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Virginia cannabis decriminalization bill advances (Newsletter: January 24, 2020)

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WI gov slams lawmakers over marijuana; CT Senate president: legalization a 2020 priority; Austin decrim approved; Sanders campaign’s marijuana op-ed

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There are now 1,085 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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  • Danny Danko: “You have the best cannabis political content of any news source I’ve found.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) used part of his State of the State speech to blast lawmakers for failing to legalize medical marijuana despite overwhelming public support.

  • “When more than 80 percent of our state supports medical marijuana…and elected officials can ignore those numbers without consequence, folks, something’s wrong.”

Connecticut Senate leaders announced at a press conference that legalizing marijuana is a priority for the 2020 session.

  • “I think the time has come. We need to recognize it. There’s broad based public support for it.”

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Criminal Law Subcommittee approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.

The Austin, Texas City Council unanimously approved an ordinance to effectively end low-level marijuana arrests.

The New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee held a hearing on a bill that would legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation—although no retail dispensaries would be allowed. A vote is expected in the panel as soon as next week.

The Nevada co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) presidential campaign submitted a new op-ed to Marijuana Moment about the senator’s plans to legalize cannabis and ensure equity in the marijuana industry for communities harmed by the drug war.

/ FEDERAL

The newly appointed Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice is charged with examining “refusals by State and local prosecutors to enforce laws or prosecute categories of crimes,” among other issues.

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer raised hypothetical questions about state marijuana legalization laws during oral arguments in a case on the definition of a “serious drug offense.”

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) are pushing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to quickly approve Virginia’s hemp plan.

Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) spoke about marijuana policy with a group of Illinois mayors.

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) is backing legislation to limit the medical cannabis program to only state residents. Separately, the Senate Public Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization on Tuesday.

Vermont’s attorney general is scheduled to speak at a marijuana education event on Sunday.

The West Virginia House of Representatives rejected a move to discharge a marijuana legalization bill from an unfavorable committee.

A second Montana group of activists filed a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Alaska regulators approved the state’s first on-site marijuana consumption areas at dispensaries.

California regulators adopted emergency rules requiring marijuana businesses to post QR code certificates so consumers can identify licensed operations.

Missouri regulators began issuing medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Washington State regulators approved rules on marijuana quality control testing and penalties. They also sent an update on the ban on flavored vaping products.

A New York senator who opposed marijuana legalization last session is now in support.

Indiana senators held a press conference to build support for marijuana decriminalization legislation.

Louisiana regulators gave a presentation detailing the state’s hemp program.

Michigan regulators posted a video of their marijuana social equity program presentation.

Massachusetts regulators hosted a forum to receive feedback from marijuana license applicants.


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 Springfield, Illinois City Council approved the state’s first marijuana social consumption area.

Kansas City, Missouri’s mayor spoke about plans to pardon people with past marijuana convictions.

A Spokane, Washington city councilwoman violated the city’s ethics code by advocating on behalf of a marijuana business, a volunteer panel determined.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis told the Department of Correctional Services to get ready to “free our young people” who are locked up on marijuana possession charges.

New Zealand’s Health Ministry said that edibles won’t be allowed under the country’s medical cannabis program.

French regulators announced that a medical cannabis pilot program will launch in September.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical cannabis use “may have an overall positive effect on maintaining sleep throughout the night in chronic pain patients” but that “tolerance towards potential sleep-inducing properties of MC may occur with frequent use.”

A study found that “adolescents with any cannabis use history have significantly higher rates of [major depressive disorder]” but that “the directionality between frequency of use and MDD is counter to what was expected.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Texas Democratic Party cheered Austin’s move to end most marijuana arrests.

The American Bar Association is hosting a webinar on what it’s like to be a marijuana lawyer on Friday.

/ BUSINESS

The personal information of more than 30,000 marijuana business customers were exposed via a data leak in the THSuite point-of-sale system.

MedMen’s CEO spoke about the company’s struggles to pay vendors.

Microsoft Advertising Support tweeted that “at this time, drugs and related paraphernalia, including CBD Oil, can’t be advertised, according to our Disallowed Content Policies.”

Cresco Labs announced it entered into an agreement for a $100 million loan that can be extended to $200 million.

/ CULTURE

Musician Neal Young’s U.S. citizenship application was approved despite a delay due to his admission of marijuana consumption.

The professional minor league basketball team the Rochester RazorSharks is partnering with the Rochester, New York NORML chapter.

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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.

