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Trump-appointed prosecutor’s cannabis warning (Newsletter: October 20, 2020)

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Top NY gov aide: Legal marijuana in 2021; AOC teams up with GOP on drug reform; USDA OKs more hemp plans; NM voters back legal cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Montana penned a statement warning the state’s voters that legalizing marijuana will increase car crashes, cause addiction and make it harder to take custody of kids away from parents just for using cannabis.

The top cannabis advisor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said marijuana legalization will be included in his budget again in January, with the goal of enacting it into law by April. He also spoke about forthcoming rules to allow CBD-infused foods and drinks.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke about how more Republicans are joining Democrats in working to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs.

  • “We’ve been able to propose solutions on a wide spectrum towards decriminalization, towards legalization, and that is increasingly becoming a position that more Republicans are amenable to… There are some areas where you can find common ground.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved hemp plans from six additional states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota—and three Indian tribes. The total number of hemp proposals to have received federal clearance now stands at 69.

As Arizona appears poised to approve a marijuana legalization ballot measure next month, a new poll shows that voters next door in New Mexico also back legalizing cannabis by a strong margin and that nearly half want to decriminalize drugs as well.

/ FEDERAL

A new page about race and the criminal justice system on the campaign website of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden reiterates, “Our administration will work to end mandatory minimums and private prisons, reform our broken cash bail system, and decriminalize the use of cannabis. And let me be clear: we need to help people with mental health challenges or substance use disorders receive treatment –– not a prison sentence.”

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent a letter warning For Our Vets LLC dba Patriot Supreme to stop claiming its CBD products can prevent and treat coronavirus.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and thirteen other senators briefly cited the economic opportunities created by hemp in a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to modernize rulemaking for biogenic carbon emissions.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) included several pieces of marijuana and psychedelics legislation in a list of congressional bills she is highlighting that seek to interfere in Washington, D.C.’s local affairs.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tweeted, “Industrial hemp production is a huge opportunity for our region’s ag sector. This bill helps give farmers the tools they need to produce this cash crop on a larger scale. Congrats to @GovNedLamont for getting this important effort across the finish line.”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I want to legalize cannabis [and] make it a cash crop for [our] 1st District farmers. We can then tax the sale of cannabis and use that revenue to pay for rebuilding and improving our infrastructure!”

/ STATES

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) tweeted, “Let’s listen to the science and vote no on legalizing marijuana.”

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Salango tweeted, “After years of delay, the state finally selected its medical cannabis growers, but WV based companies were left out in favor of out-of-state firms and a political donor of Jim Justice. Are you tired of the corruption? We can do better.”

Indiana attorney general candidates discussed their views on marijuana.

The New Mexico legislature’s Economic & Rural Development Committee discussed hemp production.

Oregon regulators eased marijuana business license application requirements and streamlined the process for approvals.

Washington State regulators adopted rules on a voluntary marijuana licensee consultation and education program and rescinded a policy on the use of personal funds for business.

Colorado regulators published a marijuana market report.

Nevada regulators issued guidance on marijuana agent card expiration dates.

Some Massachusetts lawmakers are pushing back against proposed marijuana delivery regulations.

Pennsylvania drug courts may face a lawsuit for barring participation by medical cannabis patients.

Oklahoma regulators touted the fact that the state Department of Education has received enough medical cannabis revenue to pay the salaries of 794 teachers.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Tuesday.

Kansas representatives will participate in a chat about the prospects of legalizing medical cannabis in the state on Tuesday.

/ LOCAL

The Henderson, Nevada City Council is considering a proposal to allow marijuana delivery services.

Paterson, New Jersey is set to enact a medical cannabis transfer tax.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The West Midlands, UK Police Department is ending arrests for low-level drug possession.

The Dutch justice minister told concerned lawmakers that no extra policies are needed to prevent people possessing or smoking marijuana in public places during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of research on Huntington disease found “strong evidence for significant improvement in the neurologic symptoms of spasms, tremors, spasticity, chorea, and quality of sleep following treatment with medical marijuana,” ” significant improvement after treatment in tremors and rigidity” and “a significant increase in average number of hours slept.”

A study identified “potentially beneficial effects of Cannabis sativa whole extracts on the initial phase of atherosclerosis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police published an op-ed outlining concerns about marijuana legalization ahead of the state’s vote on a referendum to end prohibition.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative explained its decision to fund Oregon’s drug decriminalization campaign in a press release.

The Sussex County, New Jersey Democratic Committee published an op-ed urging voters to approve the state’s marijuana legalization referendum.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced the repayment of some of its debts.

Harborside Inc. reached an agreement to acquire majority ownership of FGW Haight, Inc., which has a conditional use approval to operate a dispensary in San Francisco, California.

