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Prohibition blocks cannabis warning labels, Trump cabinet member says (Newsletter: August 30, 2019)

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Surgeon general’s marijuana warning ignores data; GOP PAC touts cannabis to protect embattled senator; Former drug czar speaks at legalization event

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  • Cristina Escalante: “I joined because of Tom’s twitter, and would like to encourage anyone living in or around Boca Raton, Florida to join us in flipping our municipal dispensary ban. Google us – BocaCann!”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory about the harms of marijuana, particularly for young people and pregnant women.

  • Though the warning—the publication of which is being funded with a $100,000 donation from President Trump’s salary—cites shifting teen perceptions that it implies are the result of legalization, it neglects to mention that youth cannabis use has actually declined since states started ending prohibition.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar inadvertently admitted that keeping marijuana illegal makes it harder to educate consumers and keep them safe.

  • “There’s also no labeling regime for illegal products.”

The head of GOP super PAC Senate Leadership Fund—who happens to be a former chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)—touted marijuana as a way embattled Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) can keep his seat in next year’s elections.

Former White House Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske—who once told Marijuana Moment’s editor that “legalization” wasn’t even in his vocabulary—has been scheduled to speak at a conference about ending cannabis prohibition in Mexico.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held oral arguments in a case challenging the Idaho State Police’s seizure of a hemp shipment.

National Credit Union Administration Chairman Rodney Hood tweeted, “Earlier this month, @TheNCUA issued interim guidance making it clear that federally insured credit unions can provide customary financial services, including loans, to hemp growers. This is a positive step that will help bridge the gap until full regulatory framework is in place.”

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “From the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana problems include daily cough & phlegm, more frequent lung illness, higher risk of lung infections, & increased heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. Marijuana is a serious and powerful drug today.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted about New York’s expanded marijuana decriminalization and expungements law, saying, “Good. Now let’s do every other state and territory in the country.”

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) hosted a discussion with local farmers about “charting a course for Southern Virginia to capture the lead in the rapidly emerging hemp market.”

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) tweeted, “Border Patrol arrests 11 illegal alien drug smugglers w/820 lbs of marijuana. Since 2013 the Left has hit me for saying ‘They carry 75 lbs of marijuana on their backs.’ ALL are of ‘DREAMER’ age. How many are card carrying DREAMERS? Any valedictorians?”

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) tweeted about meeting with members of the Kentucky National Guard and thanked them for “the tremendous work you do in fighting the war on drugs in Kentucky.”

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and expunging records. Separately, the House majority leader announced the Democratic lawmakers will hold 15 community meetings about marijuana in advance of introducing a legalization bill.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) authored an op-ed detailing her concerns about legalizing hemp.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted a video about a woman whose past marijuana conviction was cleared from her record under a bill he signed.

A Nevada judge cleared some new marijuana dispensaries to open amid a dispute about the state’s licensing process.

A New Mexico judge made permanent a previous ruling that regulators must issue medical cannabis cards to out-of-state patients.

Illinois regulators announced the first “same site” recreational marijuana licenses, which will allow existing medical cannabis dispensaries to sell to all adults over 21.

Washington State regulators issued draft conceptual marijuana enforcement rules.

Michigan regulators announced they will hold 11 marijuana social equity program educational sessions 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

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor, in her state of the city speech, spoke about developing a “healthy cannabis industry” that generates revenue and “creates new business and job opportunities for black and brown people who have been the victims of the War on Drugs, and who to date, have mostly been excluded from the legitimate medical and recreational markets as entrepreneurs.”

Denver, Colorado’s Cannabis Health and Safety Advisory Committee will meet on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his government will support legalizing medical cannabis in exchange for the Zehut party not running in next month’s elections.

Jamaica’s Scientific Research Council is set to launch medical cannabis evaluations next month.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of marijuana’s impact on sex found that “eighty-two participants (38.7%) said sex was better, 34 (16.0%) said it was better in some ways and worse in others, 52 (24.5%) said it was sometimes better, and only 10 (4.7%) said it was worse” and that “119 (58.9%) said cannabis increased their desire for sex, 149 of the 202 participants (73.8%) reported increased sexual satisfaction, 144 of 199 participants (74.3%) reported an increased sensitivity to touch, and 132 of 201 participants (65.7%) reported an increased intensity of orgasms.”

