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Surgeon general backs cannabis decrim (Newsletter: July 19, 2021)

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MD House speaker: put marijuana on ballot; More cannabis protections in Congress; RI Senate pres’s legalization talks; IL cannabis $ for anti-violence

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy appeared to endorse decriminalizing marijuana.

  • “When it comes to decriminalization, I don’t think that there is value to individuals or to society to lock people up for marijuana use. I don’t think that serves anybody well.”

The House Appropriations Committee approved spending bills and reports that protect state medical cannabis laws from federal interference, encourage marijuana and CBD research and note the lifesaving potential of safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

  • The measures also protect universities from being punished for studying cannabis, note the painkilling value of kratom and remove restrictions on using federal funds for syringe access programs.

Maryland’s House speaker pledged to pass legislation “early next year” to put a marijuana legalization referendum on the 2022 ballot, and she’s forming a working group to figure out details. The Senate president cosponsored a legal cannabis bill this session.

Rhode Island’s Senate president said he’s had “discussions” about reaching a marijuana legalization compromise with the House and that he hopes lawmakers will come back to vote on a deal in September.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority announced it is using $3.5 million in marijuana tax revenue to fund grants aimed at reducing violence. It’s part of an ongoing justice reinvestment program created by the cannabis legalization law.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) said we are due for a national conversation about legalizing marijuana.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tweeted, “When it comes to cannabis, the federal government is still living in the era of Reefer Madness. It’s past time to end these outdated, racist laws. 

@SenBooker  @SenSchumer and I are all in to get it done.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted his marijuana legalization bill “has the potential to be the most comprehensive effort to rewrite marijuana laws at the federal level in American history, and has the potential to be a substantial step towards ending the failed War on Drugs. We will get this done.” He also tweeted, “The federal prohibition on marijuana is archaic, cruel & hypocritical to its core. Enough is enough. We need to finally end the prohibition on marijuana & focus on restorative justice for communities that have been ruined by our broken marijuana policies.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) criticized federal policies that make it hard for military veterans to get access to medical cannabis.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted, “Democrats ignore science with their new push for marijuana.”

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) said he doesn’t support federal marijuana legalization.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “It’s LONG past time to right the wrongs of the failed War on Drugs. Let’s go further and legalize marijuana across America, and invest in the BIPOC communities hit hardest by these cruel failed policies.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a marijuana licensing and regulatory bill.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) asked the state attorney general to review the legality of delta-8-THC.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) and the House speaker discussed ongoing negotiations about medical cannabis legislation to replace the voter-approved measure that the state Supreme Court overturned.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said he remains opposed to legalizing marijuana because it is a “gateway drug.”

South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham spoke about his decision to run on a marijuana legalization platform and about his past cannabis use. He also tweeted, “It’s shameful that our current Governor opposes medical marijuana. When I served on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, I heard from countless veterans just begging for an alternative to addictive opioids. When I’m Governor, they’ll finally get access to medical marijuana.”

A North Carolina senator spoke about how his experience as a cancer survivor motivates his push to legalize medical cannabis.

A Virginia delegate tweeted, “If requiring an ID to vote is racist, why did Democrats require one to grow marijuana? #Hypocrisy”

A Kentucky judge is weighing a case seeking to stop police raids on hemp businesses that sell delta-8-THC products.

A federal judge heard arguments in a case challenging Maine’s residency requirement for medical cannabis business owners.

New York’s comptroller determined that the Department of Agriculture and Markets has made progress in addressing issues with the state hemp program that were identified in a previous report.

Georgia regulators will discuss medical cannabis cultivation licenses on Saturday.

The Washington State Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force’s Technical Assistance & Mentorship Workgroup will meet on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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

The Oshkosh, Wisconsin City Council member is proposing a measure to lower marijuana penalties.

The mayors of Laurelville and Murray City, Ohio said they are keeping an open mind about proposed marijuana decriminalization ballot measures.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Cayman Islands Premier Wayne Panton announced a plan to decriminalize marijuana.

Italian lawmakers are considering legislation to allow marijuana home cultivation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “C. sativa was first domesticated in early Neolithic times in East Asia and that all current hemp and drug cultivars diverged from an ancestral gene pool currently represented by feral plants and landraces in China.”

A review concluded that “phyto-, endogenous and synthetic cannabinoids demonstrated antitumour effects both in vitro and in vivo.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

NORML’s former executive director spoke about how his decision to tell a Washington Post reporter that he consumed cocaine at a 1977 Christmas party with Office of Drug Abuse Policy Director Peter Bourne impacted marijuana law reform efforts.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced that its interim CEO will be given the job permanently.

A reorganization plan for CannTrust Holdings Inc. was approved by a court.

