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Trump admin officials want cannabis study, emails show (Newsletter: July 3, 2018)

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US territory legalization bill advances; MA grants 1st rec dispensary license; Poll shows MI marijuana measure losing

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Emails released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that high-level Trump administration Department of Veterans Affairs officials considered pressing for a study on medical marijuana for military veterans:

  • “Thousands of Veterans claim their legal/illegal use of cannabis has made dramatic changes in their well-being. Many claiming it saved their lives and got them off all opioids and most of their prescribed drugs issued by VA… Right Thing to Do.”

The officials also fretted about how the Department of Justice would react, the messages show.

A Senate-passed marijuana legalization bill in the U.S. territory the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands cleared another hurdle on its way to a full House vote.

/ FEDERAL

Uttam Dhillon was officially named as the new acting head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Colombia’s president-elect met to discuss “the need for continued action to reduce coca cultivation and cocaine production.”

The U.S. attorney for Massachusetts spoke about his marijuana enforcement priorities.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Cities and states across America are already working to stop our country from repeating the same mistakes of the past. We need to move a step further — it’s time to legalize marijuana at the federal level.”

Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) tweeted, “One argument my colleagues made against me/legalization was ‘If marijuana was effective, there would be drugs made from the chemicals.’ Well now there are—FDA approved! It can be a lifesaving alternative to opioids. Now we must regulate it and make it as safe as possible.”

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted, “Medical marijuana is legal in 30 states. It is fully legal in 9 states. Yet people still live under threat of federal prosecution, esp with AG Sessions escalating war on drugs.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Oklahoma has just become the 30th state to pass either legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana in the United States. Ending the prohibition nationwide would create at least $132 billion in tax revenue over the next decade. Smart economics.”

Former White House Drug Czars Bill Bennett and John Walters are urging President Trump not to support federal marijuana reform legislation.

/ STATES

Opponents of Utah’s medical cannabis initiative dropped their federal lawsuit seeking to have the measure removed from the ballot.

Massachusetts regulators granted the state’s first recreational marijuana retail license. Gov Charlie Baker (R) said the cannabis commission is doing a “great job” rolling out the program.

Oklahoma advocates are pushing back against medical cannabis potency limits proposed by regulators. Meanwhile, some advocates are disappointed there won’t be a special legislative session to address the ballot measure. And the Health Department is accepting applications to be the state’s top marijuana regulator.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) vetoed a bill that would require real estate sellers to disclose if properties were used for marijuana cultivation.

Here’s a look at the expected timetable for New Jersey marijuana legalization. Separately. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced that the stare’s medical cannabis program has grown by 10,000 patients since his administration began.

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial nominee JB Pritzker tweeted, “The path forward for our state is clear: We need to legalize marijuana in Illinois. Legalizing marijuana will help us reform our criminal justice system and give us the opportunity to reinvest in our communities. Let’s get on the right side of history.”

Michigan Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer said she will vote for the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

The California Senate voted to exclude marijuana products from legislation that bars local governments from putting taxes on certain sales.

Arkansas regulators voted to explore hiring outside consultants to help grade medical cannabis dispensary license applications.

Colorado regulators are mandating pesticide testing on marijuana products starting August 1.

A Maryland appeals court ruled that police have probable cause to arrest someone for marijuana possession if they smell the drug clearly on the person — even though possession of less than 10 grams is decriminalized.

Alaska regulators are proposing changes to the way marijuana is taxed.

New Hampshire’s Senate Democratic leader is launching an online petition in support of legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, the state’s drug czar spoke out against legalization.

North Dakota regulators will begin accepting applications for medical cannabis dispensary licenses next week.

/ LOCAL

A Twiggs County, Georgia judge reunited parents with their son after a local sheriff took him away for treating his epilepsy with medical cannabis.

A Hattiesburg, Pennsylvania city councilwoman filed a measure to decriminalize marijuana.

