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Sanders open to covering cannabis under Medicare for All (Newsletter: October 28, 2019)

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GOP congressman worries impeachment jeopardizes marijuana bills; Finland to consider decrim; SXSW cannabis panels; Castro’s marijuana plan

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The national policy director for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said the candidate would not rule out covering medical cannabis under Medicare for All, though he dodged a question about whether he would consider removing drugs besides marijuana from Schedule I.

Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro, a presidential candidate,  proposed a criminal justice reform plan that includes legalizing marijuana, expunging cannabis records, ending the war on drugs and using tax revenue to help communities harmed by prohibition.

Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) told Marijuana Moment in an interview that he’s concerned the partisan dispute over impeaching President Trump could jeopardize marijuana reform. He also suggested that social equity and restorative justice provisions should be handled separately from legislation allowing states to enact their own cannabis laws.

Finland’s Parliament is now required to formally consider a marijuana decriminalization proposal after advocates collected a sufficient number of petition signatures to force the issue.

SXSW announced it approved two dozen cannabis-focused panels for its 2020 event. Topics include military veterans, social equity, infused drinks, media coverage, women, children and the intersection of industry and movement.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania tweeted, “Trafficking illegal drugs (yes even Marijuana) is inherently violent activity.  Guns in the hands of drug dealers are not a coincidence, they are a necessary tool of the trade.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued guidelines on using oral fluid specimens in federal workplace drug testing programs.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted, “In 2017, more Americans were arrested for marijuana possession than for murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery combined. That’s one marijuana arrest every minute. @BernieSanders is right: We must end the idiotic, racist federal prohibition of marijuana. Now.”

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, reiterated his pledged to decriminalize drugs, legalize marijuana, expunge records and invest in communities harmed by prohibition in a criminal justice plan.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Marijuana should be legal.” He also tweeted, “We must legalize marijuana, but that is not all. We will also ensure that revenue from legal marijuana is reinvested in communities hit hardest by the War on Drugs, especially African-American and other communities of color.”

A newspaper published a photograph of Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) appearing to smoke a bong.

Colorado Democratic U.S. Senate candidates debated cannabis issues.

Georgia Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Ted Terry tweeted, “As Mayor I led Clarkston to be the first city in #Ga to decriminalize cannabis. Now I’m running for US Senate to end the War on Drugs as we know it. @BernieSanders plan is exactly the policy change we need to bring equitable & just change on this issue.”

/ STATES

The governors of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island discussed marijuana and vaping issues at a meeting.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) is scheduled to speak at a Thursday forum hosted by prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is surveying lawmakers on whether marijuana legalization and other issues should be priorities for the 2020 legislative session.

Kentucky Democratic attorney general candidate Greg Stumbo launched a video ad about his support for medical cannabis.

Former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) spoke about his support for medical cannabis but said the issue of broader marijuana legalization is “very difficult.”

A Massachusetts judge ordered the state to amend a ban on vaping products to allow the sale of crushed marijuana flower for vaping.

Utah regulators began accepting applications for medical cannabis pharmacy licenses.

Rhode Island regulators are facing a potential lawsuit from a medical cannabis company if they do not license additional dispensaries.

Michigan regulators scheduled additional marijuana social equity outreach sessions.


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

Adena, Ohio voters will see a marijuana decriminalization measure on their ballots next month.

A former Philadelphia, Pennsylvania mayor who was reluctant to sign a marijuana decriminalization ordinance is now working for a medical cannabis company.

Activists staged a protest at a Rolla, Missouri City Council meeting over a police officer’s treatment of a medical cannabis patient.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The French National Assembly approved an amendment for a two-year medical cannabis pilot program. President Emmanuel Macron said he is not in favor of broader marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at various Mexican marijuana legalization proposals that have been filed. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador seemed to avoid a cannabis question at a press conference. Separately, regulators disputed claims that they are hosting a legalization event.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “there has been some progress in expunging previous cannabis-related convictions, particularly misdemeanors, and decreasing cannabis-related arrests” but that “encouraging diversity in the cannabis industry and the funding of equity programs has been very limited,” although “there is no evidence to-date that populations that have suffered most as a result of cannabis prohibition are at increased risk from its legalization.”

A study found that “removing brand imagery reduced the appeal and youth orientation of cannabis products” and that “health warnings and THC symbols reduced perceived appeal of cannabis products.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The chairman of the New Mexico Republican Party criticized Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s (D) push to legalize marijuana.

The Kansas City Star editorial board is urging lawmakers to pass medical cannabis legislation.

