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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


TOP THINGS TO KNOW

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.
https://www.marijuanamoment.net/trump-administration-considering-marijuana-policy-changes-sessions-says/

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.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2017/11/29/gop-senator-wants-tax-break-for-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.
https://www.marijuanamoment.net/lawmakers-push-continue-medical-marijuana-protections/

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.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomangell/2017/11/29/elizabeth-warren-wants-marijuana-answers-from-trump-health-nominee/

 

FEDERAL

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced law enforcement grants and created a new U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration division to combat opioid trafficking.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-announces-grants-and-a-new-dea-office-to-combat-opioids/2017/11/29/0614fccc-d512-11e7-b62d-d9345ced896d_story.html

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, will oversee the administration’s response to opioid issues.
http://www.newsweek.com/kellyanne-conway-lead-white-house-opioid-crisis-efforts-726249

Congressman Rob Brady (D-PA) is upset that a medical cannabis cultivation facility will not be housed inside his district.
http://www.philly.com/philly/business/cannabis/marijuana-sends-a-pa-political-power-fuming-bob-brady-smukler-20171129.html

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.
https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/news/majority/appropriations-subcommittee-schedules-hearing-on-opioid-crisis

The U.S. Sentencing Commission will hold a hearing on fentanyl, fentanyl analogues, and synthetic cannabinoids on Tuesday.
https://www.ussc.gov/policymaking/meetings-hearings/public-hearing-december-5-2017

The U.S. House comprehensive medical cannabis bill got three new cosponsors, bringing the total to 25.
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2920/cosponsors?pageSort=lastToFirst

 

STATES

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) chaired a meeting about the interaction between the state’s marijuana and gaming industries.
https://www.reviewjournal.com/business/casinos-gaming/nevada-gaming-leaders-to-revisit-issue-of-pot-conventions/
//
https://twitter.com/GovSandoval/status/935914520823742464
//
https://twitter.com/GovSandoval/status/935926146234908672

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said legalizing marijuana would be a “mistake.”
http://www.wsiltv.com/story/36956971/news-3-exclusive-sit-down-with-governor-rauner

Kentucky’s secretary of state is urging cities and counties to endorse medical cannabis legislation.
http://www.lex18.com/story/36955592/grimes-encourages-kentucky-cities-counties-to-endorse-medical-marijuana
//
https://twitter.com/AlisonForKY/status/936006057951924225

Washington State regulators released a report on the possibility of allowing homegrown recreational marijuana.
https://lcb.wa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/WSLCB%20Home%20Grows%20Study%20Report%20FINAL.PDF

An Arizona representative prefiled a marijuana decriminalization bill.
https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/BillOverview/69626

Maryland’s first medical cannabis dispensary expects to begin sales on Friday.
https://twitter.com/ABC7Kevin/status/935989325887672322

A Massachusetts budget bill would give marijuana regulators another $2.7 million to support their work to implement legalization.
http://www.masslive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/11/massachusetts_house_budget_wri.html

California water regulators are holding a series of workshops next month about marijuana cultivation.
https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast/water_issues/programs/cannabis_cultivation/docs/cannabis_cultivation_policyflyer_20171201.pdf

Here’s a skeptical analysis of a proposed North Dakota marijuana legalization ballot measure.
https://www.sayanythingblog.com/entry/ballot-measure-aiming-legalize-recreational-marijuana-deep-flaws/

 

LOCAL

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.
http://da.lacounty.gov/media/news/lada-trains-hundreds-law-enforcement-officials-aid-prosecution-dui-cases-involving

 

ADVOCACY

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.
http://mailchi.mp/nationalfamilies/how-long-before-a-court-orders-the-marijuana-industry-to-tell-the-truth-like-the-tobacco-industry-had-to-begin-doing-this-week-bn96rq308h

Michigan prohibitionists have formed a new organization — Healthy and Productive Michigan — to oppose the proposed 2018 marijuana legalization ballot measure.
https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2017/11/29/organized-opposition-marijuana-legalization/906925001/

 

SCIENCE & HEALTH

The National Institutes of Health awarded researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas $2.5 million to examine cannabis use disorders.
https://brainhealth.utdallas.edu/nih-awards-center-brainhealth-2-5m-investigate-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.”
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-DA-17-059.html

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.
https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PAR-18-221.html

 

OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that nearly half of Canadians think the government should push back its July deadline for legalizing marijuana. 65% support legalization nonetheless.
http://angusreid.org/marijuana-timeline-provincial/

The Oklahoman editorial board is skeptical of the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.
http://newsok.com/oklahoma-pot-measure-not-its-election-date-deserves-debate/article/5574030

 

BUSINESS

Rolling Stone looks at efforts to accurately label marijuana strains and their areas of origin.
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/inside-the-battle-to-accurately-label-pot-w512688