Los Angeles, California regulators will begin the process for licensing marijuana cultivators and manufacturers on August 1.

Lawrence, Kansas officials are considering lowering fines for marijuana possession.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A candidate for mayor of London, UK wants to legalize marijuana.

/ ADVOCACY

Former Democratic National Committee Interim Chair Donna Brazile said she supports pending Senate marijuana law reform bills.

Former Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele spoke about his support for marijuana law reform in an interview with the Arcview Group.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of the effects of medical cannabis on PTSD found that “three studies concluded there might be a benefit, but two discouraged its use.”

A study found that “people who used cannabis had greater pain and lower self-efficacy in managing pain, and there was no evidence that cannabis use reduced pain severity or interference or exerted an opioid-sparing effect.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Michigan likely voters oppose the marijuana legalization ballot measure, 47%-44%.

/ BUSINESS

The Hawaii Employers’ Mutual Insurance Co. agreed to cover a patient’s medical cannabis treatment and then rescinded the decision after being contacted by the media.

4Front Holdings is going public in Canada.

Flow Kana closed a $22 million Series A funding round.

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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 15-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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Congress to vote on cannabis banking next week (Newsletter: September 16, 2019)

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Lawmakers press FDA to allow CBD products; Marijuana rescheduling bill would fix 280E; Dan Aykroyd & Joe Rogan on psychedelics

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 440 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

  • Koala Authentix: “Staying up to date with hemp and cannabis news and legislation is extremely important to our clients and our business overall.  Tom Angell and Marijuana Moment are trusted primary sources for that information. We appreciate the timeliness, accuracy, and depth of coverage we get from Marijuana Moment.”   

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives plans a floor vote on cannabis banking legislation by the end of this month, the office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) told Marijuana Moment.

Reps. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and James Comer (R-KY) are asking fellow lawmakers to sign a letter urging the Food and Drug Administration to issue a memo on CBD enforcement discretion and formulate an interim final rule establishing a clear regulatory framework allowing use of CBD in food products and dietary supplements.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) filed a bill to move marijuana to Schedule III. While his stated aim is to expand research, the reform would also end the application of the 280E tax penalty on state-legal cannabis businesses.

/ FEDERAL

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is proposing to strengthen its drug testing rules.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse published a request for information about contractors who can help recruit and screen participants for drug use surveys.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “There’s no question that people of color continue to be hit the hardest by the failed War on Drugs. Enough. It’s time we passed my bill to legalize marijuana and expand opportunities for communities of color.”

House Rules Committee Chairman James McGovern (D-MA) said it is “a political liability not to take action on” marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) urged that any federal crackdown on vaping should focus on marijuana products.

Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) tweeted about discussing hemp at an agriculture town hall meeting.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “We must reinvest in the black and brown communities hardest hit by the failed war on drugs while fighting for real restorative justice.”

The House bill to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical cannabis and prevent the denial of benefits for marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of six.

/ STATES

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) issued an order providing guidance on workplace issues for medical cannabis patients. She also tweeted about signage that registered dispensaries can post to show their official participation in the District’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted that “cannabis has led to- checks notes- none overdose deaths-checks notes- never.” In another tweet, he criticized a judge’s ruling barring medical marijuana for people on probation.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner and chief financial officer sent a letter urging Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation. Separately, an appeals court allowed the state House of Representatives to intervene in a lawsuit challenging medical cannabis regulations.

California’s treasurer sent an update on efforts to increase marijuana businesses’ access to banking. Separately, regulators took enforcement actions against two unlicensed marijuana retailers selling illegal vape cartridges.

Hawaii regulators said they will remove unregulated CBD products from the market.

Utah lawmakers will hold a special session on Monday to consider changes to the medical cannabis distribution system.

An Arizona grand jury indicted a woman on 10 counts of forgery and one count of fraudulent schemes related to a potential medical cannabis zoning conspiracy.

Ohio regulators are urging medical cannabis patients to avoid vaping.