The New York Post editorial board criticized moves to remove consideration of parental marijuana use in child custody cases.

60 Minutes aired a segment about California’s challenges in implementing marijuana legalization.

/ BUSINESS

Leafly is freezing hiring and canceling non-essential employee travel to rein in spending.

Tilray Inc. shared jumped on news that it imported medical cannabis into the U.S. for a trial in treating disorders caused by breast cancer treatments.

/ CULTURE

Musician Melissa Etheridge tweeted, “Wow…there is not enough legal #cannabis in California to help me get through this @Chiefs @packers game…#ChiefsKingdom”

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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.)

Newsletter

MT court rejects cannabis measure challenge (Newsletter: October 23, 2020)

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PA House OKs medical marijuana DUI protection; CO gov jokes TX shouldn’t legalize; Reps slam DEA hemp rule; Expungements hinge on AZ prosecutor race

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 493 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Montana Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit claiming that a marijuana legalization initiative that’s on the state’s ballot violates the state constitution by appropriating funds. The justices didn’t rule on the merits of the claim, but said opponents failed to demonstrate the need for the high court to take it up. A lawyer for the opposition campaign said they will be pursuing the matter in a lower court soon.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives approved an amendment to protect medical cannabis patients from being charged with DUIs for using their legal medicine.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) jokingly told Texas not to legalize marijuana so that his own state can keep getting more cannabis tourism.

Nine members of Congress sent a letter pushing back against proposed Drug Enforcement Administration rules they say “will likely have the effect of inhibiting these nascent state hemp programs.”

  • “Our offices have received countless calls from constituents involved in the hemp industry who are extremely fearful that simply following the provisions of the Farm Bill will result in criminal liability.”

The result of a prosecutor race in Maricopa County, Arizona—the state’s most populous county—will determine whether many people with past marijuana convictions will be able to get them expunged.

/ FEDERAL

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said, at a debate with President Trump, that “no one should be going to jail because they have a drug problem. They should be going to rehabilitation, not to jail. We should fundamentally change the system, and that’s what I’m going to do.” He also admitted in response to attacks from Trump about his record as a senator that “it was a mistake to pass those laws relating to drugs.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in a debate, again criticized Democrats for mentioning marijuana more than jobs in their coronavirus relief legislation.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) said he supports legalizing marijuana and expunging convictions.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said he polled voters in Kentucky about medical cannabis.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “We can’t allow ourselves to be a country where people are locked up for possessing marijuana but Pharma executives get rich off fueling an opioid crisis. Big Pharma should know: your days of profiting off people’s pain are numbered. There will be justice.”

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins tweeted, “The Green Party has always been clear about the need to End the War on Drugs, starting with legalization of marijuana and reparations for the communities that have been most negatively impacted.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Christine Olivo tweeted, “Legalizing Marijuana is becoming more and more popular. I am 100% for the legalization as well as expunging the records of people with past marijuana related convictions! #LegalizeIt”

/ STATES

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill that will require judges to dismiss marijuana charges if prosecutors and defendants want to do so.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he has a “huge passion” for the state’s marijuana legalization referendum and that it will be “a gamechanger particularly for young persons of color.”

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes talked about marijuana legalization as a racial justice issue during a debate.

Utah’s attorney general spoke about his support for medical cannabis in a debate.

Missouri regulators concluded an investigation into a report of moldy medical cannabis without finding any evidence of health and safety concerns.

Here’s a look at campaign finance contributions for and against Arizona’s marijuana legalization measure.

An Oregon judge rejected a lawsuit filed by two vineyards that claimed their businesses would be damaged by a neighboring marijuana growing and processing operation.

The Michigan Parole Board granted a November 17 hearing to a man who is serving decades in prison on marijuana charges.

California’s Veterinary Medical Board discussed using cannabis products to treat animals.


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

The Delaware County, Pennsylvania Council amended a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance, pushing back the timetable for being able to enact it.

The city of San Diego, California is suing a marijuana business for allegedly failing to pay taxes.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Bahamian Economic Recovery Committee recommended legalizing marijuana.

A Brazilian judge ruled that importing small amounts of marijuana seeds is not a crime.

Italian regulators added flower-derived CBD to a table of medicines in its narcotics law.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “oil solution and sublingual wafer formulations of the extract standardised with CBD were well tolerated and achieved equivalent concentrations of CBD when compared to an available commercial nabiximols formulation.”

A study “demonstrated selective, beneficial effects of low doses of LSD on mood and cognition in the majority of observations.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry authored an op-ed opposing the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Decriminalize Nature Portland is holding an event on Sunday to highlight why it opposes Oregon’s psilocybin therapy legalization ballot measure.

