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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.

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 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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

Newsletter

Mexico’s president talks legal cannabis as bill advances (Newsletter: November 27, 2020)

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OR prosecutor drops drug cases after decrim vote; Prohibitionists sue to overturn marijuana ballot results

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said a marijuana legalization bill that is advancing is “part of carrying out a revolution of consciences, where each of us is responsible for his actions.” The comments come as the Senate-passed legislation has been formally received by the Chamber of Deputies, where it has been referred to several committees.

The Clackamas County, Oregon District Attorney’s Office announced it will no longer pursue drug possession cases after voters passed a statewide decriminalization ballot measure. The reform doesn’t take effect until February, but the early move is “consistent with the will of the voters, which we must respect,” the office said.

  • “It is our belief that having officers investigate and submit cases for a prosecution in the weeks leading up to February 1, which will not lead to any sanction or court supervised treatment, is not the most effective use of criminal justice resources.”

Marijuana prohibitionists in three states are now waging battles to convince courts to overturn voter-approved legalization measures. These efforts come after opponents in one state succeeded in blocking voters from even getting a chance to decide on cannabis reform.

/ FEDERAL

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, in a consenting opinion in a case striking down coronavirus restrictions on religious gatherings, wrote, “In recent months, certain other Governors have issued similar edicts. At the flick of a pen, they have asserted the right to privilege restaurants, marijuana dispensaries, and casinos over churches, mosques, and temples.”

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security addressed public comments on using marijuana offenses as bars to asylum eligibility.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) tweeted, “The President should use the pardon power to redress manifest injustices, not shamelessly cover up the corruption that touched the core of this Administration. I hope President-elect Biden will use clemency to help right the wrongs of our misguided ‘war on drugs.'”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “I agree with @NewJerseyOAG that it’s only fair to suspend marijuana possession related cases in light of the November referendum.”

/ STATES

Kentucky’s House speaker said it’s not clear where newly elected members stand on medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at where some incoming Connecticut lawmakers stand on legalizing marijuana.

Alaska regulators finalized rules on marijuana quality control.

A California appeals court ruled that “lawful possession of marijuana in a vehicle does not provide probable cause to search the vehicle.”

North Carolina published a list of registered hemp processors.

Utah regulators released a video on how to become a registered medical cannabis patient.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on Wednesday.


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 Pennington County, South Dakota Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page’s rating is dropping amid complaints about the sheriff’s role in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law.

Richmond, Virginia’s mayor tweeted, ” It is past time to fully legalize marijuana and I hope the General Assembly acts quickly to get this done.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Colombian Senate committee approved a marijuana legalization bill.

The Vancouver, Canada City Council unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by the mayor that requests a federal exemption to decriminalize drug possession.

The Manitoba, Canada government introduced legislation to create a new license category for marijuana and liquor delivery services.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “preliminary clinical trials also support the efficacy of CBD as an anxiolytic, antipsychotic, and antidepressant, and more importantly, a positive risk-benefit profile.”

A study identified the “first clear evidence for the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site,” concluding that “Datura was ingested in the cave and that the rock painting represents the plant itself, serving to codify communal rituals involving this powerful entheogen.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws filed to intervene against a lawsuit from police officials who are seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. entered into a strategic supply agreement with Israeli company Cantek Holdings.

Harborside Inc. shareholders approved new board members for the company.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Nas narrates a new 30-second ad for Weedmaps.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Trump gets list of cannabis prisoners for clemency push (Newsletter: November 26, 2020)

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CT lawmakers could put legal marijuana on ballot; NJ AG: adjourn cannabis cases; Prosecutors’ memo on dropping marijuana charges

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Republican lawmakers and celebrities like Kevin Garnett sent a letter urging President Trump to free people who are serving time in federal prison for marijuana. Organizers say the office of Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner asked them for a specific list of clemency candidates, which they attached to the letter.

