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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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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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 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 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.)


Kentucky House votes to legalize medical cannabis (Newsletter: February 21, 2020)



NH House OKs legal marijuana; NY gov to tour legal states; Doctors: cannabis caused painful erections; NFL deal; USDA hemp plan approval

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  • Scott Zagoria, author of The Green Medicine Book: “Efforts to legalize cannabis represent the single largest affirmation of states’ rights. I support Tom’s work in getting the message out.”


The Kentucky House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he will visit states that have already legalized marijuana to learn about their programs.

  • “I now want to literally go to California, Illinois, Massachusetts [and] sit with them. What was your plan? How did it work out? What did you learn? What can we incorporate?”

The NFL Players Association circulated a document outlining a proposed collective bargaining agreement approved by team owners that includes an end to game suspensions for marijuana, a testing window of just two weeks instead of the current four months and a higher THC threshold for positive tests.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans from Washington State, Wyoming and several Indian tribes.

A new case study suggests marijuana was the cause of one man’s painful, unwanted 12-hour erection.

  • “The abstinence and subsequent use of cannabis were the only appreciable factors in this patient’s battle with recurrent unwanted erections.”


President Trump assembled a team of advisors to recommend and vet candidates for clemency.

A Customs and Border Protection internal guide to dealing with border issues stemming from Canada’s marijuana legalization law was released as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request and related lawsuit.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture included a hemp-focused track at an agricultural outlook forum it is hosting.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke about his opposition to legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) discussed his motivations for focusing on marijuana reform.

Texas Democratic Senate candidate Sema Hernandez tweeted, “Nothing wrong with decriminalizing and legalizing all drugs. Big Pharma wouldn’t know what to do. ✅End The War On Drugs! ✅Repeal The 1994 Crime Act!”

New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate Hector Oseguera tweeted, “Politicians in #NJ08 have an antiquated view of cannabis. I will end the #WarOnDrugs by: ✅Releasing those incarcerated on marijuana charges ✅Expunging convictions ✅ Prioritizing licenses to directly affected communities ✅Restoring voting rights”


New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a bill limiting the medical cannabis program to in-state residents. Here’s a look at how cannabis legislation fared this session.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted about how people can apply for expedited pardons for marijuana convictions.

The Idaho Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee approved a hemp bill.

The Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to add opioid use disorder and autism spectrum disorder as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear a challenge next week to one proposed marijuana legalization ballot initiative filed by the backer of another measure.

A Michigan court ruled that lying to police can remove one’s protection from being searched based on the smell of marijuana.

California regulators issued proposed rules for appellations of origin for marijuana.

Louisiana regulators began issuing hemp licenses.

Illinois regulators are accepting applications for grants to provide technical assistance to social equity marijuana license applicants.

Montana regulators held a public hearing on proposed medical cannabis rules changes.

Oregon regulators approved marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.

Colorado’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting on Monday.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.


The Morgantown, West Virginia City Council approved a proposal to let police issue fines instead of making arrests for low-level marijuana possession.


A Canadian government report concluded that while marijuana use among adults has increased since legalization, cannabis consumption by 15-17 year-olds has declined.


A study found evidence for “phytocannabinoids as a potential novel pharmacological tool to regain control of functional adipose tissue in unregulated energy homeostasis often occurring in metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), aging and lipodystrophy.”

A study found that “people with [sickle cell disease] with more severe pain crisis are more likely to use daily cannabis, yet have lower rates of hospital admission and ER use as compared with others with similar disease severity and pain impact.”


A poll of New Zealand adults found that they initially support a marijuana legalization referendum, 46%-44%, and that support rises to 50%-42% when they are given details about the proposal.

A poll found that Florida voters support legalizing marijuana, 64%-34%.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana launched a new initiative aimed at convincing localities to ban marijuana businesses or place restrictions on advertising and zoning.


Hightimes Holding Corp. received regulatory approval to begin trading shares.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. announced that its CBD pet supplements will carry seals of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council and the U.S. Hemp Authority.


TV host Kelly Ripa said she uses CBD as a sleep aid.

System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian is launching a marijuana brand.

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Alabama lawmakers vote to legalize medical cannabis (Newsletter: February 20, 2020)



Trump campaign spox: keep marijuana illegal; VA decrim moves toward gov’s desk; DC psychedelics decrim language approved; USDA: hemp market growing

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The director of strategic communications for President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign said in an interview that marijuana needs to be “kept illegal.”

  • “I know many states have taken a different path… That is the federal policy.”

