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State officials press Congress to pass cannabis banking bill (Newsletter: April 17, 2019)

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Denver begins voting on psilocybin measure; Dems discuss how, not whether, to legalize marijuana; Colorado US attorney supports Cole memo rescission

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressional Democrats held a panel focused specifically on how—not whether—to legalize marijuana at their retreat last week.

The top financial officials from 25 states and U.S. territories sent a letter urging Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The nation’s first vote to decriminalize psilocybin is happening right now, as mail ballots containing the mushroom measure were sent to Denver, Colorado voters this week.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for Colorado said he agrees with the rescission of the Cole Memo and has concerns about marijuana concentrates.

Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders coauthored an op-ed on modern-day “Reefer Madness.”

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D), a presidential candidate, implied that he consumed high-quality marijuana in the 1970s.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Let us not just end the prohibition of marijuana and expunge the records of those arrested solely for possession but let us also end cash bail, prisons for profit, mandatory minimums, and the schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, said he is working with the sponsors of the STATES Act to try to add criminal justice reform components to the bill.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “In my view, it is long past time that we in the United States end the federal prohibition on marijuana. Now is the time to decriminalize marijuana and expunge criminal records associated with the drug.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We must not only legalize and regulate marijuana, but we need to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions who have been arrested or incarcerated.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “Nevada’s cannabis businesses are operating as cash-only because of federal laws blocking access to financial services. I’m supporting the #SAFEBankingAct to give marijuana businesses access to the banking services they need to continue to grow.”

Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV) spoke in support of marijuana banking access in a speech before the Nevada legislature.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) tweeted a photo of herself meeting with marijuana business owners who “are worried that the feds could step-in at any moment and shut them down. Marijuana is now a multi-billion-dollar industry in our state. We shouldn’t have to worry about suddenly losing a key part of our economy.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Despite dozens of states legalizing some form of cannabis, thousands of people continue to be criminalized for possession. It’s critical we do more than just legalize – we need to address the legacy of the failed War on Drugs too.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and punish states with discriminatory enforcement got two new cosponsors, for a total of 36.

The House bill to prevent federal agencies from spending money to interfere with state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of nine.

The House bill to federally legalize medical cannabis for military veterans got one new cosponsor, for a total of one.

The House resolution calling on states to provide for equity in the marijuana industry got one new cosponsor, for a total of six.

/ STATES

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed a bill to streamline the process for applications for lower-level medical cannabis and hemp business owners.

The office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has drafted a list of eight nurseries that would be allowed to cultivate medical cannabis under a tentative settlement of a lawsuit challenging how the state awards such licenses.

The Washington State House of Representatives approved a bill to vacate past marijuana convictions.

Montana’s House of Representatives approved legislation to change medical cannabis testing requirements.

The Oregon Senate defeated a bill to limit marijuana cultivation to reflect supply and demand.

The Colorado House Appropriations Committee approved a bill to defelonize drug possession. Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation is launching a survey to inform future ad campaigns discouraging marijuana-impaired driving.

North Carolina representatives filed a marijuana decriminalization bill.

A Wisconsin representative plans to introduce a marijuana legalization bill on Thursday.


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

Here’s a look at the road to the ballot for Denver, Colorado’s psilocybin measure.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Philippine Supreme Court reiterated its request for documents related to the government’s bloody “war on drugs.”

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin tweeted, “83% of Wisconsinites support legalizing medical marijuana — Governor Evers has proposed doing just that.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “odds of reporting a greater number of adverse health outcomes were 1.83 times higher for children of families with indoor cannabis smoking vs families without cannabis smoking, after controlling for exposure to cigarette smoke and other covariates” but that “our results do not indicate a statistically significant association.”

A study of police officers’ exposure to secondhand marijuana smoke at open-air stadium events found “measurable amounts of THC in personal and area air samples” and that “small amounts of THC-COOH, a chemical marker of THC exposure, were detected in urine samples, but not in blood samples,” but that “the amount found in the urine would not be considered positive in a routine drug screening test.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that when given options, 42% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, 42% back medical cannabis, 3% want it illegal with distributors prosecuted and 13% want consumers and sellers prosecuted.

A poll found that 46% of U.S. adults would consider investing in the marijuana industry.

/ BUSINESS

Urban Outfitters will begin selling CBD products.

Citigroup is considering ending its practice of testing job applicants for marijuana.

Former U.S. Ambassador to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Ned L. Siegel joined the board of Maridose LLC.

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

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

Texas cannabis bills advance to House floor (Newsletter: April 19, 2019)

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Congressional bill would allow marijuana in public housing; FDA receives hundreds of CBD comments; Boehner could cash in big with Acreage/Canopy deal

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 422 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) filed a bill that would allow people to use marijuana in public housing.

More than 400 people have already submitted CBD regulation comments to the Food and Drug Administration ahead of an upcoming public hearing on the topic.

Three major Texas cannabis reform bills—to decriminalize marijuana, legalize hemp and expand medical cannabis—have cleared committees and are on their way to the House floor.

/ FEDERAL

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reportedly stands to make nearly $20 million from a deal involving the marijuana firm he is a board member for.

