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White House slams cannabis banking in Dem COVID bill (Newsletter: August 10, 2020)

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State ag depts.: extend hemp program; Senator talks marijuana on floor; OR officials analyze drug decrim & psilocybin measures; USDA OKs hemp plans

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Trump administration joined congressional Republicans in criticizing marijuana banking provisions in Democrats’ latest COVID bill. 

  • “In one instance they have provided guarantees for banking access for marijuana growers. That has absolutely nothing to do with coronavirus,” Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President MIke Pence and former White House legislative director said.

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and the National Industrial Hemp Council are pushing Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to extend hemp pilot programs for states that haven’t yet been able to finalize regulations under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) took to the Senate floor to make the case that legalizing marijuana must be a part of police reform and racial justice efforts, and to discuss her new bill that would federally regulate cannabis like tobacco.

  • “It is time to legalize marijuana, and we should do it in a practical and commonsense way that protects the health and safety and the civil rights of our communities.”

Oregon officials finalized summaries of measures to decriminalize drug possession and legalize psilocybin therapy that are on the November ballot. The drug decriminalization initiative will mean “significant reductions in racial/ethnic disparities in both convictions and arrests,” a state panel said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved hemp plans for Maryland and another Indian tribe, bringing the total number of approved plans across states, territories and tribes to 55.

/ FEDERAL

The Department of Veterans Affairs’s Veterans Health Administration tweeted, “Marijuana: natural = safe, right? Not necessarily.”

Libertarian presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen tweeted, “The DNC just refused to add legalizing marijuana to their platform, it’s been on the LP platform since day one.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) tweeted, “My priority is helping Louisiana families struggling during this pandemic. Democrats are using the unemployed as a point of leverage to pass the entirety of their HEROES Act, which mentions marijuana more than jobs. Lets put families first.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) tweeted, “Heroes Act is a cruel joke: Tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, soil enhancement studies, diversity in cannabis industry, pay people not to work – nothing for schools, small businesses or jobs.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) tweeted, “Pelosi & Schumer held up relief for the American people because they wanted a liberal wishlist that talks more about “cannabis” than a ‘job.’ Today President Trump took action to make up for Democrats’ failures. He stepped up to deliver targeted relief to the American people.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) said a psychedelics decriminalization ballot measure will make Washington, D.C. “the mushroom capital of the United States.”

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 81.

Alabama Democratic congressional candidate Kiani Gardner tweeted, “I don’t have strong feeling about marijuana, but at least once a day, I get furious thinking about US pot laws that make (mostly white) millionaires in one states and tear apart (mostly black) families in another.  Turns out, I have really strong feelings about marijuana.”

Maryland Republican congressional candidate Kimberly Klacik tweeted, “Next week, I will introduce my proposal to lower crime, violence, the homicide rate & to truly make a dent on the war on drugs. It’s 1 piece of legislation.”

/ STATES

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “It’s astonishing society is OK with lethal, highly addictive opioids, but a *mushroom* is illegal. Same, cannabis. Let’s all consider that- sit back with a bottle of Jack Daniels + fire up a Marlboro.”

Michigan’s attorney general and secretary of state warned voters that people are circulating ballot petitions described as “supporting medical marijuana initiatives” but that actually concern completely different policy areas.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “On #NationalCBDDay, if you’re out shopping for #CBD products, be sure to check for the Florida #Hemp seal. We established Florida’s State Hemp Rules to ensure quality, consistent, and safe products for consumers.”

North Carolina agriculture commissioner candidate Jenna Wadsworth tweeted, “Cannabis legalization offers a viable economic opportunity to farmers & rural communities. #Cannabis could foster true social justice opportunities for communities of color through decriminalization & HUB firms being distribution channels.”

An Arizona judge rejected a lawsuit seeking to keep a marijuana legalization measure off the ballot over claims its summary is misleading.

Nevada regulators approved a partial settlement of a lawsuit challenging the state’s marijuana business licensing process.

Oklahoma has a new top medical cannabis regulator.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee 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.

/ LOCAL

The Chatham County, Georgia Board of Commissioners approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

Several California cities and counties will vote on local marijuana ballot measures in November.

Vermilion Parish, Louisiana prosecutors agreed to a deal to release a man who was serving a life sentence for selling $30 worth of marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

South Africa’s cabinet approved a bill to legalize marijuana possession and home cultivation.

Polish authorities detained an unnamed cannabis executive and a regulator in charge of registering medical products for allegedly engaging in an illegal approval scheme.

Only 257 people have benefitted from Canada’s marijuana pardon program in its first year.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “prescription stimulant use was higher in states without medical marijuana laws.”