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

Virginia House and Senate committees amended and approved versions of marijuana decriminalization legislation passed by the other chamber. Some differences have been resolved in an effort to avoid having to send the legislation to a bicameral conference committee prior to it arriving on the desk of supportive Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections unanimously approved ballot language for a measure to decriminalize psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca. Next comes a public challenge period prior to final approval and signature gathering.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report that highlights the significant growth of the hemp industry but says some challenges remain.

  • “Global production was small and relatively stable until the recent worldwide interest in CBD oil.”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report looking at hemp policy in the Philippines.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Deputy Director David Shurtleff tweeted, “Our Center is interested in supporting research grant applications to study minor cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant as they relate to pain and nociception.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Donald Trump has no problem pardoning white collar criminals. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown Americans are sitting in jail because of marijuana convictions or because they can’t afford bail. That injustice is what we’re going to end.”

Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) filed a bill that include provisions to remediate lands damaged by illegal marijuana cultivation.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted about efforts to expunge cannabis records, saying, “Imagine if we did this for everyone with low-level, marijuana-related convictions. Imagine if the Black and brown people our criminal justice system disproportionately punishes weren’t forced to live with these convictions.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) tweeted about discussing “obstacles local farmers have been facing while growing hemp” with an economic development group.

Texas Democratic Senate candidates discussed marijuana legalization during a debate.

Illinois Democratic congressional candidate Sarah Gad wants to “establish a dispensary tax used towards reparations/restitution for persons convicted of and imprisoned for marijuana-related offenses.”


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that legalizing marijuana is a “top priority” for him and that he will “give it my all to get it done in the budget.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) spoke about marijuana legalization in his budget address, saying, “Here’s another responsible step we’re taking together: Last year we worked on a bipartisan basis to pass a new source of general funds revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs with the legalization of adult-use cannabis. With a successful first month of sales under our belt, I can conservatively project that adult-use cannabis sales will generate at least $46 million in revenue for our general fund in the coming fiscal year, of which $10 million will go directly to pay down our bill backlog.” He also proposed using marijuana revenue to fund mental health care and addiction treatment.

Michigan’s lieutenant governor signed bills on marijuana packaging warning labels and information pamphlets. Separately, the state’s medical cannabis patient database malfunctioned, halting sales. Also, regulators are facing a likely lawsuit aimed at forcing Detroit to allow recreational marijuana businesses.

The Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee and House Public Safety Committee approved legislation to increase potency limits in the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

The West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to add new forms of acceptable medical cannabis and expand the number of dispensaries. Separately, regulators received 285 medical marijuana business license applications.

The Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee defeated a bill to shield workers from being punished for using marijuana in their personal time.

The South Carolina House Health and Environmental Affairs Subcommittee held a hearing on medical cannabis legislation.

The Kansas House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee held a hearing on a bill to defelonize marijuana possession.

The Missouri House Special Committee on Government Oversight continued to press regulators about their medical cannabis business licensing process in another hearing.

North Dakota’s top medical cannabis regulators said patient registration counts have grown much faster than anticipated.

Oregon regulators will consider marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements on Thursday.

Arizona representatives filed a bill to limit medical cannabis products to 2% THC content.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.


Hillsborough County, Florida commissioners unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.


Bermuda Premier David Burt tweeted that he was surprised no one asked him a marijuana question at a public forum.

A majority of German lawmakers in Parliament now represent parties that support marijuana reform.


A case study showed that “upon treatment with CBD and cessation of the antidepressant medication, the patient improved regarding depressive as well as anxiety symptoms including simple phobias and symptoms of paranoia and dissociation” and that “the patient quit abusing illegal drugs including THC without showing withdrawal symptoms.”

A study found that “dronabinol reduces opioid consumption following traumatic injury” and that “the opioid-sparing effect of dronabinol may be greater in patients who are marijuana users.”


A Boston Globe reporter dropped out of a panel he was scheduled to speak on at a National Cannabis Industry Association conference in protest of the group holding a summit with current and former federal officials that was closed to the press. Another reporter, from the Boston Business Journal, was kicked out of the summit.

The Detroit News editorial board is calling on Michigan officials to stop making rules for marijuana businesses so complicated.


Clarity Cannabis budtenders voted to join UFCW 1518, becoming the first marijuana workers at a private dispensary to unionize in Canada.

The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists is hosting a cannabis conference in April.


Mixed martial arts fighter Elias Theodorou was granted a therapeutic use exemption to use medical cannabis.

Football player Greg Robinson was reportedly arrested with 157 pounds of marijuana at a Border Patrol checkpoint.

