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SCOTUS ruling is good news for cannabis (Newsletter: May 15, 2018)

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NY legalization developments; NYC mayor admits changes needed; Lawmakers visit marijuana facility

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a federal prohibition on sports gambling has positive implications for state marijuana legalization laws.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the results of an official state study on marijuana legalization will be released within days, an announcement that came on the same day it was reported that the New York Democratic Party is preparing to endorse ending prohibition at its convention later this month.

Meanwhile, district attorneys in Manhattan and Brooklyn are considering plans to stop prosecuting most marijuana offenses. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said the city has to “do better” to reduce racial disparities in marijuana arrests, and that “policy changes” to drive down arrests need to be looked at. Meanwhile, the city’s public advocate said legalizing marijuana would be a “critical first step in righting” racially disproportionate arrests. And the NYPD commissioner claimed that cannabis arrests can help reduce other crime by taking gang members off the streets.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) released a statement defending his actions to block votes on marijuana amendments:

  • “Across the country, families, businesses and our judicial system have seen the devastating impact of drug abuse. Even governors in states like California have expressed their concern about how we can continue to have a successful economy when we normalize drug use in our communities. I am firmly against allowing these merchants of addiction to infiltrate our communities and bring down our children and families. I understand the need to learn more about marijuana’s impact, which is why I have been consulting with the National Institute of Health about the dangerous effects of drug use.”

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) implied that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s opposition to prison reform legislation was irrelevant.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Denver is using tax revenue generated from legal marijuana to build affordable housing. It is silly to keep this industry underground when there are so many benefits to the economy.”

Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) tweeted, “Isn’t it Time to Reconsider Marijuana Policy?”

The U.S. Senate industrial hemp bill got three new cosponsors, for a total of 18.

/ STATES

Michigan’s House speaker said the legislature won’t take up marijuana legalization and will instead let voters decide the issue on the ballot.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed hemp legislation.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) approve eight universities to conduct medical cannabis research, and tweeted, “The research component of PA’s medical marijuana program sets it apart from the rest of the nation. I’m proud that PA’s premiere medical schools will help shape the future of treatment for patients in desperate need not just here, but across the country.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) spoke about the medical benefits of cannabis and said that when it comes to marijuana legalization, “the jury’s going to be out until we actually implement” it.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner wants to form an industrial hemp partnership with Israel. Separately, Democratic congressional candidates in the state’s 6th district debated marijuana policy.

WIRED looks at the intersection of California’s marijuana track-and-trace system and pre-existing requirements to register commercial vehicles with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Oregon regulators fined several marijuana businesses for security, tracking and advertising violations.

/ LOCAL

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) tweeted. “This decision by the Supreme Court is an important victory for Seattle’s policies on immigration and legalized marijuana. It further establishes states’ rights to enforce their own laws, and prevents the federal government from interfering.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Activists in Georgia rallied for drug policy reform.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Conference of State Legislatures took state lawmakers on a tour of a legal Colorado marijuana facility and hosted a presentation from Weedmaps.

NORML’s Paul Armentano takes down recent anti-marijuana comments from the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “efforts to decrease secondhand smoke exposure via cigarette smoking cessation may be complicated by increases in cannabis use.”

A study of teenagers found that “higher average exposure to [medical marijuana] advertising was associated with higher average use, intentions to use, positive expectancies, and negative consequences.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Times editorial board is urging district attorneys to refuse to bring marijuana cases to court.

The Kansas City Star editorial board is calling on Missouri lawmakers to pass medical cannabis legislation.

/ BUSINESS  

Canopy Growth Corporation is applying to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

New Mexico medical cannabis sales are up 40% since last year.

Entrepreneur Media and PRØHBTD are calling for nominations for a “Top 100 Cannabis Leaders” list.

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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.

Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 15-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.)

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NJ lawmakers approve legal cannabis bill (Newsletter: March 19, 2019)

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Trump budget loosens DC marijuana restrictions; Booker disses Harris’s cannabis jokes; Decrim psychedelics in Oakland; Penn. legal marijuana bill

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 391 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Jersey Senate and Assembly committees  voted to approve amended marijuana legalization legislation as well as bills on expungement and medical cannabis expansion. Floor votes could come next week.

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request would restore a loophole that Washington, D.C. could use to spend local tax money on legalizing and regulating marijuana sales. It does not contain a rider protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference, however.

During a campaign speech in Iowa, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, appeared to criticize the way rival contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-C) has treated the marijuana issue as a laughing matter. He repeated a similar message in a separate MSNBC interview.

  • “Then we have presidential candidates, senators, bragging about their pot use while there are kids who can’t get a job because they have a nonviolent offense for doing things that two of the last three presidents did.”

