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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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BREAKING: Journalism is often consumed for free, but costs money to produce! While this newsletter is proudly sent without cost to you, our ability to send it each day depends on the financial support of readers who can afford to give it. So if you’ve got a few dollars to spare each month and believe in the work we do, please consider joining us on Patreon today.
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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.

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

Fed regulator notes “bright future” for cannabis (Newsletter: January 28, 2022)

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3rd AR legalization initiative; Congressman slams DEA’s psychedelic blockade; Most Americans would vote for marijuana smoker; TN cannabis ballot bill

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…

BREAKING: Journalism is often consumed for free, but costs money to produce! While this newsletter is proudly sent without cost to you, our ability to send it each day depends on the financial support of readers who can afford to give it. So if you’ve got a few dollars to spare each month and believe in the work we do, please consider joining us on Patreon today.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A federal regulator with the National Credit Union Administration said marijuana legalization is only a matter of “when” and so credit unions “must embrace” the cannabis industry, which he says has a “bright future.”

A group led by a former Arkansas House minority leader and funded by medical cannabis companies filed a new ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the state. Activists behind two competing measures say it would create a cannabis monopoly.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said the Drug Enforcement Administration needs to get out of the way of patients having access to psychedelic therapy.

  • “A criminal justice enforcement agency is not well-equipped… I’d like to just get them out of the equation.”

A majority of Americans said in a new poll that they would be willing to vote for a political candidate “who occasionally smokes marijuana in their free time.” The results come shortly after Louisiana Democratic Senate candidate Gary Chambers released an ad showing him smoking a blunt.

A bipartisan pair of Tennessee lawmakers are teaming up on measures to put questions about marijuana legalization on the ballot.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a congressionally approved medical cannabis rider does not protect two Maine marijuana growers who engaged in “blatantly illegitimate activity” from federal prosecution.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “In state after state, Americans are sending a clear message—they want an end to marijuana prohibition. I’m working to pass our bill to end the federal prohibition, enact criminal justice reforms, and ensure equity for those impacted by the War on Drugs.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) tweeted, “Amazon has endorsed my States Reform Act, a bill that would end the federal government’s 85-year prohibition on marijuana.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) spoke on his podcast about the potential role of cannabinoids in preventing COVID infection.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jesse Philippe tweeted, “The most dangerous aspect about psychedelic plants is their criminalization. Stop incarcerating innocent people and stop propping up the ‘black market’ economy. If there is demand; we should create a safe/legal avenue for people to get treatment.”

/ STATES

South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Cunningham, a former congressman, tweeted, “Most states have either already legalized marijuana or they’re on pace to legalize it soon. The fact that South Carolina still hasn’t legalized *medical* marijuana is a testament to how out-of-touch @henrymcmaster and his allies are. Time to wake up and smell the, well, you know.”

Mississippi’s agriculture and commerce commissioner thanked lawmakers for removing his department from having any role in regulating medical cannabis.

Virginia’s former public safety secretary is now lobbying for Jushi Inc.

The South Dakota House of Representatives defeated two bills to add restrictions on medical cannabis.

The chairman of the Washington, D.C. Council is floating a tax holiday for medical cannabis sales during the week of 4/20. Separately, regulators are processing cost-free, two-year medical marijuana patient registrations this weekend.

The Utah House Government Operations Committee approved a bill to protect government employees from being punished for medical cannabis use.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy is considering legislation on marijuana host community agreements, expungements, equity and social consumption sites.

The Arkansas Legislative Council’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Subcommittee discussed medical cannabis tracking. Separately, the State Plant Board Hemp Committee will meet on Friday.

A California assemblywoman filed a bill to require courts to dismiss and seal marijuana convictions by set deadlines.

A New York senator spoke about efforts to enact marijuana legalization.

The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case on medical cannabis taxes next month.

New Jersey regulators are indicating they may not meet the February 22 deadline to launch recreational marijuana sales.

Ohio regulators held a lottery for medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Iowa regulators are proposing changes to rules for the medical cannabidiol program.

The Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission reversed regulators’ decision not to award a medical cannabis cultivation license to a company after finding irregularities with how applications were evaluated.

