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Trump admin to block asylum over cannabis possession (Newsletter: December 20, 2019)

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VT House speaker has votes for legal marijuana sales; SD medical measure cleared for 2020; EPA OKs hemp pesticides; LA DA candidates back drug decrim

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Departments of Justice and Homeland Security proposed to deny asylum to refugees over misdemeanor marijuana and possession offenses, with an exception for a single instance of being caught with up to 30 grams of cannabis.

  • “Both possessors and traffickers of controlled substances pose a direct threat to the public health and safety interests of the United States, and they should not be entitled to the benefit of asylum.”

For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency approved pesticides for use on hemp crops—just in time for the 2020 growing season.

South Dakota’s secretary of state announced that activists collected enough signatures to qualify a medical marijuana initiative for the state’s 2020 ballot. It’s the first citizen-led cannabis measure certified in any state for 2020,  but more are likely to be approved soon.

Vermont’s House speaker said a bill to legalize marijuana sales has enough support to pass in her chamber in 2020. The Senate already approved a cannabis commerce bill earlier this year.

  • “Given what I’ve heard from people, I believe there is a solid tri-partisan majority in the House that would like to see tax and regulate pass this year… I believe there is the will in the House to pass it this year.”

Two candidates running to become the next district attorney in Los Angeles County, California voiced support for decriminalizing all drugs at a debate.

/ FEDERAL

The Senate sent President Trump Fiscal Year 2020 spending legislation that continues a rider protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference but also blocks Washington, D.C. from spending its own money to legalize marijuana sales.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed a lower court’s dismissal of a case from a medical cannabis operator who argued that a congressional rider protecting state-legal medical marijuana activity from federal enforcement bars his continued incarceration.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), a presidential candidate, laid out a criminal justice reform agenda that includes “an end to the criminal prohibition on marijuana,” “treating those dealing with substance use disorders as patients instead of criminals” and “sentencing reform that provides non-violent drug offenders a real chance at re-entering society.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Veterans have sacrificed so much for us. But our outdated federal marijuana laws prevent vets who work in their state’s legal cannabis industry from getting a VA-backed home loan to realize the dream of homeownership. I have a bipartisan bill for that.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said he hopes the Trump administration will “weigh in a little more” to help build support for marijuana banking legislation.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) tweeted, “Yesterday, I was proud to introduce a bill with my friend @SenWarren to ensure that veterans who work in the marijuana industry aren’t penalized by the VA when buying a home. We owe our heroes that, and much more.”

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) tweeted, “Maine’s hemp/cannabis industry, banks & credit unions asked Congress to grant cannabis-related businesses access to financial services. The House said YES to pass the SAFE Banking Act w/ bipartisan support. It’s misguided for the Senate Chairman to say NO. He should reconsider.”

Iowa Democratic Senate candidate Kimberly Graham tweeted that she supports “legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalization for recreational users.”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) said right now is the “perfect time” to pass a medical cannabis bill. The Assembly speaker predicted that the state will legalize medical marijuana, but that “it’s going to take a while.”

Florida’s attorney general filed a state Supreme Court brief arguing that a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure is unconstitutional.

California regulators launched a campaign encouraging consumers to scan QR codes when purchasing marijuana to verify licensed products.

Washington State regulators adopted new marijuana packaging and labeling rules and approved a canopy square footage expansion for producers.

Missouri regulators began issuing medical cannabis testing lab licenses.

Nevada regulators announced a fine and suspension of activities for a marijuana testing lab found to have used “unsound” practices.

A meeting of Massachusetts regulators was interrupted with complaints from economic empowerment applicants who are frustrated their marijuana business license applications haven’t been processed.

Oregon regulators cleared a hemp processing firm after investigating a complaint that it improperly disposed of solvents.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin inviting people to attend the Midwest iHemp Expo next month.


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

The chair of the Chicago, Illinois City Council’s Black Caucus threatened to again try to delay legal marijuana sales.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley said the government will certify the marijuana decriminalization measure that lawmakers approved on Monday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that he doesn’t support decriminalizing drugs but left open the door to changing his mind as he did with marijuana. Separately, regulators will begin testing the effects of cannabis vaping products.

A Norwegian government commission recommended decriminalizing all drugs and expunging prior records.

