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These states could legalize cannabis in 2021 (Newsletter: January 4, 2021)

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NM judge: Prisoners have right to use medical marijuana; Obscure fed memo cited in DEA lawsuit; US drug cases declined in 2020

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Several states are poised to legalize marijuana in 2021 with the support of governors and top lawmakers. Marijuana Moment compiled an overview of places that cannabis legalization—for recreational or medical use—is most likely to be enacted in the new year.

  • We’re only four days into the year, and Marijuana Moment’s Bill Tracker is already following 128 pieces of cannabis- and drug policy-related legislation filed in state legislatures for 2021 sessions. Readers who support our work with monthly pledges of $25 or more get access to these legislative tools so they don’t miss any key reform proposals in markets they need to monitor.

A New Mexico judge ruled that incarcerated patients have a right to use medical marijuana in jail or prison.

In their latest federal court filing, scientists who are suing the Drug Enforcement Administration over its refusal to reclassify marijuana cited a previously undisclosed decades-old internal memo to demonstrate the government’s unwillingness to defend the merits of its decisions.

/ FEDERAL

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts reported that federal drug crime cases dropped 17% in 2020 but still represent 29% of total cases.

Former Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) tweeted, If Trump wants to do something useful, just once, how about pardoning persons convicted for possessing a few grams of marijuana?  Decriminalized in 26 states, and yet hundreds of thousands still arrested each year for possession. #LegalizeIt”

/ STATES

New Jersey’s attorney general plans to issue further marijuana guidance once legalization and decriminalization bills are signed into law.

Virginia’s attorney general cited the state’s decriminalization of marijuana and movement toward legalization in a “Top 20 of 2020” list.

Texas’s agriculture commissioner included the launch of the state’s hemp program in a list of 2020 highlights.

Connecticut’s Senate president pro tempore said “the marijuana issue needs to move forward this year.”

Changes to Utah’s medical cannabis rules took effect on Friday.

Incoming New York lawmakers shared their views on marijuana legalization.

A Florida senator filed a bill to reduce required medical cannabis patient visits to doctors to once a year instead of twice.

Arkansas regulators are being sued over another medical cannabis business licensing dispute.

California tax officials sent an update on marijuana banking issues.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 100 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 concluded that “CBD is believed to modulate brain dopamine in response to drugs of abuse, leading to attenuation of drug-taking and drug-seeking behavior.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Black Farmers Association endorsed a move to legalize marijuana in Virginia.

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable published an overview of 2020 hemp developments and predictions for 2021.

/ BUSINESS

The Arcview Group announced the creation of a new consulting entity, Arcview Management Consulting.

/ CULTURE

Snoop Dogg answered questions about places he has smoked marijuana in an appearance on CNN’s New Year’s Eve special.

Former basketball player Shawn Kemp spoke about his involvement in the marijuana industry.

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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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Cannabis banking & psychedelics amendments in Congress (Newsletter: September 16, 2021)

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NH lawmakers want marijuana on ballot; WA drug decrim initiative; Local TX cannabis ballot push

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressional lawmakers are seeking to attach amendments on marijuana banking, psychedelic research for active duty military personnel and other cannabis-related reforms to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act. Decisions on floor votes will be made next week.

Three New Hampshire lawmakers are taking steps to refer separate marijuana legalization questions to voters on the 2022 ballot.

Washington State activists announced an effort to place an initiative to decriminalize all drugs on next year’s November ballot.

Activists in San Marcos, Texas announced that they plan to put a marijuana decriminalization measure on the local 2022 ballot.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Cities across the nation are sending a clear message—they want an end to marijuana prohibition. @SenBooker,@RonWyden, & I are working to pass our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to end federal prohibition & undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jesse Philippe tweeted, “Hemp was criminalized to preserve the paper industry monopoly. Cannabis was only criminalized to oppress black people and leftists. It’s 2021, we know how corrupt the war on drugs has been, it’s time to end it.”

/ STATES

Texas Democratic attorney general candidate Lee Merritt tweeted, “At the start of the #WARONDRUGS there were 100K prisoners in the entire country. Today 7.6 million people are in prison, probation or parole—With NO correlating increase in crime. Only the policy changed. Lets change it again: Decriminalized cannabis, addiction & poverty.”

