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

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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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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

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.”

/ FEDERAL

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.”

/ STATES

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.

/ LOCAL

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

/ INTERNATIONAL

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.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

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

/ BUSINESS

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.

/ CULTURE

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.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

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 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.)

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Feds to compile cannabis tax revenue data (Newsletter: January 15, 2021)

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VA gov slams racist marijuana laws; Incoming RI gov backs legal cannabis but not state stores; USDA “superior” hemp grant; $2B in CO sales in 2020

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it plans to start collecting and compiling data on state marijuana tax revenue.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) used his State of the Commonwealth speech to highlight the racist history of marijuana prohibition and the need to legalize cannabis while expunging past records.

  • “That’s how the system was set up generations ago. In fact, one of the early leaders of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency was clear that marijuana laws should be written explicitly to target people of color. And so they were, and they’ve been targeting people for years.”

Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D), who will become governor if current Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is confirmed as U.S. commerce secretary, said for the first time that he supports legalizing marijuana. He also said that he backs an “entrepreneurial strategy”of licensing private businesses  instead of Raimondo’s state-run stores plan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making grant money available to support the “breeding, testing and development” of “superior performing” hemp varieties.

Colorado retailers sold more than $2 billion worth of legal marijuana products in 2020. Several other states also saw huge cannabis sales totals last year.

/ FEDERAL

A summary of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus economic recovery plan does not mention cannabis banking, even though House and Senate Democrats included the reform in their COVID packages last year.

/ STATES

A candidate for Rhode Island lieutenant governor resigned from the board of a company seeking a medical cannabis dispensary license.

Oregon’s Legislative Black, Indigenous, & People of Color Caucus included a cannabis equity bill in its 2021 legislative agenda.

The chairman of Missouri’s House Special Committee on Government Oversight said the panel could renew its investigation of the state’s medical cannabis licensing process.

California regulators proposed emergency rules to implement legislation on marijuana businesses’ access to banking services.

Michigan regulators are requiring hemp growers and processor-handlers to complete a report on research activities.

Washington State regulators are seeking participants for deliberative dialogue sessions on cannabis quality assurance testing.

Massachusetts marijuana regulators held their first meeting of the new year.

A Maryland delegate filed a bill to decriminalize drug paraphernalia.

A key New York senator spoke about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in 2021.

Nevada regulators will host a regulatory workshop on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.

/ LOCAL

Birmingham, Alabama’s mayor is publicizing a program to pardon people with misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions.

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang included his support for marijuana legalization on his campaign site’s Culture, Society and Nightlife section rather than the Criminal Justice section.

/ INTERNATIONAL

British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie said his government is still unclear about when the UK might give assent to a pending cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “users and non-users of marijuana did not have an association with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.”

A case study looks at a man who injected psilocybin mushroom tea, after which “cultures confirmed bacteremia (ultimately cultured as Brevibacillus) and fungemia (ultimately cultured as Psilocybe cubensis – i.e. the species of mushroom he had injected was now growing in his blood).”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance, National Harm Reduction Coalition and more than 200 other organizations sent a letter calling on the incoming Biden administration to focus drug policy on harm reduction strategies, including by withdrawing a federal lawsuit that seeks to block a safe consumption site for illegal drugs from opening.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs entered into an agreement to acquire Bluma Wellness Inc.

Aphria Inc. reported quarterly revenue of C$72.1 million and a net loss of C$120.6 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation  filed an early warning report regarding its acquisition of an option to purchase shares of TerrAscend Corp.

United Cannabis Corp.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy was thrown out by a judge.

/ CULTURE

The UFC and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will no longer punish fighters for testing positive for marijuana metabolites.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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VA gov files cannabis legalization bill (Newsletter: January 14, 2021)

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NM gov: legal marijuana a 2021 priority; Top TX lawmakers: Cannabis expansion on table; State drug decrim bills; Study: Marijuana reduces opioid use

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Cannabis in 2021: Will federal prohibition finally fall? Will growing momentum at the state level influence national policy changes? Which states will be next to experiment with reform?

If you support us on Patreon, you’ll not just support us as we dig into these questions but you’ll have access to tools like our Bill Tracker to help you keep an eye on developments yourself.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and top House and Senate lawmakers filed new legislation to legalize marijuana.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) announced that legalizing marijuana is on her priority list for the 2021 legislative session.

  • It will “establish an essential new revenue source for the state and employment source for tens of thousands of New Mexicans.”

The top lawmakers in Texas’s House and Senate—including notoriously anti-marijuana Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R)—say that an expansion to the state’s limited medical cannabis program is on the table for 2021.

Lawmakers in New York and Virginia have filed legislation to decriminalize drugs or study the issue, with additional California and Washington bills expected soon—showing that broader reform beyond marijuana is gaining momentum following Oregon’s decriminalization vote in November.

A new study found that medical cannabis is associated with reduced use of opioids and other prescription drugs, as well as increases in quality of life.

  • “The high rate of cannabis use for chronic pain and the subsequent reductions in opioid use suggest that cannabis may play a harm reduction role in the opioid overdose crisis, potentially improving the quality of life of patients and overall public health.”

/ FEDERAL

The House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment report against President Trump notes that some of his supporters smoked marijuana during their raid on the Capitol.

/ STATES

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. said he looks forward to working with lawmakers to pass a marijuana legalization bill this session.

The Illinois House of Representatives did not take up a Senate-passed measure to create 75 additional marijuana business licenses, killing it.

Nevada’s attorney general participated in a Public Health Cannabis and Vaping Summit.

