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VA legal cannabis on gov’s desk (Newsletter: March 1, 2021)



Fed employees’ marijuana memo; NM House passes legal cannabis; WA drug prohibition overturned by court; DC legalization bill; CT hearing on gov’s bill

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There are now nearly 800 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2021 sessions. 

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The Office of Personnel Management issued a memo saying recent marijuana use doesn’t necessarily make workers “unfit or unsuitable for federal service.” Separately, the Biden administration is granting waivers to some White House staff who’ve used cannabis.

  • “It would be inconsistent with suitability regulations to implement a policy of finding an individual unfit or unsuitable for federal service solely on the basis of recency of marijuana use.”

Virginia lawmakers sent a marijuana legalization bill to Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) desk. The House and Senate approved the compromise legislation negotiated in conference committee after both chambers had previously passed their own versions earlier this month. Next, the governor is likely to send amendments back to the legislature, which can then approve or reject them.

The New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize marijuana.

The Washington State Supreme Court overturned the state’s criminalization of drug possession. The Seattle Police Department responded by saying having drugs “is no longer an arrestable offense,” and prosecutors are dropping cases. The ruling comes as state lawmakers are already advancing legislation to decriminalize drugs.

A day-long hearing by the Connecticut legislature’s Judiciary Committee indicated that Gov. Ned Lamont’s (D) marijuana legalization proposal is likely to be amended to address serious concerns that equity advocates have raised about its provisions.

Marijuana sales would be legal in the nation’s capital under a new bill filed by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D). The legislation comes as Democrats take full control of Congress—which bodes well for removing a federal rider that has blocked local cannabis reform.


The Drug Enforcement Administration launched a new initiative called “Operation Engage” that involves participating field divisions focusing on the “biggest drug threat” in their regions.

The House of Representatives approved a bill containing provisions to restore lands damaged by illegal marijuana cultivation.

Rep. Al Green (D-TX) and 18 cosponsors filed a Black History Month resolution that calls out racial disparities in drug law enforcement.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) tweeted, “Voters in New Jersey made their voices heard, and thanks to the work of @PhilMurphyNJ, state lawmakers, and advocates—marijuana is now legal in New Jersey. The war on drugs has been a war on people. The road to equity and justice is long, but this is an important first step.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “New Jersey is leading the way on racial and economic justice. Legalizing marijuana would not have been possible without forceful grassroots activists and a Governor who listened to them. We need to re-elect @PhilMurphyNJ to keep the momentum going.”


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) granted pardons to people with past marijuana and other convictions.

New York’s lieutenant governor spoke about plans to legalize marijuana. (About 18 minutes into the video.)

The Montana House Business and Labor Committee voted to table a bill that would have delayed the launch of recreational marijuana sales.

The South Dakota Senate Commerce and Energy Committee approved a bill allowing marijuana and hemp businesses to access banks.

The West Virginia House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to extend the length of supervision for certain drug offenses.

Puerto Rican lawmakers held a hearing on legislation to provide employment protections for medical cannabis patients.

Pennsylvania Senate Democrats tweeted, “@SenSharifStreet announced bipartisan legislation this week to legalize the adult use of cannabis in Pennsylvania. The bill prioritizes safety, community reinvestment, social & economic equity, agriculture, & creates vital tax revenue streams for PA.”

Florida Senate Democrats tweeted, “Filed bills to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana for adults in FL are locked up in committees, while an expected bill to cap medical marijuana THC content, opposed by vets groups and others, has top GOP support.”

A Delaware representative says he thinks he might have enough support to override a possible marijuana legalization veto from Gov. John Carney (D).

A Colorado representative filed a bill to increase legal marijuana possession limits and to seal more past cannabis conviction records.

A North Dakota senator said he doesn’t support following the House’s action to approve a marijuana legalization bill. (About 9 minutes into the video.)

Vermont lawmakers are considering changes to marijuana legalization regulations.

A Nevada assemblyman filed a bill to allow marijuana social use areas.

Iowa regulators are accepting applications to register to sell consumable hemp.

Oregon officials are reducing marijuana sales forecasts.

California regulators are being sued by a marijuana testing lab whose license was revoked.

Massachusetts regulators are considering changing strict bacteria and fungus testing requirements for marijuana.

Michigan regulators sent a reminder that certain recreational marijuana business license applicants are no longer required to hold an active medical cannabis business license.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.

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The Clarksville, Tennessee City Council is considering a proposal to make marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority.


A study found that “in children and young adults with [fetal alcohol spectrum disorder], cannabis, mostly cannabidiol (CBD), has been associated with a marked and statistically significant improvement in serious disruptive behavior.”


The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture passed a resolution urging the federal government to increase the allowable THC content in hemp to 1%.

The Denver Post editorial board endorsed restrictions on highly potent marijuana products.


Cronos Group Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $17 million and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $53.1 million.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. signed a $73 million investment agreement with Ascend Wellness Holdings, LLC.

Verano Holdings Corp. announced it is acquiring dispensaries in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Optimi Health Corp. closed an oversubscribed initial public offering worth C$20.7 million.

Field Trip Health Ltd. is increasing the size of a previously announced bought deal offering of common shares to approximately C$82.9 million.

Clarity Cannabis workers ratified a collective agreement.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Tom Angell is the editor of Marijuana Moment. A 20-year veteran in the cannabis law reform movement, he covers the policy and politics of marijuana. Separately, he founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Previously he reported for and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


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