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Sessions says cannabis changes under review (Newsletter: Nov. 30, 2017)



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280E fix on Senate floor; Lawmakers push to extend medical marijuana protections; Sen. Warren touts marijuana as opioid solution


U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice is currently reviewing changes to Obama-era guidance that generally allows states to implement their own marijuana laws without federal interference. Officials held a meeting on the topic as recently as Tuesday.

Staff for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) told me he will seek to amend a broad tax reform bill on the Senate floor this week to include a provision fixing the 280E penalty on marijuana businesses.

A bipartisan group of 66 members of Congress sent a letter asking House and Senate leaders to extend a current appropriations provision protecting medical cannabis laws from federal interference.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is pressing Alex Azar, nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about legal marijuana’s potential to reduce opioid overdose deaths.



U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced law enforcement grants and created a new U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration division to combat opioid trafficking.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, will oversee the administration’s response to opioid issues.

Congressman Rob Brady (D-PA) is upset that a medical cannabis cultivation facility will not be housed inside his district.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies will hold a hearing on opioid issues on Tuesday. Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), a cofounder of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, is scheduled to testify.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission will hold a hearing on fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and synthetic cannabinoids on Tuesday.

The U.S. House comprehensive medical cannabis bill got three new cosponsors, bringing the total to 25.



Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) chaired a meeting about the interaction between the state’s marijuana and gaming industries.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said legalizing marijuana would be a “mistake.”

Kentucky’s secretary of state is urging cities and counties to endorse medical cannabis legislation.

Washington State regulators released a report on the possibility of allowing homegrown recreational marijuana.

An Arizona representative prefiled a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Maryland’s first medical cannabis dispensary expects to begin sales on Friday.

A Massachusetts budget bill would give marijuana regulators another $2.7 million to support their work to implement legalization.

California water regulators are holding a series of workshops next month about marijuana cultivation.

Here’s a skeptical analysis of a proposed North Dakota marijuana legalization ballot measure.



The Los Angeles County, California District Attorney’s Office is training police officers and prosecutors about investigating and prosecuting driving under the influence of marijuana and other drugs.



Legalization opponents are suggesting that marijuana companies will one day be forced to fund ads about the dangers of their products like the tobacco industry is today.

Michigan prohibitionists have formed a new organization — Healthy and Productive Michigan — to oppose the proposed 2018 marijuana legalization ballot measure.



The National Institutes of Health awarded researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas $2.5 million to examine cannabis use disorders.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced its intent to soon issue a request for grant proposals to fund research on “the neuroscience of marijuana and cannabinoids,” noting that studies on “the effects of changes in laws and policies on marijuana and their impact will be particularly encouraged.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse released a request for grant proposals to fund research on fast-track development of medications to treat cannabis use disorders.



A poll found that nearly half of Canadians think the government should push back its July deadline for legalizing marijuana. 65% support legalization nonetheless.

The Oklahoman editorial board is skeptical of the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.



Rolling Stone looks at efforts to accurately label marijuana strains and their areas of origin.

MassRoots and New Frontier Data are partnering on a technology-sharing agreement. (Disclosure: I am a former employee and minority shareholder in MassRoots.)

A Minnesota medical cannabis provider is experiencing product shortages, causing delays in patient access.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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