WI gov puts medical marijuana & decrim in budget; VT legal sales bill advances; McConnell pushes USDA on hemp; WV cannabis banking bill approved
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There are now 690 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW
In a signing statement for annual federal spending legislation, President Trump singled out the provision that protects state medical marijuana laws from federal interference.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) will include marijuana reforms in his first budget this month, including legal medical cannabis, broader marijuana decriminalization, criminal record expungement and CBD access without a doctor.
The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to legalize marijuana sales. Meanwhile, representatives filed additional legalization legislation in the House, along with a bill to expunge cannabis convictions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) teamed up on a letter pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement hemp legalization “expeditiously.”
A handful of New Mexico Republican senators filed a bill to legalize marijuana—but they want it sold in government-run stores only.
The West Virginia House of Delegates overwhelmingly approved a bill on medical cannabis banking, which goes so far as to say the state would defend any official prosecuted by the federal government for handling legal marijuana proceeds.
President Trump, in a speech announcing his emergency declaration to build a Mexican border wall, spoke fondly of China’s use of the death penalty for drug offenses.
Former Drug Enforcement Administration and Office of National Drug Control Policy officials criticized the border wall as an anti-drug tactic.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R), who is exploring a primary challenge to President Trump, claimed in his announcement speech that the Department of Veterans Affairs denies benefits to veterans who use medical cannabis. (About 9:50 into the linked video.) The department’s policy states, “Veterans will not be denied VA benefits because of marijuana use.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “You can’t separate marijuana legalization from the injustices of the War on Drugs. If you do, those who profit from private prisons can get another payday w/ marijuana. $ is a justice issue. Communities decimated by mass incarceration need to see investments w/ legalization.”
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “More people are arrested for marijuana than for all other violent crimes combined. Marijuana has long been a driving force for mass incarceration in this country and I’m fighting to end it.”
The House bill to require the Department of Justice to license more growers of marijuana for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of seven.
The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got four new cosponsors, for a total of 38.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders have reportedly reached a deal on marijuana legalization details.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) plans to include revenues from marijuana legalization in his first budget.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) announced that more than 80,000 patients have legally purchased medical cannabis in the program’s first year, with more than 1,000 physicians certified to recommend the drug. Separately, a senator authored an op-ed calling for the state to allow voters to decide on marijuana legalization through a referendum.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) tweeted photos of a health lab drug locker and said, “Bursting at the seams. Legalizing industrial hemp would flood our lab with more tests, strain law enforcement, require untested regs & lead us down the path to legalizing marijuana. SD isn’t ready to legalize industrial hemp.” She also posted a separate Twitter thread on her reservations about legalizing hemp.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis praised a state senator for a bill allowing reimbursement for medical cannabis used for pain management and spoke about medical marijuana as a possible solution to the opioid epidemic. Meanwhile, a bill that would allow police to arrest drivers “for the presumption that a driver is under the influence of marijuana” was withdrawn by its sponsor.
Here’s a look at California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) plans to crack down on unlicensed marijuana operations.
The Nevada advisory panel developing a Cannabis Compliance Board held its first meeting.
The Oklahoma Senate Health and Human Services Committee will consider several medical cannabis reform bills on Monday.
The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Cannabis Committee will meet on Saturday to consider marijuana legalization amendments. Meanwhile, another member of the territory’s cannabis regulatory commission was sworn in.
Massachusetts lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it easier for municipalities to allow marijuana social consumption areas.
Ohio regulators awarded two more medical cannabis dispensary certificates of operation.
Michigan regulators released guidance on medical cannabis testing requirements and package RFID tags.
Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 600 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.
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A lawsuit alleges that Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey’s mayor improperly failed to disclose that he served as a paid lobbyist for the state affiliate of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana as he instituted a local ban on cannabis businesses and encouraged other municipalities to do the same.
Buffalo, New York’s mayor announced during his State of the City address that he ordered police to stop enforcing low-level marijuana possession offenses.
New York City officials plan to start fining restaurants that sell CBD products.
The UK’s first legal medical cannabis import has been received.
The Cyprus House passed a bill legalizing and regulating medical cannabis.
Singapore is considering allowing medical cannabis.
The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, “Gov. Noem doesn’t have her facts straight on industrial hemp, or the legislation. The plants don’t look identical and the bill includes the federal government’s definitions for both industrial hemp and marijuana to differentiate what is being legalized.”
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party tweeted a poll about legalization, saying, “4:20 on a Friday? No better time to talk marijuana.”
United Bodegas of America is pushing New York lawmakers to let its members sell marijuana in their stores.
/ SCIENCE & HEALTH
A study found that “a cannabis galenical preparation may be therapeutically effective and safe for the symptomatic treatment of some chronic diseases.”
A group of 75 scholars and clinicians release a public letter pushing back against author Alex Berenson’s claims about marijuana and psychosis.
/ OPINION & ANALYSIS
A poll of Maryland residents found that they support legalizing marijuana, 57%-37%.
A poll of Massachusetts residents found that 56% now support marijuana legalization and that 55% want the state to allow cannabis social consumption areas.
UPS is suing cannabis companies United Pot Smokers, UPS420 and THCPlant for trademark infringement.
Aphria Inc. announced the results of an internal report into allegations made against the company about its acquisition of Latin American assets.
Barron’s published two skeptical pieces about the prospects for marijuana businesses and stocks.
The American Motorcyclist Association is banning sponsorships by CBD companies.
The New York Times Magazine offered brief tips on how to grow hemp.
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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.