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US mayors call on feds to reform cannabis laws (Newsletter: June 12, 2018)

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Sessions meets with CO cops; MD gov candidate talks to Marijuana Moment; CA enforcement funds axed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted resolutions calling on the federal government to deschedule marijuana and urging local jurisdictions to expunge cannabis convictions. In a related development, a collection of mayors from major cities is forming a new advocacy organization focused on campaigning for federal cannabis reform and effective local legalization implementation.

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous spoke to Marijuana Moment about his plans for marijuana legalization and how comedian Dave Chappelle was the first person who tried to convince him of the merits of ending cannabis prohibition.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed marijuana legalization with Colorado law enforcement.

The top U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration official in New York said that the agency will keep enforcing federal marijuana laws until they are changed.

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) spoke about their support for new marijuana legislation. Sullivan also tweeted, “This a state-based solution to areas where state and federal marijuana laws are in conflict.”

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) tweeted her support for legalizing hemp.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted, “Red & blue states alike have taken their own thoughtful approaches to marijuana. Now, 12 governors – led by @MassGovernor Baker – have endorsed my bipartisan bill to end the confusion between states & the federal gov’t, & fix our broken marijuana policy.”

Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) wants President Trump to give clemency to far more drug war prisoners.

Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) tweeted, “Encouraged to hear support from @POTUS about @SenCoryGardner’s #STATESact, which I helped draft w @RepDaveJoyce. Legal #cannabis businesses deserve an opportunity to operate like any other #SmallBiz. Supporting them ensures safer, regulated #marijuana usage in states like Florida.”

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) claimed that marijuana-related traffic deaths are rising in Colorado.

Former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke about his support for marijuana law reform.

/ STATES

California lawmakers omitted a proposed $14 million for enforcement against unlicensed marijuana cultivation in a budget agreement. And here’s a look at problems with the state’s hemp program.

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidates discussed marijuana policy during a forum.

A New Mexico judge reduced a punishment against a medical cannabis company that displayed a marijuana plant at the State Fair.

Here’s a look at how Vermont’s new marijuana legalization law interacts and sometimes conflicts with the state’s existing medical cannabis program.

Alaska regulators released a report on inconsistencies in marijuana testing results.

Louisiana regulators met to discuss expansions to the state’s medical cannabis program.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin saying that “provisioning center” is the preferred terminology for medical cannabis dispensaries.

/ LOCAL

A number of local police departments in California have reportedly seized legal marijuana, along with cash, without filing charges.

Denver, Colorado’s mayor, who campaigned against marijuana legalization, said he’s “converted” on the issue and that “the sky hasn’t fallen like I thought it would.”

Las Vegas, Nevada regulators will hold a meeting on marijuana social use areas on June 27.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK customs officials seized medical cannabis oil from a mother who was bringing it back from Canada for her epileptic son. The government then rejected a request to return the medicine.

Swiss lawmakers voted to reject a proposal to allow marijuana use in scientific studies.

The head of Canada’s marijuana legalization task force is urging companies to closely follow regulators’ rules.

Here’s a look at how Uruguay’s marijuana legalization implementation is going.

Human rights groups are asking the International Criminal Court to investigate drug war killings by Mexico’s military.

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe claimed he met a woman whose life was destroyed by marijuana.

/ ADVOCACY

The American Bankers Association said it “welcomes” legislation to allow banks to work with marijuana businesses.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana’s Kevin Sabet and a AAA representative teamed up on an op-ed tying legalization to car crashes.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico tweeted, “Medical marijuana is helping thousands of New Mexicans battling chronic illnesses — we cannot allow Republicans to drag us backwards on this issue!”

The New York City Bar Association is endorsing marijuana legalization legislation.

The New York Cannabis Bar Association filed a Freedom of Information Law request for documents about the state’s marijuana legalization study.

Transform Drug Policy Foundation is leading a lobby day at the UK Parliament to push for ending the war on drugs on June 26.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of marijuana use in Washington State found “a small and not statistically significant increase of 1.2 percentage points in past-year use prevalence” and suggested that “changes in the social acceptability and legal status of marijuana after legalization may have increased reporting of pre-legalization use compared with concurrent assessments.”

A study of cohabiting marijuana-using couples found that cannabis use “did not alter the likelihood of physical aggression” but that it did “contribute to the occurrence of relationship conflict and verbal aggression.”

A study of patients with atherosclerotic vascular disease found that “extracts from cannabis sativa showed anti-atherogenic properties, decreasing the amount as well as the rate of LDL-lipid oxidation and also the production of foam cells.”

The journal Addition published a series of letters on cannabis as a substitute for opioids.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that French adults support legalizing marijuana, 51%-40%.

/ BUSINESS  

Marijuana media company Prøhbtd raised $8 million in Series A funding.

