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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 It’s past time to end these outdated, racist laws.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.

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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.)

Newsletter

House approves cannabis banking, employment & DC provisions (Newsletter: July 30, 2021)

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ID marijuana ballot measure cleared for signatures; Court tosses OH cannabis decrim lawsuit; OR psilocybin report

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  • David Strouse: “I’m glad I found you. Your legislation tracker was exactly what I was looking for.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives passed a large-scale spending bill that includes provisions on marijuana banking, letting Washington, D.C. legalize cannabis sales, CBD regulations, employment protections, loosening hemp rules, safe consumption site for illegal drugs and psychedelic research, among other issues.

Idaho’s secretary of state has given activists the go-ahead to start collecting signatures for a proposed 2022 ballot measure to legalize marijuana possession.

The U.S Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected Ohio activists’ case seeking signature gathering relief for marijuana decriminalization measures they had trouble qualifying for local ballots last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • “Without a time machine, we cannot go back and place plaintiffs’ initiatives on the 2020 ballot.”

The Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board—a state panel created under the voter-approved legal psychedelic therapy initiative—published a research review finding that the substance is “efficacious in reducing depression and anxiety, including in life-threatening conditions.”

/ FEDERAL

The Environmental Protection Agency avoided acting on marijuana-related portions of a Polk County, Iowa air quality program under federal review.

The House Judiciary Committee tweeted, “The sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses that persists today is a relic from the failed War on Drugs,” along with a thread containing other information about a reform bill the panel recently passed.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana is not enough. We must also repair the damage done to those communities most harmed by a failed Drug War and expunge records. We should be demanding restorative justice.” He also tweeted, “Veterans should have access to all treatment options—including medical marijuana—which is why for years I’ve been pushing legislation to allow this. It’s long past time we legalize marijuana for our veterans & those who continue to suffer the consequences of our failed drug war.”

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a press release touting that a House-passed spending bill would allow Washington, D.C. to legalize marijuana sales.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted that “on so many issues we should work ‘outside in'” including to “end the drug war.”

/ STATES

Colorado Senate Republicans criticized Gov. Jared Polis (D) for the creation of a new Cannabis Business Office, saying, “This is getting ridiculous.”

Illinois regulators announced the winners of marijuana retail licenses that were selected in a lottery.

Florida regulators proposed revisions to rules on hemp extracts.

Missouri regulators sent a warning saying that medical cannabis dispensaries cannot advertise sales events or discounts on products.

The Massachusetts Department of Correction is being sued for allegedly using a faulty drug test that falsely indicates the presence of illegal drugs on mail, resulting in improper sanctions on incarcerated people and attorneys.

Oklahoma regulators sent a warning about fraudulent text messages claiming to be from the state’s top medical cannabis regulator.

An Arkansas judge rejected regulators’ motion to dismiss a case challenging their medical cannabis licensing decisions.

Washington State regulators extended the allowance for minors being at licensed marijuana producers and processor premises though October due to daycare challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Pennsylvania regulators posted information about the hemp certification process.


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 Westchester County, New York district attorney dismissed all pending marijuana possession cases.

The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors joined Oakland officials in passing a resolution endorsing state legislation to prohibit employers from discriminating against potential or current workers who test positive for inactive cannabis metabolites in their urine or hair.

The Lincoln County, South Dakota Commission approved medical cannabis rules.

A marijuana business owner pleaded guilty to bribing a San Luis Obispo County, California supervisor.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Uruguay’s government announced an update to medical cannabis regulations.

UK officials launched five local programs to offer treatment and recovery services, rather than incarceration, to people caught possessing drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A case study indicated that “medicinal cannabis could be effective in treatment of refractory stuttering.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies board member David Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s published a blog post responding to conspiracy theories circulated about the organization by Decriminalize Nature.

Fox News commentators debated legalizing marijuana.

The RAND Corporation published an overview of marijuana social equity issues.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray, Inc. held a shareholder meeting to increase the authorized number of shares and make governance changes.

Lantern launched a marijuana delivery service in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Jushi Holdings Inc. contributed $50,000 to the Laundry Project to help lower-income families wash their clothes and linens.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Allen Iverson is partnering with Al Harrington’s Viola company to produce exclusive marijuana strains and merchandise.

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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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Newsletter

Conflicting cannabis amendments cleared for House votes (Newsletter: July 29, 2021)

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Support grows for AOC’s psychedelics reform; New CO marijuana business office; FL officials slam OR hemp & say buy local

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Your good deed for the day: donate to an independent publisher like Marijuana Moment and ensure that as many voters as possible have access to the most in-depth cannabis reporting out there.

