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Two cannabis bills scheduled for congressional votes this week (Newsletter: March 11, 2020)

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FDA reopens CBD comment period; MS house votes to undermine medical marijuana ballot measure; Canadian official defends legal cannabis to UN

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There are now 1,444 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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  • Christi Radogna of Simply Vibin, LLC: “We pledged to Marijuana Moment because we have truly come to rely on your information. We are an upcoming business in Texas that is diving into the hemp world but of course we will be venturing into the cannabis arena as soon as we are legally allowed to. I report your information to our followers on Instagram (Simply.Vibin) and Facebook (Simply Vibin) and have come to anticipate your e-mail arriving in the morning so I can get my morning fix. Thank you for keeping Simply Vibin on the cutting edge of hemp and cannabis and we hope to one day contribute more as we grow!”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee scheduled votes on two marijuana bills for Thursday. One would let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors issue medical cannabis recommendations, while the other would direct the department to expand marijuana research.

The Food and Drug Administration announced in the Federal Register notice that it is “indefinitely” reopening a public comment period for stakeholders to submit more information about CBD as the agency works to formulate regulations.

The Mississippi House of Representatives put a medical cannabis initiative in serious jeopardy by voting to approve a more restrictive alternate question that would also appear on the November ballot next to the activist-drive one.

A top Canadian government health official defended the country’s marijuana legalization law in a speech before the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

/ FEDERAL

A National Transportation Safety Board report on drug use by pilots concluded that “increasing evidence of marijuana use by pilots…indicates a safety hazard that has not been effectively addressed.”

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted about speaking at a hemp summit.

The House bill to remove roadblocks to marijuana research got one new cosponsor for a total of 20.

California Republican congressional candidate Nikka Piterman tweeted, “I wanna legalize, commute sentences for nonviolent crimes plus give clemency for 20g of marijuana on flights… so if Americans come to Cali they can take a piece home with them.”

Virginia Democratic congressional candidate John Lesinski tweeted, “The General Assembly in Virginia is decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana and has begun a process to expunge criminal records of the offense. I applaud this legislation. We need to stop clogging up our courts and ruining lives over marijuana possession.”

/ STATES

Washington State regulators sent Gov. Jay Inslee (D) a bill to allow state regulators to issue previously forfeited, cancelled or revoked marijuana retail licenses to social-equity applicants disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

Ohio’s attorney general rejected the summary language of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot initiative, but the campaign behind the measure took issue with the analysis.

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that employers can’t fire workers for positive drug tests resulting from legal medical cannabis use.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a bill to allow medical cannabis home delivery. Meanwhile, the Senate passed legislation to redirect some medical marijuana tax revenue toward schools.

The Iowa House of Representatives passed a bill to amend the state’s limited medical cannabis program to allow patients to obtain 4.5 grams of THC in a 90 day period.

The Utah Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to amend medical cannabis rules.

A proposed Arizona marijuana legalization ballot measure is being endorsed by the former backers of a rival campaign.

Missouri activists announced that they’ve collected more than 50,000 signatures in support of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

The Nevada Tax Commission voted to give its chairman the authority to negotiate settlements on behalf of state marijuana regulators.

California has generated $1 billion in marijuana tax revenue since recreational sales began two years ago.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Patient and Social Equity Subcommittee will meet on March 23.


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.

/ LOCAL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s district attorney tweeted, “It is misleading to talk about the War on Drugs in the past tense. It is with us, it is still destroying lives, and it is fueled by misinformation & bigotry, as it always was.”

Ashland, Louisiana police arrested a woman after determining that the $5,000 in cash she used to post someone’s bail had a “strong odor of marijuana.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

A court in Myanmar sentenced a local employee of an American-owned hemp farm to 20 years in prison for violating marijuana laws.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “support for [recreational marijuana legalization] positively affecting hotel revenues in certain types of hotels, particularly economy/tourist-class hotels, than for RML positively affecting hotels proximate to RML dispensaries.

A study suggested that “by modulating expression of shared key cancer-driving genes, CBD could represent a promising nontoxic therapeutic for treating tumors of various origins.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee included marijuana decriminalization in a list of accomplishments in Virginia this year.