Connecticut’s incoming House speaker said that if there aren’t enough votes in the legislature to pass marijuana legalization in 2021, lawmakers will put it on the ballot for voters to decide.

New Jersey’s attorney general issued a directive telling prosecutors to suspend most marijuana possession cases.

  • “Fairness demands that we suspend prosecution of marijuana possession-related cases while we await direction from the Legislature on the parameters for decriminalization of marijuana and legalization of regulated adult-use cannabis. It simply does not make sense or serve justice to proceed with prosecutions on charges that may be foreclosed soon through legislative action.”

Days earlier, a New Jersey prosecutor sent a memo to colleagues across the state urging them to stop pursuing most marijuana cases while lawmakers work out the details of legal cannabis sales legislation.

  • “The primary duty of a lawyer engaged in public prosecution is not to convict, but to see that justice is done.”

/ FEDERAL

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) filed a resolution condemning police brutality that recognizes that the U.S., “especially under the auspices of the wars on drugs and global terrorism, has in recent decades dramatically increased its influence on the tactics, equipment, and purpose of policing around the world.”

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “In red and blue states alike, voters sent a clear message: we must END the war on drugs. It’s time to legalize marijuana, expunge the records of those serving time for it, and ensure BIPOC communities that have been disproportionately harmed own the profits of this new industry.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “In PA, you can get yourself a curbside, ready-to-drink mojito the size of a gas can and a criminal record for life if you sip a little weed. That’s freedom.”

A New Jersey court said regulators erred in rejecting medical cannabis business license applications and that its process lacked transparency.

California regulators are proposing emergency rules requiring marijuana businesses to post unique QR code certificates in storefront windows and carry them while transporting or delivering cannabis.

Alaska regulators are proposing rules on reinstating marijuana business licenses after a failure to renew.

Massachusetts regulators may be facing a lawsuit over marijuana delivery rules they are poised to enact next week.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is concerned that passage of two drug policy reform ballot measures this month will cause people to forage for psychedelic mushrooms in state forests.

Oklahoma regulators published a frequently asked questions document for medical cannabis business applicants.

Michigan regulators published a list of county allocations for medical cannabis operation and oversight grants.


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

New York City’s mayor tweeted, “Congratulations to @AndreaSCousins and the @NYSenDems on achieving a historic supermajority! Now’s the time to be bold — legalize marijuana and ensure the wealthiest New Yorkers pay their fair share for a real, equitable recovery for our city and state.”

Candidates for Orleans Parish, Louisiana district attorney were asked whether they would stop prosecuting marijuana possession cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Malawi officials said the country is ready to start producing and processing cannabis for medical and industrial uses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “11 out of 13 studies reviewed observed varying degrees of pain relief using cannabis over opioids under certain specific conditions” and that “there appears to be some benefits in certain situations however cannabis certainly does not appear to be a drop-in replacement for opioids in chronic pain management.”

A study examined “the prevalence of cannabis use for migraine relief in a sample of cannabis users, and suggests that these migraineurs experience a high level of migraine relief from cannabis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Slovaks oppose lowering penalties for marijuana, 61%-36%.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board said California should watch and learn from the implementation of Oregon’s new drug decriminalization law.

/ BUSINESS

Vireo Health International, Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $11.9 million.

Planet 13 Holdings Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $22.8 million and net income of $0.2 million.

Rubicon Organics Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of C$3.2 million and a net loss of C$4.3 million.

/ CULTURE

Actor Ben Affleck spoke about a bad experience he had with marijuana as a teenager.

Filmmaker Terry Gilliam said he wanted to try psilocybin mushrooms for the first time for his 80th birthday.

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NY cannabis effort gets boost from NJ, top senator says (Newsletter: November 25, 2020)

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Lawmakers tell feds to better coordinate hemp rules; N. Macedonia PM floats legal marijuana; NY poll: Voters back legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York’s Senate majority leader said that legalizing marijuana is inevitable, and that the effort is boosted by this month’s cannabis vote next door in New Jersey.

