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Top NY officials signal cannabis deal is imminent (Newsletter: March 16, 2021)

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Congressional resolution calls for legal marijuana; DC psychedelic decrim takes effect; ND legalization hearing; WI GOP cannabis decrim bill

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  • Amanda Greenwood: “Keeping medicine from people that can benefit from it is cruel to those that suffer. That’s why I joined the movement. I am a cannabis user in a state that it is illegal in. I am hoping that changes soon for everyone.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Senate leaders filed a resolution saying marijuana legalization will be “passed outside of the budget process” this year, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said a deal is “very close” on the details of the cannabis legislation.

The North Dakota Senate Human Services Committee debated a House-passed marijuana legalization bill, with much of the discussion centering on lawmakers’ desire to set rules for legal cannabis instead of letting activists do it via a ballot measure.

A new congressional resolution introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and 17 cosponsors calls on the federal government to legalize marijuana, expunge all drug-related records and allow safe consumption sites for illegal substances.

Washington, D.C.’s voter-approved psychedelics decriminalization measure officially took effect on Monday, making plant- and fungi-based entheogens the lowest local law enforcement priority in the nation’s capital. Activists are now pushing the District Council to add employment and parental rights protections for people who use psychedelics.

Wisconsin Republican lawmakers filed bills to decriminalize marijuana possession while Gov. Tony Evers (D) is pushing for full cannabis legalization.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Sentencing Commission published its annual report, which includes data on marijuana and other drug cases.

The U.S. embassy in Japan is seeking to hire a contractor to help study the country’s hemp market.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is pressing assistant attorney general nominee Vanita Gupta about potential conflicts of interest related to her past support for decriminalizing drugs and her multimillion-dollar stake in Avantor Inc., whose board is chaired by her father and which makes a chemical used in producing heroin.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) made a dig at former Attorney General William Barr’s forced investigations of marijuana company mergers in a hearing. (About 2:06:00 into the video.)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted, “Did you know? — Nancy Pelosi’s Bay Area Bailout included $600 million for San Francisco, part of which goes to cover the tab for free alcohol and marijuana for the homeless. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this bailout is too costly, corrupt, and liberal.”

House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) tweeted, “The criminalization of marijuana is, and has always been, a thinly veiled excuse to target people of color and does nothing to help the communities the policy claims to protect. Decriminalization is a matter of justice, and I will continue to support it.”

/ STATES

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) continues to speak out against marijuana reform.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) spoke about the implementation of marijuana legalization and the need to “make sure that the market is done right.” Regulators have issued the territory’s first cannabis business license.

The New Mexico Senate approved a bill on reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients.

The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to expunge low-level marijuana convictions and shield them from public disclosure. The state’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “The ability to expunge minor marijuana convictions can be life-changing for so many Floridians. Thank you Senator @RandolphBracy for filing #SB468. I applaud Chair @JeffreyBrandes and Vice Chair @SenAudrey2eet for placing it on today’s agenda!”

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on hemp legislation.

Members of the Montana House Appropriations Committee raised questions at a hearing about the role of a Deloitte lobbyist in crafting a bill to implement the voter-approved legalization of marijuana.

Idaho activists are consolidating efforts behind a proposed 2022 medical cannabis ballot initiative instead of also trying to pursue a separate marijuana legalization measure as well.

Some Colorado lawmakers and education groups are proposing a ballot measure to increase marijuana taxes to fund tutoring and after-school services. Separately, regulators sent a bulletin about increasing reports of fraud against marijuana businesses.

The Tennessee Senate Health and Welfare Committee will hold a hearing on a bill to study medical cannabis on Wednesday.

The chairman of the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee said he is hopeful the panel will take up a medical cannabis bill next week.

Missouri regulators published a list of 29 deactivated medical cannabis business licenses. The top regulator spoke about the program’s implementation.

Michigan regulators published a bulletin on common marijuana business operations questions.

Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee and Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 800 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 New York City Fire Department is facing a potential lawsuit from an EMT who says he is being unlawfully discriminated against for his medical cannabis use,

San Diego, California’s city attorney overestimated the number of marijuana convictions she could expunge by a factor of 10.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she views the idea of decriminalizing marijuana as separate from voters’ narrow rejection of a referendum on broader legalization.

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to beware of fake advertisements about food supplements claiming to use terpenes from cannabis.

Malawi’s government is facing a potential lawsuit over a failure to issue hemp business licenses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study highlighted “CBD, and its active metabolite, 7-OH-CBD, as potential preventative agents and therapeutic treatments for SARS-CoV-2 at early stages of infection.”

A journal article explores how Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration“represents a shift away from assessment limited to untoward outcomes of psychedelic use and abstinence-based addiction treatment paradigms and toward a stance of compassionate, destigmatizing acceptance of patients’ choices.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

NORML is raising concerns about the formation of a new marijuana organization backed by large alcohol and tobacco companies.

Americans for Safe Access is hosting a medical cannabis unity conference on April 29 and 30.

The Drug Policy Alliance has a new chief operating officer.

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy and Texas NORML installed an exhibit on the benefits of decriminalizing cannabis at the state Capitol.

Southern University Law Center is partnering with the Cannabis Health Equity Movement to launch the CHEM Global Campus pilot project.

/ BUSINESS

Amazon is being sued for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by rescinding a job offer over a prospective employee’s medical cannabis use.

Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. declared a quarterly dividend of $1.32 per share.

Creso Pharma Limited is acquiring Halucenex Life Sciences Inc.

Arizona retailers sold $2.9 million worth of recreational marijuana in the first 10 days of legal sales.

Arkansas medical cannabis dispensaries have now sold more than a quarter-billion dollars worth of product.

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Photo courtesy of Brian Shamblen.

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.

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