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Scientist wants DEA waiver to study dispensary cannabis (Newsletter: May 4, 2020)

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NZ govt finalizes legal marijuana ballot item; MT legalization lawsuit appeal possible; NE medical cannabis campaign’s signature relaunch

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A scientist who successfully sued the Drug Enforcement Administration to release a “secret” Justice Department memo used to delay the approval of additional growers of marijuana for research is calling on Congress to pressure the attorney general to grant a waiver allowing her institution to study cannabis obtained from dispensaries or to cultivate their own crops while licensing regulations are being finalized.

New Zealand’s government released the final details of the marijuana legalization referendum voters will see on their ballots in September.

Montana marijuana activists are considering an appeal after a judge dismissed their lawsuit seeking the ability to collect electronic signatures for a legalization ballot measure amid coronavirus.

  • “A bunch of Montana cowboys have a little over a month to qualify an initiative to legalize adult use marijuana for the November 2020 ballot. The whole world fell apart in just a month, now I reckon it’s time for us to try to fix a small piece of our broken world in the same amount of time. If anyone can do it, this bunch of cannabis cowboys can.”

Nebraska medical marijuana advocates plan to relaunch their ballot petition campaign this month and will use masks, disposable pens and hand sanitizer to protect signature gatherers amid the coronavirus outbreak. They’re confident about qualifying for the November ballot.

/ FEDERAL

A National Institutes of Health newsletter discussed the use of marijuana, khat and other traditional remedies as painkillers in low- and middle-income countries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture noted an Earth Day manifesto published by the European Industrial Hemp Association.

Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who is exploring a Libertarian presidential bid, said that the federal government should not have a role in the drug war and that it “should be left to the states.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “The war on drugs disproportionately targeted communities of color, unfairly locking up certain groups of users over others. @SenBooker, @RepBarbaraLee and I introduced a bill to expunge these records at the federal level. Justice is long overdue here.”

West Virginia Democratic Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin tweeted, ” It’s past time we create a diverse economy in West Virginia. We can bring in good jobs in hemp, biofuels, solar and more, creating a stronger economic infrastructure that serves the working people of this state.”

Wisconsin congressional candidates debated marijuana legalization.

Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate Christopher Hale tweeted, “I began my campaign for Congress on 4/20, so I have a question: Why is it that kids and veterans who smoke marijuana have criminal records, but Wall Street executives who committed massive fraud and wrecked our economy do not? Tennessee and America, let’s legalize weed today.”

/ STATES

Montana Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana legalization.

The Louisiana House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development will consider a hemp and CBD bill on Thursday.

Colorado regulators are considering continuing to allow marijuana curbside pickup after the coronavirus pandemic.

Pennsylvania regulators published guidance on which hemp and CBD products are subject to taxation.

Washington State regulators sent guidance on the use of marijuana lab result codes.

New York regulators released a list of hemp grower reporting requirements and forms.

Alaska regulators will discuss marijuana transportation rules on Thursday.

An Ohio representative who blamed mass shootings in part on marijuana legalization was defeated by a primary challenger. Separately, regulators will consider medical cannabis rules at meetings from Monday to Wednesday.

Several New Mexico House and Senate candidates discussed their views on marijuana policy.


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

An Alameda County, California judge signed an order reducing 6,921 felony marijuana cases to misdemeanors and another 1,235 misdemeanor cases to infractions.

Las Vegas, Nevada officials made permits for curbside cannabis pickup available.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

Study found that “up to 23% of patients with [chronic pelvic pain] report use of cannabis as an adjunct to their prescribed therapy” and that “although side effects are common, most users report improvement in symptoms.”

A study of prenatal urine drug screenings in Washington State found that “odds of positive UDS increased only for white women following legalization, but not for any other race.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

An attorney with Baker McKenzie’s Cannabis Review Committee floated a proposal under which the Department of Justice and other federal agencies could issue “no-action letters” to marijuana businesses deemed to be good actors.

/ BUSINESS

Constellation Brands, Inc. subsidiary Greenstar Canada Investment Limited Partnership exercised warrants to purchase C$245 million worth of shares in Canopy Growth Corporation, bringing the alcohol company’s ownership stake to 38.6%.

4Front Ventures Corp. is selling its stake in marijuana retail licenses in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Former Harvest Health & Recreation employees are suing the company, alleging they were fired after reporting violations of state law.

/ CULTURE

Former boxer Mike Tyson’s cannabis company, Swissx, is in talks to sponsor the shirt of English Premier League team Everton.

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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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