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VT gov happy with legal cannabis sales bill process (Newsletter: September 21, 2020)

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Poll: GOP voters back marijuana bill Dems pulled; USDA OKs COVID aid for hemp farmers; Federal agencies accept comments on cannabis issues

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) seems pleased with the process that led to a new marijuana sales legalization bill that just passed the House—though he stopped short of committing to sign it. One more vote in the Senate this week will put it on his desk.

A new poll found that a majority of U.S. voters—including most Republicans—support a federal marijuana legalization bill that House Democratic leaders delayed a vote on over fears about the reelection prospects of their moderate lawmakers in key districts.

A new report from the Congressional Research Service highlights four major consequences of federal marijuana prohibition. From consumers to researchers to banks, the current ban on cannabis is causing problems for a lot of people and institutions, the Capitol Hill office showed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said hemp farmers can finally participate in a coronavirus relief program that they’d been ineligible for until now.

Four separate federal agencies are now accepting public comments on cannabis issues ranging from marijuana research to hemp and CBD rules to workplace drug testing—with the deadline to send feedback on one proposal coming up on Monday.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s proposed hemp rule is being challenged in a lawsuit by the Hemp Industries Association and RE Botanicals.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) sidestepped a question about whether she supports her state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure, saying, she’ll “let the Arizona voters decide that.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke about how she is trying to get Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden to evolve on marijuana legalization.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The MORE Act is critical for ending the failed War on Drugs. The public deserves a vote on the MORE Act and we will continue to build support to meet our objective of passing it in the House & sending it to the Senate until it is the law.”

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and fund programs to repair the harms of the war on drugs got two new cosponsors for a total of 113.

The House bill to allow CBD as a dietary supplement got two new cosponsors for a total of three.

Kansas U.S. Senate candidates debated marijuana policy.

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “The stigma around Marijuana was created to keep minority populations in check by white, male politicians. Now politicans are allowing pharmaceutical companies to pump addictive drugs into already vulnerable communities and refusing to allow a safe alternative to pain management.”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill temporarily freezing marijuana taxes.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Imagine denying Pennsylvania’s farmers the largest cash crop, perhaps-ever-over Reefer Madness.  Cannabis is 💯 pro farmer. Cannabis is 💯 pro 🔴 county PA.  Legal Weed is pro Pennsylvania.”

Nebraska’s secretary of state is considering a request to make the Legal Marijuana Now Party a recognized third party.

The Oregon campaign to decriminalize drugs and increase funding for treatment touted its endorsements, including “33 BIPOC advocacy groups, labor unions, healthcare clinics, social service organizations, and more.”

A case challenging Maryland regulators’ medical cannabis decisions was dismissed by a federal judge.

Missouri’s top medical cannabis regulator made a campaign contribution to the opponent of a state lawmaker who led an investigation into the program he oversees.

Oklahoma regulators awarded the state’s medical cannabis tracking contact to Metrc.

Iowa regulators awarded two new medical cannabis dispensary licenses.

The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission will consider issues related to county officials and medical cannabis regulation on Wednesday.


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.

/ LOCAL

The Ocean County, New Jersey Board of Freeholders passed a resolution opposing the state’s marijuana legalization referendum.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority is allowing medical cannabis companies to trade on the London Stock Exchange.

Israeli authorities are tightening requirements on medical cannabis imports.

Canadian retailers sold nearly C$236 million worth of marijuana products in July.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “many positive effects of CBD have been observed in experimental models of heart diseases (myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, myocarditis), stroke, neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, sepsis-related encephalitis, cardiovascular complications of diabetes, and ischemia/reperfusion injures of liver and kidneys” and that “CBD decreased organ damage and dysfunction, oxidative and nitrative stress, inflammatory processes and apoptosis, among others.”

Researchers at universities in 18 countries are partnering on a large-scale survey about cannabis cultivation.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s National Cannabis Working Group called on the federal government to embrace marijuana as part of the nation’s coronavirus economic recovery effort.

The Arkansas Cannabis Industry Association elected new board members.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. received approval from the Supreme Court of British Columbia for its amended agreement with Canopy Growth Corporation.

Compass Pathways PLC debuted on the NASDAQ.

Mass General Brigham Inc. asked the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court not to require insurers to reimburse injured workers for medical cannabis.

/ CULTURE

Travel writer Rick Steves tweeted, “I’m on the (virtual) campaign trail to help end the prohibition on marijuana. I see this work as an act of good citizenship. If you care about fighting racism, defending civil liberties, and creating a regulated and taxed legal market, #vote to end the prohibition on marijuana.”

Musician Willie Nelson spoke about how marijuana is a “real medicine.”

