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Sessions (the other one) spouts Reefer Madness (Newsletter: Feb. 22, 2018)

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AL decrim advances; Legalization on IL ballot?; GOP candidates talk medical marijuana, but voted against; UK PM under fire on medical access

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), who has blocked all marijuana amendments from advancing to the House floor for the past two years, revealed the extent of his anti-cannabis views in new wide-ranging comments.

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-4 to approve a marijuana decriminalization bill. The House Judiciary Committee rejected a similar proposal on a 7-5 vote.

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee approved a bill to place a nonbinding marijuana legalization question before voters in November.

Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Congressman Luke Messer (R-IN), both running for their party’s nomination for U.S. Senate, voiced support for medical cannabis during a debate — but their actual voting record shows that they have consistently opposed even the most limited marijuana amendments.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach said the Trump administration doesn’t want to expand existing protections for the hemp industry.

Members of Congress spoke about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana moves:

  • Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): “In a curious way, Sessions is actually helping. The legalization train has left the station and one way or another, it’s going to be game over in four years. Thanks to Jeff Sessions, this might be over a year or two sooner.”
  • Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA): “He thinks he’s trying to protect people from hurting themselves. In the past, I always thought conservatives thought it was about self-reliance and personal freedom. I thought we were always opposed to the nanny state taking care of this.”

The U.S. House bill to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks got one new cosponsor, for a total of 84.

/ STATES

Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman (P) is speaking out against pending marijuana saliva testing legislation.

The Alaska legislature approved an industrial hemp bill.

The Utah Senate approved a bill to create a legal framework to process and sell CBD products.

Maine lawmakers tasked with crafting marijuana legalization implementation legislation seem set to reduce the number of plants people can grow, eliminate social use areas and to require municipalities to take affirmative action to allow cannabis businesses.

New Mexico’s Senate Judiciary Committee did not vote on a resolution to place a marijuana legalization question on the ballot, effectively killing it.

Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R), a gubernatorial candidate, is under fire for potential campaign finance violations related to a mailing she sent that included a survey question on support for medical cannabis.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) approved the first surety bond program for the cannabis industry.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost (R), a candidate for attorney general, said it is too late to pause medical cannabis business licensing to address procedural errors.

Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said she supports “decriminalization of marijuana, legalization of medical marijuana and local cultivation of medical marijuana,” adding that she is “open to legalization for recreational use.”

The Missouri Senate briefly debated a medical cannabis amendment.

The New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus held a hearing on marijuana legalization.

A Florida representative is using new marijuana arrest data to push for decriminalization.

/ LOCAL

Denver, Colorado regulators are hosting a  forum on licensing, permitting and inspections for the marijuana industry on March 7.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK Prime Minister Theresa May faced questions about the government’s approach to medical cannabis access during an appearance in the House of Commons. And, after days of criticism, regulators said they are considering issuing a special license to allow a six-year-old boy with severe epilepsy to use medical cannabis.

The Canadian government released new data tracking marijuana use levels over time.

/ ADVOCACY

Koch Industries is paying for pro-marijuana-reform banner ads on CNN’s website.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis use is associated with a potentially beneficial reduction in systemic inflammation and immune activation in the context of antiretroviral-treated HIV infection.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Arizona voters support legalizing marijuana, 63%-24%.

/ BUSINESS

GW Pharmaceuticals announced that its cannabinoid medicine to treat adult seizures did not outperform placebos in a study.

Las Vegas’s McCarran International Airport now has marijuana disposal boxes.

The Outline looks at the evolution of marijuana journalism.

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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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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Veterans cannabis bill filed in Congress (Newsletter: January 26, 2021)

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DE auditor: Legal marijuana = revenue; NM gov & top lawmaker bullish on legalization; Anti-cannabis ND rep’s legalization bill; New psychedelics org

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed a new bill in Congress to protect military veterans from losing their Department of Veterans Affairs benefits for using marijuana. But the new legislation omits a section from last year’s version that would let VA doctors issue written medical cannabis recommendations.

Delaware’s state auditor issued a new report concluding that legalizing marijuana would generate $43 million in annual tax revenue and create more than 1,000 new jobs.

