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Trump picks new drug czar (Newsletter: Feb. 12, 2018)

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MI legalization ballot signatures under review; UT House OKs medical cannabis bill; Scotts Miracle-Gro slams legalization opponents

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump named White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Carroll to take over the Office of National Drug Control Policy as acting director.

No one challenged Michigan marijuana legalization ballot petition signatures by a Friday deadline, meaning that the process goes to the next step of a random sampling to determine the validity rate.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Labor is preparing to issue a rule concerning drug testing of unemployment insurance applicants.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice is seeking grant applications for research on “illegal marijuana markets and drug-related violent crime.”

A report from Democratic members of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recommends that federal agencies “should prioritize research that could lead to a scientifically valid and legally defensible testing standard for marijuana impairment.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said he will soon introduce a bill titled, “The Medical Marijuana Research Act.” He is also hosting two roundtable discussions about medical cannabis on Monday.

Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) and Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA) are criticizing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for blocking medical cannabis access for military veterans.

Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV) tweeted, “We must stop Sessions from attacking the marijuana industry by de-scheduling & regulating like alcohol.”

The U.S. Coast Guard is warning Vermonters that marijuana remains illegal on Lake Champlain, which borders New York and Canada.

The U.S. Senate marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 14.

The U.S. House marijuana banking bill got two new cosponsors, for a total of 81.

The U.S. Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control is hiring for two staff positions.

Former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) published an op-ed calling on the federal government to respect state marijuana laws.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Adem Bunkeddeko supports legalizing marijuana.

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Tami Walker said the federal government should respect state marijuana laws.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) is convening a state commission to study criminal sentencing laws.

Illinois Gov Bruce Rauner (R) wants the state to “be careful” and “slow down” its consideration of legalizing marijuana.

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), a gubernatorial candidate, defended his lack of effort to defend the state’s marijuana laws from federal interference.

The Utah House of Representatives approved a bill to give terminally ill patients a “right to try” medical cannabis, but narrowly defeated a related proposal to direct the Department of Agriculture and Food to grow marijuana for those patients.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee approved a bill to let people apply to have prior marijuana convictions annulled.

The Vermont House Transportation Committee approved a bill to let police officers use saliva testing to detect the presence of drugs in motorists.

Rhode Island representatives are trying to extend the state’s marijuana legalization study commission’s report due date until February 2019. The report is currently due next month.

Illinois regulators are appealing a court ruling directing them to add severe pain as a medical cannabis qualifying condition.

The Massachusetts District Attorneys Association is asking regulators to hold off on approving marijuana social use areas and delivery services.

The Hawaii Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health will hear several medical cannabis regulation bills on Tuesday.

Pennsylvania Auditor Eugene DePasquale (D) will debate marijuana legalization with Republican congressional candidate Joe Peters on Thursday.

Maryland delegates filed a bill to place a marijuana legalization referendum before voters.

California assemblymembers filed a bill to prevent employment discrimination against medical cannabis patients.

A New Mexico senator introduced a resolution calling on Congress to “expand the provisions of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment to protect all medical cannabis patients participating in state medical cannabis programs, including those living on federal trust land, from the threat of harassment or prosecution by the United States department of justice.”

Washington, D.C. police are starting to crack down on the questionably legal marijuana “gifting” economy.

Iowa regulators received letters of intent from 22 prospective medical cannabis dispensary license applicants.

Colorado regulators launched a survey to learn more about why people drive under the influence of marijuana. And on Wednesday, the House Finance Committee will hear a bill to allow cannabis delivery services.

/ LOCAL

A Monmouth County, New Jersey freeholder fears that legalizing marijuana will lead to “legalizing car thefts, murders, what have you.”

The Denver, Colorado City Council’s Marijuana Committee will meet on Monday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Malta Prime Minister Joseph Muscat spoke in favor of a medical cannabis bill before a session of Parliament.

The New York Times looks at how Australia’s restrictive medical cannabis regulations are preventing patient access.

/ ADVOCACY

The Pennsylvania Republican Party adopted a resolution opposing marijuana legalization.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana donated $150,000 to the campaign to defeat Michigan’s legalization ballot measure.

