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USDA releases hemp regulations for public comment (Newsletter: October 30, 2019)

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Portland, Chicago & Dallas work to decrim psychedelics; Study: Medical marijuana access reduces alcohol use; McConnell et al react to hemp news

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its proposed hemp regulations, which include decisions on total-THC potency testing, approving state regulatory plans and the reach of a ban on industry participation by people with felony drug convictions. Once formally published in the Federal Register on Thursday, the public will have 60 days to submit comments.

Lawmakers and industry stakeholders generally reacted positively to USDA’s proposed hemp rules, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), for example, taking to the Senate floor to celebrate the move in a speech.

Advocates in Berkeley, Chicago, Dallas and Portland are working to advance measures to decriminalize psychedelic drugs, some through city councils and one via a ballot measure.

A study found that legalizing medical cannabis and providing access to dispensaries improves health among certain demographics, including by fostering “large reductions in alcohol consumption” and reducing “mental health issues and health related limitations.”

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has on several occasions in recent weeks seized storage jars and packaging being imported to state-legal marijuana businesses in Washington State.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “As president I’ll end failed war on drugs, legalize marijuana, abolish mandatory minimum sentences and expunge criminal records for nonviolent drug offenses, end cash bail, ban private prisons, shut down the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and ending the war on drugs in a Daily Show appearance and reiterated his pledge to “treat substance use disorder as a public health issue — not a criminal justice issue” in a criminal justice reform plan.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted to actress Alyssa Milano, “We’ll always have Marijuana reform and LGBTQ rights, Alyssa.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 50.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of 35.

The House bill to shield veterans from losing benefits over marijuana use got one new cosponsor for a total of 12.

/ STATES

Wisconsin’s Senate majority leader reiterated his opposition to medical cannabis.

A Pennsylvania court responded to the state Supreme Court’s request for an explanation of why it wants to transfer a case challenging a ban on using medical cannabis for people on probation.

The Michigan House Judiciary Committee approved an expungement bill that allows people to appeal if their marijuana expungement requests are denied. Separately, regulators released details about the process by which they will accept and evaluate recreational marijuana business license applications beginning on Friday.

Missouri regulators drafted a new emergency rule concerning medical cannabis facility licensing and certification procedures.

Massachusetts regulators sent a reminder to parents to lock up their marijuana products and check Halloween candy to prevent accidental underage consumption.

Washington State regulators sent a newsletter with marijuana licensing and other information.


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

Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro Police Department is being sued by a family that was the target of a mistaken marijuana raid.

The Los Angeles, California City Council president wants regulators to suspend the processing of requests for marijuana retail licenses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he won’t rule out the possibility of legalizing marijuana. Meanwhile, a Senate leader confirmed that the body asked the Supreme Court for a deadline extension on passing cannabis legislation.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will personally take up the issue of medical cannabis access with the health secretary.

Malaysia’s youth and sports minister said the government will use a special committee to expedite amendments to decriminalize drug addiction.

Quebec, Canada lawmakers approved legislation to raise the legal age for marijuana use from 18 to 21.

The Australian attorney general warned a locality that a proposed marijuana legalization measure was defective before it passed the legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “use of medical marijuana and CBD amongst women with endometriosis is common” and “are reported as moderately or very effective for pelvic pain by the majority of women who have tried them, with marijuana reported as more effective than CBD.”

A review concluded that “there is scarce evidence to suggest that cannabinoids improve depressive disorders and symptoms, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, or psychosis” and that “there is very low quality evidence that pharmaceutical THC (with or without CBD) leads to a small improvement in symptoms of anxiety among individuals with other medical conditions.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded Purdue University scientists $955,458 to study organic hemp production.

/ BUSINESS

Square tweeted, “we have received an unexpectedly large number of applicants for our CBD program! As a result, it’s taking a bit longer than anticipated to get back to everyone.”

MedMen Enterprises Inc. is forming a committee to select new independent directors constituting a majority of its board.

