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VT gov allows legal cannabis sales to take effect (Newsletter: October 8, 2020)

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Harris & Pence debate drug enforcement; IL gov plans more marijuana pardons; AZ relaxes cannabis rules for police recruits; OR psilocybin TV ad

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) pledged in a debate with Vice President Mike Pence (R) that a Biden administration would decriminalize marijuana and expunge past cannabis records but appeared uneasy when the incumbent attacked her own drug enforcement record as a prosecutor.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) is allowing a bill to legalize marijuana sales to take effect without his signature after hinting in recent days that he was considering vetoing it. He also signed separate legislation to expunge prior cannabis convictions.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that he plans another round of pardons for people with past marijuana convictions as part of a broader criminal justice reform plan that also calls for “decriminalizing minor non-violent offenses” and “a public health approach” to drugs.

  • “Through the law legalizing cannabis, Governor Pritzker has already pardoned over 11,000 individuals for low-level cannabis offenses, and more are expected over the coming months. Through these pardons, thousands of families are no longer prohibited from having access to human services, financial aid for school, professional licensing, jobs, and housing.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) Regulatory Review Council unanimously approved loosening restrictions on past marijuana use by police recruits.

  • “We are modernizing the standards to meet the needs of the community in the state of Arizona.”

The Oregon campaign working to pass a ballot measure to legalize psilocybin therapy has a new TV ad featuring a state senator who is also a medical doctor. Advocates are also using billboards to tout the benefits of the psychedelic treatment.

  • “Measure 109 promotes safety for a therapy that can help people who are suffering.”

/ FEDERAL

President Trump’s attorney Rudolph Giuliani again slammed the marijuana enforcement record of Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the arrest of a Michigan man who voluntarily gave police a tour of his marijuana grow.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) tweeted, “I agree with @KamalaHarris. We should legalize cannabis and expunge all prior convictions.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “💸 72% of Americans support a $15 minimum wage 🏥 70% support Medicare for All 🌿 67% support legalizing marijuana 🏫 63% support College for All – Why can’t we get these popular policies passed?  HINT: follow the 💰💰💰”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the drug war got one new cosponsor for a total of 116.

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing drugs.

Paula Overby was named the new Legal Marijuana Now Party nominee in Minnesota’s 2nd congressional district following the death of the former candidate. Meanwhile, a federal judge held a hearing on whether the election should go ahead in November or be delayed until February.

/ STATES

The Louisiana House Education Committee approved a bill to allow school nurses and other employees to administer medical cannabis to students.

The Florida Supreme Court heard additional oral arguments in a case challenging the state’s medical cannabis regulations.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is considering a case challenging municipalities’ role in approving marijuana businesses.

Washington State regulators issued an emergency suspension of a marijuana producer’s license for alleged diversion of product out of the state.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’s Marijuana Prevention Workgroup published a strategic plan.

Oklahoma regulators announced that a medical cannabis testing lab that has been accused of falsifying results has surrendered its license.

The Oregon Cannabis Commission’s Research and Leadership Subcommittee will meet on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said his government is considering taking legal action against people working to legalize marijuana.

Costa Rican lawmakers are considering hemp legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “while the current evidence is still limited, emerging data do suggest a positive effect of cannabis in fibromyalgia.”

A study of mice found that “chronic treatment with CBDA reduces pain sensitivity.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New Zealand voters support the country’s marijuana legalization referendum, 46%-42%.

The Oregonian editorial board endorsed the state’s drug decriminalization ballot measure but opposed a separate measure to legalize psilocybin therapy.

An online petition is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to take up a case challenging marijuana’s restrictive federal classification.

/ BUSINESS

Pabst Blue Ribbon is launching a line of cannabis-infused beverages.

LivWell Enlightened Health became the first marijuana business to be named a Silver Partner in the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s Environmental Leadership Program.

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc.’s revised restructuring plan was approved by a Canadian court.

Acreage Holdings, Inc. began trading on the OTCQX Best Market.

Cresco Labs launched an advertising and marketing code.

Om of Medicine’s management is being accused of retaliating against employees for forming a union.

/ CULTURE

Travel writer Rick Steves filmed a video endorsement for Montana’s marijuana legalization ballot measures.

Andy Samberg, Craig Robinson and Common are attached to an in-development superhero film called “Super High,” which is about marijuana giving people special powers.

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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

Conflicting cannabis amendments cleared for House votes (Newsletter: July 29, 2021)

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Support grows for AOC’s psychedelics reform; New CO marijuana business office; FL officials slam OR hemp & say buy local

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Rules Committee advanced competing marijuana amendments to the floor for votes. One would shield all state legalization laws from federal interference, while another would delete existing medical cannabis protections. Those votes could take place as soon as Thursday.