A Russian court rejected an appeal of a seven-year prison sentence for smuggling less than ten grams of marijuana by an Israeli-American citizen.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that last year “approximately 12 million (4.7%) U.S. residents aged ≥16 years reported driving under the influence of marijuana, and 2.3 million (0.9%) reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs other than marijuana during the past 12 months.”

A study found that “marijuana use is common among orthopedic patients” and that “many patients believe marijuana is beneficial for managing pain and other medical conditions, although most would be willing to stop using marijuana if told it would negatively impact their surgery.”

A case study looked at the experience of “a young lady with recurrent glioma who had refractory seizures despite multiple anti-epileptic agents, who had significant benefit with CBD.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Polling found that legalizing marijuana is among the top ten most important issues for U.S. independents.

The president of the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association said he will resign after an internal investigation cleared him of sexual misconduct.

/ BUSINESS

Amazon says it bans CBD sales, but The Washington Post was able to buy 11 products containing it from the site.

Adweek said MedMen’s “The New Normal” spot was the sixth-best ad of the year.

The Peoria General Wayne A. Downing Airport Board of Commissioners voted to allow passengers to travel with marijuana.

Michigan retailers sold $3.1 million worth of recreational marijuana in the first two weeks of legal sales.

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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 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. (Organization citations are for identification only and do not constitute an endorsement or partnership.)

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Biden says ‘I know a lot of weed smokers’ (Newsletter: May 25, 2020)

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Marijuana banking has 50-50 Senate shot, sponsor says; NY gov believes legal cannabis can pass; OK gov’s delivery veto stands

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  • Kim Stiens: “I subscribed to MM’s Patreon the moment I knew about it, because nobody knows the cannabis culture, industry, or advocacy space better than Tom Angell. As we transition from a world of prohibition to a world of corporatization, good marijuana journalism is more important than ever. Tom knows the scene, he knows the players, and he highlights the stories that no one else can.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said “I know a lot of weed smokers” to justify his ongoing opposition to marijuana legalization.

Lead marijuana banking bill sponsor Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) says there’s a “50–50” chance its language will pass the Senate as part of coronavirus legislation. The House included it in a COVID bill earlier this month, but Republicans have largely slammed the move.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said “I believe we will” legalize marijuana. Lawmakers will reportedly reconvene this week, though it’s unclear if cannabis will be on the agenda before the end of the 2020 session.

Oklahoma lawmakers declined to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) veto of a bill that would have authorized medical marijuana delivery services and allowed out-of-state patients to register with the program. The bill passed earlier this month with huge margins.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump retweeted a post with an image of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany edited to make it look like she is smoking a joint.

Federal prosecutors charged a Calexico City, California city councilman and another official with allegedly accepting bribes from an undercover FBI agent who they believed represented investors seeking to open a cannabis dispensary.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said in a Senate floor speech that the House coronavirus bill “mentions cannabis more times than it mentions doctors, hospitals, and nurses combined. It is an interesting tribute, if you ask me.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said the House coronavirus bill’s marijuana provisions are “crazy stuff.”

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) tweeted, “House Dems refuse lead. But it’s never been about leading, it’s about power. Americans and American business need help, instead House Dems pushes a bill that mentions cannabis more than jobs…”

Colorado Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper, a former governor, tweeted, “Yes, I support decriminalizing & descheduling marijuana. Colorado set the gold standard, and I’m eager to work with you and Colorado’s cannabis industry and entrepreneurs to get this done in Washington.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “I support: ✅ decriminalization & legalization of marijuana. ✅ eliminating for-profit prisons. My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, does not.”

/ STATES

Utah’s treasurer joined the state attorney general in calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The Illinois Senate approved bills amending marijuana regulations.

Rhode Island regulators sent a bulletin about the use of hemp and hemp-derived CBD in the state’s medical cannabis program.

Guam regulators will meet to work on marijuana regulations in early June.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Policy Committee will meet to discuss draft regulations this week.

Here’s a look at pending Colorado marijuana reform legislation.

Two Pennsylvania Republican senators said they expect marijuana legalization to be up for discussion as a revenue measure to help fix the coronavirus outbreak’s economic damage.