Real Action for Cannabis Equity launched a campaign to push back against what it says are racist attacks against a black-owned marijuana business in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association is a new group made up of the state’s medical marijuana businesses.

The Delaware Cannabis Advocacy Network published a voter guide for next month’s elections.

/ BUSINESS

Delic Corp. reached an agreement for a reverse takeover of Molystar Resources Inc.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Shawn Kemp is opening a marijuana dispensary in Seattle, Washington.

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

Addiction doctors org backs federal cannabis reforms (Newsletter: October 22, 2020)

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Regulators push Congress to legalize marijuana; NJ Senate cancels referendum hearing; VA gov wants cannabis odor bill change; SD cop’s legalization ad

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  • Laura Fogelan of PAX: “If there’s one thing I read every single morning, it’s Marijuana Moment. This has become such a go-to resource for me and many of my colleagues at PAX—to keep a finger on the pulse of not only what’s happening across the industry, but also inside the beltway and in state capitals. We are so grateful to Tom and the team for all the time and work they put into making this information available, comprehensive and perfectly snackable for a quick daily read.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The American Society of Addiction Medicine adopted a new marijuana platform calling for rescheduling cannabis and exempting people who comply with state legalization laws from federal prohibition, as well as expunging prior convictions.

  • A portion of the new policy paper appears to have largely copied and pasted language from an Elizabeth Warren press release about her STATES Act—which would exempt people complying with state marijuana laws from federal prohibition—to describe its new stance. ASAM previously partnered with prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana to oppose marijuana rescheduling and Obama-era moves to respect state laws. SAM has now removed mentions of ASAM from some pages on its website, though it downplayed the new stance when contacted.

A coalition of state and local marijuana regulators sent a letter urging the House of Representatives to move forward with plans to pass a bill to legalize cannabis and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs. The expected vote has already been delayed once.

The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled and then canceled a Thursday hearing meant to get a head start on considering how to implement marijuana regulations if voters approve the state’s legalization referendum. A staffer told Marijuana Moment it is “unknown” if the event will be rescheduled.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is asking lawmakers to make some changes to a bill they sent him to ban police searches and seizures based on the smell of marijuana. His suggested amendment is about the unrelated issue of break lights and headlights, however.

A retired South Dakota police officer appears in a new TV ad urging the state’s voters to approve separate marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures.

/ FEDERAL

The Internal Revenue Service is building special audit teams focused on enforcing marijuana industry tax compliance.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit upheld the Internal Revenue Service’s ability to investigate and impose tax consequences on marijuana businesses.

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy is highlighting the opportunity to submit feedback on a U.S. Department of Agriculture plan to survey hemp businesses.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) touted his efforts to successfully extend the federal hemp pilot program.

Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) touted the fact that Senate Republicans’ coronavirus relief bill doesn’t include marijuana banking provisions.

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) and his challengers discussed marijuana during a debate.

Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) cited his work on CBD legislation during a debate as an area where he has bucked his party.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana in New Jersey will create jobs and save our state money. While I often argue for legalization from a criminal and racial justice standpoint, there is a strong argument to be made for the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana.”

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 117.

Mississippi Democratic Senate candidate Mike Espy, a former U.S. agriculture secretary, endorsed the activists-driven medical cannabis measure on his state’s ballot.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary was announced as the opening speaker for a Hemp Summit being held in December.

The Louisiana Senate Education Committee amended a House-passed bill that would have allowed school personnel to administer medical cannabis to students by replacing it with language to simply conduct a study on the issue.

The campaign pushing to pass South Dakota’s marijuana legalization and medical cannabis ballot measures has raised five times as much funding as opponents have.

Missouri regulators are investigating a complaint about moldy medical cannabis sold at a dispensary.

Maine regulators are being sued by small local marijuana businesses for allegedly improperly granting licenses to other businesses with out-of-state owners.

Nevada regulators filed complaints against marijuana businesses for violations, including having unlicensed employees and failing to maintain proper documentation.

Oregon regulators published updated guidance on disclosing interests in marijuana businesses.

West Virginia regulators selected Metrc to run the state’s medical cannabis track and trace system.

Michigan regulators made updates to several marijuana application forms due to changes in ownership disclosure rules.


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

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania officials are being sued for allegedly discriminating against a job applicant over his medical cannabis use.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK boy whose story prompted the government to begin allowing cannabis-based medicines is receiving his first legal prescription.

