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White House’s secret anti-cannabis committee exposed (Newsletter: August 30, 2018)

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US territory passes legal marijuana bill; NJ AG gives cannabis prosecution guidance; FL Senate & gubernatorial candidates on marijuana

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is coordinating a government-wide effort to portray marijuana legalization in a negative light, according to documents obtained by BuzzFeed.

  • A key staffer for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) pushed back against the news and said the senator fully expects President Trump to keep his promise to support federal cannabis reform legislation.

Lawmakers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, sent a marijuana legalization bill to the desk of Gov. Ralph Torres (R).

New Jersey’s attorney general released guidance to municipal prosecutors saying that while they may not adopt categorical marijuana decriminalization policies, they may use their discretion about whether to pursue individual cannabis cases.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and primary challenger Cynthia Nixon debated marijuana, with the governor admitting that he “experimented” with cannabis in college. Viewers were also treated to a lesson in how to sign “marijuana” in American Sign Language. Turns out, it’s almost exactly what you’d expect.

In the latest look at how cannabis reform is playing in key congressional races this year, Marijuana Moment breaks down how incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D) and challenger Rick Scott (R) differ on the issue.

And here’s an examination of where Florida gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana legalization.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump took part in an event to announce $90.9 million in grants to 731 local drug prevention coalitions

The U.S. Army continues to consider further loosening restrictions on past marijuana use by recruits.

A staffer for U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) responded to a Marijuana Moment report this week, clarifying that when the senator falsely said she “endorsed” Massachusetts’s 2016 legalization ballot measure, she meant that she personally voted for it.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) spoke about her support for marijuana law reform in a radio interview.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) suggested that the White House is screening “Reefer Madness,” and tweeted, “The White House is mounting a secret campaign to undermine the will of millions of voters in Oregon and across the country who decided to allow legal cannabis. Another example of Republicans being for states rights only when they think the state is right.”

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “This White House is utterly out of touch. Prohibition has failed—no amount of manufactured counter-narrative can stop the marijuana reform movement.”

Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate Justin Kanew tweeted, “If elected I‘d support The Marijuana Justice Act, decriminalizing Marijuana federally & addressing racial inequities in enforcement. People are suffering.”

/ STATES

Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) signed legislation to expunge some marijuana convictions.

Indiana’s attorney general cheered a court ruling rejecting a case arguing that medical cannabis is covered under the state’s Right to Try law.

Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Schuette, currently the state attorney general, said he opposes legalizing marijuana.

Colorado Democratic attorney general candidate Phil Weiser tweeted, “It’s important that we defend our sovereignty and our decision to legalize marijuana. The Tenth Amendment has never been more important.”

Pennsylvania’s top medical cannabis regulator has been reassigned as the program prepares for growth.

Oklahoma regulators began mailing medical cannabis ID cards to registered patients. Separately, the legislature’s medical marijuana working group held another meeting.

Georgia lawmakers held a hearing to discuss potential medical cannabis expansions.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “Industrial hemp is a crop that connects our past to our future … Kentucky is positioned to benefit the most out of any other state.”

/ LOCAL

The Dayton, Ohio City Commission voted to place an advisory question on the November ballot asking voters if they support decriminalizing marijuana.

The Ashland, Wisconsin City Council approved a resolution calling on state lawmakers to legalize marijuana and medical cannabis.

A Racine, Wisconsin City Council committee discussed, but deferred action on, a proposal to order police to issue citations for first-time marijuana offenses instead of applying state charges.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian government announced details about the cannabis tracking system it will use under legalization.

New Zealand regulators awarded the country’s first medical cannabis cultivation license.

/ ADVOCACY

The group LDS Dems said it is “bewildered” by the Mormon Church’s opposition to Utah’s medical cannabis ballot measure.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review found “accumulating evidence for various therapeutic benefits of cannabis/cannabinoids, especially in the treatment of pain, which may also apply to the treatment of migraine and headache” and that “there is also supporting evidence that cannabis may assist in opioid detoxification and weaning, thus making it a potential weapon in battling the opioid epidemic.”

A study found that “cannabidiol may partially normalize alterations in parahippocampal, striatal, and midbrain function” and that “as these regions are critical to the pathophysiology of psychosis, the influence of CBD at these sites could underlie its therapeutic effects on psychotic symptoms.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Washington Times editorial board criticized pending congressional criminal justice reform legislation and said that people struggling with drug addiction need a “motivational kick in the rear end.”

/ CULTURE

The New York Times published an essay about someone’s first time getting high in Colorado.

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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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