Hightimes Holdings’s revenue continues to decline, a new filing shows.

The Associated Press is hosting a Twitter chat on Wednesday about covering marijuana.

Cannabis publisher Lift & Co. and MADD Canada are teaming up on an initiative to train marijuana retail employees.

Colorado retailers sold $124.31 million worth of marijuana products in April.

Marijuana Business Daily is hiring an associate publisher.

/ CULTURE     

Former NBA player Dennis Rodman traveled to the Singapore summit between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un with sponsorship from marijuana cryptocurrency PotCoin.

Actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Lake Bell spoke about the health benefits of marijuana at a conference.

Comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted about CBD cream.

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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 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.)

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Bloomberg evolves to back cannabis decrim (Newsletter: December 5, 2019)

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Yang: spend fed money on safe injection sites; Booker super PAC touts marijuana record; Virginia AG says summit might get gov to back legalization

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.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D), a presidential candidate, endorsed marijuana decriminalization and letting states set their own laws without federal interference—marking a bit of an evolution from when he said earlier this year that legalizing marijuana is “perhaps the stupidest thing anybody has ever done.”

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said he supports investing federal money in safe consumption sites for illegal drugs as a harm reduction measure.

  • “I would not only decriminalize opiates for personal use but I would also invest in safe consumption sites around the country.”

A super PAC backing the presidential candidacy of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) released several ads touting his support for legalizing marijuana, two of which call out former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) opposition to ending cannabis prohibition.

Virginia’s attorney general said that a marijuana summit he is hosting this month will give decriminalization-backing Gov. Ralph Northam (D) more information to potentially come out in support of broader cannabis legalization.

/ FEDERAL

The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration hosted a meeting at which researchers told officials that current federal marijuana policy blocks them from effectively studying that cause of vaping-related lung injuries.

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is launching a database to track commercial drivers license holders who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing requirements.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official spoke at a Kentucky hemp summit.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “The #marijuana of today is stronger and recent ⬆️ in access to #marijuana and in its potency, along with misperceptions of its safety endanger our most precious resource – our youth. #WednesdayWisdom”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joked about his “Cocaine Mitch” nickname.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), a presidential candidate, cheered federal guidelines on hemp business banking access and cited a letter he sent to regulators earlier this year requesting the move.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted about federal hemp banking guidance, saying, “This is a good step forward and will help Colorado’s hemp industry and hemp businesses across the country.  Now we need to pass the #SAFEBankingAct to ensure greater access to the banking system for all marijuana, hemp and CBD businesses.”

Rep. Denny Heck (D-WA), in a letter announcing his retirement from the House, cited his work on marijuana banking legislation as a highlight of his congressional service.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of 36.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of 93.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed a bill making tweaks to the state’s marijuana legalization law and tweeted about the importance of equity in the cannabis industry. Meanwhile, regulators approved another medical cannabis dispensary to conduct recreational sales.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and other officials are working on a plan to let regulators seize illegal vaping products and issue emergency bans on specific additives.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) said she didn’t include hemp regulation money in her budget proposal because it’s “not a priority,” though she seemed to recognize that lawmakers plan to pursue the issue again next session following her veto of a legalization bill this year.

Vermont’s attorney general will host a discussion on lessons learned from neighboring states’ marijuana legalization laws on Thursday.

Activists behind one proposed Florida marijuana legalization ballot measure say they’ve collected nearly 600,000 signatures, while a separate campaign is conceding it is unlikely to qualify.

A U.S. Virgin Islands senator suggested that lawmakers may not take up a marijuana legalization proposal from Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) because there is already pending legislation on the topic in the Senate.

A Pennsylvania judge ruled that a worker terminated for medical cannabis use can pursue litigation.

Missouri regulators released information about how to apply for hemp licenses.

Maine regulators are pushing for changes to proposed federal hemp rules.

Rhode Island regulators are considering hiring an outside firm to handle medical cannabis business license awarding.

The Washington, D.C. Council Health Committee will consider legislation to allow students to use medical cannabis in schools on Thursday.

California regulators scheduled Cannabis Advisory Board meetings for next week.


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

The Chicago, Illinois City Council held a hearing on a proposal to delay recreational marijuana sales until July, but did not vote on it.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Water and Sewer Authority is being sued for firing a medical cannabis patient who tested positive for marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she hasn’t taken a position on the 2020 marijuana legalization referendum. Meanwhile, a lawmaker held up a bag of oregano during a speech in Parliament outlining her concerns about the proposal.

Jamaica made its first cannabis export to Canada.

Singapore officials gave what is believed to be the country’s first approval to use cannabis-based medication to a young girl with epilepsy.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “street segments with recreational dispensaries experienced no changes in violent, disorder and drug crime but did experience an 18% increase in property crime” while medical dispensaries demonstrated no significant crime changes” and that a “cost-benefit analysis found the associated crime costs were largely offset by sales revenue.”