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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

Trump team orders cannabis activists to cease & desist (Newsletter: October 21, 2020)

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Harris makes “commitment” to decrim marijuana; Schumer puts cannabis banking in COVID bill; Poll: NJ referendum leads; TX legalization projections

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump’s reelection campaign issued a cease and desist letter demanding that Mississippi medical cannabis activists stop using his name to campaign for their ballot initiative. Trump has said, on video, that he backs medical marijuana “100%” and that he personally knows people who have benefited from using it.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA) spoke about a “commitment” to decriminalize marijuana and expunge past cannabis records if Joe Biden is elected to the White House.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) included marijuana banking language in a new coronavirus relief bill he introduced. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if cannabis provisions can make it into a COVID-19 deal that Democrats and the Trump administration are negotiating.

Another new poll shows New Jersey’s marijuana legalization referendum ahead by a solid margin. This one also finds that voters want Gov. Phil Murphy (D) to go even further by pardoning people with past cannabis convictions.

A new analysis from Vicente Sederberg LLP finds that if Texas legalized marijuana the state would see $2.7 billion in annual cannabis sales, take in $1.1 billion dollars in tax revenue per biennium and create 20,000-40,000 jobs in the industry, plus ancillary positions.

/ FEDERAL

The Drug Enforcement Administration launched a new operation to “identify and prioritize ongoing drug trafficking investigations with a nexus to violent crime.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) slammed Democrats’ coronavirus relief bill because it “mentions cannabis more times than JOBS.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) toured a hemp business.

Florida Democratic congressional candidate Christine Olivo tweeted, “Legalize marijuana and expunge the records of people with past marijuana related convictions! #LegalizeIt”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I want to legalize cannabis, turn it into a cash crop for our District 1 farmers, tax the sale of cannabis & use that revenue to rebuild our infrastructure! With your support, we can do this together!”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Lisa Welch tweeted, “In 2020, states will vote on marijuana legalization. This will generate tax revenue to combat the opioid crisis, cartels, & reduce the burden on our police/justice system. It’s time for Fed Gov to end prohibition& expunge nonviolent drug charges #vote”

/ STATES

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) appointed a new director of the state Office of Drug Control Policy.

Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) is urging voters to reject a drug decriminalization ballot measure.

New Hampshire Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Feltes spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana during a debate.

Utah Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Karina Brown said she opposes decriminalizing marijuana.

Montana’s House speaker expressed concerns about the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measures.

Massachusetts regulators approved changes to proposed marijuana delivery rules.

Michigan regulators cheered federal approval of the state’s hemp plan.

Virginia’s Marijuana Legalization Work Group met.

Ohio regulators published updated medical cannabis patient and caregiver numbers.


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.

/ LOCAL

The Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney has expunged hundreds of marijuana convictions this month.

Los Angeles, California regulators began accepting applications for marijuana delivery, distribution, manufacturing and testing licenses, but are facing a lawsuit over the availability of delivery licenses to only equity applicants.

The Portland, Maine City Council approved marijuana business licenses.

Boston, Massachusetts marijuana regulators will meet on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A London, UK police commander in charge of drug strategy has admitted to using cannabis for medical purposes and has been suspended.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “medical cannabis initiation may be associated with self-reported reductions and cessation of alcohol use among medical cannabis patients.”

A study suggested that “cannabis legalization in Canada did not increase the risk of short-term cannabis-related hospitalization among girls and older boys” but that “legalization may have contributed to an increase in the risk in boys under 15 years.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Last Prisoner Project, Cannabis Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party and Redemption Foundation teamed up on a campaign seeking the release of people incarcerated for cannabis convictions in Michigan.

/ BUSINESS

Meadow launched a CRM and text messaging platform for dispensary clients.

Employees at Eaze subsidiary Stachs voted to join the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

VIVO Cannabis Inc. laid off 18% of its staff.

/ CULTURE

The Onion made fun of people who give CBD to their pets.

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Newsletter

Trump-appointed prosecutor’s cannabis warning (Newsletter: October 20, 2020)

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Top NY gov aide: Legal marijuana in 2021; AOC teams up with GOP on drug reform; USDA OKs more hemp plans; NM voters back legal cannabis

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https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Trump-appointed U.S. attorney for Montana penned a statement warning the state’s voters that legalizing marijuana will increase car crashes, cause addiction and make it harder to take custody of kids away from parents just for using cannabis.

The top cannabis advisor to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said marijuana legalization will be included in his budget again in January, with the goal of enacting it into law by April. He also spoke about forthcoming rules to allow CBD-infused foods and drinks.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke about how more Republicans are joining Democrats in working to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs.

  • “We’ve been able to propose solutions on a wide spectrum towards decriminalization, towards legalization, and that is increasingly becoming a position that more Republicans are amenable to… There are some areas where you can find common ground.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved hemp plans from six additional states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Dakota—and three Indian tribes. The total number of hemp proposals to have received federal clearance now stands at 69.

