News from the cannabis and hemp fronts …. New Jersey's Senate president, frustrated that lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) have thus far failed to reach a deal on marijuana legalization legislation, says he's considering putting the issue on the ballot for voters to decide on.
Would delay any form of recreational cannabis use legislation until 2020.
• A federal judge expressed doubt about the merits of a case brought by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia against a hemp farm and its associates. • U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced a bill that would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to research the medical benefits of marijuana for military veterans. While the legislation has the same title as a proposal they filed last year; its updated language more forcefully directs the departing to begin clinical trials on medical cannabis for chronic pain and PTSD. • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the fifth top-ranking House Democrat and a critical criminal justice reform champion, is pushing to include marijuana rescheduling in what is tentatively being called the Next Step Act. • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) called Republican colleagues “stupid” for blocking marijuana research and spoke about cannabis conversations he’s had with President Trump. • Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is considering a 2020 Democratic presidential run, is far out of step with the party’s voters on marijuana. Legalization “doesn’t make any sense at all,” he said last week. • House Democratic leadership filed its third bill this month that would continue blocking Washington, D.C. from using its own money to legalize and regulate marijuana sales. • Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) supports medical cannabis but doesn't have a position on full legalization, saying, "If the people of Illinois do support recreational marijuana, then we need to make sure that the federal laws are not going to put them in a gotcha situation." She also spoke about banking access for cannabis businesses as "something I can certainly help to work on." (About 5:20 into the clip.) • Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said that anyone who thinks Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report is going to remain confidential "has been smoking some of that medicinal marijuana." • Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) included "legalize marijuana" in a list of • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said: "the train is leaving the station" on marijuana legalization and "we’re going to be part of it," but lawmakers aren't sure if there are enough votes to get a bill to his desk this year. • Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) spoke about her reasons for including marijuana legalization in her budget proposal (about 10:30 into the video). She also denied rumors that her husband is financially connected to the marijuana industry. Meanwhile, the House minority whip said that he's not "overly puritanical" about marijuana but that he has "major concerns" about driving and workplace issues and would "absolutely" vote no on the governor's legalization proposal. • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) will attend the opening of a medical cannabis dispensary on Thursday. • Vermont's House speaker committed to taking up legislation to legalize marijuana sales in the chamber's committees this year. • Texas's House speaker said if there's majority support for marijuana decriminalization in his chamber he "won't get in members' way," though he doesn't think there's enough support for full legalization. • Tennessee's House speaker indicated he is sympathetic to patients who want medical cannabis to be legalized. • Arkansas regulators issued the state's first six medical cannabis dispensary licenses. • North Dakota regulators began issuing medical cannabis patient and caregiver ID cards. • The Alaska attorney general's office filed a complaint against a California man who allegedly used two stolen business identities to apply for marijuana licenses. • Michigan regulators announced another medical cannabis product recall. • An Oregon senator filed a bill that would allow marijuana exports to other legalized states.