The Canadian Federally Regulated Employers – Transportation and Communications, which represents companies like Air Canada, FedEx Canada and Via Rail, wants marijuana legislation to mandate drug testing for safety-sensitive industries. Landlords also want restrictions on cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabis tourism experiences revolve around instrumental needs, liberation, education, and sensual pleasure” and  “guides use cannabis tourism as a political platform upon which to destigmatize the plant and its industries, contest deviance, and challenge law.”

A study of cigarillo sales found that “characteristics such as fruit flavors, single sticks, and 2-3 packs were more popular in legal marijuana regions compared to the overall U.S.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 56% – 40%.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board is endorsing San Francisco’s move toward opening safe injection facilities for illegal drug consumers.

The Boston Globe editorial board also supports safe injection facilities.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is open to legalizing marijuana but doesn’t want the state to rush into the decision.

Breitbart News is blaming a longstanding vacancy at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division on U.S. Sen Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) marijuana nomination blockade, which only began last month.

The Press of Atlantic City editorial board wants New Jersey to expand medical cannabis even faster.

/ BUSINESS

Colorado retailers sold $128.3 worth of marijuana products in December, for a 2017 total of roughly $1.5 billion.

The CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro said that Republican opposition to legalizing marijuana is “total bullshit.”

The Summit Lounge is taking advantage of apparent loopholes in Massachusetts law that allow social marijuana use at private clubs.

Utopia All Natural Wellness Spa and Lounge has applied for a Denver, Colorado marijuana social use license.

/ CULTURE     

On NBC’s “Today Show,” Megyn Kelly interviewed a father fighting for his daughter’s right to use medical cannabis in school.

This editorial cartoon compares the Canadian government’s restrictive regulations on marijuana and relatively lax restrictions on arms sales.

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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 serves as chairman of 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

Senators blocks cannabis banking measure (Newsletter: June 22, 2018)

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Legalization advances in US territory; SEC chair addresses marijuana investments; MA grants first license

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted to block an amendment that would have protected banks that work with marijuana businesses from being punished by federal regulators. Several Democrats who said they support cannabis banking raised procedural objections. I have the full roll call vote, amendment text and quotes from senators at Forbes.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee made amendments to a marijuana legalization bill that should help to speed passage.

/ FEDERAL

Key committee chairs in Congress are not planning to hold hearings on bipartisan marijuana reform legislation supported by President Trump. But U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), historically one of the most ardent prohibitionists in Congress, announced that she will cosponsor the bill.

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration withdrew funding from a pain management group that scheduled a training for doctors about medical cannabis.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Chairman Jay Claxton was asked about impediments to investing in marijuana businesses during a congressional hearing.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health tweeted false information about the availability of pediatric medical cannabis.

The U.S. attorney for West Virginia’s Southern District, a staunch legalization opponent, is hosting a seminar on marijuana.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) tweeted that he supports legislation to encourage research on the medical benefits of cannabis for military veterans.

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “2018 must be the year that we push for real criminal justice reform: ✔ End the cash bail system ✔ Stop mass incarceration ✔ Legalize marijuana  ✔ Replace the ‘war on drugs’ with harm reduction and rehabilitation” He also tweeted, “Even in the 21st century, the “war on drugs” continues to oppress communities of color. Justice, fairness, and equality will remain impossible until we end this double standard which has ruined so many lives.”

/ STATES

Massachusetts regulators granted the state’s first recreational marijuana business license, subject to conditions including a clarified plan to positively impact communities. The chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission said that retail sales will likely begin later than expected.

The Arkansas Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that had halted the state’s medical cannabis business licensing process. More litigation is anticipated. Separately, regulators approved hemp rules.

The Maine Senate is reportedly threatening to block medical cannabis expansion legislation unless the House agrees to support a bill to repeal marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at how Oklahoma regulators plan to implement medical cannabis if voters approve a ballot measure on Tuesday.

Alaska regulators proposed changes to marijuana sampling, testing, reporting and harvesting rules.

The Hawaii House Judiciary Committee approved a resolution calling for state-level marijuana rescheduling.

Here’s a look at where New Jersey marijuana legalization and medical cannabis legislation stands in the legislature.

