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Senate Dems announce cannabis plans for 2021 (Newsletter: February 2, 2021)

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VA marijuana bills advance toward floor; MN leaders’ legal cannabis bill; Census Bureau’s marijuana revenue plan; Biden USDA meets with hemp advocates

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There are now 499 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2021 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NH), Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced a plan to release a federal marijuana legalization proposal “in the early part of this year.”

  • “We are committed to working together to put forward and advance comprehensive cannabis reform legislation that will not only turn the page on this sad chapter in American history, but also undo the devastating consequences of these discriminatory policies. The Senate will make consideration of these reforms a priority.”

Five Virginia House and Senate committees and subcommittees have advanced marijuana legalization bills in the past three days alone as Friday’s key crossover deadline approaches.

Minnesota’s House speaker and majority leader filed a bill to legalize marijuana in 2021. Its path through the Republican-controlled Senate remains unclear, but Gov. Tim Walz (D) is on board with legalizing cannabis.

The U.S. Census Bureau announced another new move to collect marijuana revenue data from states—and this one includes not only sales taxes but also licensing fees. This information, federally compiled, will help legitimize the industry, advocates say.

Acting U.S. Agriculture Secretary Kevin Shea took the new Biden administration’s first meeting with the hemp industry last week to learn about market needs for the newly legal crop.

/ FEDERAL

The Small Business Administration highlighted hemp as a regulatory issue to watch.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released short podcasts about pest control issues for hemp growers.

/ STATES

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) spoke about the fiscal potential of legalizing marijuana.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) named a new staffer who will serve as his liaison to the state’s Cannabis Control Board.

Pennsylvania’s agriculture secretary announced that projects on hemp-based construction and testing for cannabinoids in hemp-fed cows are among new state grant recipients.

The Oregon State Police issued an advisory about the state’s new voter-approved drug decriminalization law.

The Utah House of Representatives approved a bill to block municipalities and counties from banning hemp.

California regulators issued guidance clarifying that it is not a violation of state law for tax preparers to serve cannabis businesses.

Some New Jersey black lawmakers reportedly see the latest marijuana legalization “clean-up” bill as an insult that doesn’t address their concerns with an earlier version.

Idaho representatives said they will soon file a medical cannabis bill.

A New Mexico senator is optimistic about passing a bill to defelonize drug possession this year.

Michigan regulators will hold a marijuana business resource workshop on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 450 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

New York City arrests for drug possession and low-level sales dropped by 80 percent over the past decade.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania marijuana treatment admissions fell considerably following the enactment of a local decriminalization policy.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa asked officials to look into the possibility of legalizing marijuana.

Australian pharmacies can now sell CBD without a prescription.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency sent a reminder about the March 31 deadline for CBD companies to submit novel food applications for validation in order to continue to sell their products.

Guyana’s government and an opposition party clashed over the details of competing marijuana bills.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “increasing concentrations of Cannabis sativa (CS) induced [lung cancer] cell death in a time-dependent manner.”

The federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality issued an update on evidence about cannabis’s impact on treating chronic pain.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable hired a former U.S. attorney to oversee the organization’s ethics compliance efforts.

The Council on Criminal Justice’s chief policy counsel called on the Biden administration and Congress to enact federal marijuana reform.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray, Inc. received approval to offer medical cannabis products in Portugal.

TerrAscend Canada is recalling marijuana-infused gummies over possible mold contamination.

Organic Cannabis Foundation is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up its tax dispute case.

The Pot Shop sent a press release claiming it “has started to ship products via express mail to all 50 states at the advent of federal legalization.”

/ CULTURE

Martha Stewart spoke about her line of CBD products for pets.

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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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