  • Shawna Seldon McGregor of Maverick Public Relations: “As a political junkie, I’ve been reading Marijuana Moment for years. Now as so many legislative issues are heating up, I’m turning to the website for the latest news on policy movement. I’m long overdue in pledging my support. Bonus: I’m also excited to take advantage of the legislative tracking tools.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Rules Committee advanced competing marijuana amendments to the floor for votes. One would shield all state legalization laws from federal interference, while another would delete existing medical cannabis protections. Those votes could take place as soon as Thursday.

A new Marijuana Moment analysis looks at how even though Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) psychedelics research amendment fell short on the House floor this week, support grew considerably from the last time it was voted on in 2019. We examine how the advancement of state psychedelics legislation likely flipped a number of votes, and how some Democratic leaders are still not on board with the reform.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced the launch of a new Cannabis Business Office aimed at providing economic support for the state’s marijuana industry—with a focus on social equity.

  • “Where the federal government has fallen behind, Colorado will lead. Colorado is, and always has been, the best place to live, work, grow and sell cannabis.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services put out an alert warning consumers about poor quality hemp products from Oregon that contain “rocks, sticks and other foreign material.” People should buy hemp with “Fresh From Florida” logos instead, they say.

/ FEDERAL

The acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reiterated President Joe Biden’s position that no one should be incarcerated for drug use alone.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency tweeted, “Hemp offers new economic opportunities for America’s farmers, and we are pleased to offer coverage to hemp producers.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) spoke about the need to federally legalize marijuana.

House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) tweeted, “Thank you @BrooklynDA for dismissing 3,500 marijuana cases following legalization by NY state. This is an important step in remedying all the harm inflicted on our communities by the so called ‘war on drugs.'”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the drug war’s harms got seven new cosponsors for a total of 59.

/ STATES

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor said senators should have a draft medical cannabis bill next week.

Oklahoma’s public safety secretary said the medical cannabis industry needs to be more tightly regulated.

The Arizona Supreme Court publicized an event to help people expunge marijuana charges.

New Mexico lawmakers held a hearing on law enforcement issues related to marijuana legalization. Separately, regulators will host a cannabis entrepreneur informational workshop on Thursday.

A lawsuit challenging Illinois marijuana business licensing rules was dropped by the plaintiff, and regulators are set to hold the first of three lotteries on Thursday. A judge in a separate case, however, said no licenses can be awarded until an August 9 hearing.

Nevada regulators shared updated mask guidelines with marijuana businesses.

Oregon’s Cannabis Commission met.


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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


Israeli lawmakers rejected a bill to decriminalize marijuana and reclassify CBD as a food additive.

Australia’s federal police commissioner said legalizing drugs “will not stop organised crime— it will likely embolden them, make them richer and enable them to buy more guns and pay for more murders.”

Gabon’s sovereign wealth fund is investigating how to monetize interest in ibogaine.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on whether external stress is a factor in “hot hemp” found “no evidence that any of these stresses caused THC concentration or the ratio of THC to CBD to increase at harvest.”

A study of bees found that “hemp supplementation positively influences the immune system of workers, and the appropriate method of administration may be adapted to the health problems of bees.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Governors Association noted how a number of governors discussed marijuana during their state of the state addresses this year.

Decriminalize Nature launched a new campaign it says is intended to expose corporate influences seeking to undermine access to psychedelic plants and fungi.

The executive director of Minority Veterans of America authored an op-ed calling for marijuana reform.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray, Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $142.2 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation ended its relationship with Seth Rogen’s Houseplant brand.

GoDaddy refused technical support to cannabis news outlet Heady NJ because its website “shows marijuana imagery.”

Frankenmuth Credit Union launched a cannabis banking program.

A subsidiary of Avicanna Inc. completed its first export of THC cannabis extracts from Colombia to Austria.

/ CULTURE

Actor Colin Hanks is partnering with Jushi Holdings Inc. to bring his Hanks Kerchiefs to the company’s BEYOND / HELLO marijuana retail stores.

Football player Julio Jones is being sued by cannabis company Genetixs for alleged fraud and money laundering.

