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Video shows McConnell smiling among hundreds of cannabis plants (Newsletter: January 13, 2020)

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Congressional panel’s marijuana memo; Buttigieg won’t hit imaginary joint; CA gov wants cannabis changes; Hawaii decrim in effect; Austin decrim vote

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) reelection campaign posted B-roll footage of him appearing to have a great time chatting with farmers in a field of hundreds of hemp plants.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health released a memo outlining the six cannabis bills that will be the focus of a hearing this week. It also lists witnesses from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Food and Drug Administration and National Institute on Drug Abuse who are set to testify.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, declined to take a hit of an imaginary marijuana joint offered by an interviewer, though he did detail his support for legalization.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) released a budget proposal that seeks to consolidate marijuana business licenses under a new agency called the Department of Cannabis Control. It also floats changes to the state’s marijuana tax policies.

Hawaii’s new law decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana went into effect.

The Austin, Texas City Council is set to vote this month on a plan to “virtually end arrests and fines” for marijuana possession.

/ FEDERAL

The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy tweeted about the U.S. Department of Agriculture extending the public comment period on hemp rules.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Ban private prisons. Legalize marijuana. End the War on Drugs. We have a lot of work to do to reform a criminal justice system that’s so deeply broken—but we can start there.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rep. James Langevin (D-RI) oppose federal marijuana legalization.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s not enough to legalize marijuana if people are still stuck with criminal records for use. Chicago just cleared thousands of marijuana records on the eve of legalization. Expanding this nationwide would begin to make up for the failed war on drugs.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Here’s what we’ll accomplish when we take back our government come November: …  ✔️Legalize marijuana…”

Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) tweeted about meeting with hemp industry participants.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) tweeted about a former Boston city councilman who owns a marijuana business saying that “cotton was the cash crop of our enslavement, and I believe cannabis will be the cash crop of our emancipation.”

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got three new cosponsors for a total of 97.

/ STATES

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said that the “growing hemp industry in our state is spurring job creation at every step of the process from seed to shelf.”

New York’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Recreational marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed in New York. It’s time to get this done. This is about jobs and boosting our economy.”

Virginia’s attorney general spoke at a conference hosted by the state’s NORML chapter and tweeted, “We have an historic opportunity this year to pass meaningful cannabis reform in Virginia. Let’s get to work!”

South Dakota’s House majority leader filed a hemp legalization bill.

Tennessee’s House speaker said he opposes medical cannabis because it is against federal law, though a senator said she will soon introduce a bill on the topic.

Iowa legislative leaders said they will work on a medical cannabis expansion bill this year.

The Mississippi State Board of Health followed up its resolution opposing a medical cannabis ballot measure with a letter outlining members’ concerns.

Missouri regulators begin issuing licenses to medical cannabis-infused products manufacturing facilities. Separately, the state Ethics Commission found that a nonprofit that worked in support of an unsuccessful 2018 medical marijuana ballot measure failed to file disclosure reports with the state.

Texas regulators published proposed hemp rules.

Georgia regulators submitted a hemp pan for federal approval, and are also accepting public comments on cultivation and processing rules.

Washington State regulators will adopt marijuana enforcement changes recommended by a consulting firm.

Michigan regulators issued a recall for marijuana products that failed safety compliance testing.

Questions are being raised about whether a petition firm being used by a Florida marijuana legalization campaign is flouting a restrictive new state law on signature gathering.

Utah regulators said some medical cannabis products will be available by the program’s March launch deadline.

Massachusetts regulators announced a new online medical cannabis system that will allow for automatic verification of identification data for registrations and renewals.

Here’s a look at the prospects for legalizing marijuana in New Mexico this year.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 800 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

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor announced that the city will host a Cannabis Resource Fair “to connect residents with employment and business opportunities, expungement and legal aid assistance, and more information on cannabis regulations and laws within the city.”

Denver, Colorado officials announced a recall of marijuana products due to the presence of elevated yeast and/or mold counts.

The Fairfax County, Virginia commonwealth’s attorney authored an op-ed on his decision not to prosecute marijuana possession cases.

The Atlanta, Georgia Police Department is disbanding its narcotics unit.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that after following marijuana legalization Washington State, “past 30-day cannabis use prevalence in grade 8 decreased by 22.0%, in grade 10 prevalence decreased by 12.7%, and no effect in grade 12” and that “these trends are consistent with those in states without recreational cannabis laws, suggesting that legalization did not impact adolescent use prevalence.”

