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Spending bill protects cannabis banking & lets DC legalize sales (Newsletter: June 3, 2019)

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Legal marijuana heads to IL gov’s desk; Key FDA CBD hearing moments; Presidential candidate raises money off legal cannabis measure he opposed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A key annual spending bill released by House Democratic leaders that is up for an initial vote on Monday includes a provision to block federal regulators from punishing banks for working with state-legal cannabis businesses. It also deletes a longstanding rider that has prevented Washington, D.C. from spending its own local tax dollars to legalize and regulate adult-use cannabis sales.

Illinois lawmakers sent a marijuana legalization bill to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), who campaigned on ending cannabis prohibition last year. When he signs the legislation, the state will become the 11th in the U.S. to legalize marijuana and the first to regulate sales and production through an act of lawmakers as opposed to via a ballot measure.

  • One anti-cannabis representative actually reenacted the “This Is Your Brain On Drugs” PSA by cracking an egg on the House floor during the debate.

The Food and Drug Administration held a daylong hearing on CBD regulations. Marijuana Moment compiled they key takeaways from submitted testimony.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), a presidential candidate, touted his state’s marijuana legalization measure—that he actively campaigned against—in an Instagram story seeking to raise money for his current campaign.

/ FEDERAL

Housing and Urban Development Sec. Ben Carson said he is interested in helping people with criminal records get access to housing.

A federal judge in a case against a witness in the El Chapo trial said, “After 25 years of being a federal judge, if there is a so-called drug war, we are losing. It’s time for us to think about doing something different.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb spoke about the challenges of regulating CBD.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), a presidential candidate, posted a video about his support for legalizing marijuana, and he noted that someone in his family uses medical cannabis.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), a presidential candidate, said he doesn’t want marijuana legalization to create “a new tobacco industry or a new opioid industry, done the wrong way.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) criticized people who talk about “marijuana but not criminal justice reform.”

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) said she doesn’t think Congress will deschedule marijuana in the immediate future.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted about the FDA’s recent CBD regulation hearing, adding. “This is exactly why the House needs to pass my research bill and why we have championed rational policies regarding hemp. The FDA can do its job without interfering with the now legal hemp industry.”

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted, “My concern remains with the idea that marijuana is harmless.  The idea it’s an elixir that ‘cures what ails ya’ is indicia of puffery not medicine. I am not advocating more ‘War on Drugs’ policy.  After 40 yrs it looks like drugs won. Maybe it will get a parade in Times Square. I am saying treat pot like a drug not a lifestyle. All drugs have potential metabolic, neurologic, hepatic, renal or cardio-vascular effects.”

The House marijuana banking bill got seven new cosponsors, for a total of 191.

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he is “dubious” about the prospects of legalizing marijuana this year.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said she’d back a “narrow and cautious” bill to expand the state’s limited CBD medical cannabis law days after vetoing a proposal to do so. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are urging people to pressure lawmakers to override that veto.

Vermont’s House speaker said she’s “on the fence” about legalizing marijuana sales but wouldn’t block its passage if the majority of her chamber supports it.

Illinois lawmakers sent Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) a bill to make the state’s medical cannabis program permanent, add new qualifying conditions and allow nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to issue recommendations.

Louisiana lawmakers sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a  hemp and CBD bill. Meanwhile, the Senate rejected a House-passed bill to let patients inhale medical cannabis.

Alabama lawmakers sent Gov. Kay Ivey (R) a bill to create a commission to study medical cannabis.

A Nevada judge scheduled additional days for arguments in a case seeking to overturn the state’s process for awarding marijuana business licenses.

The Connecticut Medical Marijuana Program’s Board of Physicians is scheduled to discuss adding new qualifying conditions on Monday.

Maine regulators closed a public comment period on proposed marijuana rules.

Oklahoma regulators are set to begin inspecting medical cannabis businesses.

Here’s a look at Massachusetts regulators’ careful consideration of allowing marijuana social use areas.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 cannabis 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 Berkshire County, Massachusetts district attorney spoke about the positive effects of Portugal’s drug decriminalization policy after visiting the country.

The Santa Fe, New Mexico City Council is set to receive drug policy reform recommendations from a task force on July 31.

/ INTERNATIONAL

French lawmakers approved a medical cannabis pilot program.

Thailand’s government will distribute seized marijuana to manufacturers of cannabis medicines.

/ ADVOCACY

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies received a $4,140,000 grant from the Psychedelic Science Funders Collaborative.

