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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 15-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

Cannabis arrests are rising even as more states legalize (Newsletter: Sep. 25, 2018)

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Trump wants to ban chocolate?; Police use official resources to oppose legal marijuana; Idaho gubernatorial candidates on cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana arrests rose in the U.S. in 2017 despite the fact that more states are legalizing cannabis, new FBI data shows. The increase is driven by a rise in possession busts, while arrests for sales and manufacturing were down.

President Trump hosted an anti-drug event at the United Nations and called for an end to “cocoa production,” but he probably meant coca…

Police in two states are being accused of illegally using official social media accounts to campaign against marijuana ballot measures.

Idaho gubernatorial candidates are taking opposite positions on marijuana legalization, with Democrat Paulette Jordan in support and Republican Brad Little opposed.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S, Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied a petition to review the Drug Enforcement Administration’s rejection of marijuana rescheduling.

A former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s to investigate Elon Musk’s marijuana consumption.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) criticized marijuana’s Schedule I status. (Roughly 11 minutes into the linked audio.)

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is refusing to answer questions about her stance on North Dakota’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) sent a press release criticizing the federal government’s decision to allow importation of marijuana products from Canada:

  • “Allowing a Canadian company to do what American companies are still waiting on the Department of Justice to grant them permission to do is incomprehensible. The United States has countless companies, including several in my home state of Florida, that are well-equipped to provide high quality cannabis extracts, but they are being roadblocked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ senseless witch hunt against an entire industry of legal, state-regulated small businesses. With this announcement, the Attorney General and the Department of Justice’s arcane prohibition on researching the effects of cannabis are now complicit in shipping American jobs and dollars abroad.”

Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) tweeted, “Legalizing #marijuana has no impact on crime rates, in some cases decreases crime.”

Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) tweeted a photo of himself meeting with hemp business owners.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “I’m very proud of our city for leading the way on decriminalization. The War on Drugs has been a terrible failure.”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “#Cannabis has the potential to mitigate opioid abuse and addiction, and early studies indicate that it may even help veterans who suffer from PTSD. We must push for more research access to #UnlockCures.”

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) tweeted, “Since legalized recreational marijuana use, in 2016 alone, law enforcement officers in Colorado confiscated 7,116 pounds of marijuana, carried out 252 felony arrests, and made 346 highway interdictions of marijuana headed to 36 different states.”

Utah U.S. Senate candidates agree that marijuana should be rescheduled and both oppose recreational legalization, but are split on the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Josh McCall tweeted, “And we can work at the federal level to remove #cannabis from Schedule 1.”

New Mexico Democratic congressional candidate Deb Haaland tweeted, “I am in full favor of the legalization of marijuana. In doing so, we can we can create a major funding source for our public schools and put an end to the disproportionately high sentencing of people of color for marijuana-related offenses. NM is ready.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill adding acute pain management to the list of conditions for which medical cannabis can be recommended as an alternative to opioid use. Separately, he tweeted about the marijuana legalization listening sessions his administration is holding across the state.

A Pennsylvania representative filed a marijuana legalization bill, and advocates held a rally.

Oklahoma regulators announced they have received more than 7,000 medical cannabis license applications, and have approved nearly 5,000.

New Hampshire’s marijuana legalization study commission is nearing the end of its review.

Arizona officials added marijuana questions to the state’s car accident reporting form.

North Dakota regulators approved two companies to move ahead in the medical cannabis dispensary licensing process.

Arkansas regulators are expected to finalize a contract this week with a consulting company that will help score medical cannabis dispensary license applications.

/ LOCAL

Seattle, Washington municipal court judges have agreed to vacate convictions and dismiss charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession stemming from before legalization.

  • Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) tweeted, “Great news! This is the next step in tearing down barriers created by a misdemeanor marijuana conviction that has prevented too many Seattle residents from accessing good jobs, housing, loans or education.”

San Francisco, California regulators still haven’t approved any cannabis equity program permits.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thai officials are considering using a procedural move to expedite consideration of a medical cannabis bill.

Colombian President Ivan Duque said he will sign a decree allowing police to confiscate small amounts of drugs, despite warnings that the move would be in violation of the country’s Constitution.

A group led by the former presidents and prime ministers of Colombia, Mexico, New Zealand, Switzerland and other countries released a report calling for the legalization and regulation of drugs.

Canada is being criticized for signing onto a U.S.-led drug war declaration.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

The Journal of Adolescent Health published a series of letters about whether marijuana legalization increases emergency room visits by youth.

/ BUSINESS

Leafly removed its CEO.

CNBC analyst Jim Cramer tweeted, “I don’t think people realize how beneficial cannabis is versus the typical western world pill.”

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss lost a defamation suit over comments related to their consideration of investing in Eaze.

Model Kathy Ireland tweeted about her company’s CBD products.

/ CULTURE

Take a look at these photos of marijuana under an electron microscope.

Comedian Pete Davidson spoke about his decision to consume cannabis again.