As Arizona appears poised to approve a marijuana legalization ballot measure next month, a new poll shows that voters next door in New Mexico also back legalizing cannabis by a strong margin and that nearly half want to decriminalize drugs as well.

/ FEDERAL

A new page about race and the criminal justice system on the campaign website of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden reiterates, “Our administration will work to end mandatory minimums and private prisons, reform our broken cash bail system, and decriminalize the use of cannabis. And let me be clear: we need to help people with mental health challenges or substance use disorders receive treatment –– not a prison sentence.”

The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission sent a letter warning For Our Vets LLC dba Patriot Supreme to stop claiming its CBD products can prevent and treat coronavirus.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and thirteen other senators briefly cited the economic opportunities created by hemp in a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to modernize rulemaking for biogenic carbon emissions.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) included several pieces of marijuana and psychedelics legislation in a list of congressional bills she is highlighting that seek to interfere in Washington, D.C.’s local affairs.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) tweeted, “Industrial hemp production is a huge opportunity for our region’s ag sector. This bill helps give farmers the tools they need to produce this cash crop on a larger scale. Congrats to @GovNedLamont for getting this important effort across the finish line.”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I want to legalize cannabis [and] make it a cash crop for [our] 1st District farmers. We can then tax the sale of cannabis and use that revenue to pay for rebuilding and improving our infrastructure!”

/ STATES

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) tweeted, “Let’s listen to the science and vote no on legalizing marijuana.”

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Salango tweeted, “After years of delay, the state finally selected its medical cannabis growers, but WV based companies were left out in favor of out-of-state firms and a political donor of Jim Justice. Are you tired of the corruption? We can do better.”

Indiana attorney general candidates discussed their views on marijuana.

The New Mexico legislature’s Economic & Rural Development Committee discussed hemp production.

Oregon regulators eased marijuana business license application requirements and streamlined the process for approvals.

Washington State regulators adopted rules on a voluntary marijuana licensee consultation and education program and rescinded a policy on the use of personal funds for business.

Colorado regulators published a marijuana market report.

Nevada regulators issued guidance on marijuana agent card expiration dates.

Some Massachusetts lawmakers are pushing back against proposed marijuana delivery regulations.

Pennsylvania drug courts may face a lawsuit for barring participation by medical cannabis patients.

Oklahoma regulators touted the fact that the state Department of Education has received enough medical cannabis revenue to pay the salaries of 794 teachers.

The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission will meet on Tuesday.

Kansas representatives will participate in a chat about the prospects of legalizing medical cannabis in the state on Tuesday.

/ LOCAL

The Henderson, Nevada City Council is considering a proposal to allow marijuana delivery services.

Paterson, New Jersey is set to enact a medical cannabis transfer tax.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The West Midlands, UK Police Department is ending arrests for low-level drug possession.

The Dutch justice minister told concerned lawmakers that no extra policies are needed to prevent people possessing or smoking marijuana in public places during the coronavirus pandemic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review of research on Huntington disease found “strong evidence for significant improvement in the neurologic symptoms of spasms, tremors, spasticity, chorea, and quality of sleep following treatment with medical marijuana,” ” significant improvement after treatment in tremors and rigidity” and “a significant increase in average number of hours slept.”

A study identified “potentially beneficial effects of Cannabis sativa whole extracts on the initial phase of atherosclerosis.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police published an op-ed outlining concerns about marijuana legalization ahead of the state’s vote on a referendum to end prohibition.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative explained its decision to fund Oregon’s drug decriminalization campaign in a press release.

The Sussex County, New Jersey Democratic Committee published an op-ed urging voters to approve the state’s marijuana legalization referendum.

/ BUSINESS

Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced the repayment of some of its debts.

Harborside Inc. reached an agreement to acquire majority ownership of FGW Haight, Inc., which has a conditional use approval to operate a dispensary in San Francisco, California.

Zenefits touted a cannabis-specific payroll guide, tweeting, “At Zenefits we support SMBs with our mission to “level the playing field” for the smaller guys. #Cannabis companies included.”

/ CULTURE

Seth Rogen spoke about how he has been smoking marijuana all day long during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Newsletter

Missouri & Virginia medical cannabis sales begin (Newsletter: October 19, 2020)

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Biden talks marijuana at town hall; VA gov signs decrim fine prepay bill; MT lawsuit challenges legalization initiative; NJ poll; OR drug decrim ads

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Trump addressed drug and crime policy issues at dueling town halls. Biden spoke about decriminalizing marijuana, clearing past cannabis records and forcing people into treatment instead of jail for drug possession. Meanwhile, Trump attempted to cast himself as the criminal justice reform candidate.