A study of marijuana use in Jamaica found that “decriminalization positively correlates with the likelihood of first time and general use for youths” but that “there is also some evidence that the legislation results in a substitution away from alcohol towards marijuana consumption for youths.”

A study found that “cancer survivors are increasingly interested in using medical cannabinoids for symptom relief and treatment-related side effects.”

/ BUSINESS

Vicente Sederberg LLP is bringing on new partners from the firm Frontera Law Group.

New Frontier Data is moving forward with plans to acquire Civilized Worldwide Inc. and says it has “temporarily” laid off its staff to “allow an effective and successful restructuring.”

CB Therapeutics, Inc. announced it biosynthesized psilocybin, psilocin and related tryptamine-based compounds and has filed a patent for the production process.

Questions are being raised about how so many marijuana businesses working with the firm 4thMVMT were granted initial approvals in Los Angeles, California’s marijuana licensing process.

/ CULTURE

HBO released a teaser trailer for the new season of “High Maintenance.”

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Feds ease hemp business banking access (Newsletter: December 4, 2019)

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USVI governor pushes legal marijuana; New Zealand government releases cannabis referendum bill; Feds host psychedelics talk

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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.

  • Thanks to supporters Jesse Tischauser and Deborah Tharp for starting new monthly pledges this week!

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a memo making it much easier for banks to maintain accounts for hemp businesses.

  • “Because hemp is no longer a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act, banks are not required to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) on customers solely because they are engaged in the growth or cultivation of hemp in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.”

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) is directing the legislature to consider a marijuana legalization bill in a special session this month.

  • “This amendment creates a regulated system, enables tourists and increases tax revenue to the government of the Virgin Islands.”

New Zealand’s government released a draft marijuana legalization bill ahead of a planned 2020 voter referendum on the issue.

The National Institute of Mental Health, a federal agency, hosted a talk on the benefits of substances such as psilocybin and DMT, with the head of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Psychedelic Research previewing upcoming studies on microdosing, among other areas of investigation.

/ FEDERAL

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) reprised his impression of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) talking about marijuana.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said that drug addiction should be treated as a health issue and “not in jails and prisons.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Less than 1/5 of the cannabis industry is owned or operated by people of color. That’s why it’s so important we ensure our cannabis laws are rooted in equality, justice, and fairness. It’s time to pass the MORE Act and decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.”

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) tweeted, “I spent my career in Congress working to ensure that our veterans have access to the care they need — and I saw the relief medical cannabis could bring them for chronic pain. I’m glad @mnhealth is working to help more Minnesotans get this same relief.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana brings: ✅ Regulatory control ✅ Controlled distribution  ✅Testing/ purity standards ✅Tax revenue for commonwealth ✅ Ends racially biased enforcement Illegal: Dude making bootleg vape kits in his garage. Sounds like a toss up. 🤔”

The New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee rejected a marijuana legalization bill. Meanwhile, the Health and Human Services Committee defeated legislation to allow medical cannabis for any condition approved by a doctor.

New Jersey lawmakers appear to have enough votes to pass a marijuana decriminalization bill.

The Michigan House Regulatory Reform Committee held a hearing on legislation to ban vitamin E acetate as an additive in marijuana and tobacco vaping products.

Illinois regulators are being sued in federal court by a woman who says she was denied a medical cannabis business license over a disputed address change.

Vermont regulators launched a website to educate people about marijuana.

An Oregon regulator met with Chinese researchers to discuss hemp shipments.

Here’s a look at Texas legislative committees’ mandates to study cannabis-related issues in the interim.


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 has implemented a program to withdraw drug charges against people who show they are enrolled in treatment.

The Santa Cruz, California City Council Public Safety Committee held a hearing on a proposal to decriminalize psychedelics.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Barbados’s Senate approved bills allowing medical and sacramental uses of cannabis.

Brazilian regulators approved rules for cannabis-based medicines but rejected a proposal to allow domestic cultivation.

A UK judge is asking regulators to participate in a case concerning a 14-year-old boy’s lack of access to medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “the addition of [medical cannabis] to standard oncology care in patients with [advanced cancer] was well-tolerated and may lead to improved pain control and lower opioid requirements.”

A study found that “only about half of trauma patients with a positive urine drug screen for marijuana reported use” and that “self-reporting among UDS-positive patients demonstrated no significant change with the legalization of marijuana for medical reasons.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Legal Aid Society, NY County Defender Services and other criminal defense attorney groups are calling on New York lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

The Firearms Policy Coalition and Firearms Policy Foundation urged the Maine Supreme Court to rule that marijuana possession doesn’t make people ineligible to possess guns.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation launched a line of CBD products in the U.S.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings Inc. and Infinite Product Co. are facing consumer lawsuits alleging they improperly market CBD products.

