AR lawsuit could get cannabis on ballot (Newsletter: August 8, 2022)



Congressman talks expungements as banking add-on; Lawmakers want another US marijuana prisoner freed from Russia; Fed cannabis breath tests; IL regs

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Arkansas marijuana activists filed a lawsuit before the state Supreme Court, seeking to secure ballot access for their proposed legalization initiative that was rejected by the Board of Election Commissioners despite having enough signatures from voters.

Rep. Troy Carter (D-LA) spoke to Marijuana Moment about cannabis reform momentum in Congress and how his new expungements bill could be an “adjunct” to a broad package of reforms that bipartisan leaders are crafting that includes banking and other issues.

As U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner’s Russian cannabis sentence generates international outrage, bipartisan lawmakers led by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) sent a letter urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to give similar “wrongfully detained” status to another American who is imprisoned in that country for medical marijuana.

  • “Although he may not carry the notoriety of a celebrity WNBA athlete, we believe it is essential the Biden Administration work to bring Mr. Fogel safely home to his family.”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is looking for a contractor to help carry out a study measuring how the concentration of cannabis compounds on consumers’ breath decreases over time after use.

An Illinois representative is planning to file legislation to consolidate the state’s marijuana regulations under a single new commission, rather than the hodgepodge of agencies that oversee the cannabis market now.

/ FEDERAL

President Joe Biden said he is “working hard” to free American basketball player Brittney Griner, who was sentenced to prison in Russia for cannabis vapes, and that he’s “hopeful” she will be released.

The Senate confirmed new members of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) tweeted, “Brittney Griner’s 9 year sentence for possession of cannabis is just as absurd as classifying cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “Brittney is a political prisoner. Her sentence for having less than *1 gram* of cannabis oil is unimaginably cruel and outrageous. Also a reminder that cannabis inexplicably remains a Schedule 1 drug in the U.S. and millions have been locked up for nonviolent drug charges.”

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) criticized Vice President Kamala Harris for expressing concern about American basketball player Brittney Griner’s Russian cannabis sentence when she herself oversaw marijuana cases as a prosecutor and the Biden administration is not taking significant steps to free domestic prisoners.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed a bill allowing medical cannabis patients under the age of 18 to have up to four designated caregivers.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) pardoned more people for marijuana and other offenses.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) tweeted, “Illinois, take a look at what we’ve accomplished these past four years:… 🍃 Legalized adult-use cannabis… And we’re just getting started.” Separately, the lieutenant governor tweeted, “Four years ago,  @JBPritzker and I promised to legalize adult-use cannabis and expunge cannabis-related records. Four years later, our efforts on building a more equitable Illinois are coming to fruition.”

Nebraska Democratic gubernatorial candidate Carol Blood, currently a state senator, tweeted that the state’s “watered down hemp bill is ineffective.”

Texas Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Susan Hays accused the incumbent of being slow to embrace medical cannabis.

A California senator spoke about his bill to legalize psychedelics possession.

A Virginia senator participated in a ribbon cutting at a new medical cannabis dispensary.

Washington, D.C. officials are launching a Joint Cannabis Task Force to conduct inspections of unlicensed marijuana businesses.

Montana regulators filed proposed rules changes on the marijuana waste management process.

Connecticut regulators are being sued by a company that was denied a marijuana cultivation license.

The Oregon Task Force on Cannabis-Derived Intoxicants and Illegal Cannabis Production’s Water and Natural Resources Subcommittee met.

Ohio regulators will consider medical cannabis rules on Monday.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 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

New York City’s mayor tweeted, “I am proud of the work NYC’s overdose prevention centers are doing. Since opening, they have saved lives and connected people with basic necessities and social services. All New Yorkers deserve access to safe health care and treatment. And we’re leading the way with these sites.”

Denver, Colorado voters will see a measure on the November ballot to increase recreational marijuana sales taxes and use the revenue to fund out-of-school learning stipends.

The Harker Heights, Texas City Council voted to place a marijuana decriminalization initiative on the November ballot rather than immediately enacting the reform.

The Medford, Oregon City Council declined to place a measure on the ballot to ban psilocybin services businesses.

The Detroit, Michigan City Council voted to place a measure on the November ballot to revise recreational marijuana business rules.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Russia’s foreign minister said the country is “ready to discuss” a prisoner swap involving American basketball player Britteny Griner, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for possessing cannabis vapes.

Belize’s minister of new growth industries said that a decision to delay a referendum on cannabis legalization had to do with the cost of carrying out the election, rather than concerns about banking as previously reported.

Canadian licensed marijuana businesses destroyed 468 tons of unsold, unpackaged dried cannabis in 2021.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study suggested that ” CBD can reduce anxiety severity and has an adequate safety profile in young people with treatment-resistant anxiety disorders.”

A study suggested that “CBD may protect against sepsis-induced inflammation and subsequent arrhythmias.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Racine Journal Times editorial board is calling on Wisconsin lawmakers to legalize marijuana.

The Star-Ledger editorial board said it would be repeating the mistakes of the drug war to crack down on unlicensed marijuana sellers with harsh criminal penalties.

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen authored an op-ed about the need to go beyond marijuana social equity programs to restore communities damaged by the war on drugs.

The executive vice president of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana authored an op-ed criticizing a new Senate bill to allow cannabis advertisements on TV and radio.

/ BUSINESS

Canopy Growth Corporation reported quarterly net revenue of C$110.1 million and a net loss of C$2.1 billion.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the federal government made him take drug tests after he smoked marijuana on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

Missouri dispensaries sold more than $33 million worth of medical cannabis in July.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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