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Sessions’s replacement on cannabis enforcement (Newsletter: Nov. 8, 2018)

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DC mayor pushes legal marijuana sales; Midwest is new cannabis reform hub; DOJ’s Marijuana Working Group

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned. Marijuana Moment dug up an old clip of his replacement as acting AG talking about marijuana. In short, Matthew Whitaker seems to acknowledge some medical benefits of cannabis, but his views on federal enforcement might concern marijuana industry operators.

With the change in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced she plans to pursue legal marijuana sales in the nation’s capital in early 2019.

All of a sudden the Midwest is a marijuana reform hub:

  • Four new pro-cannabis-reform governors
  • Legal marijuana in Michigan
  • Medical cannabis in Missouri
  • Five new decrim cities in Ohio
  • 16 counties and two cities in Wisconsin approve marijuana advisory measures
  • Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker says he wants to enact legalization “right away.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon was named as chair of the Department of Justice’s National Marijuana Working Group.

The New York Times obtained hundreds of pages of documents this week relating to the Central Intelligence Agency’s  mind-control experiments involving LSD.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted, “More states following Oregon’s lead. More voices calling for reforms to outdated & failed cannabis policies. Now, Congress must act to pass my legislation that will bring our federal approach to cannabis into the 21st century.”

Sen.-elect Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said he wants to focus on rescheduling marijuana “immediately.”

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) tweeted, “Yesterday voters in Michigan passed a recreational marijuana bill, & both Missouri and Utah passed medical marijuana initiatives. As a bonus, Jeff Sessions resigned today. Getting rid of government tyranny is tough, which is why you never want it to take hold in the first place.”

/ STATES

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) said he still has concerns about legalizing marijuana sales, but “wouldn’t be surprised” if the legislature “came out with something that would move us in that direction.”

Michigan Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer (D) is considering options to expunge marijuana records. Separately, the State Police released a statement about the state’s new legal cannabis law. And regulators will consider medical cannabis licenses on Thursday.

Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Lee (R) is skeptical about medical cannabis.

New York marijuana legalization efforts will get a boost under the newly Democratic-controlled Senate.

Massachusetts regulators approved marijuana testing labs to begin operations, meaning that recreational sales are likely just days away.

Iowa’s first dispensary will begin selling low-THC medical cannabis products on December 1.

Washington State regulators issued emergency license suspensions to a marijuana business over alleged diversion.

North Dakota activists say they will keep pressing for marijuana reform following the defeat of their legalization ballot measure.

Two marijuana-focused political parties in Minnesota are poised to gain major party status after their candidates exceeded vote thresholds in the midterms.

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Information about Ontario, Canada marijuana retail customers was obtained in a hack.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that” the risk of advanced liver fibrosis among [hepatitis C virus]‐infected patients who use cannabis was higher than those who do not use cannabis, but the result was not statistically significant.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Singaporeans found that 14% support legalizing marijuana and 39% back allowing medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Marijuana stocks jump following  electoral wins for cannabis ballot measures and the resignation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A criminal defense attorney says Bank of the West is closing his account because of his work for clients facing marijuana-related charges.

Marijuana delivery service Eaze is offering 25% discounts to military veterans starting on Veterans’ Day.

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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 15-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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DEA’s cannabis eradication program criticized by gov’t watchdog (Newsletter: Nov. 15, 2018)

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How much marijuana reform supporters & opponents spent per vote; Walking Dead actor raises money for cannabis kids; Al Sharpton has marijuana jokes

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 342 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Marijuana Moment analysis of campaign finance data found that, on average, cannabis reform opponents had to spend more for “no” votes than supporters had to shell out to get “yes” voters to the polls in last week’s midterms.

As he weighs a potential 2020 presidential candidacy, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) continues to admit that marijuana legalization has worked out a lot better than he thought it would. It’s “a better system than what we had,” he said in an appearance on Wednesday.

Walking Dead actor Norman Reedus is helping to raise money for kids who use medical cannabis to treat cancer.

Rev. Al Sharpton had some cannabis quips in response to a conference audience’s reaction to a marijuana bill filed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

A report from the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, scolded the Drug Enforcement Administration over procedural lapses in its marijuana eradication program.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump announced his support for pending congressional criminal justice reform legislation.

The Internal Revenue Service is contracting with a private company to handle “large cash payments for processing cannabis federal taxes.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “#MedicalCannabis has huge potential for veterans. It can reduce chronic pain, w/out the harmful side effects of opioids, & some early reports indicate that it may even have potential as a treatment for PTSD. Unfortunately, many veterans fear discussing medical cannabis w/ doctors.”

The Senate bill to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banks got one new cosponsor, for a total of 20.

