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U.S. territories consider legal cannabis (Newsletter: Feb. 28, 2018)

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Big marijuana focus in IL for March; NJ likely to reschedule marijuana; TN medical cannabis bill advances

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

March is going to be a huge month for marijuana in Illinois, with the state’s biggest county voting on a cannabis ballot question, pro-legalization candidates poised to win March 20 gubernatorial and attorney general primaries and state lawmakers considering legalization legislation.

Legal marijuana could be coming to U.S. territories soon. This week, Guam Gov. Eddie Calvo (R)  directed lawmakers to consider legalization to raise revenue in light of the tax cut signed into law by President Trump. And legislators in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are holding hearings on a bill to end cannabis prohibition.

Arkansas TV anchor Donna Terrell disclosed her involvement with a medical cannabis business in an emotional on-air statement: “It’s because of her, my daughter Queah. She died from colon cancer seven years ago.”

/ FEDERAL

U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) called on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to research medical cannabis.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions launched a new task force targeting opioid manufacturers and distributors that engage in unlawful practices.

Officials with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of National Drug Control Policy and National Institute on Drug Abuse spoke at an event on drugged driving hosted by the Heritage Foundation.

A new book reports that former President Ronald Reagan was upset about a “distasteful endorsement of pot smoking” in a movie he viewed. Turns out, Reagan actually wrote about it in his diary.

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) spoke about legislation he will soon introduced aimed at increasing marijuana research.

The U.S. House bill to allow marijuana businesses to access banks got four new cosponsors, for a total of 88.

The U.S. House bill to exempt state-legal marijuana activity from the Controlled Substances Act got one new cosponsor, for a total of 45.

The U.S. House bill to remove roadblocks to marijuana research got two new cosponsors, for a total of 13.

North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Steve Woodsmall supports legalizing marijuana.

/ STATES

Nevada lawmakers approved permanent legal marijuana regulations.

The Michigan Senate defeated a bill to repeal a requirement that medical cannabis be transported in locked trunks of cars.

The Tennessee House Criminal Justice Subcommittee voted 4-3 to advance medical cannabis legislation.

New Jersey regulators announced they will not appeal a court ruling mandating that they reconsider marijuana’s Schedule I status under state law. Separately, a survey of lawmakers suggests that marijuana legalization legislation would be defeated if a vote were held now.

Massachusetts regulators approved more marijuana rules, including measures to ensure an adequate supply of medical cannabis after recreational sales begin.

Utah police charged two people paid to collect signatures for medical cannabis and other ballot measures with forging petitions.

A Maryland House subcommittee voted 6-2 to advance a bill to expand medical cannabis industry participation by people of color, women and small-business owners.

Colorado lawmakers filed legislation to let marijuana retailers allow limited on-site consumption.

Arkansas regulators announced the winners of medical cannabis cultivation licenses.

Delaware’s marijuana legalization task force is expected to approve its final report on Wednesday.

Vermont lawmakers are considering marijuana saliva testing legislation.

Oregon regulators released information about marijuana waste disposal.

/ LOCAL

The Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky Urban County Council unanimously approved a resolution urging state lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

A video emerged that appears to show Lumberton, Mississippi’s police chief smoking marijuana.

An Etowah County, Alabama man was arrested on drug trafficking charges just days after he criticized the sheriff in a news story. Police say he had “1,042 grams of cannabis,” which includes the weight of infused butter he had in addition to just a few grams of smokable marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples held a hearing on marijuana legalization’s impact on the Indigenous peoples of Canada. Separately, the federal budget projects legal marijuana will generate $220 million per year in revenue by 2022, and allocates $62.5 million over five years for cannabis education.

/ ADVOCACY

The Anti-Defamation League criticized Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan for promoting a “Pot Plot” conspiracy that Jews and the U.S. government are manipulating strains of marijuana to feminize black men.

Americans for Safe Access released a report card on state medical cannabis laws.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

An analysis found that “the seven states (Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington) and DC that legalized recreational use of marijuana between 2012 and 2016 reported a collective 16.4 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities for the first six months of 2017 versus the first six months of 2016, whereas all other states reported a collective 5.8 percent decrease in pedestrian fatalities.”

A study concluded that “poorer outcome of anxiety disorders among cannabis users may be attributed mainly to differences in baseline factors and not cannabis use.”

A survey found that Ivy Leagues students are more likely than not to have consumed illegal drugs.

Here’s a profile of a researcher studying cannabidiol’s potential to reduce opioid relapses.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Hampshire adults support legalizing marijuana, 56%-25%.

The Baltimore Sun editorial board is opposed to legalizing marijuana through a constitutional amendment.

Emerson College will “poll all angles of the marijuana issue” with surveys throughout March.

/ BUSINESS

Car insurance rates have increased in every state where recreational marijuana has been legalized, except for Massachusetts.

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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 Marijuana.com and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

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