A new Marijuana Moment analysis looks at how even though Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) psychedelics research amendment fell short on the House floor this week, support grew considerably from the last time it was voted on in 2019. We examine how the advancement of state psychedelics legislation likely flipped a number of votes, and how some Democratic leaders are still not on board with the reform.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced the launch of a new Cannabis Business Office aimed at providing economic support for the state’s marijuana industry—with a focus on social equity.

  • “Where the federal government has fallen behind, Colorado will lead. Colorado is, and always has been, the best place to live, work, grow and sell cannabis.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services put out an alert warning consumers about poor quality hemp products from Oregon that contain “rocks, sticks and other foreign material.” People should buy hemp with “Fresh From Florida” logos instead, they say.

/ FEDERAL

The acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reiterated President Joe Biden’s position that no one should be incarcerated for drug use alone.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency tweeted, “Hemp offers new economic opportunities for America’s farmers, and we are pleased to offer coverage to hemp producers.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) spoke about the need to federally legalize marijuana.

House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) tweeted, “Thank you @BrooklynDA for dismissing 3,500 marijuana cases following legalization by NY state. This is an important step in remedying all the harm inflicted on our communities by the so called ‘war on drugs.'”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the drug war’s harms got seven new cosponsors for a total of 59.

/ STATES

Mississippi’s lieutenant governor said senators should have a draft medical cannabis bill next week.

Oklahoma’s public safety secretary said the medical cannabis industry needs to be more tightly regulated.

The Arizona Supreme Court publicized an event to help people expunge marijuana charges.

New Mexico lawmakers held a hearing on law enforcement issues related to marijuana legalization. Separately, regulators will host a cannabis entrepreneur informational workshop on Thursday.

A lawsuit challenging Illinois marijuana business licensing rules was dropped by the plaintiff, and regulators are set to hold the first of three lotteries on Thursday. A judge in a separate case, however, said no licenses can be awarded until an August 9 hearing.

Nevada regulators shared updated mask guidelines with marijuana businesses.

Oregon’s Cannabis Commission met.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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.


/ INTERNATIONAL


Israeli lawmakers rejected a bill to decriminalize marijuana and reclassify CBD as a food additive.

Australia’s federal police commissioner said legalizing drugs “will not stop organised crime— it will likely embolden them, make them richer and enable them to buy more guns and pay for more murders.”

Gabon’s sovereign wealth fund is investigating how to monetize interest in ibogaine.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study on whether external stress is a factor in “hot hemp” found “no evidence that any of these stresses caused THC concentration or the ratio of THC to CBD to increase at harvest.”

A study of bees found that “hemp supplementation positively influences the immune system of workers, and the appropriate method of administration may be adapted to the health problems of bees.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Governors Association noted how a number of governors discussed marijuana during their state of the state addresses this year.

Decriminalize Nature launched a new campaign it says is intended to expose corporate influences seeking to undermine access to psychedelic plants and fungi.

The executive director of Minority Veterans of America authored an op-ed calling for marijuana reform.

/ BUSINESS

Tilray, Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $142.2 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation ended its relationship with Seth Rogen’s Houseplant brand.

GoDaddy refused technical support to cannabis news outlet Heady NJ because its website “shows marijuana imagery.”

Frankenmuth Credit Union launched a cannabis banking program.

A subsidiary of Avicanna Inc. completed its first export of THC cannabis extracts from Colombia to Austria.

/ CULTURE

Actor Colin Hanks is partnering with Jushi Holdings Inc. to bring his Hanks Kerchiefs to the company’s BEYOND / HELLO marijuana retail stores.

Football player Julio Jones is being sued by cannabis company Genetixs for alleged fraud and money laundering.

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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

Congress rejects AOC’s psychedelics amendment but adopts CBD one (Newsletter: July 28, 2021)

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OH 2022 marijuana initiative; MA psychedelics hearing; Global sports authority: Reconsider cannabis penalties; Study on artisanal CBD benefits

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Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House of Representatives defeated an amendment from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to expand research on the medical benefits of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA. Amid a growing national reform movement, however, the measure failed by a narrower margin than her previous attempt two years ago.

  • Separately, lawmakers approved an amendment from Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) that encourages the Food and Drug Administration to issue regulations allowing CBD as a dietary supplement and food ingredient. They also rejected a proposal from Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) to remove protections for universities that study marijuana. She argued on the floor that she’s worried schools will “offer a class called ‘Pot Smoking 101’ [that’s] dedicated to smoking pot.”