A study found that “marijuana use does not have a statistically significant effect on labor productivity.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The American Bankers Association told Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) that some of his floated changes to cannabis banking legislation are unrelated to the scope of the bill and should be handled by other panels.

The ACLU of Virginia said it would “prefer the status quo while we’re waiting for full legalization” instead of enacting marijuana decriminalization in the short term.

The New York Times editorial board included the Food and Drug Administration’s slowness to enact CBD regulations in a piece criticizing the agency’s shortcomings.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board is calling on Missouri’s U.S. Senate delegation to support marijuana banking legislation.

/ BUSINESS

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. sued Grizzly Research LLC for alleged defamation and public dissemination of false and libelous statements about the company.

Several analysts downgraded Aurora Cannabis Inc., and the company’s stock dropped.

Mile High Labs laid off 20 employees.

The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading for Canadian Cannabis Corp. due to a failure to file periodic reports.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. is partnering with yoga, boxing and wellness studios on a “New Year, New You” campaign.

Octarine Bio IVS, which develops cannabinoid and psilocybin derivatives using microbial fermentation, announced it received funding from private investors including Oskare Capital and former Canopy Growth Corporation CEO Bruce Linton.

/ CULTURE

Comedian Sinbad signed on as a brand ambassador for CBD company Life Pack Organics.

Musician Robert Plant joked about getting high from secondhand marijuana smoke from the crowd at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.

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Photo courtesy of Kyle Jaeger.

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.)

Newsletter

NY gov puts legal cannabis in budget proposal (Newsletter: January 22, 2020)

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Feds want help IDing marijuana studies; Lawmakers caution against changing cannabis banking bill; NM gov’s State of the State: ‘high time’ to legalize

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There are now 1,081 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.
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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) included marijuana legalization in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal he submitted to the legislature.

  • “I believe the budget is the opportunity, frankly, to make some tough decisions and work through tough issues that without the budget can often languish, and I suggest that we get it done in the budget.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) told lawmakers in her State of the State speech that it’s “high time” to legalize marijuana.

  • “This is the fact: recreational cannabis can be the next frontier of our economic expansion. We can get in on the ground floor or we can try to play catch up—I know which one I prefer. And I know which one New Mexicans prefer.”

The lead sponsors of a House-passed marijuana banking bill—Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Denny Heck (D-WA) and Warren Davidson (R-OH)—sent a letter cautioning Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) against making broad cannabis policy changes they say are unrelated to the legislation.

A division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is asking for the public’s help in identifying studies on the benefits of medical cannabis for people suffering from migraine headaches and acute pain.

/ FEDERAL

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 Regional Tribal Operations Committee is scheduled to discuss tribal cannabis programs on February 13.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, reiterated his pledge to end the war on drugs, “legalize marijuana in every state in the union” and expunge past records.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) decried barriers to marijuana research in an e-newsletter.

New York Democratic congressional candidate Adam Schleifer tweeted, “In Congress, I’ll support removing marijuana from Schedule I; creating unified federal financial framework, health and safety studies and regulation, and revenue-raising taxation of marijuana.”

/ STATES

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner said the state will continue to operate its hemp program under the provisions of the prior 2014 Farm Bill instead of newer federal rules. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives approved a hemp testing and transportation bill.

Texas’s agriculture commissioner will hold a public hearing on proposed hemp regulations on Wednesday.

Supporters of a proposed Florida marijuana legalization ballot measure filed briefs urging the state Supreme Court to approve its language.

The New York Senate unanimously passed a hemp and CBD bill.

The Michigan Senate Regulatory Reform Committee approved legislation to prohibit labor peace agreements for marijuana businesses. Separately, regulators sent a memo about marijuana businesses’ access to financial services.

The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee and House Judiciary Committee held hearings on legislation to amend medical cannabis regulations.

California’s Veterinary Medical Board will discuss medical cannabis use by animals at a meeting later this month.


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 Detroit, Michigan City Council voted to extend a moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses.

Austin, Texas City Council members are working to build support for an expected Thursday vote on a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand’s government is moving to repeal a law banning marijuana vaporizers.

The European Food Safety Authority warned that eating hemp foods can cause elevated THC levels.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “92.3% [of] respondents found that cannabis positively impacted upon their physical and/or mental wellbeing and 56.4% reported that they used less of other substances which are known to be more harmful as a result.”

