Food and Drug Administration Principal Associate Commissioner for Policy Lowell Schiller is raising concerns about creating an exception for CBD supplements without adequate data on safety.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey published an oped on new federal hemp regulations.

Sen. Angus King (I-ME) sent a letter urging the Senate Banking Committee chairman and ranking member to advance marijuana banking legislation.

Sen Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for expunging marijuana records, executive clemency and broader criminal justice reform and said that former Vice President Joe Biden (D) should repent for his role in enacting harsh penalties.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s not enough to end the failed and racist War on Drugs – we need real restorative justice for the communities of color most affected. It’s past time to get serious about #MarijuanaJustice.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 53.

/ STATES

The Rhode Island Senate and House of Representatives are asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) brought against a law that gives lawmakers veto power over cannabis regulations.

Pennsylvania’s attorney general spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana.

Ohio regulators banned vitamin E acetate additives in marijuana vaping products.

Washington State regulators asked cannabis processors to immediately stop adding vitamin E acetate to vaping products.

Nevada’s auditor determined that the state’s marijuana business licensing process is adequate.

The California Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee held a hearing on marijuana-related employment and workplace issues.

The Florida Senate Appropriations Committee questioned officials from Florida A&M University about its medical cannabis education program.

Michigan medical cannabis businesses want regulators to launch recreational marijuana sales early by letting them move medical products to the adult-use market.

A man facing South Dakota drug charges after being caught with what he said was shipment of hemp from Colorado to Minnesota has pleaded not guilty.


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

Boston, Massachusetts’s mayor is returning campaign donations received from marijuana company executives. Meanwhile, the City Council is expected to vote on a proposal overhauling the city’s cannabis business approval process.

The Palm Springs, California City Council adopted a “zero-tolerance” policy on odors emanating from marijuana cultivation businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Finland’s health minister endorsed decriminalizing marijuana.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis use is increasingly common in women with gynecologic cancer” and that “many women report decreased opioid use after initiation of cannabis for analgesia.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse posted a funding opportunity for research to “determine the biological mechanisms underlying the effects of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system on HIV-associated persistent inflammation and its consequent effects on nervous system function.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Republican Senatorial Committee tweeted, “We can’t believe we’re tweeting a @Playboy article, but we have to agree that @CoryGardner is working hard to find solutions for Coloradans in light of marijuana legalization.”

/ BUSINESS

A medical cannabis employment discrimination case against Amazon was moved from New Jersey state court to federal court.

A Leafly investigation unmasked the man behind Honey Cut, maker of a vaping cartridge thickening agent.

/ CULTURE

Musician Neil Young revealed that his use of marijuana has jeopardized his application for U.S. citizenship.

Basketball player Dion Waiters was suspended for 10 games after he reportedly had a “panic attack” following the consumption of a marijuana edible on a team flight.

A follow up to the TV series “Weeds” is in development.

The New York Times looks at senior citizens’ growing interest in ayahuasca.

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

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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