Less cannabis-impaired driving in legalized states, study finds (Newsletter: April 28, 2022)

GA legalization ballot question; KS medical marijuana negotiations; Lawmakers push cannabis banking; CO MDMA bill advances

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Kansas House and Senate negotiators held the first conference committee meeting to begin reaching an agreement on a medical cannabis bill that advocates believe could pass soon.

Georgia voters will get a chance to decide on a marijuana legalization question during the primary election next month. The results of the advisory measure won’t be binding, but could send lawmakers a message about public support for cannabis reform.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) sent a letter urging House leaders to fight to keep marijuana banking language in the final America COMPETES Act conference committee report.

The Colorado Senate Health & Human Services Committee advanced a House-passed bill to legalize MDMA in the state when it gets FDA approval.

A new study found that driving under the influence of marijuana is “lower in recreational and medical cannabis states compared to states without legal cannabis.” Researchers say consumer education—labeling information and PSAs, for example— in legal states could be playing a role.

New Jersey dispensaries sold almost $2 million worth of recreational marijuana products to more than 12,000 customers on the first day of legal sales last week.

/ FEDERAL

Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted, “I’ve been calling on the President to use his executive authority to pardon cannabis offenses. And he just used it. This is a good first step. Let’s keep it going.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) tweeted, “Policy actions like these are critical to undoing the decades of harm that the failed ‘war on drugs’ caused—particularly in communities of color. I commend President Biden for a plan that upholds the values of dignity, fairness, and belief in second chances.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) reacted dismissively to a question about marijuana legalization.

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said she plans to push Republican leadership to advance marijuana reform if the party takes control of Congress.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “It’s time for the Senate to step up and pass the #MOREAct and end the failed War on Drugs that has destroyed Black and Brown families.”

Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) tweeted, “The “War on Drugs” damaged our criminal justice system. We must work to repair it. One Nevadan has served a decade of a 14+ year prison sentence but, thanks to a commutation today from @POTUS, will be under supervised release starting in a year.”

Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) tweeted, “I applaud @POTUS for his decision. For too long we have allowed the “war on drugs” to over-criminalize Black, Brown, and Latino communities. We can reunite more families and help heal communities through the profound power of second chances.”

Indiana Democratic Senate candidate Thomas McDermott, currently the mayor of Hammond, tweeted, “How about we use the tax money Indiana would make from the sale of legal cannabis & use it to battle potholes across our state?”

The Senate bill to require the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis got one new cosponsor for a total of four.

/ STATES

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) appointed a chair of the Medical Cannabis Commission.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) spoke about the social justice reasons for legalizing marijuana.

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, celebrated the second anniversary of the state’s hemp program.

The Virginia Senate rejected Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) proposed amendments to a cannabis bill that would have recriminalized possession of more than two ounces of marijuana and sent the overall legislation, which was aimed at restricting cannabinoid products, back to a committee. The lieutenant governor, as part of a tie-breaking vote, voted against the governor’s proposal.

The Connecticut House of Representatives passed a bill to allow physicians assistants to recommend medical cannabis.

The Louisiana House Health & Welfare Committee approved a  bill to add new medical cannabis cultivation licenses and transfer authority for the program to the Department of Health.

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that a marijuana grinder is not considered drug paraphernalia.

Georgia regulators are being sued over alleged “conflicts of interest” in the medical cannabis licensing process.

New York’s top marijuana regulator said she expects recreational sales to begin by this fall.

Washington State regulators approved a proposal for expedited rulemaking to replace the word “marijuana” with “cannabis” in state code.

The California Cannabis Control Appeals Panel held a strategic planning session.

Colorado’s Department of Agriculture is seeking nominations to serve on the Hemp Advisory Committee.

Nevada will hold a public workshop on marijuana consumption lounges on Friday.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 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

Swanton Town, Vermont voters approved a measure to allow recreational marijuana sales, while voters in Swanton Village rejected the issue.

The Billings, Montana City Council voted to lower the age at which a person can work for or own a marijuana business from 21 to 18.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The UK House of Commons Home Affairs Committee held a hearing on the effectiveness of drug policies.

The Irish legislature’s Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food & the Marine held a hearing on developing the hemp industry.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “Δ9-THC promotes the viability of cardiomyocytes, improves their metabolic activity, decreases cell damage and restores heart mechanical function, serving as a cardioprotective.”

A study found that “CBD extract shows promising antibacterial activity against Salmonella typhimurium and S. newington.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

A poll of New York likely voters found that 70 percent support decriminalizing drugs and 64 percent back opening overdose prevention centers where people can consume illegal substances.

The Austin Chronicle editorial board endorsed a local marijuana decriminalization ballot measure.

The Illinois Policy Institute said the state’s high taxes and restrictive licensing system for marijuana is undermining potential revenue and strengthening the illegal market.

/ BUSINESS

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. closed its acquisition of Greenhouse Wellness West Virginia Dispensaries LLC.

High Tide Inc. closed its acquisition of three cannabis retailers operating under the name Crossroads Cannabis.

Verano Holdings Corp. reported quarterly revenue of $211 million.

MedMen Enterprises Inc. has a new CEO.

Green Thumb Industries Inc. announced the second group of nonprofit organizations to receive funding through its Good Green Grant Program.

/ CULTURE

Football player Laremy Tunsil created an NFT of the video of himself smoking marijuana from a gas mask bong that upended his expected top draft status in 2016, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Last Prisoner Project.

The Onion joked about a Florida bride and caterer being criminally charged after allegedly serving marijuana-infused food to unwitting wedding guests.

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