Reps. AOC and Crenshaw Form ‘Wild Coalition’ in Psychedelics Push

Psychedelics reform is uniting even the most unlikely allies: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) and Dan Crenshaw (TX-02) are making some progress despite a few setbacks in House committees. 

“This is a real wild coalition,” Crenshaw said, Fox News reports. Ocasio-Cortez, aka AOC—the youngest woman to serve in Congress and a progressive firebrand—and Crenshaw—former Navy SEAL and conservative voice—both have pushed for similar psychedelic provisions in the past despite agreeing on little else on the political spectrum.

Friday the H​​ouse Rules Committee advanced the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with psychedelics research language previously attached in the House Armed Services Committee, however voted to block floor consideration of an amendment to expand provisions and restore original language which was whittled down.

Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Crenshaw hosted a press conference on July 13, recognizing progress with a provision in the NDAA that directs the Secretary of Defense to conduct a clinical report on psychedelic treatment in military treatment facilities. The two were joined by Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA) at the press conference.

Crenshaw first voted against the provision in the NDAA on the floor to protest the Rules Committee blocking his amendment, but he swapped his vote to a “yes” vote after the stipulation from leadership that they would try to restore his original language.

Early research shows promising results for the use of psychedelics in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), among other conditions. In previous years, both representatives have separately introduced amendments to the NDAA to allow for the medical study of psychedelics. This year, a version of their amendment language was included in the original bill text for the NDAA. 

Psychedelics Research Looks Promising

“Psychedelics have shown so much promise,” said Ocasio-Cortez. “We desperately need the resources to treat PTSD, traumatic brain injury and depression. At least one in two PTSD patients cannot tolerate or do not respond adequately to existing treatments.”

The need for novel treatments to tackle PTSD and other conditions is growing.

New York Daily News reports that PTSD is now double for Iraq and Afghanistan vets, compared to what it was for Vietnam vets, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that more than 450,000 U.S. war fighters suffered TBI from 2000 to 2021.

Crenshaw said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will support the amendments and said they will get added when the Senate and House meet to iron out the differences between the defense bills.

For the Congressman, the reasons are personal: Crenshaw lost his eye when a D.I.Y. explosive nearly took him out while serving a tour in Afghanistan.

The psychedelics portion of the bill was previously attached to the House Armed Services Committee bill, and it would call on the Defense Secretary to launch a clinical study into the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, MDMA, ibogaine, or DMT.

The original amendment would increase funding for clinical trials on the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics for military members with PTSD, TBI, or CTE. However, the amendment was modified to remove key language around funding and clinical trials, making it less effective.

The House Rules Committee, however, rejected an amendment that would have restored the original language of the amendment. 

“I know the power of this community to rise up and make itself heard,” Ocasio-Cortez added.

The original language of the legislation could be restored when the NDAA amendments go before negotiations with the Senate.

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AOC ‘Concerned’ Biden’s Conservative Pot Views Could Ruin Bipartisan Push To Study Psychedelics

AOC is doing what we love her best for: calling out the old-guard Democrats. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Representative from New York, says she’s worried that President Joe Biden may derail bipartisan efforts to address psychedelics due to his past conservative comments about cannabis usage, Business Insider reports

“I believe the president has displayed a regressiveness for cannabis policy,” she said, making it clear that she has concerns about Biden’s approach to cannabis and psychedelics. “And if there’s a regressiveness toward cannabis policy, it’s likely to be worse on anything else,” AOC added. 

Cannabis and “classical” psychedelics, such as LSD and psilocybin, have been gaining the American people’s public acceptance. In June, a study found that Americans say cannabis is much less dangerous than opioids, alcohol, and cigarettes. 

Recently, during an interview with The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM Wednesday, the president’s brother, Frank Biden, shared that the president might be down with psychedelics. “He is very open-minded,” Frank Biden responded when asked by Smerconish about discussions with his presidential brother about the medical benefits of psychedelics.” 

In 2022, Biden announced that he will pardon people with federal convictions for simple possession of cannabis. The president also announced that he will direct the U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to begin the process of reviewing the classification of cannabis at the federal level.

