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USDA approves first state hemp plans (Newsletter: December 30, 2019)

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New Oklahoma legal marijuana measure filed; Buttigieg vs. former drug czar on decrim; U.S. Embassy weighs in on Trinidad & Tobago cannabis law

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  • Felecia L. Dawson, MD: “I sent you a donation a few years ago instead of a monthly pledge because I was not generating an income at the time. I so appreciated what you did, that I felt it was the least I could do. Your newsletter helps me tremendously as a medical cannabis advocate, educator and consultant. Opportunities are coming my way now. I acknowledge that you and your team contribute to my success by keeping me informed. Thus, I am happy to become a monthly supporter.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued the first approvals for state and tribal hemp programs since the crop was federally legalized under the Farm Bill.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, detailed his support for decriminalizing possession of drugs like cocaine and meth in a new interview—a position that 1980s drug czar Bill Bennett says is “nuts.”

Oklahoma activists filed a new version of a proposed 2020 marijuana legalization ballot measure days after withdrawing an initial version that the medical cannabis community had expressed concerns over. A different activist also filed a separate legal marijuana proposal that doesn’t include an age limit for use.

/ FEDERAL

The Food and Drug Administration officially raised the age for tobacco sales from 18 to 21 in accordance with legislation recently approved by Congress and signed by President Trump.

The U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago clarified that the country’s new marijuana law does not exempt people who have past convictions expunged from requirements to disclose them on visa applications.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “More American adults have access to marijuana than ever before. It’s critical that we expand licenses for research into its potential health and therapeutic benefits.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Marijuana is a legitimate industry that should have legitimate access to banking services to start successful businesses. Especially for people of color who have been disproportionately incarcerated from marijuana criminalization.”

Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Lisa Ring tweeted, “By legalizing #marijuana, we can begin to end the failed “war on drugs” and its racial disparity; tackle the immediate #OpioidCrisis; more effectively meet the #PublicHealth needs of our nation; cut down on crime; and generate public revenue. #legalizeit”

/ STATES

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) tweeted about a study on teen marijuana and vaping use rates.

Louisiana regulators began accepting hemp business license applications after its regulatory plan received federal approval.

Missouri regulators are being sued by a rejected medical cannabis business license applicant.

Washington State regulators suspended the license of Herban Legends for allegedly “engaging in erratic and criminal behavior on the license premises.”

Michigan regulators published an advisory bulletin on how licensed businesses should handle medical cannabis obtained from primary caregivers.

A South Carolina representative introduced a marijuana decriminalization bill.

Indiana lawmakers filed marijuana reform bills.

North Dakota now has 1,944 registered medical cannabis patients.

Oregon regulators discussed pesticide issues at hemp and CBD conference.

Here’s a look at Maryland’s slow progress toward granting more medical cannabis business licenses.


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 tweeted a link to resources about the state’s new marijuana legalization law, saying, “In 2020, recreational cannabis will be legal in Illinois. While studies show that cannabis can be used for certain medicinal purposes, make sure you get a full picture.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Philippines banned two U.S. senators from visiting the country in protest of a congressionally approved provision calling out the incarceration of a Philippine senator who criticized that country’s bloody “war on drugs.”

Thailand’s public health and justice ministers signed agreements to remove marijuana and kratom from the country’s narcotics list.

UK Ministry of Justice statistics show that the government has spent £2.5 billion detaining up to 8,000 people a year for marijuana offenses since 2015.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “CBD might be a potent target for modulating the human [blood-brain barrier].”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Los Angeles Times editorial board said California officials should consider revising the marijuana tax structure while prioritizing public health.

/ BUSINESS

Payment processor Linx Card is being sued for allegedly owing money to a number of marijuana businesses.

Arkansas dispensaries have sold more than $28 million worth of medical cannabis in 2019.

/ CULTURE

The band 311 is selling bacon-flavored CBD drops for pets.

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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

IRS resists call for cannabis biz tax guidance (Newsletter: April 3, 2020)

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ID medical marijuana effort suspended; Senators push for cannabiz loan access; Congresswoman: Shutting rec stores hurts veterans; IL sales grow

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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Internal Revenue Service is pushing back against an internal Treasury Department inspector general’s report that recommends the agency do a better job advising marijuana businesses about their obligations under the 280E tax provision that blocks deductions that are available to other industries.

An Idaho effort to put a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot is the latest in a series of drug policy reform campaigns across the country to suspend in-person signature gathering amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A group of 11 senators, led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), is pushing Appropriations Committee leaders to adopt report language allowing marijuana companies to access Small Business Administration loans and disaster assistance programs.

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) is calling attention to how Massachusetts’s move to shutter recreational marijuana stores during the coronavirus outbreak hurts military veterans—who are barred from getting medical cannabis recommendations from their Department of Veterans Affairs doctors.

Illinois stores sold nearly $36 million worth of recreational marijuana products in March despite the coronavirus pandemic.

