Schumer’s “last ditch” cannabis banking push (Newsletter: December 19, 2022)

Schumer’s “last ditch” cannabis banking push (Newsletter: December 19, 2022)

Lawmakers push Biden on marijuana; Feds: Teen use stable as more states legalize; NJ sales surge; Former GOP congressman’s cannabis services company

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is making a “last ditch effort” to include marijuana banking in the omnibus appropriations bill, a senior Senate Democratic aide told Marijuana Moment, adding that newly revised text has been shared with GOP lawmakers.

  • Meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who has been a vocal opponent of marijuana legalization, said that passing banking reform “without a federal regulatory framework” for cannabis would be “irresponsible.”

Members of Congress are circulating a sign-on letter calling on President Joe Biden to endorse federally descheduling marijuana as his administration’s position. It’s been signed so far by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Brian Mast (R-FL).

A National Institute on Drug Abuse official told Marijuana Moment that the latest results of the federally funded Monitoring the Future study show that “cannabis use remained stable” among teens even as more states continue to enact legalization and pandemic socialization restrictions have been lifted.

New Jersey’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission reported that recreational marijuana sales surged in the most recent quarter, topping $100 million for the first time. Adding in medical sales, the state saw $177.7 million in legal cannabis transactions between July and September.

Former Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) is partnering with former basketball player David Harrison on a new digital financial services platform for the cannabis industry. Marijuana Moment spoke to Donovan about his mixed voting record on marijuana reform during his time in Congress and to Harrison about being suspended from the NBA for a positive THC test.

Marijuana Policy Project President and CEO Toi Hutchinson—a former Illinois senator and state cannabis official—argues in a new Marijuana Moment op-ed that Congress needs to pass the SAFE Banking Act before the end of the year.

Louisiana’s Employment and Medical Marijuana Task Force approved a number of recommendations on patient workplace protections for lawmakers to consider enacting in 2023.

/ FEDERAL

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued memos directing federal prosecutors to take steps to work around the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine so that defendants are treated similarly regardless of which form of the drug they are charged for. Meanwhile, congressional negotiators have reportedly reached a tentative deal to include provisions to scale back the sentencing disparity in omnibus appropriations legislation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said lawmakers are “making good progress” on the issue.

The Food and Drug Administration sent another round of warning letters to companies over alleged CBD product marketing violations.

The National Institutes of Health launched a harm reduction research network. National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow said the projects funded by its grants will “test harm reduction interventions so that we can develop evidence-based actions to help prevent overdoses and save lives.”

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) cheered the Justice Department’s crack-powder sentencing move but said it is “not a permanent answer and won’t help those already serving an unjust sentence.”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) said he is “not satisfied” with the Biden administration’s efforts to free American citizen Marc Fogel, who is being detained in Russia for possessing medical cannabis.

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) authored an op-ed and spoke about the need to free American Marc Fogel, who is detained in Russia for possessing medical cannabis.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) cheered the Justice Department’s crack-powder sentencing move, saying, “For decades, these sentencing disparities have devastated Black and brown communities and fueled mass incarceration. This is an important step toward ending the failed War on Drugs and building a more equitable justice system.”

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) called the Justice Department’s crack-powder announcement “another historic landmark step by the Biden Administration to deal with the failed war on drugs.”

/ STATES

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) discussed his medical cannabis executive order and shared the story of a cancer patient who can benefit from it. He also tweeted, “Too many Kentuckians face the obstacle of having a chronic or terminal disease like cancer. Those like Chasity Harney, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer despite being a non-smoker. Medical cannabis has helped her avoid powerful medications and maintain a quality of life.”

Florida’s agriculture commissioner is urging people to contact members of Congress in support of marijuana banking legislation.

Washington State’s Senate minority leader said he believes it is necessary to jail people for possessing drugs in some cases.

Missouri representative filed a bill to criminalize having an open container of marijuana in a vehicle on a public road. Separately, regulators said 318 of the 322 licensed medical cannabis businesses in the state have applied for comprehensive licenses to participate in the recreational market.

Tennessee lawmakers said they plan to file a marijuana legalization bill.

A Pennsylvania representative touted $200,000 in funding he secured for a local police department that will be used to “help local law enforcement enforce Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act.”

A Maryland delegate tweeted photos of a tour she took of a cannabis cultivation facility.

Connecticut’s lead cannabis regulator resigned.

New Mexico’s top medical cannabis regulator said the state has upgraded its patient portal.

Georgia regulators posted proposed medical cannabis rules.

Louisiana regulators awarded the state’s tenth medical cannabis pharmacy license.

Colorado regulators published average market rates for retail marijuana.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles announced that it is adopting a curriculum to educate teens on the risks of marijuana-impaired driving.

Vermont regulators posted an update on marijuana business license applications and approvals.

The New York Department of Labor tweeted about the state’s new verification tool for licensed marijuana dispensaries.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 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

St. Louis Park, Minnesota is launching a licensing system for sellers of cannabinoid products.

Tucson, Arizona’s mayor and City Council will hold hearings on marijuana dispensary issues on Tuesday.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Council of the European Union approved a policy paper calling for a “human rights-based approach in drug policies.”

Colombian President Gustavo Petro and other government officials are meeting with coca growers to discuss a path to legality.

The Canadian government published the results of a nationwide cannabis survey.

Morocco’s National Agency for the Regulation of Cannabis-Related Activities discussed how to expand research on marijuana.

An Irish senator said she is optimistic about the prospects of enacting drug policy reform.

Victoria, Australia’s premier said he is open to legislation to protect medical cannabis patients from being charged with driving under the influence.

Bavaria, Germany’s health minister said he commissioned a European Union legal opinion “to clarify the international and European legal limits of cannabis legalization.” A lawmaker responded that the effort “is so irrational because it exacerbates health risks and prevents youth protection.”

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A study found that “caregivers perceive CBD oil as a safer and more effective treatment for those with dementia than the conventional methods.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Parabola Center launched a partnership program to boost small cannabis businesses.

The Washington Cannabusiness Association laid out its 2023 legislative agenda.

/ BUSINESS

iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc. is reportedly exploring a sale.

MJBiz’s CEO is stepping down.

The Japanese unit of Jazz Pharmaceuticals PLC began a phase III trial of CBD drug Epidiolex to treat epilepsy.

/ CULTURE

American basketball player Brittney Griner, in her first statement since being released from Russian detention after being convicted of possessing cannabis vapes, named Paul Whelan as someone else who also needs to be freed from the country—but she did not mention Marc Fogel, who is detained there for medical marijuana like she was.

Football player Aaron Rodgers spoke about his use of ayahuasca and psilocybin.

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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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