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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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House send hemp legalization to Trump’s desk (Newsletter: Dec. 13, 2018)

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New bill would solve marijuana industry border issues; Chicago mayor wants cannabis revenue for pensions; “CBD gummies” a top 2018 search, Google says

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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 352 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

  • Matt Ferner of The Justice Collaborative: “What Tom is doing with Marijuana Moment is extremely unique and valuable. Tom is always on top of the latest developments and trends in the marijuana legalization movement from a local, state, national and even global perspective. I’ve come to rely on Marijuana Moment’s accurate coverage to stay up to date on the movement. I used to have to cobble together reports from all over the web, while still missing so much. But now I can just read Tom’s newsletter in the morning, and follow Marijuana Moment during the day for breaking news — Tom doesn’t miss a thing.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives voted to approve the Farm Bill, which contains provisions to legalize hemp. It now heads to President Trump’s desk for signature.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered to let President Trump use his hemp pen to sign the Farm Bill into law.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) filed legislation that would solve the issue of Canadian marijuana industry participants being denied entry to the U.S. and also shield immigrants from being deported for state-legal cannabis activity.

Chicago, Illinois Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said in a speech that he wants legal marijuana revenue to fund pension programs, though he stopped short of a direct endorsement of ending cannabis prohibition.

Google trend data says that “CBD gummies” was the third most searched for food term of 2018, just behind “romaine lettuce” and ahead of “keto pancakes.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard arguments in an appeal of a case seeking to overturn marijuana’s federal Schedule I status.

The Government Accountability Office released a report criticizing the State Department for not comprehensively reviewing the effects of U.S. anti-drug efforts in Colombia.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia held an anti-marijuana event.

House and Senate lawmakers released a revised version of criminal justice reform legislation that is expected to be voted on before the end of the year.

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) spoke about the benefits of medical cannabis for military veterans.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “Hey, NV farmers. How about growing #hemp instead of alfalfa? A breakthrough in the #FarmBill2018 lifts restrictions on legalized hemp production. Together we can cultivate a potentially multi-billion dollar crop that makes everything from rope to soap!”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted about how the Farm Bill “has finally opened the door for industrial hemp — a domestic industry that already has a market value of roughly $620 million in the U.S. per year — creating great opportunity for sustainable jobs across many sectors.”

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said the legalization of hemp “will be a boon to Oregon’s economy by allowing farmers to expand their markets while continuing to research and cultivate their crops.”

Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) included legalizing cannabis in a list of issues the political press could discuss instead of whether she should be able to run for president.

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got four new cosponsors, for a total of 40.

/ STATES

New Jersey’s Senate president and Assembly speaker said a vote on marijuana legalization is unlikely by the end of the year unless lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) come to an agreement at a Thursday meeting.

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s (D) transition team created a Cannabis Legalization Subcommittee.

Ohio regulators cleared the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary to begin operations, though there are not yet any products for it to sell to patients.

The Kentucky legislature’s Interim Health, Welfare and Family Services Committee discussed medical cannabis. Separately, the state agriculture commissioner tweeted happily about the passage of hemp legalization through Congress via the Farm Bill.

Vermont’s marijuana legalization study committee held its final meeting. Their report is expected to be delivered to Gov. Phil Scott (R) on Monday.

The Colorado Supreme Court is considering a case on the use of police dogs trained on now-legal marijuana in searches that find other, still-illegal drugs.

Washington State regulators approved interim policies on marijuana packaging and labeling requirements and the use of personal funds for business activities.

Maryland regulators will hold a hearing next month on medical cannabis licensing ownership rules.

A California assemblywoman said she will file a bill to “to legalize the sale of hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), so that Californians have better access to natural products that help many people relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and manage anxiety.”


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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 St. Paul, Minnesota City Council adopted a resolution endorsing marijuana legalization and record expungement.

Asheville, North Carolina alcohol regulators said they are already preparing for the possible legalization of marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines lawmakers voted to legalize marijuana for medical and scientific purposes.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A survey of schools and colleges of pharmacy found that “62% include medical marijuana content in their curriculum” and that “of the schools and colleges that do not include it, 23% plan to incorporate medical marijuana topics within the next 12 months.”

New York’s Health Department and other researchers are conducting a survey on marijuana use patterns.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray announced that former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele have joined its advisory board, along with former foreign ministers of Germany and Australia.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest pension fund in the U.S., has a position in Tilray.

New Belgium Brewing reacted to the legalization of hemp through the Farm Bill, tweeting, “We can already smell the dankness in our brewhouse.” 