A National Labor Relations Board judge determined that Curaleaf Massachusetts Inc. violated federal labor law by soliciting grievances and implicitly promising benefits to workers if they didn’t support a union drive.

Organigram Holdings Inc. launched a Cannabis Innovators Panel intended to offer insights on consumer preferences.

The Parent Company added a delivery hub in Chula Vista, California through Caliva’s platform.

Villano Enterprises Inc. and Las Vegas Cannabis Awards LLC are suing each other in a trademark dispute.

/ CULTURE

Mixed martial arts fighter Leon Edwards spoke about hanging out with Dave Chappelle and Joe Rogan while they smoked marijuana.

The Onion made fun of the new Senate draft marijuana legalization bill.

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 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.)

Newsletter

House approves cannabis banking (again, in military bill this time) (Newsletter: September 22, 2021)

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Amazon expands marijuana protections; CA State Fair hosts cannabis contest; NY legalization revenue projections; Fmr GOP rep on psilocybin benefits

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…

Free to read (but not free to produce)! We’re proud of our newsletter and the reporting we publish at Marijuana Moment, and we’re happy to provide it for free. But it takes a lot of work and resources to make this happen.

If you value Marijuana Moment, invest in our success on Patreon so we can expand our coverage and more readers can benefit: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives approved a marijuana banking amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act—on a voice vote, and no member requested a roll call. Earlier on Tuesday, the House Rules Committee cleared the measure for  floor consideration, but the panel blocked separate amendments to expand research on the benefits of psychedelics for active duty military members and to protect veterans from being denied home loans because they work in the cannabis industry.

Amazon reiterated its support for legalizing marijuana and said it will reinstate eligibility for employees and applicants who were previously punished for positive cannabis tests. Curiously, though, the company claimed in a letter to senators that it has no view on marijuana “regulation, permitting, taxation, and interstate commerce.”

The California State Fair & Expo will host a first-of-its-kind, state-sanctioned cannabis competition and awards show at next year’s event.

New York’s budget director projected in a new quarterly fiscal update that growing marijuana revenue will help offset an ongoing decline in taxes from cigarette sales.

Former Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) shared the story of a family friend who treated alcoholism with psilocybin therapy.

  • “The first time he got the treatment, he lost all cravings for drinking. This happened about six years ago, and he has not had a craving since.”

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge sentenced a former Fall River, Massachusetts mayor convicted of extorting marijuana businesses to six years in prison.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy announced $13.2 million in grants for 106 Drug-Free Communities Support Programs across the country.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency tweeted, “A pilot hemp insurance program available in select counties through Multi-Peril Crop Insurance provides coverage against loss of yield because of insurable causes of loss for hemp grown for fiber, grain, or CBD oil.”

Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN) toured a hemp processing facility.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s move to reconsider marijuana’s banned status for athletes is “real progress for real people. Grateful to my colleagueRep. @Bonnie4Congres for shining a light on this injustice together.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, tweeted about the growth potential of psilocybin treatment.

/ STATES

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed a bill to allow police to refer juveniles caught with marijuana to counseling, treatment or other intervention services in lieu of having to pay fines.

A New Jersey senator spoke about why his bill to legalize home cultivation of marijuana is stalled.

Connecticut’s Judicial Branch is warning people that marijuana is not allowed inside courthouses.

Oklahoma regulators filed permanent changes to medical cannabis rules.

Louisiana regulators proposed changes to hemp rules.

Vermont regulators are preparing to issue a report with marijuana recommendations for lawmakers.

Connecticut regulators published updated statistics on medical cannabis patients and registered physicians.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.

The Nevada Cannabis Advisory Subcommittee on Public Safety will meet on Friday.

Michigan regulators will hold a public hearing on proposed marijuana rules changes on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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

The Rapid City, South Dakota City Council approved medical cannabis business rules.

Denver, Colorado will host a Marijuana Social Equity Resource Fair on October 16.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned the international community not to interfere with his nation’s bloody “drug war” in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly.

Paraguayan officials sent a reminder about the need to register and update medical cannabis business information.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of hemp found that “CBD yield and decarboxylation rate were significantly affected by drying conditions” and that “terpene content and profile in hemp changed with the drying conditions.”

A study concluded that “psilocybin has a rapid, sizable, and long-term antidepressive effect for primary (major depression patients) and secondary depressive disorder (depressed cancer patients).”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly said the government should air public  service announcements about the harms of marijuana, and he’s offering to star in them for free.

Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann signed on as a cannabis consultant for PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP.

The Cannabis Freedom Alliance published a white paper on marijuana social equity programs.

The Transform Drug Policy Foundation is hiring a new CEO.