And, in late June, the FDA issued the first-ever guidance for psychedelic clinical studies. They filed the 14-page document following Congress-introduced bipartisan legislation led by Texas Republican Representative Dan Crenshaw, directing the issuance of clinical trial guidelines. 

However, this hasn’t convinced AOC that President Biden, the leader of the federal government, is committed to honoring the public’s changing viewpoints based on how he has talked about marijuana in the past. “I am concerned about the president,” Ocasio-Cortez of New York told The Washington Post

And she’s not wrong to question his flip-flopping policy. Back during the 2020 election, Leafly pointed out that Biden was the only Democratic presidential candidate that was against federal legalization. Only a few years ago, in 2019, Biden said cannabis could be a “gateway drug,” one of the foulest expressions in the English language to the cannabis connoisseur. 

“The truth of the matter is, there’s not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug,” the then-presidential hopeful said during a town hall event. “It’s a debate, and I want a lot more before I legalize it nationally. I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.”

However, once Biden realized it was only him and Donald Trump against federal legalization, he quickly changed his tune. Since entering office, he has kept a safe distance from drug policy but, as mentioned, has stated that federal legalization is in the future. However, Ocasio-Cortez says other lawmakers’ reactions regarding pro-psychedelic legislation tells another story. 

According to AOC, when she first introduced the legislation, an unnamed senior member of her party laughed at her. “Oh, is this your little ‘shrooms bill?’” Ocasio-Cortez said the lawmaker told her. She and Crenshaw added amendments that would increase access to psychedelic treatments for veterans and active-duty service members with mental health conditions, which were tacked on to the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Florida Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, who recently proposed ending drug testing for the military, says the congressional “gerontocracy” is why lawmakers of both parties (the psychedelic movement is a surprisingly bipartisan effort), in line with AOC’s observation that politicians like Biden, are stuck in regressive viewpoints. 

However, even if Biden came off as anti-cannabis just four years ago, and even if that’s how he feels, given recent activity, it’s clear that he’s realized that if the president wants to stay in the game, he must embrace cannabis and psychedelics as valid medicines. Most folks in the movement would take federal deregulation, even if it comes from lawmakers’ efforts to look cool rather than what lives in their hearts. 

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President Biden Is ‘Very Open-Minded’ About Psychedelics For Medical Treatment

President Joe Biden’s youngest brother said the president has been “very open-minded” in their conversations about therapeutic psychedelics, AP reports. During a phone interview with The Michael Smerconish Program on SiriusXM Wednesday, Frank Biden opened up about his brother’s views. 

“He is very open-minded,” Frank Biden responded when probed by Smerconish about discussions with his presidential brother about the medical benefits of psychedelics. “Put it that way. I don’t want to speak; I’m talking brother-to-brother. Brother-to-brother,” Frank Biden said, hinting that the general public has more of a regressive attitude than the President. “The question is, is the world, is the U.S. ready for this? My opinion is that we are on the cusp of a consciousness that needs to be brought about to solve a lot of the problems in and around addiction, but as importantly, to make us aware of the fact that we’re all one people and we’ve got to come together.”

The phone call with Frank Biden came shortly after the host, Smerconish interviewed a journalist for the Wall Street Journal who recently wrote a viral article about how Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and workers, and the tech industry in general, use psychedelics without stigma not just because it’s fun but because it makes them better at their job and leads to breakthroughs. 

People are more curious than ever about President Biden’s views on psychedelics, as the issue is gaining traction with people of all political backgrounds, from socialists to libertarians and Democrats and Republicans. In Congress, both leftist Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York and far-right Republican Representative Matt Gaetz from Florida have proposed similar bills regarding the role of psychedelics in treating veterans. Ocasio-Cortez introduced an amendment promoting future studies on psychedelic substances such as MDMA, psilocybin, and ibogaine. Gaetz filed an amendment to explore the therapeutic potential of magic mushrooms and MDMA for military service members. 

