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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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VA opening up to cannabis? (Newsletter: Feb. 20, 2018)



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NBA players push league for marijuana changes; AL decrim hearings; Bill Nye talks legalization

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A little-noticed update to a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs webpage admits that it “can look at marijuana as an option for treating Veterans.” And new documents reveal that Veterans Affairs Sec. David Shulkin discussed medical cannabis as part of an overseas trip.


President Trump tapped a Pennsylvania state representative who vigorously opposed medical cannabis to serve as a regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Pennsylvania congressional candidates Conor Lamb and Rick Saccone debated about medical cannabis.


A Virginia  bill allowing doctors to recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition is on its way to Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) desk.

The Alaska House of Representatives approved an industrial hemp bill.

An Indiana court ruled that admitting to past possession of marijuana — even in a state where doing so is legal — is sufficient justification for police to deploy a drug-sniffing dog.

A report concluded that fewer than one percent of California’s marijuana growers have been licensed by the state.

The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hear a marijuana legalization bill on Tuesday.

Alabama’s House and Senate Judiciary Committees will hear marijuana decriminalization bills on Wednesday.

Maine lawmakers are considering reducing the number of marijuana plants people can grow at home.

Colorado regulators released a bulletin about upcoming changes to marijuana packaging and labeling requirements.

A Tennessee judge is allowing stores that were shuttered by police for selling CBD products to reopen.

Tuesday is Arkansas regulators’ deadline for reviewing and scoring medical cannabis cultivation license applications. Winners will be announced next week.

Oklahoma senators debated medical cannabis in a TV appearance.

Here’s a look at competing Missouri medical cannabis ballot measures that may qualify for the ballot this year.

Wisconsin Supreme Court candidate Rebecca Dallet said marijuana doesn’t bother her. (About 18:00 into the audio.)


The Louisville, Kentucky Metro Council is holding public hearings on medical cannabis this and next week.

Activists behind Detroit, Michigan medical cannabis ballot initiatives that were overturned by a judge are considering whether to appeal the ruling.


The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment debated medical cannabis.

The New Zealand House of Representatives will debate a bill to increase drug penalties this week.


A study concluded that “the oral fluid test is a highly valid method for detecting the presence of THC in the blood but cannot be used to accurately measure the blood THC concentration.”

UC San Diego Health hasn’t seen a rise in marijuana-related hospitalizations since legalization went into effect in California.


The Boston Herald editorial board is criticizing legalization advocates’ reaction to officials’ suggestion that rules for marijuana delivery services and social use areas be slowed down.

/ CULTURE     

The National Basketball Players Association is pushing the NBA to allow medical cannabis use.

Scientist Bill Nye spoke with Rolling Stone about his support for legalizing marijuana.

MMA fighter Nate Diaz was shown lighting a joint on a UFC TV broadcast.

Comedian Seth Rogen posted a video of himself using a high-tech gravity bong.

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Kennedy doesn’t want cannabis crackdown, despite voting record (Newsletter: Feb. 19, 2018)



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Arpaio “kind of” backs medical cannabis; Israel decrim advances; CA warning letters go out

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Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Congressman Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) acknowledged that his anti-marijuana views are out of step with his constituents and said he’s “not proposing a crackdown,” even as he has repeatedly voted to allow federal agents to interfere with state laws.


U.S. Army Sec. Mark Esper spoke about enlistment waivers for recruits who have used marijuana.

Republican Arizona U.S. Senate candidate Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff, voiced support for medical cannabis.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that a key part of anti-drug strategy should be to tell “young people and adults don’t get started” using drugs.

Former MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan is considering running for Congress in New York, and his tentative campaign site says he supports decriminalizing drugs.


Colorado gubernatorial candidates spoke about marijuana legalization implementation.

California regulators sent hundreds of warning letters to unlicensed marijuana businesses.

The co-chair of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy is not happy about proposed rules that would allow cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Utah’s House speaker spoke about efforts to enact medical cannabis legislation despite federal prohibition.

Here’s a look at where individual New Jersey lawmakers stand on legalizing marijuana.

Ohio regulators are offering to pause medical cannabis business licensing in light of a “critical flaw'” discovered in a recent audit.

Montana regulators released final medical cannabis rules.

A Missouri representative introduced bills to decriminalize marijuana and remove cannabis’s classification as a controlled substance.

A New York assemblymembers filed a bill to add autism as a medical cannabis qualifying condition. Separately, the New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Conference held a panel discussion on marijuana legalization.

Colorado arrests for illegal marijuana manufacturing are reportedly on the rise.

The Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners will hear testimony about adding PTSD and chronic pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions on Monday.

The West Virginia Medical Cannabis Advisory Board will hold a public meeting on Tuesday.

The Seattle Times look at issues related to possible diversion of marijuana from Washington State.


A judge struck down a Detroit, Michigan voter initiative that allowed medical cannabis businesses to operate in more locations.

Nearly four percent of Denver, Colorado’s electricity use is devoted to growing marijuana, new data shows.


Alberta, Canada’s provincial government released marijuana regulations.