Colorado regulators adopted emergency coronavirus rules allowing marijuana businesses to accept orders from customers using mobile devices from outside of the premises.

New Mexico lawmakers plan to file legislation this year to legalize safe consumption sites for illegal drugs and defelonize drug possession.

Several Connecticut lawmakers discussed their views on marijuana legalization.

Here’s a look at marijuana legislation that Maine lawmakers may consider this year.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.

/ LOCAL

The district attorney for Georgia’s Western Circuit is dropping marijuana and drug possession cases.

Portland, Maine officials shut down a marijuana testing lab for operating without a license.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Jersey’s government issued its first medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that patients “reported that cannabis was a useful adjunct and substitute for prescription opioids in treating their chronic pain and had the added benefit of improving the ability to function and quality of life.”

A marijuana cultivation study found that “no [light intensity] treatment effects on cannabinoid potency, while there were minor LI treatment effects on terpene potency.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Jenny Cudd, who participated in the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol, reportedly has ownership stakes in several cannabis businesses.

/ BUSINESS

HEXO Corp and Molson Coors Beverage Company launched a new line of non-alcoholic, sparkling CBD beverages through their joint venture Truss CBD USA.

Valley Harvest LLC and Nug Farms are being sued for allegedly wrongfully terminating workers who complained about coronavirus-related policies.

2015 Halladay Wellness, Inc. is being sued for allegedly sending unsolicited text messages.

Columbia Care Inc. announced it closed a bought deal public offering worth proceeds of proceeds of C$149.5 million.

Colorado 2020 marijuana sales surpassed $2 billion as of November.

/ CULTURE

Jimmy Fallon joked about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in New York.

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Free cannabis for people getting COVID vaccines (Newsletter: January 13, 2021)

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NJ gov talks marijuana in State of the State; ND 2022 cannabis ballot measure; MI prosecutor drops psychedelics cases; USDA hemp approvals

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Signing up for a $25/month subscription will help keep us digging, interviewing and reporting on all the cannabis news that’s fit to print. And in return, you’ll gain access to our Bill Tracker tool, too, so you can have the most up-to-date information on the drug policy reform efforts around the U.S.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said in his State of the State address that “we are on the verge” of implementing the voter-approved legalization of marijuana—but he did not mention the latest legislative blow up that’s impeded cannabis progress.

Washtenaw County, Michigan’s prosecuting attorney announced that his office won’t pursue most marijuana and psychedelics cases—”regardless of the amount at issue.”

North Dakota activists filed a proposed marijuana legalization measure they hope to qualify for the state’s 2022 ballot.

Activists in Washington, D.C. are launching a “Joints for Jabs” campaign that involves giving away free marijuana to reward people for getting coronavirus vaccines.

  • “We are looking for ways to safely celebrate the end of the pandemic and we know nothing brings people together like cannabis.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans from Rhode Island and another Indian tribe, bringing the number of federally cleared hemp proposals to 72.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed a lower judge’s ruling that had determined a proposed safe consumption site for illegal drugs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania would not violate federal law.

Drug Enforcement Administration employees reported low confidence in the agency’s coronavirus safety measures, compared to those who work for other federal law enforcement agencies.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) issued a statement responding to criticism about his efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election that, among other things, points out that he has “never taken illegal drugs.”

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) posted on Facebook about his budget proposal to “help entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry, specifically those who have been disenfranchised by the failed war on drugs.”

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It’s time for New York State to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis. 15 states have already passed this common-sense legislation. Disproportionate policing has harmed communities of color & this is an important step in the right direction.”

Massachusetts’s attorney general appointed a new member of the Cannabis Control Commission.

A Connecticut Supreme Court justice was pressed on his views about marijuana legalization during a re-confirmation hearing.

The Virginia Crime Commission recommended eliminating mandatory minimum sentences.

Nevada regulators set updates about marijuana business agent card applications and fingerprint submission forms.

Puerto Rico representatives filed legislation to protect medical cannabis patients from employment discrimination.

Maine regulators will give hemp presentations at several upcoming conferences.

Missouri’s top medical cannabis regulator spoke about efforts to implement the program.

Montana regulators published a FAQ on the implementation of the state’s marijuana legalization law.

Oregon regulators published an updated list of cities and counties that prohibit marijuana businesses.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 100 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.

/ LOCAL

A Decatur, Illinois advisory referendum on the April ballot on allowing marijuana sales is facing an objection.

Dallas, Texas police brief the City Council’s Public Safety Committee on marijuana testing.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Mexican government published medical cannabis regulations.

Thai lawmakers are moving to fast-track legislation to legalize kratom.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that the “vast majority of caregivers found CBD to be effective in managing behavioral symptoms of [Alzheimer’s disease] and believed that healthcare professionals should offer CBD oil as a part of treatment.”

A review concluded that “classic psychedelics dose-dependently impair memory task performance but may enhance autobiographical memory.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Anti-marijuana funder Sheldon Adelson died.

/ BUSINESS

Organigram Holdings Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of C$19.3 million and a net loss of C$34.3 million.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. announced it closed its previously announced overnight marketed offering of subordinate voting shares for proceeds of C$317.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. received two utility patents for its hemp genetics from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

MedMen Enterprises Inc announced it closed another $10 million under its senior secured convertible facility led by funds affiliated with Gotham Green Partners.

HempFusion Wellness Inc. announced that it received U.S. Department of Agriculture organic certification for its CBD tinctures.

Verano NJ employees voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Perkins Coie LLP hired the National Cannabis Industry Association’s public policy director as a senior counsel.

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Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.
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