/ CULTURE

Golfer Greg Norman launched a line of CBD products.

Cartoonist Scott Adams tweeted, “I don’t trust anyone in the government who disagrees with” a bill to deschedule marijuana and invest in communities that have been harmed by the drug war.

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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.

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.)

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NM election results boost legal cannabis prospects (Newsletter: June 5, 2020)

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VT Senate votes to double marijuana possession limit; FDIC head talks cannabis banking; NY senator pushes for legalization

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  • Miles Lowenfield: “It’s my joy to share to such a great cause! Thanks for your good work!  I pledged in order to bring justice where it’s due. No plant on earth should be criminalized. Cannabis is a wonderful plant with hundreds of uses. There’s no reason it should be illegal to consume or grow! I’m grateful for you, Tom! Keep up the good work!”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Vermont Senate voted to double the amount of marijuana that can be possessed and grown without the threat of jail time. The bill also provides for expungements of prior cannabis convictions.

The prospects for legalizing marijuana in New Mexico significantly increased after five incumbent Democratic senators who opposed or were skeptical about ending cannabis prohibition lost to progressive primary challengers.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairwoman Jelena McWilliams said that marijuana business banking access is one of the most challenging issues she’s faced in the role.

  • “Banks find themselves caught between the federal regulatory regime and the state.”

New York Sen. Julia Salazar (D) is pushing to pass a package of criminal justice reform bills—including marijuana legalization—amid ongoing protests over police killings of black Americans.

/ FEDERAL

A federal judge said that people he places on probation cannot use medical cannabis.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that “one of the biggest lessons of the past year is the need for regulatory clarity from the FDA” on CBD.

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA) tweeted, “What concrete policies can help confront police violence? … Decriminalize marijuana, and end other discriminatory laws.”

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said, “This dark history is exacerbated by the fact that Black Americans are disproportionately the targets of injustices, ranging from loss of jobs, economic inequality and the ever-widened racial wealth gap, to mass incarceration and excessive police force, as well as the War on Drugs and COVID-19.”

The Senate marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor, for a total of 34.

Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Henry Martin tweeted, “We must legalize marijuana. Over 600,000 Americans are arrested every year for minor possession offenses. These otherwise law-abiding citizens are being saddled with a lifelong criminal record over a plant. We can not afford to keep squandering precious law enforcement resources.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) cited marijuana legalization as one measure the state has taken to address systemic racism. Meanwhile, regulators have removed cannabis business licensee info from their website in response to looting.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr.s’ (D) projections on the economic impact of marijuana legalization contained apparent errors.

North Carolina lawmakers sent Gov. Roy Cooper (D) a farm bill with controversial hemp provisions removed from an initial version.

A Hawaii Health Department whistleblower is raising concerns over the state’s lax regulation of medical cannabis vape cartridges.

Massachusetts regulators said that no one under 21 is allowed to be present in cars doing curbside pickup of marijuana products.

Michigan regulators published an updated bulletin on coronavirus-related measures for marijuana businesses.

Washington State regulators signed a contract with a company to lead a licensing and enforcement systems modernization project.


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

The United Nations Human Rights Office published a report highlighting human rights violations in the bloody Philippine “drug war.”

Mexican senators spoke about the benefits of legalizing marijuana at an event.

Jamaican regulators responded to what they described as inaccuracies in a news report about the country’s marijuana policies.

The Canadian government generated $32 million in legal marijuana excise tax revenue over the past year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that  ‘quality’, ‘strain type’, ‘price’, ‘THC’ (tetrahydrocannabinol) and ‘pesticide’ were the top five important attributes affecting cannabis users’ willingness to buy cannabis in a dispensary.”

A study of sexual minority men found that “they used cannabis for sex to increase sexual pleasure and lower inhibitions” and “described using cannabis for sex to reduce feelings of anxiety and shame, and foster intimacy and connection with sexual partners.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable is pushing Congress to include a mandate for the Food and Drug Administration to draft CBD regulations in the next economic relief bill or other must-pass legislation.

Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Steve Hawkins penned a note connecting the organization’s work to the fight for racial justice.

/ BUSINESS

Infinite Bloom is being sued for allegedly sending unwanted text messages.

San Francisco Bay Area marijuana businesses seem to have been specifically targeted for robberies during the past week.

Columbia Care is being sued for alleged tortious interference with contract, unjust enrichment, civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting fraud and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty.

/ CULTURE

The Wire creator David Simon tweeted, “The war on drugs long ago metastasized into a war on people in the same manner that border enforcement has become anti-human. This is a fresh low. If you cooperate with drug enforcement or ICE, you are part of Pharaoh’s army. Refuse to bear witness. Nullify every jury. Resist.”

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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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House leaders push legal cannabis states on impaired driving (Newsletter: June 4, 2020)

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VA gov cites marijuana decrim as racial justice move; USVI gov touts legal cannabis revenue; VT activist seeks high bailiff office

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There are now 1,506 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.

  • Jim Higdon of Cornbread Hemp: “There’s two newsletters I read every morning: Politico Playbook and Tom Angell’s Marijuana Moment. The MM newsletter is the daily heartbeat of the cannabis community. It’s absolutely amazing what Tom and Kyle get done every day to keep us informed.”  

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

House Transportation Committee leaders filed a bill requiring legal marijuana states—and only those states—to consider creating programs to “educate drivers on the risks associated with marijuana-impaired driving and to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from individuals driving motor vehicles while impaired by marijuana.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) cited a marijuana decriminalization bill he recently signed as an example of how the state is addressing racial inequities that have inspired recent protests of police violence against black Americans.

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) touted marijuana legalization’s economic impact at a conference focused on boosting revenue for the territory. Cruise passengers and hotel guests would buy an estimated $43 million worth of cannabis every year, according to a projection commissioned by his office.

  • “We need to get this measure done as quickly as possible in order to start impacting our economy in a very positive way.”

Dave Silberman is a Vermont marijuana legalization advocate who is running for a county elected office actually called “high bailiff.” It might sound funny, but he’s using his campaign to highlight a serious drug policy reform platform.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture posted an updated list of approved hemp testing laboratories.

The White House  Office of National Drug Control Policy designated 12 additional areas as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said that the Senate Banking Committee is not a particularly favorable place to have marijuana legislation referred to.

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) budget is projecting declining marijuana sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. Separately, regulators are holding a cannabis business payroll tax compliance webinar on Thursday.

Louisiana lawmakers sent Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) a bill to regulate hemp and CBD.

Iowa lawmakers sent Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) a bill to set a per-person medical cannabis THC limit of 4.5 grams in 90 days.

The North Carolina House of Representatives approved a revised agriculture bill with controversial smokable hemp ban language removed.

Washington State regulators posted an overview of coronavirus-related policies for marijuana businesses.

Michigan regulators released a bulletin outlining the requirements for annual financial statements for medical cannabis businesses.

Oregon regulators approved marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.


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

A Myrtle Beach, South Carolina City Council member said he would consider supporting a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

A security guard was shot and killed at an unlicensed Spring Valley, California marijuana dispensary.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “data support the safety and effectiveness of [medical cannabis] as a complementary option for improving pain control, appetite and quality of life in [supportive cancer care].”

A study found that cannabis consumers “generally had low accuracy in identifying effective harm reduction techniques and low rates of utilizing effective harm reduction techniques, using them at the same rate overall as techniques without empirical support.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Cannabis Industry Association filed an amicus brief in a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit case in which Harborside Health Center is challenging the 280E tax penalty on marijuana businesses.

The National Cannabis Roundtable released a statement about its member businesses’ efforts to combat injustice and inequality.

/ BUSINESS

Sundial Herbal Products has been ordered by a federal judge to stop distributing unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs, including a hemp seed oil it claimed  “suppresses the growth of cancer.”