/ FEDERAL

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn tweeted, “We continue to pursue those that place public health at risk. With @FTC, we issued a warning letter to Neuro XPF, which sells cannabidiol (CBD) products with the misleading claim these products can mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure #COVID19.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey office tweeted, “This week is National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week #NDAFW. Fact: Traces of marijuana stay in your body for several days after use and can cause someone to fail a drug test weeks later. #Shatterthe Myths”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “The Federal Government’s current position on Cannabis is wrong.”

/ STATES

The New York attorney general’s office sent a cease and desist letter ordering Finest Herbalist to stop claiming that its CBD products can protect people against coronavirus.

Maine regulators issued guidance on social distancing requirements for marijuana businesses and said they may accept expired driver’s licenses or identification cards amid the coronavirus outbreak.


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

Santa Clara County, California regulators said that only medical cannabis businesses can conduct in-store sales amid the coronavirus outbreak, while recreational marijuana sales must be done via delivery.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators recommended that medical cannabis businesses be considered essential during the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, Ontario’s premier said officials are considering closing marijuana stores.

German regulators extended the deadline to apply to distribute medical cannabis.

A UK lawmaker is pressing the government to divert research money to fund medical cannabis prescriptions during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “music was widely considered integral for meaningful emotional and imagery experiences and self-exploration during psychedelic therapy.”

A study found “protective association between exclusive [supervised injection facility] use and exposure to violence among men.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance said President Trump’s announcement of a ramped-up militarized drug war is “an effort to distract Americans from his delayed response to the COVID-19 crisis—which at this point we know will likely cost hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Fox News commentator Geraldo Rivera tweeted, “In my 50 years as a newsman I have covered dozens of announcements like yesterday’s by @realDonaldTrump declaring another front in #DrugWar.I go back even before #Nixon declared #Elvis a special drug agent. My conclusion: drug wars easy to declare & always 100% end up Un-won.”

/ BUSINESS

Leafly launched a service to help marijuana businesses streamline their delivery services.

Cannabis social network LeafedIn has changed its name to LeafedOut following a trademark dispute settlement with LinkedIn.

/ CULTURE

Former NFL player Kyle Turley, whose CBD company received a federal letter warning it to stop claiming its products can prevent and treat coronavirus, tweeted, “OK OK, YOURE ALL RIGHT, ILL ADMIT IT! CHEAP CBD BRAND PRODUCTS WILL NOT PREVENT OR CURE COVID19!”

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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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Feds warn company over CBD coronavirus cure claims (Newsletter: April 2, 2020)

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AOC: marijuana biz should stay open like liquor stores; Feds fund COVID & cannabis research; WA gov signs equity bill; USDA approves hemp plans

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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent a letter warning former NFL player Kyle Turley’s company to stop claiming that CBD can cure coronavirus. This comes one day after Turley told Marijuana Moment in an interview that he’d actually welcome federal action as a publicity boost.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said marijuana dispensaries should be allowed to remain open as essential businesses during the coronavirus outbreak if liquor stores can continue operations.

  • “You’ve got to make a decision one way or another.”

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a bill aimed at increasing participation in the state’s legal marijuana industry by people from communities historically targeted by the war on drugs.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse announced it is funding research on how consumers of marijuana and other drugs might be uniquely impacted by coronavirus.

  • “Because it attacks the lungs, COVID-19 could be an especially serious threat to those with histories of smoking tobacco or marijuana or of vaping.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for South Carolina, West Virginia and three Indian tribes.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump began his daily coronavirus briefing by speaking about U.S. efforts to ramp up a militarized drug war, including by sending Navy ships to waters near Venezuela.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “If you have just be indicted for narcotics trafficking & have a $15 million reward for your capture, having @Southcom conducting counter narcotics operations off your coast with a surge of destroyers, AWACS, an Army brigade & special operators is not very comforting.”

A federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration’s ongoing effort to regulate CBD doesn’t shield companies from lawsuits over the labelling of their products.

The Drug Enforcement Administration tweeted, “Do you and your family know how to avoid drug-laced foods?”

Libertarian presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator, posted to Facebook, “The marijuana industry is becoming a vital part of many state’s economies and as common sense spreads, it will soon be legal nationwide. I have no idea why some states have chosen to call liquor stores essential businesses, but not marijuana and CBD dispensaries. Not only does marijuana have more medical benefits than alcohol, it’s also safer. This is not to say marijuana or liquor stores are essential businesses, but the same policy should apply to both. The marijuana industry should not struggle as big alcohol thrives.”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued an executive order extending deadlines for marijuana craft grower, infuser and transporter licenses to April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Wisconsin regulators said that CBD stores are not essential under a coronavirus shutdown but that some operations like delivery services are still allowed.

Massachusetts regulators are investigating allegations that New England Treatment Access is failing to adequately protect its workers from coronavirus.

Oklahoma regulators sent a warning about illegal medical cannabis delivery offers.

Alabama regulators posted updates about the state’s hemp program.

Arizona regulators are being pressured to allow medical cannabis deliveries and to let doctors issue recommendations via telemedicine amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a look at how various states handle expungements of past marijuana records.


