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Treasury secretary blasts Congress over cannabis banking (Newsletter: April 8, 2022)



DEA: marijuana seeds are legal hemp; OK legalization initiative cleared; SC medical marijuana bill approved; NY cananbiz tax cut; MT sales

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The Drug Enforcement Administration has clarified that marijuana seeds are not considered illegal controlled substances as long as they contain less than 0.3 percent delta-9 THC. Of course, it’s still prohibited to grow the resulting marijuana—but the seeds themselves are defined as “hemp.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said it’s “extremely frustrating” that Congress has not passed a marijuana banking bill, and that her department supports getting it done through the America COMPETES Act or as a standalone.

  • “We would like to see that happen.”

The Oklahoma Supreme Court cleared a proposed marijuana legalization initiative from a challenge that was filed by an activist with another campaign that’s pursuing its own separate cannabis measures for the 2022 ballot.

The South Carolina House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee approved a Senate-passed medical cannabis bill—over the objection of a representative who filed more than 100 amendments (only one of which was adopted). It now heads to the House floor.

New York Senate and Assembly leaders’ newly negotiated budget legislation has provisions to decouple state tax policy from the federal 280E provision, thereby allowing marijuana companies to deduct business expenses in their state filings.

Montana marijuana sales hit a new record in March, and an advocate says the state is on pace to generate more tax revenue and jobs from cannabis than from coal by the end of this year.


The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs held a hearing on “U.S. International Assistance to Combat Narcotics Trafficking.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said federal marijuana prohibition “makes no sense.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) said “increasing the use of cannabis doesn’t make our streets safer, doesn’t make our workplaces safer, it doesn’t make our families stronger.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said he doesn’t use marijuana because “it is illegal and because it’s harmful to you. It’s not healthy.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level is a matter of justice and equal opportunity — #WeNeedMore to address the systemic inequities and disproportionate economic impacts of the war on drugs on communities of color.”

House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA) tweeted, “Last week, the House passed the MORE Act, federally legalizing marijuana & creating a process to expunge convictions. I call on the Senate to pass this bill, restore justice to those affected by the systematic inequities of the War on Drugs, & legalize marijuana once & for all.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana at the federal level is a racial justice issue. It’s long past time to end the failed “war on drugs” that has shattered the lives of so many Black and Brown families. #MOREAct”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) tweeted, “Bringing common sense cannabis legislation is needed.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) tweeted, “Far too much of the mainstream discussion on marijuana, from both sides, is based on anecdotal evidence, not on rigorous and reliable empirical data or studies. I am very optimistic that we will get this legislation over the finish line so that we can finally cut through the red tape and encourage quality research on the real-world health effects of marijuana, good or bad.”

Rep. Ben Cline (R-VA) tweeted, “For people with health problems, use of marijuana derivatives may offer potential medical benefits. As a Delegate, I passed laws that support certain marijuana-based treatments, and this week I voted for further research to determine the safety of medical cannabis.”

Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes, currently the lieutenant governor, tweeted, “It’s 2022. It’s time to legalize marijuana. Actually, it’s been time.”

The Senate bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of three.


Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) called on the Senate to approve a House-passed medical cannabis bill when they return from a break and said he is going to explore potential executive actions if lawmakers fail to act. But the Senate president said that while the body is going to try to take up narrow research legislation, it will be difficult to pass broader legalization.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tweeted, “On opening weekend alone, recreational cannabis sales generated nearly $700,000 in tax revenue for the state and local communities. By creating an exciting new industry, we’re diversifying our state’s economy and creating new jobs for New Mexicans.”

Florida gubernatorial candidates weighed in on the smell of marijuana.

The Massachusetts Senate approved a bill to establish a marijuana social equity fund, set  municipal rules and clear the way for social consumption sites to open.

The California Senate confirmed the director of the Department of Cannabis Control.

The Colorado Senate Health and Human Services Committee defeated a bill to require regulators to perform at least one underage compliance check per cannabis dispensary each year, and now its sponsors are asking for an audit of the Marijuana Enforcement Division.

The Wyoming Supreme Court rejected a man’s argument that the prohibition of marijuana is unconstitutional.

New York regulators adopted rules on hemp cultivation licensing and research authorization.

Georgia officials asked a judge to deny an injunction on the ability to crack down on delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC product sales, and are also asking for the overall case challenging the policy to be dismissed.

Iowa officials said police will be doing “extra enforcement” of drug-impaired driving laws around 4/20.

The Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development tweeted, “Only 5 companies in the U.S. have licenses to grow marijuana for federal research purposes — and one of them is in York County. 😲🌿”

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.

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The Jersey City, New Jersey Planning Board approved a proposed cannabis consumption lounge.


Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said the government will legalize medical cannabis cultivation after the idea got support in a national consultation survey.

The Canadian government announced plans to form a strategic panel focused on helping to grow the cannabis industry.

Gauteng, South Africa officials are forming a “Cannabis Master Plan” focused on economic growth and job creation.


A study found that “tobacco smoking may be a risk factor for hearing loss but does not support an association between hearing loss and cannabis smoking.”

A study concluded that “CBD, used as a supplement in combination with other drugs, was well-tolerated over a wide dose range and decreased the occurrence of pruritus in dogs with [canine atopic dermatitis] when ingested twice a day.”


A poll of U.S. adults found that 60 percent support legalizing marijuana, 57 percent want to expunge prior convictions and 51 percent back cannabis banking, among other findings.

The New Mexico Democratic Party tweeted, “Governor @Michelle4NM has never stopped fighting to deliver recreational cannabis to New Mexico. Even when Republicans stood in the way of these efforts, MLG pushed back and delivered progress on cannabis, adding thousands of new jobs to the economy and uplifting New Mexico!”


Jushi Holdings Inc. completed its acquisition of NuLeaf, Inc.

Receptor Life Sciences raised $9.7 million to support clinical testing of its CBD inhaler to treat acute anxiety.


Bill Maher and Judd Apatow traded stories about their early experiences smoking marijuana.

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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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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