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

Elizabeth Warren’s new cannabis plan (Newsletter: February 24, 2020)

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NM gov open to putting legalization on ballot; Fed Reserve hemp banking update; Congressional candidate hosts ‘weed party’

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 1,352 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

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, gave Marijuana Moment an early look at a new plan that includes promises to begin the process of federal cannabis legalization within 100 days of taking office, involve communities harmed by the drug war in the marijuana industry, respect other nations’s drug laws and allow Washington, D.C. to enact legal sales.

At the end of a legislative session in which lawmakers failed to legalize marijuana, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said she is open to referring a cannabis question to the ballot as a constitutional amendment so that voters can decide on the issue.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis issued a reminder that hemp businesses can get bank accounts in light of the crop’s federal legalization and previewed that “banks should be looking out for additional guidance” on federal hemp rules from financial regulators soon.

Illinois Democratic congressional candidate Anthony Clark hosted what his campaign is calling the “first-ever congressional weed party.”

  • Marijuana “has literally saved my life, he told the crowd, a blunt in one hand and a shot glass in the other. “I’m a veteran with PTSD.”

/ FEDERAL

A Drug Enforcement Administration agent was arrested on charges of conspiring to launder money with a Colombian drug cartel.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City tweeted, “Year-over-year #marijuana sales growth of about 16 percent YTD in 2019 is much lower than the growth rates experienced in the first few years of legalized sales, and indicates growth in sales is moving toward a more sustainable, yet still robust, path.”

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) spoke about efforts to end the practice of evicting people from housing for drug convictions.

Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) tweeted about visiting a CBD oil business.

The House bill to require the Food and Drug Administration to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got two new cosponsors for a total of eight.

Virginia Republican congressional candidate Heerak Christian Kim tweeted about “why it is important to oppose Democratic effort to legalize marijuana, which will hurt children’s future and the American society.”

/ STATES

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said he will “certainly do what I can” to help build Senate support for a House-passed medical cannabis bill.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he will not sample any marijuana on his tour of legal states, but will bring a “taster” with him.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said she is comfortable with regulators’ recommendation to let medical cannabis patients purchase 4.5 grams of THC in a 90-day period.

Massachusetts’s attorney general and marijuana regulators are recommending that lawmakers “provide additional civil enforcement tools and resources to address the illicit market” but “do not advise establishing any additional criminal penalties at this time.”

The Virginia House Appropriations Committee approved a Senate-passed marijuana decriminalizaiton bill.

A Connecticut lawmaker leading the charge for marijuana legalization said “the votes still aren’t’ there” in the legislature.

Nevada regulators issued a public health and safety advisory about marijuana products that failed secondary microbial testing.

New Mexico regulators are investing economic development money into a hemp farm.

Pennsylvania regulators approved additional clinical registrants to participate in the state’s medical cannabis research program.


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 Denver, Colorado City Council Finance and Governance Committee will consider marijuana research licenses and other cannabis issues on March 17.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is moving to clear tens of thousands of past marijuana convictions and is creating a committee to study adopting a Canadian-style legalization policy.

Philippine regulators clarified that marijuana remains illegal in the country despite the fact that they are considering allowing CBD to treat severe seizure disorders.

The Manipur, India government plans to legalize marijuana cultivation for medical and industrial purposes.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “THC use is associated with small increases in testosterone.”

A study concluded that “there are correlations between anxiety symptoms and social functioning in people with autism, and that this can be successfully treated using a combination of MDMA and psychotherapy.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of likely Nevada voters found that 66% think the state’s marijuana legalization law has had no impact on use of other drugs, 23% say it has led to less drug use and 15% say more drug use has resulted.

/ BUSINESS

Colgate subsidiary Hello Products LLC is launching a line of CBD oral care products.

DLA Piper launched a dedicated global cannabis practice.

Leafly closed its Germany-based operation.

A manager at Marijuana Club 99 in Washington State used bear spray to ward off people trying to rob the dispensary.

Business Insider looks at Instagram cannabis influencers.

/ CULTURE

The NFL Players Union delayed an expected vote on approving a new collective bargaining agreement that includes lower marijuana penalties and less stringent drug testing requirements.

Rapper Ralo is asking a federal judge to let independent experts test “alleged marijuana” that was seized from his private jet.

A TV news station sent a Mr. Rogers impersonator to a Chicago marijuana dispensary.

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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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Newsletter

Kentucky House votes to legalize medical cannabis (Newsletter: February 21, 2020)

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NH House OKs legal marijuana; NY gov to tour legal states; Doctors: cannabis caused painful erections; NFL deal; USDA hemp plan approval

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By starting a $10 per month pledge on Patreon—or about 45 cents per issue of this newsletter—you can help us rely less on ads to cover our expenses, hire more journalists and bring you even more marijuana news.

