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As signature deadlines approach, here’s where marijuana and drug policy reform campaigns stand

7/2/20--Several drug policy reform campaigns are in the final stretch as deadlines to submit signatures for proposed ballot initiatives loom this week and next. The proposed ballot measures would accomplish everything from legalizing cannabis to decriminalizing psychedelics such as psilocybin and ayahuasca. This article provides a status update on where they stand. Read

Feds hire hazmat firm for marijuana eradication training

7/6/20--The U.S. Forest Service will spend nearly $50,000 to hire a hazardous materials consulting firm to train employees how to safely remove marijuana grown on public lands under a newly awarded government contract. The agency says the training is needed to protect employees, some of whom reportedly have been taken to emergency rooms after being exposed to hazardous chemicals while clearing marijuana plants in years past. Read

DC activists submit signatures to put psychedelics decriminalization on November ballot

7/6/20--With the help of innovative signature-gathering techniques and allies flown in from across the country, advocates said they had successfully submitted upwards of 35,000 signatures—more than enough to qualify the initiative. If approved by voters, Initiative 81 would make enforcement of laws against plant- and fungus-based psychedelics among the “lowest law enforcement priorities” for the Metropolitan Police Department. It would not, however, legalize or reduce penalties for the substances. Read

Virginia’s marijuana decriminalization law officially takes effect

7/1/20--A marijuana decriminalization policy is officially in effect in Virginia, which will make possession of up to one ounce of cannabis punishable by a $25 fine with no threat of jail time and no criminal record—the commonwealth has become the 27th state to enact the policy change. Read

Bipartisan senators file marijuana and CBD research amendment to defense spending bill

6/29/20--Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) are trying to attach marijuana and CBD research language to a large-scale defense spending bill that’s on the Senate floor this week. The senators are seeking to include the proposal—titled the Cannabidiol and Marijuana Research Expansion Act—in the annual renewal of the National Defense Authorization Act. Read

HBO teams up with marijuana companies to sell THC gummies promoting new TV series

6/29/20--HBO is partnering up with major marijuana businesses to market a line of promotional cannabis edible gummies meant to bring attention to an animated series premiering next week, the entertainment giant announced on Monday.Each blend was developed to produces effects the network says reflect the personalities of the four main characters from “Close Enough,” which will be streaming on HBO Max. Read

Washington State drug decriminalization activists shift from ballot to legislature

6/25/20--Treatment First WA announced on Wednesday the campaign initially established to decriminalize drugs and expand substance misuse treatment in Washington State will no longer pursue an effort to place the policy change on the November ballot. Instead, the will be pressing the legislature to enact the reform during next year. Read

Military invests $27M to develop new class of psychedelics-inspired drugs

6/24/20--Funded by $26.9 million from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a new project announced this month “aims to create new medications to effectively and rapidly treat depression, anxiety, and substance abuse without major side effects,” according to a University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine press release. Read

Idaho medical marijuana initiative could get new chance at ballot after federal court ruling

6/24/20--Idaho activists behind a medical marijuana legalization initiative could get a second wind after a federal judge said on Tuesday that the state must make accommodations for a separate ballot campaign due to signature gathering complications due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read

Little-noticed hemp memo clarifies military’s ban on service members using CBD

6/22/20--Since hemp was federally legalized, various military branches have issued guidance, broadly prohibiting active duty members from using products derived from the crop despite the legal status change. But a little-noticed memo is helping to explain the trend. The memo states that regular use of lawful hemp products could result in a positive urinalysis test for THC. Additionally, the FDA does not certify THC concentrations in CBD products that are widely available in the marketplace, it says. Read

Montana activists submit 130,000 signatures for marijuana legalization initiatives despite coronavirus setbacks

6/19/20--Montana activists are turning in more than 130,000 signatures on Friday to qualify a pair of legalization initiatives for the November ballot. While the coronavirus pandemic took a major hit on the New Approach Montana campaign, forcing a temporary suspension of signature gathering during critical months, they relaunched the process in recent weeks and submitted their final petitions batch on the deadline day. Read