Early voting on Oklahoma’s medical cannabis ballot measure and primary elections has begun.

/ LOCAL

Brown County, Wisconsin supervisors are considering placing a marijuana legalization advisory question on the November ballot.

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

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canada’s governor general provided royal assent to the government’s marijuana legalization bill.

The Philippines is considering instituting mandatory drug testing for children.

Japanese authorities found marijuana plants growing near an office building where lawmakers work.

/ ADVOCACY

In contrast to prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s public stance about winning the debate against legalization, an internal document uploaded to the group’s website admits, among other things, that “Legalization is now a reality. And it is gaining support every year, “Our message has become stale” and “Legalization proponents have been brilliant… And we have not been!” Meanwhile, the organization is cheering the defeat of cannabis banking legislation.

The Texas Democratic Party is moving to reiterate its support for marijuana legalization. (The linked story misstates the current platform, which already supports legalization.)

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

Federal data shows that teen marijuana use in Colorado is decreasing.

A study concluded that “marijuana use significantly affects acute pain management and results in increased consumption of opioid analgesics and greater self-reported pain following traumatic injury, especially in patients who did not report using other drugs.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 80% in Scotland support medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

High Times acquired Culture magazine.

MJ Freeway’s cannabis tracking software is continuing to experience issues in Washington State.

Michelle Alexander, a marijuana legalization supporter and author of “The New Jim Crow” has been named a New York Times columnist.

/ CULTURE

The New York Times takes a whiff of the prevalent smell of marijuana in New York City.

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Newsletter

Canada announces cannabis legalization date (Newsletter: June 21, 2018)

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House GOP blocks drug war apology; Senate considers cannabis research amendment; WA treasurer wants banking solution

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that legal recreational marijuana sales will begin on October 17, and that the government will consider clemency for people with cannabis criminal records after that date.

The U.S. House Rules Committee blocked an amendment that would have provided a congressional apology to people harmed by the war on drugs.

The U.S. Senate could vote this week on an amendment to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the medical benefits of marijuana for military veterans.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump nominated a new U.S. attorney for Colorado, a move that could have implications for the state’s marijuana businesses.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) inserted remarks into the Congressional Record about her new bill to allow marijuana use in public housing.

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted, “Canada’s Senate votes to legalize recreational use of #marijuana and House has already voted for it so it’s #Trudeau signature and #Canada becomes 2nd nation to legalize #cannabis .Oh Canada leads the way! #marijuananews #marijuana failed #WarOnDrugs”

The U.S. House resolution calling for equity in the marijuana industry got two new cosponsors, for a total of 15.

The U.S. House bill to prevent federal agencies from punishing people following state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of 16.

The U.S. House bill to require the licensing of more marijuana cultivators for research got one new cosponsor, for a total of 36.

The U.S. House bill to address the gap between federal and state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of 10.

/ STATES

Utah’s lieutenant governor and medical cannabis activists asked a court to dismiss opponents’ lawsuit seeking to remove a legalization measure from the November ballot.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) reiterated that he doesn’t support legalizing marijuana.

Michigan gubernatorial candidates all said they support legalizing marijuana during a debate.

Tennessee Republican gubernatorial candidates debated medical cannabis.

Kansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Carl Brewer tweeted in support of legalizing marijuana.

Washington State’s treasurer is pressing for marijuana banking solutions.

Delaware’s Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a woman who illegally sold medical cannabis.

An Oklahoma medical cannabis advocate sued police after being forcibly removed from an opposition event.

Colorado regulators released a request for applications for medical cannabis research grants.

The Vermont marijuana commission’s taxation and regulation subcommittee scheduled a meeting for July 20.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canada’s governing Liberal Party is already fundraising off its marijuana legalization victory.

/ ADVOCACY

NORML released a comprehensive overview of local marijuana decriminalization policies in the U.S.

The Drug Policy Alliance and allies held a rally about marijuana enforcement outside New York City’s city hall.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Times editorial board criticized New York City’s marijuana enforcement changes, suggesting they could actually intensify racial disparities in arrests.

Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly decried New York City’s marijuana enforcement change.