Last week, the FDA issued the first-ever guidance for clinical studies on psychedelics for therapeutic purposes. In addition, the Senate Appropriations Committee recently approved a spending bill including an amendment allowing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors to recommend medical cannabis for their patients in legal states. Even traditionally Republican states such as Utah and Missouri are considering commissioning studies to investigate the role psilocybin could play in treating veterans with PTSD. Earlier this year, Oregon became the first state in the U.S. to legalize the adult use of psilocybin, while last year, Colorado’s voters decriminalized psilocybin, and more states are sure to follow.

But PTSD isn’t the only medical condition that psychedelics can treat. Both ketamine and DMT show great promise in the treatment of depression. Newly published research suggests psilocybin could be an effective treatment option for individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). And, while many out-of-touch Americans may still associate psychedelics with the “Just Say No” era catastrophic warnings, plenty of research shows that they could actually treat addiction. Studies show that psilocybin could positively impact the treatment of alcoholism (and in case you didn’t know, the founder of AA even believed that LSD could cure alcoholism). 

The research on addiction is especially important to Frank Biden, who also said in his interview that he had “done a great deal of research” on the issue “because I’m a recovering alcoholic for many, many years.” President Biden does not drink either, stating during the 2008 campaign with Obama that “There are enough alcoholics in my family.” 

The Biden administration has already provided funding to the National Institutes of Health and other agencies studying psychedelic drugs’ therapeutic potential. While the White House did not respond to a request for comment to the AP’s story, Frank Biden’s words offer hope that psychedelic descheduling and even legalization could be more than a pipe dream. 

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House Lawmakers Reintroduce Bipartisan Cannabis Expungement Bill

Two House lawmakers this week reintroduced bipartisan legislation to support states that enact policies to expunge convictions for past cannabis offenses. The bill, the Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act, was introduced on Wednesday by Republican Representative Dave Joyce of Ohio and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York.

If passed, the HOPE Act would provide federal grants to help states with the financial and administrative burden of expunging past convictions for marijuana-related offenses. The bill was previously introduced in 2021 but failed to be scheduled for a hearing or a vote in the previous Congress. The lawmakers behind the bill, who have been vocal advocates of cannabis policy reform at the federal level, said that expunging records can help reduce the lasting impact of a conviction for a minor criminal offense.

“The vast majority of petty, non-violent cannabis law violations take place on the state and local level, precluding millions of Americans from fundamental opportunities such as housing and employment,” Joyce said in a statement. “As both a former public defender and prosecutor, I understand firsthand how these barriers can negatively impact families and economic growth in Ohio and across the nation. The HOPE Act works to remove those barriers in a bipartisan manner to pave the way for the American Dream and remedy the unjust war on cannabis.

The legislation would provide up to $20 million in federal grants over 10 years to state and local governments to clear records of past marijuana convictions. Funding could be used to implement technology to clear large amounts of records automatically, clinics to assist individuals eligible for expungement, notification systems to inform people when their records have been cleared, administrative costs to seal records, and partnerships to assist with expunge records at scale.

“As we continue to advocate for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, this bipartisan bill will provide localities the resources they need to expunge drug charges that continue to hold back Americans, disproportionately people of color, from employment, housing and other opportunity,” said Ocasio-Cortez.

Brian Vicente, founding partner of the cannabis law firm Vicente LLP, said that the legislation complements an executive order issued by President Joseph Biden last year that pardoned all federal convictions for simple cannabis possession. At the time, the president called on governors to take similar action at the state level and wrote on Twitter that “Sending people to jail for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives — for conduct that is legal in many states.”

“The HOPE Act is true to its name. Its reintroduction by the ‘odd-couple’ of liberal Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and conservative Rep. Joyce shows the world that bipartisan support for marijuana reform exists at the highest level of government,” Vicente wrote in an email to High Times. “It reinforces the fact that key members of Congress agree with the majority of the American public—adults who use marijuana should not face criminal sanctions. This bill would put some real teeth behind President Biden’s 2022 declared interest in pardoning people with federal marijuana convictions by providing significant funding to state programs to expunge state-level marijuana offenses.”

