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Schumer invites senators to shape cannabis bill (Newsletter: February 11, 2022)

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Fed power company rescinds marijuana biz threat; SC Senate passes medical cannabis; OK legalization battle; Record CO sales

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) sent a letter asking colleagues to get involved in the process of drafting a federal marijuana legalization bill that they plan to file “in the weeks ahead.” Schumer also discussed the cannabis reform push in a Senate floor speech.

Federally owned power company Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) walked back its threat to withhold electricity from marijuana businesses following pushback from congressional and local officials.

A day earlier, Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Steve Cohen (D-TN) sent a letter criticizing TVA’s insinuation it would block power from state-legal cannabis businesses.

The South Carolina Senate gave its final third reading passage to a medical marijuana bill, formally sending it over to the House of Representatives for consideration.

A contentious battle is brewing between marijuana activists in Oklahoma, where one group filed a legal challenge against a competing legalization campaign’s expungements section—even though its own initiative also contains similar language. The targeted group has now redrafted its measure without the expungements provision, as a backup.

The Colorado Department of Revenue announced that the state set a marijuana sales record last year.

/ FEDERAL

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said he worries there is “a perception that marijuana is completely harmless in children.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit revived a lawsuit from an Alabama student who said she was strip-searched by school officials who suspected her of smoking marijuana.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said a forthcoming federal marijuana legalization bill will include “good, substantive” changes from a prior draft version.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and other Republicans filed a bill to bar the government from using certain funds to pay for pipes or other paraphernalia that could be used to smoke, inhale or ingest illegal drugs.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) inserted comments into the Congressional Record praising a 100-year-old woman who helped advance Connecticut discussions on “access to medical marijuana for elderly people with glaucoma, a condition she has faced for nearly two decades.”

Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) and more than 100 other GOP lawmakers sent a letter calling on President Joe Biden to permanently classify fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I.

Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) tweeted, “Cannabis legalization and decriminalization is an equal justice issue. MD must take the lead, ensure its economic benefits directly benefit communities who have borne the brunt of these bad policies, and expunge the records of those currently serving time.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said her marijuana legalization bill has “something for everyone.”

Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Alex Lasry tweeted, “We need to legalize weed nationwide. It’s far overdue.”

Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Nina Turner tweeted, “Good morning. Cannabis should be legal.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of eight.

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got one new cosponsor for a total of 39.

/ STATES

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is proposing changes to rules for cannabis funds.

Virginia’s House majority leader said the chamber would wait for the Democratic-controlled Senate to first pass a marijuana commerce reenactment bill and then “go from there.”

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee approved a bill to place a moratorium on issuing cannabis transporter licenses.

The South Dakota House Health Committee advanced without recommendation a bill to allow medical cannabis recommendations to be conducted via virtual meetings.

The chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus said lawmakers are preparing a resolution calling on federal officials to follow through with marijuana reform.

The director of New York’s Office of Cannabis Management said he’s going to “push” to launch recreational marijuana sales sooner than mid-2023.

Maine regulators expressed concerns about pending hemp legislation.

Colorado’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.

Florida regulators will hold a public meeting on medical cannabis tracking systems on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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 Lewis and Clark County, Montana Commission voted to place questions on the June ballot about taxing recreational and medical marijuana.

Grand Haven, Michigan’s mayor and City Council members are in heated disagreement over whether to allow recreational marijuana sales.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said it will be a priority to pass cannabis legislation in the 2022/2023 session.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his State of the Nation address that the government will “review the policy and regulatory framework for industrial hemp and cannabis to realize the huge potential for investment and job creation.”

The UK House of Commons Home Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into drug policies.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “states with higher levels of direct democracy – where voters can more easily initiate policy change by way of initiatives and referenda, and where state legislatures are limited in their capacity to alter voter initiatives – exhibited higher probabilities of legalizing marijuana for recreational use.”

A study found that “within the context of a controlled setting and a limited number of administrations, repeated low doses of LSD are safe, but produce negligible changes in mood or cognition in healthy volunteers.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Minority Cannabis Business Association published a social equity report and map.

The International Drug Policy Consortium published a guide to advocating for drug decriminalization.

/ BUSINESS

Schwazze closed its acquisition of MCG, LLC.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported total cannabis net revenue of C$60.6 million and a net loss of C$75.1 million.

HEXO Corp. is cutting 180 jobs.

Green Thumb Industries Inc. is being sued by a former employee who says he was subject to racial discrimination and retaliation after standing up for a colleague who said she was sexually harassed.

/ CULTURE

The latest South Park episode included a storyline about black-owned marijuana businesses.

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

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