Ohio activists launched a new marijuana legalization ballot initiative campaign. The plan is to pressure lawmakers to end cannabis prohibition through the legislature, but organizers say they’re prepared to go directly to voters if need be.

The Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill to create a task force charged with studying the legalization of psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.

The president of global sports governing body World Athletics said it’s “sensible” to reevaluate marijuana penalties for Olympic athletes after Sha’Carri Richardson’s suspension.

  • “Nothing is set in tablets of stone. You adapt and occasionally reassess.”

A new study found that epilepsy patients who use “artisanal CBD” have “higher quality of life, lower psychiatric symptom severity and improved sleep.” They also use fewer prescription medications, take fewer sick days and are less likely to visit the hospital.

/ FEDERAL

Patients made a new filing in a lawsuit seeing to force the Drug Enforcement Administration to let them use psilocybin.

A former Fall River, Massachusetts mayor who was federally convicted of extorting marijuana businesses filed a motion for acquittal or a new trial.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and other senators sent a letter urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to press the Philippine government for human rights violations in its bloody “war on drugs.”

Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) cited the marijuana regulatory experience of a U.S. attorney nominee for the Western District of Washington.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) spoke about the need to center social justice and equity in marijuana legalization implementation. Separately, a judge dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s voter-approved cannabis legalization referendum.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) office said he is in the process of appointing people to the Cannabis Control Board. Meanwhile, the Senate majority leader said the governor should “send his appointees down and we’ll take a look at them.”

Texas Democratic attorney general candidate Lee Merritt tweeted, “Due in part to the so-called ‘war on drugs’ U.S. police are the deadliest in the modern world. We can eradicate the demand for illegal drugs by providing healthcare and affordable housing. Not war.”

New Mexico regulators issued a cease and desist order to a business that has been “gifting” marijuana in exchange for the purchase of store merchandise. Separately, the top regulator told lawmakers it is ” highly likely” retailers will run out of cannabis in the first week or two of recreational sales. She also said she fears that local residents will be prevented from entering the industry due to difficulties accessing bank loans.

California regulators named a leadership team for the new Department of Cannabis Control.

Rhode Island regulators again delayed a lottery to award new medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

Oklahoma representatives discussed challenges in regulating medical cannabis on a podcast.

Vermont regulators will consider marijuana-related highway safety issues, criminal justice data and banking access on Thursday.

South Dakota regulators scheduled an August 18 public hearing on proposed medical cannabis rules.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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.

/ LOCAL

Brooklyn, New York’s district attorney moved to dismiss more than 3,500 marijuana-related warrant cases.

New York City’s mayor criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) for the state’s slow rollout of a new marijuana legalization law. He also encouraged people to store cannabis edibles out of the reach of children.

Santa Fe, New Mexico officials are seeking public comment on marijuana rules.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Guyana President Irfaan Ali said he is focused on regulating hemp before addressing broader marijuana reform issues.

Israeli lawmakers are expected to vote on a marijuana decriminalization bill on Wednesday.

Canada’s health minister is being sued by patients who want her to act on stalled applications to legally use psilocybin.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review identified how “epigenetic modulations caused by cannabinoids lead to the suppression of inflammation.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Tennessee Democratic Party criticized Fox News hosts tying marijuana to violence, tweeting, “Reminder that this is how the Republican party views weed, violent crime, and mental health. What we actually need is to legalize it, clear all marijuana-related convictions from people’s criminal records, and provide people with the resources and healthcare that they deserve.”

Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch spoke about his support for marijuana legalization and drug policy reform.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies has a new board chair.

/ BUSINESS

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. is being sued for allegedly failing to inform investors of the terms of its proposed acquisition by Trulieve Cannabis Corp.

Curaleaf International launched its second range of medical cannabis flower products for the UK market.

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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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Congress to vote on cannabis, psychedelics & CBD this week (Newsletter: July 27, 2021)

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Senators plan White House marijuana meetings; Top cop and Psaki on cannabis & violence; FDA wants kratom ban comments

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The House Rules Committee cleared marijuana and drug policy amendments for floor votes this week—including measures to remove roadblocks to research on the benefits of psychedelics and encourage federal regulations allowing CBD as a dietary supplement and food ingredient.

  • An amendment to protect people from losing public housing over cannabis use was blocked from consideration, however.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said he and other senators sponsoring a new marijuana bill will be “having conversations with the White House” to get President Joe Biden on board with legalization. He also further addressed his cannabis banking stance in a new Twitter Q & A session.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki quickly pivoted away from a Fox News reporter’s question about whether violent incidents in Washington, D.C. mean it’s time to “get tougher on marijuana.”