/ BUSINESS

FSD Pharma Inc. closed its acquisition of Lucid Psycheceuticals Inc.

Blue Tree LLC is reportedly being investigated by California regulators over a possible illegal marijuana smuggling operation.

/ CULTURE

Seth Rogen spoke about how his passion for cannabis drives his work with his brand Houseplant.

The Onion joked that marijuana “ranks among the foremost treatments for persistent existence.”

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.
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Newsletter

Italian cannabis & psilocybin referendum gets 500k sigs (Newsletter: September 21, 2021)

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FL marijuana initiative; RI Senate president: Legalization deal “very close”; Lawmakers push Biden for clemency

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In just a week, Italian activists have collected half a million signatures in a week for a referendum to decriminalize growing marijuana—and other psychoactive plants and fungi such as psilocybin mushrooms. The vote is expected to take place in the spring.

Rhode Island’s Senate president said lawmakers are “very close” to reaching a deal on a marijuana legalization bill that could be passed in a special session this fall.

Florida activists filed a new marijuana legalization initiative they hope to qualify for the 2022 ballot. The move comes after the state Supreme Court invalidated prior measures from this group and another for being “misleading” in light of federal law.

A group of 28 members of Congress sent a letter urging President Joe Biden to grant clemency to nearly 20,000 people in the federal prison system—including those with drug convictions.

/ FEDERAL

National Security Council Senior Director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Gonzalez spoke about the evolution of drug policies in the U.S. and Latin America, and said that marijuana legalization is a state issue. (About 27:10 into the audio.)

The U.S. Department of Education said it did not have enough time to remove the drug conviction question from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid after Congress repealed the related penalty, and so it will remain for the next year even though answers to it will have no impact on eligibility.

A federal judge acquitted a former Fall River, Massachusetts mayor of several charges but left standing his conviction on charges of extorting marijuana businesses.

Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) tweeted, “Our sheriff’s department has been hard at work shutting down illegal marijuana grows in our communities. These are not small backyard operations- this is large-scale organized crime that threatens our safety, our water, and our environment.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, said marijuana legalization is a rare uniting political issue.

/ STATES

A New York senator hosted an event to help people expunge marijuana records.

Connecticut patients can begin growing their own medical cannabis on October 1.

South Dakota regulators are considering how to amend medical cannabis rules that were rejected by lawmakers.

California regulators are being sued for allegedly turning a “blind eye” to systemic flaws that foster an illegal mariijuana distribution market.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin about marijuana plant count inventories. Separately, they will host a cannabis social equity education session on Thursday.

Colorado regulators issued an update on average market rates for marijuana.

Ohio regulators will accept applications for medical cannabis dispensary licenses from November 4-18.

Utah regulators published an update on the medical cannabis program.

The Washington State Social Equity in Cannabis Task Force’s Licensing Workgroup will meet on Wednesday.

West Virginia’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will meet on Thursday.

West Virginia regulators will host a medical cannabis patient signup event on September 29.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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

The Chicago, Illinois City Council approved the mayor’s proposal to expand where marijuana businesses can be located.

More than 90 percent of Maine towns don’t allow recreational marijuana sales.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly agreed to reschedule psilocybin to facilitate research on its medical benefits.

Zurich, Switzerland officials unveiled details for a marijuana legalization pilot program to launch next year.

Namibian activists are challenging the constitutionality of marijuana prohibition in court.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “people with cannabis purchases after legalization reduced significantly and persistently their cash spending and electronic transfers, indicating a shift from the black to the legal cannabis market.”

The University of Michigan is conducting a survey on the use and effects of psychedelics.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll paid for by a marijuana businesses advocacy group found that Michigan likely voters support placing restrictions and regulations on medical cannabis caregivers who cultivate for patients.

The Economic Policy Institute published a report about the benefits of unionization in the cannabis industry, which was touted by United Food and Commercial Workers.

AMVETS is hosting a forum on using medical cannabis to treat cancer on September 29.

/ BUSINESS

The former CEO of Ebony and others were charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission with allegedly raising money for marijuana businesses but illegally using it for other purposes, including funding the magazine.

Delic Holdings Corp is acquiring Ketamine Wellness Centers Arizona LLC.

/ CULTURE

Seth Rogen is set to discuss is marijuana brand Houseplant at TechCrunch Disrupt this week.

Former wrestler The Godfather about the WWE’s stance on marijuana and said that Shane McMahon owns a cannabis business in California.

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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Newsletter

Finally a pro-reform politician joins a cannabis board (Newsletter: September 20, 2021)

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Prosecutors’ safe drug consumption site SCOTUS brief; PA medical marijuana DUI bill; VA judge jails witness for cannabis; Seattle psychedelics decrim

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…

Free to read (but not free to produce)! We’re proud of our newsletter and the reporting we publish at Marijuana Moment, and we’re happy to provide it for free. But it takes a lot of work and resources to make this happen. 