/ CULTURE

A Massachusetts YMCA is apologizing after a staffer posted a notice threatening to call the authorities on parents who smell like marijuana.

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Photo courtesy of Max Pixel.

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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Senate votes to legalize hemp; House vote soon (Newsletter: Dec. 12, 2018)

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Gov’t shutdown could put medical marijuana at risk; UK lawmakers vote to reject legalization; Anti-cannabis US attorney hosts summit

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 352 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

As President Trump threatens a government shutdown over border wall funding, it could put medical cannabis. patients at risk. Here’s why: A shutdown would mean that the “Rohrabacher-Farr” protections for state medical marijuana laws would expire, but Drug Enforcement Administration agents and federal prosecutors are exempt from furlough.

The Senate approved the Farm Bill, which includes provisions to legalize hemp.  A House vote is expected soon.

A bipartisan collection of House and Senate members cheered the inclusion of hemp legalization in the Farm Bill.

The UK House of Commons rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana, with the opposition Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn reportedly whipping its members to abstain on the vote.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, who has consistently spoken out against cannabis reform, is holding a “Marijuana Summit” on Wednesday. Prohibitionist activist Kevin Sabet is scheduled to speak.

/ FEDERAL

Former White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Chief of Staff Regina LaBelle answered questions about legalizing marijuana and other drugs in a C-SPAN appearance.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said he is “concerned” by how rapidly states are moving to legalize marijuana.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that the Senate will vote on criminal justice reform legislation before the end of the year.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tweeted, “Reforming our criminal justice system is about redemption—giving many Americans another chance to achieve a more fulfilling future. The House has already demonstrated our commitment to making substantive reforms and we welcome the Senate’s consideration of the FIRST STEP Act.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) filed a bill that would, among other things, seek to recover lands affected by illegal marijuana cultivation. Separately, she tweeted, “As states moves toward legalizing marijuana, let’s remember how many lives have been ruined because of our regressive policies. We must focus on restorative justice.”

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got seven new cosponsors, for a total of 36.

/ STATES

The Michigan House of Representatives approved a bill to ease background check requirements on low-level marijuana business investors.

Legislative sources are suggesting it is unlikely New Jersey lawmakers will pass a marijuana legalization bill by the end of the year.

Illinois Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker (D) spoke about the need to include expungement of past convictions in marijuana legalization legislation. He also said he wants the state to jump ahead of Michigan and become the first state in the Midwest to launch recreational cannabis sales.

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), who supports legalization of marijuana, suggested that Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who does not, may “evolve” on the issue. Separately, Wolf tweeted, “Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is now accepting requests for new qualifying conditions. Doctors and patients can submit recommendations to the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board for review.”

Georgia House and Senate study committees voted to recommend expanded cannabis oil distribution and hemp farming.

California regulators proposed an emergency rule on tracking wholesale cost and retail selling price of marijuana.

Oklahoma regulators approved food safety standards for medical cannabis processors.

South Carolina’s House minority leader said legalizing medical cannabis is a personal goal of his.

A Missouri senator filed a bill to give minority- and women-owned medical cannabis business license applicants a scoring boost.

Connecticut’s Office of Legislative Research released a brief about marijuana legalization considerations. Separately, regulators doubled the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the state by approving nine new ones.

Massachusetts’s third recreational marijuana store is set to open this week.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner cheered the passage of hemp legalization provisions in the Farm Bill.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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

Chicago, Illinois Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) is reportedly preparing to call for legalizing marijuana, with revenues to be dedicated entirely to pensions.

The Boston, Massachusetts City Council held a hearing on creating “buffer zones” between substance abuse treatment centers and marijuana dispensaries or liquor stores.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee is requesting submissions of evidence on the use of medical cannabis “as the first part of a wider inquiry into the impact of drugs policy on public health.”

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Parliament began debate on medical cannabis bills.

Chilean lawmakers debated a medical cannabis bill.

Some advocate in Thailand are concerned about foreign control of medical cannabis companies.

/ ADVOCACY

The Republican Party of Kentucky tweeted, “With the Farm Bill passed in the Senate, we’re one step closer to hemp legalization! Thank you @SenateMajLdr, @RandPaul, @KYComer, and @RyanQuarlesKY for all that you’ve done fighting for our farmers and leading the charge for Industrial Hemp!”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

In a review of studies on THC and oncologic pain, “five found THC to be more effective than placebo, one found THC to be more effective than placebo in American patients but ineffective in patients from other countries, and two found THC to be no more effective than placebo.”