  • The city’s police chief said after a recent shooting that the illegal marijuana trade drives violence, but advocates say a big part of the problem is that Congress keeps blocking the city from regulating cannabis sales. That could change this year.

The Food and Drug Administration is asking for public comments about a possible global ban on kratom. Advocates say it’s part of a U.S. effort to restrict the natural painkiller domestically by default after a federal scheduling effort stalled.

Missouri probation and parole officers are sending patients back to prison for using medical cannabis—even though it is legal in the state.

/ FEDERAL

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a Federal Register filing that “untreated and inappropriately treated pain may translate to increased costs to the Medicare program” and that “additional risks in untreated pain include individuals using illicit drugs such as cannabis.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said hemp businesses operating under the 2018 Farm Bill are eligible for the Rural Energy for America Program.

Former Labor Sec. Robert Reich tweeted, “As the Olympics officially get under way, I can’t help but think about how ludicrous it is that cannabis use kept Sha’Carri Richardson from competing, when the cannabis industry is projected to rake in $70 billion by 2028.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “It’s long past time to end the federal prohibition and undo the harms of the War on Drugs. That’s why @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and I are working to pass our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.” He also tweeted, “The War on Drugs has been a war on people. @SenBooker, @RonWyden, and I released our Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act to end the federal prohibition, enact criminal justice reforms, and invest in communities hurt by the War on Drugs.”

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) wrote in a constituent letter that “marijuana is illegal because it is dangerous.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) praised the medical cannabis advocacy of a New Hampshire state representative in remarks for the Congressional Record.

Rep. Mike Walz (R-FL) tweeted, “The IOC bans a US athlete for cannabis but allows #IRGC terrorist murderers to compete?”

/ STATES

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and top lawmakers are blaming one another for the lack of appointments to the state’s marijuana regulatory bodies.

Most South Carolina senators said in a survey that they expect a medical cannabis bill will be a 2022 priority for the chamber.

A California senator spoke about his bill to legalize possession of psychedelics.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld a lower judge’s ruling directing regulators to designate additional medical cannabis dispensary locations for Ultra Health.

Illinois regulators awarded 40 out of 40 marijuana craft grower licenses to businesses led by military veterans.

Idaho regulators are preparing to submit a hemp plan for federal approval.

Alaska regulators proposed changes to marijuana business fine schedules.

West Virginia regulators said they will host more in-person medical cannabis patient registration events based on the turnout of one on Monday.

The Texas Medical Advisory Board discussed the issue of marijuana use by a person while driving when they have a history of alcoholism.

Ohio regulators plan to consider several rules changes related to medical cannabis at a hearing on August 19.

Oklahoma regulators sent a reminder that medical cannabis ownership attestation forms are due by August 30.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,100 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.

/ LOCAL

Denver, Colorado’s mayor proposed using a portion of marijuana tax revenue to fund a loan program for minority and women-owned businesses. Separately, officials will host an information session on marijuana businesses on Tuesday.

The Oakland, California City Council approved a resolution to support state legislation to prohibit employers from discriminating against potential or current workers for testing positive for inactive marijuana metabolites in their urine or hair.

The Richmond, Virginia Redevelopment and Housing Authority is being sued by a woman whose voucher for housing assistance was rejected due to a past marijuana conviction.

A Polk County, Iowa attorney candidate tweeted, “Since marijuana is trending right now, this seems as good a time as any to remind people that as Polk County Attorney it will be the presumption of the office to not prosecute low level, nonviolent offenses like pot possession.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his nation’s bloody “war on drugs” in his final State of the Nation Address.

Guernsey’s government is accepting applications to cultivate medical cannabis.

The Penticton, British Columbia, Canada rejected a motion to support Vancouver’s effort to decriminalize drugs.

The Israeli Defense Forces is cracking down on use of marijuana and other drugs by troops.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabinoids are a reasonable treatment modality for refractory chronic pelvic pain, especially if a neuropathic component is suspected.”

A study of CBD to treat Lennox–Gastaut syndrome found that “87% or more of patients/caregivers reported improvement in the patient’s overall condition on the Subject/Caregiver Global Impression of Change scale.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

ACT UP NY gave out free marijuana joints outside the Brooklyn apartment of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to people who have received coronavirus vaccines.

/ BUSINESS

Bluebird Botanicals acquired Precision Botanical.

Numinus Wellness Inc. received approval from the Canadian government for a study evaluating MDMA-assisted therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Braxia Scientific Corp. established direct billing practices with Medavie Blue Cross to provide ketamine treatment to Canadian military veterans.

/ CULTURE

Joe Exotic’s marijuana company is rolling out a marijuana-infused seltzer called Tiger Piss.

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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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