The Medical Society of Delaware is opposing marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that cannabinoids “may potentially influence dysregulation and, therefore, represent new therapeutic options for the therapy of gynecological disorders.”

A study concluded that “clinical practices related to [medical cannabis] may be influenced by non-medical factors and this may be particularly prevailing in the field of chronic pain, suggesting that [medical cannabis] may be particularly contentious in the field of chronic pain.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board says it wishes Illinois lawmakers had waited to legalize marijuana until there were “more definitive answers to pressing questions about the impact on public health and safety.”

/ BUSINESS

Marijuana stocks slid as the FDA held a hearing on CBD regulations and amid a broader market dip.

Vireo Health International, Inc. reported that its quarterly revenue increased 57% since last year.

/ CULTURE

Musician David Crosby tweeted, “I gave up drugs about 35 years ago …for about 14 and half years …those were hard drugs and no good at all l…I now vape some cannabis at night and like it a lot …seems ok to me.”

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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.)

Newsletter

House passes tribal cannabis protection amendment (Newsletter: June 20, 2019)

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Committee debates small marijuana biz issues; Senator gets FDA to admit psychedelic benefits; Studies examine dispensary impact on youth cannabis use

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives debated amendments to protect state and territory marijuana laws, as well as those of Indian tribes, from federal interference. Both passed in voice votes, but a roll call vote was requested on the first measure, likely to occur on Thursday.

The House Small Business Committee held a hearing on opportunities and challenges for small marijuana businesses.

In a letter to Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI), the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health acknowledged that studies have shown medical benefits of psychedelic drugs but that the federal government doesn’t currently have any plans to reschedule substances like psilocybin, MDMA and LSD.

Three separate new studies published this month examine the impact of nearby marijuana dispensaries on youth cannabis use in Los Angeles—with differing findings.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration is extending the deadline to comment on CBD regulations to July 16.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and concerns about racial disparities in prohibition enforcement.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) tweeted, “It is not safe to walk around with duffel bags full of cash – but that’s what’s happening right now. The SAFE Banking Act is a common-sense bill that will allow the marijuana industry to use banks. The Federal gov’t must recognize legitimate businesses.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana legalization is a racial justice issue and all low-level offenses should be expunged. As the $1 billion in state revenue in Colorado shows, it’s also about creating jobs and economic growth.”

The House bill to force the Department of Justice to license more growers of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 11.

/ STATES

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a bill letting regulators deny marijuana business licenses based on supply and demand.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill on certifying marijuana testing facilities.

New York lawmakers failed to reach a deal of marijuana legalization legislation, but a backup plan to expand decriminalization and provide for record expungements is still under consideration.

Massachusetts’s secretary of state warned about marijuana-related fraud cases and charged one company with securities violations. Separately, agriculture regulators are cracking down on CBD products. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved a hemp bill.

Ohio’s House speaker said that lawmakers will not vote on a hemp bill before the summer break.

California lawmakers are putting a bill to allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs on hold until next year.

Michigan regulators released updated guidance for marijuana testing facilities.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats held a press conference about marijuana reform.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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 Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council Public Safety Committee approved a measure to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority.

New York City’s Council speaker said he is “disappointed our outdated marijuana laws will remain on the books for now but the fight to end them is NOT over.”

The Clark County, Nevada Commission voted to spend more than $6.1 million raised from marijuana business license fees to add hundreds of beds for homeless families with children.

Denver, Colorado hired a cannabis process navigator to “help the industry navigate the rules, to fortify and expand trust and transparency between the cannabis industry and Denver’s marijuana regulatory agencies, and serve as a point-of-contact between marijuana businesses and the City of Denver.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate gave final approval to a bill to expedite pardons for cannabis possession convictions.

French lawmakers are filing a marijuana legalization bill that gives the government a monopoly on production and sales.

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office ordered that electricity be cut off to a region of the country in an attempt to disrupt marijuana cultivation.

Thai regulators are developing medical cannabis rules.

/ ADVOCACY

A representative from prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana will debate a pro-legalization Pennsylvania senator on July 8.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “cannabis-exposed hospitalized patients with [acute pancreatitis] had lower age-adjusted, mortality, morbidity, and hospitalization-cost than non–cannabis-exposed patients.”

