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Will Sessions’s anti-cannabis move actually help legalization? (Newsletter: Jan 8, 2017)

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Another poll shows majority legalization support; Sessions & Gardner to meet; Lots of state bills filed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A Pew poll found that Americans support legalizing marijuana, 61% – 37%.

I put together some thoughts about how U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s anti-marijuana move might actually be good for legalization.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) says he told Sessions in a phone call that he will be blocking all Justice Department nominations over the Trump administration’s marijuana policy change. The two are set to meet this week. The nomination block threat stands to leave several key posts unfilled for the foreseeable future.

/ FEDERAL

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is working with California officials to formulate a response to the Trump administration’s anti-marijuana move.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Justice Department marijuana changes won’t affect government doctors’ ability to talk with veterans about cannabis.

Montana’s U.S. attorney said he would focus “on identifying and prosecuting those who create the greatest safety threats to our citizens and communities.”

Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who authored the Cole memo, spoke about its rescission.

A federal judge scheduled oral arguments in a lawsuit against marijuana’s Schedule I status for February 14.

President Trump said that countries with “harsh” drug policies see “less difficulty,” adding: “We are going to be working on that very, very hard this year, and I think we’re going to make a big dent into the drug problem.” He also tweeted that he spoke with Cabinet and military officials about “the ever increasing Drug and Opioid Problem.”

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, criticized Sessions’s anti-marijuana move and said that cannabis could become a campaign issue in 2018.

Congresswoman Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who is running against U.S. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), is making marijuana a campaign issue.

Members of Congress from Colorado held a conference call to discuss legislative responses to the Sessions marijuana move. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) sent a letter asking the attorney general to rescind the anti-marijuana guidance, while Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) sent a letter asking President Trump to overrule Sessions on cannabis.

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) said the Sessions marijuana move could be an impetus for Congress to end prohibition.

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) said he supports the Sessions policy change.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) cheered on the Sessions cannabis move, and also seems upset that some Democrats want to include broader state marijuana protections in appropriations legislation.

Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) says Sessions’s anti-marijuana move inspired him to cosponsor cannabis legislation.

Former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) is calling on Sessions to resign.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders say they will continue with plans to legalize marijuana despite federal enforcement policy changes.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is concerned the federal government is sowing “confusion” about marijuana enforcement.

Oklahoma Democratic gubernatorial candidates are backing medical cannabis, but Republican contenders are mostly mum on the issue.

Louisiana is moving ahead to implement its medical cannabis program.

California’s attorney general is considering suing the federal government over marijuana policy. Separately, officials pulled a PSA on drugged driving after critics viewed it as pro-marijuana.

The New Mexico Supreme Court temporarily upheld hemp legislation vetoes by Gov. Susana Martinez (R).

Colorado regulators said they will continue to adhere to the principles of the Cole memo even though it is no longer in place. Separately, they are proposing changes to medical cannabis rules.

Missouri’s House speaker says that he’s surprised by momentum behind medical cannabis and that he’d prefer lawmakers pass legislation instead of having voters do it via a ballot initiative.

Indiana’s Republican majority floor leader introduced a resolution calling for a study on medical cannabis.

New York regulators say they will continue the state’s medical cannabis program in light of federal changes. Separately, lawmakers filed a bill to allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana for any condition.

Maine lawmakers will hold a hearing on marijuana legalization implementation legislation on Tuesday.

A Florida representative filed a marijuana decriminalization bill. Another representative introduced legislation setting procedures for medical cannabis use in schools.

A Mississippi representative filed a medical cannabis bill.

A Washington, D.C. councilmember, at the request of the mayor, introduced legislation to allow reciprocity for out-of-state medical cannabis patients.

Washington State regulators identified marijuana products with undisclosed pesticide residues. Separately, the House Committee on Commerce and Gaming will hear a bill to use marijuana tax revenue to fund indigent defense on Monday.

/ LOCAL

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) spoke out against the federal marijuana enforcement change.

San Francisco, California retailers began recreational marijuana sales.

/ ADVOCACY

Trump ally Roger Stone called the Justice Department’s marijuana policy change a “cataclysmic mistake.”

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators also slammed the Sessions anti-cannabis move.

Purported criminal justice reform group Right on Crime cheered the Sessions decision.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro bashed cannabis consumers but said he supports decriminalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “consumption of cannabis reduces vigilance and increases driving errors.”

