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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 15-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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Inside McConnell’s cannabis industry lunch (Newsletter: October 11, 2019)

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Mexican cabinet member accepts marijuana gift; Trucking org adopts cannabis stance; Scratch-n-sniff cannabis packaging; Texas cancels dispensary apps

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 445 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

Marijuana Moment got a look inside a private luncheon Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) held with cannabis industry representatives during a marijuana-focused visit to Southern California.

Ahead of an expected vote on marijuana legalization this month, a  key Mexican cabinet member happily accepted a lawmaker’s gift of a joint during a legislative session.

American Trucking Associations adopted new cannabis policy recommendations, including removing federal research roadblocks, creating a “marijuana victim’s compensation fund” paid for by the industry and reporting purchases to prescription drug monitoring programs.

The congressional marijuana banking vote “signals a positive shift in House members’ attitudes toward marijuana” but “does not go nearly far enough,” The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights wrote in a letter asking lawmakers to cosponsor a comprehensive cannabis descheduling bill.

Texas regulators won’t explain why they suddenly suspended the application process for low-THC medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Inventors filed a patent application for scratch-and-sniff marijuana packaging. One concept uses terpenes to mimic cannabis smells, while another would use scents like bacon, fish and chips, the seaside, shampoo and a Sunday roast.

/ FEDERAL

Two associates of President Trump’s attorney Rudolph Giuliani were arrested on charges that they, along with two other defendants, allegedly plotted to illegally funnel foreign money to politicians in an effort to secure marijuana business licenses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there are now 1,299 known cases of severe lung injury believed to be associated with vaping, including 26 deaths.

The Drug Enforcement Administration published technical corrections to information about marijuana cultivation license applications.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb suggested in an op-ed that Congress “take marijuana out of the existing paradigm for drug scheduling” and that “regulation of the potency of THC compounds, the forms they take, how they’re manufactured, and who can make purchases ought to be possible.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke about the importance of solving banking and tax issues for the marijuana industry.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “The House did the right thing by passing the SAFE Banking Act to allow legal marijuana businesses to bank without fear of federal interference. Now, the Senate should do the same.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, “I come from the pro-science wing of the Republican Party. I understand that the Earth is warming, that medical marijuana can help people live better lives and no one chooses to be gay.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The failed War on Drugs has disproportionately targeted and continues to harm communities of color. As our country continues to move forward on decriminalizing cannabis, it’s critical we prioritize real marijuana justice.”

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Ted Terry, the Clarkston mayor, touted his local marijuana decriminalization policy and launched an online petition calling on Congress to enact cannabis reform.

/ STATES

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) defended his administration’s temporary ban on vaping products in response to criticism. Separately, regulators are publishing guidance warning marijuana entrepreneurs about scams targeting small businesses. They also approved licenses for companies to train cannabis business employees.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said it is important to legalize marijuana for social justice reasons. (About 16:45 into the audio.)

Mississippi Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Hood, currently the state attorney general, said medical cannabis should be up to doctors to decide and that he has seen studies indicating it can help people get off of opioids. Republican candidate Tate Reeves, the current lieutenant governor, said he plans to vote against a medical marijuana ballot measure.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor clashed with prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana on Twitter.

Florida’s surgeon general appointed a new marijuana coordinator.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner visited a hemp farm at harvest time.

A Louisiana judge halted juror selection in a felony marijuana case after too many potential jurors in the pool said they support legalization.

The California Veterinary Medical Board’s Multidisciplinary Advisory Committee discussed guidelines for the appropriate administration of medical cannabis to animals. Separately, regulators are being sued over a decision to allow some marijuana billboards.

Oregon regulators will discuss vaping issues in a special meeting on Friday.

Michigan regulators will hold a meeting to take public comments on marijuana on October 28.


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

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor tweeted, “Why is municipal government in the marijuana ordinance enforcement business at all? #KCMO is considering 100 gram decriminalization as an ordinance matter, but the better move may be to remove marijuana as an offense from the municipal code altogether. It doesn’t change state treatment of marijuana possession, distribution, etc., as an offense, and thus our 4 local prosecutors would still have ability to prosecute or decline. We won’t create inconsistency with state law… instead we will just get out of the business.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Quebec, Canada government is appealing a court ruling that invalidated the province’s ban on marijuana home cultivation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “although cannabis use is mostly found to be associated with increased incidence of anxiety disorders, these findings are generally not sustained in adjusted analyses controlling for multiple confounders” and that “the scarce data available indicates no clear effect of cannabis use on the course and treatment outcomes of anxiety disorders.”

