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Trump AG nominee puts cannabis pledge in writing (Newsletter: Jan. 29, 2019)

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Minnesota legal marijuana bill—HF 420—filed; Hemp cultivation exploded in 2018 & huge 2019 projection; Study: Legal cannabis tied to lower opioid use

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. attorney general nominee William Barr put his pledge not to go after marijuana companies that relied on the Obama-era Cole Memo in writing. In a lengthy document responding to senators’ written questions, he also called for approval of more cannabis growers for research and confirmed that hemp-derived CBD is legally distinct from marijuana.

A bipartisan and bicameral group of Minnesota lawmakers filed marijuana legalization legislation. The House version of the bill is actually numbered HF 420.

New report shows that hemp cultivation in the U.S. significantly increased last year, from 26,000 acres in 2017 to 78,000 acres in 2018. And that’s before the crop was formally legalized via the Farm Bill.

Another new study added to evidence that legal cannabis access is associated with reduced opioid use, finding, “In states where marijuana is available through medical channels, a modestly lower rate of opioid and high-risk opioid prescribing was observed.”

/ FEDERAL

Former White House Director of Message Strategy Cliff Sims writes in his new book that President Trump wanted to make an anti-drug ad showing “people dying in a ditch” and “bodies stacked on top of bodies” to “scare kids so much that they will never touch a single drug in their entire life.”

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Associate Director Charmaine Yoest is leaving her position.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted in support of Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) move to create a Cannabis Compliance Board, adding, “Nevadans have made it clear that they support legalizing and regulating marijuana. I look forward to helping grow Nevada’s new bustling industry.”

/ STATES

Washington, D.C.’ Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) tweeted disapprovingly in reference to a Washington Post headline about her friend’s new medical cannabis dispensary. Separately, a councilmember chastised the mayor’s administration for spending time to “crack down” on “employees who are participating in the medical marijuana program, threatening their jobs, despite the research showing that medical marijuana helps reduce opioid dependence.”

Utah’s Senate majority whip said that outside of potential minor tweaks, the legislature will take a “breather” on medical cannabis legislation this year.

The chairman of the Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee is pushing back against the idea that a bill to legalize marijuana sales needs to include provisions on impaired driving.

The Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a marijuana legalization bill on Thursday.

The Missouri House Special Committee on Criminal Justice will hold a hearing on a bill to expunge certain marijuana offenses on Thursday.

California lawmakers, with the state treasurer’s support, filed legislation to temporarily reduce certain marijuana taxes and suspend others. Separately, regulators will consider marijuana cultivation water use issues on February 5. And the state medical board revoked the license of a doctor who recommended medical cannabis edibles for a four-year-old’s temper tantrums.

The Missouri Veterans Commission is refusing to allow medical cannabis in the state’s nursing homes for military veterans.

Louisiana regulators held a medical cannabis stakeholder meeting.

Illinois regulators will hold a public hearing on industrial hemp rules on February 5. Separately, senators released details of their planned marijuana legalization bill.

Maine regulators relaunched the search for a marijuana legalization implementation consulting firm after rescinding a prior award.

Virginia regulators are considering an appeal from medical cannabis companies challenging their decision to award licenses to other firms.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner appeared at a press conference to tout a local hemp company’s new product.

A Florida lawmaker filed a second bill to repeal the state’s ban on smoking medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at the slow rollout of medical cannabis in West Virginia.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 400 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.

We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Minneapolis, Minnesota’s mayor tweeted in support of legalizing marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Philippine House of Representatives voted 163-5 to give third reading approval to a medical cannabis bill.

German regulators launched a process to award medical cannabis cultivation contracts.

Thailand’s government suspended processing of medical cannabis product patent applications over concerns that foreign pharmaceutical companies might try to monopolize the market.

The Greek government announced the availability of additional medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

/ ADVOCACY

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party touted Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) move to launch a statewide marijuana legalization listening tour.

The Illinois Farm Bureau is suggesting that state regulators make clarifications and changes to proposed hemp rules.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis appears cost-effective when augmenting second-line treatment for painful neuropathy.”

A review concluded that “topical cannabis has potential as a therapeutic option for local inflammation in peripheral tissue.”

/ BUSINESS

GenCanna Global Inc. announced that it developed a 0% THC hemp crop.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Pete Davidson spoke about being charged with marijuana possession last year.

Rapper Killer Mike said that people should consider political candidates’ positions on marijuana before giving them their vote.

Rapper Action Bronson is releasing a marijuana-focused book.

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

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