High-ranking Dem says cannabis decrim is “next step” (Newsletter: Dec. 26, 2018)

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FDA takes steps for CBD products; RI gov: not practical to maintain marijuana prohibition; NYC mayor rolls out cannabis plan

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Trump signed the Farm Bill and its hemp legalization provisions into law. Here’s a video of the signing ceremony.

Moments after Trump signed the Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration said it will take steps to identify “pathways for the lawful marketing” of hemp-derived CBD products, but clarified that for now it is “unlawful…to introduce food containing added CBD or THC into interstate commerce.”

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) indicated that marijuana legalization in neighboring states will likely force lawmakers to end prohibition:

  • “We are a tiny island sitting in-between Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the reality is I’m not sure at this point it is practical to say we’re not going to legalize and regulate.”

/ FEDERAL

The House of Representatives voted to send criminal justice reform legislation to President Trump’s desk.

A U.S. Tax Court judge rejected Internal Revenue Service penalties against marijuana business Harborside Health Center because the dispensary “acted with reasonable cause and in good faith.” In a separate case, a judge ruled against another cannabis business in a 280E dispute.

The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia tweeted, “Farm Bill sets regulatory requirements states must meet to win USDA approval for hemp. Background checks, licensing, inspections, THC testing, etc. – the very things the WVDA was not doing adequately pursuant to its existing pilot program.”

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) sent a press release praising the Farm Bill’s legalization of hemp.

Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) tweeted, “@SecWilkie – The passage of the Farm Bill means #CBD is now legal. @DeptVetAffairs needs to start researching how this new medicine can help vets living w/ #TBI & #PTSD. Let’s get to work for our #veterans.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) tweeted, “#CriminalJusticeReform should continue to address key elements of our outdated federal marijuana policy, like decriminalization & expungement for non-violent drug offenses.  We need to do more to recognize human potential & transform our justice system from punishment to rehab.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) tweeted, “If marijuana is legalized in New York, it could bring in more than $1.7 billion in sales per year. The economic benefits of legalization are astronomical and ending prohibition throughout this country should be a no brainer.”

/ STATES

Alaska regulators approved rules allowing on-site marijuana consumption at marijuana dispensaries.

Michigan lawmakers sent Gov. Rick Snyder (R) a bill to loosen background check requirements for low-level medical cannabis business owners. Separately, regulators will consider medical cannabis license applications on Friday.

The U.S. Virgin Islands Senate is expected to vote on a medical cannabis bill on Friday.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is warning against overtaxing marijuana. His administration also reportedly held a conference call with medical cannabis businesses that wrote a memo recommending against allowing home cultivation and for letting them each open 7.5 times more retail locations.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and lawmakers are asking the state Supreme Court to reject an emergency petition that seeks to overturn the medical cannabis compromise legislation enacted this month.

Pennsylvania’s Republican Senate majority leader said Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) openness to exploring marijuana legalization is “reckless and irresponsible.” Wolf, for his part, said he’s just being a realist by considering the issue.

Wisconsin’s Senate majority leader doesn’t support medical cannabis.

A transition team committee appointed by Connecticut Gov.-elect Ned Lamont (D) recommended that he push to legalize marijuana.

Kentucky’s agriculture commissioner submitted the state’s hemp plan to the U.S. Department of Agriculture moments after President Trump signed the Farm Bill.

Ohio regulators issued the state’s first medical cannabis testing lab license and awarded two additional provisional cultivation licenses.

Arkansas regulators released medical cannabis dispensary license application scores. Separately, the state attorney general opined that Arkansas State University at Newport is not a “school” for the purposes of excluding a nearby business from being able to cultivate medical cannabis. And the state’s newest medical cannabis commissioner spoke about his history of opposition to marijuana reform.

Colorado legislative staff estimated that marijuana tax revenue will rise to $305.3 million in Fiscal Year 2020-21.

Here’s a look at what Florida’s election of a pro-legalization agriculture secretary means for cannabis reform.

The Georgia General Assembly’s Joint Study Commission on Low THC Oil Access will hold its final meeting on Friday.

California water regulators held an information session for marijuana growers. Separately, workplace safety regulators fined a marijuana company for violations that led to an explosion that injured an employee. And regulators directed 29 companies to recall marijuana products after it was revealed that a testing lab was falsifying results.

Utah officials have so far received 164 applications for the state’s top cannabis regulatory job.


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/ LOCAL

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) rolled out his plan to legalize marijuana “in a way that empowers communities — not corporations.” He also released a report on the topic from a task force he commissioned. Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D), currently a candidate for public advocate, tweeted, “4 years after I called for marijuana legalization, I’m glad @NYCMayor is finally getting on board. Just like his initial opposition to closing Rikers or funding lawyers for undocumented immigrants, legalization is a common-sense move that the Mayor should have supported years ago.”

West Hollywood, California officials announced the winners of marijuana social use area business licenses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators launched a public consultation on draft rules for marijuana edibles, extracts and topicals.

An Ecuadorian Assembly committee approved medical cannabis legislation.

Philippines’s health secretary wants to see more research done before medical cannabis is legalized.

Austria’s health minister ordered businesses to stop selling CBD products.

/ ADVOCACY

Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno previewed a campaign to decriminalize all drugs that her organization is preparing to launch.

Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said he is concerned about marijuana legalization but expressed openness to medical cannabis.

Rev. Al Sharpton wrote an op-ed arguing that marijuana legalization must include expungements. He also spoke about the issue at an event.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found “a reduced incidence of only alcohol‐associated pancreatitis with cannabis use.”

A study of rats suggested “a role for CBD in treating mental disorders with prominent symptoms of helplessness and anhedonia.”

Here’s an overview of a recent conference on autism and medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation said it will enter the U.S. market following the legalization of hemp.

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