Washington State regulators sent safety tips for marijuana businesses.

Nevada regulators fined a marijuana dispensary that self-reported a regulatory violation.

Oklahoma regulators published a list of licensed medical cannabis processors.

Georgia regulators will consider medical cannabis issues on Saturday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Colorado Springs, Colorado’s mayor is opposing a proposed local ballot measure to allow recreational marijuana dispensaries.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado vetoed a medical cannabis and hemp bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study facilitated by the Michael J. Fox Foundation found that people with Parkinson’s disease “reported using more CBD products, via oral administration, with mild subjective benefits primarily for sleep, pain, and mood.”

A study suggested that “cannabidiol treatment might lead to improvements in fracture healing and provide a novel therapeutic option for the bone regeneration.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents listed cannabis banking and insurance legislation as an “issue of focus” for 2022.

Americans for Prosperity included “restor[ing] state authority over cannabis” as a priority in its 2022 legislative roadmap.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Decriminalize Nature launched a psychedelics reform partnership effort.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies was awarded a UK innovation passport for MDMA as an adjunct therapy for PTSD.

/ BUSINESS

A counterclaim by Curaleaf against a former executive for Grassroots Cannabis, which was acquired by the former company, is being allowed to proceed under an Illinois judge’s ruling.

High Tide Inc. reported C$53.9 million in quarterly revenue.

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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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DE legal cannabis bill clears first vote (Newsletter: January 27, 2022)

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MS medical marijuana to gov; MN gov’s budget has legalization funds; SC begins medical cannabis debate; CO psychedelics measures; WI GOP medical bill

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Mississippi lawmakers sent a medical cannabis bill to the desk of Gov. Tate Reeves (R). While the governor had threatened a veto over previous versions, he said his team will carefully review the legislation before he makes a decision and is “very pleased that we got to see so much progress made in improving” it with amendments.

The Delaware House Health and Human Development Committee approved a marijuana legalization bill.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) included funding for the legalization of marijuana in his budget request. The House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize cannabis last year but it has stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The South Carolina Senate finally began a floor debate on a medical cannabis bill that’s been eight years in the making. The discussion is expected to last for several legislative days before a vote is held.

Colorado activists filed revised ballot initiatives to legalize psilocybin—this time without possession limits. Separately, state lawmakers introduced a bill to study the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics.

Wisconsin Republican lawmakers introduced a limited medical cannabis legalization bill. It comes one day after Senate GOP members unanimously blocked a broader Democratic-led marijuana legalization amendment.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said she’s “deeply skeptical that Amazon’s lobbying [on marijuana] is anything more than a self-interested move to monopolize yet another market, potentially blocking Black and Latino entrepreneurs from an emerging industry.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) tweeted, “The overwhelming majority of South Carolinians are in favor of cannabis reform in some way, shape or form. It’s time our laws in South Carolina reflect the will of its people. That’s why I support SC Sen. Tom Davis’ Compassionate Care Act.” She also appeared at the South Carolina Statehouse to rally support for the bill. 

Rep. Jay Obernolte (R-CA) included an option on illegal marijuana grows in a survey about which issues are important to constituents.

Vermont Democratic congressional candidate Kesha Ram Hinsdale, currently a state senator, tweeted, “Last year, I introduced a bill to repair harm from the so-called War on Drugs by directing revenue from cannabis control to impacted communities. Grateful the Cannabis Advisory Board is advancing that recommendation this session. We must reinvest in true community safety.”

/ STATES

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) avoided a question about whether he supports marijuana legalization but complained about the smell of people smoking it—though he did express support for not incarcerating people for cannabis.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) tweeted, “I’m pleased to see the @NevadaCCB and the Cannabis Advisory Commission highlighting the need for more diversity and inclusion within Nevada’s legal cannabis industry.”

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Cranley, currently Cincinnati’s mayor, tweeted, “It’s not enough for marijuana to be decriminalized in Ohio. Every day it’s illegal is another day we’re leaving tax revenue and jobs on the table that could be going back right into our communities. It’s time to #LegalizeIt.”

