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Sessions slams GOP senator’s cannabis advocacy (Newsletter: Feb. 13, 2018)

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Trump moves to gut drug czar’s office; Fed court hears marijuana case; NH legalization hearing

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions accused  Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) of undermining national security with his efforts to defend his state’s marijuana law from federal interference.

President Trump’s 2019 budget request proposes a greater than 90% cut in funding for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy by shifting its key programs to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is set to mark up a criminal justice reform bill on Thursday, but questions are being raised about the Trump administration’s position on the issue.

A federal court will hear a lawsuit against marijuana’s Schedule I status on Wednesday.

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) hosted town hall meetings about medical cannabis and revealed details of marijuana research legislation he will soon introduce. He also said that he has spoken with President Trump about the issue.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “The facts say that [marijuana is] not a gateway drug.”

/ STATES

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said he would veto marijuana legalization but would sign a medical cannabis bill that was “crafted properly.”

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) said he opposes allowing in-state cultivation of medical cannabis.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray said he would implement marijuana legalization if voters approved it. (About 10:30 into the audio clip.) Separately, State Auditor Dave Yost (R), an attorney general candidate, identified a “critical flaw” in the state’s medical cannabis licensing system. And activists say they will submit a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure by the end of the month.

The Virginia Senate approved a bill to allow people to expunge first-time marijuana possession charges.

The New Hampshire House Ways and Means Committee will hear a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

Connecticut’s Senate president expects “robust debate” on marijuana legalization this year.

The Massachusetts Executive Office on Public Safety and Security expressed concerns about proposed regulations to allow marijuana social use areas and delivery.

A Michigan court ordered Detroit to begin accepting medical cannabis business license applications.

/ LOCAL

The St. Louis, Missouri Board of Aldermen will consider a proposal to prevent police from enforcing marijuana laws on Tuesday.

The Berkeley, California City Council will vote Tuesday on a measure to prohibit municipal employees from assisting in federal marijuana crackdowns.

A Cook County, Illinois commissioner who successfully pushed to place a nonbinding marijuana legalization referendum before voters says he uses medical cannabis.

Denver, Colorado is hiring a Food Safety and Marijuana Program supervisor.

/ ADVOCACY

The Marijuana Policy Project is holding a t-shirt design contest.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study examining 25 years of car accident data “found a 12% increase in the relative risk of a fatal traffic crash after 4:20 pm on April 20 compared with identical time intervals on control days.”

A study found that 89% of Irish chronic pain patients “agreed that cannabis should be legalised for chronic pain medicinal purposes.”

Researchers at the University of Arkansas are conducting a study of people’s attitudes before and after the legalization of medical cannabis in the state.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Florida voters support legalizing marijuana, 62%-35%.

A poll found that Iowans support medical cannabis, 78%-19%, but oppose legalizing marijuana,  39%-58%.

A survey found that Canadians are “mostly favourable to cannabis’s legalization and willing to try cannabis-infused food products” but that most “do not feel knowledgeable enough to cook with cannabis at home, which opens an opportunity for leaders in the industry.”

/ CULTURE     

Travel writer Rick Steves is hosting briefings about marijuana legalization for congressional staffers on Tuesday.

Musician David Byrne wrote about the success of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana and Portugal’s decriminalization of all drugs.

A Florida man who blamed his violent outburst on an international flight on marijuana edibles has pleaded guilty in federal court.

Dear Abby told a Nevada woman that her brother-in-law’s shunning of her over medical cannabis use is “cruel.”

The Los Angeles Times made a marijuana-themed Valentine’s Day cards.

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VA opening up to cannabis? (Newsletter: Feb. 20, 2018)

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NBA players push league for marijuana changes; AL decrim hearings; Bill Nye talks legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A little-noticed update to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs webpage admits that it “can look at marijuana as an option for treating Veterans.” And new documents reveal that Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin discussed medical cannabis as part of an overseas trip.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump tapped a Pennsylvania state representative who vigorously opposed medical cannabis to serve as a regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Pennsylvania congressional candidates Conor Lamb and Rick Saccone debated about medical cannabis.

/ STATES

A Virginia  bill allowing doctors to recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition is on its way to Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) desk.

The Alaska House of Representatives approved an industrial hemp bill.

An Indiana court ruled that admitting to past possession of marijuana — even in a state where doing so is legal — is sufficient justification for police to deploy a drug-sniffing dog.