/ STATES

A spokesperson for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said the governor plans to “introduce a formal comprehensive [marijuana legalization] proposal during the 2019 legislative session.”  Separately, the state Department of Health issued a report with recommendations to improve the medical cannabis program.

New Jersey’s Assembly speaker and Senate president said they expect committee votes on legalizing marijuana by the end of this month. The Republican Assembly leader said legalization is “inevitable.”

It’s possible that Massachusetts recreational marijuana sales could begin on Sunday. The state’s top regulator said sales will likely start in “a week plus or minus maybe a couple of days longer than that.”

The Vermont marijuana legalization study committee’s taxation and regulation subcommittee plans to recommend a 26% or 27% tax rate on sales.

A top Utah regulator testified before lawmakers about the proposed compromise medical cannabis bill. Separately, House Democrats held a briefing on the issue.

Illinois Republican lawmakers are divided on marijuana legalization.

North Dakota regulators have received fewer than 100 medical cannabis patient applications in the first two weeks of accepting them.

New York magazine put together an oral history of how California became the first state to legalize medical cannabis. Separately, water regulators will hold a cannabis cultivation permitting and compliance workshop next week.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney congratulated a Missouri prosecutor for no longer pursuing most marijuana possession cases.

The Boston, Massachusetts City Council heard complaints about the Boston Freedom Rally at a meeting.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian police have not seen a spike in marijuana-impaired driving in the month since legalization went into effect. Separately, Ontario officials released regulations for private cannabis stores.

/ ADVOCACY

Marijuana policy reform advocates are targeting Arizona and Ohio, and potentially Florida and North Dakota, for 2020 legalization ballot measures. They are also looking at medical cannabis initiatives in Mississippi, Nebraska and South Dakota.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded, “Cannabinoid drugs may prevent the onset of pain by producing small increases in pain thresholds but may not reduce the intensity of experimental pain already being experienced; instead, cannabinoids may make experimental pain feel less unpleasant and more tolerable, suggesting an influence on affective processes.”

A study on marijuana and PTSD in veterans reached its recruitment goal.

A survey found that 65% of Minnesota oncology physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants who care for adults and children with cancer support the use of medical cannabis.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Chicago Tribune editorial board wants Illinois lawmakers to take their time in considering marijuana legalization.

/ BUSINESS

California collected $93.1 million in marijuana taxes in 3rd quarter of the year, a figure that does not include revenue to local governments.

Nevada generated $8.1 million in recreational marijuana taxes in August, setting a new monthly record.

Eaze launched delivery of CBD products in 41 states.

Former chewing gum executive William Wrigley Jr. II, is taking over as CEO of Surterra.

Sterling Trustees LLC filed a federal lawsuit over investments it made in Puerto Rican medical cannabis companies.

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Group representing 19,000 US cities pushes cannabis rescheduling (Newsletter: Nov. 14, 2018)

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Michelle Obama talks smoking marijuana; New veterans & cannabis bills in Congress; Why women back legalization less than men

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The National League of Cities—which represents the U.S.’s 19,000 cities, towns and villages— adopted resolutions calling for federal marijuana rescheduling and access to banks for cannabis businesses.

Top lawmakers in Illinois and New Mexico expressed optimism about newly elected governors’ plans to legalize marijuana in 2019.

In a new filing, the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates it wants to hire a new company to:

  • Grow 2,000 kg of marijuana
  • Develop new cannabis cultivation methods
  • Produce THC/CBD extracts
  • Make oral solutions, oils, vaping fluids, capsules/tablets

Former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote about smoking marijuana in her new memoir released on Tuesday, a subject she also discussed in a TV interview.

A new study examines why women are less likely to support legalizing marijuana than men. Contrary to one hypothesis, it has nothing to do with motherhood.

Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are filing three new separate bills on medical cannabis for military veterans.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump is reportedly leaning in favor of backing congressional criminal justice reform legislation.

Newly released documents show that shortly after 9/11 the Central Intelligence Agency considered using a drug it thought might work like a truth serum and force terror suspects to give up information about potential attacks.

The federal trial against Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman began.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “I’ve long supported legislation to give our #veterans access to medical #cannabis. We should empower VA medical personnel to discuss all options for treatments with their patients and promote research. The R’s have blocked this from progressing.”

/ STATES

Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura met with Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D) and urged him to push for marijuana legalization. He also suggested the slogan “pot for potholes.”

Ohio regulators released an update on the rollout of the state’s medical cannabis program.

Colorado regulators released guidance about new marijuana rules going into effect on January 1.

Oklahoma regulators have already collected nearly $6.57 million in medical cannabis application fees.

A Wisconsin representative plans to file a marijuana legalization bill in January.

The Washington, D.C. Council chairman said that smoking marijuana doesn’t have victims and shouldn’t be a crime.

