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State AGs push Congress on cannabis banking (Newsletter: May 20, 2020)

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FDA highlights CBD recall; DC mayor sets stage for legal marijuana sales; IL grants to repair drug war harms funded with cannabis revenue

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There are now 1,499 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A bipartisan coalition of 34 state and territory attorneys general is calling on Congress to include marijuana banking in coronavirus legislation. The push—signed by seven Republicans—goes against GOP lawmakers’ messaging that cannabis isn’t germane to COVID relief and their criticism of House Democrats’ inclusion of the issue in a bill they passed last week.

The Food and Drug Administration is publicizing a voluntary recall of CBD products due to a test showing high lead levels.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal seems to set the stage for legal marijuana sales just as soon as Congress allows it by transferring the city’s current medical cannabis program from the Health Department to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced $31.5 million in marijuana-revenue-funded grant money to help communities that have been “impacted by economic disinvestment, violence and the severe and multilayered harm caused by the war on drugs.”

/ FEDERAL

Attorney General William Barr appointed a new acting director for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), in a Senate floor speech, criticized the inclusion of marijuana banking provisions in House Democrats’ coronavirus relief bill.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) slammed marijuana banking legislation’s inclusion in a House-passed coronavirus bill in a Senate floor speech.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) again blasted Democrats for putting cannabis banking language in their coronavirus legislation. He also said that a Republican bill “would not focus on cannabis.”

Delaware Democratic Senate candidate Jess Scarane tweeted, “When you see politicians opposing legal marijuana, a stance totally out of line with public opinion, check their pharma company donations. Pharma actively lobbies against legalizing, because expanded legal access has decreased opioid use and overall prescription drug spending.”

Nevada Democratic congressional candidate Ed Cohen tweeted, “I  support efforts to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level and leave this issue to the states. I also support efforts to commute the sentences and expunge the criminal records of non-violent offenders languishing in prison for marijuana possession.”

/ STATES

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stephen Smith tweeted, “It’s time for a new kind of government—one that addresses West Virginia’s problems with bold solutions, like cannabis legalization, higher education for all, and universal broadband.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about a county’s prohibition on using medical cannabis for people on probation.

Michigan regulators announced they are expanding eligibility criteria for the state’s marijuana social equity program.

Maryland regulators published guidance on revised medical cannabis and hemp rules.

Alabama regulators released a list of licensed hemp processors and handlers.


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

Portland, Maine’s City Council approved a marijuana licensing system.

The Aurora, Colorado City Council approved a 1% increase in local marijuana sales taxes.

The Kalamazoo, Michigan City Commission voted to allow recreational marijuana businesses to operate.

Takoma, Washington’s deputy mayor is supporting a proposed statewide drug decriminalization ballot measure.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “legalization of recreational marijuana reduced the number of searches of white, black and Hispanic drivers—but the bar for searching black and Hispanic drivers was still lower than that for white drivers post-legalization.”

The Global Drug Survey is conducting a special edition on the effects of coronavirus on substance use.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Consumer Brands Association, National Narcotics Officers’ Associations’ Coalition, National Sheriffs’ Association, National Association of Convenience Stores, Retail Industry Leaders Association and other organizations launched a campaign calling for uniform federal policies on CBD.

/ BUSINESS

Colgate-Palmolive tweeted about its hemp seed oil toothpaste.

Square and New Frontier Data published a survey finding that 86% of Americans are aware of CBD and 18% have tried it.

Helix TCS is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take a case on whether its workers are protected by federal employment laws.

OG DNA Genetics announced that the name of the strain Miss USA will be changed to Miss DNA to end any confusion or infringement related to the trademarked Miss USA pageant.

Leafly raised $3.6 million in new investments.

HEXO Corp. announced a C$50 million underwritten public offering

Oregon retailers sold $89 million worth of marijuana products in April, a new record.

Ohio dispensaries sold $14.2 million worth of medical cannabis products in April, a new record.

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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 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 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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White House reviewing cannabis research plan from FDA (Newsletter: June 3, 2020)

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Trump campaign attacks Biden’s drug war record. Poll: 2/3 AZ voters back legal marijuana; Booker calls out cannabis arrest disparity

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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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.

  • James Rowland of Rowland Strategy Group, LLC: “Tom Angell’s Marijuana Moment beats the Politico Pro Cannabis newsletter hands down. A must-have tool for government affairs professionals working in the cannabis policy space.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing draft Food and Drug Administration guidance on marijuana and CBD research.

President Trump’s reelection campaign is attacking presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as “the chief architect of mass incarceration and the War on Drugs, which targeted Black Americans.”

  • “Joe Biden’s policies destroyed millions of black lives. Joe Biden may not remember. But we do.”

A poll found that two-thirds of Arizona likely voters support a marijuana legalization measure that is on track to qualify for the November ballot.

  • “All signs point to 2020 being the year that recreational marijuana finally becomes legal in Arizona.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) cited racial disparities in marijuana enforcement as an example of what’s motivating police accountability protests.

  • People “can’t get a job, can’t get a loan from the bank for doing things that two of the last three presidents have admitted to doing.”