A study found that medical cannabis “dispensary users do not necessarily reside in the same area in which dispensaries are located and do not necessarily reflect the local population.”

A study concluded that “there are higher proportions of personal communication tweets and Twitter users tweeting about rosin in U.S. states where cannabis is legalized.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The New York Times editorial board slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s marijuana enforcement policy.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board wants Congress to overrule Sessions on cannabis.

Even the Washington Post editorial board, which has long opposed marijuana legalization, criticized the Justice Department action.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board supports Sessions’s anti-marijuana change, but said that it could spur Congress to end prohibition.

The Chicago Tribune editorial board is calling on Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.

/ BUSINESS

Corona distributor Constellation Brands, which has marijuana investments, says it is not concerned about a federal crackdown.

Marijuana industry operatives don’t seemed too spooked by Sessions’s anti-marijuana move.

Environmentalists are concerned about the marijuana industry’s energy usage.

/ CULTURE     

Comedian Seth Meyers opened the Golden Globes by saying, “It’s 2018: marijuana is finally allowed and sexual harassment finally isn’t. It’s going to be a good year.”

Trump-supporting Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams said he may turn on the president over the administration’s anti-cannabis move.

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 15-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

White House officials talk up states’ cannabis rights (Newsletter: August 23, 2019)

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Feds publish article highlighting marijuana prohibition harms; DOD reiterates CBD ban; Florida legalization initiative filed

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…

There are now 1,171 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Two officials with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said in separate interviews that it is up to states to decide whether they should legalize marijuana—comments that run in contrast with the longstanding approach of the “drug czar’s” office to oppose ending cannabis prohibition whenever possible.

The federal government, through the National Institutes of Health, paid to publish a new report—hosted on a dot gov site—that exposes how federal prohibition puts marijuana consumers at risk due to lack of regulatory oversight.

  • “At the federal level in the United States, cannabis is still considered an illegal drug. As a result, neither the Food and Drug Administration nor the Environmental Protection Agency has provided any guidance on how to regulate contaminants or on which cannabis-related exposures can be considered safe. States have had to determine on their own how to protect millions of cannabis users, and they have come up with widely varying responses. The result is an uncertain and occasionally incoherent regulatory landscape.”

A Department of Defense official reiterated the military’s concern over the use of CBD products on a press call this week.

  • “The problem is there is no regulatory framework to ensure that the CBD products being sold meet the Farm Act.”

A new political committee chaired by a MedMen official filed a proposed marijuana legalization measure for Florida’s 2020 ballot. It would allow medical cannabis dispensaries to sell marijuana to adults over 21 and does not include provisions for home cultivation.

/ FEDERAL

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating dozens of cases of severe lung illness that appear to be potentially associated with tobacco and/or marijuana vaping devices.

Customs and Border Protection officials imposed a lifetime ban on visiting the U.S. on a Canadian woman caught with CBD oil at the border.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams tweeted, “Wow. @JAMA_current piece showed calls to MA poison control centers more than doubled for kids 0-19 exposed to marijuana before & after legalization for med use. We need to protect kids from overdose, particularly from edibles & concentrated prods.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA), a presidential candidate, delivered a video keynote address for a cannabis conference.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “As president I’ll end the failed war on drugs, legalize marijuana, end cash bail, and ban private prisons and bring about real criminal justice reform. I’ll crack down on the overreaching intel agencies and big tech monopolies who threaten our civil liberties and free speech.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) said she believes marijuana banking legislation will pass the House this year.

/ STATES

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed off on emergency medical cannabis regulations.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) reinstituted a marijuana legalization advocate as a member of the state’s cannabis regulatory board who was removed by the previous governor.

Questions are being raised about Florida’s agriculture commissioner having both a medical cannabis card and a firearms concealed carry permit.

California’s top marijuana regulator called Weedmaps’s announcement that it would restrict its platform to only licensed businesses “a step forward for the legal California cannabis industry.” Separately, officials reported that marijuana excise taxes brought in $74.2 million in revenue during the second quarter of 2019, while the cultivation tax generated $22.6 million.

The new Tennessee House Republican Caucus chairman has sponsored medical cannabis legislation for several sessions.

New Mexico regulators said that medical cannabis producers might have to destroy some plants under new cultivation limits.

New Jersey regulators said they received at least 198 applications for 24 medical cannabis dispensary permits over two days.

Michigan regulators published a marijuana licensing report.


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.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Australian regulators don’t seem concerned that illegally grown medical cannabis from the company CannTrust may have been imported into the country from Canada.

