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White House misstates cannabis scheduling impact (Newsletter: April 22, 2021)

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VA gov signs marijuana bill in ceremony; Another poll shows legal cannabis support; WA lawmakers advance drug bill as AG says don’t recriminalize

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

For the second day in a row, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was pressed on President Joe Biden’s marijuana stance. This time she misstated the impact that modest rescheduling would have on cannabis prisoners whom Biden made a campaign pledge to free.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed the marijuana legalization bill—even though he didn’t really have to, as it took effect when lawmakers approved his amendments earlier this month. But the cannabis win was one he wanted to celebrate with a ceremony.

A new poll found that 55% of Americans support legalizing marijuana in their own state. It also found broad backing for clearing past cannabis conviction records.

As Washington State’s attorney general urges lawmakers not to recriminalize drug possession following a state Supreme Court case that invalidated prohibition, a House committee advanced a bill to reinstate penalties—though only as a misdemeanor.

/ FEDERAL

A Drug Enforcement Administration agent claimed that New Mexico will actually lose money by legalizing marijuana.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service tweeted, “Hemp farmers can be conservationists, too! Our Environmental Quality Incentives, Conservation Stewardship, Regional Conservation Partnership, and Agricultural Conservation Easement Programs are all available to hemp producers.”

The House of Representatives, on a voice vote, approved the extension of a Trump-era policy expanding mandatory minimum sentencing for a range of fentanyl-related substances. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) led a letter opposing the policy earlier this week.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “Legislators in New York not only legalized marijuana—but ensured restorative justice for those harmed by the War on Drugs. This is the right approach and a model for how we should deal with this issue in Congress. I will keep working to end the federal marijuana prohibition.” He also tweeted, “For decades, young men and women—disproportionately men and women of color—have been arrested and jailed for carrying even small amounts of marijuana. I’m working to end the federal prohibition and undo the harms of the War on Drugs.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) defended the shifting drug decriminalization positions of associate attorney general nominee Vanita Gupta in a floor speech ahead of the successful vote on her confirmation.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) cited her state’s legalization of marijuana in a Senate floor speech defending Gupta’s nomination.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) posted on Facebook, “Ban private prisons. Legalize marijuana. End the Failed War on Drugs. It’s time we fix our savagely broken criminal justice system and focus on restorative justice.”

Sen. Angus King (I-ME) spoke about changing societal views on marijuana.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) noted in a House floor speech that as more states legalize marijuana, there’s less money to be made by Mexican cartels to import it.

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) said he thinks marijuana banking legislation will be enacted within the next two years.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) posted a video of herself and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) wearing matching marijuana masks and discussing the prospects for reform.

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted, “We need to make sure that the booming legal #cannabis industry does not become consolidated in the hands of a few big companies.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “Legalize recreational cannabis nationwide, expunge the records and seek amnesty for those incarcerated for cannabis-related offenses.”

Louisiana Democratic congressional candidate Karen Carter Peterson tweeted, “It’s time for real change to transform a broken criminal justice system that targets our communities — starting with legalizing marijuana, expunging past convictions, banning private prisons, and ending mandatory minimum sentences.”

/ STATES

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) signed a bill reforming hemp regulations.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted information about how people can apply to have past marijuana convictions pardoned.

Nebraska’s secretary of state certified that the Legal Marijuana Now Party met the requirements to be recognized as an official political party.

The Nevada Assembly approved a bill to require more than a blood test showing the presence of THC to prove someone is driving while impaired.

An Illinois representative filed an amendment to increase the number of marijuana dispensaries in the state, with priority given to social equity applicants.

Washington, D.C. regulators will begin requiring medical cannabis patients to present valid ID cards at dispensaries as of July 1 as part of the resumption of various enforcement activities that were suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland regulators issued a bulletin saying that medical cannabis patient and caregiver ID card will no longer include photographs.

Washington State regulators sent an update on efforts to modernize their systems.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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 signed legislation allowing marijuana delivery services and social use areas.

/ INTERNATIONAL

United Arab Emirates officials released a U.S. man who had been detained after consuming marijuana in Nevada prior to taking a flight to the country.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review determined that “CBD has anti-tumor efficacy and is well tolerated in human cancer patients.”

A study found “preliminary evidence to suggest that for healthy individuals in a well-controlled and supportive retreat setting, a high dose of psilocybin can lead to enduring positive after-effects that last up to twelve months.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Capital Times editorial board is calling on Wisconsin lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

Maine cannabis activist Dawson Julia was severely injured in an accident and faces extensive medical bills, which his family is asking people to help cover with a GoFundMe.

/ BUSINESS

Jushi Holdings Inc. reported quarterly revenue of $32.3 million.

ATAI Life Sciences is planning to raise $100 million in an initial public offering.

Canopy Growth Corporation announced Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits as the distribution partner for its U.S. portfolio of CBD-infused beverages.

Dama Financial completed a $12.6 million Series B funding round.

FlowHub said an outage by a third-party authentication service it relies on caused its systems to crash on 4/20.

Michigan marijuana sales reached nearly $146 million in March.

/ CULTURE

Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon and other late night hosts used 4/20 as an occasion to joke about marijuana.

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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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