A study concluded that “marijuana gateway effects may exist” but that “results demonstrate that the phenomena used to motivate belief in such an effect are consistent with an alternative simple, plausible common‐factor model” and that “no gateway effect is required to explain them.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party tweeted, “Ending marijuana prohibition is an issue of racial justice, criminal justice, and economic justice.”

/ CULTURE

Actor Rob Lowe discussed psychedelics with Joe Rogan.

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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

Bill would let cannabis biz get disaster aid (Newsletter: September 25, 2020)

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New Congressional marijuana reports; CA cannabis-funded community grants; OR Dems back legal psilocybin & drug decrim; Cannabis sales spike amid COVID

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

Before you dig into today’s cannabis news, I wanted you to know you can keep this resource free and published daily by subscribing to Marijuana Moment on Patreon. We’re a small independent publication diving deep into the cannabis world and rely on readers like you to keep going.

Join us at https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR) filed companion bills to make marijuana businesses harmed by recent wildfires and other disasters eligible to receive federal relief funds on a retroactive basis.

Two new reports from the Congressional Research Service analyze marijuana expungements and cannabis-related consequences for immigrants.

The Democratic Party of Oregon endorsed two far-reaching drug policy reform measures on the state’s November ballot. One would legalize psilocybin therapy, and the other would decriminalize possession of all drugs and increase treatment funding.

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development announced it’s accepting applications for $30 million in grants—funded by marijuana tax revenue—to help communities targeted and harmed by the war on drugs.

A report from the Oregon  Office of Economic Analysis shows how marijuana sales during the coronavirus pandemic are way higher than previous projections and says that “expectations are that some of these increases will be permanent.”

  • “Factors leading to increases in sales include higher incomes due to federal support, increased stressors in everyday life, reductions in other forms of entertainment or recreational opportunities, and simply more time on one’s hand be it due to a COVID-related layoff, or increased working from home.”

/ FEDERAL

The death of Minnesota Legal Marijuana Now Party congressional candidate Adam Weeks means that a special election for the seat will have to be held in February and that no results from Election Day in November will be reported.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) again slammed Democrats for mentioning cannabis more times than jobs in their coronavirus relief bill.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) criticized House leadership’s decision to delay a vote on a bill to federally legalize marijuana.

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) reported that roughly a tenth of constituent messages she received last week were about a marijuana legalization bill.

Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate Christopher Hale tweeted, “Why is it that kids and veterans in Tennessee who smoke marijuana have criminal records, but those who committed billions of dollars of fraud on Wall Street and wrecked our economy do not?”

/ STATES

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed an executive order extending the expiration date for medical cannabis cards to the end of the year.

Michigan lawmakers sent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) legislation to streamline the process for  expunging marijuana and other convictions. Separately, regulators issued a health and safety advisory bulletin about the presence of Vitamin E acetate in cannabis vape cartridges.

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Right here in Pennsylvania, we should be offering high-paying cannabis-related jobs in this growing industry. Pennsylvania needs action now. Contact your state legislators and advocate for change.”

Ohio’s attorney general tweeted about the state’s testing method to differentiate between hemp and marijuana.

Nevada regulators extended the expiration date for marijuana temporary agent cards.

Florida’s Hemp Advisory Committee met.


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

Denver, Colorado officials are holding a marijuana licensing work group on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

UK officials rejected the European Commission’s preliminary finding that CBD should be regulated as a narcotic.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “30 percent of migraine patients in the U.S. have used cannabis to relieve migraine pain and 82 percent of those who used cannabis found it useful to reduce the pain level.”

A study of rats found that “Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol administration following repeated mild traumatic brain injury was beneficial to three of the six behavioural outcomes affected by injury (reducing anxiety and depressive-like behaviours while also mitigating injury-induced deficits in short-term working memory)” and that “Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol may have potential therapeutic benefit on post-concussive symptomology when administered post-injury, but not pre-injury.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The National Cannabis Industry Association announced the former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang will deliver a keynote address at its November virtual conference.

Decriminalize Nature made a Facebook post calling out psychedelic reform funder David Bronner for allegedly “resorting to divide and conquer tactics to control the Decriminalize Nature movement.”

The UK Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform and Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group endorsed legalizing marijuana and decriminalizing drugs.

/ BUSINESS

4Front Ventures Corp. announced it completed its sale of three Maryland medical cannabis dispensaries to Ethos Cannabis.

California regulators filed a complaint against Vertical Bliss, Inc., aka Kushy Punch for allegedly conducting unlicensed marijuana operations.