A study examines how environmental movement organizations “have avoided America’s fastest growing agricultural sector: newly legalized cannabis.”

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation named Constellation Brands, Inc.’s chief financial officer as the chair of its board.

Canopy Growth Corporation and Go Farm Hemp are suing each other in federal court over allegations of missed payments and poor crops.

New Frontier Data announced plans to acquire Civilized Worldwide Inc.

HEXO Corp reported that quarterly revenues are below initial expectations.

Leafly informed customers of a breach of one of its databases involving customer records.

Colorado retailers sold more than $173.2 million in marijuana products in August, a new monthly record.

/ CULTURE

Former basketball player Jamal Mashburn was appointed as an advisor to the board of directors of cannabis company Revolution Global.

Anderson Cooper will lead a 60 Minutes report on psychedelic research on Sunday.

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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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McConnell meets with cannabis industry leaders (Newsletter: October 10, 2019)

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Gabbard backs legalizing drugs; Congress pushed on pesticides & marijuana; Rogen & Snoop offer cannabis tips; Study: Marijuana reduces opioid use

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There are now 1,204 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 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.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plans to meet with marijuana industry representatives and tour at least one California cannabis business this week.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate,  said the country should move toward legalizing drugs like cocaine and heroin.

The Oregon Education Association says it supports the aims of a proposed drug decriminalization ballot measure but is concerned about provisions to redirect cannabis tax revenue away from schools and toward drug treatment.

The advocacy group Beyond Pesticides is urging Congress to take action to prevent the misuse of pesticides on marijuana. The lack of federal regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency leaves states making up their own rules, and that puts consumers at risk, the group says.

A study on medical cannabis and chronic pain found that more than a quarter of patients stopped taking opioids altogether after using marijuana, while another 55% of participants reduced their opioid use by an average of 30%.

Seth Rogen and Snoop Dogg spoke to Howard Stern about how they enjoy smoking marijuana together, and they offered advice for cannabis novices.

/ FEDERAL

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll discussed his concerns with marijuana legalization in a Drug Enforcement Administration podcast.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official participated in a Pennsylvania hemp summit.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request to take up a case challenging a Michigan court’s ruling overturning marijuana charges that stemmed from police “knock and talk”interviews.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit directed a lower court to take another look at a case challenging a Kansas police raid on a home that resulted from officers mistakenly thinking tomato plants and loose-leaf tea were evidence of a marijuana grow.

Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julián Castro, a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Addressing the injustice of the failed war on drugs means that we must legalize and regulate marijuana, and ensure victims of these policies — a majority of whom were Black and Brown—have their records expunged and are given access to economic development opportunities.”

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) said that “the impact on the ability of small and large businesses to operate justifies our attention” to marijuana banking issues.

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 47.

/ STATES

Washington State regulators approved a 120-day ban on flavored marijuana vaping products.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill to let parents administer medical cannabis to students at schools. He also signed legislation to remove a sentencing enhancement that added an extra year to sentences for each prior prison or felony jail term a person had. Separately, regulators awarded grants to local jurisdictions to support marijuana equity efforts.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said he is continuing to push for marijuana legalization.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “The majority of Pennsylvanians told @FettermanLT they want adult-use, recreational marijuana to be legal. I’m asking the legislature to seriously consider a legalization bill and get it to my desk.”

Louisiana gubernatorial candidates agreed on opposing legalizing marijuana during a debate.

Maine lawmakers are starting to file marijuana reform bills for the new legislative session.

Texas regulators unexpectedly suspended the application process for low-THC medical cannabis business licenses.

Illinois regulators released information on social equity cannabis loans, dispensary licenses and industry scams.

Michigan regulators sent a bulletin about marijuana business employee background checks. They also updated inspection guides.


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 Anchorage, Alaska Assembly voted to place a question about allowing on-site consumption at marijuana dispensaries before voters.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “CBD did not consistently influence the effects of THC across all studies and outcomes” but suggested that “CBD may interact with some acute effects of THC.”

A survey of pharmacy students found that “91% of students believed that [medical cannabis] should be legalized nationally” but that “a low number of students correctly identify approved indications.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance is hiring a director for its office of national affairs.

/ BUSINESS

A hypothesis put forth by Colorado Green Lab suggests that the outbreak of vaping-related lung injuries could be caused by a metal ingredient in vaping devices themselves—instead of a contaminant in nicotine or cannabis oils.