Georgia lawmakers include marijuana decriminalization in policing reform bill

6/19/20--Georgia lawmakers included a provision to decriminalize low-level marijuana possession as part of a recently filed comprehensive policing reform bill. The Georgia Justice Act, which Senate Democrats introduced to coincide with the reconvening of the legislation session this week, covers a wide range of issues such as police body cameras, no-knock warrants, racial profiling, demilitarizing law enforcement and cannabis policy reform. Read

NORML pushes top federal health official to admit criminalization is more harmful than marijuana

6/9/20--NORML is asking the head of a federal health agency, who recently acknowledged racial disparities in drug enforcement and the harm that such disparate practices have caused, to go on the record to further admit that this trend in criminalization is more harmful than marijuana itself. While NORML said it’s not arguing that cannabis is harmless, the group maintains that the role of discriminatory cannabis enforcement in systemic racial injustices that are the focus of mass protests across the country cannot be overstated. Read

Scientists and veterans file lawsuit challenging DEA’s marijuana rescheduling denials

5/28/20--Researchers and veterans are challenging the DEA's denial of prior cannabis rescheduling requests. The Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI) filed suit last week in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for a review of DEA’s scheduling determinations in 2020, 2016 and 1992. In all cases, the agency denied the petitions, citing statutory obligations to maintain the status of cannabis as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Read

Federal Judge orders Ohio to let marijuana decriminalization campaigns collect signatures electronically

5/20/20--A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that activists seeking to place marijuana decriminalization measures on local ballots across Ohio can collect signatures electronically after they were forced to suspend in-person gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic. The court also ordered state officials to extend the deadline to submit signatures from July 1 to July 31. Read

Company recalls injectable CBD products following FDA warning letter

5/21/20--A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) letter warning Biota Biosciences about its marketing of injectable CBD products has led to a voluntary recall that the federal agency announced on Wednesday. The agency said the company was violating federal statutes both by engaging in interstate commerce of an unapproved new drug and failing to properly label the products by neglecting to include directions for use. Read

Oregon campaigns to legalize silocybin mushrooms and decriminalize drugs team up to qualify for ballot

5/11/20--Two drug policy reform campaigns in Oregon are teaming up as they both work to collect enough signatures to qualify for the state’s November ballot. Activists behind an effort to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use and another to decriminalize all currently illicit drugs and expand substance misuse treatment are partnering to ensure mutual success. Read

Nebraska and Montana marijuana activists resume ballot signature gathering amid Coronavirus

5/15/20--Campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana and medical cannabis in Nebraska are back in action after temporary suspensions due to the coronavirus pandemic. In short, The Nebraska initiative would allow physicians to recommend cannabis to patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions. Montana activists are pushing two measures: one statutory initiative to establish a regulated cannabis market for adult use as well as a constitutional amendment stipulating that only those 21 and older can participate in the market. Read

Feds sue company over claims its CBD products can treat cancer

4/30/20--The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sued the California-based Whole Leafs Organica over unsanctioned medical claims it was making about a line of CBD products and supplements by marketing products as treatment options for conditions such as cancer and COVID-19 without supporting scientific evidence. Read

Trump Admin could let researchers study marijuana dispensary products, scientist argues after DOJ memo released

5/1/20--Sue Sisley of the Scottsdale Research Institute (SRI), who is involved in a case that forced the release of a previously “secret” Justice Department document about federally authorized marijuana research this week, is now calling on Congress to urge administrative action to more rapidly expand studies into the therapeutic potential of cannabis. Read

Washington voters could see drug decriminalization and treatment initiative on November ballot

4/21/20--Activists in Washington State are working to place an initiative to decriminalize drug possession and expand access to treatment services on the November ballot. ACLU of Washington says they remain determined to qualify Initiative 1715, which would make possession of illegal substances for personal use a civil infraction that does not carry the threat of jail time. Read

California announces $30 million grant program to promote marijuana industry social equity

4/21/20--California marijuana regulators announced on Tuesday that the state will be providing $30 million in grant funding for cannabis entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately impacted by the drug war. Read

