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Top fed drug official slams racist criminalization (Newsletter: September 3, 2021)

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House committee orders military drug testing review; Denver cannabis tax initiative; Strong IL marijuana sales; CA psilocybin measure’s fiscal impact

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow, who has recently become a vocal critic of criminalization, says we don’t need any more research to show the drug war’s racist impact.

  • “In science, we often must say that we don’t yet have an answer, that ‘more research is needed,.’ “But the evidence here is straightforward and solid, and needs to inform an urgent conversation.”

The House Armed Services Committee voted to direct the Pentagon to conduct a review of racially discriminatory drug testing practices in the military.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office says a psilocybin legalization ballot measure could save millions in enforcement dollars but would also have implementation costs—though those could be offset by taxes and fees generated from psychedelic sales.

Denver, Colorado voters will decide on a ballot initiative in November to increase the local marijuana tax by 1.5% to fund pandemic-related research amid COVID. That’s in addition to a separate Colorado statewide measure to boost cannabis taxes to fund education.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that retailers sold more than $100 million in legal recreational marijuana for the sixth month in a row in August. The state is well on pace to clear $1 billion in adult-use cannabis sales this year.

/ FEDERAL

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Americans want an end to marijuana prohibition. That’s why @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and I released our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to work to end the federal prohibition and undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “Ending the failed War on Drugs begins with legalizing cannabis. We can’t allow more lives to be destroyed by discriminatory policies that have locked up people without making us safer. Our laws must focus on restorative justice.”

/ STATES

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, sent a letter asking Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to classify hemp as a food additive in his marijuana legalization bill.

Massachusetts’s attorney general rejected a proposed ballot initiative that would request smoking of marijuana and tobacco in multiple-unit housing developments be prohibited.

New York’s Assembly majority leader tweeted that the confirmation of regulators to oversee the state’s marijuana law “is a clear indication that NYS will have the right leadership to implement a progressive regulatory framework for NYS Cannabis industry.”

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that police may establish probable cause for a search warrant if they believe they smell raw marijuana.

Washington State regulators approved rules for marijuana business license applicant background checks.

Colorado’s Cannabis Business Office said it is planning to launch technical assistance for early-stage marijuana businesses this fall and hopes to provide funding opportunities early next year.

The Montana Highway Patrol tweeted, “We’re working with our Montana Department of Justice colleagues in the Forensic Science Division (more commonly known as the State Crime Lab) to prepare for an anticipated increase in impaired driving cases following marijuana legalization, which was approved by voters last year.”

New Mexico regulators will host a workshop for people considering exploring business opportunities in the cannabis industry on Tuesday.

Nevada regulators will host a webinar about their online marijuana portal on Thursday.


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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Sri Lanka’s Social Democratic Party is urging the government to legalize cannabis.

Tasmania, Australia’s attorney general said the government opposes decriminalizing marijuana.

The Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada police chief spoke about the benefits of decriminalizing drugs.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabinoids exhibit anticancer effect via antiproliferation, autophagy and apoptosis” and “inhibit carcinogenesis blocking invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis.”

A study found that “individuals using a THC + CBD chemovar had significantly lower plasma THC concentrations and reported less paranoia and anxiety while also reporting similar positive mood effects as compared to individuals using THC only, which is intriguing from a harm reduction perspective.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The American Action Forum published a primer on federal marijuana taxation.

/ BUSINESS

Merrill Lynch is reportedly adding flexibility to the process of bringing on clients who own or invest in marijuana-related businesses.

Columbia Care Inc. is rebranding its Florida locations to Cannabist.

Amazon is asking a federal judge to dismiss a proposed employment class action brought by a New Jersey job applicant whose offer was rescinded after a positive marijuana test.

/ CULTURE

Sean Penn spoke to Seth Meyers about the need to be honest with kids about marijuana and other issues.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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