House Committee Leaders Tackle Marijuana Research, Kratom, Impaired Driving And More In New Spending Measures

NY legal cannabis sales begin next week (Newsletter: December 22, 2022)

Senator talks marijuana reform in 2023; Congresswoman slams DC sales ban; NC gov: Medical cannabis could be enacted; Federal kratom bill; NORML op-ed

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  • Drew D.: “As far as why I pledged, I really want to stay up to date with bills in Florida. I don’t even know where to start and then found your site. It’s important to me to try to vote and campaign for full legalization. We have cancer patients in Florida who hit their dosage limits that were imposed via an “emergency order” which is an outrage. Not that we should even need a reason to just fully legalize.”

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) confirmed that cannabis consumer gun rights and expungements—along with banking provisions—were part of the “SAFE Plus” deal that bipartisan lawmakers negotiated but weren’t able to attach to moving legislation. He said it “must pass” in 2023.

Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) told Marijuana Moment in an interview that she’s “really disappointed” a Democratic-led Congress failed to repeal the rider blocking Washington, D.C. from legalizing recreational cannabis sales but said leaders “had no choice” given Republican opposition.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced that legal recreational marijuana sales will begin in the state next week.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said he thinks medical cannabis legislation has a chance to pass in the 2023 session, and he also reiterated his support for broader decriminalization of marijuana possession.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), along with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), filed bipartisan legislation to protect consumer access to kratom, a plant that has been used as an opioid alternative and to mitigate withdrawal symptoms but which the Food and Drug Administration has considered restricting.

In a new Marijuana Moment op-ed, NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri blasted Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and other Democrats for failing to enact meaningful cannabis reform while they ran Congress these past two years. 

  • Altieri points out that before becoming majority leader, Schumer pledged that if he got that role he would put a marijuana legalization bill on the Senate floor. In the end, he couldn’t even push past GOP opposition to banking and expungements.

/ FEDERAL

An official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service spoke about the history and uses of hemp.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) discussed efforts to craft a deal on cannabis legislation, saying that the “failure to act now will especially hurt burgeoning businesses.”

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) tweeted, “The failure to pass my bipartisan SAFE Banking Act means communities in Montana and across our country will remain vulnerable to crime where legal businesses are forced to operate in all-cash. This bill to promote public safety would have been well positioned to pass had it gone through the regular committee process—as I called for more than a year ago. Our small businesses, law enforcement and communities deserve better.”

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) said he pushed to include provisions on veterans medical cannabis research in the “SAFE Plus” deal but did not succeed.

/ STATES

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) said he can’t support legalizing marijuana as long as federal law prohibits it.

Wyoming activists spoke about the effort to qualify marijuana decriminalization and medical cannabis initiative for the state’s 2024 ballot.

Missouri regulators posted a second draft of legal marijuana rules.

Louisiana regulators filed amended medical cannabis rules.

Connecticut’s consumer protection commissioner announced she is stepping down, but will stay on until after the launch of recreational marijuana sales next month.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is launching a pilot apprenticeship program dedicated to training cannabis industry workers.

Iowa regulators published an annual report on the medical cannabidiol program.

Michigan regulators posted a report on disciplinary actions taken against marijuana businesses in November.

Washington, D.C. regulators posted updated medical cannabis patient numbers.

Montana regulators will hold a hearing on proposed changes to marijuana laboratory rules and protocols on December 29.


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

The Tucson, Arizona City Council voted to expand areas where medical cannabis dispensaries can operate.

The Santa Ana, California city manager spoke about new local marijuana rules taking effect on January 1, including provisions allowing social consumption lounges.

Denver, Colorado officials sent a recap of a recent marijuana industry check-in meeting.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Thailand’s House of Representatives voted to remove a section from a cannabis and hemp bill that would  have stipulated that marijuana is not a narcotic—but lawmakers then left the chamber, denying a quorum and delaying further consideration of the measure.

Germany’s Ministry of Health said the government is crafting the specifics of marijuana legalization legislation that can be presented to the European Union for approval.

A Mexican court ordered regulators to grant cannabis cultivation authorization to a company.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “cannabidiol is showing promising results for the treatment of COVID-19, due to its capability of acting on the unleashed cytokine storm, on the proteins necessary for both virus entry and replication and on the neurological consequences of patients who have been infected by the virus.”

A review concluded that “early pre-clinical and clinical evidence has shown the efficacy, safety and tolerability of topical cannabinoids in arthritis pain, back pain, myofascial, and neuropathic pain.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Indiana Democratic Party tweeted, “Starting in 2023, cannabis will be legal in some form for every state bordering Indiana. Legal marijuana is a win-win for the state. So naturally, the @indgop opposes it. Why? Partisanship.”

The African American Mayors Association decried Congress’s failure to pass marijuana banking legislation.

The American Bankers Association tweeted about the failure of cannabis banking legislation, saying “it’s time for Congress to pass this commonsense, bipartisan bill.”

/ BUSINESS

Trulieve Cannabis Corp. closed a commercial loan secured by a cultivation and manufacturing site in Florida for aggregate gross proceeds of $71.5 million.

Agrify Corporation closed a public offering with gross proceeds of approximately $8.7 million.

A subsidiary of TerrAscend Corp. amended its $115 million senior secured term loan to reduce its debt by $35 million and annual interest expense by $5 million.

Vermont retailers sold $2.6 million worth of legal recreational marijuana products during the first month of sales.

/ CULTURE

Shaquille O’Neal is asking a federal judge to order cannabis company Viceroy LLC to return money he invested.

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