Cannabis banking bill amended ahead of floor vote (Newsletter: September 20, 2019)

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McConnell presses FDA on CBD access; Cuomo hints at possible NY marijuana smoking ban; Sanders seeks cannabis arrest stories

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

A coalition of groups including ACLU, Center for American Progress, Drug Policy Alliance and Human Rights Watch is urging Congress to delay a planned vote on cannabis banking legislation next week, saying it could “undermine broader and more inclusive efforts to reform our country’s marijuana laws.”

  • Meanwhile, cannabis banking access efforts hit a key Senate milestone, with a third of the entire chamber now cosponsoring the bill. Plus, outside groups are stepping up pressure, with the Independent Community Bankers of America and 43 state banking associations sending a letter urging congressional leaders to advance the legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) inserted language into a report attached to a spending bill that would direct the Food and Drug Administration to “issue a policy of enforcement discretion with regard to certain products containing CBD meeting the definition of hemp” within 120 days.

In a little-noticed TV interview, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) seemed to suggest he might support banning cannabis smoking under a legalization plan.

  • “You can legalize marijuana and sell THC in compounds that do not require you to smoke the marijuana.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a presidential candidate, asked for a show of hands at a South Carolina campaign rally from people who know someone who’s been arrested for marijuana, and then invited people to share their stories.

  • “Holy God, whoa. That’s a lot of people.”

/ FEDERAL

The White House Office of Management and Budget met with Canopy Growth Corp. to discuss hemp regulations last week.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency launched a new program aimed at utilizing Schedule I drugs in “treating neuropsychiatric conditions such as chronic alcohol dependence, post-traumatic stress, and treatment-resistant depression” while trying to de-couple the substances from “significant side effects, including hallucination.”

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted, “For long time permissive state laws allowed THC and CBD to flourish — often with irresponsible medical claims. It was tolerated and sometimes celebrated. Now as risks manifest, there’s more desire for a federal solution to absolve woes sowed by the states.”

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), a presidential candidate, met with advocates for equity in the cannabis industry. He also tweeted, “Legalizing marijuana isn’t enough. We also need to make sure those most impacted by the War on Drugs have a chance to benefit from this growing industry. Thanks to everyone at Equity First Alliance and Cage-Free Cannabis in L.A. for sharing their stories with me today.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted, “The failed #WarOnDrugs has devastated far too many communities of color. My Marijuana Justice Act will legalize marijuana at the federal level and expunge criminal records for people incarcerated for cannabis.”

Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) tweeted, “We need to know more about the medical benefits of marijuana and rescheduling the substance from schedule I to schedule III is a step in the right direction.”

The Senate marijuana banking bill got one new cosponsor for a total of 32.

The House bill to require the Department of Veterans Affair to study medical cannabis got two new cosponsors for a total of 81.

/ STATES

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) “has not decided what he’s going to do” on whether to push for legalizing marijuana, the state’s lieutenant governor said. Separately, a senator who played a key role in passing medical cannabis legislation was arrested on child pornography charges.

The Washington, D.C. Council  approved emergency legislation allowing students to use medical cannabis at schools. Separately, an executive order from Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on workplace rights for medical cannabis patients does not cover all government employees.

New Mexico regulators are largely refusing to grant medical cannabis cards to out-of-state patients as they prepare to appeal a judge’s ruling directing them to do so.

California regulators published notices on marijuana advertising and promotion.

Colorado regulators released information on average market rates for marijuana products.


Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis 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

Chicago, Illinois’s mayor proposed zoning rules that would ban marijuana dispensaries in much of the city’s downtown.

Two co-conspirators in an alleged plot by the Fall River, Massachusetts mayor to extort marijuana businesses pleaded guilty in federal court.

/ INTERNATIONAL

A Russian court freed an American woman who had been in prison for more than a month after getting caught with medical cannabis.

Ecuadorian lawmakers debated medical cannabis legislation.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study concluded that “there was no significant association between marijuana use and experiencing [a major depressive episode], and no association between marijuana use and suicidal ideation.”

A study examining government agencies’ Twitter posts about marijuana found that “the organizations studied provided limited information regarding how to use cannabis in ways that will minimize health-related harms.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The pro-Trump super PAC America First posted a tweet about former Vice President Joe Biden’s (D) record of supporting the war on drugs.

/ BUSINESS

Canadian regulators suspended the license of CannTrust Holdings Inc. after it was discovered the company illegally grew marijuana in unlicensed rooms.

Shopify launched new features allowing CBD sales on its platform.

Casper launched a line of CBD gummies.

A U.S. Tax Court judge found that an owner of Doobtubes underpaid taxes with fraudulent intent.

The Pax Labs board ousted the company’s CEO.

Vaping company Kingpen is spending millions of dollars to redesign its packaging amidst the growth of counterfeit ripoff products.

TikTok banned Cornbread Hemp hemp for alleged content violations.

Kayak published a marijuana travel guide.

/ CULTURE

Musician John Legend is partnering with CBD company Plus Products Inc.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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