DEA marijuana scheduling lawsuit will be appealed to Supreme Court following dismissal

4/23/20--A federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) over the classification of marijuana last week after the plaintiffs announced they would not pursue an administrative policy change as the court had recommended. Read

Marijuana businesses are ineligible for Coronavirus disaster relief, Federal Agency confirms

3/24/20--The federal Small Business Administration (SBA) reiterated on Monday that marijuana companies are not eligible for disaster relief loans to lessen the blow of the coronavirus outbreak. Because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, the marijuana industry is being denied access to these aid opportunities, including programs administered by SBA. Read

Arizona marijuana activists have more than enough signatures to put legalization on ballot, they say

3/26/20--At a time when drug policy reform campaigns across the country are suspending efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, marijuana activists in Arizona say they’ve already collected more than enough signatures to qualify a legalization measure for the state’s November ballot. The Smart and Safe Arizona campaign to legalize cannabis for adult use said it has gathered more than 320,000 signatures—about 80,000 more than is required to make the ballot. Read

Nebraska property tax hawks aid fight to pass medical marijuana ballot measure

3/2/20--On Monday, Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana, a group campaigning to pass a medical cannabis ballot initiative in November, announced they are joining forces with a statewide coalition called Adopt a Decrease in Oppressive Property Taxes (ADOPT) to “grow the state’s economy and reduce high property tax”. ADOPT will help the cannabis campaign employ staffers and volunteers around the state to collect enough valid signatures to qualify the measure for ballot access. Read

Oregon activists collect enough signatures for drug decriminalization and treatment measure

3/5/20--Activists in Oregon have collected more than the required raw number of signatures to qualify a historic initiative to decriminalize drug possession and increase access to treatment for the state’s November ballot. The initiative, which is backed by the national organization Drug Policy Action and other reform groups, would make it so low-level possession of currently illicit drugs would be considered a civil infraction punishable by a maximum $100 fine and no jail time. Read

Mayor Pete’s ‘Plan B’ to legalize marijuana involves flying Air Force One around the country

2/2/10-- 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg recognizes that there are disagreements on the issue of marijuana legalization within Congress. Ideally, Buttigieg's would like to work with members of Congress from across the aisle on the issue, but if that approach doesn't work, he would put his hyperbolic “Plan B” into action for legalization by visiting the home district of any member standing in the way of his own voters and have a conversation with the voters about why this needs to happen. Read

Missouri activists take steps to put marijuana legalization initiative on November ballot

1/17/20--Missouri activists are gearing up for a push to put marijuana legalization on the state’s November ballot. A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize for adult use, which was submitted last year, has been cleared for signature gathering by the secretary of state, which certified the ballot title last month. Read

Florida marijuana lawsuit: ‘Stealth Deadline’ means legalization might miss 2020 ballot

1/2/20--Organizers behind an effort to place a marijuana legalization measure before Florida voters this November are suing the state over what they say are unconstitutional hurdles in the way of ballot access. At the center of the dispute is a controversial new law the legislature enacted last year that places additional restrictions on the signature gathering process that the campaign says pose “an enormous (if not insurmountable) barrier to the ability of sponsors.” Read

Berkeley City Council to vote on decriminalizing psychedelics

9/6/19--The Berkeley, California City Council will decide next week whether to advance a resolution to decriminalize psychedelics like psilocybin mushrooms and ayahuasca. The development comes two months after the body’s Public Safety Committee unanimously voted to send the measure to a separate commission focused on health. The full Council will either approve or reject that recommendation on Tuesday. Read

EPA announces review of pesticide applications for hemp

8/21/19--The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Wednesday that it is seeking public input on 10 pesticide applications for hemp. The pesticides under consideration are already approved for use on other crops, but that approval does not yet extend to hemp. In a draft notice set to be published in the Federal Register, EPA said providing hemp farmers with this tool “will likely be essential to supporting the success of this industry going forward.” Read

Marijuana flower offers more pain relief than other cannabis products, study finds