The Court of Justice of the European Union will rule on the legality of France’s CBD ban on November 19.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “further evidence for the effects of [medical cannabis] on chronic pain and related symptoms, demonstrating an overall mild to modest long‐term improvement of the tested measures.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police is urging voters to reject the state’s activist-driven medical cannabis ballot measure.

A leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published an op-ed on why the religious group opposes Arizona’s marijuana legalization ballot initiative.

CNBC’s Jim Cramer predicted that the marijuana industry will see a boost if Democrats win the White House and Senate.

/ BUSINESS

Workers at DC Holistic Wellness signed a collective bargaining agreement.

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. announced it is raising C$30,000,144 selling shares at a price of C$2.26 each.

Jushi Holdings Inc. is offering 10,000,000 subordinate voting shares at a price of C$3.55 per share.

/ CULTURE

Baseball player Luis Campusano was arrested on felony marijuana possession charges.

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Trump team orders cannabis activists to cease & desist (Newsletter: October 21, 2020)

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Harris makes “commitment” to decrim marijuana; Schumer puts cannabis banking in COVID bill; Poll: NJ referendum leads; TX legalization projections

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump’s reelection campaign issued a cease and desist letter demanding that Mississippi medical cannabis activists stop using his name to campaign for their ballot initiative. Trump has said, on video, that he backs medical marijuana “100%” and that he personally knows people who have benefited from using it.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke about a “commitment” to decriminalize marijuana and expunge past cannabis records if Joe Biden is elected to the White House.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) included marijuana banking language in a new coronavirus relief bill he introduced. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if cannabis provisions can make it into a COVID-19 deal that Democrats and the Trump administration are negotiating.

Another new poll shows New Jersey’s marijuana legalization referendum ahead by a solid margin. This one also finds that voters want Gov. Phil Murphy (D) to go even further by pardoning people with past cannabis convictions.

A new analysis from Vicente Sederberg LLP finds that if Texas legalized marijuana the state would see $2.7 billion in annual cannabis sales, take in $1.1 billion dollars in tax revenue per biennium and create 20,000-40,000 jobs in the industry, plus ancillary positions.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration launched a new operation to “identify and prioritize ongoing drug trafficking investigations with a nexus to violent crime.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) slammed Democrats’ coronavirus relief bill because it “mentions cannabis more times than JOBS.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) toured a hemp business.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Christine Olivo tweeted, “Legalize marijuana and expunge the records of people with past marijuana related convictions! #LegalizeIt”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I want to legalize cannabis, turn it into a cash crop for our District 1 farmers, tax the sale of cannabis & use that revenue to rebuild our infrastructure! With your support, we can do this together!”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Lisa Welch tweeted, “In 2020, states will vote on marijuana legalization. This will generate tax revenue to combat the opioid crisis, cartels, & reduce the burden on our police/justice system. It’s time for Fed Gov to end prohibition& expunge nonviolent drug charges #vote”

/ STATES

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) appointed a new director of the state Office of Drug Control Policy.

Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) is urging voters to reject a drug decriminalization ballot measure.

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana during a debate.

Utah Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Karina Brown said she opposes decriminalizing marijuana.

Montana’s House speaker expressed concerns about the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measures.

Massachusetts regulators approved changes to proposed marijuana delivery rules.

Michigan regulators cheered federal approval of the state’s hemp plan.

Virginia’s Marijuana Legalization Work Group met.

Ohio regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.


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

The Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney has expunged hundreds of marijuana convictions this month.

Los Angeles, California regulators began accepting applications for marijuana delivery, distribution, manufacturing and testing licenses, but are facing a lawsuit over the availability of delivery licenses to only equity applicants.

The Portland, Maine City Council approved marijuana business licenses.

Boston, Massachusetts marijuana regulators will meet on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A London, UK police commander in charge of drug strategy has admitted to using cannabis for medical purposes and has been suspended.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical cannabis initiation may be associated with self-reported reductions and cessation of alcohol use among medical cannabis patients.”

A study suggested that “cannabis legalization in Canada did not increase the risk of short-term cannabis-related hospitalization among girls and older boys” but that “legalization may have contributed to an increase in the risk in boys under 15 years.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Last Prisoner Project, Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party and Redemption Foundation teamed up on a campaign seeking the release of people incarcerated for cannabis convictions in Michigan.

/ BUSINESS

Meadow launched a CRM and text messaging platform for dispensary clients.

Employees at Eaze subsidiary Stachs voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

VIVO Cannabis Inc. laid off 18% of its staff.

/ CULTURE

The Onion made fun of people who give CBD to their pets.

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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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