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Senate cannabis hearing sets stage for legalization debate (Newsletter: July 27, 2022)

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House passes marijuana research bill; Cannabis advertising legislation; SAFE Banking sponsor sees path to passage; Industry union efforts

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism discussed a wide range of marijuana issues at a hearing—including legalization, expungements, racial disparities in arrests, the need for industry equity and banking, among many others.

The House of Representatives approved a bipartisan marijuana research bill, and the Senate is expected to pass it soon as well—potentially making it the first-ever standalone cannabis reform bill to reach a president’s desk.

Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) filed a new bill to allow radio and TV stations to air marijuana ads without being punished by the Federal Communications Commission or other federal agencies. It’s called the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Advertising Act.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) said  the long-awaited introduction of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) federal marijuana legalization bill has been the final “hurdle” needed to clear a path to passing his cannabis banking legislation.

  • The congressman also said that if he doesn’t succeed in passing the SAFE Banking Act by the time he leaves office early next year, he thinks Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) will pick up the mantle and lead the charge to enact the reform.

The National Labor Relations Board is fielding a number of complaints from workers at large marijuana businesses who say the companies are improperly impeding their right to form unions.

/ FEDERAL

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Rahul Gupta said he is “enthusiastically waiting” for the Department of Justice to weigh in on the legality of safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

Former Surgeon General Jerome Adams posted a Twitter thread on his concerns about highly potent marijuana products.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) wrote in his constituent newsletter about the need to expand marijuana research and for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate CBD products.

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) tweeted, “Glad to see the Senate finally getting on board here – because no one should be in jail simply for possessing marijuana. It’s time to roll back these outdated laws and legalize recreational marijuana for adults in ways that make sense in local communities.”

Kentucky Democratic congressional candidate Matthew Lehman tweeted, “Our farms and barns are ideally suited for hemp and cannabis as those products are increasingly legalized and those markets become mature, national and global technology and manufacturing companies are choosing our state to invest in.”

The Senate bill to legalize medical cannabis for military veterans got one new cosponsor for a total of 10.

/ STATES

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) touted a new law he signed that he says “increased the mandatory minimum sentence for the sale and distribution of fentanyl to combat the flow of this dangerous drug.”

Texas Democratic comptroller candidate Janet Dudding tweeted, “To be blunt, we need your donation. So, for a limited time, we have ‘Legalize It’ bumper stickers available. Donate $4.20 or more using the link below and we’ll send you one! I have high hopes they won’t last long.”

Virginia’s Senate president pro tem continued a string of marijuana-pun tweets saying that fundraising is “up 420%.”

A cannabis equity-focused political action committee launched by New York’s Assembly majority leader has raised more than $100,000.

Oklahoma lawmakers will hold a hearing on medical cannabis oversight on Wednesday.

Tennessee senators expressed differing points of view about a new federal marijuana legalization bill.

The Arizona Court of Appeals is considering a case on marijuana expungements.

South Dakota’s first state-licensed medical cannabis dispensary is set to open on Wednesday.

Nevada regulators tweeted that “there are serious health risks associated with unregulated and untested THC products, including illicit market cannabis and Delta-8 products.”

Vermont regulators posted an updated map of licensed cannabis businesses.

Connecticut’s Social Equity Council is scheduled to consider marijuana retail licenses on Thursday.

Guam regulators will begin accepting applications from “responsible officials” for proposed marijuana businesses on August 29.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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 Kenosha, Wisconsin City Council’s Public Safety & Welfare Committee advanced a resolution to place a nonbinding marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot.

The Detroit, Michigan City Council voted to allow officials to deny medical cannabis licenses to people who have operated illegal marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK All-Party Parliamentary Group For CBD Products issued recommendations.

Zimbabwe’s Medicines Control Authority is accepting applications from businesses that want to sell medical cannabis.

Paraguayan lawmakers hosted the International Conference on Industrial Cannabis.

Singaporean officials carried out a death sentence against a man convicted of marijuana trafficking.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study indicated that “compounds from Cannabis sativa other than cannabinoids, like the flavonoid cannflavin A, can be cytotoxic to human bladder transitional carcinoma cells and that this compound can exert synergistic effects when combined with other agents.”

A review concluded that “use of higher potency cannabis, relative to lower potency cannabis, was associated with an increased risk of psychosis and” cannabis use disorder.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Kentucky Democratic Party tweeted, “As @AndyBeshearKY’s medical cannabis advisory committee holds public forums across the state, Kentuckians are making their voices heard. It’s time to legalize medical cannabis.”

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America is asking its supporters to send letters urging senators to oppose a newly filed federal marijuana legalization bill.

/ BUSINESS

Family members of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Sean Bell are teaming up to form a new company that plans to apply for a New York medical cannabis business license.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board is being asked to reconsider a previously rejected challenge to Compass Pathways’s psilocybin patents.

Small Pharma Inc. said it is being awarded a patent for novel injectable formulations of DMT by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

HEXO Corp.’s new CEO spoke about his plans to reorient the company.

/ CULTURE

Lawyers for American basketball player Brittney Griner, who is being detained in Russia after being caught with cannabis vapes at an airport, focused court arguments on what they said is her medical use of marijuana.

Pusha T, Styles P, Hit-Boy Benny the Butcher and other artists appeared in a new HeadCount video pushing senators to support federal marijuana legalization. 

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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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