The reintroduction of the HOPE Act drew quick praise from activists and cannabis industry representatives including the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the National Cannabis Roundtable, a trade group that advocates for continued cannabis policy reform.

“The HOPE Act promises just that: hope and a second chance for people suffering the lifelong consequences of a state-level marijuana possession arrest,” NORML political director Morgan Fox said in a statement. “As more states repeal their failed policies of criminalizing marijuana consumers, it is incumbent upon Congress to assist them in repairing the associated harms it helped perpetuate for decades. This legislation is a great step toward righting the wrongs caused by prohibition and improving the lives of millions of people nationwide.”

Saphira Galoob, executive director of the National Cannabis Roundtable, said that “only through expungements can we lift the barriers on employment, education, and housing opportunities for those who have already been unjustly harmed by federal prohibition. With cannabis programs now in 38 states, to continue to hold back and punish individuals for what is now a state-legal activity is the definition of unjust, and NCR thanks U.S. Representatives Joyce and Ocasio-Cortez for their efforts to have Congress help correct these wrongs at long last.”

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40 Under 40: The Superstars, Power Players and Top Cannapreneurs

The Cannabis Now “40 under 40” honorees for 2022 have collectively moved the needle in some significant way in the US impacting millions of prospective consumers.

Be they artists, politicians, marketers or business executives, the honorees embody their generation’s all-in approach to cannabis: There’s no time like the present.

Given the work ethic and passion on display on this list, the future of cannabis looks bright indeed.

Read on to learn why these superstars, power players and cannapreneurs earned a place on our 40 Under 40 honorees in 2022.

Berner on Fire: Cookies & Dough

With Berner’s big New York City moves, the mogul turns towards the future. READ MORE.

Oh, To Be Wiz Khalifa

The busiest celebrity cannabis CEO is focused on the prize. READ MORE.

Brett Stevens Lights It Up

As Fohse earns the no.19 ranking of fastest-growing private companies, the lighting juggernaut’s leader says he’s just getting started. READ MORE.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The youngest woman serving in the US Congress has also been a fervent cannabis advocate. READ MORE.

Ankur Rungta

After cutting his teeth as a corporate lawyer and investment banker in New York City, Rungta applied that knowledge to cannabis. READ MORE.

Kassandra Frederique

Frederique is the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that works to end the War on Drugs. READ MORE.

Jared Mirsky

Mirsky has been crafting, creating and cultivating cannabis brands since launching his award-winning advertising agency in 2009. READ MORE.

Jessica Gonzalez

Cannabis and trademark attorney Gonzalez became New Jersey’s first cannabis professor in 2021. READ MORE.

Alex Levine

Just a teenager when he first started working in legal cannabis back in 2010, Levine has spent his entire professional career in the cannabis industry. READ MORE.

Alexander Farnsworth

The 30-year-old cannapreneur calls his weed store “a museum for marijuana, a palace for pot and a chapel for cannabis.” READ MORE.

Steve Cantwell

The 35-year-old former UFC fighter says he’s living his best life as an innovative grower in Nevada’s legal cannabis industry. READ MORE.

Hillary Peckham

Uplifting the voices of women in cannabis is an important part of Etain’s presence in the space. READ MORE.

Calvin Johnson

Simply put, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson was among the NFL’s elite in part because of cannabis. READ MORE.

Ross Lipson

Dutchie is the highest-flying software company in legal weed, with a $3.8 billion valuation just five
years after the company’s launch. READ MORE.

Stephen Murphy

When his company first launched, there were 10 legal markets globally. There are now more than 40. READ MORE.

Jason Washington

For Washington, it’s about the medicinal value and the positive impact the plant can make in people’s lives. READ MORE.

Erik Altieri 

Erik Altieri is the youngest-ever executive director of NORML. READ MORE.

Kevin Durant

Durant represents thousands of athletes who span a multitude of professional sports across the country using cannabis to deal with both the physical and mental challenges of playing at the highest level. READ MORE.