A report concluded that fewer than one percent of California’s marijuana growers have been licensed by the state.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

Alabama’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees will hear marijuana decriminalization bills on Wednesday.

Maine lawmakers are considering reducing the number of marijuana plants people can grow at home.

Colorado regulators released a bulletin about upcoming changes to marijuana packaging and labeling requirements.

A Tennessee judge is allowing stores that were shuttered by police for selling CBD products to reopen.

Tuesday is Arkansas regulators’ deadline for reviewing and scoring medical cannabis cultivation license applications. Winners will be announced next week.

Oklahoma senators debated medical cannabis in a TV appearance.

Here’s a look at competing Missouri medical cannabis ballot measures that may qualify for the ballot this year.

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet said marijuana doesn’t bother her. (About 18:00 into the audio.)

/ LOCAL

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is holding public hearings on medical cannabis this and next week.

Activists behind Detroit, Michigan medical cannabis ballot initiatives that were overturned by a judge are considering whether to appeal the ruling.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment debated medical cannabis.

The New Zealand House of Representatives will debate a bill to increase drug penalties this week.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “the oral fluid test is a highly valid method for detecting the presence of THC in the blood but cannot be used to accurately measure the blood THC concentration.”

UC San Diego Health hasn’t seen a rise in marijuana-related hospitalizations since legalization went into effect in California.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Herald editorial board is criticizing legalization advocates’ reaction to officials’ suggestion that rules for marijuana delivery services and social use areas be slowed down.

/ CULTURE     

The National Basketball Players Association is pushing the NBA to allow medical cannabis use.

Scientist Bill Nye spoke with Rolling Stone about his support for legalizing marijuana.

MMA fighter Nate Diaz was shown lighting a joint on a UFC TV broadcast.

Comedian Seth Rogen posted a video of himself using a high-tech gravity bong.

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Kennedy doesn’t want cannabis crackdown, despite voting record (Newsletter: Feb. 19, 2018)

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Arpaio “kind of” backs medical cannabis; Israel decrim advances; CA warning letters go out

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) acknowledged that his anti-marijuana views are out of step with his constituents and said he’s “not proposing a crackdown,” even as he has repeatedly voted to allow federal agents to interfere with state laws.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Army Sec. Mark Esper spoke about enlistment waivers for recruits who have used marijuana.

Republican Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff, voiced support for medical cannabis.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that a key part of anti-drug strategy should be to tell “young people and adults don’t get started” using drugs.

Former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan is considering running for Congress in New York, and his tentative campaign site says he supports decriminalizing drugs.

/ STATES

Colorado gubernatorial candidates spoke about marijuana legalization implementation.

California regulators sent hundreds of warning letters to unlicensed marijuana businesses.

The co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy is not happy about proposed rules that would allow cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Utah’s House speaker spoke about efforts to enact medical cannabis legislation despite federal prohibition.

Here’s a look at where individual New Jersey lawmakers stand on legalizing marijuana.

Ohio regulators are offering to pause medical cannabis business licensing in light of a “critical flaw'” discovered in a recent audit.

Montana regulators released final medical cannabis rules.

A Missouri representative introduced bills to decriminalize marijuana and remove cannabis’s classification as a controlled substance.

A New York assemblymembers filed a bill to add autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition. Separately, the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Conference held a panel discussion on marijuana legalization.

Colorado arrests for illegal marijuana manufacturing are reportedly on the rise.

The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners will hear testimony about adding PTSD and chronic pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions on Monday.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will hold a public meeting on Tuesday.

The Seattle Times look at issues related to possible diversion of marijuana from Washington State.

/ LOCAL

A judge struck down a Detroit, Michigan voter initiative that allowed medical cannabis businesses to operate in more locations.

Nearly four percent of Denver, Colorado’s electricity use is devoted to growing marijuana, new data shows.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Alberta, Canada’s provincial government released marijuana regulations.

UK regulators denied a medical cannabis license for a six-year-old boy with severe epilepsy.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana in an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show.

/ ADVOCACY

The president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys claimed that “nobody’s going to jail” for marijuana possession.

The executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law appeared to blame the Department of Justice’s focus on drug law enforcement for the FBI not preventing the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The Conservative Political Action Conference this month will feature a debate about marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that policies allowing homegrown marijuana lead to “lower health and social risks.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district support legalizing marijuana, 46%-43%.

