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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 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

Governor signs legal cannabis bill in US territory (Newsletter: Sep. 21, 2018)

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FDA head: marijuana more dangerous than nicotine; NY lawmakers schedule legalization hearing; NJ sheriff’s racist legalization comments caught on tape

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 335 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making the territory the first place in the U.S. to end prohibition without first having a medical cannabis program.

U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that we should be more worried about teens using marijuana than nicotine.

The sheriff of New Jersey’s most populous county was caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization:

  • “Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

Four New York Assembly committees scheduled the first of what will be four separate joint hearings on marijuana legalization this fall.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is facing a potential lawsuit over its role in an investigation into a California marijuana distribution company.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office tweeted, “IS EATING MARIJUANA MORE DANGEROUS THAN SMOKING MARIJUANA? YES! There is high potential for overdose from #marijuana #edibles. #DontDoDrugs”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “We just have to be not so stupid as to impair our own progress. There is no reason for us to be creating wealth in Canada for cannabis companies by importing Canadian weed.”

  • Gaetz also tweeted, “Last week, the @HouseJudiciary passed my bill, the Medical Cannabis Research Act, which will help scientists and researchers study #cannabis and #unlock its medical potential. Congress must continue working across party lines to pass meaningful #CannabisReform”

West Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Richard Ojeda defended himself from attacks by the state’s Republican Party for meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), tweeting, “Yep. I was out there with a congressman who wants to work together to create legislation to protect 2nd Amendment Rights for those who receive a medical cannabis card. Are you guys pro 2nd???”

  • Ojeda also tweeted, “Hemp and medical cannabis combined with the jobs those industries create would be a game changer for our state.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information for commercial purposes.

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said the state should not legalize marijuana but instead expand access to medical cannabis.

Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any final licenses at its Thursday meeting.

Florida regulators are asking an appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling allowing a man to grow his own medical cannabis.

West Virginia lawmakers are asking the state attorney general for an update on his legal opinion about providing banking services to medical cannabis businesses.

A Utah billboard urging people to support the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure is being temporarily taken down while the advertising company reviews election laws concerning anonymous political ads.

A Missouri medical cannabis ballot initiative campaign is raising money to place its first ad on TV.

Maryland regulators have been forced to repeatedly override medical cannabis rules in recent weeks due to problems with the state’s track-and-trace software.

Alaska regulators will meet on October 16 and 17 to consider marijuana establishment license applications and related rules.

Arkansas’s hemp research program is experiencing delays.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney tweeted a video of a talk he gave at a marijuana event.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s incoming government will approve medical cannabis regulations, a top health official said.

/ ADVOCACY

A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that “black people were 2.9 times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Louisiana,11 despite evidence that black people and white people use marijuana at similar rates.”

The Marijuana Policy Project published a voter guide for New Hampshire’s general election.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A federal survey found that Americans aged 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke marijuana on a monthly basis than teens aged 12 to 17.

A review concluded that “cannabinoid drugs were associated with modest increases in experimental pain threshold and tolerance, no reduction in the intensity of ongoing experimental pain, reduced perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli, and no reduction of mechanical hyperalgesia.”

A study found that MDMA “enhances acute prosocial behaviors” in octopuses.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Mexico voters support legalizing marijuana, 60%-32%.

/ BUSINESS

Bloom Automation is building robots to harvest marijuana.

The Associated Press looks at growing interest in marijuana stocks on Wall Street.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dax Shepard defended his wife Kristen Bell’s marijuana use.

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Congressman want feds to “buy American’ cannabis (Newsletter: Sep. 20, 2018)

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OH & NM gov candidates clash on marijuana; PETA says getting lobsters high isn’t “humane”; CA gov vetoes bill letting cannabiz write off expenses

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 332 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is questioning why the federal government approved a deal to import marijuana products from Canada for a research study instead of granting more licenses to domestic cannabis cultivators.

  • “What happened to ‘buy American, hire American?'”

Gubernatorial candidates in Ohio and New Mexico clashed on marijuana legalization during debates.

A Maine restaurant is getting lots of press for its supposedly “humane” practice of blowing marijuana smoke on lobsters before boiling them. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is not buying it:

  • “It is highly unlikely that getting a lobster high would make a lick of difference when it comes to the full-blown agony of being boiled or steamed alive.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted again from a Department of Justice marijuana meeting.

A provision of a House-passed opioids bill, which is not in the Senate version, would give the U.S. attorney general the power to create a new category of scheduling for synthetic drugs.

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and her Democratic challenger debated marijuana research restrictions.

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) tweeted about an upcoming event to help people clear their misdemeanor marijuana convictions and outstanding summons warrants.

North Dakota congressional candidates said they will vote against the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure but believe that the federal government should not interfere with state cannabis laws.

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Mimi Methvin tweeted about racial disparities in marijuana enforcement.

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed bills clarifying that marijuana distributors can transport products to other distributors and that labs can test home-grown cannabis. He also vetoed a bill that would have allowed marijuana businesses to deduct business expenses under the state’s personal income tax law.

Staffers for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders are expected to meet on Thursday to hammer out details of a marijuana legalization bill that could be introduced and voted on soon.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) tweeted, “We want to hear from communities across the state as we work to draft legislation on a regulated marijuana program in New York.”

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

An Oregon advisory committee is urging regulators to rescind purchasing restrictions on medical cannabis.

A Montana judge indicated he may overturn regulators’ decision to strip licenses from two medical cannabis businesses.