8/21/19--According to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of New Mexico, the most effective for pain relief among the overwhelming variety of marijuana products available on the market today appears to be whole dried marijuana flower and products high in THC. The study’s goal was to gauge how the severity of pain changed and what side effects were experienced after cannabis consumption, and whether these effects differed by product. Read

Head of only federal marijuana farm thinks 8 percent THC marijuana is ‘extremely’ potent

9/3/19--Mahmoud ElSohly, the head of the nation’s only federally authorized marijuana farm, said he’s baffled by why consumers would want marijuana containing 15 percent or more THC when, according to him, even eight percent is too high. ElSohly described how demand for higher potency research-grade cannabis has increased over the last two decades and said that studies using his facility’s products demonstrated that even marijuana with just eight percent THC proved too powerful for subjects. Read

Here are the top 20 most and least marijuana-friendly U.S. colleges

8/10/19--Besides ranking colleges overall each year, this year The Princeton Review looked at the top 20 universities where students use marijuana the most and least. To compile the list, released earlier this week, Princeton Review asked 140,000 students at 385 schools a simple question: “How widely is marijuana used at your school?” Read

Oregon activists take next step to legalize psilocybin for medical use

8/12/19--Oregon activists are one step closer to getting a psilocybin legalization measure on the state’s 2020 ballot. The organizers behind it are putting their resources into an initiative that would create a regulatory framework for the legal use of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes. Read

Lawmakers and witnesses clash on strategy during congressional hearing on ending federal marijuana prohibition

7/10/19--Members of a key congressional committee convened for a first-ever hearing on ending marijuana prohibition on Wednesday, engaging in informed conversations about the issue that largely embraced evidence and avoided resorting to fear mongering, demonstrating a broad consensus that major marijuana reforms are needed. During this hearing, there was some disagreement and debate over what reform legislation should look like and the best strategy to advance it. Read

Tom Hanks denies fake quote promoting CBD company

7/11/19--In a tweet posted on Wednesday morning, Hanks denied a quote attributed to him that described advances in the CBD industry as “remarkable” and stating that he was “feeling like a new me” after using a cannabidiol product from a company called Cali Naturals. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Hanks has been featured in several dubious articles in recent years casting him as a champion of the non-intoxicating cannabis compound. Read

Joe Biden applauds anti-marijuana speech at opioid forum

4/15/19--During an opioid forum, professor Bertha Madras claimed that patients who consume marijuana experience the same levels of pain and don’t decrease their opioid use, and she also characterized legislative efforts to allow patients with opioid use disorder to access medical marijuana as “disrespectful”—a rant that Biden enthusiastically applauded. The tacit endorsement of the panelist’s anti-cannabis speech appears to signal that Biden remains opposed, or at least skeptical about, changing marijuana policies. Read

Senators are angry that marijuana sentences are longer than Paul Manafort’s

3/8/19--A lot of people, including U.S. senators, are picking up on the sentencing disparity that exists between repeatedly defraud financial institutions and the government versus non-violent marijuana offenses and the illegal possession of marijuana in a prohibition state. Read

FDA head reveals new details about agency’s CBD regulation plans

2/27/19--Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb revealed new details about plans to pursue alternative pathways for CBD regulation and also acknowledged that federal prohibition drives research into medical marijuana overseas on Wednesday. Read

Nebraska medical marijuana ballot measure cleared for signature gathering

3/2/19--A petition to get medical marijuana on the 2020 ballot in Nebraska is officially available for voters to sign after the secretary of state approved the initiative’s language on Friday. Because the state legislature has rejected multiple legislative attempts to establish a medical marijuana program, Senators Adam Morfeld (D) and Anna Wishart (D) joined with activists to form a committee last year to put the issue before voters instead. Read

New Mexico Republicans say legalize marijuana, but let the government sell it

2/15/19--Republican state lawmakers in New Mexico want recreational marijuana to be legally sold in stores, but they’re proposing that the state government own and operate marijuana dispensaries. The New Mexico proposal would be a new model for the United States. In nearby Nevada as well as California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, where recreational marijuana is legal and available in stores, it’s sold at government-regulated, privately run businesses. Read