Michigan lawmakers filed legislation to restrict and regulate medical cannabis caregiver home cultivation. Meanwhile, activists held a rally to push back against the proposals.

California regulators are accepting public comment on proposed emergency regulations to consolidate, clarify and make consistent marijuana rules.

New Jersey regulators voted to streamline the licensing of new marijuana businesses and approved an additional cannabis cultivation license but did not act on two dozen other pending businesses.

Montana’s top marijuana regulator spoke about ongoing efforts to propose and finalize rules for the legal market.

Iowa regulators announced that two new medical cannabidiol dispensaries will open on or around October 1.

Ohio regulators are accepting requests from medical cannabis cultivators who want to expand their grow space.

Minnesota regulators tweeted about a medical journal’s article on the issue of adding anxiety disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

Oregon regulators published an updated list of licensed marijuana businesses.

Nevada regulators will consider changes to rules on remediation and labeling of marijuana on September 28.


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 Oshkosh, Wisconsin City Council voted to lower the fine for first-time marijuana possession offenses.

The Denver, Colorado mayor’s budget proposes to use $5.7 million in marijuana tax revenue to establish a new business development program for minority- and women-owned businesses.

Lompoc, California voters approved a ballot measure to increase taxes on marijuana manufacturing and distribution.

The Santa Cruz County, California Board of Supervisors instituted a temporary emergency moratorium on cannabis cultivation permits.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The International Criminal Court opened an investigation into the bloody Philippine “drug war.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical cannabis “may be related to a significant yet small reduction in opioid prescription medication.”

Mount Sinai’s Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma Research received a $5 million grant to support a clinical trial using MDMA-assisted therapy to treat veterans with PTSD.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Alabama Democratic Party tweeted, “The ADP is committed to bold ideas and we’re not settling for policy that skirts around the edges of change. That’s why we came out firmly for recreational cannabis legalization.”

/ BUSINESS

COMPASS Pathways plc acquired an intellectual property portfolio including patent applications for psychedelic substances.

The University of California, Berkeley is creating psychedelics journalism fellowships to be overseen by author Michael Pollan using funding from Tim Ferriss’s Saisei Foundation.

Vicente Sederberg LLP launched an environment, health, and safety practice for cannabis businesses.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. declared a quarterly dividend of $1.50 per share.

The president of Solar Therapeutics Inc. asked to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by Sacha Baron Cohen for allegedly violating his copyright by putting an image of his Borat character on a billboard without permission.

Green Flower launched a credential program for marijuana industry workers.

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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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Feds warn about delta-8 THC (Newsletter: September 15, 2021)

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National Urban League backs legal marijuana; Celebs push Biden on cannabis clemency; WADA reviews athlete cannabis ban; MI homegrow restrictions fight

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued health warnings about delta-8 THC.

  • “Historical use of cannabis cannot be relied upon in establishing a level of safety for these products in humans.”

Detroit, Michigan voters will decide on a ballot measure to decriminalize psychedelics this November.

The World Anti-Doping Agency’s Executive Committee announced it will review marijuana’s status as a banned drug for athletes. The move comes in the wake of criticism it received after Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension from the Olympics for cannabis.

The National Urban League, a 100-plus-year-old civil rights organization, is calling for cannabis legalization with a focus on social equity—including reserving half of business licenses for impacted communities.

  • “Marijuana enforcement is more harmful than marijuana itself.”

Drake, Killer Mike, Meek Mill, 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign, T.I., Kevin Garnett, Deion Sanders and others sent a letter calling on President Joe Biden to issue a “full, complete and unconditional pardon” to anyone convicted of a nonviolent marijuana offense.

  • “Enough is enough. No one should be locked up in federal prison for non-violent marijuana offenses.”

Michigan medical marijuana patients and caregivers will hold a rally on Wednesday to push back against what they say is a greedy corporate effort to restrict home cultivation rights that’s being mounted by big cannabis businesses.