A study of rats found that “there are changes present in the sperm epigenome of cannabis users at a gene involved in [autism spectrum disorder].”

A study concluded that “the correlation in a particular strain between THCA or CBDA and a certain set of terpenoids, and the partial specificity in interaction may have influenced the cultivation of cannabis and may have implications for therapeutic treatments.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The president of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana claimed in a tweet that state officials are committing federal felonies simply by issuing licenses to cannabis businesses—a conclusion that has not been reached by any court to date.

Americans for Safe Access published a U.S. travel guide for medical cannabis patients.

The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association formed a PAC that plans to donate to supportive lawmakers.

/ BUSINESS

Vireo Health International, Inc. reported 70% quarterly revenue growth from a year ago and a net loss of $1.9 million.

Facebook is ending the ability to target ads based on interest in harm reduction, a move an advocate said “will hurt our movement to end the overdose crisis & war on drugs.”

/ CULTURE

Former football player Terrell Davis spoke about his company’s new CBD-infused sports drink.

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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.

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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DC psychedelics decrim campaign submits ballot signatures (Newsletter: July 7, 2020)

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Forest Service hires hazmat firm for marijuana eradication; MS medical cannabis measure avoids challenge; Study: cannabis consumers exercise more

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There are now 1,525 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Activists in Washington, D.C. submitted what they believe are more than enough signatures to qualify a psychedelics decriminalization measure for the November ballot in the nation’s capital.

  • “I can see the Capitol from my house. I think it’s really important to acknowledge that this could lay the groundwork for national reform.”

The U.S. Forest Service is hiring a hazmat firm to train agents on how to safely eradicate marijuana from illegal cultivation sites after too many were “getting sick” and “requiring trips to emergency rooms with possible long term health effects” due to “unique hazardous chemicals” used by unregulated growers.

Mississippi medical cannabis advocates are relieved after one more threat to their legalization measure on the November ballot stalled in the legislature as lawmakers went home for the summer. But they still have an alternate cannabis ballot question to deal with.

A new study of exercise behaviors and body mass index among older adults smashes the ‘lazy stoner’ stereotype.

  • “Current cannabis use was associated with lower BMI and more exercise behavior in healthy older adults wishing to increase their physical activity… These findings suggest that it may be easier for older adults who endorse using cannabis to increase and maintain their exercise behavior, potentially because cannabis users have lower body weight than their non-using peers. At minimum, the evidence suggests that cannabis use does not hinder older adults’ ability to engage in physical activity, to participate in a supervised exercise program, or to increase their fitness as a result of physical activity.”

/ FEDERAL

The policy director for former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign said that “as science ends up with more conclusive evidence regarding the impact of marijuana, I think he would look at that data. But he’s being asked to make a decision right now. This is where the science guides him.”

The House Armed Services Committee approved report language directing the Department of Defense to compile data on the reasons people are being denied security clearances, including for marijuana and other drugs.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Know this:  marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug federally.  Veterans w PTSD cannot be prescribed cannabis by the VA. On my 67 County tour, we heard from veteran after veteran:  the country I defended considers me a criminal using the 1 thing that makes me feel normal.”

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “60 new full time jobs and $16 million investment in next generation AgTech jobs with @ecofibre grand opening today in Scott Co! They sell hemp products around the world and CVS stores. Congrats!”

North Dakota marijuana activists working on a proposed legalization ballot measure for 2022 say they already have between a third and a half of the signatures they will need.

Illinois regulators adopted a rule clarifying that marijuana-infused foods must be taxed at the 6.25% general merchandise rate instead of the 1% rate that applies to most groceries.

Ohio regulators rejected requests from medical cannabis cultivators to increase their capacity.

Florida regulators are considering allowing medical cannabis recommendations to be made via telehealth on a permanent basis.