The Kentucky Democratic Party launched an online petition calling on state lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Nebraska endorsed a medical cannabis ballot measure proposed for the state’s November ballot.

/ BUSINESS

Fermilab sent a notice telling employees that they may not use or possess marijuana on the laboratory premises despite Illinois’s legalization law.

Columbia Care Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $23.2 million and a net loss of $28 million.

Vireo Health International, Inc. raised C$10.5 million.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. hired a vice president of corporate social responsibility.

The New England Cannabis Convention, scheduled for later this month in Boston, has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns.

/ CULTURE

University of Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley said that NCAA marijuana testing policies need to “continue to adapt” to changes in society.

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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.

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.)

Newsletter

Biden says ‘I know a lot of weed smokers’ (Newsletter: May 25, 2020)

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Marijuana banking has 50-50 Senate shot, sponsor says; NY gov believes legal cannabis can pass; OK gov’s delivery veto stands

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.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

There are now 1,505 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.

  • Kim Stiens: “I subscribed to MM’s Patreon the moment I knew about it, because nobody knows the cannabis culture, industry, or advocacy space better than Tom Angell. As we transition from a world of prohibition to a world of corporatization, good marijuana journalism is more important than ever. Tom knows the scene, he knows the players, and he highlights the stories that no one else can.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said “I know a lot of weed smokers” to justify his ongoing opposition to marijuana legalization.

Lead marijuana banking bill sponsor Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) says there’s a “50–50” chance its language will pass the Senate as part of coronavirus legislation. The House included it in a COVID bill earlier this month, but Republicans have largely slammed the move.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said “I believe we will” legalize marijuana. Lawmakers will reportedly reconvene this week, though it’s unclear if cannabis will be on the agenda before the end of the 2020 session.

Oklahoma lawmakers declined to override Gov. Kevin Stitt’s (R) veto of a bill that would have authorized medical marijuana delivery services and allowed out-of-state patients to register with the program. The bill passed earlier this month with huge margins.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump retweeted a post with an image of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany edited to make it look like she is smoking a joint.

Federal prosecutors charged a Calexico City, California city councilman and another official with allegedly accepting bribes from an undercover FBI agent who they believed represented investors seeking to open a cannabis dispensary.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said in a Senate floor speech that the House coronavirus bill “mentions cannabis more times than it mentions doctors, hospitals, and nurses combined. It is an interesting tribute, if you ask me.”

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said the House coronavirus bill’s marijuana provisions are “crazy stuff.”

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) tweeted, “House Dems refuse lead. But it’s never been about leading, it’s about power. Americans and American business need help, instead House Dems pushes a bill that mentions cannabis more than jobs…”

Colorado Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper, a former governor, tweeted, “Yes, I support decriminalizing & descheduling marijuana. Colorado set the gold standard, and I’m eager to work with you and Colorado’s cannabis industry and entrepreneurs to get this done in Washington.”

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Jen Perelman tweeted, “I support: ✅ decriminalization & legalization of marijuana. ✅ eliminating for-profit prisons. My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, does not.”

/ STATES

Utah’s treasurer joined the state attorney general in calling on Congress to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The Illinois Senate approved bills amending marijuana regulations.

Rhode Island regulators sent a bulletin about the use of hemp and hemp-derived CBD in the state’s medical cannabis program.

Guam regulators will meet to work on marijuana regulations in early June.

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission Policy Committee will meet to discuss draft regulations this week.

Here’s a look at pending Colorado marijuana reform legislation.

Two Pennsylvania Republican senators said they expect marijuana legalization to be up for discussion as a revenue measure to help fix the coronavirus outbreak’s economic damage.

The Texas Law Library posted a FAQ about the legality of CBD oil.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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

Denver, Colorado officials posted materials for a Marijuana Licensing Work Group meeting on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Colombia’s ministry of justice approved the export of two million cannabis seeds.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s marijuana decriminalization ordinance found that the policy “significantly reduced the risk of marijuana arrests overall,” “absolute/relative racial disparities decreased for possession-based arrests” and “relative racial disparities increased for sales/manufacturing-based arrests.