A study found that “plain packaging and health warnings [on marijuana products] may reduce brand appeal and increase health knowledge among young adults.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board wants more transparency in the marijuana business licensing process.

/ BUSINESS

Aphria, Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit over allegedly misleading shareholders.

A review of patent filings suggest that Altria may be trying to corner the market for cannabis vaporization devices.

The New York Times looks at the growing interest of alcohol and tobacco companies in the marijuana industry.

/ CULTURE

Martha Stewart spoke about trying marijuana edibles.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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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Trump official defends medical cannabis in public housing (Newsletter: Dec. 11, 2018)

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Feds highlight marijuana research opps; Cuomo might legalize through New York budget; McConnell uses hemp pen to sign Farm 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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 350 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Department of Housing and Urban Development official said that landlords should be required to “legally permit” medical cannabis in federally-subsidized housing. Her comments came in response to the case of a 78-year-old man who was evicted from his New York apartment due to medical marijuana use. Amid media coverage of the move, his landlord reversed its position on Monday and invited him to move back in.

After hosting a day-long marijuana research workshop, the National Institutes of Health released a list of funding opportunities for cannabis studies—several of which don’t even explicitly mention cannabinoids, which suggests an effort to greatly expand cannabis science.

The final text of the Farm Bill was released—including hemp legalization provisions and a scaled back ban on participation in the newly legal economy by people with felony drug convictions. House and Senate votes to send the bill to President Trump’s desk are expected this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) used a hemp pen to sign off on the Farm Bill conference report.

New York lawmakers are hearing signals that Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) may include marijuana legalization in his state budget proposal due out next month.

/ FEDERAL

Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said his agency is working to “make sure that that transition to national legalization [of marijuana] in Canada goes smoothly” at the border.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday titled, “Narcos: Transnational Cartels and Border Security.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “Decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level isn’t just a smart thing to do —it’s the right thing to do. We can’t keep repeating the same mistakes of the past. Too many lives have been ruined by these regressive policies.”

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) criticized Michigan Republican lawmakers for seeking to “overturn the will of the voters” by, among other things, considering legislation to scale back marijuana legalization.

/ STATES

Kentucky’s attorney general wants to put medical cannabis legalization before voters in a referendum.

The Utah Supreme Court is considering two emergency petitions seeking to overturn the legislature’s move to replace the voter-approved medical cannabis ballot measure with a “compromise” bill.

Some details are beginning to emerge about 2019 Illinois marijuana legalization legislation, including expungement and licensing provisions, as well as those aimed at ensuring equity in the industry for people of color.

New Jersey mayors met with the House speaker to advocate for social justice provisions in marijuana legalization legislation.

Ohio regulators announced that nearly 2,000 patients and caregivers have already signed up in the first week of the state’s  medical cannabis registry being active.

Oklahoma officials are being asked to investigate possible collusion between state agencies when drafting medical cannabis regulations.

California regulators released guidance about marijuana product testing requirements.

Michigan regulators released guidance about selling medical cannabis to patients with registrations from other states.

Massachusetts regulators are co-hosting a forum for municipal officials to discuss the decision-making process for regulating or banning marijuana commerce at the local level next week.

Nevada regulators awarded 61 new recreational marijuana retailer conditional licenses.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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

Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney is hosting events to help people erase prior marijuana convictions.

The Boston, Massachusetts City Council will hold a hearing on a proposal to bar marijuana businesses from operating within a half-mile of addiction treatment centers on Tuesday. Separately, the mayor wrote an op-ed about the implementation of recreational marijuana sales in the city.

The Norman, Oklahoma City is considering decriminalizing marijuana. 

Los Angeles, California officials held a press conference about driving under the influence of marijuana and other drugs.

The Chatham, New Jersey Borough Council passed a resolution opposing marijuana legalization.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand lawmakers approved medical cannabis legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of Washington State adolescents before and after marijuana legalization “provided no evidence that policy change influenced heavy-using adolescents’ rates of use nor the proposed risk factors associated with problematic use patterns.”

A study “illustrates that CBD is a well-tolerated and effective antiseizure agent and illustrates a potential disease-modifying effect of CBD on both reducing seizure burden and associated comorbidities well-after the onset of symptomatic seizures.”

A study’s results “support” medical cannabis “as an option for treatment of concussion-related chronic pain.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 73% of New Zealanders voters think medical cannabis should be treated like any other medicine.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. is acquiring licensed Mexican marijuana product importer Farmacias Magistrales S.A.

Dixie Brands Inc. announced a net loss of $2.4 million in the third quarter of the year.

/ CULTURE

Miley Cyrus says her mom got her back into smoking marijuana again.

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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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