Nevada’s Cannabis Compliance Board will consider adopting regulations on July 21.

Virginia regulators published a FAQ about the state’s medical cannabis law.


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

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris created a new Medicinal Cannabis Authority.

Ireland’s health minister is standing by a prior interview in which he said marijuana possession should be decriminalized and that he supports safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

The Amsterdam, Netherlands City Council voted to explore how to ban marijuana-flavored products sold in tourist shops.

A member of the UK House of Lords pressed government officials on access to cannabis for medical and research purposes.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “low doses of Δ9‐THC are anticonvulsant against hyperthermia‐induced seizures in Scn1a +/ mice, effects that are enhanced by a sub‐anticonvulsant dose of CBD” but that “proconvulsant effects and increased premature mortality are observed when CBD and Δ9‐THC are subchronically dosed in combination.”

A study concluded that “stable isotope ratio analysis of marijuana seizures can significantly improve our understanding of marijuana distribution networks.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s executive director and deputy director are stepping down as the organization experiences budget shortfalls.

The University of Pennsylvania Democrats said that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden should endorse legalizing marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the company is selling limited edition short shorts for the price of $69.420.

Aphria Inc. issued more than 1.6 million common shares to Aleafia Health subsidiary Emblem Cannabis as part of a previously announced settlement.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. appointed a new chief commercial officer.

Schwazze terminated two planned acquisitions with Dabble Extracts.

/ CULTURE

Elton John said he “saw God” while smoking a joint and listening to a Kraftwerk album.

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia/Mushroom Observer.

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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VA lawmakers announce legal cannabis plans (Newsletter: July 6, 2020)

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ID medical marijuana campaign likely to sue for ballot access; OK melts dreams of THC slushies; Senate votes to study cannabis and vaping

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.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Just one day after a new law decriminalizing marijuana possession took effect, Virginia’s House majority leader and other lawmakers announced plans to pursue broader cannabis legalization in the state.

  • “Decriminalizing marijuana is an important step in mitigating racial disparities in the criminal justice system, but there is still much work to do.”

Idaho’s medical cannabis campaign is “likely” to pursue the same legal accommodations for electronic signature gathering that a federal judge granted to an unrelated initiative.

  • “The medical marijuana campaign is similarly situated to the Reclaim Idaho campaign and will likely ask for a similar extension of time and permission to collect signatures electronically from the Secretary of State, and if necessary, from the District Court. I don’t know the exact timeline as there are a number of moving pieces but it will be quick.”

Oklahoma regulators are melting medical cannabis patients’ summer dreams of THC-infused slushies with a new “Slushy-Machine Guidance” memo that says the icy beverages are not likely to comply with state rules for marijuana packaging and testing.

/ FEDERAL

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service said that investigations of alleged LSD offenses in the service increased nearly 70% in the first three months of 2020.

The Senate passed an e-cigarette restriction bill that includes a provision requiring a study on the relationship between marijuana use by high school students and vaping and smoking.

Georgia congressional candidates spoke about their positions on marijuana legalization.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “I don’t know who needs to hear this jk I know who- but earnestly reforming our state prison system + legalization of marijuana could generate half of this COVID-19 deficit. It would, however, could have other unintended consequences like justice and personal freedom.”

New York’s Assembly majority leader said that “there’s no question that some of the things that are going on with law enforcement are because they smell marijuana.”

The co-chair of the New Mexico House Taxation Committee says the legislature will take up marijuana legalization again in January.

Wisconsin regulators posted guidance on a new hemp pilot research program emergency rule.

Ohio regulators will consider medical cannabis rules on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Iowa regulators posted updated lists of hemp licensees and businesses selling hemp seeds.


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 British Virgin Islands House of Assembly approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

The Santa Fe, Argentina Municipal Council approved legislation allowing the cultivation of medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that cannabis use “by ancient civilizations as a source of food and textile fibers dates back over 10,000 years, while its therapeutic applications have been improved over the centuries, from the ancient East medicine of the 2nd and 1st millennium B.C. to the more recent introduction in the Western world after the 1st century A.D.”

