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State cannabis czar takes over legalization org (Newsletter: December 16, 2021)

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Fed study: Youth use down as more states legalize; OH medical cannabis expansion; IL marijuana money for drug war repairs; NH 2022 legalization push

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Marijuana Policy Project has a new leader. Toi Hutchinson most recently served as the top cannabis advisor to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), and before that as a state senator she sponsored the legalization bill he signed into law.

A new federally funded survey found that youth marijuana use declined dramatically in 2021 even as more states enacted and implemented legalization. While COVID social distancing likely contributed to the drop, the new data provides more evidence that prohibitionists’ fears about skyrocketing teen consumption are unfounded.

The Ohio Senate approved a bill to let doctors recommend medical cannabis for any condition they “reasonably” believe could benefit from it, and to otherwise expand the program with more dispensaries and bigger cultivation operations.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton (D) announced a new $45 million round of marijuana revenue-funded grants aimed at helping communities that have been harmed by the war on drugs.

New Hampshire lawmakers are looking to nearby Maine and Vermont for marijuana lessons as they plan a 2022 legalization push—but they face resistance from the governor and legislative leaders.

/ FEDERAL

President Joe Biden signed executive orders imposing sanctions on foreign persons involved with the illegal drug trade and establishing a new U.S. Council on Transnational Organized Crime.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said licensed hemp businesses are eligible for its Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program.

The Senate passed a bill designating methamphetamine as an emerging threat and directing the Office of National Drug Control Policy to implement a plan to address its use.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) tweeted about St. Louis, Missouri’s mayor signing a marijuana decriminalization bill, saying, “Deep gratitude to you, Madam Mayor, and to the sponsors on the Board of Aldermen for your amazing leadership in delivering this legislation to repeal outdated marijuana laws in St. Louis. This will save lives and livelihoods.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, currently the attorney general, tweeted, “The majority of Pennsylvanians want to see marijuana legalized. Me too — it’s time to get it done.”

Texas Democratic attorney general candidate Lee Merritt tweeted, “We can’t simply legalize cannabis in Texas without taking steps to undo 50 years of damage disproportionately directed at black and brown communities. As we move toward legalization in Texas we must rebuild communities devastated by the so-called ‘war on drugs.'”

Minnesota’s House majority leader tweeted, “Expunging convictions must be a non-negotiable part of any cannabis legalization bill. Without it, legalization is barely even a criminal justice reform.”

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee held a hearing on marijuana expungement bills.

A Florida representative tweeted about a bill she recently filed “to decriminalize the personal possession and use (not sale/production) of marijuana and other drugs to prioritize ‘treatment and safety in an effort to preserve lives rather than discard them through criminalization and incarceration.'”

An Oklahoma Supreme Court official held an initial hearing in a case in which one legalization activist is challenging other activists’ proposed marijuana ballot measures.

New Mexico regulators issued the state’s first recreational marijuana business licenses.

Colorado regulators issued an updated health and safety advisory about potentially unsafe marijuana products produced by Innovative Fusion LLC.

New Jersey regulators began accepting applications for recreational marijuana cultivation, manufacturing and testing business licenses.

New York marijuana regulators partnered with other state agencies on a new campaign urging people not to drive under the influence.

The Alaska Department of Law is pursuing felony charges against a marijuana cultivation business for failure to pay taxes.

Oregon regulators released a podcast about 2021 marijuana developments.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,300 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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

Oakland, California’s mayor said in a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) that she would like a California Highway Patrol task force to direct more attention to recent robberies of marijuana dispensaries and other businesses.

Some Green Bay, Wisconsin Common Council members are pushing to lower marijuana penalties.

The San Diego, California City Council is considering a proposal to increase the number of marijuana dispensaries and loosen zoning restrictions.

The Bernalillo County, New Mexico Commission approved a marijuana ordinance that bans outdoor consumption areas.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government is open to working with provinces that want to decriminalize drugs.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Science and Technology shared more details about its hemp plan.

The UK Food Standards Agency said it will soon publish details on which CBD products will be allowed to remain on the market.

A South Korean judge spared two U.S. service members convicted of bringing cannabis products into the country from serving time in prison.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “among nurses and physicians, having an oncology specialty predicted more positive attitudes toward” medical cannabis and that “physicians had a less positive attitude toward MC compared to nurses.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Texas Medical Association published a white paper about medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation is divesting subsidiary business C³ Cannabinoid Compound Company GmbH.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. closed on the acquisition of 27 properties leased for use as cannabis facilities in Colorado, Pennsylvania and North Dakota.

Puffco is temporarily shutting down its website to deal with a backlog of orders caused by the U.S. Postal Service’s ban on mailing vaping products.

Village Farms International, Inc. is delisting from the Toronto Stock Exchange and will remain on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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.

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