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Oakland psychedelics activists launch initiative to legalize community-based sales with support from city council

10/18/21--Oakland activists are hoping to expand upon the city’s current psychedelics decriminalization ordinance by creating a community-based model through which people could legally purchase entheogenic substances from local producers. They have the backing of a key member of the City Council and staging a year-long project to solicit feedback on how best to provide people with lawful access to entheogenic substances, leading up to the planned introduction of city-level legislation that would accomplish that goal in 2022. Read

Florida would study psychedelics’ medical benefits under top senate Democratic new bill

9/27/21--Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book (D) filed a bill on Friday that would require the state of Florida to research the medical benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA. If enacted, the state Department of Health would be directed to “conduct a study evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of alternative therapies” such as those substances, as well as ketamine, “in treating mental health and other medical conditions,” including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, chronic pain and migraines. Read

California Senator explains next steps for psychedelics and broader drug reform after bill stalls

9/9/10--A bill to legalize the possession of psychedelics in California has been put on pause until next year, but the Senate sponsor, Sen. Scott Wiener (D), says the move is part of the “complicated legislative process” to get reform enacted—and he’s confident it will ultimately prevail. Sen. Wiener said that it took significant compromise both internally and externally to get the bill through the Senate and two Assembly committees before he ultimately decided to temporarily pull it last month to build broader support for passage next year. Read

Former anti-marijuana congressman and top Trump health official joins company board

8/9/21--Tim Price, a former head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is serving as a member of the board of directors Botanical Sciences, LLC, one of six cannabis businesses to win licenses last month under Georgia’s limited medical cannabis program, according to documents obtained by Marijuana Moment. Read  

Women oppose Sha’Carri Richardson’s marijuana suspension while men support it, poll finds

7/4/21--There’s been widespread condemnation over the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) recent decision to suspend U.S. runner Sha’Carri Richardson from at least some Olympic competition over a failed marijuana test. According to a new poll, women are notably more likely to oppose the suspension (44 percent) than men are (39 percent). Men, on the other hand, are more supportive of the penalty (48 percent) than they are against it (38 percent). Read

South Dakota marijuana activists unveil four legalization initiatives for 2022 ballot, pending supreme court decision

7/5/21--South Dakota marijuana activists filed four separate legalization measures with the state Legislative Research Council—the first step toward putting the issue before voters next year. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws says the sponsors will drop the proposals if Amendment A, which was approved by voters last November, is fully restored by the state’s high court. But for now, they’re getting the process rolling in case the judiciary doesn’t uphold the will of the electorate. Read

Apple now allows marijuana businesses on its App Store, while Google maintains ban

7/1/21--Apple will no longer prohibit marijuana delivery services from being hosted on its App Store—one of the latest pro-cannabis developments to come out of the tech industry. The policy was updated last month to remove the ban, with some restrictions. A marijuana app must be geo-restricted to jurisdictions where cannabis is legal, and the program must be “submitted by a legal entity that provides the services, and not by an individual developer.” Read

Maine Senate defeats drug decriminalization bill that cleared the House

7/1/21--The Maine Senate on Wednesday defeated a bill that would have decriminalized possession of all currently illicit drugs. As passed by the House, the legislation would have made possession of controlled substances for personal use punishable by a $100 fine, without the threat of incarceration. That fine could also have been waived if a person completed a substance misuse assessment within 45 days of being cited. Read

House approves bill to let researchers access marijuana from state-legal dispensaries

7/1/21--The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a large-scale transportation bill that includes a provision that would allow researchers to access marijuana from state-legal dispensaries in order to effectively study impaired driving. Under the House-passed measure, a federal report would need to be issued with recommendations on establishing a national clearinghouse with samples of different types of marijuana that scientists from non-legal states could obtain for studies. Read

Federal officials meet with state marijuana regulators to discuss legalization impacts

6/25/21--A coalition of state marijuana regulators met with federal officials and members of Congress this week to discuss the potential impact that national legalization and other cannabis policy changes could have on the local programs they oversee. Read

Florida Supreme Court kills another marijuana legalization ballot measure for 2022

