NM gov presses lawmakers to legalize marijuana in 2020; VT gov more open to legal cannabis sales; VA decrim bill advances

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There are now 975 cannabis-related bills moving through state legislatures and Congress for 2020 sessions.

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The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on six marijuana bills, including two that would federally legalize cannabis. Much of the focus was on research, with the Drug Enforcement Administration revealing that it has a cultivation licensing proposal pending before the White House Office of Management and Budget, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse decrying roadblocks created by marijuana’s Schedule I status.

At the hearing, formerly anti-legalization Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) announced that committee leadership has agreed to hold a second yet-to-be-scheduled committee discussion focused on people harmed by cannabis prohibition.

  • “There are also critical stakeholders who are missing: those whose lives have been directly touched by our broken marijuana policies, people unjustly incarcerated, patients who rely on medical cannabis, researchers with expertise who are yearning to learn more, small business owners trying to find fair footing in a new industry.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) formally asked lawmakers to legalize marijuana during the short 30-day legislative session beginning this month by including the issue in her written session call, meaning that the state could be the next in the U.S. to end prohibition. She is also pushing for legislation to limit the state’s medical cannabis program to residents only.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) seems more and more open to legalizing marijuana sales after years of reluctance, and now appears to be counting on cannabis revenue to support an after-school program he’s pushing. One key lawmaker said he wants to get a bill to the governor’s desk by early March.

The Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee referred a marijuana decriminalization bill to a subcommittee with an expectation it will be amended to address certain issues and return to the full panel for a vote on moving it to the floor. The development comes despite the state ACLU chapter taking the position that the “status quo” would be preferable to simple decriminalization.


Surgeon General Jerome Adams said he is worried about syringe exchange programs being harmed by getting conflated with supervised injection sites, and said he has visited one of the former facilities in Canada.

A federal judge is considering a request to issue a final judgement declaring that a proposed safe consumption site for illegal drugs would not violate federal law.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a presidential candidate, spoke about his support for decriminalizing drug possession and said that people would “be much better off, frankly, with regular marijuana” than using synthetic cannabinoids.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) said that Attorney General William Barr did not respond to a letter from lawmakers about improving marijuana research.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced that Oregon State University’s Global Hemp Information Center is receiving $2.5 million in federal funds.

Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA) is circulating draft legislation that would federal direct federal agencies to develop plans to address illegal water diversion for marijuana cultivation and create a structure for funding remediation of cannabis grow sites that threaten to impact watersheds and water quality.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) spoke about the racially disproportionate harms of the war on drugs and the need to treat addiction as a health issue.

The House bill to make it easier for scientists to study marijuana got one new cosponsor for a total of 16.


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) said he hasn’t used marijuana since its legalization, and he also discussed the importance of equity in the industry. Separately, the state Supreme Court heard arguments in a case on whether the smell of marijuana grants police the right to conduct warrantless vehicle searches.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) appointed a new member to the state’s marijuana regulatory body.

California’s attorney general tweeted about the state’s Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, which he said is “the nation’s largest illegal #marijuana eradication team” that works to “destroy illegal grow sites on public and private land.”

Pennsylvania’s agriculture commissioner spoke about the state’s history with hemp prior to prohibition.

Kentucky’s House speaker said that if medical cannabis is legalized it won’t be taxed.

Tennessee’s House speaker discussed his opposition to medical cannabis.

New York’s Assembly speaker tweeted, “Industrial hemp has become an important part of our agricultural economy, growing in 4 years from 60 to 20,000 acres farmed by 480 growers. We’ll keep working to attract processors & manufacturers of popular hemp products and invest in our agriculture & upstate economy.”

A New Jersey court said regulators cannot review new medical cannabis business licenses while applicants who were rejected on technicalities challenge the process.

The South Carolina House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee’s Health and Environmental Affairs Subcommittee will hold a hearing on a medical cannabis bill on Tuesday.

Oregon regulators will consider marijuana rules changes and violation stipulated settlement agreements on Thursday.

Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 900 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.

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The Cleveland, Ohio City Council’s Safety Committee unanimously approved a marijuana decriminalization proposal.


The European Commission is proposing a unified European Union vote on pending World Health Organization cannabis scheduling recommendations.

French lawmakers launched a fact-finding mission on cannabis.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said he is “very disturbed” that a draft marijuana commission report leaked.

The Australian Capital Territory government launched a public education campaign about marijuana in advance of a local legalization law taking effect.


A review concluded that “pre-clinical research using animal models of innate fear and anxiety-like behaviors have found anxiolytic, antistress, anticompulsive, and panicolytic-like effects of CBD” and that “preliminary evidence from human trials using both healthy volunteers and individuals with social anxiety disorder, suggests that CBD may have anxiolytic effects.”

Researchers developed a process that “furnishes psilocybin in five steps in 23% overall yield from an inexpensive acetoxyindole starting material” that us “amenable to providing high-quality psilocybin.”


The American Psychological Association is calling on Congress to remove roadblocks to marijuana studies, and specifically wants the Drug Enforcement Administration be relieved of its role in reviewing requests to conduct such research.


Cornbread Hemp announced it is the first Kentucky CBD company to have received organic certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. announced it closed a $300 million Senior Secured Term Loan Facility from a syndicate of lenders.

COMPASS Pathways announced that it received a patent relating to methods of treating drug-resistant depression with a psilocybin formulation.

Michigan retailers have sold more than $10 million worth of recreational marijuana products in the first six weeks of legal sales.


Musician Carlos Santana is partnering with Left Coast Ventures to develop CBD products.

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The post Congressional cannabis hearing planned with prohibition victims (Newsletter: January 16, 2020) appeared first on Marijuana Moment.