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

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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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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

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.

/ FEDERAL

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.

/ STATES

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.

/ LOCAL

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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

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.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

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.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

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.

/ BUSINESS

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.

/ CULTURE

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.

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

CT House amends cannabis bill after gov’s veto threat (Newsletter: June 17, 2021)

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LA gov: Legal marijuana is coming; CA senator: psychedelics bill a step to all drug decrim; NJ AG sends cannabis cease and desist letters

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Connecticut House of Representatives passed a marijuana legalization bill. Because the body adopted an amendment to address a veto threat from Gov. Ned Lamont (D), it needs to head back to the Senate for one more vote on Thursday.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D)—who signed a marijuana decriminalization bill this week—said he thinks the state will eventually fully legalize cannabis, but he’d be surprised if it happens before he leaves office in early 2024.

The California lawmaker who is sponsoring a Senate-passed bill to legalize possession of psychedelics says it’s a step toward eventually decriminalizing all drugs. He also spoke about the path forward for his bill in the Assembly this session

New Jersey’s attorney general sent cease and desist letters demanding that four companies stop circumventing the state’s marijuana laws by offering free “gifts” of cannabis along with purchases of overpriced products like cookies, brownies and stickers.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), who is introducing a federal bill to decriminalize all drugs, says she also supports allowing a “safe supply” of illegal substances for consumers as a harm reduction measure.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration posted a budget overview showing it plans to spend $5 million in Fiscal Year 2021 for “Cannabis and Cannabis Derivatives Activities.”

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the harms of the war on drugs on Thursday.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) wrote in a constituent letter that he supports moving marijuana to Schedule II.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) again spoke on the House floor about legalization making it so it’s “no longer profitable to bring marijuana across the southern border.”

/ STATES

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill clarifying that the state’s driving under the influence laws apply to psilocybin.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said he anticipates calling a special session for lawmakers to pass a medical cannabis bill “sooner rather than later.”

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) re-extended, through July 10, an executive order for policies enacted during the coronavirus pandemic, including the allowance of remote marijuana sales transactions, suspension of fingerprinting for license renewal applications and suspension of in-person requirements for medical cannabis recommendations.

The California Assembly Public Safety Committee approved a bill to end mandatory minimum jail sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

South Dakota’s health secretary discussed medical cannabis rules with the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations.

A former Massachusetts cannabis regulator became the first customer of the state’s first recreational marijuana delivery service.

Michigan regulators updated a bulletin on common issues faced by marijuana businesses.

Ohio regulators released updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.

Wisconsin regulators are hiring four hemp chemists.

Nevada regulators will discuss marijuana business issues on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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 Manhattan, New York district attorney plans to dismiss more than 3,000 open warrants for low-level marijuana cases.

The Eau Claire County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors passed a resolution calling on the state to legalize or decriminalize marijuana.

The Sioux Falls, South Dakota City Council voted to require medical cannabis businesses to apply for local permits, which won’t be available until state rules are in place.

Matawan, New Jersey is being sued by a former police officer who claims he was fired for using CBD oil in retaliation for supporting a sexual discrimination lawsuit brought by a fellow officer.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A UK member of Parliament presented a medical cannabis bill for debate later this year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “co-users and [exclusive cigarette] smokers demonstrated comparable levels of biomarkers of exposure to harmful constituents despite smoking similar amounts of tobacco” while [exclusive cannabis] smokers demonstrated lower levels of toxicant exposure for most biomarkers.”

A study suggested that “administering adjunctive group therapy with psilocybin may enhance the effectiveness of trauma processing by reinforcing social cohesion, safety, trust, and belonging.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The American Bar Association’s Law Student Division will host a cannabis webinar on June 30.

/ BUSINESS

WM Holding Company, LLC, which operates Weedmaps, completed its business combination with Silver Spike Acquisition Corp. and began trading on the Nasdaq.

The Parent Company selected The Peakz Company as its second social equity corporate venture fund investment.

Leafly is seeking to raise $30 million in a funding round.

Sanity Group closed a $44.2 million Series A financing round.

Woodstock Ventures LC and Woodstock Roots LLC are nearing a settlement in a years-long case on the right to use the “Woodstock” name in marijuana products.

4Front Ventures Corp. announced it will contribute $75,000 to the Village of Elk Grove, Illinois and local community programs to support health and wellness initiatives.

Headset and springbig launched an integration.

Arizona retailers sold $69.3 million worth of recreational marijuana in April.