/ BUSINESS

The Girls Scouts of Colorado moved to treat marijuana dispensaries like any other business, allowing girls to sell cookies outside them.

The National Conference of Weights and Measures formed a Cannabis Task Group to develop uniform weights and measures standards for the industry.

New Hampshire medical cannabis sales are increasing.

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Cannabis banking access at “top of the list” for Treasury Dept. (Newsletter: Feb. 16, 2018)

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Canadian legalization delayed; Gardner lifts some DOJ holds; Amendment shields immigrants from deportation for cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said that fixing marijuana businesses’ access to banks is at the “top of the list” of his department’s concerns.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is lifting holds he placed on some Department of Justice nominees over a marijuana policy dispute after U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein showed “good faith” and “willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought,” according to the senator.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced, but did not force a vote on, a far-reaching marijuana reform proposal as an amendment to broad criminal justice reform legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) filed an amendment to protect immigrants from being deported or denied visas for marijuana activity that complies with state laws.

Congressional appropriations leaders are currently negotiating whether language allowing military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors will be included in Fiscal Year 2018 legislation.

Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and two cosponsors filed legislation to codify the provisions of the now-rescinded Cole Memo into law.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver office is pushing Colorado regulators to release updated data about marijuana legalization.

The U.S. Secret Service settled a lawsuit concerning access to visitor logs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and other agencies.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) cited marijuana law reform as an issue on which he is working to find “common ground” with Republicans.

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) supports adding PTSD and chronic pain as CBD medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) indicated he won’t necessarily sign pending legislation directing the state to grow medical cannabis for certain patients.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) told regulators to slow down with proposed far-reaching marijuana rules. And nearly 80 lawmakers also want to delay allowing cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (D) held a debate about marijuana legalization with Republican congressional candidate Joe Peters.

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich (D), a former congressman, said that if elected he would review cases of all people convicted of low-level non-violent drug crimes to consider commutations.

The New Mexico Senate approved resolutions requesting that regulators add opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition and urging Congress to expand medical cannabis protections to cover people who live on tribal lands. Lawmakers also passed legislation creating a study commission to examine allowing safe injection sites for illegal drug consumers.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee voted to consider marijuana legalization legislation.

The Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee amended a previously approved bill to let doctors recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition so that it will take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

The Oregon Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill easing hemp cultivation.

New Jersey senators filed a marijuana decriminalization bill in a move that is seen as an attempt to undercut the push for full legalization. Separately, an assemblywoman introduced legislation to remove limits on the amount of medical cannabis allowed to be dispensed at one time and expand access to edible forms.

The Arizona House Health Committee voted 6-3 to approve legislation making it a felony for doctors to violate medical cannabis regulations.

A California senator filed a bill to allow special needs students to use medical cannabis at school.

Ohio regulators said a human error led to a proposed medical cannabis cultivation business being inadvertently left off a list of successful applicants.

Maryland regulators settled a lawsuit with companies that failed to win medical cannabis business licenses.

Michigan regulators released the design of an official symbol that will need to appear on packaging for all medical cannabis products.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider proposed rules on marijuana packaging and labeling.

Here’s a look at the prospects for medical cannabis in Missouri.

/ LOCAL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney is directing prosecutors to drop marijuana possession cases that are still charged as misdemeanors. And along with the mayor, he co-authored an op-ed calling the war on drugs “a big mistake.”

A lawyer for Denver, Colorado recommended that regulators approve the city’s first marijuana social use area.

Dekalb County, Georgia commissioners approved a resolution asking state lawmakers to allow counties to decriminalize marijuana.

A proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Easton, Pennsylvania appears to not have enough support to pass.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Canadian government move to escalate Senate consideration of pending marijuana legalization legislation has failed. A final vote is expected on or before June 7, which would not leave enough time for the government to implement the law by its original July target.

/ ADVOCACY

Prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana released a report claiming that the costs of legalizing marijuana in Connecticut would outweigh tax revenues.

/ BUSINESS

Pennsylvania medical cannabis sales began.

Canadian Securities Administrators  published guidance outlining disclosure expectations for issuers with U.S.-based marijuana interests.

BioTrackTHC was chosen to run North Dakota’s medical cannabis seed-to-sale tracking system.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian David Spade smoked marijuana at Ellen Degeneres’s birthday party.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley said he doesn’t understand “the fascination” with marijuana, but doesn’t judge other people for using it.

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