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Vermont Senate approves legal cannabis sales bill (Newsletter: March 1, 2019)

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USDA issues hemp legalization update; Kamala Harris discusses her marijuana evolution; Three new House marijuana bills with social justice focus

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Vermont Senate approved a bill to legalize marijuana sales in the state—with a veto-proof margin. Another procedural vote is expected on Friday, with the legislation then going to the House of Representatives.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued an update on its efforts to implement the Farm Bill’s hemp legalization provisions. Among the moves planned are a public listening session to be held next month.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a presidential candidate, was asked to explain her marijuana evolution—from dismissively laughing off a reporter’s cannabis question to embracing full legalization as a social justice issue. She says she knows people who have benefited from medical cannabis.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) filed three separate marijuana bills in one day, including measures to deschedule cannabis, ban federal agencies from spending money to interfere with local legalization laws and encourage states to provide pathways for people harmed by the war on drugs to work in the legal industry.

In a sign of the new politics of marijuana, several rival Democratic presidential candidates teamed up to cosponsor the new Senate version of the Marijuana Justice Act.

/ FEDERAL

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he “broadly” raised the issue of human rights during a visit with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has overseen a bloody “drug war” that has led to thousands of deaths.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) criticized Democratic senators for filing marijuana legislation.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “The marijuana reform bills introduced in just the first few months of this Congress show that the end of prohibition is in sight. There will never be another president elected who is anti-cannabis. The sooner both parties get on board, the better it will be for the country.”

Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT) said he opposes federally legalizing marijuana but is open to allowing banking access for state-legal cannabis businesses.

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) spoke about his involvement in the marijuana industry.

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) included medical cannabis legalization, marijuana decriminalization and funding for hemp licensing in his budget proposal.

New York’s Assembly speaker spoke about the chances of marijuana legalization making it into the budget.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved a bill to regulate medical cannabis.

The South Dakota Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted to approve a hemp legalization bill over the objections of Gov. Kristi Noem (R).

Alabama regulators send a health advisory about unregulated CBD products.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner attended a hemp industry event.

New Jersey lawmakers are proposing to put the question of marijuana legalization to voters via a ballot measure.

A report commissioned by Illinois lawmakers concluded that demand for legal marijuana would outpace what currently licensed medical cannabis companies would be able to supply.

Here’s a look at the prospects of Hawaii marijuana reform bills.

Various Indiana marijuana reform bills have been declared effectively dead for the year.

Louisiana regulators gave a medical cannabis cultivation operation permission to move its plants from a temporary location into a permanent facility.

Here’s a look at Massachusetts regulators’ consideration of allowing marijuana social use areas.

California regulators released guidance about cannabis retailer licenses.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 700 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.

We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Denver, Colorado’s mayor sent a letter to Congress about the importance of banking services for marijuana businesses.

New York City’s mayor wrote an op-ed that mentions his plan to partially pay for transportation projects with marijuana tax revenue.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Switzerland’s government is moving to allow municipalities to launch pilot projects on “the advantages and disadvantages of alternative forms of regulation” for marijuana, including sales in pharmacies.

/ ADVOCACY

The South Dakota Democratic Party tweeted, “Good news from Pierre – the bill legalizing industrial hemp was passed out of committee with a strong bipartisan majority. We urge the full Senate to pass this important economic development bill as soon as possible.”

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin tweeted, “Legalizing medical marijuana and decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana are important steps forward in addressing the racial disparities and economic inequities that continue to affect so many in our state.”

The Republican Party of Wisconsin tweeted, “Let’s not forget that @GovEvers lied to the public in order to garner support for his social justice proposal to decriminalize marijuana.”

The National Association of School Nurses is taking that stance that “only FDA approved cannabis/marijuana medications be allowed in the school setting.”

The Drug Policy Alliance released a video and briefing paper about Portugal’s drug decriminalization law.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “across product characteristics, only higher THC levels were independently associated with greater symptom relief and prevalence of positive and negative side effects” and that “in contrast, CBD potency levels were generally not associated with significant symptom changes or experienced side effects.”

A study found that “bleaching and perming reduced all cannabinoids concentration in hair.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of New York voters that was commissioned by the  New York Medical Cannabis Association found that 63% support support legalizing marijuana and that 63% also back the state’s medical marijuana program. It also showed that 68% think existing medical cannabis outlets should be licensed to grow and sell recreational marijuana under broader legalization.