  • Scott Zagoria, author of The Green Medicine Book: “Efforts to legalize cannabis represent the single largest affirmation of states’ rights. I support Tom’s work in getting the message out.”

https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Kentucky House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

The New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he will visit states that have already legalized marijuana to learn about their programs.

  • “I now want to literally go to California, Illinois, Massachusetts [and] sit with them. What was your plan? How did it work out? What did you learn? What can we incorporate?”

The NFL Players Association circulated a document outlining a proposed collective bargaining agreement approved by team owners that includes an end to game suspensions for marijuana, a testing window of just two weeks instead of the current four months and a higher THC threshold for positive tests.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans from Washington State, Wyoming and several Indian tribes.

A new case study suggests marijuana was the cause of one man’s painful, unwanted 12-hour erection.

  • “The abstinence and subsequent use of cannabis were the only appreciable factors in this patient’s battle with recurrent unwanted erections.”

/ FEDERAL

President Trump assembled a team of advisors to recommend and vet candidates for clemency.

A Customs and Border Protection internal guide to dealing with border issues stemming from Canada’s marijuana legalization law was released as a result of a Freedom of Information Act request and related lawsuit.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture included a hemp-focused track at an agricultural outlook forum it is hosting.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) spoke about his opposition to legalizing marijuana.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) discussed his motivations for focusing on marijuana reform.

Texas Democratic Senate candidate Sema Hernandez tweeted, “Nothing wrong with decriminalizing and legalizing all drugs. Big Pharma wouldn’t know what to do. ✅End The War On Drugs! ✅Repeal The 1994 Crime Act!”

New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate Hector Oseguera tweeted, “Politicians in #NJ08 have an antiquated view of cannabis. I will end the #WarOnDrugs by: ✅Releasing those incarcerated on marijuana charges ✅Expunging convictions ✅ Prioritizing licenses to directly affected communities ✅Restoring voting rights”

/ STATES

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a bill limiting the medical cannabis program to in-state residents. Here’s a look at how cannabis legislation fared this session.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted about how people can apply for expedited pardons for marijuana convictions.

The Idaho Senate Agricultural Affairs Committee approved a hemp bill.

The Arizona House Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to add opioid use disorder and autism spectrum disorder as medical cannabis qualifying conditions.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court will hear a challenge next week to one proposed marijuana legalization ballot initiative filed by the backer of another measure.

A Michigan court ruled that lying to police can remove one’s protection from being searched based on the smell of marijuana.

California regulators issued proposed rules for appellations of origin for marijuana.

Louisiana regulators began issuing hemp licenses.

Illinois regulators are accepting applications for grants to provide technical assistance to social equity marijuana license applicants.

Montana regulators held a public hearing on proposed medical cannabis rules changes.

Oregon regulators approved marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements.

Colorado’s Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee will hold a public meeting on Monday.


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 Morgantown, West Virginia City Council approved a proposal to let police issue fines instead of making arrests for low-level marijuana possession.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Canadian government report concluded that while marijuana use among adults has increased since legalization, cannabis consumption by 15-17 year-olds has declined.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found evidence for “phytocannabinoids as a potential novel pharmacological tool to regain control of functional adipose tissue in unregulated energy homeostasis often occurring in metabolic disorders including type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), aging and lipodystrophy.”

A study found that “people with [sickle cell disease] with more severe pain crisis are more likely to use daily cannabis, yet have lower rates of hospital admission and ER use as compared with others with similar disease severity and pain impact.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of New Zealand adults found that they initially support a marijuana legalization referendum, 46%-44%, and that support rises to 50%-42% when they are given details about the proposal.

A poll found that Florida voters support legalizing marijuana, 64%-34%.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana launched a new initiative aimed at convincing localities to ban marijuana businesses or place restrictions on advertising and zoning.

/ BUSINESS

Hightimes Holding Corp. received regulatory approval to begin trading shares.

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. announced that its CBD pet supplements will carry seals of approval from the National Animal Supplement Council and the U.S. Hemp Authority.

/ CULTURE

TV host Kelly Ripa said she uses CBD as a sleep aid.

System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian is launching a marijuana brand.

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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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Newsletter

Alabama lawmakers vote to legalize medical cannabis (Newsletter: February 20, 2020)

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Trump campaign spox: keep marijuana illegal; VA decrim moves toward gov’s desk; DC psychedelics decrim language approved; USDA: hemp market growing

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.

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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 443 Patreon sponsors. Cannabis industry professionals receive valuable rewards for pledges of $25 and up.

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The director of strategic communications for President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign said in an interview that marijuana needs to be “kept illegal.”

  • “I know many states have taken a different path… That is the federal policy.”

The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis.