A driving study found that “after smoking cannabis, overall mean speed was reduced,” that “no effects of therapeutic cannabis were found on straightaway mean speed or straightaway lateral control for either condition (standard or cognitive load) or on brake latency” and “after smoking therapeutic cannabis in the lab, changes in speed and lateral control were negatively correlated with the amount of cannabis smoked per day.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Times examined how CBD became a phenomenon.

/ BUSINESS

Massachusetts recreational marijuana retailers say consumers can expect a different shopping experience when they reopen from a coronavirus closure on Monday.

Florida medical cannabis sales surged last week.

Politico looks at the rise and fall of MedMen.

/ CULTURE

Model Kathy Ireland tweeted, “So much good could be done in the food and nutrition space with CBD additives.

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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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Newsletter

VA gov signs cannabis decrim bill (Newsletter: May 22, 2020)

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FDA announces injectable CBD recall; USVI gov files revised legal marijuana bill; DC Council approves medical cannabis employment protections

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.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.

  • Nick Kovacevich of KushCo Holdings, Inc.: “Through his unparalleled drive and commitment to always keep policymakers accountable, Tom has clearly shown why he is one of the most influential champions of cannabis law reform these past two decades. He has seen and done it all, but continues to push the industry forward and ensure it receives the recognition and status it truly deserves. Everyone in the entire legal cannabis industry owes a tremendous gratitude for Tom and the work that he does on behalf of us each and every day.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a marijuana decriminalization bill into law, making the state the 27th in the nation to remove the threat of jail time for low-level cannabis possession.

The Food and Drug Administration announced that Biota Biosciences is voluntarily recalling injectable CBD products that the federal agency sent a warning letter about last month.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) submitted a revised marijuana legalization bill to the territory’s Senate. He’s pushing it as a measure to save a struggling retirement program for government employees and to create new jobs.

The Washington, D.C. District Council passed an emergency bill extending workplace discrimination protections for medical marijuana patients who are employed by local government agencies.

/ FEDERAL

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted, “The Democrats’ $3 trillion dollar wishlist mentioned the word ‘cannabis’  more times than it did ‘jobs.’ It was a pot bill. Not a pandemic bill.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) tweeted, “A $3T monstrosity that mentions “cannabis” 68 times. How many times did it mention the word “jobs”? 52 times. What are Republicans fighting to protect? Jobs. What are Democrats fighting to protect? Pot. What a joke.”

Rep. Ron Wright (R-TX) tweeted, “Just a reminder that the Democrats’ last coronavirus relief bill said the word ‘cannabis’ more than the word ‘jobs’.  While 39 million Americans are unemployed and many are wondering if they will get their next paycheck, Democrats are focused on pot. Americans deserve better.”

Virginia Republican congressional candidate Heerak Christian Kim tweeted, “Virginia’s drug overdose problem is getting out of hand! That is why Heerak opposes legalization of marijuana in Virginia, while incumbent @RepDonBeyer supports legalization of marijuana!”

/ STATES

A former Arkansas attorney general joined the board of the U.S. Hemp Authority.

Washington, D.C. police released updated marijuana arrest data.

Members of the Red Lake Nation, located in Minnesota, approved a medical cannabis referendum.

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee held a hearing on a bill to revise marijuana regulations.

Maryland regulators revealed that 10,000 people registered as medical cannabis patients during the coronavirus outbreak, representing more than a tenth of the state’s total patient count.

A Pennsylvania senator plans to file legislation to protect medical cannabis patients from being unduly charged with driving under the influence.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL

St. Lucia’s commerce and investment minister said he would like a decision to be made on marijuana decriminalization by the end of the current government’s term.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “compared with clobazam/valproate, adjunctive cannabinoid oil may be a cost-effective treatment for Dravet syndrome.”

A review concluded that “legalization of recreational cannabis use in the US has substantially reduced the price of cannabis, increased its potency, and made cannabis more available to adult users” and “appears to have increased the frequency of cannabis use among adults, but not so far among youth.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that middle-aged New Zealanders oppose legalizing marijuana, 50%-27%.

/ BUSINESS

Ayr Strategies Inc. reported $33.6 million in quarterly revenue and a $4.9 million loss from operations.

Canopy Growth Corp.’s Houseplant launched a line of cannabis-infused beverages.

New Mexico dispensaries sold $40.1 million worth of medical cannabis products in the first quarter of the year.