A review found that “studies have revealed [marijuana’s] use as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and improving testicular function in rats.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

South African cannabis activists Jules Stobbs was murdered during a robbery.

/ BUSINESS

Organigram Holdings Inc. reduced its workforce by approximately 25%.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced a financial restructuring and turnaround plan that will defer approximately $32 million in cash commitments over the next year and dilute shareholders.

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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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Congress votes for researching cannabis from dispensaries (Newsletter: July 3, 2020)

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Military marijuana use waivers advance in House; NE medical cannabis ballot sigs submitted; Austin police end marijuana arrests; 2020 ballot check in

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

The House of Representatives approved a 2,000-plus-page infrastructure bill that contains a little-noticed provision directing federal agencies to create a plan for researchers to finally be able to study marijuana that consumers are buying at dispensaries instead of using only government cannabis.

The House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment from Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) to encourage military branches to stop blocking reenlistment over marijuana use.

  • “Smoking pot just once shouldn’t prevent a patriotic American from fighting for our country.”

Nebraska medical cannabis activists submitted more than 182,000 signatures for proposed initiative. That’s way more than they need to qualify for the November ballot.

Several other states where activists are trying to get marijuana legalization, psychedelics decriminalization and drug reform measures on November ballots have signature gathering deadlines this week and next week. Here’s a look at where things stand, from Arizona to Oregon to Washington, D.C.

The Austin, Texas Police Department said in a memo that it will stop making arrests or issuing citations for low-level marijuana possession. The move follows the passage of a City Council resolution urging the end of such cannabis enforcement.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration tweeted, “There’s also a lot of talk on the internet about CBD for treating anxiety in dogs who are afraid of loud noises. You should be aware that FDA has NOT evaluated these products. This means we can’t say whether they are safe or effective.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Rural Cooperative Development Grant program.

/ STATES

Florida’s agriculture commissioner disclosed that she owns a stake in Harvest Health and Recreation, Inc.

Massachusetts regulators are accepting public comment on the continued quarantining of marijuana vaporization products.

A case challenging Nevada regulators’ marijuana licensing process was stayed by a federal judge.

A California court ruled against hemp growers in a case challenging a restrictive count ordinance.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus hosted a town hall meeting about a cannabis-revenue-funded grant program to help communities harmed by the war on drugs.

Oregon regulators published an update on processing dates for marijuana business license applications.

Arkansas regulators included an update on the state’s hemp program in an annual report.

A Pennsylvania senator authored an op-ed on why the state should legalize marijuana for racial justice reasons.


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

San Francisco, California regulators warned marijuana businesses that expected protests this weekend could lead to burglaries.

The Harris County, Texas Commissioner Court adopted a resolution that notes racial disparities in drug law enforcement.

The Santa Barbara County, California Board of Supervisors was criticized by a grand jury report for allegedly mismanaging marijuana production.

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor defended a police plan to step up drug enforcement during the July 4 holiday weekend.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators are discouraging marijuana brands from using “any celebrity-affiliated promotions or packaging and labeling.”

There have been no new prescriptions for full-extract cannabis oil in the 18 months since the UK legalized it.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant.”

A review concluded that “cannabis-based medications were found most effective as an adjuvant therapy in refractory multiple sclerosis, and weak evidence was found to support the treatment of cancer pain especially in advanced stages,” while “chronic rheumatic pain showed promising results.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Nebraska Democratic Party tweeted supportively about signatures being turned in for a proposed medical cannabis ballot initiative.

A South Dakota committee called No Way on Amendment A has been formed to oppose the state’s marijuana legalization initiative.

The Hemp Industries Association hired a new executive director.

/ BUSINESS

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. announced a plan to raise up to C$27,500,000 in a private placement sale of shares.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. announced the full exercise of underwriters’ options to purchase an additional 402,504 shares of common stock, bringing the total to 3,085,867 shares sold in the offering and raising gross offering proceeds to approximately $258.7 million.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg posted on Facebook about a poll showing majority support for New Zealand’s marijuana legalization referendum, saying, “Gandalf smokin that good good!”

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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