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Senator slams Big Pharma for opposing legal cannabis (Newsletter: Feb. 26, 2018)

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Trump wants death penalty for dealers; CO gov predicts small crackdown; UK medical cannabis vote bumped

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump privately supports executing drug dealers. The president  often “leaps into a passionate speech about how drug dealers are as bad as serial killers and should all get the death penalty,” according to the Axios exclusive.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) called out pharmaceutical companies for opposing marijuana legalization. “To them it’s competition for chronic pain, and that’s outrageous because we don’t have the crisis in people who take marijuana for chronic pain having overdose issues,” she said.

/ FEDERAL

Former White House National Economic Council official George David Banks spoke about his surprise that using marijuana a handful of times years ago caused him to not receive a security clearance.

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a candidate for U.S. Senate, touted his support for ending the war on drugs at a campaign rally.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) said that expunging marijuana convictions can “remove the barriers to housing, education, and employment that so many people face.”

Congresswoman ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) said she disagrees with primary challengers who support legalizing marijuana.

The U.S. House bill to remove roadblocks to marijuana research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 11.

California Democratic congressional candidate Hans Keirstead‏ said he would continue the marijuana reform advocacy of incumbent Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said he “wouldn’t be surprised if [U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions] closes down one or two of these [marijuana] facilities just to make that statement.” And Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) said legalizing marijuana in his state “created a bit of commerce” and “generated employment.”

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) said marijuana legalization has “worked extremely well,” and that he may discuss the issue at a White House meeting on Monday. Separately, Democratic attorney general candidate Aaron Ford, currently a senator, said “you can depend on me to defend the hundreds of new businesses, thousands of new jobs & millions in revenue for our state that recreational marijuana has delivered.”

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss said that legalizing marijuana is part of a public health approach to opioid issues. Rival Democratic contender Chris Kennedy tweeted that “we will build a cannabis system that ensures medical availability, reduces unneeded incarceration and creates a safe marketplace for all.”

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana legalization. And here’s a look at several cannabis bills pending before lawmakers.

Maine’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee approved legislation that would not allow cannabis social use areas.

The Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee approved CBD medical cannabis legislation.

The Oklahoma Senate Committee on Health and Human Services will consider legislation on Monday to preemptively enact restrictions on medical cannabis ahead of a ballot measure vote.

Massachusetts regulators will decide over the next two weeks whether to approve proposed rules allowing marijuana social use areas and delivery services.

Backers of a possible Ohio marijuana legalization measure said they may not end up pursuing it until next year or in 2020.

The Tennessee House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will hear a medical cannabis bill on Tuesday.

Connecticut regulators will hold a hearing on adding new medical cannabis qualifying conditions on Monday.

Rhode Island senators filed bills to extend the reporting deadline for the state’s marijuana legalization study commission and to quadruple the number of medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Hawaii senators introduced a pair of resolutions urging the National Football League to allow players to “use cannabidiol in pill or liquid form, in lieu of opioids, to address the pain from work-related injuries.”

West Virginia senators filed a resolution urging Congress to “reassess the federal definition of ‘industrial hemp’, allowing the product to contain up to one percent delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol on a dry weight basis.” Separately, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to allow vertical integration in the medical cannabis industry.

The Arizona House Judiciary Committee refused to hear a marijuana legalization bill, effectively killing it.

Native American tribes in California are considering allowing their own marijuana industries that operate outside of the state’s regulatory scheme.

/ LOCAL

San Francisco, California regulators are forgiving fines for building code violations by previously unregulated marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK lawmakers ran out the clock debating unrelated bills, so medical cannabis legislation that was scheduled for consideration on Friday did not receive a debate or a vote.

Israeli medical cannabis producers are suing the government to allow exports.

/ ADVOCACY

American Legion officials spoke about its advocacy for medical cannabis for veterans at a press conference.

Staffers for the National Conference of State Legislatures discussed the organization’s support for ending federal marijuana prohibition.

The Conservative Political Action Conference hosted a debate about marijuana legalization.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Times editorial board endorsed the opening of safe injection facilities for illegal drug consumers.

A poll found that Tennessee voters in key Senate districts overwhelmingly support medical cannabis.

The Boston Herald editorial board is opposed to a proposed public bank to serve the Massachusetts marijuana industry.

/ BUSINESS

Eli Lilly & Co. said in response to a shareholder resolution on marijuana that “descheduling of cannabis is not one of our core priorities.”

Nevada has generated more than $30 million in tax revenue from the first six months of legal marijuana sales.

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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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