UK regulators denied a medical cannabis license for a six-year-old boy with severe epilepsy.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana in an appearance on Bill Maher’s HBO show.


The president of the National Association of Assistant U.S. Attorneys claimed that “nobody’s going to jail” for marijuana possession.

The executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law appeared to blame the Department of Justice’s focus on drug law enforcement for the FBI not preventing the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The Conservative Political Action Conference this month will feature a debate about marijuana legalization.


A study concluded that policies allowing homegrown marijuana lead to “lower health and social risks.”


A poll found that likely voters in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district support legalizing marijuana, 46%-43%.


The Girls Scouts of Colorado moved to treat marijuana dispensaries like any other business, allowing girls to sell cookies outside them.

The National Conference of Weights and Measures formed a Cannabis Task Group to develop uniform weights and measures standards for the industry.

New Hampshire medical cannabis sales are increasing.

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Cannabis banking access at “top of the list” for Treasury Dept. (Newsletter: Feb. 16, 2018)



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Canadian legalization delayed; Gardner lifts some DOJ holds; Amendment shields immigrants from deportation for cannabis

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U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin said that fixing marijuana businesses’ access to banks is at the “top of the list” of his department’s concerns.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is lifting holds he placed on some Department of Justice nominees over a marijuana policy dispute after U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein showed “good faith” and “willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought,” according to the senator.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced, but did not force a vote on, a far-reaching marijuana reform proposal as an amendment to broad criminal justice reform legislation approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.


U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) filed an amendment to protect immigrants from being deported or denied visas for marijuana activity that complies with state laws.

Congressional appropriations leaders are currently negotiating whether language allowing military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doctors will be included in Fiscal Year 2018 legislation.

Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA) and two cosponsors filed legislation to codify the provisions of the now-rescinded Cole Memo into law.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Denver office is pushing Colorado regulators to release updated data about marijuana legalization.

The U.S. Secret Service settled a lawsuit concerning access to visitor logs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and other agencies.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) cited marijuana law reform as an issue on which he is working to find “common ground” with Republicans.


Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) supports adding PTSD and chronic pain as CBD medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) indicated he won’t necessarily sign pending legislation directing the state to grow medical cannabis for certain patients.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) told regulators to slow down with proposed far-reaching marijuana rules. And nearly 80 lawmakers also want to delay allowing cannabis social use areas and delivery services.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale (D) held a debate about marijuana legalization with Republican congressional candidate Joe Peters.

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich (D), a former congressman, said that if elected he would review cases of all people convicted of low-level non-violent drug crimes to consider commutations.

The New Mexico Senate approved resolutions requesting that regulators add opioid use disorder as a medical cannabis qualifying condition and urging Congress to expand medical cannabis protections to cover people who live on tribal lands. Lawmakers also passed legislation creating a study commission to examine allowing safe injection sites for illegal drug consumers.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s General Law Committee voted to consider marijuana legalization legislation.

The Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee amended a previously approved bill to let doctors recommend CBD/THC-A medical cannabis oil for any condition so that it will take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature.

The Oregon Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill easing hemp cultivation.

New Jersey senators filed a marijuana decriminalization bill in a move that is seen as an attempt to undercut the push for full legalization. Separately, an assemblywoman introduced legislation to remove limits on the amount of medical cannabis allowed to be dispensed at one time and expand access to edible forms.

The Arizona House Health Committee voted 6-3 to approve legislation making it a felony for doctors to violate medical cannabis regulations.

A California senator filed a bill to allow special needs students to use medical cannabis at school.

Ohio regulators said a human error led to a proposed medical cannabis cultivation business being inadvertently left off a list of successful applicants.

Maryland regulators settled a lawsuit with companies that failed to win medical cannabis business licenses.

Michigan regulators released the design of an official symbol that will need to appear on packaging for all medical cannabis products.

Oregon regulators will meet next week to consider proposed rules on marijuana packaging and labeling.

Here’s a look at the prospects for medical cannabis in Missouri.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney is directing prosecutors to drop marijuana possession cases that are still charged as misdemeanors. And along with the mayor, he co-authored an op-ed calling the war on drugs “a big mistake.”

A lawyer for Denver, Colorado recommended that regulators approve the city’s first marijuana social use area.

Dekalb County, Georgia commissioners approved a resolution asking state lawmakers to allow counties to decriminalize marijuana.

A proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Easton, Pennsylvania appears to not have enough support to pass.


A Canadian government move to escalate Senate consideration of pending marijuana legalization legislation has failed. A final vote is expected on or before June 7, which would not leave enough time for the government to implement the law by its original July target.


Prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana released a report claiming that the costs of legalizing marijuana in Connecticut would outweigh tax revenues.


Pennsylvania medical cannabis sales began.

Canadian Securities Administrators  published guidance outlining disclosure expectations for issuers with U.S.-based marijuana interests.

BioTrackTHC was chosen to run North Dakota’s medical cannabis seed-to-sale tracking system.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian David Spade smoked marijuana at Ellen Degeneres’s birthday party.

Former NBA player Charles Barkley said he doesn’t understand “the fascination” with marijuana, but doesn’t judge other people for using it.

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