/ CULTURE

George Lopez is partnering with Platinum Vape to launch a cannabis brand.

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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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Newsletter

CT Senate passes legal cannabis in special session (Newsletter: June 16, 2021)

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LA gov signs marijuana decrim; TX gov signs medical cannabis expansion; Drug decrim bill in Congress; Fed marijuana cases drop as more states legalize

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Connecticut Senate approved a marijuana legalization bill on the first day of a special session. The House will take it up on Wednesday. If approved there, it’ll go to Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) desk. However, the governor is threatening to veto the legislation over an amendment on equity licensing eligibility.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed a bill to decriminalize marijuana. He also has separate legislation to legalize smokable medical cannabis flower on his desk that is still pending.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill to expand the state’s limited medical marijuana program. He also has legislation on his desk to require the state to study the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics, but hasn’t acted on it yet.

Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Cori Bush (D-MO) are filing the first-ever congressional bill to federally decriminalize all drugs. It will also incentivize local reform by withholding law enforcement grants from jurisdictions that continue criminalization.

A new analysis from the U.S. Sentencing Commission shows that federal marijuana cases are dropping significantly as more state legalization laws go into effect—even though federal prohibition hasn’t ended.

/ FEDERAL

The Supreme Court ruled that people convicted of certain low-level drug offenses are ineligible for resentencing under a 2018 criminal justice reform law.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) wrote in a constituent letter that he has “concerns that legalization for recreational use may carry adverse unintended consequences.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) will participate in an event on the 50th anniversary of the war on drugs on Thursday.

Rep. Don Young (R-AK) tweeted, “I introduced the GRAM Act to protect the gun rights of state-legal #marijuana users. Our archaic federal cannabis policies currently require legal users to risk perjuring themselves when trying to exercise their #2A rights. Frankly, it’s wrong.”

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted, “Ask candidates running for state house and state senate, either incumbents or challengers, what is their position on legalization of marijuana. Then support those that want to change the commonwealth’s policy.”

Rep, Steven Horsford (D-NV) tweeted, “I’m proud to support the #SAFEBanking Act to provide Nevada’s marijuana industry with access to the banking system and protect their employees and customers. The SAFE Banking Act is common sense — it’s time to make it law.”

/ STATES

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) met with state cannabis regulators.

California lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) a bill to provide $100 million in funding to help cities and counties transition marijuana businesses from provisional to regular licenses.

Rhode Island’s House speaker said there is “no consensus” among lawmakers on reconciling three competing marijuana legalization bills.

The Oregon Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue held a hearing on a bill to let cities and counties more than triple local marijuana taxes.

The Ohio House Health Committee considered but did not vote on a bill to add autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy held a hearing on several marijuana social equity bills.

The chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s public schools sent a letter pushing back against the District Council’s move to undo a policy of mandating marijuana testing for contractors.

Colorado regulators adopted rules on marijuana business licensing fees.

Michigan regulators will discuss marijuana issues on Thursday.

New Mexico regulators will host a workshop for marijuana entrepreneurs on June 22.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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

Los Angeles, California regulators filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by companies that say the city’s marijuana social equity policy is flawed and that their applications were unlawfully disfavored.

The Montgomery County, Maryland Policing Advisory Commission heard testimony about marijuana enforcement.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A UK lawmaker who was one of the winners of a drawing to earn floor debate time for a private member’s bill said he will use the opportunity for medical cannabis legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “minimal changes have occurred in the cannabis use patterns of service-seeking youth in the short term following legalization” and that “this holds true both for youth who have reached the age of majority and those who have not.”

A review concluded that “CBD has demonstrated efficacy in reducing nausea and vomiting, with CBDA and CBDA-ME being more potent.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 48 percent of New Zealand voters support decriminalizing marijuana, 8 percent want to decriminalize all drugs and 31 percent back the status quo.

The New Jersey Democratic State Committee filed a challenge to the nominating petitions of Legalize Marihuana Party gubernatorial candidate Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion.

The United Cannabis Business Association is holding a fundraiser for California’s attorney general on Thursday.

Dr. Bronner’s CEO David Bronner published a response to a conspiracy theory about peyote production that was circulated by Decriminalize Nature.

/ BUSINESS

Columbia Care Inc. is acquiring Medicine Man Denver.

Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. reported quarterly revenue of C$44.1 million and a net loss of C$61.6 million.

KushCo Holdings, Inc. reported that it expects quarterly revenue to be between  $27.5 million and $28 million.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc declared a quarterly dividend of $1.40 per share.