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted, “When will Congress catch up with the American people on #cannabis? Representatives like @RepDaveJoyce and @mattgaetz are leading the way.”

/ STATES

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) said that a marijuana sales legalization bill would need to allow roadside saliva testing in order to win his support.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is not on board with a proposal to send most of the revenue from legal marijuana to municipalities.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and regulators announced the launch of a hemp pilot program. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved legislation to block unlicensed marijuana businesses that remain open after June 1 from becoming licensed for a year.

The Colorado House of Representatives passed a bill to defelonize drug possession.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved bills concerning medical cannabis disposal and businesses in foreclosure or bankruptcy.

The Florida House of Representatives approved legislation to expand syringe exchange programs around the state. Separately, the House State Affairs Committee advanced a hemp bill.

Wisconsin representatives filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Oregon regulators approved six marijuana violation settlement agreements and indicated they would consider stiffening penalties in the future.

Arkansas medical cannabis sales are expected to begin on May 12.

Washington State regulators certified a lab to test for heavy metals in marijuana. Separately, here’s a look at where cannabis bills stand in the legislature.

Guam’s marijuana regulatory board has been formed and will meet soon.

Montana activists are working to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the state’s 2020 ballot.


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.


/ SCIENCE & HEALTH


A study found that “life satisfaction at age 21 was not associated with cannabis cessation,” suggesting that “the predictive value of life satisfaction in cannabis use is questionable and may be accounted for by other behaviors, such as tobacco and alcohol use.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Americans found that 53% support legalizing marijuana and 76% back medical cannabis.

A poll found that Louisiana residents support legalizing marijuana, 55%-42%.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. plans to acquire Acreage Holdings Inc. in a $3.4 billion deal that will be triggered when cannabis is federally legalized in the U.S.

Eaze is donating $4.20 for every delivery on April 20, up to $100,000, to Code for America’s efforts to expunge drug convictions.

Lyft is offering $4.20 rides in Massachusetts on 4/20.

New England Treatment Access is being sued for alleged trademark infringement in its logo by Boise Cascade Company.

/ CULTURE

Rapper Kodak Black was arrested for possessing marijuana and a firearm at the U.S.-Canada border.

The office of Denver’s CBS affiliate received a  mistaken delivery of a large box of 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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Alabama lawmakers approve cannabis decrim in committee (Newsletter: April 18, 2019)

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McConnell touts hemp legalization in campaign ad; Study: CBD helps epileptic dogs; Georgia medical marijuana expansion signed

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 1,041 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.

  • Holly DeLorenzo: “I pledged because I found Marijuana Moment to be a trusted and valuable resource. Thank you for all the work that goes into keeping track of the latest information on cannabis legislation.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) reelection campaign launch ad prominently touts his leadership on hemp legalization.

A study on treating epileptic dogs with CBD found that “seizure frequency improved considerably and owners reported a positive impression.”

/ FEDERAL

A Farm Services Agency official is being sued in federal court for allegedly threatening Oklahoma farmers who express interest in growing hemp.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The effort to legalize marijuana –and I can’t emphasize this enough– MUST include criminal justice measures like expunging records & investing in communities hurt by the failed war on drugs. I will not support legalization efforts that don’t address this.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The failed War On Drugs disproportionately affects communities of color – we have to take real steps to right the wrongs of history.”

/ STATES

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a bill allowing in-state cultivation and sales of low-THC medical cannabis products.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed a spending bill containing start-up funding for the state’s medical cannabis program. Separately, the House of Representatives defeated a marijuana decriminalization amendment.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed off on a settlement deal to approve eight new medical cannabis nurseries so that a lawsuit challenging how the state’s determines awards such licenses will be dropped.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “3 YEARS AGO TODAY: I signed the law that legalized medical marijuana in PA. Now, more than 100,000 Pennsylvanians with serious illnesses have a medical marijuana patient certification and can access life-changing medication.” Separately, regulators revoked the medical license of a prolific medical marijuana doctor.

Alaska lawmakers rejected Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s (R) nomination of a cannabis opponent to serve on the state Marijuana Control Board.

The Arizona House of Representatives defeated a bill to require the release of more information about medical cannabis businesses.

The Texas House Public Health Committee amended and approved a bill to expand the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

Nevada regulators shuttered marijuana dispensaries over a failure to pay taxes.

The Massachusetts Securities Division charged an investment adviser with allegedly soliciting funds for medical cannabis projects that were never licensed.

Louisiana regulators are working to test medical cannabis in time for a planned May rollout of legal sales to patients.

Here’s a look at why New Mexico’s marijuana legalization bill died this session and the future prospects of legislation to end prohibition.


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 Daytona Beach, Florida City Commission voted to approve a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Los Angeles, California city attorney sued an unlicensed marijuana dispensary for allegedly selling product tainted with an unapproved pesticide.

Jefferson County, Alabama’s district attorney is working with other officials on a plan to end low-level marijuana arrests.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ghana’s Mental Health Authority is raising concerns about the possible legalization of marijuana.