/ FEDERAL

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing on President Joe Biden’s nominee for director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) tweeted, “The @sbcountysheriff is working hard to shut down large-scale illegal cannabis grows. Unfortunately, California laws are standing in the way of a long-term solution to this problem. We need to continue working until this illegal activity no longer threatens our community.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the state’s lieutenant governor, tweeted, “It’s 4:20 on 420 days until the election and our most recent hotel room on the campaign trail was room 420. That’s the tweet.”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mckayla Wilkes tweeted, “27 years since the 1994 Crime Bill. This bill, the crime bills of the 80s, and similar state-level policies led to the U.S. having the highest incarceration rate on the planet. Let’s be clear: @LeaderHoyer was on every single one of those bills. We need to see some damn change: – Ending the War on Drugs & expunging records – Ending mandatory minimums & cash bail – Abolishing private prisons.”

/ STATES

South Dakota Gov, Kristi Noem (R) tweeted that a legislative committee “approved the majority of the draft guidance for the Department of Health’s medical cannabis program after months of public input.” She also tweeted, “I’m proud of the job the Department of Health did in streamlining this process. My Administration is fully on board to make certain South Dakota continues to implement the most responsible, patient-focused medical cannabis program in the country.”

Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Allen West tweeted, “Blue states can make marijuana — federally an illegal drug — legal & allow it to be transferred outside those states after purchase & the Feds say nothing. As Governor, I will defend Texas sovereignty and uphold our laws. I will not allow the federal government to usurp Texas’ authority and undermine our laws. If Colorado can make marijuana legal, then noise suppressors for firearms will be legal in Texas.” Meanwhile, Democratic attorney general candidate Lee Merritt tweeted, “It’s time to decriminalize marijuana and end the war on drugs once and for all.”

Rhode Island’s House speaker said if lawmakers don’t tackle marijuana legalization during a special session in October the issue will carry over to January, and he also discussed the differences in details among competing proposals while saying that the reform won’t be a big revenue source (starting around 8:30 into the audio).

Oklahoma lawmakers pressed regulators about medical cannabis compliance oversight efforts at a hearing.

New Jersey courts posted information about expunging marijuana records.

New Hampshire regulators announced that medical cannabis patients can now shop at all dispensaries in the state, instead of just the one they were previously registered with.

Ohio regulators approved a plan to more than double the number of medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ruled that regulators must provide information on how many patients use medical cannabis to treat opioid use disorder.

A member of New York’s Cannabis Control Board spoke about the process of getting the state’s legal market underway.

The director of New Mexico’s medical cannabis program defended regulators’ process for opening production license applications.

Colorado regulators will host a marijuana work group rulemaking meeting on Wednesday.


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 delayed a vote on the mayor’s plan to relax marijuana business zoning rules.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts City Council voted to allow only equity businesses to get recreational marijuana licenses for another year and to direct cannabis revenue to reparations efforts.

The Aurora, Colorado City Council rejected a proposal to allow marijuana social consumption businesses.

The Billings, Montana City Council voted to delay decisions on marijuana business licensing and zoning.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Québec, Canada Court of Appeal ruled that local bans on marijuana home cultivation are constitutional.

Colombia’s Ministry of Justice tweeted, “Colombia is a pioneer in the regulation, industrial production and commercialization of #Cannabis for medicinal purposes.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabidiol enhances verbal episodic memory in healthy young participants.”

A survey of psychiatrists found that they “largely believed psychedelics show treatment promise and strongly supported federal funding for medicinal psychedelic research.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Cannabis Regulators Association named its first executive director and announced that its membership has expanded to 35 states and territories.

/ BUSINESS

WM Technology, Inc. acquired Sprout.

Akerna is acquiring 365 Cannabis.

Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. reported quarterly revenue of $43.3 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation is launching a line of CBD vapes through Circle K convenience stores.

Wesana Health Holdings Inc. committed $1.5 million in funding to assess the viability of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies’s MDMA-assisted therapy to treat traumatic brain injury.

Colorado retailers sold more than $202 million worth of marijuana products in July.