The Texas Law Library posted a FAQ about the legality of CBD oil.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

Denver, Colorado officials posted materials for a Marijuana Licensing Work Group meeting on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Colombia’s ministry of justice approved the export of two million cannabis seeds.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s marijuana decriminalization ordinance found that the policy “significantly reduced the risk of marijuana arrests overall,” “absolute/relative racial disparities decreased for possession-based arrests” and “relative racial disparities increased for sales/manufacturing-based arrests.

A driving study found that “after smoking cannabis, overall mean speed was reduced,” that “no effects of therapeutic cannabis were found on straightaway mean speed or straightaway lateral control for either condition (standard or cognitive load) or on brake latency” and “after smoking therapeutic cannabis in the lab, changes in speed and lateral control were negatively correlated with the amount of cannabis smoked per day.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Times examined how CBD became a phenomenon.

/ BUSINESS

Massachusetts recreational marijuana retailers say consumers can expect a different shopping experience when they reopen from a coronavirus closure on Monday.

Florida medical cannabis sales surged last week.

Politico looks at the rise and fall of MedMen.

/ CULTURE

Model Kathy Ireland tweeted, “So much good could be done in the food and nutrition space with CBD additives.

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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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VA gov signs cannabis decrim bill (Newsletter: May 22, 2020)

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FDA announces injectable CBD recall; USVI gov files revised legal marijuana bill; DC Council approves medical cannabis employment protections

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  • Nick Kovacevich of KushCo Holdings, Inc.: “Through his unparalleled drive and commitment to always keep policymakers accountable, Tom has clearly shown why he is one of the most influential champions of cannabis law reform these past two decades. He has seen and done it all, but continues to push the industry forward and ensure it receives the recognition and status it truly deserves. Everyone in the entire legal cannabis industry owes a tremendous gratitude for Tom and the work that he does on behalf of us each and every day.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a marijuana decriminalization bill into law, making the state the 27th in the nation to remove the threat of jail time for low-level cannabis possession.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that Biota Biosciences is voluntarily recalling injectable CBD products that the federal agency sent a warning letter about last month.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) submitted a revised marijuana legalization bill to the territory’s Senate. He’s pushing it as a measure to save a struggling retirement program for government employees and to create new jobs.

The Washington, D.C. District Council passed an emergency bill extending workplace discrimination protections for medical marijuana patients who are employed by local government agencies.

/ FEDERAL

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted, “The Democrats’ $3 trillion dollar wishlist mentioned the word ‘cannabis’  more times than it did ‘jobs.’ It was a pot bill. Not a pandemic bill.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) tweeted, “A $3T monstrosity that mentions “cannabis” 68 times. How many times did it mention the word “jobs”? 52 times. What are Republicans fighting to protect? Jobs. What are Democrats fighting to protect? Pot. What a joke.”

Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) tweeted, “Just a reminder that the Democrats’ last coronavirus relief bill said the word ‘cannabis’ more than the word ‘jobs’.  While 39 million Americans are unemployed and many are wondering if they will get their next paycheck, Democrats are focused on pot. Americans deserve better.”

Virginia Republican congressional candidate Heerak Christian Kim tweeted, “Virginia’s drug overdose problem is getting out of hand! That is why Heerak opposes legalization of marijuana in Virginia, while incumbent @RepDonBeyer supports legalization of marijuana!”

/ STATES

A former Arkansas attorney general joined the board of the U.S. Hemp Authority.

Washington, D.C. police released updated marijuana arrest data.

Members of the Red Lake Nation, located in Minnesota, approved a medical cannabis referendum.

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee held a hearing on a bill to revise marijuana regulations.

Maryland regulators revealed that 10,000 people registered as medical cannabis patients during the coronavirus outbreak, representing more than a tenth of the state’s total patient count.

A Pennsylvania senator plans to file legislation to protect medical cannabis patients from being unduly charged with driving under the influence.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL

St. Lucia’s commerce and investment minister said he would like a decision to be made on marijuana decriminalization by the end of the current government’s term.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “compared with clobazam/valproate, adjunctive cannabinoid oil may be a cost-effective treatment for Dravet syndrome.”

A review concluded that “legalization of recreational cannabis use in the US has substantially reduced the price of cannabis, increased its potency, and made cannabis more available to adult users” and “appears to have increased the frequency of cannabis use among adults, but not so far among youth.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that middle-aged New Zealanders oppose legalizing marijuana, 50%-27%.

/ BUSINESS

Ayr Strategies Inc. reported $33.6 million in quarterly revenue and a $4.9 million loss from operations.