Harborside Inc. granted stock options to certain employees.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. has a new CFO.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Paul Pierce is launching marijuana products in Massachusetts under the “Truth” brand.

Joe Exotic is launching a marijuana brand while incarcerated.

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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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Newsletter

RI legal cannabis bill approved in committee (Newsletter: June 15, 2021)

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MT anti-marijuana orgs drop lawsuit; “Mass scale” NE medical cannabis campaign launches; Local decrim push in OH, SC & WV

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee amended and approved a marijuana legalization bill. It’s the first time recreational cannabis legislation has ever advanced in the state legislature.

Montana anti-marijuana groups are moving to dismiss their own lawsuit that sought to overturn a voter-approved legalization ballot measure. Implementation legislation approved by lawmakers addressed the central dispute about allocating cannabis revenue.

Nebraska activists are preparing to launch a “mass scale” signature gathering drive to qualify at least one—and possibly several—medical cannabis ballot measures for 2022. Lawmakers have also discussed a potential recreational marijuana initiative.

The Sensible Movement Coalition is working to put marijuana decriminalization measures on local ballots across Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia. A separate group is spearheading local cannabis efforts in Texas.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said licensed hemp businesses are eligible for Rural Cooperative Development Grants and Rural Innovation Stronger Economy Grant Program.

A federal judge said a lawsuit over the seizure of hemp plants should be dismissed because the 2018 Farm Bill did not provide for a private right of action.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Americans are sending a clear message—they want an end to marijuana prohibition. That is why I’m working with @RonWyden and @SenBooker to end the federal prohibition and to repair the damage done by the War on Drugs.”

Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), along with members of Nevada’s U.S. House delegation, issued statements in support of marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Marie Newman (D-IL) tweeted about cosponsoring a federal marijuana legalization bill.

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) discussed marijuana legalization.

/ STATES

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed a proclamation declaring Monday “Medical Cannabis Day.”

Pennsylvania’s attorney general tweeted, “Legalize marijuana. Regulate it. Tax it. But let me be clear: legalization must include expungement for those in jail or who have served time for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Our Black & brown communities have been disproportionately impacted by this for far too long.”

Virginia’s attorney general tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is a step in the right direction for public safety, equity, and economic opportunity for all in Virginia.”

New York’s Assembly speaker and majority leader highlighted marijuana legalization as a top accomplishment this session.

A majority of Wisconsin Democratic senators said they support legalizing marijuana, contrary to a claim by the caucus’s leader.

Here’s a look at how Colorado marijuana bills fared this session.

Massachusetts regulators moved to extend marijuana business curbside operations, telehealth services and web-based community outreach meetings until September 1.

California tax officials said the cannabis mark-up rate will remain unchanged at 80 percent for the rest of the year.

Michigan regulators launched a survey about the state’s marijuana tracking system.

Minnesota regulators tweeted about the legalization of smokable medical cannabis flower.

Ohio regulators will consider adopting new rules on medical cannabis dispensary license applications on Friday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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 Sonoma County, California Board of Supervisors approved $370,000 in funding to help expedite the processing of a backlog of cannabis business permit applications.

The Boston, Massachusetts Cannabis Board will meet on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor is seeking permission to launch an investigation into the bloody Philippine “war on drugs.”

Toronto, Canada’s Board of Health voted to ask permission from the federal government to decriminalize drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “light cannabis use as well as late-onset thereof was associated with increased decision-making skills both cross-sectionally at follow-up as well as longitudinally compared to non-using controls.”

A review concluded that “promising preclinical and clinical investigations suggest that cannabidiol (CBD) is an effective adjuvant for treatment of symptoms of opioid use disorders; however, the mechanism through which CBD drives this outcome is unclear.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 67 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for both recreational and medical use, 25 percent back medical legalization only and 8 percent  want cannabis to remain completely illegal.

The Hemp Industries Association has a new president and other leaders.

Virginia Marijuana Justice is planning a marijuana seed giveaway to coincide with legalization taking effect on July 1.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp. reported quarterly revenue of C$22.7 million and a net loss of C$20.7 million.

A subsidiary of Cronos Group Inc. is acquiring approximately 10.5 percent of PharmaCann Inc.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. sold promissory notes for $26 million.

/ CULTURE

Rohan Marley is an investor in a company looking for sites for a marijuana business in upstate New York.

Family Feud had a question on places people should never be seen smoking marijuana.

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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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