Missouri dispensaries made the state’s first medical marijuana sales—nearly two years after voters approved a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for approved patients.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill that allows people to prepay marijuana decriminalization fines instead of having to go to court. Meanwhile, the state’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened over the weekend. The governor also has more marijuana bills on his desk for action later this month.

Montana marijuana opponents are trying to block the state’s legalization ballot measure because they say it violates the state constitution by appropriating tax revenue to specific programs. Voting is already underway, so it’s unclear what will happen if the challenge succeeds in the state Supreme Court.

A new poll shows New Jersey’s marijuana legalization ballot referendum passing by a nearly three-to-one margin.

The campaign working to pass Oregon’s drug decriminalization ballot measure released a new series of TV and online ads. 

  • “Putting people in jail ruins families, when treatment can help families. Yes on 110 will help.”

/ FEDERAL

Leaders at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Training Academy are being accused of having a pattern of making racist comments towards recruits.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy updated its Freedom of Information Act policies.

Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) criticized President Trump, tweeting that he “expanded civil asset forfeiture/marijuana enforcement.”

Rep. Max Rose (D-NY) and Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis shared their positions on marijuana legalization during a debate.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) tweeted, “Happy Wisconsin Hemp Day! Throughout the early part of the 20th Century, Wisconsin was proudly a national leader in #hemp production. I have championed legalizing industrial hemp for years and am glad that our farmers are once again able to produce this lucrative, useful crop.”

South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison spoke about his support for legalizing marijuana.

West Virginia democratic Senate candidate Paula Jean Swearengin tweeted, “This isn’t a partisan issue- it’s a greed issue. People from all walks of life want to legalize cannabis, except for those who want to make money off our backs instead of empowering our farmers, small businesses, & working people. We need restorative #cannabis legalization NOW”

Maryland Democratic congressional candidate Mia Mason tweeted, “I will fight to legalize cannabis, let our District 1 farmers grow it as a cash crop, & tax it to bring money into our system to fix our infrastructure!”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) signed a proclamation declaring Wisconsin Hemp Day.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “I’m calling on the PA legislature to move toward legalizing adult-use marijuana. Here’s why: 👍 Pennsylvanians support legalization 💵 Revenues would help us recover from #COVID19 🚜 Pennsylvania agriculture would see a boost 💚 Decriminalization of marijuana is long overdue 🌱 Justice would be restored to those impacted by over-criminalization 🛡 Regulations would be implemented to keep people safe ↔️ Pennsylvanians with medical issues could better access relief 💰 Pennsylvania would keep revenue instead of losing it to neighboring states”

Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers spoke about his support for decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing medical cannabis.

Arizona’s secretary of state held two town hall meetings to discuss the state’s ballot measures, including one to legalize marijuana.

Oklahoma regulators adopted emergency rules on medical cannabis reporting and testing. They also announced a recall of products sold by Green Motavation that failed pesticide testing.

Colorado regulators adopted new marijuana waste management rules.

Tennessee regulators extended the state’s hemp pilot program.

The Alabama Board of Pardons and Parole granted parole to a disabled Iraqi War veteran who is serving a five-year prison sentence after being arrested for possessing medical cannabis that is legal in his home state of Arizona.

California regulators are proposing new rules on marijuana business license application requirements.

The Illinois Adult Use Cannabis Health Advisory Committee will meet on Monday.

Michigan regulators will hold a marijuana social equity education and outreach session on Tuesday.


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.

/ LOCAL

The Will County, Illinois Board is advancing a proposal to use marijuana tax revenue as reparations for “Transgenerational Damage Done through Slavery, the Black Codes, the War on Drugs, and Mass Incarceration.”

San Francisco, California regulators made grant funding available to marijuana social equity businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Mexico’s former defense minister was arrested on drug charges by U.S. officials.

Reelected Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke about her priorities for addressing marijuana policy regardless of the outcome of the nation’s legalization referendum. Meanwhile, the unexpected victory of a Green Party parliamentary candidate could bode well for the referendum, preliminary results of which will be announced later this month.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky included a question about legalizing medical cannabis in an exit poll to be conducted along with local elections this month.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “accommodating assisted injection within [supervised injection services] may be providing opportunities to engage and reduce harms among higher-risk subpopulations” of people who inject drugs.

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Policy Center for Public Health and Safety, American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp and ASTM International launched a pilot certification program for the cannabis industry.

The Irish Farmers Association says the country could be a “major player” in the production of medicinal cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

GenGanna Global, now known as OGGUSA Inc., is suing its board chairman for allegedly diverting more than $4 million in cash and benefits to his own company, Southern Tier Hemp.

Schwazze canceled its planned acquisition of Canyon.

/ CULTURE

The NFL Players Association sent a letter warning players that they could be violating collectively bargained rules by entering into partnerships with CBD companies.

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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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