MassRoots and New Frontier Data are partnering on a technology-sharing agreement. (Disclosure: I am a former employee and minority shareholder in MassRoots.)
http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/11/29/massroots-new-frontier-consumer-data-agreement/93472/

A Minnesota medical cannabis provider is experiencing product shortages, causing delays in patient access.
http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2017/11/28/medical-marijuana-shortage/

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Newsletter

Secret Sessions cannabis meeting busted open (Newsletter: Dec. 14, 2017)

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Another fed survey: Teen use down since legalization; Feds warn VT over safe injection sites; Norway decriminalizing drugs


Thanks so much to readers who value cannabis news enough to start monthly pledges to support my continued work to put these updates in your inbox every day:

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Thanks to some high-tech sleuthing and the fact that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions inadvertently showed a meeting agenda to a TV camera, we now know what he and a group of anti-marijuana activists discussed behind closed doors last week.

Another federally-funded survey found that despite a slight annual uptick in youth marijuana use, consumption levels are generally lower than when states began legalizing cannabis in 2012.

 

/ FEDERAL

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) introduced legislation to continue federal funding levels and policy riders like the state medical cannabis protections through January 19.

The U.S. attorney in Vermont warned a county state’s attorney over her endorsement of safe injection facilities for illegal drugs, saying it sends the “wrong message to children in Vermont: the government will help you use heroin.”

  • “Of equal importance, the proposed SIFs would violate several federal criminal laws, including those prohibiting use of narcotics and maintaining a premises for the purpose of narcotics use. It is a crime, not only to use illicit narcotics, but to manage and maintain sites on which such drugs are used and distributed. Thus, exposure to criminal charges would arise for users and SIF workers and overseers. The properties that host SIFs would also be subject to federal forfeiture.”

The U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the Department of Justice has adopted some, but not all, previous recommendations to reduce the prison population by pursuing alternatives to incarceration for low-level nonviolent crimes.

Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) said he supports letting states set their own marijuana laws and that legalization comes with “the possibility to create jobs.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted about marijuana again.

Two Michigan men pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of conspiring to bribe local officials to get approval to open a medical cannabis dispensary.

Anthony Clark, a Democratic congressional candidate in Illinois, supports legalizing marijuana.

 

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) reportedly said he has no problem with medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at decisions Massachusetts regulators made this week about marijuana legalization implementation.

Maine regulators are threatening to crack down on processors that make cannabis edibles and tinctures.

An Arizona senator filed legislation to restrict outdoor marijuana advertising.

North Dakota regulators held a meeting to take public input on proposed medical cannabis rules.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday. In a related development, a company that failed to win a medical marijuana business license sued regulators.

West Virginia’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will meet on Thursday.

Alaska regulators will discuss marijuana testing next week.

Maryland lawmakers filed several bills to tweak the state’s medical cannabis program.

 

/ LOCAL

Cook, County Illinois commissioners unanimously voted to place a nonbinding marijuana legalization question on the March primary ballot.

Las Vegas, Nevada officials held a public meeting to discuss proposed regulations on marijuana social use areas.

 

/ INTERNATIONAL

The World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence has recommended not scheduling cannabidiol under international conventions.

Norway is decriminalizing drugs.

The Trump administration appears to be prioritizing drug and immigration enforcement over human rights and democracy concerns in Honduras.

 

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A survey found that “most pediatric oncology providers are willing to consider [medical cannabis] use in children with cancer.

A study concluded that “components of cannabis, including THC, may decelerate peripheral monocyte processes that are implicated in HIV-associated neuroinflammation.”

 

/ BUSINESS

MassRoots founder Isaac Dietrich successfully engineered the departure of board members who ousted him as CEO earlier this year and reinstalled himself at the helm of the company. (Full disclosure: I am  a former employee and minority shareholder.)

Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the threat that federal civil RICO suits pose for marijuana businesses.

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CO won’t cooperate with feds, governor candidate says (Newsletter: Dec. 13. 2017)

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MA equity rules OKed; ME implementation legislation;NM MMj enrollment way up;  New CO sales data

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), a candidate for Colorado governor, says that if he is elected he will not allow state resources to be used to assist with any federal marijuana crackdown against people following state laws.

Massachusetts regulators approved proposed rules on ensuring that people from communities targeted by the war on drugs get priority consideration for marijuana business licenses.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a law that recently generated criticism over a perception that it prevents federal drug agents from cracking down on suspicious opioid shipments.

The U.S Department of Justice is increasing enforcement against doctors who over-prescribe opioids.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) spoke on the House floor about congressional interference with Washington, D.C.’s marijuana laws and other policies.

The U.S. House bill to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 57.

