Senate approves cannabis research bill (Newsletter: December 17, 2020)


Draft AZ marijuana regs released; SC GOP lawmakers push medical cannabis in 2021; VT seeks regulators for legal industry

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sent a terse post-election memo warning federal employees that they can still be drug tested for marijuana even as more states are voting to legalize it.

  • “While several states have made changes to their State drug laws during this year’s election, I would like to reiterate, that there have been no changes to the drug testing panel under the federal Drug-Free Workplace Program.”

Arizona regulators released the first draft of rules for the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law. They’re also conducting a survey to inform the next draft—but there’s a tight timeline, as license applications must be accepted starting on January 19.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) is now accepting applications from people who want to serve on the new Cannabis Control Board that will implement a system of legal marijuana sales in the state.

South Carolina Republican lawmakers say the state can legalize medical cannabis in 2021, and they prefiled several bills to make it happen. Other newly introduced legislation would legalize recreational marijuana, decriminalize possession and put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.

  • “I feel there is a very good chance we get something passed this session. This bill has been fully vetted after five years of testimony and input by various stakeholders. The time has come for lawmakers to get out of the way and allow patients, in consultation with their physicians, to legally and safely access medicinal cannabis.”

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a report on the status of hemp-derived cannabinoids in the European Union.

A former High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program intelligence director authored an op-ed urging New Mexico officials not to legalize marijuana.

The Senate approved the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains a directive pushing military leaders to exercise discretion in enforcing marijuana-related penalties against service members.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) authored an op-ed on how marijuana reform can benefit Latinos and tweeted, “The burden of marijuana enforcement doesn’t fall equally: A 2018 NYT report shows Latinos were arrested on low-level marijuana charges at 5x the rate of white people. Thousands of Americans shouldn’t have their record marred for something most don’t believe should be a crime.” He also tweeted, “I’m proud the House took a historic step to pass the MORE Act. This would finally end the federal prohibition on marijuana and advance criminal justice reform. I’ll keep fighting for Senate action.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), in a Senate floor speech, criticized Democrats for including marijuana industry diversity studies in coronavirus relief legislation.

The House Republican Conference tweeted, “Instead of voting on bills to legalize marijuana or protect exotic cats, Democrats need to put the bill on the floor that will help #smallbiz — and they need to do it now. It’s time for Pelosi to stop sitting on her hands and start helping the American people.”

House Ways and Means Committee Republicans tweeted, “Small businesses and families are hurting, yet Pelosi has prioritized marijuana, lions, and tigers. Democrats continue to double down on their out of touch priorities, pushing a liberal agenda instead of offering real relief for Americans. This is unacceptable.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) wrote about the passage of his marijuana bill in a newsletter.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) spoke about the House’s passage of a federal marijuana legalization bill in a radio interview.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) alleged in a House floor speech that Democrats’ solution to coronavirus’s impact is to “just smoke some dope and you won’t be nearly as anxious about the loss of your business, the suffering of your family, and the isolation of our senior citizens.”

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted, “The federal government urgently needs to modernize its cannabis policy. The lack of action at the federal level has paralyzed cannabis businesses that want to utilize the tax code and meet the needs of Americans who could see an improvement to their life from cannabis.”

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) tweeted, “The #MOREAct isn’t just about decriminalizing marijuana, it’s about correcting the years of injustice that federal drug policy has had on families across America. By expunging records and creating new economic opportunities, we can begin to rebuild for our communities.”

Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) tweeted, “I’d like to see more #cannabis jobs coming to #Philly & PA! That’s a major reason why I voted for the #MOREAct last week.”

/ STATES

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed a budget bill that lets hemp farmers sell products to marijuana dispensaries. He also vetoed part of cannabis regulators’ funding.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) is set to formally receive a state task force report that includes a recommendation to decriminalize marijuana on Monday.

Oregon regulators announced a recall of marijuana products due to potentially dangerous additives.

A New Mexico judge ruled that regulators can enact rules limiting which patients can participate in the medical cannabis program through reciprocity.

A New Jersey senator authored an op-ed about his concerns that marijuana legalization enabling legislation doesn’t properly address social justice and equity.

New York senators spoke about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in 2021.

A Kentucky representative said he will file a medical cannabis bill on the first day of the new session.

California regulators proposed rules on marijuana track and trace systems.

Washington State regulators suspended Praxis Laboratory’s testing certification after determining it falsified marijuana potency results data.

Louisiana regulators proposed hemp rules changes.

The Guam Visitors Bureau argued that legalizing marijuana will cause the territory to lose hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

Colorado regulators are hosting a town hall focused on banking, financial services, insurance and economic development for marijuana businesses on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,500 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.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

/ LOCAL

Marion County, Oregon will recount the votes on the state’s drug decriminalization ballot measure in some precincts after a precinct committee member suggested possible fraud.

The Carlisle Borough, Pennsylvania Council approved a marijuana decriminalization ordinance.

The Middlebury, Vermont Selectboard is the first in the state to refer a question about allowing marijuana sales to voters.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Canadian regulators are inviting public comment on potential changes to marijuana rules.

A UK member of Parliament said he thinks Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be willing to consider changing marijuana laws.

The governor of the British Virgin Islands said that international concerns are delaying his giving assent to a medical cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of agitation/irritability, anxiety and common stress found that “the majority of patients in our sample experienced relief from distress-related symptoms following consumption of Cannabis flower, and that among product characteristics, higher THC levels were the strongest predictors of relief.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

Prohibitionist group National Families in Action appears to be acknowledging the inevitability of marijuana reform by endorsing a framework for legal cannabis control.

/ BUSINESS

Weedmaps’s CEO spoke about why he thinks the company can compete against tech giants like Amazon and Google even if marijuana is federally legalized.

BevCanna Enterprises Inc. signed an agreement to acquire Naturo Group Investments Inc.

Moxie is suing Cansortium for allegedly failing to honor the terms of an investment and not paying for consulting services.

/ CULTURE

Rapper T.I. is investing in cannabis company Harvest Connect.

Saturday Night Live joked about Jay-Z’s new line of marijuana products.

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