New Mexico lawmakers vote to legalize cannabis (Newsletter: Feb. 11, 2019)

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AG blames marijuana licensing delay on UN; S. 420 would deschedule cannabis (really!); Mexican Senate publishes legalization report

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) filed three separate far-reaching marijuana bills, one of which is designated as S.420. Some of the provisions of the legislation would deschedule marijuana, solve the 280E tax issue, create a system of permits for businesses to engage in cannabis commerce and authorize regulations on packaging and labeling, among many other reforms. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced House companion legislation.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker testified before the House Judiciary Committee that international treaties prevent the US from approving more cultivators of marijuana for research. But the State Department said three years ago that the claim is false.

The New Mexico House Health and Human Services Committee approved a marijuana legalization bill.

An official report by Mexico’s Senate takes a look at the many policy considerations at play as lawmakers actively consider bills to legalize marijuana in the country.

/ FEDERAL

A Food and Drug Administration spokesperson only vaguely responded to queries about whether it is helping to coordinate a crackdown on CBD products in states across the country.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), a presidential candidate, included marijuana legalization in a list of issues that millennials from across the political spectrum support.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said he thinks marijuana “is more dangerous than the popular narrative usually suggests.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted, “All too often, our criminal justice system – from tickets to convictions – is treated as a game, where the one racks up the most ‘points’ wins. Paired w/ foolish criminalization of marijuana, poverty,etc, it wrecks chaos on people’s lives + stagnates communities for generations.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a presidential candidate, tweeted about trash in the ocean, saying, “One answer to plastic pollution is biodegradable materials like hemp.”

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) tweeted about a new marijuana lobbying organization he is part of, the National Cannabis Roundtable, saying he is “pleased to be honorary chair of an industry effort to transform and modernize national cannabis policy and ensure it is done safely, thoughtfully, comprehensively.” In an interview, he said that rescheduling isn’t the group’s top priority.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) included “end the global war on drugs” in a list of action items to help solve immigration and border issues.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and legislative leaders have reportedly made significant progress in negotiations on provisions of marijuana legalization legislation, with a deal potentially coming “any day now.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is asking lawmakers to delay consideration of legalizing hemp.

Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee’s (D) initiative to issue pardons for certain past marijuana convictions has so far helped only a very limited number of people.

Guam Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero (D) said lawmakers should pass a marijuana legalization bill regardless of concerns about a conflict with federal law.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) said he’s “never had the desire to smoke marijuana. I never thought it was the cool thing to do.”

Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted about public support for legalizing marijuana.

Florida’s agriculture commissioner tweeted, “Patient & consumer safety is just one reason why getting #cannabis right is a top priority—that’s why I’ve appointed Florida’s first ever Cannabis Director. Floridians using CBD deserve to know exactly what’s in their products and that they’re safe.”

Massachusetts regulators ordered a medical cannabis dispensary to temporarily cease its operations over violations related to security, sanitation, waste disposal and product labeling. Separately, here’s a look at legislation that lawmakers are considering to amend the state’s legal marijuana law.

California regulators launched enforcement actions against unlicensed marijuana businesses.

Utah’s former House speaker is pushing the state’s largest healthcare provider to allow its doctors to recommend medical cannabis.

The Hawaiian Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee rejected a bill to allow the sale of medical cannabis edibles but they did advance legislation directing regulators to develop rules to potentially allow edibles in the future.

Minnesota lawmakers are considering legislation to expand the state’s medical cannabis program.

North Dakota lawmakers are weighing proposals to expand medical cannabis access.

Kansas regulators began accepting industrial hemp research applications.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 600 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.


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

Boston, Massachusetts officials have added an extra “secret” step to approval processes for marijuana business licensing.

Dayton, Ohio’s marijuana decriminalization ordinance took effect.

Denver, Colorado officials held the city’s first event aimed at helping people expunge past marijuana convictions.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Israel’s health ministry approved the limited use of MDMA to treat PTSD.

The head of Malaysia’s National Anti-Drug Agency said that the law allows growing medical cannabis with approval from regulators.

The UK’s top law enforcement officer revealed that she doesn’t have the ability to smell cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “evidence supports the use of cannabinoids, especially cannabidiol, in similar forms of refractory epilepsy including Dravet and Lennox-Gastaut syndromes.”

A review found “strong evidence of CBD’s benefit” for  refractory seizures and that “acute CBD dosing before anxiety‐provoking events like public speaking and the chronic use of CBD in schizophrenia are promising but not proven.”

A study found that “chronic pain is commonly experienced among young adult cannabis users and pain-relief is the primary motivation for users with pain.”

/ OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that New York voters support legalizing marijuana, 52%-42%.

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board is happy about progress in Florida’s medical cannabis law.

Members of the Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board weighed in on Rep. David Joyce’s (R-OH) leadership of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

/ BUSINESS

The publisher of Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado is launching a marijuana newsletter.

/ CULTURE

Talk show host Maury Povich said that he and his wife, journalist Connie Chung, smoked a marijuana strain that is named after her.

Former NBA player Lamar Odom is launching his own line of CBD vape pens.

Former professional cyclist Floyd Landis is opening a bicycle showroom and coffee shop that will sell cannabis products.

Comedian Chelsea Handler tweeted, “I drove down sunset boulevard today looking at tons of billboards promoting shows starring people of color mixed with billboards for cannabis. So, while we are dealing with all of this current madness, there is progress being made. (If you’re into that sort of thing.)” In a separate interview, she also spoke about her involvement in the marijuana industry and the fact that she recently tripped on toad venom.

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