Congressman wants to try cannabis, legally or not (Newsletter: Dec. 28, 2018)

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Incoming Rules chair backs Marijuana Justice Act; GOP congressman presses Homeland Security chief on legal cannabis; Trump signs criminal justice bill

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Programming note:

The Marijuana Moment newsletter will take Tuesday off for the Christmas holiday. See you later in the week!

/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

During a House hearing, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) pressed Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen about how her job would be a lot easier if the federal government ended marijuana prohibition.

Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), the incoming House Rules Committee chairman, cosponsored the Marijuana Justice Act, which would deschedule cannabis and withhold funds from states with discriminatory enforcement. Current Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) has blocked all marijuana votes this Congress.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in an interview that grows cannabis…though his spokesperson later told Marijuana Moment  that he doesn’t. 🤔 He also signaled that cannabis clemency or expungement initiatives might be on the way.

/ FEDERAL

President Trump signed a criminal justice reform bill into law.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) included a study on “the sexual habits of quails on cocaine” in his 2019 Festivus Waste Report. He also held up hemp legalization and criminal justice reforms as “a Festivus miracle because Congress passed and the President signed BOTH of those things this week.”

Rep. Vicente González (D-TX) inserted remarks into the Congressional Record about a military veteran who was deported for marijuana.

The House bill to deschedule marijuana and punish states with discriminatory enforcement got two new cosponsors, for a total of 43.

The House bill to fix marijuana border and immigration issues got one new cosponsor, for a total of one.

/ STATES

A Delaware judge ruled that a fired medical cannabis patient can proceed with a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said “we can’t just stick our heads in the sand” when it comes to nearby states allowing legalizing marijuana. The state’s auditor general praised the governor for his openness to considering ending prohibition.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said, “You can’t stop it. It is going to be legal.”

Michigan lawmakers sent Gov. Rick Snyder (R) legislation to expands the state’s hemp program and clarify that products such as hemp-derived CBD should not be treated as controlled substances. Separately, regulators provided updated numbers of medical cannabis licensing approvals and denials, and released guidance on retesting marijuana samples.

Rhode Island’s incoming attorney general he said he’s not sure if 2019 is the right time to legalize marijuana, but that “in some sense it’s inevitable.”

South Dakota’s attorney general released a summary of a proposed 2020 marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Two large Utah healthcare providers are directing their physicians not to make medical cannabis recommendations yet.

Here’s a look at the rapid rollout of medical cannabis in Oklahoma.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. 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 Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) spoke about his views on marijuana legalization, including a desire to have limits on home cultivation. Meanwhile, the NYPD commissioner said he has concerns about legalization, but added: “Whether I support it or not, it’s moving forward.”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s mayor tweeted, “Thank you Governor for your consideration of this issue. Statewide marijuana legalization can help address disparities in our criminal justice system, create new economic opportunities, specifically for diverse entrepreneurs, and raise much-needed funds for our schools.”

/ INTERNATIONAL

Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said he expects the country to decriminalize marijuana by June 2019.

The Canadian government said that marijuana retail sales totaled $43 million in the first two weeks after legalization.

/ ADVOCACY

The Democratic Party of New Mexico tweeted, “Governor Martinez fought hemp production every step of the way, but despite her efforts New Mexico is now on step closer to building a new multi-million dollar industry for our state.”

The Republican Party of New York tweeted, “While Democrats are drooling over the idea of a marijuana windfall to support all their spending, experts warn it isn’t going to save our budget problems. What will? Making New York more business friendly.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “cannabidiol may improve [autism spectrum disorder] comorbidity symptoms.”

/ BUSINESS

Charlotte’s Web / The Stanley Brothers took out a full-page New York Times ad about hemp legalization.

/ CULTURE

Sarah Silverman tweeted a photo of her vegan munchies, saying, “If there was no such thing as pot I wouldn’t be able to see this for what it is which is delicious.”

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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