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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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Mayors across US push Biden for cannabis reform (Newsletter: September 14, 2021)

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Biden drug war clemency move; Top drug official talks psychedelics & marijuana; 1st NY cannabis retail license apps accepted; MT ad rules revised

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In a new interview with Marijuana Moment, National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow said research demonstrating the benefits of psychedelics may be causing more people to use them. She also said scientists should be able to study the cannabis that consumers are actually buying from dispensaries instead of just using government-grown weed.

  • The top federal drug science official also talked about the need for drug decriminalization: “I’d like to see decriminalization of the individual that is taking drugs. There is no justification to put them in jail or prison. And in fact, it jeopardizes their outcome.”

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has asked about 1,000 federal prisoners with drug convictions to apply for clemency. It could be the start of mass pardons for people on home confinement so they don’t have to return to prison after the COVID-19 pandemic emergency is lifted.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution calling on President Joe Biden and Congress to “legalize cannabis commercialization” and deschedule with a focus on racial equity. It notes that the federal government holds a patent recognizing marijuana’s medical value.

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is accepting New York’s first marijuana retail license applications. Meanwhile, the state’s Cannabis Control Board hasn’t even been fully appointed yet.

The Montana Department of Revenue loosened proposed marijuana advertising restrictions that as initially proposed would have required dispensary signs to include lengthy warnings about cannabis’s effects.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a request for quotes for a high tunnel greenhouse that will be used to preserve hemp germplasm.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) wrote in a constituent letter that the federal government should not interfere with state marijuana laws.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a letter criticizing the Biden administration for being “slow to engage” on the opioid overdose crisis.

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) tweeted, “More Minnesotans agree than ever before: It’s well past time we legalize, regulate and tax marijuana statewide. Why does the MN GOP continue to stand in the way?”

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “362,000 marijuana cases already expunged. Thousands more to come. With our new cannabis laws, we are turning the page on the failed War on Drugs and ensuring social justice here in New Jersey.”

The South Dakota legislature’s Interim Rules Review Committee approved some medical cannabis regulations, but rejected others.

The Georgia House Medical Cannabis Commission Oversight Committee met.

A Michigan senator spoke about his bill to legalize possession of certain psychedelics.

A Mississippi senator authored an op-ed calling for lawmakers to pass a “free-market” medical cannabis program with no licensing caps.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services published a newsletter article about transitioning the state’s hemp program to federal oversight.

Nevada regulators posted a presentation on hemp and cannabis crop diseases.

Missouri regulators posted updated data on medical cannabis patient license distribution across the state.

Oklahoma regulators released an updated list of licensed medical cannabis processors.

Ohio regulators will discuss medical cannabis issues on Tuesday.


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

Deschutes County, Oregon is suing state regulators over what it says are marijuana tax revenue transfers it is owed.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Saint Lucia lawmakers are expected to vote on a marijuana decriminalization bill soon.

Finland’s Green Party is pushing for marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at where Canadian political parties stand on drug policy issues.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A case study concluded that “cannabinoids are possibly safe and effective in management of neuropathic pruritus.

A study concluded that “hemp cake, a material considered mainly as waste, may be destined for food purposes and be an alternative ingredient for the production of sustainable meat products.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Oklahoma Republican Party said it will host a medical marijuana forum.

The League of Oregon Cities and the Association of Oregon Counties are expressing concern that the state’s voter-approved drug decriminalization measure is taking marijuana tax money away from localities.

The president of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana authored an op-ed about the “unintended consequences” of legalizing hemp.

/ BUSINESS

Jushi Holdings Inc. completed its acquisition of Nature’s Remedy of Massachusetts, Inc.

Rubicon Organics Inc. signed a medical cannabis supply agreement with Shoppers Drug Mart Inc.

Massachusetts regulators are reportedly investigating whether Gotham Green Partners LLC misrepresented the number of cannabis licenses it holds in the state.

Avicanna Inc. announced that a failure-to-file cease trade order issued by the Ontario Securities Commission against the company has been revoked.

COMPASS Pathways plc hired filmmaker Hamilton Morris as a full-time consultant.

TikTok took down a post with an Ohio journalist’s reporting about marijuana policy.

/ CULTURE

Melissa Etheridge will speak at a conference on how psychedelics can improve the end of life experience next month.

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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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