Harborside Inc. is appealing a U.S. Tax Court decision that determined it cannot write off certain business expenses due to the 280E tax provision.

Shoppers Drug Mart expanded its online medical cannabis sales to Canada’s East Coast.

22nd Century Group, Inc. announced plans to take a controlling equity position in Panacea Life Sciences, Inc.

Cresco Labs Inc. entered into an equity distribution agreement with Canaccord Genuity Corp., through which it may sell up to C$55 million worth of subordinate voting shares.

First Data Merchant Services LLC is asking a federal court to take control of $620,000 that is apparently owed to marijuana businesses.

The New York Times looks at hemp farmers’ struggles to protect their legal crops from thieves and law enforcement who sometimes confuse them for illegal marijuana.

/ CULTURE

Actor Danny Glover tweeted, “ICYMI: Evanston, IL made a historic decision to use taxes on recreational marijuana to raise millions of dollars for a local reparations fund. I will speaking at the town hall on #reparations in Evanston on Dec 11th!”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Federal watchdog weighs in on USDA hemp process (Newsletter: December 3, 2019)

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Feds OK credit union employment for people with marijuana convictions; Treatment providers push UK to consider decrim; NASCAR blocks CBD sponsorships

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There are now 1,289 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The National Credit Union Administration, a federal agency, finalized a rule that lets people with certain drug convictions work at credit unions.

  • “There are already a host of significant extrajudicial consequences for individuals with nonviolent drug possession convictions, including not only employment bans but the loss of federal financial aid, eviction from public housing, disqualification from occupational licenses, loss of voting rights, and denial of public assistance. Moreover, research shows that drug convictions disproportionately burden people of color.”

The Government Accountability Office issued a review of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s  hemp regulation process.

  • “There is public interest in expediting the ability of the nation’s farmers to enter the new agricultural market presented by hemp.”

Four top drug treatment providers are calling on the UK government to consider decriminalizing drugs as a solution to the overdose crisis.

  • “To that end, we urge the next Government to establish an expert, independent commission that will consider all options to reframe and reinvigorate the UK’s drug laws, including decriminalisation.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Justice are developing an information sharing system meant to expedite hemp shipments across state lines.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, spoke about her support for legalizing marijuana and letting people with prior convictions be “first in line” to get jobs in the legal cannabis industry.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “Legalize marijuana. Expunge marijuana convictions. End the war on drugs.”

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) published an op-ed arguing that ending the war on drugs is the best response to cartel violence.

George McMahon, one of the last remaining handful of patients to have received medical cannabis directly from the federal government, has died.

/ STATES

Questions are being raised about how Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) appointed a former senator to be his top marijuana advisor.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner said she wants the state to be the “gold standard for the entire country” on hemp.

Vermont’s public safety commissioner said the state isn’t ready to legalize marijuana sales and that safe consumption facilities for illegal drugs aren’t “ready for prime time.”

The South Dakota legislature’s Hemp Study Committee approved a draft hemp legalization bill.

The New Jersey Assembly Oversight, Reform and Federal Relations Committee has scheduled a hearing for next week on legislation to place a marijuana legalization referendum on the 2020 ballot.

Minnesota regulators added chronic pain and age-related macular degeneration as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Pennsylvania regulators ordered a hemp business to cease operations due to the emission of odors as well as the installation and operation of equipment without approval.

Texas regulators are expected to submit proposed hemp regulations as soon as this week.

Arkansas regulators are giving medical cannabis dispensaries until the middle of 2020 to open or lose their licenses.

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe, located within Wyoming, is exploring the possibility of legalizing medical cannabis and hemp.

A number of Native American tribes located within South Dakota see opportunity in hemp.


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

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor announced that officials will hold additional marijuana legalization information sessions this week.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Argentina’s Ministry of Science and Technology signed an agreement with a local government and a university to research medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical grade cannabis “may be successfully used to treat [drug-resistant epilepsy].”

A review on pain in orthopedics concluded that “most of the existing evidence suggests that medical cannabis use is effective, but this efficacy has been demonstrated only when either there is no comparator or cannabis is compared with placebo” and that “studies using an active comparator have not demonstrated efficacy.”

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. received approval for its medical cannabis oil products in Ireland.

GenTech Holdings, Inc. launched a CBD coffee subscription program.

Michigan retailers sold roughly $221,000 worth of recreational marijuana products in the first day of legal sales.

A survey of U.S. investors found that 9% already hold cannabis stocks and another 40% said they are open to doing so in the future.

The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists is hosting a cannabis-focused conference in April.

/ CULTURE

NASCAR won’t allow sponsorships to be sold to CBD companies.

Filmmaker Kevin Smith joked about how he didn’t know marijuana is illegal in the UK.

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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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