Washington State regulators will hold a listen and learn session about draft conceptual marijuana penalty rules on September 26.

The company suing the Idaho State Police for seizing a hemp shipment says it will drop the lawsuit if its product is returned and officials pledge not to stop future shipments through the state.

A group of Illinois women lawmakers who worked together to pass marijuana legalization legislation are calling themselves “the Cannabitches.”


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.

/ LOCAL

Boston, Massachusetts’s mayor signed an executive order stipulating that city employees and their immediate family members cannot open marijuana businesses or participate in companies seeking cannabis licenses. Shortly after, a Zoning Board of Appeal member resigned.

Davenport, Iowa activists are pushing local officials to decriminalize marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s government said it is committed to making sure the public debate in advance of next year’s marijuana legalization referendum is focused on facts and evidence.

The UK Labour Party pledged to launch a commission to review “all drugs legislation” if it forms a government.

Ontario, Canada officials accused cannabis company officials of fraudulent activity.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “patients with neuropathic pain, cancer pain, and migraine headache may benefit from the analgesic effects of a cannabis-based medicine (CBM), but not necessarily patients with chronic abdominal pain,” that “equivocal results were shown in fibromyalgia and postoperative orthopedic pain” and that “the opioid-sparing properties of CBM make it an attractive option for pain management.”

A study of mice suggested that “combination of THC+CBD suppresses neuroinflammation and attenuates clinical [experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis] development.”

/ BUSINESS

Mind Medicine Inc. will reportedly announce on Monday that it is developing a synthetic drug based on the chemical structure of ibogaine.

A Washington Post investigation looks at how pharmaceutical companies successfully worked to restrict the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to regulate opioids.

Colorado retailers sold more than $166 million in marijuana products in July, setting a new monthly record.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dan Aykroyd discussed use of marijuana and psychedelics with Joe Rogan.

Rapper Lil Wayne cancelled a concert following a hotel dispute about the smell of marijuana emanating from his room.

Kim Kardashian said CBD helps her deal with a busy lifestyle as a mom and businesswoman.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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.
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GOP Senate chair plans cannabis banking vote (Newsletter: September 13, 2019)

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Dems debate drugs; DEA marijuana stall tactics in court; Legalization boosts Colorado population; Black Caucus cannabis focus; New rescheduling bill

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) said he plans to hold a vote on a marijuana banking bill in his panel by the end of the year.

Democratic presidential candidates clashed on marijuana and drug policy at a debate, with former Vice President Joe Biden (D) saying that cannabis should remain illegal as a misdemeanor.

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is holding four separate panels focused on marijuana at its conference this week.

Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL), who strongly opposed marijuana reform in the 1990s as secretary of health and human services during the Clinton administration, joined with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to introduce a bill that would reschedule cannabis and expand research opportunities.

A research group that applied to get Drug Enforcement Administration approval to grow marijuana to be used in scientific studies accused the agency of delay tactics in a federal court filing.

A study examined how cannabis factors into people’s decision to move to a new state and found that “marijuana legalization increased Colorado’s population by 3.2% as of 2015” because “potential migrants view legalized marijuana as a positive amenity.”

/ FEDERAL

Members of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology discussed detecting marijuana-related impairment among drivers at a hearing.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) blamed the Obama and Trump administrations for “a failure of political leadership not to deal with the marijuana issue.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “Systemic racism is a root ideology that propped up an extractive economic system that prioritizes profit over human & environmental considerations. The injustices of slavery evolved into Jim Crow, redlining, the War on Drugs, mass incarceration, & beyond.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Even in states where marijuana is legal, many people don’t have the time or money to individually petition the court to expunge their marijuana records. More communities need to join Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago in automatically clearing marijuana offenses.”

Police raided an illegal marijuana growing operation at a building whose owners include former Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA).

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and direct money to programs to begin repairing the harms of the drug war got two new cosponsors for a total of 39.