Washington, D.C.’s attorney general tweeted, “Safe injection sites are saving lives in New York–since opening on Nov. 30th, they’ve reversed at least 85 overdoses. I support these sites, and will continue standing up for them in court, because we need to do all we can to fight this epidemic.”

Colorado’s treasurer tweeted, “More than $12 billion in marijuana has been sold since legalization in 2014, with the state collecting over $2 billion in taxes.”

Virginia’s Senate president pro tempore tweeted, “Let’s talk about pot.  Yes, we legalized it and I even opened the Cannabis Outlet after we did!  But the job isn’t done.  People are still in jail for something that is legal today.  My SB518 would give them all a chance to be re-sentenced and get home with their families.”

The South Dakota House State Affairs Committee approved a bill to limit the types of medical cannabis products that will be allowed.

A Nebraska senator posted, “Just thought I’d drop a quick note that I am not settling for anything that does not create a safe, effective, and accessible medical cannabis system in our state. We are full steam ahead on the ballot initiative.”

California regulators ordered a recall of marijuana flower over mold contamination.

Louisiana regulators amended medical cannabis rules.

Arkansas regulators are circulating proposed medical cannabis rules changes for public comment.

Pennsylvania regulators posted a fee schedule for replacement medical cannabis cards and qualifications for financial hardship in the program.

New York regulators published an updated list of doctors who are certified to recommend medical cannabis and who have consented to having their names shared.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Sanctioned harm reduction centers in New York City say they have averted 114 drug overdoses in their first six weeks of operation.

Denver, Colorado officials are accepting proposals for potential partners to design, implement and administer a small business program to support marijuana social equity applicants.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson answered a question about medical cannabis access from a lawmaker.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that medical and recreational marijuana laws “do not generate negative outcomes in the labor market, lead to greater criminal activity, or reduce traffic and road safety.”

A study found that medical cannabis use “reduces opioid prescription for patients with chronic back pain and improves pain and disability scores.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, “In 2020, SD voters proved they wanted recreational use of marijuana. Gov. Noem has thought otherwise. It is high time we pass legislation that speaks the will of the voters. ALL marijuana belongs in South Dakota.”

The American Nurses Association issued a statement reiterating its support for federally rescheduling marijuana.

The Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns is asking lawmakers to include a local 3 percent tax on marijuana sales in legalization legislation.

/ BUSINESS

Amazon’s vice president of public policy said the company has “no plans to sell cannabis and that is not why we’re doing this or being involved in this debate” about legalization.

Jushi Holdings Inc. closed a non-brokered private placement offering worth just over $10 million.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. completed a rebranding of its retail locations in Pennsylvania.

Awakn Life Sciences Corp. filed a patent application for a new chemical series of entactogen-like molecules.

Arizona retailers sold more than $1.2 billion worth of recreational marijuana products in the first year of sales.

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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

Amazon backs GOP cannabis legalization bill (Newsletter: January 26, 2022)

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MS deal to send medical marijuana to gov; VA psychedelics bill delayed; OK GOP psilocybin decrim measure filed; MO cannabis expungements

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Mississippi lawmakers reached an agreement to send a medical cannabis bill to Gov. Tate Reeves’s (R)  desk this week. A bicameral conference committee will tweak newly amended zoning provisions, with final passage expected on Wednesday.

Amazon is endorsing a GOP-led federal marijuana legalization bill. The company previously announced it would stop testing most employees for cannabis and backed a separate Democratic-led legalization measure.

A Virginia House Courts of Justice subcommittee amended a psychedelics decriminalization bill to make it focused on medical use, but then voted to table the legislation until next year. A similar measure is still pending in the Senate, with bipartisan support.

Oklahoma Republican lawmakers filed bills that would decriminalize psilocybin and encourage research into the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic for treating conditions like PTSD, severe depression and opioid use disorder.

Several competing Missouri ballot initiatives and legislative proposals to legalize marijuana contain provisions to expunge prior records—but they differ in detail, and legal experts say some could cause more harm than good.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Cornell University are launching a webinar series on hemp research.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a man’s case challenging the constitutionality of criminalizing selling drugs with medical or religious uses.

