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We went to a cannabis store with Pete Buttigieg (Newsletter: October 24, 2019)

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Senate hearing highlights Schedule I marijuana research problems; USDA issues hemp plant import guidance; UK committee backs drug decrim

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Marijuana Moment accompanied South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, on a tour of a Nevada dispensary. In response to our questions, he spoke about military veterans he knows who have benefitted from medical cannabis and said that health insurance plans should cover purchases.

The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control held a hearing on marijuana’s impact on health, but a major focus turned out to be how cannabis’s current Schedule I status impedes research.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture outlined procedures for importing hemp seeds and plants from Canada and other countries. Previously, the department had only issued guidance focusing on seeds.

The UK House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee issued a report calling on the government to decriminalize drug possession and take other harm reduction steps such as allowing safe consumption facilities.

/ FEDERAL

U.S. Tax Court ruled that the 280E tax provision’s application on marijuana businesses is constitutional.

A federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed against Eaze that the company says could have invalidated cannabis businesses’ ability to enter into and enforce contracts.

The Air Force is investigating reports that an airman smoked marijuana at a nuclear missile alert facility.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) joked that fellow Republicans might support a Democratic mining policy bill if they were “smoking marijuana that morning.”

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got three new cosponsors for a total of 87.

/ STATES

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) and the state’s agriculture, conservation and forestry commissioner sent a letter pressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize hemp legalization regulations.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s (D) Office of Management and Budget estimated a $25 – $150 million per year increase to general funds revenue as marijuana legalization comes online. 

Minnesota’s agriculture commissioner toured a hemp processing facility.

The Kansas legislature’s Special Committee on Federal and State Affairs held a hearing on medical cannabis.

A New York senator said she is optimistic about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in 2020.

Washington State regulators adopted emergency rules allowing disciplinary action against businesses not complying with a ban on flavored marijuana vaping products. They also released explanatory statements on other recently adopted rules.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor spoke during her budget address about how marijuana legalization is “about more than just tax dollars” and how she wants to “use this new industry to uplift the economic life of neighborhoods and residents, particularly those in our black and brown communities that have borne the brunt of the War on Drugs.” Her budget projects that a 3% excise cannabis tax and related increases in sales tax revenues will generate $3.5 million in the first year of implementation.

The Kansas City, Missouri City Council decided not to take up a proposal to decriminalize marijuana.

The Detroit, Michigan City Council president is pushing for expanded equity provisions in marijuana business licensing regulations.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Australia’s commonwealth director of public prosecutions said she hasn’t yet decided whether to prosecute marijuana cases in light of a local legalization law.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “legalization of marijuana, both recreational and medical, does not increase violent crime rates” and that “in contrast, marijuana legalization could lead to a decline in violent crime such as homicide, robbery and aggravated assault.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Florida voters support legalizing marijuana, 64%-33%.

The Guardian editorial board said there is a compelling case to treat drugs as a health issue rather than a criminal one.

NORML is conducting a membership survey that includes a question on whether the group should invest resources in calling out “bad actors” in the marijuana industry.

Prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana revealed the name of one donor to its New York anti-legalization lobbying efforts after a state ethics commission ruled against its request to keep the information secret.

/ BUSINESS

A Leafly investigation of products sold at unlicensed California marijuana stores found high levels of pesticide contamination and toxic vitamin E oil.

Marijuana Business Daily’s CEO is stepping down.

/ CULTURE

Joe Rogan and Richard Dawkins discussed psychedelics.

60 Minutes will air a segment on California’s challenges in implementing marijuana legalization on Sunday.

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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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