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Feds move to extend cannabis growing monopoly (Newsletter: December 15, 2020)



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The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee approved a revised bill to implement legal marijuana sales—with floor votes expected on Thursday, though equity advocates still have concerns about provisions. Meanwhile, separate legislation to lower psilocybin penalties is also advancing.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse is proposing to extend the University of Mississippi’s monopoly contract to cultivate marijuana for research “without providing for full and open competition” while the Drug Enforcement Administration stalls the process of licensing additional growers.


The fate of federal marijuana reform largely rests on two Senate runoff elections in Georgia next month. Marijuana Moment’s latest analysis looks at where all four of the candidates stand on cannabis issues and what the results of the elections could mean for the country.


Several Virginia lawmakers are insisting that equity and expungements be at the center of the upcoming governor-supported marijuana legalization push in 2021.


FEDERAL


President Trump tweeted that a Michigan judge’s ruling mandating the release of a report on voting equipment involved in a closely decided local ballot measure on whether to allow marijuana businesses “shows massive fraud” and is an “election changing result!”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new short podcast on hemp crop insurance.


The Senate passed a resolution designating December as National Impaired Driving Prevention Month.


The House Republican Conference tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi’s priorities are out of touch. House Democrats have prioritized marijuana, lions, tigers, and ceiling fans (yes, really) over helping small businesses and workers. This is unacceptable. Small businesses need relief TODAY.”


Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) said that his brother has a felony conviction for marijuana.


Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) tweeted, “The House voted to decriminalize marijuana. Let’s build on this by expunging the records of all those who were charged for possessing it and investing the industry’s profits in BIPOC communities who have been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs.”


Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) tweeted, “The war on marijuana has failed to stop anyone from using cannabis. Instead, it’s cost millions of Americans — disproportionately POC — their jobs, housing, opportunities, & freedom. I was proud to vote to end this injustice & reinvest in our communities.”


Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) tweeted, “The cynicism of Speaker Pelosi to ignore the needs of the American people proves that she has been here too long. Instead of voting to legalize marijuana or protect exotic cats, we should be voting, today, to give small businesses the relief they need.”


Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) tweeted, “How many more businesses need to close before @SpeakerPelosi decides to extend the Paycheck Protection Program instead of voting on cannabis and ceiling fan legislation?”


STATES


North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) received a report from a task force he formed, which includes recommendations to decriminalize marijuana, deprioritize prosecutions and study broader cannabis legalization.


Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’s (D) office sent a press release about Slang Worldwide choosing the state as the place to expand its operations.


Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor tweeted, “At the very least, national decriminalization is likely during Biden’s presidency. How about Pennsylvania make the sensible investment right now, putting its stock in the people of the Commonwealth, who have already said they want legal cannabis?”


The Ohio House of Representatives is expected to vote this week on a Senate-passed bill to lower drug penalties.


The Oregon Senate’s Interim Judiciary Committee discussed the state’s voter-approved drug decriminalization law and a proposed Cannabis Equity Act during a hearing.


The California Horse Racing Board sent a letter warning trainers about the use of CBD.


Arkansas regulators will consider a medical cannabis company’s appeal of rule violations on Wednesday.


LOCAL Deschutes County, Oregon is suing state agencies over marijuana tax revenues it says are owed. A former Fall River, Massachusetts mayor’s chief of staff pleaded guilty to federal charges of extorting and bribing marijuana businesses. INTERNATIONAL Bermuda’s attorney general filed a marijuana legalization bill. Ireland’s minister of health announced that patients can now directly access medical cannabis in the country. An Australian Capital Territory lawmaker is filing a local drug decriminalization bill. SCIENCE & HEALTH A review concluded that “while stigmas surrounding cannabis appear to have diminished, there is little evidence that such stigmas have entirely disappeared.” A study found that “MDMA holds promise as a facilitator of [cognitive-behavioural conjoint therapy] to achieve more robust and broad effects on individual and relational functioning in those with PTSD and their partners.” ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board cheered the U.S. House’s approval of a federal marijuana legalization bill. BUSINESS HEXO Corp. reported quarterly gross revenue of $41.3 million and a net loss of $4.2 million. Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. announced a quarterly dividend of $1.24 per share. Steep Hill Inc.’s former CEO sued its board, current and former leaders and investors. Weedmaps said in an investor presentation that a federal inquiry in which it had to submit documents on its operations and clients remains “unresolved.” CULTURE Former basketball player Paul Pierce is being sued for allegedly underpaying a marijuana cultivation consultant. The Onion joked about the release of the nation’s longest-serving marijuana prisoner.


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