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



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

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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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

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Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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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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