/ BUSINESS

Martha Stewart and Canopy Growth are partnering to develop line of CBD products.

Alcohol delivery service Drizly is considering entering the marijuana industry and is suing a co-founder for allegedly stealing the company’s idea and leaving to create a competing business.

Marijuana companies are pressing Canadian exchange operator TMX Group Ltd. to remove restrictions on investing in firms with U.S. cannabis operations.

Monster says it is seeing an increase in marijuana industry job postings.

/ CULTURE

Dr. Mehmet Oz spoke about his support for medical cannabis.

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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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DEA sued over ‘secret’ cannabis law interpretation (Newsletter: March 30, 2020)

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Missouri legal marijuana effort impeded by COVID; Fed Small Biz Assn touts hemp progress; Colorado cannabis deliveries begin

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 440 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Scientists are suing the Drug Enforcement Administration over its alleged use of a “secret law” to delay the expansion of marijuana research. They want access to an internal Justice Department memo that could reveal how the federal government is relying on an interpretation of international treaties to impede studies.

The Missouri campaign working to put a marijuana legalization measure on the November ballot announced it has “no practical way” of collecting enough signatures to qualify amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The federal Small Business Administration published a new post touting its efforts on behalf of the legal hemp industry. Meanwhile the agency says it can’t help marijuana firms with coronavirus-related disaster aid.

  • “From rope to clothing, biodiesel to hempcrete, plant-based ingestible protein to CBD balm, the uses of hemp are far-reaching.”

Colorado’s first legal marijuana delivery service has launched.

/ FEDERAL

National Institute on Drug Abuse personnel met with Canadian officials to discuss priority areas for marijuana research including setting a standard dose of THC in cannabis products, as well as safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

A state representative who has led efforts to legalize medical cannabis is expected to be confirmed as the U.S. attorney for South Carolina on Monday.

Oregon Democratic congressional candidate Blair Reynolds urged people to sign petitions for a proposed therapeutic psilocybin legalization ballot measure.

/ STATES

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed a hemp legalization bill.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill repealing the regulation of marijuana financial services cooperatives.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s (D)  coronavirus stay-at-home order exempts medical cannabis compassion centers as critical businesses.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s (D) coronavirus stay-at-home directive exempts medical cannabis businesses as essential.

Vermont regulators said medical cannabis dispensaries can remain open under a coronavirus stay-at-home directive issued by Gov. Phil Scott (R) but are being encouraged to do phone and online transactions, and are allowed to do parking lot pickups. Patient, caregiver and dispensary staff registrations are also being extended for 90 days.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) signed an executive order extending the deadline to submit marijuana infuser, craft grower and transporter businesses licenses by a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Massachusetts regulators are allowing curbside pickup of medical cannabis during the coronavirus outbreak. Separately, lawmakers sent a letter asking Gov. Charlie Baker (R) to allow recreational marijuana sales as essential during the coronavirus outbreak.

Oklahoma regulators said medical cannabis dispensaries can offer curbside pickup during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ohio regulators released updated guidance to medical cannabis businesses on maintaining clean and sanitary conditions amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Delaware regulators are asking medical cannabis patients and caregivers to mail, rather than deliver in person, their applications during the coronavirus pandemic.

Washington State regulators approved a rule on waiving marijuana business fees and tax penalties during the coronavirus outbreak, and withdrew a proposed rule on quality assurance sample testing.

A New Jersey court rejected a medical cannabis dispensary’s attempt to prevent a competitor from opening nearby.

Oregon generated more than $9.2 million in marijuana tax revenue for the state and an additional more than $1.4 million for local governments in February.


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 Webster Groves, Missouri City Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

Berkeley, California officials amended a coronavirus-related shutdown order to allow marijuana businesses to do curbside pickup.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK’S secretary of state for health and social care responded to lawmakers’ request for information about what the government is doing to increase access to and research about cannabis-based medicines.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that the “combination of CBD and [bacitracin] is suggested to be a putative novel treatment in clinical settings for treatment of infections with antibiotic resistant Gram-positive bacteria.”

A study of toxicology tests of women admitted to hospital labor and delivery units concluded that “prevalence of cannabis use until the time of delivery vary by location but were largely unchanged over a period of drug liberalization.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of U.S. adults who use marijuana found that 28% have consumed more than usual in the past two weeks, 14% have used less than usual and 36% have seen no change.

