House begins cannabis debate with Pelosi’s support (Newsletter: April 1, 2022)



Legalization bill amendments; MI psychedelics ballot petitions; MD marijuana bill changes; NY voters oppose cannabis conviction licensing priority

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

President Joe Biden’s new budget again proposes to continue a rider blocking Washington, D.C. from legalizing recreational marijuana sales. It does also include a separate longstanding provision to protect state medical cannabis laws from federal interference, however, and additionally proposes to change the names of several government bodies by removing mention of the stigmatizing term “drug abuse.”

The House Judiciary Committee published a nearly 500-page report on the federal marijuana legalization bill that’s set to receive a floor vote this week. It previews the pro- and anti-reform arguments Democrats and Republicans are likely to make during the debate.

Bipartisan members of Congress began filing amendments to the marijuana legalization bill that’s up for a floor vote this week. Several would simply require studies, but one Democratic-led measure would maintain certain cannabis penalties.

Michigan activists launched a signature drive to qualify a ballot initiative to legalize possessing, cultivating and sharing psychedelics while setting up a system for their therapeutic and spiritual use.

The Maryland Senate Finance Committee discussed revisions to a marijuana legalization bill to make it more in line with House-passed proposals—including by delaying setting rules for the cannabis market until after voters approve a ballot referendum.

A new poll found that most New York voters oppose regulators’ move to prioritize marijuana dispensary licenses for people with prior cannabis convictions in their families.

/ FEDERAL

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit said the Board of Immigration Appeals was wrong to find that a marijuana possession conviction made a man ineligible for a form of deportation protection.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) said the margin of passage for a federal marijuana legalization bill could be tighter this week than last time it was voted on in 2020.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) tweeted, “Marijuana doesn’t kill you. Heroin and meth do, and until you deal with the truth, the kids won’t believe you at all! Absurd to criminalize marijuana like other drugs!”

Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN) tweeted, “This week the House is expected to take up a vote on the MORE Act – a bill to legalize marijuana on the federal level. Commonsense regulation of cannabis products is vital to having a fair legal system and keeping legitimate businesses out of legal limbo.”

Missouri Democratic congressional candidate Henry Martin tweeted, “Marijuana should be legal across the United States. When I’m elected to Congress, I will propose legislation to legalize cannabis and expunge all non-violent marijuana arrests from the records. Our current state-by-state model is unworkable and leads to prison for far too many.”

New York Republican congressional candidate George Santos authored an op-ed expressing concern that a federal marijuana legalization bill up for a House vote this week could preempt state criminalization laws.

/ STATES

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) tweeted, “Four years ago, I announced major reforms to expand access to medical cannabis. Since then, we’ve increased enrollment by over 110,000 patients – bringing our program to 127,000 total active patients. Proud to have a compassionate program that meets the needs of more patients.”

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) tweeted, “New Mexico! This Friday we make history for our state with the legalization of recreational cannabis. By legalizing cannabis we are diversifying our economy, providing new opportunities for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers.” Separately, regulators recalled moldy medical cannabis products from Sacred Garden. And, regulators also posted about steps they are taking to ensure that medical cannabis supplies will be sufficient as the recreational market launches.

Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Cranley, a former Cincinnati mayor, tweeted, “There’s shouldn’t be a single Ohioan sitting in jail or struggling to get a job because of using marijuana. It’s time to legalize marijuana, expunge the records, and invest that tax revenue back into our communities to create new, good-paying jobs.”

Alabama Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim James criticized state officials for pushing to establish a “drug cartel” to sell medical cannabis.

The South Dakota Senate failed to override Gov. Kristi Noem’s (R) veto of a bill that would have automatically removed certain marijuana charges and convictions from criminal background checks.

The Georgia Senate approved a bill to clarify that documents maintained by medical cannabis regulators are subject to open records laws and to require that business license applications be reevaluated.

The Missouri House Health and Mental Health Policy held a second hearing on a bill to legalize a wide range of psychedelics for therapeutic use at designated care facilities while further decriminalizing low-level possession in general.

A South Carolina House subcommittee will hold a hearing on a medical cannabis bill on Thursday.

An Illinois representative is in the early stages of drafting a bill to decriminalize psychedelics and create a framework for therapeutic psilocybin access.

A Louisiana senator filed a bill to allow people to apply for resentencing of past marijuana convictions.

An Oklahoma senator authored an op-ed about medical cannabis reform legislation.

A Tennessee representative expressed disappointment about the failure of legislation to put marijuana questions on the ballot.

Nevada regulators proposed revised hemp product rules.

Montana regulators repealed rules on failed marijuana laboratory test samples.

Vermont regulators published guidance for marijuana social equity license applicants.

Washington State regulators sent a newsletter addressing several marijuana issues.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Some New Jersey municipalities that had enacted bans on marijuana businesses have since reversed course.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s mayor tweeted about the implementation of a policy to issue citations for low-level marijuana offenses.

Los Angeles, California regulators will host a webinar on marijuana rules changes on Wednesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bermuda’s House of Assembly approved a marijuana legalization bill.

A new agreement between Canada’s ruling Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party does not include anything about drug decriminalization despite the latter party’s support for the reform.

Colombia’s justice minister touted the country’s cannabis regulatory framework.

Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is hosting a forum on cannabis and technology on April 15.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of mice concluded that “CBD could attenuate [Parkinson’s disease] via the neuroprotective effect on the midbrain” and that “the attenuation of the central nervous system in turn improved motor performance of PD, which might be partially induced by the metabolic interaction between the gut-brain.”

A study found that “almost one in ten Canadian cannabis consumers reported home cultivation of cannabis in 2020, with modest increases following legalization and most growing within the non-medical limit of four plants.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Alabama Democratic Party tweeted, “‘Marijuana is a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ -Alabama District Attorneys in 2021 🙄. Tired of the 1950’s scare tactics and lies around cannabis legislation? Shop our legALize merch and help us de-stigmatize legalization in Alabama.”

The Chicago Tribune editorial board lamented Illinois’s failure to quickly secure social equity in the marijuana industry amid a series of lawsuits and delays.

/ BUSINESS

Planet 13 Holdings Inc. reported $29.9 million in quarterly revenue and a net loss of $5.1 million.

/ CULTURE

Filmmaker Ben Proudfoot used his Academy Award acceptance speech to urge President Joe Biden to take steps to free American basketball player Brittney Griner, who is being detained in Russia after allegedly being caught with cannabis vape cartridges at an airport.

John Oliver did a segment on drug harm reduction measures, including safe consumption sites.

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