/ CULTURE

Football player Montravius Adams was arrested for marijuana possession, driving without insurance and having a suspended/canceled/revoked vehicle registration.

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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.
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Newsletter

Fed judge allows e-signatures for Ohio cannabis campaigns (Newsletter: May 21, 2020)

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USDA reverses total hemp COVID aid ban; Louisiana lawmakers approve marijuana banking; Jamaica allows online cannabis ordering

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.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.

  • Business of Cannabis: “Business of Cannabis supports Marijuana Moment because without you the industry would have now way of understanding the full width and breadth of what’s happening in cannabis in the U.S. From the U.S. Capitol to every state house and thousands of municipalities throughout the country, you seem to have your finger on the pulse. By extension, the sector has its finger on the pulse. That’s why we support and why others should too.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A federal judge ruled that Ohio marijuana activists can electronically collect signatures for proposed local decriminalization ballot measures in municipalities across the state as coronavirus has hampered in-person petitioning.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture singled out hemp as one of two legal crops—along with tobacco—for which farmers are blocked from the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program without any recourse for reconsideration. But hours after Marijuana Moment reported the story, the department deleted language from its website that said farmers couldn’t appeal for reconsideration of the ban.

The Louisiana House of Representatives approved a cannabis banking bill, and a Senate committee advanced House-passed legislation to let doctors recommend medical marijuana for any debilitating condition they see fit.

The Jamaican government is allowing patients to place online orders of medical marijuana for pickup at “herb houses” as a measure to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

/ FEDERAL

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy updated its Freedom of Information Act implementing regulations.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blasted House Democrats’ coronavirus bill, saying, “diversity and inclusion in the marijuana industry wasn’t going to study itself, after all.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) tweeted, “And we must pass the immediate, bipartisan opportunities to support jobs and economic activity. The Great American Outdoors Act, the SAFE Banking Act, and infrastructure investments all enjoy bipartisan support and would help generate new investments and liquidity.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) said the fate of marijuana banking provisions in coronavirus legislation will “depend on how hard the House fights for it in the final negotiations.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) defended the inclusion of marijuana banking provisions in coronavirus relief legislation passed by the House.

Montana Democratic Senate candidate Mike Brohier tweeted, “We must de-schedule marijuana. We must legalize marijuana. We should tax marijuana. It will help Kentuckians in pain, it will help our budget, and it will remediate harmful opiate addictions.”

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Michael Owens tweeted, “92% of Americans are against marijuana prohibition laws, while over 600K were arrested for simple possession. States spend more than $3B annually enforcing the ban. Marijuana should be removed from the Schedule of Controlled Substances, sentences commuted and records expunged.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order extending expired medical cannabis patient and caregiver identification cards.

Massachusetts regulators formally moved to allow recreational marjuana businesses to resume sales via curbside pickup on Monday.

The New York Assembly’s Health Committee chair said that “marijuana legalization is just one of the reasons the legislature should return to work as soon as possible.”

The Illinois legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules reviewed proposed rules on cannabis legalization and social equity.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin on mandatory coronavirus infection-control practices for marijuana businesses.

Colorado marijuana social equity legislation has been jeopardized by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Governance and Frame Working Subcommittee will meet on June 3.

Alaska regulators will consider marijuana business licensing and rules on June 10-11.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL

Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock held a webinar on cannabis cultivation opportunities.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review “provided evidence in supporting the use of medical marijuana to reduce common symptoms reported in patients with” multiple sclerosis.

A study found that “rates of marijuana usage in pregnant women who underwent universal drug screening increased after legalization” and “there were no differences in neonatal outcomes between users and non-users.”

/ BUSINESS

A deal for Hightimes Holding Corp. to acquire Humboldt Heritage has been canceled.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. announced a deal to acquire Reliva, LLC.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. reported quarterly revenue of $96.1 million.

Green Growth Brands Inc. filed for insolvency protection.

Charlotte’s Web got a utility patent for a new hemp variety.

A bankruptcy judge approved a plan to sell the bulk of GenCanna’s assets.

The entire board of directors and senior management of Great Northern Cannabis has been ousted after an audio recording appeared to reveal a conversation between personnel discussing selling moldy products as well as CBD oil that contained too much THC.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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.
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