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Senate confirms cannabis legalizer for top VA spot (Newsletter: July 26, 2022)

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Source: Marijuana Moment

Senate legalization hearing witnesses; Schumer helps launch NY marijuana equity initiative; DEA drops psychedelics ban; IL cannabis revenue

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Shereef Elnahal, who was confirmed last week by the Senate to serve as Department of Veterans Affairs undersecretary of health, oversaw the expansion of New Jersey’s medical cannabis program as state health commissioner and has called for federal marijuana legalization.

Marijuana Moment got an early look at the witness list for Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice and Counterterrorism hearing on cannabis legalization. It includes former federal prisoner Weldon Angelos as well as outspoken cannabis alarmist Alex Berenson.

Former federal cannabis prisoner Weldon Angelos penned a Marijuana Moment op-ed previewing the testimony he will deliver at the Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on legalization on Tuesday.

Days after filing a federal marijuana legalization bill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) helped launch a new cannabis equity initiative in New York—saying that the state’s lead on social justice can influence national policy as it has on other issues.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is withdrawing a proposed ban of five psychedelics in the face of pushback from scientists who say such a move would impede research into the substances’ therapeutic potential.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) announced that the state has generated $445.3 million in marijuana tax revenue in Fiscal Year 2022—a 50 percent increase from last year.

/ FEDERAL

A National Institute on Drug Abuse official will participate in a Council for Federal Cannabis Regulation webinar on marijuana research on Thursday.

Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) tweeted, “In Tonopah last month, I spoke with small business owners about the rich history of this old mining town and the importance of bringing new business here. Glad to see a minority-owned and operated cannabis company opening soon — boosting tourism, jobs, and the local economy.”

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) tweeted, “China is a communist government that oppresses its own people & wants world domination. We should be engaged & attentive to their grasp for land, production of marijuana & theft of ideas in the US—they’re not here for our benefit.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “3/4ths of states have legalized cannabis. I aplaude [sic[] @ChuckSchumer, @CoryBooker, and @WydenForOregon for introducing the #CAOA to end the federal prohibition on cannabis to lift up the communities most affected by the failed War on Drugs and create opportunities across the U.S.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) falsely claimed that Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the lietenant governor, took down an American flag in his office to hang marijuana and gay rights flags.

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker tweeted, “Legalizing cannabis will put more money in your pockets. I will get it done in the Senate.”

New York Democratic congressional candidate Suraj Patel tweeted, “We are letting a Nixonian obsession with counterculture stop advances in some of the most promising therapies for mental illness. Psychedelic assisted therapy has been shown to be more effective than SSRIs by a mile. We need to unshackle the NIH, NSF, & VA to research the mind.”

/ STATES

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) is calling on lawmakers to finalize marijuana equity and business legislation.

Texas’s agriculture commissioner spoke about his support for expanding medical cannabis access.

A former New Jersey attorney general coauthored an op-ed calling on prosecutors to go after unregulated marijuana sales.

Wyoming activists say they have collected about 40 percent of the signatures they need to qualify marijuana decriminalization and medical cannabis initiatives for the 2024 ballot.

The Montana legislature’s Environmental Quality Council is considering a proposal to fund conservation districts in part with marijuana revenue.

A Pennsylvania representative criticized what he said was an “alarmist & off-kilter” local news headline about marijuana.

A Kentucky representative spoke about strong voter support for medical cannabis.

Connecticut regulators filed marijuana business rules.

California regulators finalized rules on the manufacture and sale of hemp products.

Washington State regulators published a newsletter touching on various marijuana policy issues.

Florida regulators will host a hemp lunch and learn webinar on Tuesday.

Colorado regulators are holding a meeting on draft marijuana rules on Wednesday.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 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

A St. Louis County, Missouri Council member is under fire for failing to disclose that she worked for a law firm representing clients seeking medical cannabis licenses while the body was crafting policies to regulate such businesses.

Providence, Rhode Island City Council members proposed an ordinance to ban the sale and use of marijuana in all city parks.

The North Kingstown, Rhode Island Town Council voted to put a measure on the November ballot about whether to allow marijuana businesses to operate.

Portland, Oregon officials released a list of proposed recipients of cannabis Social Equity and

Educational Development grants.

The Missoula, Montana City Council is accepting public comment about energy consumption standards for marijuana businesses.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Colombian senator filed a marijuana legalization bill.

Cannabis plants found growing in Thailand’s Parliament complex were removed.

A Chhattisgarh, India lawmaker said cannabis should be promoted as an alternative to alcohol.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of Canadian workplace marijuana use indicated a “a lack of substantive changes in the short-term from prelegalisation to postlegalisation.”

A study of rats suggested that the cannabis terpene myrcene “has the potential to reduce chronic arthritis pain and inflammation.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll found that Hawaii voters support legalizing marijuana to generate tax revenue, 58 percent to 34 percent.

The Minority Cannabis Business Association’s executive director stepped down.

The Global Indigenous Council applauded Senate leaders for filing a new marijuana legalization bill.

The New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association is pushing for changes to proposed state marijuana packaging rules.

/ BUSINESS

Weedmaps is facing complaints alleging that it is listing unlicensed marijuana businesses and products.

A federal judge approved a consent decree between Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and a cannabis company that blocks the latter from selling products that mimic Skittles and Starburst logos.

/ CULTURE

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Ricky Williams discussed medical cannabis use by athletes.

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