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Senators press for cannabis banking hearing (Newsletter: June 21, 2021)

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ME House passes drug decrim; CT gov open to smoking marijuana; Senate advances cannabis research expansion; MN special session could tackle marijuana

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Maine House of Representatives voted to decriminalize all drugs—on the 50th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of the war on drugs.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee approved an amendment to let researchers study the marijuana that consumers are actually purchasing from dispensaries—instead of having to use government-grown cannabis. Similar legislation is advancing in the House.

Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Steve Daines (R-MT) are publicly calling on the Senate Banking Committee to vote on their marijuana banking bill—a move that suggests conventional behind-the-scenes efforts to get colleagues to schedule a hearing aren’t getting results.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said he’s open to smoking marijuana after it becomes formally legalized with his signature.

Minnesota’s House majority leader, who sponsored a marijuana legalization bill that passed his chamber this year, says cannabis reform could “move forward” in a special session. Advocates want decriminalization expansion and for the state to petition the federal government for an exemption for its medical cannabis program.

/ FEDERAL

A former Drug Enforcement Administration special agent and a former DEA task force officer were convicted by a federal jury of scheming to steal property and money from people who had been arrested.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity on Tuesday.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) spoke about her drug decriminalization bill in an MSNBC appearance.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), in a press release about being at the White House for President Joe Biden’s signing of a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday, said, “We need to end police violence and the war on drugs.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The war on drugs does not work. We have failed our communities. We need to take a serious look at decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana, and overhaul our country’s racist police practices once and for all.”

Rep. Nydia Velazquz (D-NY) tweeted, “The war on drugs is expensive — and deadly. That’s one reason I’m so proud to cosponsor the #MOREAct.”

/ STATES

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed bills to revise various marijuana rules.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said he plans to sign a marijuana legalization bill this week.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) mentioned the state’s progress on legalizing marijuana in a Twitter thread about Juneteenth.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler, a former state attorney general, tweeted, “The consequences of a simple marijuana possession conviction can derail someone’s life, closing the door to jobs and more. That is why we need to legalize cannabis in Maryland and establish a comprehensive system to expunge possession records.”

Florida lawmakers sent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) a bill to deschedule s federally approved CBD medication.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives passed a bill to defelonize drug possession.

A North Carolina bill to allow medical cannabis if federal law changes has been continually put on the House calendar and delayed for action in recent weeks.

A Vermont representative who is sponsoring a psychedelics decriminalization bill participated in a webinar with activists.

Washington State regulators published a policy statement about giveaways at marijuana retailers.

Colorado regulators are accepting nominations to serve on the Hemp Advisory Committee.

The South Dakota legislature’s Adult-Use Marijuana Study Subcommittee will meet on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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 Albuquerque, New Mexico City Council rejected proposed restrictive marijuana business zoning rules.

Little Rock, Arkansas marijuana arrest data contradicts the police chief’s claim that a lowest law enforcement priority measure would not have a material impact.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators are proposing rules to restrict flavors in inhaled marijuana extracts in order to reduce their appeal to youth.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “initiation of medical cannabis use was associated with self-reported reductions and/or cessation of [tobacco/nicotine] use in nearly half of study participants.”

A study found that “72% of popular rap songs contain references to one or more substances.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Connecticut Democratic Party tweeted, “Week in Review:…✅ CT legalized marijuana with 90 Democrats and 1 Republican voting Yes on the final bill.”

The Colorado Education Association withdrew its support for a proposed ballot initiative to fund after-school programs by increasing marijuana taxes.

/ BUSINESS

A federal judge sentenced two former consultants for Eaze Technologies Inc to prison for a scheme to trick banks into handling more than $100 million in payments for marijuana sales.

TILT Holdings Inc. was fined $275,000 by Massachusetts regulators to settle charges it used onerous loans and management contracts to gain effective control over more marijuana business licenses than state law allows and failed to properly disclose the relationships.

Canopy Growth Corporation and other companies are being sued for allegedly entering an agreement to mass produce marijuana “solely” to pump their stock prices and earn profits for insiders.

Atai Life Sciences B.V. shares surged 40 percent in its Nasdaq debut.

Arkansas dispensaries have sold more than $338 million worth of medical cannabis since the program launched.

/ CULTURE

Owen Wilson said the legalization of marijuana “takes some of the fun out of it.”

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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.

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