Arkansas regulators are responding to public criticism about a lack of transparency in the medical cannabis licensing process.

/ LOCAL

The Jackson County, Missouri prosecutor said she will stop pursuing most marijuana possession cases.

Some Michigan municipalities are already moving to opt out of allowing legal marijuana sales, at least temporarily.

Here’s a look at how Oregon municipalities voted on marijuana regulation ballot measures last week.

Two people were shot and killed in an apparent attempted robbery at an unlicensed Los Angeles, California marijuana dispensary.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s cabinet approved medical cannabis legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “an advantage of [medical cannabis therapy] in [fibromyalgia] patients with [low back pain] as compared with [standardised analgesic therapy].

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is conducting a study on CBD and youth seizures.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Indiana adults found that when given options, 39% support legalizing marijuana, 42% back medical cannabis and 16% don’t want it legal at all. Separately, 78% said that if marijuana is not legalized, people still should not be sent to jail for it. The survey also showed that people see cannabis as less of problem than other drugs, including alcohol.

A poll found that the majority of Canadians want the minimum age for cannabis use to be higher than 18 years old.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray’s earnings report showed lower than expected sales.

Bloomberg Businessweek looks at the growing number of companies interested in making cannabis beverages.

/ CULTURE

Actor Michael Colyar spoke about visiting Mike Tyson’s marijuana farm.

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Texas cannabis decrim bill filed for new session (Newsletter: Nov. 13, 2018)

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Marijuana opponents’ misleading ad allegedly pulled off air; Feds researching lesser-known cannabinoids & terpenes; Ojeda running for president

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 340 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Texas representative pre-filed a marijuana decriminalization bill for the upcoming 2019 legislative session. Several other cannabis-related pieces of legislation were also introduced.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a federal agency, announced that it is funding research into how minor cannabinoids and terpenes in marijuana like CBN, CBG, limonene and others can treat pain.

It appears that several Michigan TV stations pulled anti-marijuana ads off the air in the lead-up to Election Day after being informed that prohibitionists were making factually incorrect claims about the state’s legalization ballot measure.

/ FEDERAL

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators reached a deal on criminal justice reform legislation, with support from the White House potentially coming this week.

The Department of Health and Human Services said a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration that two chemicals in kratom should be classified as Schedule I substances.

The Food and Drug Administration is pursuing a ban on menthol cigarettes.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is optimistic about the chances of passing marijuana banking legislation.

West Virginia State Sen. Richard Ojeda (D), who sponsored the state’s successful medical cannabis bill and support broader marijuana legalization, filed to run for president just days after losing a congressional race.

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov.-elect Tim Walz (D) and the incoming House speaker said that the state will consider legalizing marijuana in 2019.

Opponents of Michigan’s successful marijuana legalization ballot measure are vowing to fight to ban cannabis commerce in municipalities across the state. Meanwhile, Michigan State University said marijuana possession will remain prohibited on campus.

An Indiana senator plans to file several marijuana reform bills.

Concerns are being raised over Oklahoma regulators’ decision to publish information about medical cannabis license holders.

The Colorado man who murdered his wife after eating a marijuana edible in 2014 continued to insist that cannabis is to blame in an interview from behind bars.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Here’s a look at how public outcry over a Malaysian death sentence for a man selling cannabis oil has prompted the country to rethink capital punishment.

The Israeli health ministry is allowing pharmacies to fill prescriptions for medical cannabis beginning in March.

Canadian political observers say that support for marijuana legalization could put Liberal members of Parliament who represent districts with high proportions of Chinese-Canadians at risk of not being reelected.

The Thai government is shooting down a foreign company’s bid to monopolize patents on cannabis.

Ecuadorian lawmakers are considering medical cannabis legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of medical cannabis patients found that about two-thirds “reported at least one moderate or severe withdrawal symptom” and that “the most commonly observed symptom was sleep difficulties (50.3%), followed by anxiety (27.8%), irritability (26.7%), and appetite disturbance (25.2%)” but that “no association was observed between physical functioning and withdrawal symptom endorsement.”

A study concluded that “legalization of recreational cannabis does not affect compliance rate in patients treated with opioid therapy for chronic pain.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse released a funding opportunity for researchers to study “the impact of a state marijuana policy on health and other social/environmental outcomes with the ability to obtain pre/post data on exposures and outcomes of interest otherwise not available with standard review timelines.”

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis reported better-than-expected fiscal Q1 earnings.

Southern University is moving ahead with its medical cannabis production facility after having problems with its initial partner, Advanced Biomedics.

/ CULTURE

Actress Mindy Kaling tweeted about confusing the smell of marijuana with that of skunks.

The Onion had some fun with recent marijuana reform victories.

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