Kevin Kuethe

Kuethe predicts that companies in the cannabis space with the best technology will continue to succeed. READ MORE.

Allie Cassidy

Oregon-based Allie Cassidy has built her adult-use and CBD farm TKO Reserve into one of the state’s most ballyhooed brands. READ MORE.

Mary Bailey

Mary Bailey is dedicated to fighting for those who have been wronged by the criminalization of cannabis. READ MORE.

Leo Gontmakher

Gontmakher believes the value of being a true leader in cannabis is pushing forward into the unknown. READ MORE.

Alicia Ratliff

From the onset of working in the cannabis industry, Ratliff knew she needed to help people. READ MORE.

Luke Anderson

The co-creator of Cann Social Tonics describes himself as previously canna-curious, but now a convert. READ MORE.

Bella Thorne

The Disney child star turned cannapreneur credits cannabis for completely changing her life. READ MORE.

Karson Humiston

Humiston founded Vangst, the cannabis industry’s leading recruiting platform. READ MORE.

Mona Zhang

Zhang is the cannabis policy reporter for the massive news and political website, Politico. READ MORE.

Chad Bronstein

Having raised more than $100 million across the three successful corporate entities, Bronstein is determined to leave his footprint on the industry. READ MORE.

Roger Volodarsky

The Puffco founder is on a mission to make the highest level of consumption devices. READ MORE.

Mary Pryor

Pryor is a powerhouse and a leading voice in the cannabis social equity arena. READ MORE.

Victoria Plummer

Plummer sees her involvement in cannabis as an opportunity to help destigmatize the plant. READ MORE.

Julia Jacobson

Jacobson is dedicated to intentionality, transparency and organic cannabis farming practices. READ MORE.

Jacob Plowden

Plowden co-created the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA), a New York City-based nonprofit helping marginalized individuals, typically people of color, transition to the legal market. READ MORE.

Fabian Monaco

Monaco’s extensive experience in capital markets has led Gage dispensaries to stratospheric success. READ MORE.

Shaleen Title

The attorney and longtime drug policy advocate is determined to make the cannabis space more inclusive. READ MORE.

Thomas Winstanley

The marketing expert has led the growth of one of Massachusetts’ largest dispensary chains. READ MORE.

Seth Rogen

The actor, writer, producer and director has been regarded as one of Tinseltown’s most notable weed aficionados. READ MORE.

Tom Angell

Tom Angell is arguably one of the most informed and respected resources for all things cannabis policy. READ MORE.

Nadir Pearson

The founder of SMART is on a mission to build an ecosystem of equity-minded industry leaders. READ MORE.

Jun S. Lee & Vince Ning

The founders of Nabis, the leading weed wholesale platform in California, cut their tech teeth in some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley. READ MORE.

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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Biden Approaches Trifecta of Cannabis Reform Wish-List

Perhaps President Joe Biden is being swept along by the tide of history—or is shrewd enough to propitiously read the prevailing cultural climate. But thanks to his signature (or pledge thereof), the cannabis community is on the cusp of three major breakthroughs.

Expungement and Financial Access

After a long career of ambiguity on the cannabis question, in October Biden encouraged advocates by announcing pardons for all federal offenses of simple cannabis possession—and calling on governors to follow suit on the state level (where it would have far more practical effect, since the big majority of such cases are under state law).

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Dave Joyce (R-OH) followed through on this move with a bill to incentivize state and local governments to expunge the criminal records of small-scale cannabis offenders. The Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement (HOPE) Act would appropriate $20 million dollars to the Justice Department for assisting states and localities in reviewing and expunging cannabis convictions. 

This would appear to face slim odds in the lame-duck Congress, where the Democrats will maintain their razor-thin majority in the Senate but cede the House to similarly narrow GOP control pursuant to last month’s mid-term elections. Senate Republicans have six times killed the Secure & Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which would allow cannabis businesses operating in conformity with state law to access financial services, including the federal banking system. 

But now there is an initiative afoot to combine the two measures as a “SAFE Plus” bill. The idea has the support of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. On Oct. 31, Schumer told Yahoo! Finance that Congress is “very close to passing cannabis banking and expungement legislation,” after he’d made progress in swaying “a bunch of Republican senators.”

