Marijuana sentencing reform approved; German legalization update; AR medical marijuana gun bill passes; WA psilocybin; Senate drug reforms; MO taxes
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Free to read (but not free to produce)! We’re proud of our newsletter and the reporting we publish at Marijuana Moment, and we’re happy to provide it for free. But it takes a lot of work and resources to make this happen. If you value Marijuana Moment, invest in our success on Patreon so we can expand our coverage and more readers can benefit: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment / TOP THINGS TO KNOW Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other members of Congress will speak at a marijuana event on 4/20 inside the U.S. Capitol Building. The U.S. Sentencing Commission approved guidelines amendments suggesting that federal judges treat prior marijuana possession offenses more leniently when making sentencing decisions. If Congress does not block it, the reform will take effect on November 1. Germany’s health minister said the government will unveil its marijuana legalization bill “immediately after Easter”—and he seems to be pushing back on recent reports that it will be scaled back, saying that “legalization is planned throughout” the country. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) led a bipartisan group of senators in filing new bills to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent federal drug convictions and protect people facing such charges from having to undergo automatic pre-trial detention. The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill to clarify that medical cannabis patients can obtain concealed carry licenses for firearms. The Washington State House Appropriations Committee sent a Senate-passed bill to research the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin to a floor vote after defeating a GOP-led effort to restore its original provisions allowing broad legal access to the psychedelic. Voters in dozens of Missouri municipalities and counties approved ballot measures to enact local marijuana taxes. / FEDERAL The Department of Justice rejected suggestions that a home confinement policy for federal prisoners be expanded to include more people with drug convictions. National Institutes of Health researchers discussed the formation of a new Psychedelic Science and Medicine Interest Group. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) argued that Colorado’s legalization of marijuana has led to homelessness issues. / STATES Louisiana Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Nelson, currently a state representative, tweeted, “The argument for the legalization of cannabis is not whether it is good or bad, but rather what best balances the costs and benefits. I think it is better to have a regulated product with known ingredients bought from a legitimate business and taxes to offset any harm caused versus street drugs that just fund drug dealers and cartels. Just like alcohol, prohibition doesn’t stop the use, it just funds violence and destroys faith in government. Ending prohibition is consistent with support of limited government, free markets, and individual liberty.” Kentucky’s Senate president spoke about the state’s newly enacted medical cannabis law, saying he’s “neither really for it or against it” but that he’s “satisfied with the result.” He also said lawmakers could make tweaks to the policy in the future. A former Michigan House speaker will reportedly be charged following a corruption investigation into whether bribes influenced the licensing of marijuana businesses. Wisconsin’s Senate minority leader tweeted that the National Basketball Association’s new marijuana policy reform “sounds like a slam dunk to me.” The Arkansas House Management Committee approved a resolution requesting that regulators cut the medical cannabis patient registration fee in half and extend the duration of their cards from one year to two. Separately, the state has collected $97.2 million in medical cannabis revenue since 2019. A Pennsylvania senator said he met with the Department of Health and members of the Cannabis Caucus to discuss advancing legalization. The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld regulators’ revocation of PharmaCann Virginia LLC’s conditional permit to operate a medical cannabis processing facility. Vermont’s top cannabis regulator said President Joe Biden’s marijuana pardons “are largely symbolic,” “don’t move anyone out of federal prison” and “don’t mitigate any of the harms those convictions have done.” Connecticut’s Social Equity Council approved three additional marijuana equity joint ventures, four workforce development plans and a social equity plan. Montana regulators posted an updated list of regional cannabis inspectors. Minnesota regulators posted a reminder that hemp cultivation and processing applications are due on April 30. — Marijuana Moment is 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 Anchorage, Alaska voters approved a ballot measure to use marijuana revenue to fund child care and early education initiatives. The San Diego County, California Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance setting tax rates for cannabis businesses in unincorporated areas. Phoenix, Arizona officials are investigating two marijuana facilities following complaints about odors. / INTERNATIONAL India’s Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance is considering the idea of decriminalizing drugs. Thailand’s Civil Court issued an injunction barring a politician from campaigning against the Bhumjaithai party over its cannabis policy, pending the outcome of a defamation lawsuit. The UK’s Prince Harry was reportedly truthful about past drug use on his U.S. visa application. / SCIENCE & HEALTH A study of marijuana dispensaries found that “age verification rates were high.” The MAPS Public Benefit Corporation announced that participants in a study on MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD “demonstrated a durable response at least six months, and in some cases a year or more, after their final” session. / ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS The Kentucky Democratic Party tweeted, “Just a few months after @AndyBeshearKY’s historic executive action allowing medical cannabis use, the legislature finally sent a legalization bill to his desk. Gov. Beshear is leading Kentucky forward.” / BUSINESS Paychex is ceasing to provide some services to cannabis businesses. Hightimes Holding Corp. is being sued for allegedly failing to pay a settlement over a dispute surrounding an agreement to sell the 420.com domain. ACT Laboratories and SC Labs launched a cannabis testing certification standard. Illinois retailers sold $134.8 million worth of legal recreational marijuana products in March.