A study of rats found that hemp extract “improves semen parameters by reducing plasma prolactin and enhancing plasma anti-oxidant status” and that “its pro-fertility potential might be associated with its deficiency in the widely known gonadotoxic phytocannabinoids.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll funded by the AAA Foundation surveyed Americans’ attitudes about driving under the influence of marijuana.

The New York Times editorial board endorsed a Queens district attorney candidate who has pledged to stop prosecuting low-level marijuana and drug cases.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. and Acreage Holdings Inc. shareholders both voted to approve the former company’s planned acquisition of the latter in the event of U.S. federal marijuana legalization.

Thrive Market is ceasing to sell CBD and hemp products at the demand of its merchant processor.

Shoppers Drug Mart and TruTrace Technologies are partnering to use blockchain technology to track marijuana products.

Quiznos launched a “Magic Mushroom Melt” sandwich in Denver.

/ CULTURE

Musician Willie Nelson joked about how he is the chief tester of his brand Willie’s Reserve’s marijuana products.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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.
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Cannabis measures cleared for House floor votes (Newsletter: June 19, 2019)

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FAA CBD/marijuana guidance for pilots; Senators press against anti-cannabis immigration policy; NY legalization still in flux

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There are now 1,131 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Rules Committee cleared several drug policy amendments for floor action, including measures to shield all state and territory marijuana laws from federal interference, extend protections to tribes, support CBD regulations and allow military veterans to get medical cannabis recommendations from government doctors.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a bulletin clarifying CBD and marijuana rules for pilots.

A group of 10 U.S. senators sent a letter calling on the Trump administration to end a policy that says immigrants who work in the marijuana industry don’t have “good moral character” and are not eligible for citizenship.

The question of whether New York lawmakers will vote to legalize marijuana this week remains a very fluid situation, with indications that the session could be extended beyond Wednesday’s initial deadline through Friday.

Killer Mike said that rappers should get more credit for the legalization of marijuana:

  • “A lot of people are going to get credit for it—a lot of activists, a lot of workers. But I can show you a line that leads straight back to Cypress Hill, that leads straight back to Snoop Dogg.”  

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles office tweeted, “#marijuana remains illegal throughout California and is extremely dangerous. Schedule I controlled substance!! Don’t end up in federal prison! #justsayno”

Rep. French Hill (R-AR) spoke about his support for marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Together we are going to end the prohibition of marijuana in the United States.”

/ STATES

The Washington, D.C. Council unanimously approved emergency legislation to protect some, but not all, government workers from employment discrimination over medical cannabis use.

Rhode Island’s House speaker said that there was “no appetite” among lawmakers or constituents to legalize marijuaan this year.

The New Jersey Assembly Appropriations Committee approved a revised medical cannabis expansion bill aimed at avoiding a potential veto from Gov. Phil Murphy (D).

Connecticut regulators are approving hemp cultivation licenses.

Ohio regulators scheduled a public hearing on medical cannabis rules for July 23.

Arkansas regulators approved a third medical cannabis dispensary to open.

Lawmakers from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota discussed marijuana policy at a conference.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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 Hattiesburg, Mississippi City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee will consider a proposed ordinance to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority on Wednesday.

The Monroe County, New York district attorney said her office will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate Legal Committee approved a bill to expedite marijuana pardons, setting it up for third reading before the full body this week.

Maltese President George Vella said he has “major reservations” about legalizing marijuana.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar gave a dismissive response when asked by a lawmaker for a status update on medical cannabis access.

Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babiš hosted a medical cannabis seminar.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “arrest rates of youths significantly decreased in states that decriminalized cannabis possession for everyone but did not decrease in states that legalized adult use.”

A review concluded that “pain (64%), anxiety (50%), and depression/mood (34%) were common reasons for medical cannabis use.”

A study found that “prevalence and frequency of past-month cannabis use among pregnant women increased between 2002 and 2017 and were higher for the first trimester than later trimesters.”

/ BUSINESS

The Global Cannabis Partnership brought together 45 marijuana companies to set environmental, social and governance standards for the industry.

High Times Holding Corp. is being sued for allegedly failing to pay up to $4 million owed as part of its acquisition of Culture Magazine.

/ CULTURE

Martha Stewart spoke at a marijuana conference and said that “the dialogue around cannabis is finally going positive.”

Woody Harrelson will play Timothy Leary in a television series.

Actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted to ask people to oppose New York bills that he said could “impair the hemp industry, particularly the retail sale of hemp-derived CBD.”

