Connect with us


VP Harris talks cannabis legalization & pardons (Newsletter: March 18, 2024)



Biden’s bad legal advice on marijuana records; MD & AK psychedelics; LPP op-ed pushes president on cannabis

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.

Get our daily newsletter.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

Your good deed for the day: donate to an independent publisher like Marijuana Moment and ensure that as many voters as possible have access to the most in-depth cannabis reporting out there.

Support our work at


Vice President Kamala Harris told the Drug Enforcement Administration to “get to it as quickly as possible” in completing its marijuana rescheduling review. The comments came at a meeting she hosted with recipients of President Joe Biden’s cannabis pardons at the White House.

  • “Marijuana is considered as dangerous as heroin and more dangerous than fentanyl. Which is absurd. Not to mention patently unfair.”

Vice President Kamala Harris said in the closed-door portion of the meeting with cannabis pardon recipients that “we need to legalize marijuana,” according to one participant—signaling a potential expansion of the administration’s reform platform heading into the November election.

  • Harris sponsored a cannabis legalization bill in the Senate and ran on the issue in the 2020 presidential primary, but since joining Biden’s ticket has embraced only his more limited decriminalization and pardons platform—until now.

In recent comments President Joe Biden appeared to be providing bad legal advice to recipients of his marijuana pardons, telling them they no longer have to disclose their convictions on official forms—contrary to Department of Justice guidance saying the clemency doesn’t erase criminal records.

The Maryland Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to create a Task Force on Responsible Use of Natural Psychedelic Substances charged with studying how to ensure “broad, equitable and affordable access” to psilocybin, DMT and mescaline. The move comes two days after the House of Delegates approved identical legislation.

The Alaska House State Affairs Committee held a hearing on a bill to create a Mental Health & Psychedelic Medicine Task Force to recommend licensing and insurance requirements for therapeutic practitioners after federal legalization.

Last Prisoner Project Executive Director Sarah Gersten authored a Marijuana Moment op-ed calling on President Joe Biden to take bolder action on cannabis reform—including “immediately” freeing people jailed for smaller amounts than what dispensaries sell daily.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said it makes sense to alter aspects of the state’s marijuana legalization law to avoid potential litigation from rejected license applicants as regulators move to plan a lottery rather than use a scoring system to decide awards.

The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill to block people with certain felony drug convictions from becoming legal medical cannabis patients and institute other restrictions on access.

The Maine legislature’s Judiciary Committee is considering several pieces of legislation concerning the expungement and sealing of marijuana conviction records.

The Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission approved proposed rules on patients’ access to medical marijuana while they are in healthcare facilities.


Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said he did not want to comment on the timing of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s marijuana rescheduling decision.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “This week, my #CannabisCaucus Co-Chair @RepBlumenauer and I led a letter calling on @POTUS to grant clemency to individuals incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses. The American people demand an end to outdated cannabis laws.”

Rep. Mike Flood (R-NE) expressed concerns about teen use of delta-8 THC products.

The House bill to respect state marijuana laws got one new cosponsor for a total of nine.


South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed legislation revising medical cannabis rules.

Kansas’s Senate president claimed that medical cannabis laws implemented in other states have “proven to be a disaster.”

North Carolina’s House speaker said he’s not sure if there is now enough support in his caucus to advance a medical cannabis legalization bill.

The New York Assembly’s budget bill does not include provisions to increase marijuana regulators’ enforcement powers as is the case in the Senate’s legislation and a proposal from Gov. Kathy Hochul (D). Separately, regulators are being sued for allegedly acting in “retaliatory, arbitrary and capricious” ways against a marijuana business owner.

A California senator tweeted, “I’m authoring SB 1012 to create therapeutic access to psychedelics & help address our increasingly dire mental health crisis. Importantly, the bill creates a safer framework for people to access these healing benefits.”

Nebraska activists say they are making good progress on collecting signatures to qualify two medical cannabis initiatives for the November ballot.

Kentucky regulators filed a new set of proposed medical cannabis rules.

Maryland regulators launched a cannabis state reference laboratory.

New Jersey regulators are hosting a series of medical cannabis program registration clinics.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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.


The Santa Barbara County, California Board of Supervisors is considering potential changes to the local cannabis tax structure.

The Killeen, TexasCity Council is expected to discuss the city’s response to lawsuits challenging the local voter-approved marijuana decriminalization law  on Tuesday.


Sixty countries signed onto a joint statement saying that “the international drug control system as it is currently applied needs rethinking based on concrete evidence.”

Germany’s federal drug commissioner sent a letter urging state officials not to slow down implementation of cannabis legalization. Separately, the  health minister pushed back against concerns about the reform.

Canada’s finance minister received a briefing on “financial distress” in the nation’s marijuana industry.


A study found that “a majority of patients surveyed reported using cannabis products for migraine management and cited perceived improvements in migraine characteristics, clinical features, and associated risk factors.”

A study found “consistent positive associations between greater cannabis retail access and 1) increased healthcare service use or poison control calls directly due to cannabis 2) increased cannabis use and cannabis-related hospitalization during pregnancy and 3) frequent cannabis use in adults and young adults” but “no consistent positive association between greater cannabis retail and increased frequent cannabis use in adolescents, healthcare service use potentially related to cannabis or increased adverse neonatal birth outcomes.”


The Republican National Committee tweeted about Vice President Kamala Harris’s cannabis event at the White House, saying, “She oversaw thousands of marijuana-related prosecutions as a district attorney in San Francisco.”

The Democratic Governors Association tweeted, “Gov. @Maura_Healey will pardon all simple marijuana possession charges in Massachusetts — helping hundreds of thousands of people who’ve faced charges in a state where marijuana is now legal.”


High Tide Inc. is acquiring the Queen of Bud brand.

C21 Investments Inc. entered into an agreement with Deep Roots Harvest, acquire assets related to the operation of a dispensary in Nevada.

The Cannabist Company Holdings Inc. announced it intends to complete a private placement of up to$19.5 million of senior secured convertible debentures.

CanPay launched a new payments integration that lets consumers prepay for cannabis purchases when ordering online or through an app from participating dispensaries.

Michigan retailers sold $261 million worth of legal marijuana products in February.

Illinois retailers sold $135.6 million worth of legal marijuana products in February.


Lil Wayne and Post Malone signed documents pledging they run “drug-free workplaces” in order to receive Small Business Administration grants despite their public comments about using cannabis or psychedelics.

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

Get our daily newsletter.

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.
Become a patron at Patreon!

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 and MassRoots, and handled media relations and campaigns for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.


Marijuana News In Your Inbox

Get our daily newsletter.

Support Marijuana Moment

Marijuana News In Your Inbox


Get our daily newsletter.