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Schumer working on merging cannabis bills (Newsletter: January 29, 2021)



Top NY lawmaker: Vote on marijuana then negotiate with gov; PA gov puts cannabis in 2021 agenda; CA industry COVID vaccine confusion

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) revealed in an interview with former NBA player Al Harrington that he is actively working to merge his own existing marijuana legalization proposal “together with some other bills” for 2021.

  • “I believe in freedom. Let people do what they want. And it became pretty apparent years ago that all these horror stories, you know, ‘legalize marijuana and crime will go up’—well, states legalized, crime didn’t go up. ‘If you legalize marijuana, everyone will become a big druggie.’ That didn’t happen either.”

The New York Assembly majority leader said lawmakers should pass the legislature’s own marijuana legalization proposal before entering into negotiations with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) about his separate cannabis plan in the budget.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) included marijuana legalization as a priority in his 2021 legislative agenda. He’ll give a budget speech on Tuesday and could reveal more details of his cannabis plan then.

California officials gave Marijuana Moment the runaround when we tried to nail down whether cannabis industry workers qualify for priority access to coronavirus vaccines as healthcare providers. It largely comes down to counties in the state to decide, whereas in Maryland, in contrast, state officials have made clear that medical cannabis workers “constitute registered health care providers…and are included in Phase 1A” of COVID vaccines.


The Drug Enforcement Administration is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by hemp industry organizations that are challenging its extraction rules.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture included its final hemp rule and information about its effective date in an email blast, suggesting that the Biden administration does not necessarily plan to further amend it.

Medical cannabis will be a topic of discussion at a conference on oral cancer co-hosted by the Food and Drug Administration next week.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) filed legislation to eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) said it is time to legalize marijuana and divert people away from prison for drug offenses, among other criminal justice reforms.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), in a press release about being renamed to serve on the House Appropriations Committee, noted its jurisdiction over Department of Justice marijuana issues.


South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) reiterated her opposition to legalizing marijuana.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) tweeted, “We’re not only establishing a legal cannabis industry that’s equitable. We’re investing in the communities hit hardest by the war on drugs—to the tune of $31.5 million. Proud to see 80 grantees across IL benefit from our Restore, Reinvest & Renew Program.” Meanwhile, his top cannabis advisor spoke about ongoing efforts to ensure equity in the legal industry for people harmed by the drug war.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “Medical marijuana is medicine. If we don’t ask job candidates about opioids or anti-anxiety drugs, then we shouldn’t ask about legally prescribed medical marijuana. And we definitely shouldn’t report them. It’s wrong, it’s discrimination, and it punishes job seekers.”

Delaware’s state auditor tweeted about the new marijuana revenue report her office released.

The Oregon Department of Justice issued a bulletin on the state’s voter-approved drug decriminalization law that takes effect on Monday.

Wisconsin’s House speaker said he supports legalizing medical cannabis, but not through the budget.

The New Jersey  Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee is set on Friday to take up another version of a bill to address disagreements between lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) about provisions related to underage people in marijuana legalization enabling legislation, meaning that the governor probably won’t issue a veto as threatened.

The North Dakota Senate voted to kill a bill to legalize home cultivation of medical cannabis.

The Virginia House General Laws ABC/Gaming Subcommittee and Senate Judiciary Expungement Subcommittee held hearings on marijuana legalization legislation.

Washington State regulators published an interpretive statement on cannabinoid additives.

Montana lawmakers are filing requests for bills to be drafted to amend the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law.

Rhode Island lawmakers filed a bill to allow medical cannabis for pets.

A Michigan man whose decades-long marijuana sentence was commuted by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has been freed from prison.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 450 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.


A Chicago, Illinois alderman is pushing to lift the ban on marijuana dispensaries in the downtown area.


Thailand’s government will allow people to register to grow or trade hemp starting on Friday.

A Mexican lawmaker said he wants a marijuana legalization bill to include increased funding for addiction treatment services.


A study found that “cannabidiol induces antidepressant and anxiolytic‐like effects in experimental type-1 diabetic animals.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced an opportunity for funding to support research on “the effects of smoking or vaping tobacco or marijuana on the risk of acquiring COVID-19 and the clinical course of the infection.”


The American Civil Liberties Union took out a full-page Washington Post ad urging President Joe Biden to grant clemency to people “swept up in the war on drugs.”

The National Cannabis Industry Association announced the new makeup of its board of directors.

Bill McKibben wrote about the environmental impact of marijuana production.


Aurora Cannabis Inc. entered into a strategic supply agreement with MedReleaf Australia.

Weedmaps and Universal Stop Inc. are being sued by the mother of a man who was shot during a marijuana delivery.

Agrify Corporation began trading on the Nasdaq.

Eaze released a report looking at cannabis consumer trends amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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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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