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



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

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.”


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


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.

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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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