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Bloomberg puts cannabis decrim in new plan (Newsletter: February 19, 2020)



Feds won’t CBD test workers; MN House leader to file legal marijuana bill soon; Poll: VT legal sales support; CO cannabis funds for roads & safety

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There are now 1,304 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D), a presidential candidate, released a criminal justice plan that includes decriminalizing marijuana, commuting sentences and expunging records—but does not include legalizing cannabis. It says that decisions on cannabis laws should be left to states “for the moment” and that “further scientific study is required to assess the health effects of marijuana.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a memo saying that workers in safety-sensitive jobs like pilots and bus drivers won’t be tested for CBD but that they should still be wary about consuming such products due to potentially positive drug tests for marijuana.

Minnesota’s House majority leader announced at a rally also attended by the state attorney general that he will be filing a marijuana legalization bill within the next two weeks.

A poll found that 76% of Vermont residents support legalizing marijuana sales. Several House committees have approved a cannabis commercialization bill in recent weeks, and a floor vote is expected in the coming days.

Colorado marijuana business profits and the tax revenue they generate are helping to fund efforts to reduce bullying in schools and clean up highways.


President Trump commuted the sentences of several people, including a woman who has spent the past 12 years in prison for involvement with a marijuana smuggling operation.

The Bureau of Land Management sent a press release celebrating agents who did “outstanding work to end marijuana cultivation on America’s public lands.”

Former Office of National Drug Control Policy Deputy Director Bertha Madras tweeted, “At Logan airport Boston. CNN is showing pro-marijuana infomercial (“Weeds”) with airport filled with children on holiday travel. Shame on producer of daytime programming.”

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) sent a press release in which the Family Research Council praises him for voting to “reject the increasing acceptance of marijuana use,” among other things.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted, “While Democrats like @MikeBloomberg talk down to farmers and blue-collar workers, the original entrepreneurs of this country, I’ve been a champion for #VA05 farmers. I’ve worked hard to promote hemp production in Virginia and pushed to pass the #USMCA, which is a win for America!”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Almost 66,000 marijuana convictions will be dismissed in Los Angeles — the largest effort in California’s history. Imagine the positive change we could create in people’s lives by ending marijuana prohibition and expunging prior offenses nationwide.”

New York Democratic congressional candidate Melquiades Gagarin tweeted, “I support ending the war on drugs because I saw first hand the communities struggling through the opioid crisis left to fend for themselves.”


A Rhode Island judge ruled that the state’s Good Samaritan law shields from criminal charges not only the person who calls for help in a potential drug overdose situation, but also the person who is experiencing the medical emergency.

The Georgia House Agriculture Committee approved a bill to make it a crime to transport hemp without accompanying paperwork showing it was legally produced in accordance with a license.

The Utah Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to revise medical cannabis regulations.

The Oklahoma House Rules Committee advanced several marijuana regulatory reform bills, including one that would allow delivery services.

The Connecticut House Progressive Caucus included marijuana legalization in its 2020 priorities.

The Maine legislature’s Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill to let people expunge records for certain minor non-violent crimes including marijuana possession.

The Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee will hold a Wednesday hearing on a bill to prevent employees from being fired for using state-legal marijuana outside of work.

Florida regulators issued complaints against two doctors for allegedly improperly issuing medical cannabis recommendations.

Michigan regulators published an advisory bulletin about participation by marijuana businesses in temporary events.

A Pennsylvania representative held a press conference to tout his new marijuana legalization bill.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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.


Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor began accepting applications from people requesting pardons for past marijuana possession convictions.

The Hillsborough, Florida County Commission is expected to vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal on Wednesday.

Denver, Colorado officials are extending the window to participate in a survey on cannabis business and employment opportunity.


A top Mexican senator spoke about how lawmakers are working to achieve consensus on marijuana legalization legislation.

The prices of marijuana extracts vary wildly between Canadian provinces.


A study concluded that “THC and CBD inhibited the proliferation and expression of [endothelial growth factor receptor] in the lung cancer cells studied.”

A review concluded that “in addition to potential cannabis-related dermal exposures, ergonomic stressors, and psychosocial issues, the studies found employees in cultivation, harvesting, and processing facilities could potentially be exposed to allergens and respiratory hazards through inhalation of organic dusts (including fungus, bacteria, and endotoxin) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as diacetyl and 2,3-pentanedione” and that “these hazards were most evident during the decarboxylation and grinding of dried cannabis material, where elevated job-specific concentrations of VOCs and endotoxin were generated.”


A poll found that New Zealanders oppose a marijuana legalization referendum, 39%-48%.

A poll found that Canadian adults oppose decriminalizing drug possession, 53%-47%, and oppose decriminalizing drug use, 64%-36%.

A group of Connecticut clergy held a press conference to build support for marijuana legalization.


Colorado retailers sold $1.75 billion worth of recreational and medical marijuana products in 2019.


Former wrestler Kevin Nash joined CBD company No Borders Naturals as a brand ambassador and spokesman.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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