Virginia House and Senate committees amended and approved versions of marijuana decriminalization legislation passed by the other chamber. Some differences have been resolved in an effort to avoid having to send the legislation to a bicameral conference committee prior to it arriving on the desk of supportive Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections unanimously approved ballot language for a measure to decriminalize psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca. Next comes a public challenge period prior to final approval and signature gathering.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report that highlights the significant growth of the hemp industry but says some challenges remain.

  • “Global production was small and relatively stable until the recent worldwide interest in CBD oil.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report looking at hemp policy in the Philippines.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health Deputy Director David Shurtleff tweeted, “Our Center is interested in supporting research grant applications to study minor cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant as they relate to pain and nociception.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “Donald Trump has no problem pardoning white collar criminals. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown Americans are sitting in jail because of marijuana convictions or because they can’t afford bail. That injustice is what we’re going to end.”

Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) filed a bill that include provisions to remediate lands damaged by illegal marijuana cultivation.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted about efforts to expunge cannabis records, saying, “Imagine if we did this for everyone with low-level, marijuana-related convictions. Imagine if the Black and brown people our criminal justice system disproportionately punishes weren’t forced to live with these convictions.”

Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) tweeted about discussing “obstacles local farmers have been facing while growing hemp” with an economic development group.

Texas Democratic Senate candidates discussed marijuana legalization during a debate.

Illinois Democratic congressional candidate Sarah Gad wants to “establish a dispensary tax used towards reparations/restitution for persons convicted of and imprisoned for marijuana-related offenses.”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that legalizing marijuana is a “top priority” for him and that he will “give it my all to get it done in the budget.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) spoke about marijuana legalization in his budget address, saying, “Here’s another responsible step we’re taking together: Last year we worked on a bipartisan basis to pass a new source of general funds revenue and create tens of thousands of jobs with the legalization of adult-use cannabis. With a successful first month of sales under our belt, I can conservatively project that adult-use cannabis sales will generate at least $46 million in revenue for our general fund in the coming fiscal year, of which $10 million will go directly to pay down our bill backlog.” He also proposed using marijuana revenue to fund mental health care and addiction treatment.

Michigan’s lieutenant governor signed bills on marijuana packaging warning labels and information pamphlets. Separately, the state’s medical cannabis patient database malfunctioned, halting sales. Also, regulators are facing a likely lawsuit aimed at forcing Detroit to allow recreational marijuana businesses.

The Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee and House Public Safety Committee approved legislation to increase potency limits in the state’s limited medical cannabis program.

The West Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to add new forms of acceptable medical cannabis and expand the number of dispensaries. Separately, regulators received 285 medical marijuana business license applications.

The Colorado House Business Affairs and Labor Committee defeated a bill to shield workers from being punished for using marijuana in their personal time.

The South Carolina House Health and Environmental Affairs Subcommittee held a hearing on medical cannabis legislation.

The Kansas House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee held a hearing on a bill to defelonize marijuana possession.

The Missouri House Special Committee on Government Oversight continued to press regulators about their medical cannabis business licensing process in another hearing.

North Dakota’s top medical cannabis regulators said patient registration counts have grown much faster than anticipated.

Oregon regulators will consider marijuana violation stipulated settlement agreements on Thursday.

Arizona representatives filed a bill to limit medical cannabis products to 2% THC content.


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

Hillsborough County, Florida commissioners unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bermuda Premier David Burt tweeted that he was surprised no one asked him a marijuana question at a public forum.

A majority of German lawmakers in Parliament now represent parties that support marijuana reform.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A case study showed that “upon treatment with CBD and cessation of the antidepressant medication, the patient improved regarding depressive as well as anxiety symptoms including simple phobias and symptoms of paranoia and dissociation” and that “the patient quit abusing illegal drugs including THC without showing withdrawal symptoms.”

A study found that “dronabinol reduces opioid consumption following traumatic injury” and that “the opioid-sparing effect of dronabinol may be greater in patients who are marijuana users.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A Boston Globe reporter dropped out of a panel he was scheduled to speak on at a National Cannabis Industry Association conference in protest of the group holding a summit with current and former federal officials that was closed to the press. Another reporter, from the Boston Business Journal, was kicked out of the summit.

The Detroit News editorial board is calling on Michigan officials to stop making rules for marijuana businesses so complicated.

/ BUSINESS

Clarity Cannabis budtenders voted to join UFCW 1518, becoming the first marijuana workers at a private dispensary to unionize in Canada.

The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists is hosting a cannabis conference in April.

/ CULTURE

Mixed martial arts fighter Elias Theodorou was granted a therapeutic use exemption to use medical cannabis.

Football player Greg Robinson was reportedly arrested with 157 pounds of marijuana at a Border Patrol checkpoint.

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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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