/ STATES

California lawmakers sent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) a bill to exempt medical cannabis compassion programs from taxes as well as legislation allowing terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana in healthcare facilities. They also approved a bill to let cannabis businesses deduct expenses on their state tax returns and legislation to ban marijuana party buses.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner said that when people think of his state he wants “them to think the same thing they think about hemp like they do Idaho potatoes and Florida orange juice.”

The New Jersey Senate did not vote as expected on Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) suggested changes to a marijuana expungement bill he conditionally vetoed, instead filing a new proposal for consideration.

Washington, D.C. officials moved to allow patients to use a REAL ID driver’s license issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles as proof of residency for the medical cannabis program in lieu of two other forms of acceptable identification.

Massachusetts regulators voted to require marijuana companies to disclose all specific ingredients in vaping cartridges. They also approved a requirement that body cameras be used to film cannabis home deliveries while limiting how the video footage can be used and moved to expand the reach of delivery services.

Utah’s Procurement Policy Board rejected an appeal from a medical cannabis company that was denied a cultivation license but said that regulators may have erred in selecting only eight growers.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.

/ LOCAL

A judge is accusing New York City police of lying about smelling marijuana to justify vehicle searches.

The Miami Beach, Florida City Commission approved a proposal to treat public marijuana smoking at the same level as an open container violation.

Denver, Colorado police issued a bulletin about an uptick in burglaries at marijuana facilities.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A party in Thailand’s ruling coalition is circulating legislation to allow medical cannabis home cultivation.

South Africa’s government is considering expunging past marijuana convictions.

Paraguayan regulators began a process to license medical cannabis businesses.

Vancouver, Canada’s City Council defeated a measure to crack down on the sale of psilocybin mushrooms.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “use of cannabis and cannabinoids via certain administration routes could reduce different types of pain.”

A study found that in “US community samples of cannabis initiates studied soon after first use, the vast majority were free of individual [side effect] experiences counted toward Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition cannabis use disorder diagnoses.”

A review determined that while “standard field sobriety tests have advantages over per se tests for cannabis-impaired driving, limitations of both leave cannabis users and law enforcement officials little guidance in assessing an individual’s driving fitness after recent cannabis use.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

An analysis from prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana found that cannabis industry participants donated $305,675in campaign contributions  to members of Congress in the first half of 2019, compared with $248,504 last year.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing New Jersey over a law requiring tax-exempt organizations to disclose information about donors, saying that it will expose the names of people supporting marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform efforts.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s stock sunk after reporting lower-than-expected earnings.

Some Oregon marijuana retailers began pulling vaping products from their stores over uncertainty about ingredients.

/ CULTURE

Mark Wahlberg and Sean “Diddy” Combs will serve as brand ambassadors for Alkaline Water Company Inc., which sells CBD products.

The Outline look at why some South American indigenous tribes give psychedelic drugs to dogs.

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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.
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DEA wants huge increase in legal cannabis growing for 2020 (Newsletter: September 12, 2019)

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USDA hemp regs at White House; Marijuana biz orgs issue vape safety recs; Lawmakers buy cannabis with crypto; POTUS cannabis debate Qs

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Drug Enforcement Administration proposed that 3.2 million grams of marijuana be legally grown in the U.S. in 2020—a more than 30 percent increase from this year’s quota for cannabis to be used in scientific studies.

At last week’s closed-door federal marijuana summit, the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that hemp regulations are undergoing final review at the White House and the Justice Department, and a federal prosecutor said he would not tolerate psilocybin mushroom sales in Colorado dispensaries.

The National Cannabis Industry Association and the Cannabis Trade Federation issued a series of recommendations for cannabis businesses and Congress to keep consumers safe amid an epidemic of vaping-related severe lung injuries.

Marijuana Moment’s latest presidential candidate overview takes a comprehensive look at the cannabis record of former Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), who cosponsored and voted for numerous measures supporting states’ rights to set marijuana policies during his time in Congress.

