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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

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

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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.

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/ 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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https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ 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.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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