First VA legal cannabis hearing (Newsletter: January 18, 2021)

VA gov slams racist marijuana laws; Incoming RI gov backs legal cannabis but not state stores; USDA “superior” hemp grant; $2B in CO sales in 2020

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The U.S. Census Bureau announced that it plans to start collecting and compiling data on state marijuana tax revenue.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) used his State of the Commonwealth speech to highlight the racist history of marijuana prohibition and the need to legalize cannabis while expunging past records.

  • “That’s how the system was set up generations ago. In fact, one of the early leaders of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency was clear that marijuana laws should be written explicitly to target people of color. And so they were, and they’ve been targeting people for years.”

Rhode Island Lt. Gov. Dan McKee (D), who will become governor if current Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) is confirmed as U.S. commerce secretary, said for the first time that he supports legalizing marijuana. He also said that he backs an “entrepreneurial strategy”of licensing private businesses instead of Raimondo’s state-run stores plan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making grant money available to support the “breeding, testing and development” of “superior performing” hemp varieties.

Colorado retailers sold more than $2 billion worth of legal marijuana products in 2020. Several other states also saw huge cannabis sales totals last year.

/ FEDERAL

A summary of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus economic recovery plan does not mention cannabis banking, even though House and Senate Democrats included the reform in their COVID packages last year.

/ STATES

A candidate for Rhode Island lieutenant governor resigned from the board of a company seeking a medical cannabis dispensary license.

Oregon’s Legislative Black, Indigenous, & People of Color Caucus included a cannabis equity bill in its 2021 legislative agenda.

The chairman of Missouri’s House Special Committee on Government Oversight said the panel could renew its investigation of the state’s medical cannabis licensing process.

California regulators proposed emergency rules to implement legislation on marijuana businesses’ access to banking services.

Michigan regulators are requiring hemp growers and processor-handlers to complete a report on research activities.

Washington State regulators are seeking participants for deliberative dialogue sessions on cannabis quality assurance testing.

Massachusetts marijuana regulators held their first meeting of the new year.

A Maryland delegate filed a bill to decriminalize drug paraphernalia.

A key New York senator spoke about the prospects for legalizing marijuana in 2021.

Nevada regulators will host a regulatory workshop on Tuesday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 200 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

Birmingham, Alabama’s mayor is publicizing a program to pardon people with misdemeanor marijuana possession convictions.

New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang included his support for marijuana legalization on his campaign site’s Culture, Society and Nightlife section rather than the Criminal Justice section.

/ INTERNATIONAL

British Virgin Islands Premier Andrew Fahie said his government is still unclear about when the UK might give assent to a pending cannabis bill.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “users and non-users of marijuana did not have an association with the prevalence of cardiovascular disease.”

A case study looks at a man who injected psilocybin mushroom tea, after which “cultures confirmed bacteremia (ultimately cultured as Brevibacillus) and fungemia (ultimately cultured as Psilocybe cubensis – i.e. the species of mushroom he had injected was now growing in his blood).”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Drug Policy Alliance, National Harm Reduction Coalition and more than 200 other organizations sent a letter calling on the incoming Biden administration to focus drug policy on harm reduction strategies, including by withdrawing a federal lawsuit that seeks to block a safe consumption site for illegal drugs from opening.

/ BUSINESS

Cresco Labs entered into an agreement to acquire Bluma Wellness Inc.

Aphria Inc. reported quarterly revenue of C$72.1 million and a net loss of C$120.6 million.

Canopy Growth Corporation filed an early warning report regarding its acquisition of an option to purchase shares of TerrAscend Corp.

United Cannabis Corp.’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy was thrown out by a judge.

/ CULTURE

The UFC and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will no longer punish fighters for testing positive for marijuana metabolites.

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