  • “It’s not so much a matter of if, it’s a matter of when and it’s a matter of how.”

A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 60%-32%—the highest backing ever in a Siena College survey.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) sent a letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Drug Enforcement Administration, Food and Drug Administration and White House Office of Management and Budget to stop contradicting one another with their various hemp rules and do a better job coordinating to support the industry.

North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said the country might legalize marijuana to boost tourism.

  • “The idea is to allow consumption of marijuana in cafes, both in existing and new ones, and in tourist places, including Skopje, if they respect certain standards on ventilation, proof of origin of the marijuana and so on.”

/ FEDERAL

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarding a contract for technical support for marijuana and public health program activities.

Former federal drug czars and other advocates sent a letter urging President-elect Joe Biden to restore the White House Office of National Drug Control policy to cabinet-level status.

/ STATES

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) issued another round of pardons for people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses.

Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) coauthored an op-ed with a delegate on the need to legalize marijuana through an equity lens.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Now that the PA election is in the books, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out that the Democratic Party platform is to the right of South Dakota on legal weed. Montana. Arizona. Our party’s cowardice on weed demands courage on Psilocybin mushrooms and microdosing. If you believe we should label a person a criminal for the rest of their lives for using a plant, I literally can’t wait for you to vote for Crazy McCrazypants instead of me.”

Rhode Island’s incoming House speaker said Democrats discussed marijuana legalization on a caucus call.

A New Mexico judge gave regulators two weeks to explain their position on medical cannabis reciprocity.

Georgia regulators voted to approve requests for proposals for licenses to grow and process medical cannabis oil.

Alaska regulators voted to renew drive-thru and curbside pickup capabilities for marijuana dispensaries.

California regulators reported quarterly marijuana tax revenues.

New Jersey regulators issued an additional medical cannabis dispensary permit.

Maine regulators issued new conditional marijuana business licenses.

Oklahoma regulators released updated lists of approved medical cannabis laboratories and transporters.


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 Fort Worth, Texas Police Department is no longer arresting or citing people for small amounts of marijuana.

The Detroit, Michigan City Council approved rules for recreational marijuana businesses.

Oakland, California officials posted information about availability of loans for cannabis equity applicants to purchase property.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canada’s former minister of health coauthored an op-ed calling for drug decriminalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “legal recreational products’ share of Canada’s overall cannabis consumption began at 7.8% in October 2018 and grew to 23.7% by September 2019, with an average of 14.5% over the first 12 months ” and that “legal recreational products captured market share to the extent they were available, accessible, and low-priced,” while “problems with those factors slowed the initial expansion of legal product sales but also suggested ways to gradually increase their market share.”

A study concluded that “cannabis users whose purposes are medical, recreational or both tend to differ in their selected administration methods.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws is urging supporters to call a local sheriff and ask him to withdraw as a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the state’s voter-approved legalization measure.

The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted, “It’s not enough to just legalize marijuana. Elected officials must do so in a way that tackles racial disparities head-on.”

The National Cannabis Industry Association’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee sent a letter urging Illinois officials to revamp the state’s marijuana social equity licensing process.

/ BUSINESS

Jushi Holdings Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $24.9 million and a net loss of $30 million.

Tilray, Inc. announced an agreement to exchange $72.9 million of debt for approximately 6.4 million shares.

BevCanna Enterprises Inc. signed a letter of intent to acquire Naturo Group Investments Inc.

Vireo Health International, Inc. filed a preliminary prospectus to issue up to C$260 million in securities.

Nabis Holdings settled a lawsuit against its former president and CEO.

Weedmaps is an official sponsor for the upcoming Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight.

/ CULTURE

Jay-Z joined TPCO Holding Corp. as chief visionary officer.

Former hockey player Daniel Carcillo spoke about his use of psychedelics for mental health.

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