In an op-ed, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri makes the case for how legalizing marijuana is just one part of the broader fight for racial justice, but an important one.

  • “Of course, marijuana prohibition isn’t the sole cause of America’s racial inequities, nor is it the sole reason why certain members of the police continue to engage in racially-aggressive policing and misconduct. But its criminalization is one of the tools commonly used to justify and perpetuate these injustices.”

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been given temporary authority to “enforce any federal crime committed as a result of protests over the death of George Floyd” and to “conduct covert surveillance” on protestors.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke during a Judiciary Committee hearing about a man who died of coronavirus while serving a federal prison sentence for marijuana.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, “We hold more prisoners, by far, than any other country in the world.  This is largely due to the failed war on drugs, which disproportionately and unjustly targeted people of color.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said that “too often marijuana arrests and prosecutions are a gateway to criminalizing the minority population.”

/ STATES

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) reiterated his call for lawmakers to pass marijuana legalization legislation and celebrated federal approval of the territory’s hemp program.

Maine regulators are being sued over a decision not to enforce a state residency requirement for marijuana business licensees.

California regulators are seeking funding to hire 87 officers to enforce marijuana rules.

The Connecticut legislature’s Regulations Review Committee approved adding Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and certain instances of chronic pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Massachusetts regulators are investigating the looting of multiple marijuana dispensaries.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK secretary of state for health and social care pledged to look into medical cannabis access delays.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “there is substantial evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids in treating cancer-related pain; specifically, oromucosal THC/CBD spray” and that “there is conclusive evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids in relieving chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; specifically, oral THC.”

A study found that hemp protein products “may improve chronic inflammatory states and promote regenerative processes.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights led more than 400 organizations in calling on Congress to enact policing reforms, including legislation to “prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches.”

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is organizing a virtual lobby day next week.

/ BUSINESS

Hightimes Holding Corp. plans to launch a marijuana delivery service in California next month.

PetSmart is being sued for allegedly using  false and deceptive practices to sell hemp products for pets.

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LA lawmakers send medical cannabis expansion to gov’s desk (Newsletter: June 2, 2020)

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MI lawmakers vote on letting their spouses get marijuana licenses; MedMen closes all stores; Study discovers cannabis use at ancient biblical site

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…

There are now 1,506 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Louisiana lawmakers sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a bill to let doctors recommend medical cannabis for any debilitating condition they see fit. They also approved legislation on marijuana business banking access, legal immunity for doctors and a study on the cannabis industry workforce.

The Michigan House of Representatives is set to vote Tuesday on a bill to let elected officials’ spouses get medical cannabis business licenses. Meanwhile, many people with past drug convictions remain ineligible.

Researchers discovered evidence of marijuana use at an ancient biblical site in Israel.

  • “It seems likely that cannabis was used at Arad as a deliberate psychoactive, to stimulate ecstasy as part of cultic ceremonies.”

MedMen has closed all of its marijuana stores nationwide following the looting of several locations over the weekend.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), in a letter to Attorney General William Barr about transferring incarcerated people to home confinement, cited the case of a man who died from coronavirus while serving a marijuana sentence.

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said in a press release that “the history and trauma of racism and Jim Crow is not a memory of the past, but is a reality still today, exacerbated by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices ranging from mass incarceration and police brutality, to the War on Drugs and COVID-19.”

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Qasim Rashid tweeted, “We must decriminalize & stop the drug war, invest in treatment, invest in training officers, stop militarization of police, and divert those resources to education & healthcare.”

New York Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel tweeted, “Sentencing disparities, selective enforcement of the law, and police brutality disproportionately harm Black Americans. We must legalize marijuana and retroactively expunge all marijuana related records.”

/ STATES

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a bill tying state approval of cannabis-based medicines to federal law.

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stephen Smith tweeted, “We’re the only leading campaign that supports full cannabis legalization. With that extra $194mil/year, what would you fix first?”

The Rhode Island Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit from a medical cannabis patient who was fired by his employer for refusing to take a drug test.

The Virginia State Police reported that marijuana arrests declined more than eight percent from 2018 to 2019.

Missouri regulators have approved more than 50,000 medical cannabis patients and caregivers.

Ohio regulators sent reminders about medical cannabis vaporizer requirements and the issue of dispensaries permitting entry to non-patient juveniles.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

A majority of Baltimore, Maryland mayoral and City Council candidates said in a survey that they would “actively support establishing overdose prevention sites.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A former New Zealand prime minister is part of a campaign urging voters to approve a marijuana legalization referendum.

Maltese regulators said they are weighing five applications to cultivate cannabis for medical and research purposes.

Colombian regulators touted a new digital tool they are using for medical cannabis licensing.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “inhaled cannabis acutely reduced PTSD symptoms by more than 50%” and “higher doses of cannabis predicted larger reductions in anxiety and intrusions,” but “cannabis did not appear to improve or worsen PTSD symptoms in the long-term.”

A study concluded that “hemp supplementation improved HDL cholesterol, tended to support psychometric measures of perceived sleep, stress response, and perceived life pleasure and was well tolerated with no clinically relevant safety concerns.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Minority Cannabis Business Association issued a statement of solidarity with people protesting police violence.