Guam senators are set to consider three medical cannabis expansion bills next month.

Massachusetts regulators are accepting public comment about the state’s medical cannabis program.

Here’s a look at the looming launch of California’s marijuana track-and-trace system.

Alaska marijuana businesses are criticizing regulatory hurdles and delays.

/ LOCAL

Minneapolis, Minnesota’s mayor tweeted, “A majority (56%!) of Minnesotans understand that marijuana legalization is a huge opportunity to improve our criminal justice system while increasing important resources for social services & drug treatment.”

New York’s City Council speaker tweeted, “New York is about to enter the 21st century when it comes to marijuana. I 100% support the full legalization of marijuana – always have & always will. From decreasing number of arrests to creating jobs & revenue, it’s a no-brainer.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The chief minister of Australia’s Capital Territory said he’s “favourably disposed towards” legalizing marijuana.

Georgia’s government halted plans to legalize medical cannabis cultivation following protests from the Orthodox Church.

Colombia saw a record level of coca production last year.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Cannabis Industry Association released a report making the case that marijuana reform is a winning issue for whichever candidates or political parties fully embrace it first. (Disclosure: I worked with NCIA to compile the report.)

Opponents of Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure held a press conference.

The vice president of the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police published an op-ed urging lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

The Nevada Resort Association is urging Las Vegas officials to delay consideration of a proposal to allow marijuana consumption lounges.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Long Island and New York City residents support legalizing marijuana, 50% – 40%.

A poll asked Great Britain adults whether they think it is acceptable for CEOs to use marijuana and other drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray Inc. stock took a metaphorical roller coaster ride on Wednesday.

Canopy Rivers Corp. is going public.

The Financial Times looks at the impact of marijuana legalization on property values.

/ CULTURE

Musician Macy Gray spoke about her involvement in the marijuana industry.

Former NBA player Matt Barnes said he smoked marijuana before every game.

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Is psilocybin next for drug reformers after cannabis legalization? (Newsletter: Sep. 19, 2018)

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O’Rourke gives fiery speech on marijuana & Botham Jean; CA gov can’t stop dissing cannabis consumers; Trump admin organizing anti-drug meeting at UN

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a U.S. Senate candidate, delivered fired up comments about marijuana, Botham Jean’s killing by police and the racially discriminatory drug war.

Activists in Denver, Colorado and Oregon took steps this month toward qualifying ballot measures allowing psilocybin use.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has a history of saying mean-spirited and inaccurate things about people who use cannabis, took a dig at marijuana consumers in an unrelated comment about fighting back against climate change.

  • “We either do nothing and smoke marijuana because it’s legalized, or we put our shoulder to the plow and do everything we can.”

/ FEDERAL

The Trump administration is organizing a drug policy event outside of this month’s United Nations General Assembly, according to leaked documents.

The Department of Justice convened a meeting in Denver for U.S. attorneys to discuss marijuana policy.

Congresswoman Mia Love (R-UT) said she’s undecided on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure, while her Democratic challenger supports it.

Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and his Democratic opponent are taking differing positions on rescheduling marijuana.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) discussed marijuana policy while sampling CBD-infused beer.

The U.S. Senate bill to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor, for a total of five.

The U.S. House bill to protect federal employees from getting fired for state-legal marijuana use got two new cosponsors, for a total of three.

/ STATES

Here’s an advance look at the details of New Jersey’s soon-to-be-filed marijuana legalization bill. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) supports a higher tax rate than is proposed in the bill, but said he’s “not ruling anything out.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) spoke about his support for expanding marijuana research.

Utah’s lieutenant governor asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to remove a medical cannabis initiative from the state’s ballot.

California’s treasurer tweeted, “We’re exploring a public cannabis bank so biz don’t have to operate purely in cash. Carrying around thousands of dollars paints a target on legal biz & increases violence in communities. Until DC takes action, CA will lead on legalized cannabis.”

A Missouri appeals court affirmed a judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit that one medical cannabis campaign filed seeking to remove a competing measure from the ballot.

Here’s a look at where Minnesota gubernatorial candidates stand on legalizing marijuana.

Illinois Democratic attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul said he supports legalizing marijuana but wants to regulate edibles.

Alaska regulators certified changes to rules on marijuana advertising and promotions.

Massachusetts regulators will consider granting marijuana retail, cultivation and manufacturing licenses on Thursday.

Here’s a look at where New York is on the path to legalizing marijuana.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney spoke at a marijuana industry event, saying he wants cannabis entrepreneurs to “be successful and legal.”

The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City Council adopted ordinances regulating medical cannabis businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The South African government and lawmakers reacted to a court ruling overturning the prohibition on using and growing marijuana for personal use.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says the death sentence of a man convicted of selling medical cannabis oil should be reviewed.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study “demonstrated rapid and durable improvement in social anxiety symptoms in autistic adults following MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.”

A majority of participants in a trial on CBD’s effects on severe epilepsy are seeing improvement in seizures.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Maryland residents support legalizing marijuana, 62% – 33%.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. addressed reports that it is in talks with the Coca-Cola Company about making CBD beverages together.

/ CULTURE

Actress Kristen Bell said she likes to vaporize marijuana and watch 60 Minutes.

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted, “Coca-Cola is supposedly considering cannabis-infused drinks. Just a reminder: there are still people in prison because of marijuana. Let’s address that first.”

Maine restaurant Charlotte Grill thinks it’s more “humane” to blow marijuana smoke into a box of lobsters before boiling them to death.

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