/ STATES

Colorado regulators announced that they will begin releasing monthly marijuana sales data. Until now, news organizations compiled projections based on reported tax revenue.

Maine lawmakers are making another attempt at passing marijuana legalization implementation legislation following a gubernatorial veto.

Guam lawmakers will hold a hearing on medical cannabis implementation legislation on Thursday.

Alaska regulators projected that marijuana taxes will generate $9.1 million in revenue in Fiscal Year 2018.

Enrollment in New Mexico’s medical cannabis program grew by 77% in the last year.

A Florida judge will hear a request for an injunction on a law that calls for issuing a medical cannabis license to a black farmer on Thursday.

New Hampshire senators prefiled a bills to allow medical cannabis dispensaries to open additional locations and to waive the requirement that medical marijuana patients have a three-month relationship with doctors if they are terminally ill.

Ohio’s deadline to submit medical cannabis processor business license applications is on Friday.

Pennsylvania regulators released an updated list of doctors certified to recommend medical cannabis.

/ LOCAL

Cook County, Illinois commissioners will decide on Wednesday whether to place a nonbinding marijuana legalization question on the March 20 primary ballot.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s mayor is calling on state lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana.

The San Diego, California district attorney agreed to return cash that was seized from a medical cannabis business.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Canadian senator says he is introducing a motion for the body to hear from government representatives about the marijuana legalization bill in early February.

/ ADVOCACY

Prohibitionist group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy put up a billboard about marijuana-related traffic deaths.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a court motion suppress evidence against 18 people charged with drug possession after being searched by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in New Hampshire.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A survey found that support for legalizing marijuana in Uruguay has increased since the country ended prohibition.

The Orange County Register editorial board is calling on Congress to pass legislation respecting state marijuana laws.

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Teen cannabis use down in legal states, fed data shows (Newsletter: Dec. 12, 2017)

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OH 2018 legalization measure details; Congressman speaks at dispensary opening; MA social use areas approved

 

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New federal data shows that teen use of marijuana is trending downward in most states with legalization.

Ohio advocates launched a proposed 2018 marijuana legalization ballot measure.

 

/ FEDERAL

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) spoke at the opening of a medical cannabis dispensary.

Former Congressman Chris Cannon (R-UT) started a company to conduct research on CBD medical cannabis.

Utah State Sen. Brian Shiozawa (R), who sponsored successful legislation to increase medical cannabis research, is resigning to take a job at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will decry Congress’s interference in Washington, DC’s marijuana laws and other policies in a House floor speech on Tuesday.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted that “we cannot allow federal funds to be used to go after marijuana businesses.”

 

/ STATES

Massachusetts regulators approved proposed rules allowing marijuana social use businesses and setting licensing tiers for cannabis businesses.

A consultant hired to score Ohio medical cannabis business license applications worked for businesses owned by a company awarded one of the licenses.

North Dakota regulators are holding hearings this month to collect public feedback on medical cannabis implementation.

California officials proposed an emergency regulation on marijuana tax collection.

 

/ LOCAL

Syracuse, New York Mayor Stephanie Miner (D) said she supports legalizing marijuana.

Denver, Colorado officials are reviewing the city’s first application for a marijuana social use permit.

The Hartford, Connecticut City Council approved a resolution calling on state lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

 

/ INTERNATIONAL

Here’s a look at Canada’s options for maintaining — or breaking — compliance with international drug treaties while legalizing marijuana. In a related development, the federal government agreed to provide more cannabis tax revenue to provinces than originally proposed.

Bermuda’s House of Assembly passed a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Malta’s health minister says he expects medical cannabis regulations to go into effect in February.

 

/ ADVOCACY

Servicios de la Raza and the Marijuana Industry Group released a video to educate non-citizens on the implications of federal marijuana prohibition on their ability to stay in the U.S.

 

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that state medical cannabis laws are “associated with decreases in marijuana and other drugs in early adolescence in those states.”

A review concluded that “recent randomized, placebo-controlled trials with cannabidiol support its efficacy in Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.”

A study on the effects of state medical cannabis laws found that “for men, there is a statistically significant 2.3% increase in the rate of cardiac death following passage” and “for women, there is a 1.3% increase that is also statistically significant.”

The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will study the effects of marijuana on children with autism.

 

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 77% of Georgia Republican voters support medical cannabis.

 

/ BUSINESS

Colorado retailers sold nearly $121.6 million in marijuana products in October.

Marijuana Business Daily looks at the risks federal civil RICO lawsuits pose for cannabis businesses.

Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s takeover bid for CanniMed Therapeutics Inc. may have violated securities laws, the latter says.

 

/CULTURE     

Actor Cheech Marin appears in a PSA about California’s new system to registering marijuana businesses.

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