The New York Daily News editorial board is urging lawmakers to not include marijuana legalization and other policy issues in the state budget.

The National Association of Cannabis Businesses has a new executive vice president and chief operating officer.

/ BUSINESS

KushCo Holdings, Inc. got a new CFO and laid off 49 employees.

Hightimes Holding Corp. is acquiring Humboldt Heritage Inc. and its subsidiaries Humboldt Sun Growers Guild and Grateful Eight LLC.

Denver, Colorado marijuana sales jumped 392% during the hours after the mayor announced a later-rescinded closure of dispensaries due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Florida medical cannabis sales increased by nearly 40% in a week.

/ CULTURE

Quibi is launching a series starring joint-rolling artist Tony Greenhand.

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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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Arizona legal cannabis campaign says it has enough ballot signatures (Newsletter: March 27, 2020)

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CBO: Vets marijuana measure won’t cost anything; Study: Teen treatment admissions down after legalization; Poll: Dispensaries are essential

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Arizona marijuana activists say they have more than enough signatures to put a legalization measure on the November ballot. While not validated by the state yet, the campaign now has about 80,000 more raw signatures than needed.

The Congressional Budget Office projected that passing a bill to let Department of Veterans Affairs doctors recommend medical cannabis to military veterans would cost the government absolutely nothing.

A new study shows that youth marijuana treatment admissions declined after legalization for adults in Colorado and Washington—even bigger drops than occurred in states that kept cannabis criminalization in effect, though it’s not clear what caused the change.

A poll found that, by a two-to-one margin, Americans say medical cannabis dispensaries are “essential” and should be allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.

An Oregon effort to put a drug decriminalization and treatment expansion measure on the November ballot is the latest reform campaign to suspend in-person signature gathering activities due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is asking supporters to print and mail signed petitions.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas tweeted, “I get asked all the time why we still police importation of marijuana. It’s still illegal. It still pours across the border, usually floated across, even with legalization in many states. And these loads are sources of hard currency for the cartels. That’s why.”

/ STATES

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) signed a bill allowing sales of medical cannabis in “dry leaf or plant form.”

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) launched a no-interest loan program for small businesses but said that cannabis firms are not eligible.

Maryland lawmakers sent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) a bill to allow students to use medical cannabis at schools.

The New York Assembly majority leader said that it is more important than ever to legalize marijuana as a possible recession approaches.

A Louisiana judge said he opposes releasing people incarcerated for nonviolent offenses during the coronavirus pandemic because “members of this particular population are overwhelmingly drug addicts who have the worst hygiene of anyone in the community, other than the mentally ill.”

Colorado regulators released average market rates for retail marijuana.

Washington State regulators will consider an emergency rule on marijuana excise taxes and withdrawal of a rule on testing on Friday.

Here’s a look at Alabama’s harsh marijuana laws.


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

Berkeley, California officials mandated that all marijuana sales be conducted via delivery amid the coronavirus pandemic.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was indicted on drug trafficking charges by U.S. prosecutors.

The Mexican Senate’s move to suspend activities due to the coronavirus outbreak could jeopardize efforts to pass a marijuana legalization bill before a Supreme Court deadline.

Canadian regulators asked marijuana testing labs to help with coronavirus testing.

New Zealand’s medical cannabis program is on track to launch on April 1.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study did “not find a relationship between medical marijuana dispensaries and referrals for investigations of child maltreatment.”

A study of an occupational safety and health training for marijuana cultivation workers found that it “successfully reached cannabis employees in cultivation, compliance, and management” and that  participants “felt that the training was of high quality and addressed gaps in their knowledge related to safety and health hazards in the cannabis industry.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Marijuana Policy Project, NORML, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, National Cannabis Industry Association and other groups sent a letter urging law enforcement and governors to reduce arrests for marijuana and grant clemency to people incarcerated for cannabis offenses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nevada Dispensary Association said its members are committed to complying with Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) order requiring marijuana sales to be conducted by delivery only.

The National Cannabis Industry Association delayed its annual Cannabis Business Summit & Expo to September 29 through October 1 from its initially scheduled June dates due to the coronavirus outbreak.

/ BUSINESS

DLA Piper launched a hemp and CBD practice.

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. and Verano Holdings, LLC mutually agreed to cancel a pending merger.