Zenefits touted a cannabis-specific payroll guide, tweeting, “At Zenefits we support SMBs with our mission to “level the playing field” for the smaller guys. #Cannabis companies included.”

/ CULTURE

Seth Rogen spoke about how he has been smoking marijuana all day long during the coronavirus pandemic.

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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.)

Newsletter

House begins cannabis debate, with vote Friday (Newsletter: December 4, 2020)

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Top NY GOP lawmaker: Legal marijuana in 2021; Feds host cannabis & cancer conference; Scientist sues DEA; GOP slams Dems over legalization bill

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Cannabis in 2021: Will federal prohibition finally fall? Will growing momentum at the state level influence national policy changes? Which states will be next to experiment with reform?

If you support us on Patreon, you’ll not just support us as we dig into these questions but you’ll have access to tools like our Bill Tracker to help you keep an eye on developments yourself. Join us for $25/month here: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives debated and approved the rule under which a federal marijuana legalization bill will be considered. Debate and a final vote on the cannabis legislation itself is expected on Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined dozens of other Republican lawmakers in criticizing Democrats for putting a marijuana legalization bill on the House floor this week.

  • “The House of Representatives is spending this week on pressing issues like marijuana. You know, serious, important legislation benefiting the national crisis.”

New York’s Republican Assembly minority leader said he agrees with Democrats that the state will legalize marijuana in 2021.

  • “There’s still back and forth but I suspect this year, this will actually get done.”

Another scientist is suing the Drug Enforcement Administration over its failure to act on his application to grow marijuana for research purposes. The agency said more than four years ago that it would approve new cannabis cultivators and still hasn’t done so.

The National Cancer Institute, a federal agency, is hosting a multi-day conference on marijuana, cancer treatment and research this month. The deadline to register is Friday.

/ FEDERAL

A leaked Federal Bureau of Investigation report acknowledges that some drug sellers use harm reduction measures such as testing their products for purity prior to selling them.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on a report from the Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) authored an op-ed about a pending marijuana legalization vote in Congress.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “Being a progressive means being first to the best, most just idea. Our policies are so often slandered as crazy or radical or far-left before we build the movement across America that makes them the law of the land. There are many examples, but today’s is legalizing marijuana.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, in response to a Republican congressman, “We’ve passed multiple COVID relief bills, far more generous than GOP’s for working people, that GOP are sitting on in the Senate. & the ‘pot’ bills that you are so dismissive of will expunge millions of people’s records from the unjust War on Drugs.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) spoke about the passage of marijuana ballot measures in a podcast.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) noted the success of marijuana ballot measures in an op-ed.

/ STATES

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said that progressives worried about a centrist Biden administration should, “in the states where it’s now legal, get a good joint and just chill.

Mississippi’s attorney general issued a warning about “scams” from companies claiming to be able to pre-register medical cannabis patients.

New Jersey’s lieutenant governor spoke about provisions of marijuana legalization enabling legislation.

The Oregon Senate Interim Judiciary Committee considered marijuana equity legislation.

Connecticut’s Departments of Labor analyzed the economic potential of hemp and cannabis.

Pennsylvania regulators are accepting hemp permit applications for 2021.

Missouri regulators cleared the state’s first medical cannabis manufacturing business to begin operations.

Alaska’s Office of Management and Budget set performance targets for marijuana regulators.

California regulators published a fact sheet on branded marijuana merchandise.

Michigan regulators published a bulletin on approved active ingredients for marijuana growers.

A Guam senator said the territory’s marijuana legalization law won’t hurt its family-friendly image.


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

The Santa Fe, New Mexico City Council’s Quality of Life Committee approved a proposal to decriminalize drug paraphernalia.

Los Angeles, California regulators approved marijuana social equity business applicants.

A New York City mayoral candidate criticized the New York Times for focusing on her cannabis use in a short profile of her candidacy.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney spoke favorably about Oregon’s move to decriminalize drugs.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Some UK police organizations are reportedly backing a new private ID card system that allows medical cannabis patients to self-certify to get an informal level of protection from arrest.

A Canadian member of Parliament filed a bill to create a diversion framework to reduce drug arrests.

A Colombian senator spoke about his bill to legalize cocaine.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “almost one-quarter of patients with [chronic pelvic pain] report regular use of cannabis as an adjunct to their prescribed therapy” and that “although side effects are common, most users report improvement in symptoms.”

A review concluded that “current evidence does not suggest clinically significant associations between cannabis use and testicular function.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent a letter urging members of Congress to vote for a marijuana legalization bill.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist tweeted, “Only the modern Democrat party could turn a simple good idea like decriminalizing cannabis into a tax and spend and regulate extravaganza. Legalization is a one sentence law.”

