New Senate cannabis bill for veterans (Newsletter: February 10, 2023)

Addiction doctors org: decrim drugs; CO marijuana energy program; Decrim on San Antonio on ballot; NE & KS medical cannabis movement; MN legalization

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sens. Jon Tester(D-MT) and Dan Sullivan (R-MT) refiled a revised bill requiring the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the effects of medical cannabis on military veterans—but a recently scheduled committee vote was postponed.

  • The new version of the VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, for which a House companion is expected to be introduced next week, contains several changes that seem responsive to VA concerns about prior bills. It’s less prescriptive on how—and even whether—clinical trials need to be carried out.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine—a group with historically prohibitionist roots—is endorsing broad drug decriminalization, noting the “structural racism and stigma that are entrenched in U.S. drug policy.”

The Minnesota Senate Environment, Climate, and Legacy Committee approved a marijuana legalization bill after receiving impassioned testimony from former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who spoke about medical cannabis stopping his wife’s seizures.

The Nebraska Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on medical cannabis and marijuana legalization bills. Advocates have faced continual challenges in advancing reform through the legislature and at the ballot.

Kansas senators filed a new medical cannabis legalization bill for the 2023 session. Similar legislation passed the House in 2021, and since then bicameral lawmakers have been negotiating the details of a passable measure.

The Colorado Energy Office is launching a program aimed at reducing the marijuana industry’s energy footprint. It involves financing and technical assistance focused on promoting more efficient use of electricity, gas, water and other resources.

San Antonio, Texas officials certified that activists collected enough signatures to put an initiative to decriminalize marijuana, ban no-knock warrants and block abortion restriction laws on the May ballot. But the city attorney issued a memo arguing that the measure is largely unenforceable.

/ FEDERAL

Customs and Border Protection posted a video about its drug testing policies for job applicants.

Former Secretary of State and Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said drug legalization is a “terrible idea” and would be the “road to ruin.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) authored an op-ed touting a new federal dashboard tracking opioid overdoses.

Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) discussed the challenges for marijuana reform under a Republican-controlled House.

/ STATES

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) is urging people to pressure their lawmakers to legalize medical cannabis.

Connecticut’s attorney general announced a crackdown on the sale of delta-8 THC products.

The Georgia House Judiciary Committee approved a bill to expand medical cannabis business licensing.

The Utah House Health and Human Services Committee approved a bill to revise various medical cannabis and hemp rules.

An Arkansas senator filed a measure to place a marijuana legalization constitutional amendment on the 2024 ballot.

A Louisiana representative introduced a marijuana legalization bill.

A Pennsylvania representative called out another lawmaker for saying that marijuana “is not dangerous.”

Missouri’s Supreme Court chief justice urged lawmakers to provide funding to process marijuana expungements in his State of the Judiciary address.

A federal judge upheld Washington State’s residency requirements for marijuana business owners and investors.

New Jersey regulators voted to repeal the state’s marijuana cultivation licensing cap and to make available $10 million in grant funding to help people who have cannabis convictions or come from disadvantaged communities start new businesses in the industry.

Michigan regulators issued bulletins on the transfer of marijuana between equivalent licensees and the approval for remediation transfers. They also published guidance on mycotoxins and cannabis.

Massachusetts regulators plan to review whistleblower protection policies of new marijuana business license applicants.

Illinois officials published a report on the cannabis revenue-funded Restore, Reinvest, and Renew grants program.

The California Department of Public Health launched a “Mind Over Marijuana educational campaign to inform youth, parents & guardians about the dangers of underage cannabis use and how it can impact their social & emotional wellbeing later in life.”


Marijuana Moment is tracking hundreds of cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy 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

Dallas, Texas City Council members said they would vote to legalize marijuana locally if state legislation allowing municipalities to enact the change is passed.

/ INTERNATIONAL

South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said the government is moving to allow outdoor cannabis cultivation.

Mexican lawmakers hosted a forum on medical cannabis.

The Czech Republic is moving to regulate kratom.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “high school seniors in medical states had higher odds of past-year vaping cannabis, but 12th graders in adult-use states were not significantly more likely to vape cannabis than those in prohibited states.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Seattle Times editorial board is calling on Washington State lawmakers to place taxes and restrictions on highly potent marijuana products.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported quarterly revenue of C$113.3 million and a net loss of C$266.7 million, and announced it is “reducing headcount across the business by approximately 60%.”

Aurora Cannabis Inc. reported quarterly net revenue of C$61.7 million and a net loss of C$67.2 million.

Ayr Wellness Inc. signed an agreement to sell its Arizona asset Blue Camo, LLC to AZ Goat, LLC.

Republic Brands obtained a permanent injunction in a federal lawsuit against rival rolling papers company HBI International over certain claims about its RAW line of products

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is being sued for allegedly improperly withdrawing a job offer over an applicant’s medical cannabis use.

/ CULTURE

Smokey Robinson spoke about his use of marijuana and cocaine.

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