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Trump plans to push cannabis reform after election, GOP congressman says (Newsletter: Oct. 12, 2018)



Death penalty ruling would seem to apply to drug war; Congressional Budget Offices scores marijuana bill; Trump looks at replacements for Sessions

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Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) says he’s spoken to White House officials about pushing marijuana reform after the midterm elections.

  • “It could be as early as spring of 2019, but definitely in the next legislative session.”

The Congressional Budget Office released a score for a marijuana research expansion bill approved last month by the House Judiciary Committee, a reminder that it is being more seriously considered than hundreds of other cannabis proposals filed in Congress in recent years.

The Washington State Supreme Court’s ruling striking down the death penalty due to its racially disproportionate enforcement and lack of deterrent effect reads just like an indictment of the war on drugs. You only have to swap just a few words:

  • “Under article I, section 14, we hold that Washington’s death penalty is unconstitutional, as administered, because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner. Given the manner in which it is imposed, the death penalty also fails to serve any legitimate penological goals.”


President Trump is reportedly weighing candidates to potentially replace U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Transportation Department general counsel Steven Bradbury, former Attorney General Bill Barr, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan and Janice Rogers Brown, a retired appeals court judge from the District of Columbia Circuit.

Separately, President Trump that he would overrule Sessions if he tries to undermine criminal justice reform efforts, but he added that “some categories” of drug offenses should see tougher punishments.

President Trump and Kanye West spoke about criminal justice issues during a televised Oval Office meeting, with the president seeming to say he was “open to” rescinding his previous support for stop and frisk policing policies.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon refused to rule out actions against doctors who recommend and pharmacists dole out medical cannabis in Utah.

The dean of academics for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations School was fired for using CBD to treat prostate cancer.

Federal drug trafficking prosecutions along the Mexican border dipped to their lowest level in nearly two decades as the Trump administration focused on launching a “zero tolerance” immigration crackdown that separated thousands of children from their parents.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case concerning detention of immigrants after they’ve served criminal sentences in which one of the plaintiffs has two marijuana possession convictions.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and his Republican challenger Robert Flanders both said they oppose ending federal marijuana prohibition during a debate.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is applying pressure on trade negotiations with the Philippines due to the nation’s bloody “drug war.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) tweeted, “Another way that we can support veterans’ care: ending the federal marijuana prohibition. In 2017, more than 80% of veterans in the American Legion voted in favor of a resolution legalizing medical marijuana at the federal level.”


There’s disagreement among both supporters and opponents of Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure about whether campaign activities should be suspended in light of a deal on compromise legislation.

Wyoming gubernatorial candidates debated marijuana policy, with each saying they are open to medical cannabis but opposed to recreational legalization.

An independent campaign committee supporting California Republican gubernatorial candidate John Cox for California released an ad attacking his opponent, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), for a San Francisco policy providing free syringes to injection drug consumers. Separately, regulators released a short video about the state’s marijuana appellations program.

Washington State regulators said they will pause their move to crack down on marijuana edibles that could appeal to children for 30 days to hear public comment, and issued a clarification about the policy.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court dismissed thousands more drug cases due to misconduct by a testing lab chemist. Separately, the state’s top marijuana regulator spoke about ongoing efforts to bring the recreational market online.

New Jersey’s health commissioner criticized marijuana’s Schedule I status.

The Vermont marijuana legalization study commission’s taxation and regulation subcommittee met.

More than 20% of Hawaii medical cannabis products are rejected for sale by a testing lab.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted that the state “continues to lead on industrial hemp.”

Ohio regulators released responses to frequently asked questions about the medical cannabis processor licensing approval process.

Here’s a look at efforts to legalize marijuana in New Mexico.


Denver, Colorado regulators released guidance about terminating marijuana businesses and associated licenses.


The UK home secretary said that prescriptions for cannabis medications will be allowed starting on November 1.

Lithuania’s parliament voted 90-0 to approve to bill allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana-based medicines.

Public outrage over a Malaysian death sentence for a man convicted of selling medical cannabis oil to cancer patients has moved the government to eliminate the country’s use of capital punishment altogether.


The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board endorsed one of Missouri’s medical cannabis ballot measures.


MedMen Enterprises Inc. is acquiring PharmaCann LLC in a stock deal valued at $682 million.

MJ Freeway is merging with MTech, and the two will become subsidiaries of a newly formed holding company, Pubco, to be listed on The Nasdaq.

Facebook is removing a block on searching for pages with marijuana-related terms in their names, but only for those who have been verified for authenticity.

Colorado retailers sold $141.3 million worth of legal marijuana products in August, a new monthly record.

The Wall Street Journal looks at the risks for mainstream brands in entering the marijuana industry.


Snoop Dogg spoke in support of Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Rapper Wiz Khalifa brought a giant jar of marijuana to a nightclub.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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.


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