And there have indeed been signs of GOP intransigence starting to bend on these questions—the current version of the SAFE Banking Act was introduced in March by Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican. In announcing the bill, Daines said: “My bipartisan bill will provide needed certainty for legal Montana cannabis businesses and give them the ability to freely use banks, credit unions and other financial institutions without the fear of punishment. This, in turn, will help increase public safety, reduce crime, support Montana small businesses, create jobs and boost local economies. A win-win for all.”

Politico now reports that in the countdown to the new Congress, which takes over in January, the Department of Justice has been meeting with staffers from the offices of Republican senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Chuck Grassley of Iowa to discuss concerns about the SAFE Banking Act. A DoJ memo on the matter, requested by Senate Republicans and released last week by Punchbowl News, states that some of the bill’s language “could significantly complicate law enforcement investigations and prosecutions.”

There is hope that if accommodations with the DoJ can be worked out and Republican fears allayed, SAFE Plus can be on Biden’s desk by year’s end—with his signature practically a foregone conclusion. A spokesperson for Sen. Daines told Cannabis Now: “Discussions are ongoing and we’re trying hard to get SAFE passed into law this year.”

Widening Medical Research

On Dec. 2 President Biden signed legislation getting the federal government out of the way of medical research into cannabis, and encouraging the development of new commercial drugs derived from the plant.  The bipartisan Medical Marijuana & Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act was jointly introduced in the Senate by Grassley, Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), and won unanimous consent in the upper chamber.

A breakdown by legal analysis Beveridge & Diamond notes that the new law has three major measures. It provides a mechanism for the scientific study of cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) for medical purposes; it opens a pathway for the FDA to approve commercial production of drugs containing or derived from cannabis; and it protects doctors, who may now discuss with their patients the potential benefits or harms of using cannabis and cannabis derivatives.  

Passage of the law is raising high hopes for prompt Congressional action on SAFE Plus. 

Last-Minute Setback

Chuck Schumer was mustering support to get SAFE Plus included as a rider in the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act. He won support for this plan from Senate Republicans including Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Rand Paul of Kentucky. But that effort appears to have collapsed last week, after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor to excoriate the plan.

“The Senate has once again dodged its responsibilities,” House Cannabis Caucus co-chair Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) told Politico. “But it’s not over until the final minutes of this session.”

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Politicians Supporting Cannabis and Putting ‘Fools’ in Their Place

Today is April Fool’s Day. While we could tell you some fake story about how weed is falling from the sky, we’d prefer to go in a different direction. The cannabis industry has come such a long way, and rather than discuss the fools who are still pushing against cannabis, we’d rather celebrate those who continue to shine a light on the plant while calling it like it is, unrelenting in their efforts to expand access to cannabis across the board. Here are just a few political advocates who are shooting for change.

Courtesy of Gary Chambers for Louisiana

Gary Chambers, Running for Senate in Louisiana

Although Gary Chambers is not yet a member of the Senate, we’d be hard-pressed not to include him given his advocacy on the subject of cannabis, among other topics. He announced his candidacy in January this year with a video of himself smoking a blunt and talking about the harms caused by the War on Drugs. Most recently, he spoke at the Chamber of Cannabis in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 10 about the long-term imprisonment of Kevin O’Brien Allen for a cannabis conviction and his approach to politics. 

“I didn’t get into politics to be a politician,” he shared. “Most of the people who came into my community with a suit and tie was lying … I don’t talk the way that the average politician talks, and I don’t produce content to tell voters what our message is, in the way that [an] average politician does so. Because I don’t think it’s transformative, and I don’t think it works.” 

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York

Many politicians approach their jobs with a no-nonsense approach, and Kathy Hochul has made some waves in favor of New York state’s cannabis program. In August 2021, she was appointed as the state’s first female governor and vowed to launch the cannabis industry that former Governor Andrew Cuomo stalled. 