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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.
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Congress wants docs on JUUL’s cannabis collaborations (Newsletter: June 18, 2019)

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Psychedelics decrim takes off around the country; Dispensaries don’t increase youth marijuana use; NY legalization situation fluid

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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 440 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy Chairman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) is asking JUUL for documents about any “intended partnerships or collaborations” with “cannabis-related companies, including but not limited to Cronos Group.”

In the wake of successful measures in Denver, Colorado and Oakland, California, activists in cities across the U.S.—and beyond—are planning local moves to decriminalize psychedelics.

A new Colorado marijuana study undermines a key anti-legalization argument, finding that “permitting or not permitting recreational cannabis dispensaries in a community does not appear to change student cannabis use or perceptions towards cannabis.”

/ FEDERAL

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll claimed that building a border wall would be a “force multiplier” to stop drug smuggling.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “Whataboutisn is rarely productive- or reasonable. Additives/ chemicals in food are legal & tested to be below scientifically determined safety thresholds- NONE of which is true for cannabis. If we can’t even agree that babies shouldn’t be consuming pot, I worry for us all.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that some claims about CBD are “pretty hokey.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The fact that the United States continues to arrest hundreds of thousands of black and brown Americans every year for possession of marijuana, while wealthy investors on Wall Street make huge profits off of it, is completely outrageous.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “Nevada’s marijuana businesses are creating jobs and raising millions of dollars in revenues for our state. We must provide these businesses with the @SBAgov resources they need to continue to grow.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “If a Schedule I drug shows promise in treating [PTSD, severe depression, opioid addiction], then perhaps it is not the drug that is ‘morally wrong,’ but the law, the schedule – the statute. It’s time to end the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) tweeted a photo of himself visiting a hemp farm.

/ STATES

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed bill allowing patients to inhale medical cannabis and setting fees on sales. Separately, regulators released the application form for permits to sell CBD products.

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed bills clarifying how medical cannabis dispensaries can become for-profits and making technical changes to marijuana laws.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he thinks lawmakers should not pass legislation to expand marijuana decriminalization without tying it to broader legalization and that he’s “cautiously optimistic” lawmakers can get it done this week. Talks on the issue between the governor’s office and legislative leaders continued on Monday without a deal.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted, “Forcing Nevada’s cannabis businesses to operate on a cash-only basis poses a public safety risk to consumers and employees. I’m proud to join a bipartisan group of 20 governors urging Congress to pass the #SAFEBanking Act.”

The North Carolina Senate passed agricultural legislation containing hemp provisions.

Delaware lawmakers are expected to vote on legislation extending the decriminalization of marijuana to juveniles on Tuesday.

Virginia lawmakers from both parties voiced support for the state attorney general’s endorsement of marijuana decriminalization.

Lawmakers from North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, along with those from a neighboring Canadian province, are set to discuss marijuana laws at a conference this week.

Washington State regulators said that a new marijuana traceability system will go live on July 15.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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 Hattiesburg, Mississippi City Council is considering a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

San Francisco, California’s mayor is proposing increasing funding for the city’s Office of Cannabis from $700,000 to $1.1 million.

Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney said that any marijuana legalization bill should expunge prior convictions.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s health minister said he will probably vote in favor of a marijuana legalization referendum next year.

Brazil’s Federal Council of Medicine is urging the government to cancel a public consultation on allowing medical cannabis cultivation.

Russian lawmakers are considering changes to drug laws following public backlash to a case of an investigative journalist arrested on questionable drug charges.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, in response to a tweet from actress Bette Middler, touted hemp legalization as one of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) accomplishments.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “THC:CBD oromucosal spray proved to be an effective and well-tolerated add-on treatment for patients with elsewhere refractory chronic pain – especially of neuropathic origin.”

A study suggested that “as compared to [benzodiazepines], cannabis can be a healthier and less harmful alternative form of treatment for adults living with anxiety.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Albuquerque Journal editorial board is calling on New Mexico regulators to exercise greater oversight of the medical cannabis industry.

/ BUSINESS

MTech and MJ Freeway combined to form Akerna Corp., which will begin trading on Nasdaq on Tuesday.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Hexo Corp.’s joint venture will start selling marijuana-infused beverages in Canada.

The owner of proposed Massachusetts marijuana dispensary Stem is suing two local businessmen for alleged extortion.

/ CULTURE

BoJack Horseman creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg spoke about taking psychedelic mushrooms.

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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.
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