Berkeley and Emeryville, California city councilmembers purchased marijuana with cryptocurrency.

Advocates from leading marijuana policy organizations suggested cannabis questions they’d like to see asked of presidential candidates at Thursday’s debate.

/ FEDERAL

The Environmental Protection Agency is being urged by the State FIFRA Issues Research and Evaluation Group to provide guidance to states on pesticide use on cannabis.

The Bay Area News Group took a look at the marijuana prosecution record of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate.

Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro, a presidential candidate, tweeted, “We need to legalize cannabis nationwide and properly regulate products in order to keep folks safe.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, spoke about her work to end federal marijuana prohibition.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) mentioned cannabis banking in a speech at the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions conference.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said the “odds are very strong” that legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition will move this Congress.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted about discussing marijuana policy with actor Chris Evans.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and withhold funding from states with discriminatory enforcement got one new cosponsor for a total of 44.

The House bill to prevent federal agencies from spending money to interfere with state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor for a total of 10.

The House bill to allow marijuana in public housing got one new cosponsor for a total of two.

The House resolution urging  states to encourage diversity in the marijuana industry got one new cosponsor for a total of eight.

/ STATES

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) spoke about marijuana at a National Coalition of 100 Black Women event. She also tweeted, “702,000+ tax paying residents deserve the right to make their own decisions on how to regulate marijuana!”

Florida’s attorney general raised concerns about the length of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure. Meanwhile, a separate marijuana legalization ballot initiative campaign received more than $1 million in donations from two cannabis companies.

Kentucky’s Department of Financial Institutions commissioner said he is frustrated that some banks are still refusing to work with hemp businesses.

South Dakota’s House majority leader said lawmakers are prepared to override a potential veto on hemp legislation next year from Gov. Kristi Noem (R).

The New Jersey Senate is expected to vote Thursday on changes Gov. Phil Murphy (D) suggested to a marijuana expungement bill.

Maryland’s top medical cannabis regulator is resigning.

Texas regulators held a hearing on rules to add incurable neurodegenerative diseases as new medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Ohio State Medical Board rejected rejected adding anxiety and autism spectrum disorder as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Illinois regulators named vendors that are approved to provide health and safety training to marijuana businesses.

A man facing Idaho felony marijuana charges for an industrial hemp shipment is pleading guilty to a lesser charge.

Oregon regulators are asking marijuana retailers to review vape stocks for safety and to post warning signs on the potential dangers of vaping amidst an outbreak of severe lung injuries. Separately, they are holding a series of meetings to discuss cannabis rules changes.

Massachusetts health officials are mandating that doctors report suspected cases of severe lung injury tied to vaping.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.

/ LOCAL

Miami Beach, Florida’s mayor is proposing an ordinance to crack down on smoking marijuana in public.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “for each of the opioids investigated (codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, fentanyl and buprenorphine), marijuana use was associated with statistically significant lower urinary opiate levels than in samples without indicators of marijuana use.”

A study concluded that “patients with isolated marijuana use had similar overall graft survival compared to non‐users” and that “marijuana use should not be an absolute contraindication to kidney transplant.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Boston Globe editorial board said that Massachusetts marijuana regulations need to be amended following the federal indictment of a mayor for allegedly extorting marijuana businesses.

The Center for Food Safety issued a scorecard that grades CBD companies’ practices to ensure their products are safe for consumers and the environment.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported 52% quarterly revenue growth and a loss of $11.7 million.

Weedmaps said it has started to implement a policy of only listing licensed businesses. Meanwhile, the United Cannabis Business Association is asking California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to retroactively fine the company for past practices.

Amazon removed from its website products that can be used to make counterfeit marijuana vapes.

Berkeley Patients Group announced it will donate $1 million to 10 nonprofits over 10 years.

/ CULTURE

Polygon takes a look at the rise of psychedelic science fiction.

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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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