/ BUSINESS

(Sponsored) Here’s an overview of what marijuana business leaders need to know about protecting their intellectual property rights.

Canadian marijuana stocks surged following the passage of legalization legislation.

Marijuana producer Tilray filed notice of intent to go public on the Nasdaq.

MassRoots is launching a marijuana dispensary finder tool. (Disclosure: I am a former employee and minority shareholder.)

/ CULTURE

NBA player Nick Young said he supports legalizing cocaine.

Musician Henry Rollins is calling on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to pardon people with marijuana convictions.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Canadian lawmakers approve cannabis legalization (Newsletter: June 20, 2018)

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FDIC chair talks cannabis banking; Bill OKs marijuana use in public housing; NY gov admits legalization is inevitable

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Canadian Senate gave final approval to the government’s marijuana legalization bill as amended. Legal cannabis sales are expected to begin in September.

A poll finds that 68% of U.S. voters — and 57% of Republicans — now support legalizing marijuana.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) filed a bill to allow state-legal marijuana use in public housing.

/ FEDERAL

The chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said that she’s asked staff to think about how to address marijuana banking issues, but that the agency’s hands are “somewhat tied.”

Some details are emerging about Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) marijuana descheduling bill, which could be introduced as soon as this week.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) tweeted, “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.”

The U.S. Senate bill to respect state marijuana laws got two new cosponsors, for a total of nine.

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said legalizing marijuana is “not or yes or no, it’s a how.” He added that legalization legislation will not move this year. Democratic primary challenger Cynthia Nixon is taking credit for the governor’s evolution on cannabis.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 167-31 to again approve a medical cannabis research bill.

New Jersey lawmakers are not including revenue from legal recreational marijuana sales in budget legislation, in contrast to a proposal that Gov. Phil Murphy (D) put forth earlier this year.

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands House Judiciary & Government Operations Committee will reconsider a marijuana legalization bill on Thursday.

Massachusetts regulators are poised to grant the state’s first recreational marijuana business license on Thursday.

Colorado Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, currently a congressman, tweeted, “Colorado has proven that allowing responsible adults to legally purchase #cannabis gives money to classrooms, not cartels; creates jobs, not addicts; and boosts our economy, not our prison population.” Meanwhile, regulators adopted emergency rules to implement new marijuana legislation recently signed into law.

The California Assembly Committee on Business and Professions approved a bill to allow dispensaries to provide free, untaxed marijuana to low- or no-income people.

A leading advocate for Oklahoma’s medical cannabis ballot measure was forcibly removed from an opposition event by police. Separately, here are two looks at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy.

Arkansas regulators used differing sets of guidelines when scoring medical cannabis business license applications.

Vermont State Police held a press conference about enforcement changes resulting from marijuana legalization.

/ LOCAL

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and NYPD officials announced that as of September 1, police will no longer arrest people for smoking marijuana publicly, with some exceptions. Brooklyn’s district attorney spoke in support and announced he will move to expunge past cannabis convictions. Manhattan’s district attorney is also on board, but Staten Island’s district attorney said the new enforcement policy will cause “confusion.” Legalization advocates say the exceptions laid out in the new policy will ensure continued racial disparities in arrests. Meanwhile, the city is convening a task force to “to determine the appropriate regulatory framework and identify the public safety, health and financial consequences should the State move forward with legalization.”

The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Los Angeles County, California Board of Supervisors kept in place a ban on marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas.

The San Diego, California City Council voted to ban growing marijuana in urban gardens.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK home secretary announced an official review of the legal status of medical cannabis. And the government granted CBD access to a second epileptic child.

/ ADVOCACY

Here’s a look at the Marijuana Policy Project’s challenges as it deals with fundraising issues and searches for a new executive director.

Hemp industry advocates do not plan to appeal a federal court ruling in a case they lost concerning a Drug Enforcement Administration filing on CBD.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “young persons who use alcohol and/or marijuana experience heightened likelihood of condomless sex.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of UK residents found 82%-8% support for medical cannabis, and 41%-40% support for legalizing marijuana.

/ CULTURE

Musician Bryan Adams congratulated the Canadian government on legalizing marijuana.

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