The National Industrial Hemp Council and Hemp Industries Association are conducting a survey about a national hemp checkoff program.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. has a new chief revenue officer.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey spoke about the parallels he sees between the marijuana industry and the natural foods business.

Canopy Growth Corporation’s Storz & Bickel Gmbh & Go. released a gold-plated vaporizer for its 20th anniversary.

/ CULTURE

Mixed martial arts fighter Nike Price was suspended over a positive marijuana test.

The band The Mountain Goats tweeted, “This is not a hobbyhorse I ride a whole lot, but the relief that marijuana gives to people suffering from chronic pain is very real, and it helps with a ton of other ailments beside; to regard this claim as somehow frivolous is callous and grotesque.”

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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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Newsletter

UN votes to reschedule cannabis globally (Newsletter: December 3, 2020)

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Federal legal marijuana bill moves to floor; Cannabis could be on NJ ballot again; DEA moves to dismiss rescheduling case

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What a long strange year it’s been! We covered cannabis from all angles in 2020—from pandemic to election—and we’re already planning our reporting for 2021. But in order to be ready for next year, we need to know how much ongoing support we can count on from our readers.

If you appreciated our work this year, can you subscribe for $25/month on Patreon? In return for funding our reporting, you’ll gain access to exclusive content and tools like our Bill Tracker: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Rules Committee cleared a federal marijuana legalization bill for floor action, with debate expected on Thursday and a final vote on Friday. Several amendments were submitted to gut key provisions of the legislation, but none were deemed in order for the floor. A manager’s amendment from sponsor Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) is included in the rule as considered as adopted, however.

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to remove marijuana from the strictest global category—with U.S. support. But separate cannabis recommendations—including one to clarify that CBD does not fall under international control—were defeated..

New Jersey’s Senate president and other lawmakers are proposing putting marijuana back on the ballot—but not to undo last month’s legalization win. The new constitutional amendment would ensure cannabis revenues are steered to communities harmed by the war on drugs. Meanwhile, controversial psilocybin language is being stripped out of a marijuana decriminalization bill to speed its passage.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is again asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its decisions to reject marijuana rescheduling petitions.

Leaders of conservative organizations Competitive Enterprise Institute, Institute for Liberty, Taxpayers Protection Alliance and R Street Institute sent a letter to congressional leaders endorsing the major descheduling provisions of a federal marijuana legalization bill being voted on by the House this week—though some have concerns about tax and social equity provisions in the legislation.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture discussed hemp businesses’ eligibility for the  Rural Energy for America Program in a Federal Register notice.

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent a letter warning Avazo-Healthcare, LLC to stop claiming its CBD products prevent or treat coronavirus.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a Thursday hearing on a new Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission report.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said the prospects of marijuana legalization in the Senate are a “pipe dream.”

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tweeted, “Democrats want to legalize drugs and #DefundThePolice. That won’t keep your neighborhood safe.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Passing the MORE Act is an opportunity to put an end to decades-long racial injustice against Black & brown communities. The people overwhelmingly support cannabis reform & it’s time for Congress to catch up.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) tweeted, “This week, the House of Representatives will vote on the MORE Act to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act. This will be the first time ever that we vote to end federal criminalization and expunge low-level convictions. It’s long past due.”

Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) tweeted, “It’s time federal law catches up with states like Illinois that have decriminalized cannabis. I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of both the #MOREAct and the #SAFEBanking Act.”

/ STATES

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s (D) budget includes $5.6 million to begin implementing the state’s voter-approved legal psilocybin law.

The New Mexico legislature’s interim Courts, Corrections & Justice Committee heard presentations from advocates about marijuana legalization and other criminal justice reforms.

Pennsylvania regulators approved a medical cannabis research facility.

Alaska regulators proposed rules to allow tribal identifications to be used as proof of age while buying marijuana.

Colorado regulators issued a bulletin about medical cannabis patient card formats and sales guidelines.

An outgoing Washington, D.C. councilmember is joining a lobbying and law firm and will advise clients on cannabis and other issues.

Maryland regulators are accepting 2021 hemp permit applications.

The California Cannabis Advisory Committee  will meet on Wednesday.


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

The San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors approved a measure to ban tobacco smoking in apartment buildings with three or more units, but adopted an amendment to exempt marijuana.

Oakland, California’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission will meet on Thursday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The European Commission revised an earlier stance that CBD should be treated as a narcotic.

Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development highlighted the economic potential of the cannabis industry.

The New South Wales, Australia state government is reconsidering drug penalties but has ruled out decriminalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of cancer in dogs found that “CBD is effective at hindering cell proliferation and induction of autophagy and apoptosis rapidly across neoplastic cell lines.”

A case study looks at a “male adult with [obsessive compulsive disorder] who showed a clinically meaningful reduction of his OCD symptomatology after the consumption of psilocybin-containing mushrooms.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New Jersey CannaBusiness Association has new leadership.