/ ADVOCACY

The chairman of Republican organization GOPAC misspoke about people “having just shot up with marijuana” in a Fox News appearance.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “recreational marijuana legalization and availability did not have direct impact on newborns’ risk of [low birth weight] or [small for gestational age].”

A study of people who took psilocybin at a mindfulness retreat found that “the extent of ego dissolution and brain connectivity predicted positive changes in psycho-social functioning of participants 4 months later.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board said that Weedmaps’s decision to list only licensed businesses “bodes well for the legal marijuana industry.”

/ BUSINESS

New Leaf Data Services LLC added a defamation claim to a pending trademark violation lawsuit against Humboldt Marijuana Exchange LLC after the latter company allegedly retaliated with “false and baseless” accusation of racism and sexism.

/ CULTURE

Musician Ziggy Marley said he has been smoking marijuana since age nine.

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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.
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Senators cite Border Patrol cannabis arrests of citizens in review request (Newsletter: August 22, 2019)

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EPA announces hemp pesticide review; Congressman backs states’ marijuana rights but voted against; Study: Whole-plant marijuana relieves pain

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…

There are now 1,171 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2019 sessions.

Never let a marijuana bill catch you by surprise with exclusive access to Marijuana Moment’s custom-built cannabis legislation tracker for just $25/month.
https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it is reviewing applications for pesticides to be used on hemp.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) told podcaster Joe Rogan that he supports states’ rights to set their own marijuana laws despite the fact that he recently voted against an amendment to shield local cannabis policies from federal interference.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) are asking the Government Accountability Office to investigate Border Patrol checkpoints and are citing the widespread arrest of U.S. citizens for small amounts of marijuana as a key concern.

A study on marijuana’s pain-relieving properties found that “natural cannabis flower was associated with greater anesthetic potential than were most other types of products.”

/ FEDERAL

Office of National Drug Control Policy Director James Carroll and Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon toured illegal marijuana grow sites in California.

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang (D), noting his increasing polling numbers in Colorado, tweeted, “Must be the weed 😀”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) tweeted, “Great to join @CannaGather last night & talk about issues facing the cannabis industry incl. the need to pass the SAFE Banking Act so that federal banks can finally serve cannabis biz. These biz owners shouldnt be forced to operate strictly in cash. Thx for a great discussion.”

Recent mass shootings reportedly may impact plans to attach gun-related language to congressional marijuana banking legislation in an effort to secure more Republican support.

/ STATES

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said that marijuana could be on the agenda for a potential upcoming special session and he criticized the federal government for not acting on rescheduling. Meanwhile, the Senate majority leader said that lawmakers are working on legislation to move away from state control of medical cannabis distribution and allow for more private dispensaries.

The North Carolina House of Representatives passed a bill including a ban on smokable hemp as of May 1.

The Wisconsin Senate Health Committee amended a hemp bill to address police concerns about trace amounts of THC in relation to changing people with driving under the influence.

Washington State regulators issued a notice banning CBD as a food ingredient.

Michigan regulators issued air quality guidance for the marijuana industry.

The New Jersey Department of Health hosted a forum on harm reduction drug policies.

Louisiana regulators released a list of pesticide active ingredients that can be used on medical cannabis plants.

South Dakota police arrested on marijuana trafficking charges a Colorado man who says he was transporting legal hemp to Minnesota.

Guam regulators are working to produce a fact sheet about medical cannabis-related employment issues for government workers.


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

New York City health officials forced 15 businesses to destroy edible CBD products.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Brazil’s health minister said she supports cannabinoid-based medicines but not commercial cultivation of cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that medical cannabis “may serve as a potentially useful complementary therapy to conventional supportive treatment of children suffering from cancer at the end of life.”

A study estimated that Americans spend “on the order of $150 billion on cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine” annually.

A study suggested that “persons who used marijuana strongly support the legalization of both recreational and medical marijuana, whereas persons who primarily have opioid or stimulant misuse have less strongly held beliefs about legalization of substances within those respective categories.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

Conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly tweeted, “America’s first marijuana licensed restaurant opening in California. The Lowell Farms Cannabis Café will allow customers to light up at the dinner table.  Of course, smoke tobacco in restaurants still illegal in California. Does that make ANY sense?”

/ BUSINESS

Weedmaps launched a program to help social equity marijuana entrepreneurs. It also said that by the end of the year only licensed cannabis businesses will be able to use its platform.