Actor Timothée Chalamet said he supports marijuana legalization, citing racial disparities in enforcement.

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O’Rourke And Cruz clash on cannabis at debate (Newsletter: Sep. 24, 2018)

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Kenyan lawmaker files marijuana legalization bill; Willie Nelson want to smoke weed with Trump & Putin; Trump to talk drugs at UN

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) clashed on marijuana and drug policy in a heated exchange during their first debate.

A Kenyan member of Parliament is filing a marijuana legalization bill.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump will host an event on the “World Drug Problem” at the United Nations on Monday.

The U.S. Department of Justice is moving to dismiss a landlord’s chapter 11 bankruptcy case because he leased space to a marijuana producer.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly considered naming James Cole, author of the famous cannabis Cole Memo, as special counsel before he settled on Robert Mueller.

A federal judge ruled that the Ohio municipalities of Garrettsville and Windham must place marijuana decriminalization measures on their November ballots after local officials initially rejected them.

Former White House Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, citing the fact that it took a court ruling for a California girl to be able to use medical cannabis at school, said, “We are turning into a nation of rule bound nincompoops.”

Congressman Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “The fact that #BothamJean was murdered by a police officer who entered his apartment thinking it was hers, and then police only searched his apartment and revealed that he was in possession of marijuana, highlights what is wrong with our criminal justice system.”

Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) tweeted about events to help people expunge low-level marijuana convictions and outstanding summons warrants.

Congressman Darren Soto (D-FL) tweeted, “Apparently US will import #MedicalMarijuana from Canada because ⁦AG Sessions and @TheJusticeDept⁩ won’t approve US grower applications. This is peak of absurdity!”

The U.S. House bill to require the federal government to study the impact of state marijuana legalization got one new cosponsor, for a total of 28.

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Colin Allred criticized incumbent Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX):

  • His outdated views on the war on drugs are frozen in the 1980s. There are veterans who are suffering from PTSD and other combat injuries and could benefit from medical marijuana right now. They want it, their doctors want to prescribe it, and Congressman Sessions is standing in the way.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced two new marijuana legalization listening sessions in addition to the 15 that had already been scheduled.

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) vetoed a bill to expand marijuana research. He also signed a bill to define cannabis microbusinesses and make changes to fingerprint requirements. Separately, a judge ruled that a kindergartener can bring her cannabis medicine to school.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced that some arrests for public use of marijuana will result in citations, rather than people being taken into custody.

Florida Democratic attorney general candidate Sean Shaw announced that if elected he would drop appeals the state is mounting against challenges to medical cannabis restrictions. Separately, a newspaper investigation found that at least 80 candidates for public office are at risk of having their bank accounts closed due to marijuana industry donations.

The sponsor of New Jersey’s marijuana legalization bill expects a vote next month.

A Pennsylvania representative will file a marijuana legalization bill on Monday.

Maine regulators are investigating a restaurant’s practice of blowing marijuana smoke onto lobsters before boiling them to death.

Colorado regulators sent a bulletin about the testing of hemp products by marijuana testing facility licensees.

Oregon regulators upheld the license suspension of marijuana business after it became the subject of a federal criminal investigation.

Questions are being raised about marijuana industry donations to the campaign of Ohio Republican attorney general candidate Dave Yost that came in while he was reviewing the medical cannabis program as state auditor.

Pennsylvania regulators certified eight medical schools as medical cannabis research centers.

Michigan regulators are allowing medical cannabis patients and their doctors to register online.

A Nebraska senator said she will file a medical cannabis bill next year.

/ LOCAL

The Bergen County, New Jersey sheriff caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization has resigned.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country will not be signing onto a Trump administration anti-drug proposal for the United Nations.

A Uruguayan ambassador criticized the U.S. drug war document.

UK regulators released guidance on the definition of medical cannabis products that will be available for prescription. Separately, a former justice secretary is calling for the legalization of all drugs.

Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board is pushing the government to legalize medical cannabis.

Russia and the European Union held consultations on drug policy.

/ ADVOCACY

The Maryland Democratic Party tweeted about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous’s support for legalizing marijuana.

The Idaho Republican Party tweeted about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paulette Jordan’s support for legalizing marijuana.

Progressive group Our Revolution endorsed Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “among people who use illicit drugs initiating opioid agonist treatment in Vancouver, at least daily cannabis use was associated with approximately 21% greater odds of retention in treatment compared with less than daily consumption.”

A review found that “marijuana use did not increase the prevalence or progression of hepatic fibrosis in [hepatitis C virus] and HCV–HIV-coinfected patient” and that “on the contrary, we noted a reduction in the prevalence of [nonalcoholic fatty liver disease] in marijuana users.

A study concluded that “cannabinoid agonists (THC/CBD) can have remarkable analgesic capabilities, as adjuvant of [spinal cord stimulation], for the treatment of chronic refractory pain of [failed back surgery syndrome] patients.”

