Cannabis could advance under McConnell, Schumer says (Newsletter: January 1, 2021)


Half a million IL marijuana expungements; House Dems cite legalization vote as civil rights win; NH court backs religious psychedelic use

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that he thinks the movement to federally legalize marijuana can make “progress” even if Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) maintains control.

  • “It’ll move a lot faster,” if he himself is installed as majority leader, Schumer said. “But on the issue of marijuana, I believe even–god forbid—I’m not majority leader, I believe that the pressure on McConnell is going to increase and we could make some progress.”

House Democratic leaders included the passage of a bill to federally legalize marijuana in a list of Congress’s top civil rights wins—alongside police reform, voting rights, District of Columbia statehood, removing the Equal Rights Amendment ratification deadline and the Emmett Till Antilynching Act.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) issued more than 9,000 more marijuana pardons and announced that nearly half a million cannabis arrest records have been expunged.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously ruled in a favor of the religious freedom to use psilocybin mushrooms as long as it doesn’t “disturb the peace.” 

/ FEDERAL

The Federal Trade Commission tweeted, “Avoid being cheated by a “miracle” CBD cure. Considering alternative medical treatments containing CBD? Before you act: Don’t stop taking your prescriptions without asking your doctor.”

Rep. Justin Amash (L-MI) tweeted, “Restore justice to our justice system: End the drug war. End civil asset forfeiture. End qualified immunity.”

Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff said he is ready to vote to federally legalize marijuana on day one of his possible term.

Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Nina Turner tweeted, “#WithTheseHands we’ll send a bold message to Congress. The people of #OH11 want us to:… 🙌🏿 Dismantle our racist CJ system… 🙌🏾 Legalize marijuana…”

/ STATES

Montana Gov.-elect Greg Gianforte (R) said he will “will work with legislative leaders to safely implement” the state’s voter-approved marijuana legalization measure.

Alabama’s incoming Senate president voted against medical cannabis last year but is open to allowing a bill to advance this year.

New Jersey’s Senate president tweeted, “Providing the agricultural industry in NJ with access to the ability to grow #hemp has laid the framework for the state’s next #cashcrop. We anticipate this #plant will help invigorate the business operations of small family #farms statewide.” He also tweeted, “Through #hemp production, NJ will see new #jobs created, which will lead to the natural expansion of the agricultural industry. As the #GardenState, we need to continue to seize opportunities to be a national agricultural producer.”

The chairman of the New Mexico legislature’s Rural Caucus said he supports legalizing marijuana but wants to review the details of any bill because he doesn’t “want to see the big boys get the lion’s share of the action.”

Pennsylvania officials gave a $2 million capital grant to a medical cannabis production business.

Colorado regulators sent a press release about new marijuana rules that take effect on Friday.

South Carolina regulators are accepting applications for 2021 hemp permits.

North Dakota’s medical cannabis patient count is growing faster than regulators expected.

Massachusetts regulators released a farewell video for outgoing commissioner Shaleen Title.


Marijuana Moment tracked more than 1,500 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress last 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.

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/ LOCAL

Tucson, Arizona officials will hold public meetings on potential marijuana zoning rules changes on January 11 and 12.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Ireland’s transport minister said the country is not ready to legalize marijuana.

The British Virgin Islands’s agriculture minister said that the governor’s refusal to give assent to a marijuana licensing bill caused the territory’s financial services industry to lose “the biggest deal in their history.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study of older adults concluded that they “found medical cannabis use to be beneficial in managing chronic conditions and alleviating symptoms such as chronic pain.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Massachusetts Medical Society dropped its longstanding opposition to medical cannabis.

/ BUSINESS

Arkansas 2020 medical cannabis sales exceeded regulators’ expectations.

/ CULTURE

Conan O’Brien aired a spoof New Jersey marijuana legalization campaign ad.

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