  • “The First State cannot and should not be the last state to approve legalization in the region.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she is “optimistic” the state can boost its economy by legalizing marijuana this year, and the Senate majority leader is also “feeling more confident” about getting it done in 2021. Legalization bills could be unveiled as soon as this week.

A North Dakota Republican lawmaker who opposes legalizing marijuana has filed a bill to do just that. He sees reform as inevitable and wants lawmakers to write the rules, instead of activists who just got approval to collect signatures to put the issue on the 2022 ballot.

  • “I’m not for [legalization] at all, but I understand that it’s coming, and we have to address the issue. I’m trying something different in government—we’re trying to be proactive and not be reactive.”

The Plant Medicine Coalition is a new psychedelics advocacy group that will, among other things, focus on lobbying Congress to appropriate $100 million for research on the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, ayahuasca, LSD and other entheogens.

/ FEDERAL

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Legalize cannabis, expunge records for nonviolent crimes, and invest in Black and brown entrepreneurs.”

/ STATES

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “Medical marijuana patients, like all patients, deserve to be protected from discrimination under our laws.” She also tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana for adult-use makes sense and it’s the right thing to do: ✅Strengthens our economy ✅Starts to right wrongs in our justice system ✅Source of new state revenue”

The Idaho Senate State Affairs Committee held a hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment to block the state from legalizing marijuana or other drugs, and a vote is planned for Wednesday.

The Virginia House General Laws Committee will hear a presentation on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

New York regulators began accepting applications for hemp retailer and distributor permits.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin about having marijuana business design plans reviewed by the Bureau of Fire Services.

Montana regulators sent an update on medical cannabis business fingerprinting requirements.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission will meet on Wednesday.

Ohio regulators will consider medical cannabis rules changes on February 2.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 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

A New York City mayoral candidate wants to legalize marijuana and psychedelics and issue reparations to people harmed by the war on drugs.

Northampton, Massachusetts is the first municipality in the state to stop charging marijuana businesses an annual “community impact fee.”

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania argued in federal court that it should be able to deny employment at a jail to people who use medical cannabis.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Guyana’s government and opposition are pursuing separate marijuana reform bills.

The leader of Scotland’s Conservative Party said, in response to a question in a Facebook chat, “I am not on magic mushrooms. Indeed there were also no mushrooms in the spaghetti bolognese I had tonight.”

Thailand’s government launched a legal cannabis business registration guide.

The Antigua and Barbuda Cannabis Board granted a provisional permit for a company to grow medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that using hemp products “benefits in cannabis dependence, epilepsy, and anxiety disorders” and that “pre-clinically, hemp derivatives showed potential anti-oxidative, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-neuroinflammatory, anti-arthritic, anti-acne, and anti-microbial activities.”

A study found “no statistically significant differences in 30-day readmission rates for [irritable bowel syndrome]-specific causes when comparing patients who reported cannabis use with those who did not” but that “cannabis use was associated with reduced 30-day hospital readmission rates for all causes.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Connecticut Democratic Party tweeted about Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) support for legalizing marijuana.

The Commonwealth Dispensary Association dropped a lawsuit against Massachusetts marijuana delivery rules that favor equity applicants after it lost several of its member businesses in the wake of a boycott.

The Drug Policy Alliance brought on two new board members.

/ BUSINESS

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed a sale leaseback transaction with Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. for a Florida property.

New Cannabis Ventures reportedly obtained a leaked recording of the CEO of iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. and an investor discussing events leading to a plan that will leave current shareholders with just 2.75% of the company.

/ CULTURE

Lil Wayne’s cannabis brand,  GKUA Ultra Premium, is expanding into Colorado.

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AZ adult-use cannabis sales begin (Newsletter: January 25, 2021)

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VA legal marijuana bill clears key committee; WA lawmakers approve cannabis homegrow; SBA weighs in on USDA hemp rule; MO hotel cannabis license bill

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There are now 415 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2021 sessions. 

  • Dave Lewis, former Montana lawmaker: “I worked on the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana.  I found Marijuana Moment to be very helpful with intelligence on other states.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Virginia Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee amended and approved a marijuana legalization bill that was introduced by the governor and top lawmakers. The panel rejected an amendment to strip cannabis home cultivation rights from the legislation, which now heads to the Judiciary Committee.