/ BUSINESS

PAX Labs launched a web-based desktop app to control its vaporization devices after Apple removed its former product from the App Store.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced it entered into two agreements worth up to $60 million in gross proceeds.

Leafs by Snoop is the most recognizable cannabis brand, according to a survey conducted by Green Horizons.

Oklahoma dispensaries sold more than $73 million worth of medical cannabis products in May.

/ CULTURE

A survey found that 49.5% of MMA fighters currently use marijuana, and 76.5% say they have used CBD products.

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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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Looted cannabis dispensary owner values justice over business (Newsletter: June 1, 2020)

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Biden puts medical marijuana in disability plan; Lawmakers tie war on drugs to police brutality; Study: Cannabis use can put THC in semen

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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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.

  • Jeff Teller: “For years now I have been following Tom for in-depth information on multiple platforms and all the latest news in the Marijuana Moment newsletter. I felt it was time (way overdue) to give back and help support this cause. I can’t even imagine the amount of work it takes to pull all these current events together so lighting fast. I don’t want that to end and so I became a patron. Living in Texas and getting the news and opinions  from every single state and country has been exciting because as many of you know we have a LOT of challenges here and each step somewhere else in a small way affects what happens in Texas too. So support Tom. His passion is tireless, but let’s be real. It takes money. If you can help it will make a difference.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s new disability plan includes a pledge to “prioritize the research needed to advance science-based federal policies related to the use of marijuana for medical conditions, chronic pain, and disabilities.”

A new congressional resolution filed by Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Karen Bass (D-CA) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) highlights the war on drugs as a driver of police brutality against people of color. It comes as protests erupt over the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

  • “The system of policing in America, and its systemic targeting of and use of deadly and brutal force against people of color, particularly Black people, stems from the long legacy of slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws, and the War on Drugs in the United States and has been perpetuated by violent and harmful law enforcement practices.”

Rapper Berner, whose Cookies cannabis dispensary in Los Angeles was looted on Saturday night, says justice for people brutalized by police is more important than business.

  • “As a human living in the world we’re living in today, I cannot expect anything less until justice is served. We can rebuild our store, but you cannot bring someone back to life.”

A study found that THC can be detected in the semen of some frequent marijuana consumers.

  • “It is puzzling that some, but not all, semen samples tested positive for THC. There were no obvious factors that were strongly associated with detectable semen THC.”

/ FEDERAL

A Department of Justice statement of interest supporting a Colorado church’s lawsuit challenging coronavirus-imposed restrictions notes that marijuana dispensaries are classified by the state as critical businesses.

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a dissenting opinion in a case in which the majority rejected a California church’s challenge to restrictions on attendance at religious services during the coronavirus pandemic, wrote that comparable secular businesses, such as cannabis dispensaries, are not subject to similar occupancy limits.

A federal judge rejected Grandpa Bud LLC’s claim that its marijuana growing operation retroactively banned by Washington State county officials is a protectable property under the Constitution.

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tweeted, “Any time you mention marijuana more times than jobs in a 1,800-page bill costing $3T that’s supposed to support jobs, it’s obviously not a very serious bill. We need to consider real solutions to solve the public’s problems, not Pelosi’s desire to implement her liberal agenda.”

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) tweeted, “The history & trauma of racism and Jim Crow is not a memory of the past, but is a reality still today, reinforced by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices ranging from mass incarceration & police brutality, to the War on Drugs & COVID-19.”

Kentucky Senate candidate Mike Broihier tweeted, “We need to come to terms with the failed War on Drugs. Our communities have been treated like war zones. And African-American casualties keep growing.”

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) extended a coronavirus executive order allowing online ordering and curbside pickup at marijuana dispensaries and letting doctors issue medical cannabis recommendations via telemedicine.

Vermont Democratic gubernatorial candidates all agreed on legalizing marijuana sales during a debate.

North Carolina Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Jenna Wadsworth tweeted, “Decriminalize marijuana. Dismiss past misdemeanor possession charges. Free people from a broken, overcrowded, & sometimes corrupt prison system. Combat the school to prison pipeline. Alleviate an overburdened court system from unnecessary possession cases. Legalize cannabis.”

Texas regulators adopted hemp seed certification standards.

Kentucky regulators announced they have licensed 960 hemp growers to grow up to 32,000 acres and 150 hemp processors and handlers for 2020.

Vermont regulators announced that hemp rules they filed have taken effect.

A New Mexico senator said lawmakers should consider legalizing marijuana as a revenue booster during an upcoming special session.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A majority of Israeli government ministers support legalizing marijuana or regularizing the medical cannabis market.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “current evidence does not suggest that prenatal cannabis exposure alone is associated with clinically significant cognitive functioning impairments.”

A study found “a high prevalence of work-related allergic- and particularly respiratory symptoms in the employees of one indoor cannabis grow facility in Washington State.”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported C$115 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of C$1.3 billion.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. announced that Canadian regulators reinstated one of its marijuana licenses.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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