Activists in Oakland, California are planning an initiative to decriminalize psychedelic “mushrooms, cacti, iboga containing plants and/or extracted combinations of plants similar to ayahuasca.”

Pennsylvania senators released details of a soon-to-be-filed  marijuana legalization bill. It includes provisions for home cultivation, delivery services, social use areas, industry equity and more.

/ FEDERAL

Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll argued that a Mexican border wall would interrupt the flow of drugs into the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a recording of last week’s hemp regulations webinar.

Former Drug Czar and Secretary of Education Bill Bennett spoke about his continued opposition to marijuana reform.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), a presidential candidate, said during a New Hampshire campaign stop that she supports decriminalizing marijuana and making it retroactive, as well as getting rid of the prison-industrial complex. In a separate appearance in Michigan she spoke about cannabis reform as a racial justice issue.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “It’s not enough to simply decriminalize marijuana—we must repair the damage done to those communities that have been most harmed by the failed War on Drugs, and we must expunge the records of those who have served their time.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) mentioned the fact that people can be barred from enlisting in the military over marijuana offenses in a speech about national security.

/ STATES

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill letting patients smoke medical cannabis and filed a court motion to dismiss and vacate cases that held the state’s prior ban unconstitutional.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), who recently vetoed a hemp legalization bill, said she’s open to reconsidering the issue after the U.S. Department of Agriculture releases regulations on the crop.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) included “Expanding hemp manufacturing” in a list of achievements from this legislative session.

The Idaho House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize industrial hemp.

New York’s lieutenant governor said that the administration and lawmakers are not giving up on trying to include marijuana legalization in the budget.

Washington, D.C.’s attorney general is urging Congress to allow marijuana businesses to access banks.

Illinois’s treasurer spoke in support of state marijuana banking legislation.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner announced that the state’s hemp processors had $57.75 million in gross product sales in 2018, compared with $16.7 million in 2017.

Rhode Island’s State Police colonel said that the state is already dealing with marijuana-related issues due to legalization in neighboring states and that the governor assured him his forces would have additional resources if the state ends prohibition. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees will hold a joint hearing on legalization on Tuesday, with the House Finance Committee doing so on Wednesday.

Pennsylvania State Police are being sued by the family of a man who was crushed to death by a bulldozer during an attempted marijuana arrest.

Ohio’s former top medical cannabis regulator is now working for a marijuana company.

Vermont regulators reported that the the number of registered medical cannabis patients has dropped since recreational marijuana legalization went into effect last summer.

California regulators released guidance on cannabis events.

Oregon activists submitted a proposed ballot initiative that would allow marijuana social use areas and provide employment protections for consumers, among other changes. Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering several cannabis bills.

Arizona activists and medical cannabis businesses are working on a proposed 2020 marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Michigan medical cannabis businesses are reportedly preparing to push legislation that would restrict home cultivation and eliminate marijuana gifting, among other changes.

Utah regulators are seeking vendors to build the medical cannabis program’s electronic verification and inventory control systems.

Here’s a look at how West Virginia marijuana legislation fared this session.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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

Burlington, Vermont’s Electric Department is offering tips on how to efficiently grow marijuana.

Sarasota, Florida City Commission unanimously voted to direct the city attorney to draft a proposed marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said that the country will decriminalize marijuana.

Here’s a look at how Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s position on marijuana has evolved over time.

Canadian regulators released an updated on marijuana business licensing.

/ ADVOCACY

The Kansas Democratic Party tweeted about support for medical cannabis.

The New York State School Boards Association said that marijuana legalization needs to be carefully considered and shouldn’t be done through the budget.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the National Action Network are calling on New York lawmakers to tie marijuana legalization to economic equity.

Staff from prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana met with anti-drug organizers from Singapore, which has the death penalty for possessing 500 grams of cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study in Washington State found that “between 2010 and 2016, marijuana use decreased significantly among working and nonworking 8th and 10th graders” but that “among working 12th graders, marijuana use increased significantly over time relative to nonworking youth.”

Colorado State University is launching a national medical cannabis patient data registry.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 53%-43%.

/ BUSINESS

Canadian bank Canaccord Genuity is seeking approval from the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to act as a custodian for U.S. marijuana industry investors.

A representative for Altria cited the legal age of use for marijuana in states that have ended prohibition in testimony supporting Texas legislation to raise the legal age of purchase for tobacco to 21.

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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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Cannabis decrim heads to governor’s desk in New Mexico (Newsletter: March 18, 2019)

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Marijuana equity activists protest Boehner SXSW speech; Mexican lawmakers start cannabis talks; Anti-legalization congressman slams DEA

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There are now 938 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Mexico lawmakers sent a marijuana decriminalization bill to the desk of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). Meanwhile, a broader bill to legalize cannabis sales through state-run stores stalled in committee.