FSD Pharma Inc. received Food and Drug Administration approval to submit an Investigational New Drug Application for the use of a substance to increase endogenous levels of endocannabinoids to treat patients with coronavirus.

Michigan dispensaries Pharmhouse Wellness,, The Botanical Co. and Om of Medicine are offering a 10 percent discount to customers convicted of marijuana-related felonies and a 5 percent discount to those convicted of marijuana-related misdemeanors.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. is selling its shares in Alcanna Inc.

/ CULTURE

Pornstar Nacho Vidal was arrested on manslaughter charges after another man died during a ritual involving psychedelic toad venom.

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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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White House reviewing cannabis research plan from FDA (Newsletter: June 3, 2020)

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Trump campaign attacks Biden’s drug war record. Poll: 2/3 AZ voters back legal marijuana; Booker calls out cannabis arrest disparity

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.

  • James Rowland of Rowland Strategy Group, LLC: “Tom Angell’s Marijuana Moment beats the Politico Pro Cannabis newsletter hands down. A must-have tool for government affairs professionals working in the cannabis policy space.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The White House Office of Management and Budget is reviewing draft Food and Drug Administration guidance on marijuana and CBD research.

President Trump’s reelection campaign is attacking presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as “the chief architect of mass incarceration and the War on Drugs, which targeted Black Americans.”

  • “Joe Biden’s policies destroyed millions of black lives. Joe Biden may not remember. But we do.”

A poll found that two-thirds of Arizona likely voters support a marijuana legalization measure that is on track to qualify for the November ballot.

  • “All signs point to 2020 being the year that recreational marijuana finally becomes legal in Arizona.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) cited racial disparities in marijuana enforcement as an example of what’s motivating police accountability protests.

  • People “can’t get a job, can’t get a loan from the bank for doing things that two of the last three presidents have admitted to doing.”

In an op-ed, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri makes the case for how legalizing marijuana is just one part of the broader fight for racial justice, but an important one.

  • “Of course, marijuana prohibition isn’t the sole cause of America’s racial inequities, nor is it the sole reason why certain members of the police continue to engage in racially-aggressive policing and misconduct. But its criminalization is one of the tools commonly used to justify and perpetuate these injustices.”

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been given temporary authority to “enforce any federal crime committed as a result of protests over the death of George Floyd” and to “conduct covert surveillance” on protestors.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke during a Judiciary Committee hearing about a man who died of coronavirus while serving a federal prison sentence for marijuana.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said, “We hold more prisoners, by far, than any other country in the world.  This is largely due to the failed war on drugs, which disproportionately and unjustly targeted people of color.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said that “too often marijuana arrests and prosecutions are a gateway to criminalizing the minority population.”

/ STATES

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) reiterated his call for lawmakers to pass marijuana legalization legislation and celebrated federal approval of the territory’s hemp program.

Maine regulators are being sued over a decision not to enforce a state residency requirement for marijuana business licensees.

California regulators are seeking funding to hire 87 officers to enforce marijuana rules.

The Connecticut legislature’s Regulations Review Committee approved adding Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and certain instances of chronic pain as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

Massachusetts regulators are investigating the looting of multiple marijuana dispensaries.


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

The UK secretary of state for health and social care pledged to look into medical cannabis access delays.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “there is substantial evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids in treating cancer-related pain; specifically, oromucosal THC/CBD spray” and that “there is conclusive evidence for the effectiveness of cannabis and cannabinoids in relieving chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; specifically, oral THC.”

A study found that hemp protein products “may improve chronic inflammatory states and promote regenerative processes.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights led more than 400 organizations in calling on Congress to enact policing reforms, including legislation to “prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches.”

Students for Sensible Drug Policy is organizing a virtual lobby day next week.

/ BUSINESS

Hightimes Holding Corp. plans to launch a marijuana delivery service in California next month.

PetSmart is being sued for allegedly using  false and deceptive practices to sell hemp products 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.
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