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Schumer presses DOJ nominees on cannabis (Newsletter: February 4, 2021)



VA legal marijuana heads to floor; AL Senate panel OKs medical cannabis; PA gov’s marijuana budget plan; ID Senate votes to block reform; Big IL sales

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  • Will Rogers: “This is a top, in near-real-time, information source providing detailed daily news. Also, you’re very active on Twitter which makes you diverse among many platforms. I’m looking to start a news channel and the best information is credible which you have shown is a top priority. I want to cite my sources and direct people to the best location to read and analyze information to make their own judgments!”


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he pressed attorney general nominee Merrick Garland and other Biden Department of Justice appointees to “respect the rights of states that have legalized marijuana” in a meeting on Tuesday.

The Virginia Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and House Appropriations Committee approved their respective chambers’ marijuana legalization bills, setting them up for floor action by Friday’s crossover deadline. Legislation concerning medical cannabis expansion, employment protections and expungements is advancing as well.

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis after just five minutes of discussion. Similar cannabis legislation cleared the full Senate last year only to die without a House vote amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) used his annual budget speech to push lawmakers to legalize marijuana, though the text of his actual legislative request doesn’t contain language that would end cannabis prohibition.

  • “These initiatives will serve as a step forward in reversing the decades of injustices, economic harm and trauma caused by marijuana criminalization, particularly on minority communities.”

The Idaho Senate passed a proposed constitutional amendment that would block the state from ever legalizing marijuana or other drugs—including medical cannabis—even if voters approved reform on the ballot. That complicates advocates’ 2022 plans.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that the state set another legal recreational marijuana sales record last month, with $89 million total sold, including $25 million to out-of-state residents. That’s more than double the total of January 2020’s launch.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote to a constituent that “while I am against legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, I do not want to stand in the way of individuals with illnesses if medical science can verify its safe use and beneficial effects.”

Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) tweeted, “Now is a good time for us to decriminalize and legalize marijuana.”

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) tweeted, “Minnesotans overwhelmingly support the legalization of marijuana, which will address longstanding inequities in our criminal justice system and bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue. This is long overdue – let’s get it done, Minnesota.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Moving forward with legalizing cannabis will help millions of people harmed by the failed War on Drugs and begin the path to restorative justice for Black and brown communities.”

Former Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) coauthored an op-ed urging Virginia lawmakers to pass legislation expanding the state’s medical cannabis program.


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said he is considering “additional small steps” on marijuana reform “but I don’t see any sweeping change [taking] place.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he had a “really good” and “constructive” discussion with black lawmakers about disagreements concerning provisions about underage people in marijuana legalization implementation legislation.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) pardoned people with past marijuana and other convictions.

Washington, D.C.’s voter-approved psychedelics decriminalization measure has been transmitted to Capitol Hill for its 30-day congressional review period and is projected to become law on March 19.

Minnesota’s House majority leader tweeted, “Over the past year and a half, we have been engaging Minnesotans in a conversation about cannabis. Our new adult-use cannabis bill is ready to go in the DFL-led Minnesota House, and it should be moving in the Republican-controlled Senate.”

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments in cases concerning municipalities’ powers to regulate marijuana businesses.

The Mississippi Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to create a parallel medical cannabis program to the one that voters approved in November. Meanwhile, regulators met to discuss the timeline and objectives for the voter-approved law.

North Dakota House committees discussed bills to legalize and tax marijuana.

The South Dakota House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill to prohibit smoking marijuana in vehicles.

An Oregon representative filed an equity-focused cannabis bill.

Alabama lawmakers are considering legislation to expand wiretapping of people suspected of committing drug crimes.

Here’s a look at marijuana-related issues that Colorado lawmakers may consider this year.

Michigan regulators posted the social equity plans of marijuana businesses.

Florida’s Industrial Hemp Advisory Council will meet on Thursday.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 500 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.


Pueblo County, Colorado is using $1.95 million in marijuana tax revenue to fund scholarships.

Oakland, California’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission will meet on Thursday.


Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration rejected a petition to allow MDMA and psilocybin for therapy.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs updated guidance to add CBD as a legal ingredient in cosmetics.

South Africa’s Western Cape High Court is being asked to weigh in on whether commercial cannabis clubs are protected under a prior ruling.


A study found that older people who use marijuana have a “higher fall risk, worse one leg standing balance performance, and slower gait speed” but that “no significant differences in cognitive function were found.”

A study found that “restrictive recreational marijuana legislation does not uniformly abate related message sharing on social media.”


The Government Accountability Institute published a report on the “relationships between policy decisions that benefited advocates of marijuana legalization and the transfer of money and other benefits from marijuana-related businesses and lobbyists to elected officials.”

The Wichita Eagle editorial board endorsed Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) plan to fund Medicaid expansion with legal medical cannabis revenue.


GW Pharmaceuticals plc is being acquired by Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc at $220.00 per share.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company reported that its cannabis-focused unit Hawthorne generated $309 million in quarterly revenue.

Eaze announced the winners of $50,000 marijuana business accelerator grants it is awarding.


CNN anchor Don Lemon called out a CBD company for falsely claiming that he has endorsed its products.

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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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