/ BUSINESS

Columbia Care Inc. completed its acquisition of Project Cannabis.

Tilray, Inc. signed a co-promotion agreement with Hormosan for its full-spectrum cannabis extracts in Germany.

CannTrust Holdings Inc. is resuming Canadian cannabis sales after being punished for maintaining unlicensed cultivation rooms.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced it expects to be late in filing its financial statements.

Jushi Holdings Inc. acquired 100% of Dalitso LLC.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. entered into a $12 million construction financing loan at an annual interest rate of 16% over 18 months.

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Newsletter

GOP lawmakers slam House cannabis vote plan (Newsletter: December 2, 2020)

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OR starts legal psilocybin process; CA marijuana sales “very strong,” state says; Study: CBD doesn’t impair driving

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Build Marijuana Moment with us. I’m so proud of our reporting around the 2020 election. Now we’ve got our work cut out covering the implementation of ballot initiatives, an incoming presidential administration, new legislative sessions and more. Activists in some states are already working to qualify for 2022 ballots. We can help readers track all of this if we have the resources.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

At least two dozen congressional Republicans have spoken up to slam House Democratic leaders’ plans to hold a floor vote on a federal marijuana legalization bill this week.

Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) joined GOP members in criticizing his party’s leadership for holding the cannabis vote this week.

  • “We should be working every minute to get a deal done & get money to people who need it. Instead, the House is voting on a piecemeal marijuana bill that won’t become law?”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) is taking the first step to implement the state’s voter-approved psilocybin therapy measure by accepting applications to serve on an advisory board that will help figure out how to best regulate access to the psychedelic treatment.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office said that marijuana sales are showing “very strong growth” that “has accelerated in 2020” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that CBD does not impair driving ability, while THC’s effects fade after four hours.

  • “There were no significant differences between CBD-dominant cannabis and placebo.”

/ FEDERAL

The congressionally created Western Hemisphere Drug Policy Commission issued a report with recommendations, including that the U.S. should initiate a process to reform international drug control treaties.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), in a Senate floor speech, criticized Democrats for including marijuana diversity study language in coronavirus relief legislation.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) suggested that Democrats would like to have a “slush fund to reward politically favored organizations like abortion providers or marijuana dispensaries.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “This week, the House will be voting on legislation to federally decriminalize marijuana and expunge records nationwide. This is a long overdue step to provide restorative justice to those devastated by the war on drugs.”

Rep.-elect Nancy Mace (R-SC) said she supports legalizing marijuana and hired a new staffer who served as chief operating officer for the Cannabis Trade Federation.

Rep.-elect Cori Bush (D-MO) tweeted, “Legalize cannabis. Release those incarcerated for related offenses. Expunge records. Direct funding to the Black and brown communities devastated by the war on drugs. And while we’re at it, abolish the private prisons profiting off of the targeted devastation of our communities.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor is sponsoring a petition about marijuana legalization and tweeted, “🟩 Revenue. 🟩 Justice. 🟩 Jobs.  🟩 Freedom. 🟩 Farmers.  🟩 Veterans. Pennsylvania is to the Right of *South Dakota* on Weed. Legal Weed 🟩 for PA. It’s time.”

The Arizona Supreme Court established a procedure for filing and hearing civil marijuana cases.

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission reported that the state’s marijuana legalization referendum generated $2.3 million in fundraising, with supporters accounting for 99.5% of that.

Minnesota regulators added sickle cell disease and chronic vocal or motor tic disorder as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Washington State Senate Labor & Commerce Committee held a hearing on social equity in the cannabis industry.

California regulators filed to readopt marijuana quick response code certificate requirements.

North Dakota’s top medical cannabis regulator spoke about the status of the program.

Michigan marijuana regulators will meet on December 10.

Maryland medical cannabis regulators will meet on December 15.


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

Several Illinois municipalities and counties will enact higher marijuana taxes on January 1.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canada’s United Nations ambassador revealed that he owns marijuana industry investments.

New Zealand’s government is moving to legalize pill testing as a harm reduction measure.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study “identified CBD as a new potential anti-cancer compound for single or combination therapy of” head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.

Researchers are recruiting participants for a study to “better understand the effects of chronic cannabis (THC) use on the neural responses to subconcussive head impacts, as a form of repetitive soccer headings.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The R Street Institute is urging members of Congress to vote for a marijuana legalization bill this week.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. is indefinitely pausing operations at one of its Alberta, Canada facilities and is laying off 30 staff members.

Flower One Holdings Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $11.9 million and a net loss of $17.2 million.

Cresco Labs launched a new brand of low-dose products called Wonder Wellness Co.

/ CULTURE

Rover noted the growing popularity of some cannabis-themed pet names.

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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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