Governor signs medical cannabis bill in US territory (Newsletter: Jan. 18, 2019)

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Four governors talk marijuana in big speeches; NY legalization details released; Senators press FDA on CBD & hemp restrictions; WA homegrow

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

William Barr, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. attorney general, pledged during a confirmation hearing that he would not “go after companies” complying with state marijuana laws. He also pressed Congress to act to address the growing gap between federal and state cannabis policies.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) revealed key details of his plan to legalize marijuana during a State of the State speech.

Cuomo was one of four state governors who spent time addressing cannabis reform during their State of the State speeches on Tuesday alone—and that doesn’t even count those who did so already earlier this month.

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) are warning the Food and Drug Administration about overly restrictive hemp and CBD regulations:

  • “We will be closely engaged in the ongoing implementation of our legislation, as it was Congress’ intent to ensure that both U.S producers and consumers have access to a full range of hemp-derived products, including hemp-derived cannabinoids.”

Lawmakers in Washington State have proposed bills to start letting people grow their own marijuana at home.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the first organic certification to a hemp CBD product, according to the manufacturer, RE Botanicals.

Former Obama White House Communications Director Jen Psaki expressed disappointment that Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) spent time asking U.S. attorney general nominee William Barr about marijuana.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) spoke at length about his efforts to reform federal marijuana laws.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted about broad public support for marijuana legalization.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted that Republicans should “condemn policies that hurt people of color, like mass incarceration” and the “drug war” in addition to criticizing racist comments from Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “I am glad to hear that Mr. Barr supports federalism, and will not punish state-legal cannabis businesses. Mr. Barr says that it is ‘incumbent on Congress’ to act. I look forward to pursuing meaningful cannabis reform in the 116th Congress.”

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) said, “With a Democratic House, our goal now is to get the D.C. marijuana rider removed during the appropriations process so that D.C., just like states, is allowed to commercialize, free from federal interference.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) said in a House floor speech that President Trump “has proposed doubling down on the war on drugs, which drains the African American labor pool.”

/ STATES

Wisconsin Gov Tony Evers (D) said his upcoming budget will likely contain the “first step” toward legalizing medical cannabis and that later his administration is likely to make more moves toward full legalization “or call for a statewide referendum” on the issue.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said that U.S. attorney general nominee William Barr’s comments on marijuana enforcement are “very positive” and that “we hope that Congress will follow through and lift the unique restriction on Washington, D.C., so that we can have a safe, regulated system for marijuana sales and drive out the illegal market.”

New York’s attorney general said she “commend[s] statewide efforts to legalize the adult recreational use of marijuana— ending a prohibition that has plagued communities of color for far too long.”

Massachusetts’s attorney general said that Charlton’s bylaw requiring a town meeting to approve contracts between the municipality and marijuana companies is “onerous and impractical.”

Vermont Senate leaders hope to vote on a bill legalizing marijuana sales within the next three weeks. The body’s Judiciary Committee took testimony on the issue on Tuesday. Separately, regulators are considering dividing hemp grown and processed in the state into two separate grades.

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Research included marijuana legalization in a list of “major issues’ before lawmakers this year.

West Virginia’s Senate president and House speaker spoke about marijuana reform during a radio interview.

South Carolina lawmakers filed medical cannabis legislation.

Michigan regulators will consider allowing unlicensed medical cannabis businesses to temporarily reopen at a meeting on Wednesday. They also sent a bulletin outlining recent changes to the state’s marijuana laws.

Hawaii regulators approved the first medical cannabis dispensary on Hawaii Island to begin sales.


Marijuana Moment is tracking key 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.


We followed more than 900 pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018. Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

The Las Vegas, Nevada City Council is considering whether legislation allowing marijuana social use areas should permit both cannabis and alcohol consumption.

Boston, Massachusetts City Council members are requesting a hearing on ensuring equity in the marijuana industry for communities historically targeted by the war on drugs.

The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Public Schools Board of Education approved a policy allowing students to use medical cannabis at schools and clarifying it will not “take any adverse action against an employee for holding a medical marijuana license.”

Denver, Colorado regulators sent guidance about tips for modifying the premises of marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took a $100 million bribe from Joaquín Guzmán Loera (“El Chapo”), according to a witness who testified in the drug cartel leader’s U.S. trial.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that legalizing marijuana makes it more difficult for kids to get their hands on it.

Philippine regulators said that they are currently restricted from studying medical cannabis.

/ ADVOCACY

The Charleston County Republican Party passed a resolution calling on South Carolina lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

The New York State Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics released a position statement outlining its preferred provisions for marijuana legalization.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “∆9-THC enhanced the anesthetic effect of pentobarbital through the CB1 receptor.”

A study concluded that “daily marijuana use is associated with higher odds of job loss.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of West Virginia likely voters found that 68% support medical cannabis but only 26% back marijuana legalization.

The Providence Journal editorial board says that Rhode Island lawmakers should carefully consider Gov. Gina Raimondo’s (D) marijuana legalization plan.

/ CULTURE

Dr. Drew Pinsky said he would rather athletes use medical cannabis than opiates.

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