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



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

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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.


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.


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.


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.”


Activists in Georgia rallied for drug policy reform.


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.


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.”


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.


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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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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