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Senate bills include hemp & cannabis reforms (Newsletter: November 11, 2020)

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TX marijuana bills filed; MS officials slam medical cannabis lawsuit; VA bans police searchers based on marijuana smell; Federal legalization push

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate Appropriations Committee introduced federal spending bills and related reports that include provisions pushing back against restrictive U.S. Department of Agriculture hemp rules, protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference, blocking the District of Columbia from legalizing marijuana sales and pointing out that cannabis’s Schedule I status impedes research.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) sent a letter urging congressional colleagues  to support passage of a federal marijuana legalization bill when it comes to the House floor next month.

  • “The recent success of cannabis reform in states around the country should give us a new sense of urgency to ensure Congress catches up with the American people.”

In a state Supreme Court filing, Mississippi’s attorney general and secretary of state slammed a mayor’s “woefully untimely” lawsuit that seeks to overturn a voter-approved medical marijuana ballot measure.

Texas lawmakers have already pre-filed at least 13 marijuana bills for the 2021 session, including proposals to legalize and decriminalize, as well as expand the state’s existing limited medical cannabis program.

  • “Texas will be facing tremendous budgetary challenges next session. My bill would create 30,000 new jobs for our state and produce $3.2 billion in new revenue WITHOUT raising taxes on everyday Texans!”

A bill to ban Virginia police from conducting searches or seizing property based on the smell of marijuana became law after the legislature signed off on Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) unrelated changes. The cannabis odor policy formally takes effect on March 1.

/ FEDERAL

The Biden-Harris Transition named members of review teams for specific federal agencies, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Department of Justice.

Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) filed a bill to stop forced separations of immigrant families that includes a provision to exempt low-level marijuana offenses and state-legal cannabis activity as a factor in denying secondary reviews for adjustment of their status.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Voters in four more states just voted to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana. It’s past time to end the federal prohibition on marijuana and work to undo the harms done by the War on Drugs, particularly in Black and brown communities.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) cited marijuana legalization measures’ success at the ballot as an example of an issue that Democrats should embrace.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) urged police to use discretion in enforcing marijuana laws following voters’ approval of legalization. Meanwhile, the Senate president tweeted, “The people of NJ have spoken loud and clear, and the legislature will work to see that all people are treated fairly under the new #marijuana regulations that our state will establish. We can and will make this industry work for all.”

The Florida Senate withdrew a motion to dismiss a marijuana legalization ballot measure pending review before the state Supreme Court.

The New Mexico legislature’s interim Economic & Rural Development Committee discussed marijuana legalization.

The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board rejected adding insomnia as a medical cannabis qualifying condition and tabled consideration of adding traumatic brain injury.

Wisconsin regulators proposed rules on removing and exempting federally-approved CBD drugs from state schedules.

California regulators sent a bulletin about marijuana tax rates remaining the same in the new year.

Michigan regulators will hold an education and outreach session on marijuana microbusiness licenses on Thursday.

The Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board will meet on Friday.

Missouri regulators released data on the status of medical cannabis facility minimum standards reviews.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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 Pima County, Arizona attorney’s office is dismissing pending marijuana possession cases and will no longer pursue such prosecutions.

The Fayetteville, Georgia City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

New York City’s mayor tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana will bring our city much needed revenue right now — and we have to do it the right way by making sure it benefits those most hurt by the racist war on drugs.”

San Francisco, California officials announced new technical assistance offerings for marijuana social equity applicants.

/ INTERNATIONAL

An Israeli Knesset committee issued recommendations for marijuana legalization.

An Irish Labour Party lawmaker is calling on other parties to work together to decriminalize drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “different forms of racial prejudice have a negative effect on Whites’ support for cannabis legalization generally.”

A case study “adds to evidence that early intervention in [Lennox–Gastaut syndrome] with CBD might be more helpful and improve outcomes.”

/ BUSINESS

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $61.6 million and a net loss of $2.1 million.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. is seeking to raise $125 million with a public offering.

Standing Akimbo is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case challenging the Internal Revenue Services’s ability to investigate marijuana businesses.

Organigram Holdings Inc announced it raised $60 million in an underwritten public offering.

Cresco Labs workers in Fall River, Massachusetts voted to join United Food and Commercial Workers Local 328.

/ CULTURE

Rick Steves published a Facebook post about the success of marijuana ballot initiatives.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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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