Nielsen and Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. teamed up to launch a CBD retail market analysis program.

New Frontier Data is acquiring  Zefyr, Inc.

Iron Laboratories, LLC paid a $100,000 fine as part of a settlement with Michigan regulators over violations related to its marijuana testing and reporting results.

The marijuana-focused app Social Club was removed from Apple’s App Store after it was reportedly flooded with posts about drug sales, weapons and pornography.

/ CULTURE

Musician Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth spoke about the time she got busted smoking marijuana at Disneyland.

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Another DOJ study undermines anti-cannabis legalization fears (Newsletter: October 9, 2019)

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Senators press FDA on CBD regs; More banks working with marijuana biz; Fox News host worried banking bill will give Dems more campaign money

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Another new Department of Justice-funded study undermines prohibitionist fears, concluding that burglaries dropped in Washington State after legalization and that more broadly there were “no statistically significant long-term effects of recreational cannabis laws or the initiation of retail sales on violent or property crime rates” in legalized states.

  • The researchers specifically call out prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana and author Alex Berenson for their claims about legalization allegedly causing crime.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) held a press conference to push the Food and Drug Administration to more quickly enact regulations allowing CBD to be marketed. He and five colleagues also sent the agency a letter on the issue demanding action within 90 days.

The number of banks and credit unions working with marijuana businesses rose again last quarter, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Meanwhile, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), author of the House-passed cannabis banking bill, is urging regulators to issue guidance on hemp financial services.

Fox News host Laura Ingraham is worried that Democrats will rake in millions in campaign contributions if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) allows a vote on House-passed marijuana banking bill. On the other hand, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) might be more likely to lose his seat—and the GOP majority along with it—if he doesn’t.

/ FEDERAL

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration officials authored an op-ed about the harms of marijuana.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture official will speak at the Hemp Industries Association conference next month.

Former U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Services Director Leon Rodriguez will participate in a webinar on immigration law and marijuana on October 22.

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) tweeted about discussing marijuana financial services legislation with representatives of a local bank.

/ STATES

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) tweeted, “Congress: Keep your #HandsOffDC and #RemoveTheRider preventing us from establishing a safe & equitable cannabis regime for adult use. Together, with Congresswoman @EleanorNorton, we fight for the rights of 702,000 disenfranchised DC residents.”

Michigan’s attorney general testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of marijuana expungement legislation. Separately, regulators published cannabis facility inspection guides.

A law enforcement conference hosted by Ohio’s attorney general featured discussions about marijuana legalization and medical cannabis.

The Wisconsin Senate approved a hemp bill.

The Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on harm reduction drug policies.

California regulators released guidance on marijuana banking.

New Mexico regulators are mandating that medical cannabis vaping products be labeled with a warning.

Illinois representatives filed a bill to ban sales of CBD products that haven’t been tested and labeled.


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 Scottish National Party appears set to approve a resolution endorsing drug decriminalization.

The UK has a new minister in charge of drug policy.

The bloody Philippine “drug war” is the subject of a new PBS Frontline documentary.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study that used CBD to treat patients with brain tumors reported that “all but one patient are still alive with a mean survival time of 22.3 months,” which is “longer than what would have been expected.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded $3.5 million to researchers to study the impact of medical cannabis laws on people with chronic pain.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Pennsylvania voters oppose legalizing marijuana, 48%-37%.

The Republican National Committee tweeted, “After locking up thousands for marijuana-related offenses, Kamala Harris says weed brings good vibes” and included a video in which Harris does appear to briefly mention marijuana but which also shows someone else making the remark about good vibes.

The Boston Herald editorial board is calling on Massachusetts lawmakers to pass impaired driving legislation before marijuana social use areas open.

/ BUSINESS

Citigroup’s CEO said the company won’t bank marijuana businesses until there are national policies allowing it. (About 46:30 into the video.)

MedMen terminated its plan to acquire PharmaCann, LLC and replaced its chief financial officer.

Aleafia Health Inc. terminated a wholesale marijuana supply agreement with Aphria Inc.

Altria is sponsoring a marijuana panel featuring anti-tax activist Grover Norquist at the State Policy Network conference this month.

Stripe is refusing to process payments for policy monitoring group Cannabis Observer.

/ CULTURE

Jimmy Kimmel’s show aired a spoof ad about cannabis-infused dining at “highHOP.”

Actress Jennifer Aniston gave advice to a Howard Stern show staffer on his first time smoking marijuana.

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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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