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Presidential candidates debate decriminalizing opioids (Newsletter: October 16, 2019)



Pennsylvania lawmakers file marijuana legalization bill; Study: medical cannabis reduces benzo use; Cops ask man to stop calling 911 over stolen weed

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The issue of decriminalizing drugs beyond marijuana was seriously discussed on a presidential debate stage for the first time as Democratic candidates weighed in on whether removing criminal penalties is part of the solution to the opioid crisis.

Pennsylvania senators filed a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill that includes home cultivation, delivery services, social use areas, expungements, equity-focused loans and limits on big businesses.

Illinois lawmakers could make tweaks to the state’s marijuana legalization law in a veto session this month, including fixing “unintended consequences” of a ban on smoking for medical cannabis patients under 21.

A study found that 45% of patients completely stopped taking benzodiazepines after they started using medical cannabis.

  • “Patients also reported decreased daily distress due to their medical condition(s).”

A Florida man wouldn’t stop calling 911 to report his marijuana being stolen this past weekend, so a sheriff’s deputy had to intervene.

  • “A guy is calling in saying his roommate stole his weed, $20 worth, and he’s upset.”


A U.S. Army report suggests that there was a roughly 18% increase between 2017 and 2018 in positive drug tests for THC at nine bases in or near states where marijuana is legal.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, spoke about how there are still hundreds of thousands of marijuana arrests in the U.S. every year at a time when states are legalizing it.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “As the legal marijuana industry grows, it’s vital that people of color— who were disproportionately targeted by the failed War on Drugs— are the first in line to enter the industry. My Marijuana Opportunity Act would help do just that.”

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), a presidential candidate, said the federal government “needs to get out of the way” of state marijuana laws.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time to fully address policies formed during the War on Drugs. We must do better.”

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tweeted, “The bipartisan #SAFEBanking Act, passed out of the House earlier this year, corrects unfair & outdated federal regulations that penalize financial institutions from working with #hemp farmers & legal #cannabis businesses. It’s time for the Senate to vote.”


Kentucky attorney general candidates debated medical cannabis and marijuana decriminalization.

The Florida Health & Human Services Committee heard a marijuana legalization presentation from a former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy official.

The Indiana legislature’s Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy discussed taxation of CBD oil and vaping products.

Puerto Rico lawmakers held a hearing on medical cannabis research.

Colorado regulators held a public hearing on proposed rules to ban certain additives in marijuana vaping products.

Massachusetts regulators published a frequently asked questions document about the sale of hemp-derived products.

New Mexico regulators will hold public meetings on proposed hemp rules this month and next month.

Here’s a look at Oklahoma medical cannabis tax revenue, county-by-county.

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.

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Chicago, Illinois’s mayor scaled back a plan to largely block marijuana dispensaries from the city’s downtown area.

Sacramento. California’s mayor directed the city auditor to investigate the marijuana permitting process.


The Senate leader of Mexico’s ruling party said lawmakers will vote on a marijuana legalization bill this week or next week.

Australia’s attorney general warned that a local marijuana legalization move doesn’t change federal criminal law.

Brazilian regulators delayed a vote on a proposal to regulate medical cannabis production.


An article in the journal Addiction argues that for the development of a “Standard THC Unit” that would be “fixed at 5 milligrams of THC for all cannabis products and methods of administration.”

The New York Times looks at how a common drug testing method can mistake CBD for THC.


A poll found that Australians opposed legalizing marijuana, 49%-42%.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board doesn’t seem impressed with Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) move to create a task force to investigate marijuana industry corruption.

The Cannabis Voter Project is piloting a program where marijuana dispensaries offer discounts to customers who sign up to receive legislative updates.

Here’s a look at Rhode Island marijuana industry lobbying spending.


Aphria Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $126.1 million

Eaze announced a partnership with Recreational Embassy and the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Santa Monica to offer in-hotel marijuana access.

Flowhub raised $23 million in Series A funding.


The New England Patriots are partnering with former player Rob Gronkowski’s CBD company Abacus Health Products.

Jennifer Lopez’s makeup artist credited her youthful looks to cannabis-infused eye cream.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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