People searched for a certain marijuana product a lot in 2018, Google says

12/10/18--People in the U.S. were really interested in learning about cannabidiol (CBD) gummies in 2018, according to Google’s year-end trend report. “CBD gummies” was the third most popular food-related Google search of the year—following unicorn cake and romaine lettuce. Read

Marijuana ballot initiative campaigns raised $12.9 million, final pre-election numbers show

11/6/18--In the lead-up to the election, committees supporting or opposing marijuana ballot initiatives have raised a total of $12.9 million in cash and in-kind services over the past two years to convince those voters, Marijuana Moment’s analysis of the latest campaign finance records filed the day before Election Day shows. Read

Five Ohio cities decriminalize marijuana

11/6/18--Five out of six Ohio cities that had local marijuana decriminalization measures on the ballot have passed the initiatives. Decriminalization passed in Dayton, Fremont, Norwood, Oregon, and Windham. However, voters in Garrettsville rejected the local measure. Read

Fight to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri intensifies as groups battle over tax rates

10/5/18--With about one month left until voters head to the polls, things are heating up in the fight to legalize marijuana for medical use in Missouri. New Approach Missouri, Missouri NORML, St. Louis’s NAACP chapter, Freedom Incorporated, and the St. Louis American newspaper are all supporting Amendment 2. This amendment would tax retail marijuana sales at four percent, and the third initiative, Missourians for Patient Care-backed Proposition C, would impose a two percent sales tax rate. Read

Push to legalize marijuana consumption spaces in Oregon kicks off

8/26/28--An Oregon lawmaker is preparing a renewed push to legalize marijuana consumption lounges—and, if going through the state legislature doesn’t work, a coalition of cannabis businesses and advocates says they are prepared to go to the ballot. Read

Washington State prepares to rewrite marijuana testing and packaging rules

8/9/18--Marijuana regulators in Washington State will entertain sweeping changes to how marijuana is tested, processed, packaged, and sold in one of the U.S.’s oldest recreational marijuana markets, officials announced late Wednesday. Read

Cypress Hill Rapper who opposed California legalization opens a marijuana store

8/12/18--On Wednesday, rapper B-Real of Cypress Hill and Prophets of Rage will celebrate the grand opening of his new “Dr. Greenthumb” recreational marijuana dispensary in southern California. It’s the latest stage in what’s been a significant evolution for the prominent cannabis-friendly musician, who less than two years ago declared himself opposed to the state’s marijuana legalization ballot measure that is making his new venture possible. Read

Study on marijuana and PTSD in military veterans only needs a few more volunteers

8/9/18--The first controlled study examining marijuana as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder needs just a handful more U.S. military veterans to volunteer as test subjects before it can be completed, the study's nonprofit sponsor announced Thursday. Read

Here are the most and least marijuana-friendly newspapers

7/9/18--A report, published in the journal Preventative Medicine Reports, examining how the press covers cannabis, also revealed which publications have been the most and least weed-friendly. The percentage of marijuana stories with "positive" tones in ten newspapers include, The Columbus Dispatch: 37.1%; The New York Times: 37; The Seattle Times: 35.8%, The Washington Post: 32.4%; The San Francisco Chronicle: 31.9%; Tulsa World: 28.2%; The Tampa Tribune: 21.5%; The Dallas Morning News: 21.2%; The Wall Street Journal: 17.4%; and The Denver Post: 13.8%. Read

Teen marijuana use down in most legalized states, federal data says

12/11/17--According to new data from the federally-funded National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) published in the American Journal of Public Health, annual teen cannabis use is down across the U.S. as a whole, but the drop was less significant than that experienced in Colorado and Washington, the first two states to legalize marijuana. Read  

These states will probably vote on marijuana in 2018

10/26/17--In 2018, voters in a number of several states are likely to see cannabis questions when they go to their polling places. An article published in Marijuana Moment presents an in-depth look at those states that have the best chance of qualifying marijuana initiatives, followed by some brief information on a few that seem like longer shots. Read