  • Tony Rousmaniere, PsyD: “I subscribed because of your high-quality reporting on the psychedelic decriminalization news.  I’m a psychologist who is involved in this effort.”

If you value Marijuana Moment, invest in our success on Patreon so we can expand our coverage and more readers can benefit: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Former Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) joined the board of Red White & Bloom Brands Inc. The former congressman, who consistently supported cannabis reform while serving in the House, bucks the recent trend of former GOP lawmakers who often voted against marijuana while in office now cashing in on the industry.

Eighty prosecutors and law enforcement officials—including President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. attorney for Massachusetts—filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to take up a case that would allow safe consumption sites for illegal drugs to open.

The Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee is scheduled to take up a bill this week that would protect medical cannabis patients from “zero tolerance” DUI laws by requiring that police actually prove impairment.

A Virginia judge sentenced a woman to 10 days in jail for contempt of court because she admitted to using marijuana earlier in the day before testifying against her alleged domestic violence abuser—even though cannabis is legal in Virginia.

A Seattle, Washington City Council member spoke to Marijuana Moment about his plans to file a psychedelics decriminalization measure by the end of this year—and how it could embolden broader reform at the state level.

/ FEDERAL

President Joe Biden issued a memo declaring 22 nations as “major drug transit or major illicit drug producing countries.”

Acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet Woodcock spoke about the delay in approving the marketing of CBD products.

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, spoke about his plans to push for federal marijuana reform if elected.

North Carolina Senate Democratic Senate candidate Jeff Jackson is campaigning on marijuana legalization but hasn’t been very involved in efforts to pass medical cannabis as a state senator.

/ STATES

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) signed a bill to end the practice of sending people to jail while they await hearings over alleged technical parole violations such as using marijuana.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) spoke about taxes and other issues facing marijuana businesses.

The top cannabis advisor to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) spoke about the ongoing challenges of ensuring equity in the industry.

Alabama’s treasurer resigned in order to serve as executive director of the Medical Cannabis Commission.

California’s treasurer tweeted about the status of federal marijuana banking legislation.

Wyoming activists have already met one required county signature collection threshold for qualifying marijuana initiatives for the state’s 2022 ballot in less than a week of petitioning.

New Jersey regulators missed the deadline to begin accepting marijuana business license applications.

Michigan lawmakers and other elected officials spoke about a festival dedicated to psychedelics.

A Massachusetts regulator is pushing to add the city of Lawrence as an area designated as being disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition enforcement.

Washington State regulators published a policy statement concerning structure or function claims for marijuana-infused products.

Washington, D.C. regulators published a list of companies that have been approved to apply for medical cannabis business licenses.

Florida regulators released updated statistics about the state’s medical cannabis program.

Vermont’s Cannabis Control Board and its advisory subcommittees will hold several meetings this week.

Oregon regulators will discuss rules on delta-8 THC and other artificially-derived cannabinoids on September 30.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,200 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

The Rapid City, South Dakota City Council is expected to take up medical cannabis rules on Monday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Luxembourg’s justice minister declined to confirm whether the government still plans to legalize marijuana.

The Czech Republic’s Chamber of Deputies voted to more than triple the amount of THC that can legally be in industrial hemp, and President Miloš Zeman is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Ireland’s Food Safety Authority issued a recall notice for CBD products that have unauthorized levels of THC in them.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study provided “some reassurance for the lack of any demonstrable detrimental effects of cannabis consumption on IVF outcomes.”

A review concluded that “the single-dose administration of LSD is safe in regard to acute psychological and physical harm in healthy subjects in a controlled research setting.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison tweeted about a relatively low bond for a man charged in connection with a shooting that investigators say was an insurance fraud scheme, saying, “A $20,000 bond… seriously?!  I bet we can find someone in Hampton County with a marijuana possession or some simple charge and a bond 5 times this size.  A great illustration of the inherent disparities in our system.  Justice ain’t always ‘just’ for the underprivileged!”

The Alabama Democratic Party hosted a forum on marijuana legalization and will hold another one on September 23.

The Nebraska Cannabis Association launched in anticipation of eventual legalization in the state.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation shareholders approved the election of directors at an annual meeting.

Journey Clinical raised a $3 million seed round.

Trulieve is asking a Florida judge to dismiss allegations that it interfered in a contractual relationship when it hired a former staffer for Surterra Staffing LLC.

More college football stadiums are embracing sponsorship deals with cannabis and CBD companies.

Michigan retailers sold $165.6 worth of legal marijuana products in August.

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

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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