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Senate votes to send cannabis research bill to Biden (Newsletter: November 17, 2022)

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Interstate marijuana commerce suit; Biden: cannabis moves are “top” achievements; Reps want banking data; GOP Congress legalization plan; MD hearing

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Senate approved a House-passed marijuana research bill—marking the first time in history that standalone cannabis reform legislation has ever been sent to the president’s desk.

  • Just before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on the floor that he’s holding “productive talks” about “moving additional bipartisan cannabis legislation in the lame duck.”

The White House is touting President Joe Biden’s move to pardon people for cannabis and initiate a review of its scheduling status as one of the administration’s “top accomplishments”—saying it will remedy the U.S.’s “failed approach to marijuana.”

Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sent a letter asking the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to provide marijuana banking data—including a demographic breakdown that they say can “inform federal efforts around equitably ending the racist cannabis prohibition.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) spoke to Marijuana Moment about her plans to advance marijuana reform in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives next year.

  • “The only place that cannabis is controversial is in D.C.”

An Oregon marijuana business filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s ban on cannabis exports and imports to and from other states—arguing that it violated the U.S. Constitution’s Dormant Commerce Clause.

The Maryland House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup held its first hearing since voters overwhelmingly approved legalization on the ballot. Lawmakers now need to craft legislation regulating the market, and this latest meeting focused on taxes.

Three subcommittees of the Louisiana Employment and Medical Marijuana Task Force met to discuss issues related to workplace protections for medical cannabis patients.

/ FEDERAL

Former President Donald Trump, in his reelection campaign announcement speech, said he would “wage war on the cartels” and reiterated that he would ask Congress for legislation “ensuring that drug dealers…who are responsible for death, carnage and crime” would receive the death penalty.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said he is open to including expungements provisions in a package of marijuana reforms alongside banking access.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) said he will be watching to see how Sen.-elect John Fetterman (D-PA) evolves and changes “in between periods of marijuana and whatever else it is he does.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “President Biden sent an important signal when he pardoned citizens with federal charges for simple marijuana possession. But there’s still a lot more to do: 1 Expungement. A pardon ends a prison sentence, but it doesn’t erase the charge from your record. People with simple marijuana possessions are still being blocked from accessing housing, employment and other resources. We must expunge records in addition to providing pardons. 2 Pardon immigrants. President Biden’s pardon only applied to citizens with federal marijuana charges. Many immigrants applying for citizenship could continue to face deportation or other adverse consequences for possessing a substance that is now legal in many states.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted, “Black folks have been disproportionately locked up for marijuana offenses. Now, we’re being locked out of the growing legal cannabis industry. We need a cannabis policy that centers equity and the people most impacted by the failed War on Drugs.”

Former Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)  tweeted about the participation of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education, and Regulation, for which he serves as co-chair, in a congressional hearing, saying, “Today’s hearing was a step in the right direction to creating a legal, regulated market for cannabis through federal guidelines.”

/ STATES

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said her reelection effort was “tough” because marijuana and other issues were on the ballot.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to impeach Philadelphia’s district attorney through a resolution that criticizes his decision not to prosecute certain marijuana and drug paraphernalia cases.

Kansas’s House minority leader wants an interim committee on medical cannabis to have additional meetings.

A Missouri senator-elect who currently serves as a representative said he would file a proposed constitutional amendment to steer legal marijuana tax revenue toward eliminating the personal property tax.

Florida has a new top medical cannabis regulator.

Indiana’s State Police superintendent said he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana but that he hasn’t seen an increase in enforcement near the borders with states that have enacted reform.

Ohio regulators said it doesn’t appear that the state can enter into a medical cannabis reciprocity agreement with Kentucky under the limited provisions of an executive order on the issue that Gov. Andy Beshear (D) issued this week.

New York regulators are being accused of violating the Constitution with guidance that says recreational marijuana “dispensaries, their true parties of interest, passive investors, and any management service providers cannot have any interest in any business anywhere that cultivates, processes, or distributes cannabis.”

Oklahoma regulators are accepting public comments on proposed medical cannabis rules through December 15.

Vermont regulators posted an update on the first six weeks of the state’s legal adult-use marijuana market.

Arizona regulators will begin accepting applications for nonprofit medical cannabis dispensary certificates on December 16.

Washington State regulators will host a conversation to explore ideas for modernizing rules for cannabis plant canopy on November 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 San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors voted to suspend the city’s cannabis business tax until the end of 2025.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Colombian Senate First Committee approved a report attached to a marijuana legalization bill, with a vote on the legislation itself expected next week.

Bavaria, Germany’s health minister is urging European Union officials to block his country’s marijuana legalization plans.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “CBD is a well-tolerated and safe natural compound that exerts analgesic effects, decreasing hyperalgesia, and mechanical/thermal allodynia in several animal models of pain and patients” and that “using CBD seems to be a promising strategy to overcome the lack of efficacy of conventional treatment for chronic pain.”

A review highlighted the “diversification of clinical trials on cannabinoid-based medications in the past 21 years,” underlining “the increased interest in conducting clinical studies on new cannabinoid administration methods such as topical applications and on the investigation of emerging phyto- and synthetic cannabinoids” and showing that “more clinical trials have been designed to explore the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids in areas such as mental, behavioral, or neurodevelopmental disorders and skin diseases.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Scottish adults found that they support ending prosecutions of people for possessing small amounts of marijuana, 65 percent to 18 percent, and support enacting the same policy for heroin, 42 percent to 36 percent.

The Kentucky Democratic Party tweeted, “Thanks to Gov. @AndyBeshearKY’s executive order, medical cannabis can be legally used starting Jan. 1, providing a lifeline to Kentuckians in pain. This is huge — while GOP lawmakers continue to ignore the will of an overwhelming majority of Kentuckians, Gov. Beshear listened.” The party also criticized the state’s agriculture commissioner, saying, “After Ryan Quarles tried to ban Delta 8, a state court ruled that this hemp derivative — which is not a controlled substance under state or federal law — is legal in Kentucky. Yesterday @GovAndyBeshear announced official regulations to ensure it can be sold and purchased safely.”

ASTM International’s cannabis committee developed a new practice for supplier lifecycle management.

Oklahoma Southern Baptists adopted a resolution opposing marijuana legalization.

The director of Americans for Prosperity Montana spoke about efforts to build support for psychedelics policy reform in the state.

/ BUSINESS

SHF Holdings, Inc., d/b/a/ Safe Harbor Financial closed its acquisition of Rockview Digital Solutions, Inc, d/b/a Abaca.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. received a $56.8 million investment from a subsidiary of BAT.

Payments provider Zotto is being accused of withholding money from several CBD companies.

WM Technology, Inc. has a new chief marketing officer.

Michigan retailers sold $209.4 million worth of legal marijuana products in October.

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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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