Arkansas dispensaries sold more medical cannabis last Friday than on any other single day since the program’s launch.

The Selan Law Firm is being sued by a California marijuana dispensary license applicant who alleges its attorneys smoked cannabis during business meetings and provided incompetent legal services.

/ CULTURE

The Onion joked about the pros and cons of CBD for pets.

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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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GOP senator says cannabis firms aid coronavirus response (Newsletter: March 26, 2020)

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Mayor accidentally posts pic of marijuana vape?; OR psilocybin campaign hits COVID snag; NORML builds database of politician legalization positions

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…

This issue of Marijuana Moment, and our original reporting that is featured in it, are made possible by the generous support of 438 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

Check out the perks of being a sponsor on our Patreon page.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) took to the Senate floor to talk about how Colorado marijuana and hemp companies are stepping up to help with the coronavirus response.

Raleigh, North Carolina Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin (D) appeared to  inadvertently tweet a picture of a marijuana vape pen alongside a large take-out order of Indian food she shared with friends.

Oregon’s campaign to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use is the latest drug policy reform effort to hit a snag amid the coronavirus pandemic. Activists have collected more than the required number of raw signatures but still want about 15,000 more to ensure a sufficient number of valid submissions and are working with state officials to “find responsible ways” to mail ballot petitions to potential supporters.

NORML is asking for help building out its database of where politicians stand on marijuana. If you know what your representatives have said about cannabis or how they’ve voted on reform bills, you can submit that info for other voters to see.

/ FEDERAL

Libertarian presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee, a former U.S. senator and Rhode Island governor, posted on Facebook, “Donald Trump does not support legalization. Joe Biden does not support legalization. I support legalization, because I support jobs and industry. 2020 is going to be the roughest for us in years for our economy. Marijuana legalization can provide a stable job source for our economy going forward to help younger people get employed. I will make it happen!”

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Patty Murray (D-WA) said that marijuana businesses should be eligible for coronavirus-related disaster aid.

/ STATES

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’s (D) coronavirus stay-at-home order exempts medical cannabis dispensaries (and curbside marijuana delivery) as critical businesses.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) coronavirus order temporarily closing many businesses exempts medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation centers as essential.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed a bill amending medical cannabis rules. Meanwhile, the state’s top medical marijuana regulator said patients can still buy their medicine from approved pharmacies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) issued an executive order allowing doctors to issue medical cannabis recommendations via telemedicine, extending patient renewal deadlines and loosening some restrictions on businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed a proclamation letting regulators defer taxes and waive penalties for marijuana businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Michigan regulators are allowing people to purchase marijuana using expired drivers licenses or government-issued identification cards because they cannot process renewals during the coronavirus outbreak.

Rhode Island regulators are directing medical cannabis patients and caregivers to email their documents amid the coronavirus outbreak instead of physically going to a state office as previously required.

Oregon regulators proposed rules on sampling marijuana products to determine whether they contain undisclosed ingredients or additives.

The California Legislative Analyst’s Office released an overview of cannabis-related budget provisions.

Alaska regulators hosted a Facebook Live chat to explain new hemp rules.


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

Juneau, Alaska’s coronavirus stay-at-home order exempts marijuana businesses.

A Los Angeles, California city councilman is being sued by a former staff member who alleges he demanded political donations and cash bribes in exchange for helping marijuana businesses secure licenses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Australian Senate Community Affairs References Committee published a report on barriers to patient access to medical cannabis.

Here’s a look at Macedonian lawmakers’ delays in expected passage of an amendment allowing medical cannabis flower exports.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found support for the “medicinal potential of CBN in anti-cancer therapy.

A study found that “[first-episode psychosis] patients with a history of daily use of high-potency cannabis present with more positive and less negative symptoms, compared with those who never used cannabis or used low-potency types.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Anti-marijuana author Alex Berenson suggested in a Fox News appearance that there is a correlation between places with the most cannabis use and coronavirus cases.

The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association is calling on Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) to maintain legal marijuana access during the coronavirus outbreak.

/ BUSINESS

MedMen Enterprises Inc. announced a new member of its board of directors and the resignation of another member.

Third Wave Farms is asking a federal court to void its contract with Oregon LLC Pure Valley Solutions because it says the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible to uphold the terms of the deal.

/ CULTURE

A UFC victory by Journey Newson has been overturned due to a positive marijuana test.

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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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