Arizona recreational marijuana sales officially began after regulators approved applications from existing medical cannabis dispensaries. This is the fastest that sales have launched in any state following voter approval of legalization.

The Washington House Commerce and Gaming Committee approved a bill to legalize marijuana home cultivation. Most other legal states already let adults cultivate their own cannabis, but it’s still a felony in Washington.

The Small Business Administration said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final revised hemp rules fix a number of problems with the earlier draft but that “some concerns remained unaddressed.”

A Missouri representative filed a bill to create a new “medical marijuana lodging establishment” license to let hotels and Airbnbs allow guests to consume cannabis on site.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said hemp rules it recently filed won’t be placed on hold under an executive order President Joe Biden issued concerning regulations from the final days of the prior administration.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) tweeted, “Floridians voted OVERWHELMINGLY in support of #medicalmarijuana & it’s time state laws & employers catch up. Proud to see @TinaPolsky & @DuranForFlorida introduce a bill similar to my Fairness in Federal Drug Testing, protecting vets and other employees who use cannabis legally!”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Dear Diary, It has been 478 days since @GovernorTomWolf and I first called for immediate decriminalization and a path to legalization of adult-use cannabis. Yet still, no action on this commonsense issue to let people choose for themselves.”

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Not only will legalizing adult-use cannabis be a step towards righting the wrongs of an unjust system, it will provide much-needed revenue for New York!”

South Dakota’s House majority leader and minority leader spoke about efforts to implement voter-approved marijuana initiatives.

The Utah House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee approved a bill to block cities from banning hemp cultivation.

A Florida senator filed a bill to let medical cannabis dispensaries sell recreational marijuana. Separately, Senate Democrats tweeted about another bill to protect public employees from being fired for medical cannabis use.

Hawaii lawmakers filed marijuana legalization legislation.

New Mexico marijuana legalization bills could be filed this week.

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruled that a person who purchases a legal amount of marijuana for another person is not guilty of distribution when they transfer it to the person who provided the funds.

Michigan regulators created a marijuana Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workgroup. Senate Democrats tweeted, “BIPOC communities have suffered the most under the drug war yet benefitted the least from the cannabis industry. We must nip discrimination in the bud via #CJReform & equity programs that strengthen this growing business.”

California regulators sent a notice about restrictions on marijuana billboard advertising. Separately, they proposed emergency regulations on sharing marijuana business information with financial institutions.

Oregon regulators published a draft of marijuana compliance testing requirements.

Colorado regulators will host town halls on marijuana social equity and delivery on Wednesday and on February 11.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 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

Detroit, Michigan’s planning commission will hold a hearing on proposed marijuana rules on February 4.

San Francisco, California officials are conducting a survey on the growth of the marijuana industry and the effectiveness of the city’s Cannabis Equity Program.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The government of the Netherlands will continue to allow the supply of cannabis medicines to the UK until July despite Brexit.

The Isle of Man’s parliament approved regulations allowing medical cannabis cultivation.

Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that Catalonia lacks the power to regulate marijuana clubs.

Japan’s government is considering increasing marijuana penalties.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of chronic pain patients found that “approximately one-third of patients in the cohort remained on medical cannabis for six months” and that “pain intensity and pain-related interference scores were reduced and [quality of life] and general health symptoms scores were improved compared with baseline.”

A study found that “cannabidiol can selectively kill a subset of Gram-negative bacteria that includes the ‘urgent threat’ pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that India residents oppose legalizing marijuana, 55%-36%.

The Commonwealth Dispensary Association has lost several of its member businesses in the wake of a boycott over its decision to sue Massachusetts regulators over marijuana delivery rules that favor equity applicants.

Marijuana activist Jason Robert Karimi has been charged by federal prosecutors with allegedly threatening an unnamed member of Congress, including saying he would “cause you pain in every way possible” and “make it so you can’t even walk in anything but a wheelchair.”

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Operations Inc. is voluntarily recalling cannabis vape pens due to a hardware defect.

Choice Consolidation Corp. is a new special purpose acquisition corporation formed by former Cresco Labs and  Green Thumb Industries Inc. executives.

Cresco Labs closed an overnight marketed offering of subordinate voting shares for total gross proceeds of approximately $125 million.