/ CULTURE

Actor Brian Cox said using marijuana helped get him through coronavirus lockdown.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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Newsletter

New FDA guidance to ease path for CBD medicines (Newsletter: September 24, 2020)

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NM lawmakers debate marijuana revenue; Cannabiz hurt by wildfires can’t get fed aid; WA cops might lose cannabis money; WV legalization plan

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The New Mexico legislature’s joint Interim Revenue Stabilization & Tax Policy Committee held a hearing on the economic potential of legalizing marijuana.

  • “We can’t legalize for the sake of legalizing without making a commitment to righting the wrongs of the past.”

The Food and Drug Administration published draft guidance that’s meant to streamline the process for approving generic CBD-based oral medications.

The Small Business Administration confirmed that marijuana businesses impacted by recent wildfires in Oregon are ineligible for federal relief funds. Cannabis operators whose homes have been damaged may still be able to get some assistance, the agency told Marijuana Moment.

The King County, Washington State executive is proposing stripping $4.6 million in marijuana tax revenue from the sheriff’s department and reinvesting some of those funds into helping people vacate their prior cannabis convictions.

Candidates for the West Virginia House of Delegates held a press conference in a hemp field to announce the details of a far-reaching marijuana legalization bill they plan to introduce if elected. Among other things, it would expunge cannabis records dating back to 1937.

/ FEDERAL

Surgeon General Jerome Adams discussed his concerns about marijuana use by young people.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Democratic challenger Cal Cunningman debated marijuana policy and both admitted that they have consumed cannabis in the past.

Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) said he is “adamantly opposed” to legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana, which he says is “nothing more than a gateway drug.”

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) cheered the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s move to make hemp farmers eligible for coronavirus relief funds.

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 114.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tweeted, “Instead of taking votes on meaningless bills, the Republican legislature should take action on my plan to help PA by providing child care and hazard pay funding, passing sick leave legislation, and legalizing adult-use marijuana to help businesses impacted by the pandemic.” The state’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “Last year, nearly 22,000 people in PA were arrested for having less than 30 grams of cannabis. Imagine how we could better devote that time and those resources, instead of prosecuting people for something most of us don’t even think should be illegal.”

Indiana Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers tweeted, “Thank you again to @INORML for giving me the “Best Cannabis Politician in Indiana” award this year.  We need criminal justice reform and legal medicinal marijuana to ensure a healthy and just society.”

Vermont’s lieutenant governor cheered the passage of legislation to legalize marijuana sales and expunge past convictions.

The New Jersey Senate and Assembly are expected to vote on legislation to allow medical cannabis recommendations via telemedicine on Thursday.

A lawsuit challenging Illinois regulators’ marijuana business licensing approval process is being dropped after unsuccessful applicants got a chance to rework their proposals.

California regulators released a proposed hemp regulatory plan.

New York regulators published guidance about medical cannabis research.

Nevada regulators approved complaints against several marijuana companies.

Maine regulators sent a letter to medical cannabis caregivers about program updates.

The Albuquerque Journal asked several New Mexico House and Senate candidates about their positions on marijuana policy.

Colorado regulators published a mid-year update on marijuana licensing, cultivation and sales.


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

Cedar Rapids, Iowa’s police chief said he is open to lobbying state lawmakers to lessen marijuana penalties.

Providence, Rhode Island’s mayor said he’s interested in using marijuana revenue to fund housing as a form of reparations.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón reportedly admitted in private remarks that legalizing drugs is the only solution to cartel violence.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte defended his country’s bloody “war on drugs” in a speech before the United Nations.

Swiss lawmakers approved legislation allowing local legal marijuana pilot projects.

The Colombian government declared the medical cannabis industry to be a Project of National and Strategic Interest.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that people living with HIV “with past cannabis use have similar or better neurocognition across domains compared to PLWH without past use.”

A study demonstrated a proof of concept “for preservation, augmentation, and replenishment of terpenes to cannabis inflorescence over various storage durations.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that North Carolina voters support legalizing marijuana, 48%-39% and back medical cannabis, 73%-19%.

Decriminalize Nature released dozens of pages of communications with the Native American Church and the Indigenous Peyote Conservation Initiative over a dispute about the inclusion of peyote in reform legislation.

The Nevada Dispensary Association hired a new executive director.

/ BUSINESS

GW Pharmaceuticals plc announced that Australian officials approved its CBD-based EPIDYOLEX medicine for treatment of certain forms of epilepsy.

Hightimes Holding Corp. reportedly lost the leases for marijuana dispensary properties that were part of its deal to acquire Harvest Health and Recreation.

Canopy Growth Corporation and Acreage Holdings, Inc. announced the implementation of an amended agreement between the companies.

Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s new CEO spoke about plans to turn the company’s financial situation around.