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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Philippine bloody “drug war” is continuing even amid the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabinoids alleviate cocaine-induced seizures by glycine receptors.”

The New York Times Magazine looks at efforts by researchers to correlate terpene and cannabinoid concentrations with effects on cannabis consumers.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

NORML issued a memo with suggested moves to protect public health during the coronavirus pandemic.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network is opposing an Anchorage, Alaska ballot measure to allow on-site consumption at marijuana dispensaries.

/ BUSINESS

The New York Stock Exchange is moving to delist CannTrust Holdings Inc.

LivWell Enlightened Health executives are deferring compensation for 90 days to avoid layoffs.

Good Chemistry I LLC is being sued for allegedly sending unsolicited promotional text messages.

Canopy Growth Corporation named new members of its board of directors.

/ CULTURE

Joe Rogan suggested that former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) only excuse for a series of incoherent press appearances would be if he were on marijuana edibles.

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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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NY gov says legal cannabis likely not in budget (Newsletter: April 1, 2020)

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Mass. gov defends rec marijuana closures; Coronavirus impedes drug reform ballot measures; Former NFL player slammed for CBD COVID claims

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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said it’s “not likely” marijuana legalization will be in the budget due Wednesday, explaining that it is “something that had to be talked through and worked through, and the legislature wasn’t here. I was doing this COVID virus.” Lawmakers also filed new amendments to spending legislation that don’t include legal cannabis language. The developments come one day after Marijuana Moment obtained a leaked document indicating legalization wouldn’t be in the budget.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) defended his decision to shutter recreational marijuana stores amid the coronavirus outbreak.

  • “We are going to have to deal with the fact that people are going to come here from all over the place across the Northeast and create issues for us with respect to the fundamental issue we are trying to solve for here, which is to stop the spread. For that reason and that reason alone, I think this is just a non-starter with us.”

Marijuana Moment’s latest analysis looks at how the coronavirus pandemic is upending efforts to place marijuana legalization and drug reform measures on ballots in states across the country as the public health crisis has made signature collection all but impossible.

Former NFL player and cannabis company founder Kyle Turley keeps claiming, without clinical evidence, that CBD can “prevent and cure” coronavirus—and both supporters and opponents of marijuana legalization are calling on him to stop. When Marijuana Moment asked about the possibility of Food and Drug Administration enforcement, he essentially dared the feds to bring it on.

  • “Please shut my company down so I can have another blockbuster press release on how the FDA and the United States government is suppressing truth and information when we have study after study now being driven by major cannabis companies in getting clinical trials to prove what I’m saying is true.”

/ FEDERAL

The Federal Bureau of Investigation tweeted, “The FBI has a zero tolerance policy for employees on ALL illegal drugs.”

Libertarian presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former Rhode Island governor and U.S. senator, posted to Facebook, “I support ending the war on drugs and do not believe anyone should ever go to jail for having a drug addiction problem. Addiction can happen to anyone. We need to address this as a health issue and not a criminal one. As President, I will pardon non-violent offenders, aid them in getting real help, decriminalize all drugs and declare an end to the failed war on drugs.”

/ STATES

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed an executive order authorizing curbside pickup of medical cannabis, allowing doctors to issue recommendations via telemedicine, extending patient certification expirations and allowing temporary caregivers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Two of Iowa’s five CBD medical cannabis dispensaries have permanently closed.

Illinois regulators extended curbside medical cannabis sales through April 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Massachusetts regulators will consider “potential relief” for marijuana businesses and other issues on Friday.

Ohio regulators released updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.

An Oklahoma representative said he plans to file a marijuana legalization bill.


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

An independent audit examined Los Angeles, California’s marijuana licensing process.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators said that marijuana labs are stepping up to help with coronavirus testing.

New Zealand regulators are moving to allow certain medical cannabis vaporizers.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of the use of cannabinoids by adolescents and young adults with cancer found that “benefits were reported by 19% of responders regarding anxiety control, 24% for nausea, 29% for pain control and improvement of sleep, and 48% for appetite improvement.”

A study examining “the effects of cannabis on simulated driving in young as compared to middle-aged drivers” will soon be recruiting participants.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that U.S. adults consider medical cannabis dispensaries essential during the coronavirus pandemic, 44%-41%. On the question of recreational dispensaries, 34% say they are essential and 49% say they are not.

Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy is calling on Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to enact a moratorium on cannabis possession arrests and bring lawmakers into a special session to pass legalization legislation amid the coronavirus outbreak.

/ BUSINESS

CannTrust Holdings Inc. obtained a court order protecting it from lawsuits from creditors and class-action plaintiffs.

Tilray, Inc. is releasing 11 million shares from a lock-up agreement.

Terrapin Care Station is postponing all 4/20 promotions, sponsorships and events in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Green Cross CBD is delivering CBD products via drone to reduce person-to-person contact amid the coronavirus pandemic.

/ CULTURE

Race car driver Danica Patrick spoke about her investment in CBD company Beam.

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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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