A study concluded that “individuals with high pain are more likely to consume cannabis multiple times a day, but this use may not be related to better health.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 58%-38%.

/ BUSINESS

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Renewable Technologies Solution, Inc., Green Acres Pharms LLC, SMRB LLC and individuals behind the companies for an alleged scheme to defraud investors.

Akerna completed its acquisition of a majority interest in solo sciences inc.

From The Earth, an American marijuana retailer, is seeking to trade on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

/ CULTURE

Actor Tom Hanks and Dr. Mehmet Oz decried false claims that they’ve endorsed CBD products.

Musician David Crosby said he still smokes marijuana every night.

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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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Feds issue trademark for ‘psilocybin’ (Newsletter: January 21, 2020)

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USVI gov pushes legal marijuana in annual speech; Idaho senator files drug decrim bill; White House official voices cannabis concerns

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…

There are now 1,076 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.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. (D) pushed lawmakers to legalize marijuana in his State of the Territory speech, saying that the move will help fund a struggling government employees retirement fund.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office awarded a company a trademark for the word “psilocybin,” and some decriminalization advocates are not happy about it.

An Idaho senator filed a bill to decriminalize possession of currently illegal drugs.

/ FEDERAL

Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll discussed his opposition to safe consumption sites for illegal drugs and spoke about the potential harms of marijuana.

A Drug Enforcement Administration official said the agency won’t “turn our head away from” marijuana just because it is legalized under state law.

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said that the last time he smoked marijuana was “a past life.” (Around 1:27:55 into the linked video.)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a presidential candidate, said you’d “have to go back to college days” when asked about the last time she smoked marijuana. (Around 3:55:15 into the linked video.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Marijuana must be legalized. All our people imprisoned because of it must be returned home to their families and their records expunged.”

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) tweeted, “We owe a national apology to the Black men and women  who were targeted, harassed, and incarcerated in the failed war on drugs.” He also tweeted, “It is up to us to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with action — to march for environmental justice, to demand equal pay for our Black brothers and sisters, and to fight for justice for those incarcerated in the failed war on drugs.”

California Democratic congressional candidate Ben Emard tweeted, “To bring the US into the 21st century, we must federally legalize the sale and use of cannabis. To right the wrongs of the past, we must expunge criminal records, release those currently incarcerated, and create equity programs to repay impacted communities.”

/ STATES

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said he thinks the state will consider legalizing marijuana at some point but that he’s focused on implementing medical cannabis right now.

New York’s lieutenant governor said that legalizing marijuana is an opportunity to help raise revenues in the budget but also to correct the injustices of the criminal justice system. Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committee is now on board with legalizing cannabis.

Twenty-seven West Virginia delegates are calling on the state Department of Commerce to study the economic impact of legalizing marijuana.

The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on legislation to change medical cannabis regulations on Tuesday.

Michigan regulators removed a series of public service announcements videos that advocates had criticized as perpetuating anti-marijuana stereotypes.

Oregon regulators approved marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements and adopted rules changes.

Arizona regulators reported that 41% of hemp plants tested have excessive THC levels.

California regulators are hosting a series of cannabis permitting workshops this month and next month.

Arkansas regulators rejected the sale of two medical cannabis licenses.


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


A candidate for leadership of the UK Labour Party said there needs to be a “national discussion about the war on drugs.”

Italian regulators set THC limits for hemp foods.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “there is currently encouraging, albeit embryonic, evidence for medicinal cannabis in the treatment of a range of psychiatric disorders.”

A study found that “cannabinoids can promote progression of [human papilloma virus] positive [neck squamous cell carcinoma] through p38 MAPK pathway activation.”

/ BUSINESS

FSD Pharma Inc. is scheduled to ring the Nasdaq Stock Market opening bell on Wednesday.

Surterra Wellness stopped making most medical cannabis deliveries.

Wellcana Group plans to significantly expand its Louisiana medical cannabis operation.

/ CULTURE

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow spoke about an “emotional” experience she had on MDMA.

A UFC vice president spoke with former boxer Mike Tyson about efforts to remove marijuana from state athletic commissions’ lists of banned substances.