A Malaysian medical cannabis advocate who faced the death penalty for trafficking was instead sentenced to 15 years in prison and 10 strokes of the cane.

Vice looks at the prospects for marijuana reform in countries around the world.

/ ADVOCACY

The Kansas Democratic Party tweeted about Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signing a hemp bill.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Commentator Geraldo Rivera tweeted, “Agree with @BetoORourke His Big Ideas and gymnastic speaking style aside, he is right about ending marijuana prohibition, halting all arrest for pot now, and purging criminal records that are small scale pot related. This appeals to right and left, stop #ReeferMadness”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corp. is reportedly nearing a deal to buy Acreage Holdings Inc.

The Vitamin Shoppe began selling CBD products.

Carl’s Jr. is testing a CBD burger.

Bank of America began covering marijuana stocks.

/ CULTURE

Musician Jimmy Buffett’s marijuana product brand is launching on Friday.

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Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.

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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Congressional Dems play cannabis trivia at retreat (Newsletter: April 16, 2019)

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Study: Marijuana motivates people to exercise; POTUS candidate Eric Swalwell on cannabis; Kansas hemp bill signed

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 1,037 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.

  • Green Thumb Industries: “The Marijuana Moment newsletter is a valuable daily resource for so many people at GTI. We appreciate the comprehensive reporting on the state and federal levels.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressional Democrats participated in a marijuana-themed trivia round at their retreat last week. The cannabis category was called “Green New Deal” and one question was about gravity bongs.

Marijuana Moment’s latest presidential candidate analysis looks at the cannabis record of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA).

A new study smashes “lazy stoner” stereotypes, finding that marijuana consumption helps motivate people to exercise.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) tweeted, “Did you know that legal cannabis businesses don’t get to use banks like the rest of us? This week I introduced a bipartisan bill to give cannabis businesses access to banking. It’s crazy that legal cannabis businesses are forced to carry around cash in gym bags. Let them bank!”

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) tweeted, “The #SAFEBankingAct would recognize the will of Nevada voters by creating an infrastructure that would allow the marijuana industry in Nevada to operate legally and provide legitimate cannabis-related businesses with access to the banking system.”

Sen. Jacky Rosen, (D-NV) tweeted, “We should be helping our new industries thrive in Nevada, not stifle them with outdated federal laws. I’m co-sponsoring the #SAFEBankingAct to give our marijuana businesses access to the financial services they desperately need.” She also tweeted, “Nevada’s marijuana businesses are bringing in millions of dollars in revenue and creating thousands of jobs for our state, yet they continue to operate on an archaic cash-only basis as a result of outdated federal laws. I’m co-sponsoring the #SAFEBankingAct to put an end to this.”

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), a cofounder of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, sent an open letter urging state lawmakers not to legalize cannabis.

/ STATES

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed a hemp bill into law.

The office of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she doesn’t believe a bill she signed will allow incarcerated people to use medical cannabis.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) shared an update on the marijuana legalization listening tour that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) is conducting.

New Jersey’s Senate president said that Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) threat to expand medical cannabis if marijuana legalization doesn’t pass is “not helping.”

Florida’s agriculture commissioner and some lawmakers want health insurance plans to cover medical cannabis.

The Montana House of Representatives approved a bill to make a number of changes to the state’s medical cannabis program.

The Nebraska Senate approved a hemp bill. Separately, here’s a look at efforts to enact medical cannabis in the state, either through a ballot measure or legislation.

The Iowa Senate passed a hemp bill.

The Vermont House Committee on Government Operations has begun marking up a bill to legalize marijuana sales.

A Nevada judge delayed a hearing on lawsuits seeking to force regulators to release more details about their marijuana license awarding process.

The Bay Mills Indian Community is the first tribe in Michigan to legalize marijuana. Separately, regulators released guidance on cannabis product testing and RFID tag requirements.


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 Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney is talking to Code for America about assisting with her office’s effort to expunge marijuana convictions.

Denver, Colorado marijuana regulators and cannabis industry representatives are teaming up to urge people not to bring kids to a 4/20 festival. Separately, the City Council voted to initially approve a measure to lessen distance requirements for cannabis social use areas.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Australia’s first taxpayer-funded medical cannabis cultivation facility has opened.

Panamanian lawmakers are considering medical cannabis legislation.

/ ADVOCACY

The Nebraska Democratic Party cheered lawmakers’ approval of a hemp bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabinoid-based treatments are a promising avenue of new research for medications that may help the Tourette syndrome population” but that “given the limited research available, the overall efficacy and safety of cannabinoid-based treatments is largely unknown.”

A study concluded that “compared with people who did not regularly use cannabis, people who regularly used cannabis required an amount of sedation for endoscopic procedures that was significantly higher.”

A study breaks down county-by-county marijuana arrest rates across the U.S.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. adults found that 62% expect marijuana to be legal across the country within 10 years, 50% support legalization and 72% back medical cannabis, among other findings.

A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 52%-42%.

The Baltimore Sun editorial board is calling out both Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) and marijuana activists who are feuding with him for acting in a “petty and pointless” manner.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria Inc. shares dropped.

PAX Labs is in talks to raise over $400 million.

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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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