In a press release on September 1, 2021, Hochul confirmed her intention to make cannabis a priority. “One of my top priorities is to finally get New York’s cannabis industry up and running—this has been long overdue, but we’re going to make up for lost time with the Senate confirmation of Tremaine Wright as Chair of the Cannabis Control Board and Christopher Alexander as Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management,” she stated. Most recently, she also implemented a Seeding Opportunity Initiative on March 10, which sets a goal for cannabis sales to begin by the end of 2022.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

John Fetterman, Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor

Former Mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania and current state Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman has long been advocating for cannabis legalization to help those who have been negatively affected by the War on Drugs. In May 2021, he questioned the country’s ban on the plant. 

“This isn’t controversial,” he shared on the topic of legalization. “Canada, the whole country has legalized, and somehow they managed to keep doing pretty darn well … they haven’t descended into anarchy, you know?” In an interview with Forbes in September 2021, he shared that cannabis legalization has “always been the right thing to do.” He’s currently running for Senator of Pennsylvania, the ballot window of which is approaching on May 17, 2022.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader

On the congressional level, Chuck Schumer is a familiar name with those following the many attempts to make cannabis federally legal. He introduced a bill for federal decriminalization in June 2018, and federal legalization in May 2019. In April 2021, he was done waiting for President Joe Biden to take a stance on cannabis and was ready to bring a cannabis bill to the senate floor. 

“We will move forward,” Schumer said. “[Biden] said he’s studying the issue, so [I] obviously want to give him a little time to study it. I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will. But at some point we’re going to move forward, period.” As of February 4 while attending a press conference, he stated that he will once again focus on introducing another bill to tackle the issue this April. 

“In the coming weeks, we’re ramping up our outreach—and we expect to introduce final legislation. Our goal is to do it in April,” Schumer said at the press event. “Then we begin the nationwide push, spearheaded by New York, to get the federal law done. As majority leader, I can set priorities. This is a priority for me.”

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US House of Representative of New York

The initials “AOC” have been seen in many headlines since Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez assumed her office in January 2019. During this time, she has been a vocal advocate on many issues, including cannabis and psychedelic therapies. In July 2021, she advocated for an amendment to allow the further study of substances such as MDMA, psilocybin and ibogaine as a potential medical treatment for certain conditions. 

In December 2021, Ocasio-Cortez and Congressman Dave Joyce introduced the HOPE (Harnessing Opportunities by Pursuing Expungement) Act with the hopes of encouraging states to support cannabis expungement programs. “As we continue to advocate for the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana, this bipartisan bill will provide localities the resources they need to expunge drug charges that continue to hold back Americans, disproportionately people of color, from employment, housing and other opportunity,” she said of the bill.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Presses Housing Secretary About Marijuana Eviction Policies (Marijuana Moment)

// Massachusetts Senate weighs no-interest loans for marijuana businesses (Mass Live)

// Racial Arrest Disparities Got Worse After Legalization, Study Finds (Leafly)

Today’s headlines are brought to you by our friends over at, California’s top one stop website for legal marijuana delivery. If you live in the golden state, swing over to to see if they are active in your area. With deliveries taking place in less than an hour, it’s never been easier to get legal California marijuana delivery. And of course, if you don’t live where Eaze delivers, you can still benefit from all the useful bits of industry insight and analysis they’ve developed using their properly aggregate and anonymized sales data stream.

// Marijuana sales east of Mississippi poised to rival western markets including Colorado, California (Philadelphia Inqurier)

// CBD Can Help Curb Heroin Cravings, New Study Finds (Leafly)

// Kansas Set to Allow Low-THC Cannabis Oil Beginning July 1 (Leafly (AP))

// Chart: Comparing the price per milligram of THC in cannabis-infused products (Marijuana Business Daily)

// LA County Votes Again on Locking Out Unlicensed Cannabis Owners (NBC 4 Los Angeles)

// Marijuana control board wins broad support at Nevada Legislature (Nevada Appeal)

// Smuggling case involving ex-execs at marijuana firm Vireo will proceed, court says (Marijuana Business Daily)

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