Terrapin Care Station is suing the Hoboken, New Jersey Planning Board over allegations that the approval process for rival Harmony Foundation skipped over several requirements.

New Frontier Data projected that more than $9 billion in new revenue will be generated from 2022-2025 if five states approve marijuana ballot measures in November.

/ CULTURE

Lenny Kravitz wrote in his new memoir about how he discovered marijuana and Led Zeppelin on the same day.

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Newsletter

Vermont gov gets legal cannabis sales bill (Newsletter: September 23, 2020)

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Ann Arbor decrims psychedelics; FDA meeting on CBD & sex; SD racist marijuana enforcement exposed; KS lawmakers push medical cannabis

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Vermont Senate voted to send bills to legalize marijuana sales and expunge prior cannabis convictions to the desk of Gov. Phil Scott (R). The governor last week praised the process by which the final cannabis commerce proposal was negotiated, so advocates are hopeful he won’t veto it.

The Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council voted unanimously to decriminalize a wide range of psychedelics—including psilocybin, ayahuasca and ibogaine.

The Food and Drug Administration announced it will host a day-long public meeting to explore the differing effects of CBD and other marijuana compounds based on gender and sex differences.

A new analysis by the campaign seeking to pass a marijuana legalization ballot measure in South Dakota shows that nearly one out of 10 of all arrests in the state are for cannabis, and that enforcement is carried out in a racially disproportionate manner.

Kansas lawmakers are keeping up the push to legalize medical cannabis.

  • “It’s time we acknowledge that some of our citizens are actually using medical marijuana, even though they may have to travel to another state to get it.”

/ FEDERAL

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute tweeted that a “@NIH-funded study finds that patients with #SickleCell who use medical marijuana for pain tend to have fewer hospitalizations.”

The House of Representatives approved a short-term funding extension bill that includes a provision to extend the 2014 hemp pilot program and delay implementation of U.S. Department of Agriculture rules that industry stakeholders say need more work before being finalized.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted, “No more private prisons and private detention centers. No more profiteering from locking people up. No more ‘war on drugs.’ No more keeping people in jail because they’re too poor to afford cash bail. Instead of more jails and incarceration, we need more jobs and education.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said it is “disappointing” that Democratic leaders delayed a vote on a bill to federally legalize marijuana.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) and her Republican challenger Paul Junge both support federal marijuana reform.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) spoke about the need to reform marijuana laws in a House floor speech.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “Cannabis justice is a racial justice issue. Period.”

Texas congressional candidate Russell Foster tweeted, “My uncle had MS, was falling apart from all the opioids & drugs once he had to start using a walker, then a chair. Luckily in his final years, he was able to find cannabis, got off most of the killer meds, and lived longer than what we thought possible. #PotSaves”

Mississippi Democratic congressional candidate Antonia Eliason tweeted, “Opposition to Initiative 65 is pure fear-mongering. Vote to legalize medical marijuana for those who need it – vote for 65 NOT for 65A, which would limit it to terminally ill patients.”

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) held a press conference to discuss issues with the state’s marijuana business licensing process.

The Virginia House Courts of Justice Committee approved a Senate-passed bill to prevent police from conducting searches based solely on the smell of marijuana.

The Colorado Supreme Court will consider the case of a Department of Corrections employee who was fired for one-time, off-duty use of marijuana on Wednesday.

Michigan marijuana regulators will meet on Thursday.

Nevada regulators will hold a public hearing on proposed marijuana rule changes on October 20.


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 Colorado Springs, Colorado City Council decided against allowing medical cannabis delivery services.

Portland, Oregon police sent a bulletin about burglaries are multiple marijuana dispensaries.

/ INTERNATIONAL

South Africa’s Parliament is accepting public input on a marijuana reform bill.

A Kenyan lawmaker is pushing for the legalization of medical cannabis.

A UK member of Parliament authored an op-ed calling for drugs to be treated as a health, rather than criminal, issue.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “novel cannabidiol sunscreen protects keratinocytes and melanocytes against ultraviolet B radiation.”

A study found that “certain LED spectra can considerably increase the amount of cannabinoids with respect to conventional illumination.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance published a transition memo on drug policy issues for the next president

Members of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation are divided over the nation’s marijuana legalization referendum.

/ BUSINESS

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of $72.1 million and an adjusted loss of $34.6 million.

Greenleaf is being sued by its former finance director who says he was wrongfully fired after raising allegations its owners were improperly taking money from the business.

At least seven Oregon marijuana businesses have been destroyed by recent wildfires, with at least a dozen more being damaged.

The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists is hosting a Mid-Atlantic Cannabis Conference on Saturday.

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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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