Anti-legalization Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) seemed to slam the Drug Enforcement Administration for refusing to reschedule marijuana during a House hearing.

  • “The DEA is failing the American public here by not letting research take place on marijuana.”

Activists for equity in the marijuana industry protested SXSW speeches by former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and MedMen’s CEO.

New polling analysis from the Pew Research Center shows that independent voters overwhelmingly support legalizing marijuana—regardless of whether they lean Republican or Democrat.

Denver, Colorado officials launched an interactive map that tracks how marijuana tax revenue funds educational programs.

Mexican lawmakers from competing parties teamed up to discuss how to work together to enact marijuana reform.

/ FEDERAL

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy invoked executive privilege to block a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the text of anti-marijuana memos submitted to the office by various federal agencies.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, ” Hope EVERYONE agrees, we must do all we can to prevent youth marijuana use. Both the product and the delivery systems today can mean MUCH ⬆️ THC to brain than in past, and ⬆️ risk – esp to youth.”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) and five cosponsors filed a House resolution that “condemns the Government of the Philippines for its role in state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings by police and other armed individuals as part of the ‘War on Drugs.'”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana is about dignity & free choice. Denying both to a dying man is the real crime. I just intro’d bipartisan bill to end federal marijuana prohibition.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted about having dinner with travel writer Rick Steves, adding, “Rick’s the ultimate ethical businessman, using his platform to advocate against hunger & fascism, and for fair taxation & legalization of Marijuana. Grateful for all his work!”

The New York Times looks at how supporting marijuana legalization is a mainstream position for Democratic presidential candidates.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she will add marijuana legalization to the agenda for the state’s 2020 legislative session and touted a hemp bill that lawmakers approved this year. Lawmakers also sent a medical cannabis expansion bill to her desk.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) tweeted, “Thank you to the Florida Legislature for honoring the will of the people and taking action on medical marijuana.”

Kentucky’s attorney general said he wants to let voters decide on medical cannabis, and that he would vote for it. Meanwhile, the agriculture commissioner tweeted, “In Kentucky, we designed our hemp program to help any family farmer willing to give it a chance.  Hemp once thrived in Kentucky and now we are bringing it back!” He’s set to release new data on the economic impact of hemp on Monday.

Illinois’s treasurer is supporting state legislation to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks.

Idaho’s secretary of state said that pending legislation to make it harder to qualify voter initiatives for the ballot would apply to a medical cannabis and hemp petition that was recently filed.

Delaware’s Department of Justice is supporting a bill to make the possession, use or consumption of a personal use quantity of marijuana by minors a civil violation.

A Massachusetts judge ruled that state regulators do not have the authority to review host community agreements between municipalities and marijuana businesses.

The Maryland Senate voted unanimously to allow the sale of medical cannabis edibles at dispensaries.

New York’s Assembly speaker said he’s still open to considering including marijuana legalization in the final annual state budget.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Committee on Cannabis approved amendments to the territory’s marijuana legalization law.

The Texas House Public Health Committee created a new subcommittee focused on medical cannabis.

Missouri regulators released draft medical cannabis rules.

An audit by Nevada regulators determined that the state missed out on $500,000 in tax revenue due to discrepancies in data entry by marijuana businesses. Meanwhile, the state’s advisory panel to form a Cannabis Compliance Board met.

A Pennsylvania senator wants to put marijuana legalization on the ballot.

Michigan regulators named 75 people to participate in marijuana legalization implementation working groups.

Alabama regulators approved 180 applications to cultivate hemp.

Arkansas regulators approved a third medical cannabis cultivation business to begin operations.

Here’s a critical look at Minnesota’s medical cannabis task force.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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

A number of New York county executives say they will seek to opt out of allowing legal marijuana sales.

The Denver, Colorado City Council’s Marijuana Committee will hold a Monday hearing on distance requirements for designated cannabis consumption areas.

Former Tallahassee, Florida Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana in an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Several United Nations agencies released a report on human rights and drug policy.

The Philippines is withdrawing from participation in the International Criminal Court over its inquiry into the nations bloody “war on drugs.”

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin tweeted, “Despite the majority of Wisconsinites’ support for marijuana legalization, @WisGOP continues to ignore the will of the people. That’s why @GovEvers’ budget legalizes marijuana and addresses the economic and racial disparities surrounding it.”

The Democratic Party of New Mexico touted a marijuana decriminalization bill that was approved by lawmakers.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of studies on multiple sclerosis spasticity found “evidence for the efficacy and safety of THC:CBD in clinical practice.”