6/17/21--The Florida Supreme Court has killed another marijuana legalization ballot initiative, invalidating the proposal on Thursday because a majority of justices said its summary is “misleading.” This is the second citizen initiative that the court has nullified this year that would have established a regulated marijuana market in the state. Read

Nebraska medical marijuana legalization bill stalls in legislature amid filibuster

5/12/21--Nebraska’s unicameral legislature on Wednesday debated a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state. But following hours of discussion, it failed to advance past a filibuster because the body didn’t have enough votes to overcome it. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Anna Wishart (D), would have allowed patients with certain qualifying conditions to purchase and possess cannabis from a licensed dispensary. It wouldn’t have allowed patients to smoke marijuana, however. Read

Congressional bill to federally legalize marijuana filed by Republican lawmakers

5/12/21--A pair of congressional Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill to federally legalize marijuana, protect banks that service state-legal cannabis business and ensure that military veterans are specifically permitted to use marijuana in compliance with state laws. The Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Medical Professionals Act is being sponsored by Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and Don Young (R-AK). Read

New York marijuana legalization bill is officially released, with votes planned within days

3/27/21--A new bill to legalize marijuana in New York was released on Saturday after lawmakers and the governor finalized a deal that has been negotiated for weeks. Sen. Liz Krueger (D), the lead Senate sponsor of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), says the newly revised version of the legislation will legalize adult-use cannabis in a way that foregrounds racial justice, while balancing safety with economic growth, encouraging new small businesses, and significantly diminishing the illegal market. Read

Virginia Governor signals he’ll push to legalize marijuana on July 1, ahead of schedule

3/26/21--Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is signaling he’d like the state to legalize personal possession of cannabis as soon as July 1—two and a half years before lawmakers planned. Under the legislature’s proposal, passed by the Senate and House of Delegates last month, possession of marijuana wouldn’t become legal until January 1, 2024—timed to coincide with the launch of the commercial market. Read

20-year-old Kansas lawmaker files drug decriminalization bill

2/12/21--Rep. Aaron Coleman (D), a 20-year-old Kansas lawmaker, introduced a bill on Tuesday to broadly decriminalize drug possession in the state. He stated that told he was inspired by a voter-approved initiative in Oregon that ends the threat of jail time for simple drug possession. This bill’s introduction comes as Kansas lawmakers and the governor step up their push to legalize medical cannabis in the state. Read

DEA issues final rule for licensing more growers of marijuana for research

12/17/20--The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) revealed a long-awaited final rule aimed at expanding the number of authorized growers of marijuana to be used in scientific research. The agency said it made “minor modifications” from the initial proposed rule on licensing cannabis manufacturers it released in March. Read

American Medical Association asks Mississippi voters to reject medical marijuana ballot initiative

9/28/20--A medical marijuana legalization initiative that will appear on Mississippi’s November ballot is being targeted by two medical associations that are pushing voters to reject the policy change. Read

American Medical Association asks Mississippi voters to reject medical marijuana ballot initiative

9/28/20--The Mississippi State Medical Association (MSMA) and American Medical Association (AMA) are circulating a sample ballot that instructs voters on how to reject the activist-led measure Initiative 65. For supporters and opponents alike, the way the ballot is structured can be confusing—a product of the legislature approving an alternative that appears alongside Initiative 65. Read

Twitter partners with feds on campaign flagging ‘marijuana’ searches while giving ‘alcohol’ a pass

9/10/20--Twitter is partnering with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a federal drug agency, to promote substance misuse treatment resources when users of the social media platform search for “marijuana” or certain other substance-related keywords—but no such health warning appears with results for alcohol-connected terms. Read

Federal drug decriminalization model unveiled by top reform group

8/10/20--The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) recently unveiled a framework to federally decriminalize all illicit drugs that they hope will be embraced by Congress. This leading drug policy reform group said ending the drug war will help address racial disparities in the criminal justice system and promote public health. The proposal is being rolled out ahead of the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Controlled Substances Act, the legislative basis of today’s federal drug criminalization. Read

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