|This Month’s Top Marijuana Policy Developments
The most important legislative and business news you need to know about:
More marijuana movement on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress filed legislation to protect hemp growers’ water rights. A new resolution calling on theU.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis was also introduced. The House Judicary Committee held a lengthy debate on an amendment concerning medical marijuana for police officers.
Trump administration and cannabis. Federal prosecutors admitted that a Congressional rider prevents them from prosecuting people who are in compliance with state medical cannabis laws.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a Senate hearing that it would be “healthy” to allow more researchers to grow cannabis for scientific studies. Separately, he refused to comment on the administration’s marijuana enforcement plans. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottliebhinted that the agency may soon start scrutinizing medical claims made by cannabis providers.
Congressman Tom Marino, President Trump’s nominee to be drug czar, withdrew his name from consideration following a media scandal about opioids legislation he authored. President Trump declared a public health emergency over addiction and overdose. Career Drug Enforcement Administration official Robert Patterson was named as the agency’s acting administrator.
A Treasury Department report found that the Internal Revenue Serviceimproperly targeted marijuana nonprofits for extra scrutiny during the Obama administration. The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing a rule that some advocates believe allows the transportation of state-legal marijuana on airplanes.
A just-retired top State Department anti-drug official predicted that changing state laws will force marijuana rescheduling.
State and local marijuana bills on the move. Most state legislature are currently out of session, but there were some big developments this month:
Maine lawmakers approved a marijuana legalization implementation plan, but without enough support to overturn a possible gubernatorial veto. A New Hampshire House committee advanced cannabis legalization legislation. A TexasHouse committee was officially directed to study marijuana decriminalization.Virginia’s Senate majority leader is introducing a cannabis decrim bill.
Atlanta, Georgia enacted a marijuana decriminalization ordinance. Dallas County, Texas commissioners approved a plan to reduce marijuana arrests.
International reforms advanced, too. Peru’s Congress legalized medical cannabis. New Zealand’s new government agreed to hold a nationwide marijuana legalization referendum. Germany may legalize marijuana under a coalition government deal. Canada’s House of Commons advanced the government’s marijuana legalization bill. Belize’s House approved a marijuana decriminalization bill.
Luxembourg is moving to allow medical cannabis. Italian lawmakers approved a medical cannabis bill. The UK House of Commons advance medical marijuana legislation. Australian senators OKed legislation on medical marijuana access for terminally ill patients.
Officials in Antigua are embracing marijuana decriminalization. Malta’s prime minister included medical cannabis in his budget. The Dutch government is moving to legalize marijuana production on a trial basis. The World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances for athletes.
The marijuana majority is bigger than ever. Gallup, which has been polling about marijuana legalization annually since 1969, found the highest level of support yet: 64% of Americans now support ending prohibition, including majorities across party lines.
It takes a lot of time and resources to track all this news and legislation, and to keep Marijuana Majority’s tens of thousands of supporters like you updated about what you need to know to be an effective advocate for change.
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Look Who’s Speaking Out For Marijuana Reform
These are just some of the voices speaking out for much-needed changes to cannabis laws:
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch:
“I’m against illicit drug use and have always been very strong in these areas. But I’m also a pioneer in good medicine and how we can help doctors and scientists… I have to make these decisions based upon what’s right for the people of Utah and the people of this country. And there’s no reason to be afraid of medical marijuana.”
Former NBA Commissioner David Stern:
“I’m now at the point where, personally, I think [marijuana] probably should be removed from the ban list… I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal.”
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker:
“There is no doubt in my mind that the federal government should not be in the marijuana prohibition business. It’s making us less safe, it’s costing taxpayers too much money, it’s violating our values. From every perspective—a libertarian perspective, fiscal conservative’s perspective, Christian evangelical perspective, progressive perspective—marijuana prohibition is just wrong.”
Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders:
“Because of marijuana, we have become the world’s biggest jailer. We have criminalized a generation of young people for nothing, and the less educated and poor.”
Congressman Matt Gaetz:
“Cannabis has shown promise in cancer research for over two decades. There is now conclusive research that shows that cannabis-related compounds have anti-tumor properties. Yet despite these findings, scientists are going too slow. It is time for cannabis research to begin and we should declassify it as a Schedule I drug.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta:
“Some believed the legalization of drugs like marijuana would lead to increased use. Yet in Colorado, which legalized recreational pot, teen marijuana use has dropped.”
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI):
“Criminal justice reform begins with ending the ‘War on Drugs,’ which has wrought irreparable harm upon millions of people and their families.”
Your Donations At Work: Marijuana Majority In The News
Media outlets continue to see Marijuana Majority as a go-to source for pro-legalization quotes and context:
When a new poll came out showing record-high support for legalization, Marijuana Majority made sure the press noted its significance:
Business Insider – Support for marijuana legalization reaches a record high
Huffington Post – Support For Marijuana Legalization Reaches All-Time High
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review – Poll says support for legalizing marijuana hits record high
After former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder criticized his successor for having an “obsession” with marijuana, we reminded journalists that Holder himself didn’t endorse cannabis rescheduling until after he left office:
High Times – Eric Holder Claims Jeff Sessions Has An ‘Almost Obsession’ With Weed
Cannabis Now – Former Attorney General Says Sessions Has a Pot ‘Obsession’
We were also quoted in several other marijuana news stories this month.
Coming Up Next…
We’re hearing that activists in Michigan may announce in November that they’ve collected enough signatures to qualify a marijuana legalization measure for the state’s 2018 ballot. Similar announcements in other states are likely to follow early in the new year.
Now, more than ever, we need your support. Please chip in and make a contribution to Marijuana Majority’s efforts to keep shaping the public debate about the need to legalize cannabis.