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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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Legal cannabis could be on Missouri 2020 ballot (Newsletter: January 20, 2020)

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Gabbard backs legalizing drugs; Biden reiterates legal marijuana opposition; Record expungement movement grows

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, is calling for the U.S. to legalize currently illicit drugs.

  • “If we take that step to legalize and regulate, then we’re no longer treating people who are struggling with substance addiction and abuse as criminals and instead getting them the help that they need.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden (D), a presidential candidate, reiterated his opposition to legalizing marijuana in an interview with the New York Times editorial board.

  • “What I’m arguing is there have been studies showing that it complicates other problems if you already have a problem with certain drugs.”

Missouri activists are taking steps to place a marijuana legalization measure on the state’s November ballot.

A new report on National Expungement Week shows that efforts to help people clear past marijuana records are rapidly growing.

/ FEDERAL

First daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner reportedly attended a fundraising dinner with marijuana industry professionals in October 2018,

The Food and Drug Administration approved an expanded access protocol allowing a small number of patients to treat PTSD with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is being asked to let states continue structuring their hemp programs under the more limited provisions of the earlier 2014 Farm Bill through 2020.

The Supreme Court declined to take up a case concerning a tax fine against a marijuana business.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, sent a letter welcoming members of the National Cannabis Industry Association to a conference in Boston.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The criminalization of marijuana has been a disaster. We need to legalize it. We need to expunge past convictions.And we need to invest in communities destroyed by the war on drugs.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) tweeted about the 100-year anniversary of alcohol prohibition, saying, “Let’s raise a glass and toast one of the least successful government regulatory schemes ever enacted. Turns out, Liberty works; statism, not so much.”

Rep,. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted about smokable hemp, saying, “Seems like it would be easier just to legalize marijuana for adult use already.”

Here’s a look at where members of the Illinois congressional delegation stand on marijuana.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund expungement efforts got one new cosponsor for a total of 40.

The House resolution calling for marijuana legalization and decriminalizing addiction got 12 new cosponsors for a total of 15.

Alabama Republican congressional candidates said they oppose marijuana legalization but support medical cannabis.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is stepping up her push to legalize marijuana within the next month, though some leading Republican lawmakers are expressing concerns.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) pardoned 16 people for low-level marijuana offenses.

California’s attorney general tweeted, “Illegal cannabis grows on California lands are damaging wildlife habitats, poisoning our water, and hurting our communities.” Separately, lawmakers filed legislation to simplify and reduce marijuana taxes.

Rhode Island’s House speaker said “this is not the year” for legalizing marijuana.

Kansas’s House majority leader acknowledged broad public support for medical cannabis.

A Missouri judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking regulators from acting on a medical cannabis dispensary license application.

Arizona activists have so far collected more than 150,000 signatures in support of a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure, and so far there’s no well-organized opposition.

Oregon regulators issued a recall of marijuana products that failed pesticide testing. Separately, a report found that marijuana sales in the state “along the Idaho border are 420% the statewide average.”

Michigan regulators issued a health and safety bulletin about the recall of marijuana products that failed safety compliance testing. Officials are also under fire for new public service ads that perpetuate anti-cannabis stereotypes.


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 Las Cruces, New Mexico mayor is urging state lawmakers not to legalize marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s first medical cannabis clinic has seen thousands of patients in its first 10 days of operation.

Veterans Affairs Canada is considering is considering adding disposable cannabis vaping pens to a reimbursement program.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabinoids demonstrate some efficacy in the treatment of pain and chemotherapy-related nausea; limited data suggest potential benefits in the treatment of spasticity and anxiety” and that “risks of cannabinoids in older patients appear to be moderate, and their frequency comparable to other analgesic drug classes.”

A study found that “chronic, heavy, recreational cannabis use was associated with worse driving performance in non-intoxicated drivers, and earlier onset of use was associated with greater impairment.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association is speaking out against legalizing marijuana.

A report from New Mexico Ethics Watch examines marijuana industry campaign contributions in the state.

/ BUSINESS

Fyllo acquired CannaRegs.

Canopy Growth Corporation is delaying the launch of its cannabis-infused beverages.

Union workers at Vireo Health New York ratified a new three-year contract.

Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Hexo Corp. are all facing potential class-action lawsuits.

/ CULTURE

The National Football League and NFL Players Association are close to an agreement on “significant modifications to the drug and disciplinary policies,” with sources saying that a less punitive marijuana policy is likely to be enacted.

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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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