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VP Harris touts cannabis pardon move by Biden (Newsletter: October 11, 2022)

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Booker “hopeful” for more marijuana reform in 2022; GOP reps push Biden on tribal cannabis protections; CO gov wants SAFE Banking

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Vice President Kamala Harris touted the administration’s cannabis clemency move, saying that “nobody should have to go to jail for smoking weed.”

Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH) Brian Mast (R-FL) sent a letter urging President Joe Biden to also ensure that federal agencies stop interfering with tribal cannabis programs while his administration conducts its broader review of marijuana’s scheduling status.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D), along with the state’s lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and Department of Public Safety director, sent a letter urging congressional leaders to “efficiently prioritize” passing marijuana banking legislation.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said that when it comes to marijuana reform, “we have to act on the federal level to do more than the president’s done” and that he’s “hopeful” Congress “can get something done” on cannabis in the lame duck session after the midterm elections.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D) is urging Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to put cannabis pardons on the agenda for the next State Board of Executive Clemency meeting. Meanwhile, a state senator is also pushing the governor to grant marijuana pardons.

A new report from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development shows that the marijuana industry is driving job growth in the state’s agriculture sector—a trend it expects to continue over the next decade.

/ FEDERAL

National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow spoke about the difficulties of researching Schedule I drugs like marijuana.

Food and Drug Administration officials will participate in a Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation webinar on October 27.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) tweeted, “This is a great first step from President Biden, but our marijuana policy is still unnecessarily complicated and unjust. We need to look at federal restrictions around banking and research next.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted a link to an op-ed arguing that President Joe Biden’s cannabis clemency move will increase crime.

Sen. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) tweeted, “I applaud @POTUS for pardoning federal cannabis possession convictions, taking a big step forward to justice. Under the leadership of @GovMLG, New Mexico is a proud leader in the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis and it’s time for our nation to follow our lead.”

A false claim that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) purchased 10 million shares in Canopy Growth Corporation went viral on Twitter.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus tweeted, “It’s time to decriminalize marijuana nationwide.”

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) tweeted, “On Thursday, President Biden announced he was pardoning all federal cannabis charges. This will be life-changing for so many, especially in communities of color. I’m proud to advocate for cannabis justice, and I’m thrilled for everyone impacted!”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “As society’s view of cannabis evolves, our laws should too. Next, let’s legalize it and put an end to years of failed policy once and for all.”

/ STATES

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) said he doesn’t think the state is ready to legalize marijuana.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) tweeted, “It’s time to legalize marijuana in Wisconsin.” He also tweeted, “I’m working for common sense policy. We’re going to: 👉 Legalize marijuana… It starts with you. Vote on Election Day.”

Maine Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage, a former governor, falsely claimed during a debate that the state is handing out “crack pipes.”

Pennsylvania’s second lady spoke about her support for marijuana reform.

A Florida marijuana legalization campaign has spent more than $6.5 million on two political consulting firms tied to a Republican operative who has worked for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

A Tennessee representative said he thinks lawmakers should lower penalties for small amounts of marijuana, but he doesn’t think the state will enact legalization anytime soon.

Montana regulators issued corrections to proposed marijuana waste management process rules.

The New York Department of Health issued a request for information on methods to detect cannabis-impaired driving.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Joint Patient Equity and Governance Frame Working Subcommittee issued recommendations on patient access, cost reduction and other issues.

Michigan regulators temporarily suspended a medical cannabis business’s license for allegedly possessing untagged marijuana. They also posted a monthly marijuana business disciplinary report.

New Jersey regulators published updated medical cannabis patient numbers.

Vermont regulators will review recommendations for marijuana social equity status and licensure on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 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.

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/ LOCAL

The St. Louis County, Missouri Council Ethics Committee has not received responses from several witnesses in a probe of a member’s failure to disclose consulting work for a medical cannabis business while being involved in writing rules to regulate the industry.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Liz Truss said the government has “no plans” to upgrade cannabis to the more restrictive Class A despite her home secretary saying she was considering it.

Scotland’s health secretary reacted to reports that UK officials were considering moving cannabis to a stricter category by saying, “How awful, how regressive, how dangerous a policy is that?”

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha ordered a crackdown on drugs following the massacre of children by a former police officer who was fired for possessing methamphetamine.

New Zealand’s justice minister said President Joe Biden’s cannabis positive move is “positive” but that his government has no plans to take similar action.

Victoria, Australia’s Green Party announced a marijuana legalization plan.

Ireland’s Sinn Féin party said it is in favor of incentivizing hemp farming.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review found “strong evidence for a role of cannabis constituents, individually or in combination, as potential neuroprotectants timely to the emergent use of medicinal cannabis as a novel treatment for neurodegenerative diseases.”

A study indicated that “marijuana is not associated with increased risk of postoperative noncompliance, other organ complications, infections, or death.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of Great Britain adults found that 42 percent want there to be fewer restrictions on cannabis, 23 percent want greater punishments and 19 percent think the current approach is about right.

Missouri NAACP is opposing the marijuana legalization initiative on the state’s November ballot.

The New York Daily News editorial board is calling on Congress to deschedule marijuana.

/ BUSINESS

Walmart is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit claiming that it and its Sam’s Club subsidiary violated New Jersey law by rejecting job applicants who tested positive for marijuana.

Google shared data showing a boost in searches for “decriminalization” following President Joe Biden’s marijuana policy move.

New Mexico retailers sold $39.7 million worth of legal recreational and medical marijuana products in September.

/ CULTURE

Killer Mike applauded President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardons and scheduling review announcement.

The Onion joked about President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardons and scheduling review move.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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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.

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