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Voters oppose fed cannabis intervention, polls find (Newsletter: Jan. 12, 2018)

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CO gov bashes feds in State of the State; Mayors push back against Sessions; Trump hosts prison reform meeting

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

New polls, including one from Quinnipiac University, found that voters overwhelmingly oppose federal interference with state marijuana laws.

Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas (D-MA) mentioned marijuana to President Trump during an Oval Office bill signing ceremony. “I encourage you to focus your efforts on further funding and thinking about opioids. And marijuana, we can talk about at another time,” she said. The president responded, simply: “OK, that’s OK, that’s OK.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) forcefully pushed back against federal marijuana changes in his State of the State address.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump hosted a roundtable meeting on prison reform at the White House.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and four cosponsors filed a bill to “protect states and individuals in states that have laws which permit the use of cannabis.”

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of an Ohio man who was purged from voter rolls and was unable to vote for a 2015 marijuana legalization ballot measure.

U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) sent a letter asking the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to maintain its guidance on banking services for marijuana businesses.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said in a floor speech that wants to work to “blaze new trails on medical marijuana research” before retiring at the end of this Congress.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said in a House floor debate about surveillance legislation that he is concerned the federal government can scour databases for “for evidence that you use marijuana.”

Former Washington State Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D), who is challenging Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), said she supports letting states set their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate, says he supports ending federal marijuana prohibition.

The U.S. House bill to deschedule marijuana got two new cosponsors, bringing the total to 22.

The U.S. House bill to regulate marijuana like alcohol got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to 22.

The U.S. House bill to protect state marijuana laws from federal interference got one new cosponsor, bringing the total to two.

/ STATES

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) said he will make good on his previous pledge to sign a marijuana legalization bill into law.

Massachusetts police said they won’t assist federal authorities in any actions against state-legal marijuana businesses.

Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker will hold a Friday press conference about marijuana.Missouri activists announced they have collected more than 150,000 signatures in support of a proposed medical cannabis ballot measure.

New York lawmakers held a hearing on marijuana legalization.

Iowa regulators approved medical cannabis rules.The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ordered regulators to rerelease medical cannabis business license applications with fewer redactions.

A New Jersey senator filed a marijuana legalization bill.

An Illinois senator introduced a bill to place a marijuana legalization referendum before voters in November.

A West Virginia delegate introduced a marijuana legalization bill.

A Virginia delegate filed a marijuana decriminalization bill.

A Kentucky representative introduced medical cannabis legislation.

A California assemblymember filed a resolution criticizing federal marijuana enforcement changes. Separately, regulators created a new “fresh” category for cannabis taxes.

The parents of an 11-year-old girl sued the state of Illinois and a school district for not allowing her to consume medical cannabis on campus.

North Dakota regulators established medical cannabis regions of the state.

Arkansas regulators released the names and proposed locations of medical cannabis cultivation and dispensary license applicants.Montana’s medical cannabis patient count is on the rise.

Iowa police admitted that they do not always test seized CBD products to confirm that they contain illegal concentrations of THC.

Colorado police are using marijuana tax revenue to fund programs directing people struggling with drug addiction and mental health disorders toward treatment and housing instead of incarceration.

/ LOCAL

The mayors of New York, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia and other cities sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, pushing back on his anti-marijuana memo.

Harris County, Texas’s district attorney is warning people caught with marijuana to attend drug classes that are part of a new diversion program, or face arrest.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Iran’s judiciary is allowing people facing the death penalty for a drug conviction to have their cases reheard.

Portugal lawmakers began debating medical cannabis legislation.

Canada’s government sent a reminder that the deadline to submit comment on proposed legal marijuana regulations is coming up.

A number of Caribbean countries, including The Bahamas, are considering marijuana decriminalization.

/ ADVOCACY

The Marijuana Policy Project released its 2018 strategic plan, including federal priorities and the states it will target for ballot initiatives and legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study examined how wildlife, including owls, are being poisoned by chemicals at illegal marijuana grow sites in California.

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that 62% of Oklahomans support a medical cannabis measure appearing on the state’s June primary ballot.

A poll found that U.S. Latinos support legalizing marijuana possession, 50%-44%.

/ CULTURE     

Actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted about the economic benefits of marijuana legalization.

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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 serves as chairman of 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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