Canopy Growth Corp.’s Houseplant launched a line of cannabis-infused beverages.

New Mexico dispensaries sold $40.1 million worth of medical cannabis products in the first quarter of the year.

/ CULTURE

Football player Montravius Adams was arrested for marijuana possession, driving without insurance and having a suspended/canceled/revoked vehicle registration.

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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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Fed judge allows e-signatures for Ohio cannabis campaigns (Newsletter: May 21, 2020)

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USDA reverses total hemp COVID aid ban; Louisiana lawmakers approve marijuana banking; Jamaica allows online cannabis ordering

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  • Business of Cannabis: “Business of Cannabis supports Marijuana Moment because without you the industry would have now way of understanding the full width and breadth of what’s happening in cannabis in the U.S. From the U.S. Capitol to every state house and thousands of municipalities throughout the country, you seem to have your finger on the pulse. By extension, the sector has its finger on the pulse. That’s why we support and why others should too.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A federal judge ruled that Ohio marijuana activists can electronically collect signatures for proposed local decriminalization ballot measures in municipalities across the state as coronavirus has hampered in-person petitioning.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture singled out hemp as one of two legal crops—along with tobacco—for which farmers are blocked from the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program without any recourse for reconsideration. But hours after Marijuana Moment reported the story, the department deleted language from its website that said farmers couldn’t appeal for reconsideration of the ban.

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a cannabis banking bill, and a Senate committee advanced House-passed legislation to let doctors recommend medical marijuana for any debilitating condition they see fit.

The Jamaican government is allowing patients to place online orders of medical marijuana for pickup at “herb houses” as a measure to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

/ FEDERAL

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy updated its Freedom of Information Act implementing regulations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted House Democrats’ coronavirus bill, saying, “diversity and inclusion in the marijuana industry wasn’t going to study itself, after all.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) tweeted, “And we must pass the immediate, bipartisan opportunities to support jobs and economic activity. The Great American Outdoors Act, the SAFE Banking Act, and infrastructure investments all enjoy bipartisan support and would help generate new investments and liquidity.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said the fate of marijuana banking provisions in coronavirus legislation will “depend on how hard the House fights for it in the final negotiations.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) defended the inclusion of marijuana banking provisions in coronavirus relief legislation passed by the House.

Montana Democratic Senate candidate Mike Brohier tweeted, “We must de-schedule marijuana. We must legalize marijuana. We should tax marijuana. It will help Kentuckians in pain, it will help our budget, and it will remediate harmful opiate addictions.”

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Michael Owens tweeted, “92% of Americans are against marijuana prohibition laws, while over 600K were arrested for simple possession. States spend more than $3B annually enforcing the ban. Marijuana should be removed from the Schedule of Controlled Substances, sentences commuted and records expunged.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order extending expired medical cannabis patient and caregiver identification cards.

Massachusetts regulators formally moved to allow recreational marjuana businesses to resume sales via curbside pickup on Monday.

The New York Assembly’s Health Committee chair said that “marijuana legalization is just one of the reasons the legislature should return to work as soon as possible.”

The Illinois legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules reviewed proposed rules on cannabis legalization and social equity.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin on mandatory coronavirus infection-control practices for marijuana businesses.

Colorado marijuana social equity legislation has been jeopardized by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on June 3.

Alaska regulators will consider marijuana business licensing and rules on June 10-11.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL

Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock held a webinar on cannabis cultivation opportunities.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review “provided evidence in supporting the use of medical marijuana to reduce common symptoms reported in patients with” multiple sclerosis.

A study found that “rates of marijuana usage in pregnant women who underwent universal drug screening increased after legalization” and “there were no differences in neonatal outcomes between users and non-users.”

/ BUSINESS

A deal for Hightimes Holding Corp. to acquire Humboldt Heritage has been canceled.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced a deal to acquire Reliva, LLC.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. reported quarterly revenue of $96.1 million.

Green Growth Brands Inc. filed for insolvency protection.

Charlotte’s Web got a utility patent for a new hemp variety.

A bankruptcy judge approved a plan to sell the bulk of GenCanna’s assets.

The entire board of directors and senior management of Great Northern Cannabis has been ousted after an audio recording appeared to reveal a conversation between personnel discussing selling moldy products as well as CBD oil that contained too much THC.

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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