A study found “Sativex as effective and well tolerated for the management of the spasticity of patients with [multiple sclerosis] with moderate to severe grade symptoms.”

/ BUSINESS

The creator of Jelly Belly launched a new line of CBD-infused jelly beans.

Walmart.com is being called out for featuring a marijuana-themed sweatshirt in its juniors section.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg launched a new video game competition called the Gangsta Gaming League, which “will most definitely allow the use of cannabis.”

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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.
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Bill protects federal workers from being fired for cannabis (Newsletter: March 15, 2019)

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New CT legal marijuana plan; Treasury Sec. pressed about cannabis biz tax issues; O’Rourke’s marijuana record; Cannatourism study

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 385 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A trio of key Connecticut House committee chairs announced a new multi-bill plan to legalize marijuana in the state.

Two senators—one Republican and one Democrat—pressed Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin about marijuana business tax deductions and credits during a hearing.

Reps. Charlie Crist (D-FL) and Don Young (R-AK), along with several cosponsors, filed a bill to block federal agencies from firing employees for state-legal marijuana consumption that doesn’t affect their job performance.

Marijuana Moment’s latest presidential candidate overview takes a comprehensive look at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-TX) long track record on cannabis and drug policy reform.

A study sheds light on the marijuana-related reasons that so many tourists from China travel to Amsterdam.

  • “You can do a lot of things there that are illegal in China… So Chinese tourists want to go there to find a different way to relax that’s not traditional.”

/ FEDERAL

A federal RICO case against a Massachusetts medical cannabis dispensary was settled with an undisclosed “significant” monetary payment.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, spoke about racial justice and marijuana legalization.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) made a joke about former House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) support for marijuana law reform.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “Agreed, @MeghanMcCain. The stigma around cannabis must go. The potential for treating chronic conditions is just one of the many reasons to legalize.   In ending the federal prohibition of marijuana, there’s too much to gain, with nothing to lose.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “When Americans are arrested for marijuana use, it could make it harder to get into college, find a job, qualify for public assistance or even vote. Legalizing cannabis must include expunging prior low-level offenses and dismissing current possession charges.”

The House marijuana banking bill got 13 new cosponsors, for a total of 126.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of 22.

The House bill to require the federal government to study the impact of state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 25.

/ STATES

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed a medical cannabis regulation bill into law.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) held a press conference to push for legislation to crack down on marijuana-impaired driving.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that since he took office the state has added 25,500 new patients, nearly 1,000 caregivers and 412 doctors to its medical cannabis program. Meanwhile, the Assembly Appropriations and Senate Judiciary Committees will hold hearings on marijuana legalization bills on Monday, and the Senate president said he is “very close” to getting the 21 votes he needs to pass the legislation.

New Mexico’s marijuana legalization bill appears to have stalled in a key committee just days ahead of the end of the legislative session.

An Idaho committee approved a hemp bill.

The Kansas Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee held a hearing on a medical cannabis bill.

The Maine legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services Committee held a hearing on a bill to require insurance companies to cover medical cannabis.

Delaware lawmakers are pushing a package of criminal justice reform bills, including one that would make underage possession or use of marijuana a civil violation instead of a criminal offense.

Washington State lawmakers are considering legislation to allow medical cannabis at schools.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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

The Hennepin County, Minnesota county attorney said his office will no longer prosecute cases involving possession or sales of less than 100 grams of marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The United Nations System Coordination Task Team issued a report criticizing punitive drug policies.

Ethiopia’s health minister is opposed to medical cannabis.

/ ADVOCACY

The Republican Party of New York tweeted, “The Nassau and Suffolk County Executives are feeling the political pressure of the grassroots opposition to their fellow Democrats’ rush to legalize marijuana. Their half-baked announcement to opt-out is a cop-out.”

Fox News host Sean Hannity said, for some reason, “Just for the record, we don’t know if AOC ever smoked weed although a lot of liberals now who care about late-term abortion, during birth abortion, even after birth abortion and yes they want to legalize weed.”

Kevin Sabet of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana is floating the idea of suing MedMen over unspecified claims.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study “not find evidence that marijuana use in [people living with HIV] is associated with improved pain outcomes, or reduced opioid prescribing.”

A review concluded that “most of the variance in cannabis-related negative consequences was not explained by any single indicator of cannabis use, pointing to the fact that additional factors need to be examined to explain the experience of negative consequences from cannabis use and that additional indicators of cannabis use may be needed.”

/ BUSINESS

A California judge denied a request for an injunction from a marijuana company named Harvest on Geary Inc. that is suing to block another cannabis firm called Harvest of Napa, Inc. from using the name.

/ CULTURE

An artist from the Australian town of Woodenbong is commemorating the area by sculpting a giant wooden bong.

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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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