A study found that “maternal cannabis use may be a risk factor for early initiation among their offspring.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Detroit Free Press editorial board endorsed Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings plans to go public in a reverse takeover.

TD Ameritrade said men account for 75% of all marijuana-related securities trades.

Canadian newspapers are creating marijuana-focused beats.

/ CULTURE

Comedy Central’s Jim Jefferies discovered that Amsterdam’s marijuana tolerance means police have basically nothing to do. Two cops even waited outside a coffeeshop while he smoked a joint before joining them on a tour of the city.

The Onion asks, “Can A Serial Marijuana User Like Josh Gordon Fit In With The Patriots’ Cocaine-Based Culture?”

The TV show Snowfall featured a discussion among characters about the racist motivations for and failure of the war on drugs.

Musician Willie Nelson says he’d like to consume cannabis with Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama.

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Governor signs legal cannabis bill in US territory (Newsletter: Sep. 21, 2018)

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FDA head: marijuana more dangerous than nicotine; NY lawmakers schedule legalization hearing; NJ sheriff’s racist legalization comments caught on tape

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This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 335 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana legalization bill into law, making the territory the first place in the U.S. to end prohibition without first having a medical cannabis program.

U.S. Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that we should be more worried about teens using marijuana than nicotine.

The sheriff of New Jersey’s most populous county was caught on tape making racist comments about marijuana legalization:

  • “Christ almighty, in other words let the blacks come in, do whatever the fuck they want, smoke their marijuana, do this do that, and don’t worry about it. You know, we’ll tie the hands of cops.”

Four New York Assembly committees scheduled the first of what will be four separate joint hearings on marijuana legalization this fall.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is facing a potential lawsuit over its role in an investigation into a California marijuana distribution company.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office tweeted, “IS EATING MARIJUANA MORE DANGEROUS THAN SMOKING MARIJUANA? YES! There is high potential for overdose from #marijuana #edibles. #DontDoDrugs”

Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “We just have to be not so stupid as to impair our own progress. There is no reason for us to be creating wealth in Canada for cannabis companies by importing Canadian weed.”

  • Gaetz also tweeted, “Last week, the @HouseJudiciary passed my bill, the Medical Cannabis Research Act, which will help scientists and researchers study #cannabis and #unlock its medical potential. Congress must continue working across party lines to pass meaningful #CannabisReform”

West Virginia Democratic congressional candidate Richard Ojeda defended himself from attacks by the state’s Republican Party for meeting with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), tweeting, “Yep. I was out there with a congressman who wants to work together to create legislation to protect 2nd Amendment Rights for those who receive a medical cannabis card. Are you guys pro 2nd???”

  • Ojeda also tweeted, “Hemp and medical cannabis combined with the jobs those industries create would be a game changer for our state.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed a bill preventing marijuana businesses from sharing consumers’ information for commercial purposes.

New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro said the state should not legalize marijuana but instead expand access to medical cannabis.

Massachusetts recreational marijuana stores are unlikely to open until late October at the earliest after regulators failed to issue any final licenses at its Thursday meeting.

Florida regulators are asking an appeals court to overturn a judge’s ruling allowing a man to grow his own medical cannabis.

West Virginia lawmakers are asking the state attorney general for an update on his legal opinion about providing banking services to medical cannabis businesses.

A Utah billboard urging people to support the state’s medical cannabis ballot measure is being temporarily taken down while the advertising company reviews election laws concerning anonymous political ads.

A Missouri medical cannabis ballot initiative campaign is raising money to place its first ad on TV.

Maryland regulators have been forced to repeatedly override medical cannabis rules in recent weeks due to problems with the state’s track-and-trace software.

Alaska regulators will meet on October 16 and 17 to consider marijuana establishment license applications and related rules.

Arkansas’s hemp research program is experiencing delays.

/ LOCAL

Manhattan’s district attorney tweeted a video of a talk he gave at a marijuana event.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s incoming government will approve medical cannabis regulations, a top health official said.

/ ADVOCACY

A report from the Southern Poverty Law Center found that “black people were 2.9 times as likely as white people to be arrested for marijuana possession in Louisiana,11 despite evidence that black people and white people use marijuana at similar rates.”

The Marijuana Policy Project published a voter guide for New Hampshire’s general election.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A federal survey found that Americans aged 55 to 64 are now slightly more likely to smoke marijuana on a monthly basis than teens aged 12 to 17.

A review concluded that “cannabinoid drugs were associated with modest increases in experimental pain threshold and tolerance, no reduction in the intensity of ongoing experimental pain, reduced perceived unpleasantness of painful stimuli, and no reduction of mechanical hyperalgesia.”

A study found that MDMA “enhances acute prosocial behaviors” in octopuses.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Mexico voters support legalizing marijuana, 60%-32%.

/ BUSINESS

Bloom Automation is building robots to harvest marijuana.

The Associated Press looks at growing interest in marijuana stocks on Wall Street.

/ CULTURE

Actor Dax Shepard defended his wife Kristen Bell’s marijuana use.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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