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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 rejects AOC’s psychedelics amendment but adopts CBD one (Newsletter: July 28, 2021)

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OH 2022 marijuana initiative; MA psychedelics hearing; Global sports authority: Reconsider cannabis penalties; Study on artisanal CBD benefits

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Before you dig into today’s cannabis news, I wanted you to know you can keep this resource free and published daily by subscribing to Marijuana Moment on Patreon. We’re a small independent publication diving deep into the cannabis world and rely on readers like you to keep going.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives defeated an amendment from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to expand research on the medical benefits of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA. Amid a growing national reform movement, however, the measure failed by a narrower margin than her previous attempt two years ago.

  • Separately, lawmakers approved an amendment from Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) that encourages the Food and Drug Administration to issue regulations allowing CBD as a dietary supplement and food ingredient. They also rejected a proposal from Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) to remove protections for universities that study marijuana. She argued on the floor that she’s worried schools will “offer a class called ‘Pot Smoking 101’ [that’s] dedicated to smoking pot.”

Ohio activists launched a new marijuana legalization ballot initiative campaign. The plan is to pressure lawmakers to end cannabis prohibition through the legislature, but organizers say they’re prepared to go directly to voters if need be.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill to create a task force charged with studying the legalization of psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

The president of global sports governing body World Athletics said it’s “sensible” to reevaluate marijuana penalties for Olympic athletes after Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension.

  • “Nothing is set in tablets of stone. You adapt and occasionally reassess.”

A new study found that epilepsy patients who use “artisanal CBD” have “higher quality of life, lower psychiatric symptom severity and improved sleep.” They also use fewer prescription medications, take fewer sick days and are less likely to visit the hospital.

/ FEDERAL

Patients made a new filing in a lawsuit seeing to force the Drug Enforcement Administration to let them use psilocybin.

A former Fall River, Massachusetts mayor who was federally convicted of extorting marijuana businesses filed a motion for acquittal or a new trial.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and other senators sent a letter urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to press the Philippine government for human rights violations in its bloody “war on drugs.”

Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) cited the marijuana regulatory experience of a U.S. attorney nominee for the Western District of Washington.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) spoke about the need to center social justice and equity in marijuana legalization implementation. Separately, a judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved cannabis legalization referendum.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) office said he is in the process of appointing people to the Cannabis Control Board. Meanwhile, the Senate majority leader said the governor should “send his appointees down and we’ll take a look at them.”

Texas Democratic attorney general candidate Lee Merritt tweeted, “Due in part to the so-called ‘war on drugs’ U.S. police are the deadliest in the modern world. We can eradicate the demand for illegal drugs by providing healthcare and affordable housing. Not war.”

New Mexico regulators issued a cease and desist order to a business that has been “gifting” marijuana in exchange for the purchase of store merchandise. Separately, the top regulator told lawmakers it is ” highly likely” retailers will run out of cannabis in the first week or two of recreational sales. She also said she fears that local residents will be prevented from entering the industry due to difficulties accessing bank loans.

California regulators named a leadership team for the new Department of Cannabis Control.

Rhode Island regulators again delayed a lottery to award new medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Oklahoma representatives discussed challenges in regulating medical cannabis on a podcast.

Vermont regulators will consider marijuana-related highway safety issues, criminal justice data and banking access on Thursday.

South Dakota regulators scheduled an August 18 public hearing on proposed medical cannabis rules.


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

Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney moved to dismiss more than 3,500 marijuana-related warrant cases.

New York City’s mayor criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for the state’s slow rollout of a new marijuana legalization law. He also encouraged people to store cannabis edibles out of the reach of children.

Santa Fe, New Mexico officials are seeking public comment on marijuana rules.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Guyana President Irfaan Ali said he is focused on regulating hemp before addressing broader marijuana reform issues.

Israeli lawmakers are expected to vote on a marijuana decriminalization bill on Wednesday.

Canada’s health minister is being sued by patients who want her to act on stalled applications to legally use psilocybin.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review identified how “epigenetic modulations caused by cannabinoids lead to the suppression of inflammation.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Tennessee Democratic Party criticized Fox News hosts tying marijuana to violence, tweeting, “Reminder that this is how the Republican party views weed, violent crime, and mental health. What we actually need is to legalize it, clear all marijuana-related convictions from people’s criminal records, and provide people with the resources and healthcare that they deserve.”

Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch spoke about his support for marijuana legalization and drug policy reform.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has a new board chair.

/ BUSINESS

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. is being sued for allegedly failing to inform investors of the terms of its proposed acquisition by Trulieve Cannabis Corp.

Curaleaf International launched its second range of medical cannabis flower products for the UK market.

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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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