Canadian retailers sold C$261.4 million worth of legal marijuana products in November.

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First federal cannabis bill of new Congress filed (Newsletter: January 22, 2021)

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CT gov’s draft legal marijuana bill; Poll: TX adults say legalize cannabis to fund schools; IL uses marijuana-funded grants to repair drug war harms

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  • Russell Sumners: “I’ve been reading your daily newsletters for a while and decided it was (past) due for me to contribute to those who put together these amazingly consistent and informational newsletters. I live in Texas and our state legislature is back in session this year. I hope to read positive news on medical marijuana policy changes to make cannabis more available to those in need in the great Lone Star State.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed the first federal marijuana reform bill of the new Congress. It would simply move cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III, which would not end prohibition but would have a number of other effects.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is circulating a draft marijuana legalization bill for feedback.

A new poll found that 64% of Texans support legalizing and taxing marijuana to fund schools. That’s more than those who want to increase the sales tax, put a new tax on sugary drinks or raise taxes on corporations, hotel occupancy or motor vehicles.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced $31.5 million in grant awards funded by marijuana tax revenue to aid communities harmed by the war on drugs. One NAACP branch got $1.8 million. Branches of the Urban league, United Way and YMCA are also getting  cannabis funds.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said state-licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Rural Business Development Grant Programs.

No members of the Senate Finance Committee asked Janet Yellen, treasury secretary nominee, questions about marijuana banking or tax issues during her confirmation hearing or in written queries for the record.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order extending the validity of medical cannabis cards through the coronavirus pandemic. Separately, he tweeted about Jay-Z’s fund for minority-owned marijuana businesses, saying, “I led the effort to decriminalize & legalize cannabis because the war on drugs has been an abject failure—with disproportionate & devastating impacts on communities of color. These are the types of entrepreneurial opportunities we dreamed of—thanks Jay-Z!”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said her administration is working to prepare to implement marijuana legalization if litigation she is backing to overturn the voter-approved measure is not successful.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s (R) latest coronavirus order allows marijuana businesses to stay open after 9:30 PM.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) tweeted about a study linking marijuana use by young people with mood disorders to an increased risk of self-harm, suicide attempts and death.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor posted on Facebook, “For decades, we’ve criminalized a plant + people who consumed it. What a bizarre, destructive superstition. Legal Weed for USA. 🇺🇸”

The North Dakota House of Representative approved a bill to tie the state’s definition of hemp to federal law.

New Mexico lawmakers spoke about the details of marijuana legalization bills they plan to file soon.

A protest against Georgia’s medical cannabis production license request for proposals from Trulieve GA Inc. has been withdrawn, and applications are now due on Wednesday.

Michigan regulators began hemp sampling.

Florida lawmakers filed legislation to protect public employees from being fired for medical cannabis use.

A Maryland delegate tweeted about a bill she is sponsoring that “will allow medical marijuana businesses to obtain state tax benefits for their business expenses — a standard benefit for businesses in every other industry. We must have equitable financial conditions in place for these businesses to thrive!”

Nevada regulators will consider marijuana business issues on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 300 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 Prairie Village, Kansas City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

San Francisco, California officials sent an update on the timeline for cannabis permanent permit applications.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s Department of Health said the country’s medical cannabis access program will launch this year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical marijuana patients were positive about the health benefits they received and the fact they were able to reduce or eliminate many prescription medications; however, there were concerns about the costs.”

A study concluded that “the way people experience mystical occasions due to psychedelic use have archetypical patterns, but culturally specific storylines.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Sacramento Bee editorial board is pushing California officials to do a better job expunging past marijuana convictions.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. entered into a deal to sell 12 million units of the company for gross proceeds of approximately $125 million.

Harborside Inc. announced that a lawsuit alleging it committed securities violations has been voluntarily dismissed.

Verano Holdings, LLC completed a concurrent brokered and non-brokered private placement financing of subscription receipts worth $100 million.

Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. announced that a previously announced deal to sell units has been upsized to C$17.5 million.

Wesana Health closed a $4 million convertible note financing round.

Wurk founder and CEO Keegan Peterson died.

/ CULTURE

Jay-Z started a $10 million fund to invest in minority-owned cannabis startups.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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