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) tweeted about visiting a hemp processing facility, saying, “This Montana business is providing good-paying jobs, boosting the local economy & supporting Montana farmers. We need to be supporting MT ag, not hindering it.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said there are “three things that really bring people together—animals, Britney Spears and cannabis.” She also authored an op-ed calling on South Carolina lawmakers to pass a medical marijuana bill.

Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) tweeted, “Good event yesterday in Leona Valley with @kathrynbarger and @LACoSheriff to discuss our continued efforts to combat the illegal marijuana grows. Since I first brought national attention to this crisis sweeping across our community, we have made significant progress.”

Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Henry Martin tweeted, “Keeping marijuana illegal has resulted in an above-ground market in many states where people sell marijuana-like products that are not regulated at all by the FDA. Let’s end this dangerous nonsense. We don’t need spice and synthetic hemp products on our streets. Just legalize it.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, currently the attorney general, tweeted, “Legalize marijuana. Expunge records.”

Delaware’s state auditor tweeted, “It’s been one year since I released a special report on the potential revenue Delaware could see if it taxed and regulated marijuana for adult use.” The House Health & Human Development Committee will consider a cannabis legalization bill on Wednesday.

The South Dakota Senate approved several bills to amend medical cannabis rules.

The Wisconsin Senate defeated a marijuana legalization amendment.

Virginia’s Senate president pro tempore tweeted, “There was a young man running for Senate who got 6 mil+ views last week for smoking a joint. Please. I’m a 78 year grandma who legalized pot and now has her own cannibis store.  And I’m the last thing standing between The GOP and total control of Virginia… Did I mention my store is on High Street in Portsmouth?”

Minnesota’s House majority leader said he’s concerned Senate Republicans will continue to block his marijuana legalization bill.

Connecticut’s House majority leader tweeted about how youth service bureaus are working on “examining the possible impact of cannabis legislation.”

The Ohio House Health Committee advanced a bill to add autism spectrum disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

The Michigan House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill to allow police to conduct roadside saliva tests for THC.

Washington State lawmakers are considering several marijuana equity bills.

A New Mexico representative spoke about efforts to bring more entrepreneurs into the cannabis industry.

Alaska regulators proposed rules changes on the marijuana enforcement action process.

Vermont regulators posted marijuana guidance for municipalities.

Texas regulators published a notice of compliance with a temporary injunction on their ban on delta-8 THC.

Florida regulators issued variances on rules for hemp laboratory testing for two companies.

Nevada regulators met to act on marijuana business issues.

Tennessee’s Medical Cannabis Commission will meet on Friday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

A full list of New York municipalities that opted out of allowing recreational marijuana retailers or social consumption areas was released by state regulators.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board agreed to remove marijuana from the list of controlled substances.

Costa Rica’s government is asking lawmakers to amend a medical cannabis and hemp bill to remove home cultivation and lower allowable THC amounts.

France’s Council of State suspended a ban on selling raw hemp flowers and leaves.

Philippine presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos said he supports medical cannabis.

A Guernsey lawmaker is inquiring about cannabis licensing lessons from Jersey.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “cannabis is largely an alternative to palliative care for terminal patients” and that “for those in palliative care, it is a therapeutic complement used at higher levels of pain.”

A study of people with fibromyalgia found that “the majority of participants believed that psychedelics have potential for chronic pain treatments and would be willing to participate in a psychedelic-based clinical trial for their pain.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, ” As Democrats, we want to ensure the will of the people is followed. In 2020, 70% of voters made it clear that South Dakotans want Medical Marijuana!”

More Perfect Union released a video featuring federal marijuana prisoners asking President Joe Biden to grant them clemency.

/ BUSINESS

Ballard Partners launched a national cannabis practice group.

Fire & Flower Holdings Corp. completed its acquisition of Pineapple Express Delivery Inc.

Home Depot is being sued by an employee who says she was improperly put on medical leave after revealing she uses medical cannabis to treat PTSD.

HEXO Corp. sent an update about its strategic plan.

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