Leafly is opening a new office in Austin, Texas to house product and engineering operations.

Tilray, Inc. announced an agreement to ship $3.3 million worth of medical cannabis products from Portugal to Germany.

Cresco Labs Inc. reported quarterly revenue growth of 253% from a year ago but a net loss of $3.9 million.

Bank of America closed the account of a smoke shop because it sells CBD products.

/ CULTURE

The video game DayZ is no longer banned in Australia after removing in-game cannabis consumption.

Flying Over Sunset is a new Broadway musical about the LSD experiences of Aldous Huxley, Cary Grant and Clare Booth Luce.

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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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Federal data shows teen cannabis use not up after legalization (Newsletter: August 21, 2019)

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GOP congressman to discuss marijuana licenses with AG Barr; Warren backs legal safe injection sites; NY & CT govs discuss legalization on fishing trip

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https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The latest results of the federally funded National Survey on Drug Use and Health continue to show that youth marijuana use in the U.S. is lower now than when states began legalizing cannabis.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) says he will soon meet with Attorney General William Barr to discuss expanding the number of federally authorized growers of marijuana to be used in scientific research.

A new criminal justice reform plan released by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a presidential candidate, includes legalizing marijuana and safe consumption sites for illegal drugs.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) discussed their states’ pushes to legalize marijuana during a fishing trip.

/ FEDERAL

The National Credit Union Administration tweeted, “#creditunions that choose to serve hemp-related businesses in their field of membership need to understand the complexities & risks involved. @TheNCUA latest guidance outlines what credit unions should consider.”

A federal judge held the opening hearing in a case in which the Department of Justice is seeking to block the opening of a safe consumption site for illegal drugs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Florida said he won’t focus on low-level marijuana cases or prosecute medical cannabis businesses that comply with state law.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, tweeted, “The business model of Wells Fargo is fraud. Yet how many people at Wells Fargo are going to jail? Zero. But if you smoke marijuana in this country, you get a criminal record. That is unacceptable.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) spoke about the benefits of hemp.

Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) tweeted, “Cargo screening is one of the most effective tools we have to bolster national security. It pays off: @CBP officers at Otay Mesa stopped nearly four tons of marijuana from being smuggled into San Diego last week.”

/ STATES

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Gov. Ralph Torres (R) signed a marijuana regulation bill into law.

An Illinois House of Representatives report on allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct in the legislature found insufficient evidence for claims that a former representative sexually harassed and bullied a medical cannabis advocate.

The North Carolina House Rules Committee voted to ban smokable hemp as of May 1.

Michigan regulators announced they will unveil the adult-use marijuana business license application at educational sessions next month.

Colorado officials announced a work group meeting and public hearing on the state’s regulated marijuana sunset accelerator program.

An Indiana senator who has sponsored marijuana reform bills is running for attorney general.

California activists filed a proposed ballot initiative to allow individuals to grow up to 99 marijuana plants.

Massachusetts’s top marijuana regulator discussed efforts to roll out legal home delivery.


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

The Livingston County, Missouri prosecuting attorney said he will no longer pursue misdemeanor marijuana possession cases.

The Little Rock, Arkansas Board of Directors rejected a measure to make marijuana possession the lowest law enforcement priority.

Two Jacksonville, Florida City Council committee rejected a marijuana decriminalization proposal.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Mexican judge granted two people the right to possess, transport and use cocaine.

Jamaican regulators have issued at least 40 marijuana business licenses and are currently seeking bidders to provide seed-to-sale tracking software.

/ ADVOCACY

The National Foundation for Women Legislators tweeted that the organization’s “Evolution of Marijuana Policy Summit was a success! Our efforts were even featured in Marijuana Moment!”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that “CBD may benefit dogs with osteoarthritis-associated pain.”

A study involving LSD use by healthy subjects is slated to begin in New Zealand next year.

/ BUSINESS

The boards of the ten largest publicly traded marijuana companies are less diverse than the boards of Fortune 100 firms.

BigCommerce is rolling out a suite of tools to make it easier to sell CBD products.

BDS Analytics announced it has raised the first $7 million of a $10 million funding round.

/ CULTURE

Former boxer Mike Tyson’s Tyson Ranch will reportedly fund research on using CBD to treat chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

GCH, Inc., a company co-founded by Willie Nelson and his wife, is launching a line of hemp products for dogs, cats and horses.

Golf.com looks at CBD’s popularity among professional golfers.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

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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