Top Cannabis Stories of 2022

What were some of the top cannabis stories of 2022? It was a big year for legalization efforts, but full-scale implementations are still needed. While Germany looked to legalize cannabis, it didn’t happen in 2022. Likewise, despite beliefs that Biden and the Democrats would legalize cannabis or, at the very least, pass some cannabis banking regulations, nothing came of it. Cannabis didn’t fare much better in Canada, where authorities launched a full-scale war on medical cannabis and legacy medical providers. […]

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Biden’s Cannabis Pardon Helps No One

No one is currently incarcerated in federal prison for simple possession of cannabis. The White House has put out the figure of 6,500 people this pardon will benefit. But no one is in federal prison for simple pot possession. Biden’s cannabis pardon helps no one. I was under the impression that this pardon would expunge one’s record and allow people with cannabis on their record to get a job or hold office. What else does pardon mean? Turns out, not […]

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Poll: Majority Backs Biden’s Cannabis Pardons

The country overwhelmingly supports President Biden’s historic moves on U.S. marijuana policy, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The new poll, which comes via Politico and Morning Consult, found that 40% of Americans “strongly support” the president’s actions, while 25% “somewhat support” them.

Biden announced last week that he is issuing pardons to all individuals who have previously been convicted of a marijuana-related offense under federal law, a move that will impact thousands of Americans. Perhaps just as significantly, Biden said that he has asked “the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to initiate the administrative process to review expeditiously how marijuana is scheduled under federal law,” a signal that the era of federal weed prohibition could be coming to an end.

That is welcome news to the vast majority of the country, according to the new poll.

Politico reported that almost “two-thirds of voters indicated that they support issuing pardons to people with nonviolent federal marijuana convictions,” compared with “fewer than one in four respondents [who] expressed opposition to pardoning marijuana offenders.”

The poll also suggests that Biden’s announcement last week broke through the ultra-saturated news cycle, with Politico reporting that more than “two thirds of respondents said they had heard a lot or some about the executive actions, while just 32 percent said they hadn’t heard much or anything about them.”

While Biden’s pardons only apply to individuals with federal pot convictions, the president urged “all Governors to do the same with regard to state offenses.”

“As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana,” Biden said in his announcement last week. “Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit. Criminal records for marijuana possession have also imposed needless barriers to employment, housing, and educational opportunities. And while white and Black and brown people use marijuana at similar rates, Black and brown people have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted at disproportionate rates.”

He also framed the announcement as a significant first step toward decriminalization.

“Federal law currently classifies marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the classification meant for the most dangerous substances.  This is the same schedule as for heroin and LSD, and even higher than the classification of fentanyl and methamphetamine – the drugs that are driving our overdose epidemic,” Biden said.

“Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana,” the president continued. “It’s time that we right these wrongs.”

With the midterm elections a little less than one month away, Democrats are hoping that Biden’s actions provide them with a lift. 

On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris touted Biden’s moves as a difference between the two parties, while also calling on both Congress and state elected officials to follow the administration’s lead.

“Let me just start with saying this. I strongly believe, and the majority of Americans agree, nobody should have to go to jail for smoking weed, right?” Harris said during an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. “We’re urging governors and states to take our lead and to pardon people who have been criminalized for possession of marijuana. And ultimately though, as with so many issues, if Congress acts, then there is a uniform approach to this and so many other issues. But Congress needs to act.”

“We’re 29 days away from the midterms,” the vice president added. “Ask who you’re voting for where they stand on this, and I encourage you to vote accordingly.”

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Did Biden Just Legalize Cannabis?

Did US President Joe Biden legalize cannabis? No, but his administration did pardon Americans with federal charges for small amounts of cannabis. This move will help over 6,000 people, but “it’s important to note here most small cannabis offences are actually sitting at the state level,” says Nawan Butt, Portfolio Manager at Purpose Investments Biden is urging state governors to pardon those with simple possession convictions. Biden Finally Makes a Move Toward Cannabis Reform  “It’s completely unexpected,” Nawan tells CLN. […]

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Can Biden Legalize Cannabis without Congress?

Can the United States President Joe Biden legalize cannabis without authority from Congress? Technically, no. The US Constitution doesn’t allow it. But then again, the prohibition of cannabis is unconstitutional. Additionally, the US Constitution has never stopped presidential administrations in the past. Passing an “executive order” is a common way for presidents to act like […]

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Legalization More Popular Than Biden in Maryland

A higher percentage of Maryland voters support legalizing cannabis than approve the job performance of President Joe Biden, according to a new poll out this week. 

The findings, which come via the latest Goucher College Poll, could offer meaningful insight on both local and national politics, with a legalization referendum potentially heading to the Maryland ballot this November, and a White House that has shown reluctance to get behind a policy that has wide support among its base of Democratic voters.

Sixty-two percent of voters in Maryland say they support legalizing cannabis for recreational use, according to the survey, while 34 percent said they were opposed. 

The party breakdown of the findings suggests what advocates have long argued: support for ending prohibition is bipartisan. Sixty-five percent of Democrats and independents said they are in favor of legalization, while 54 percent of Maryland Republicans said the same. 

Lawmakers in Maryland have taken up legislation that would send a proposal to legalize recreational pot for adults aged 21 and older to the state’s ballot this year. Last month, the Democratic-controlled state House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed a bill to bring the measure before voters in November. It is now being considered by the state Senate. 

The Baltimore Sun reported last month that the state’s Republican governor, Larry Hogan, “has not taken a position on legalizing recreational marijuana.” Hogan has previously “said he would prefer a referendum to legislators acting directly, but wouldn’t say how he would vote on the issue,” according to the newspaper. However, there has still been no meaningful action. 

Biden, who hasn’t been any more eager to embrace legalization, finds himself in middling territory among Maryland voters, according to the Goucher College Poll.

Only 48 percent of voters there say they approve of the job Biden is doing as president, compared with 47 percent who say they disapprove. Last year, the poll found that 62 percent of Maryland voters approved of Biden’s job performance. 

Biden carried the state by more than 30 percentage points over Donald Trump in 2020, and the state has gone to the Democrats in every presidential election since 1988.

Taken together, the poll’s findings may point to a political lifeline for an embattled president and the Democratic party as it approaches what figures to be a difficult midterm election this year. Recent polling has shown a large enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican voters.

Biden and congressional Democrats took power amid a wave of optimism among cannabis reform advocates last year. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that his party was ready to fulfill the dream of ending prohibition on the federal level.

“We will move forward,” Schumer told Politico last April. “[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.”

“In 2018, I was the first member of the Democratic leadership to come out in support of ending the federal prohibition. I’m sure you ask, ‘Well what changed?’ Well, my thinking evolved. When a few of the early states—Oregon and Colorado—wanted to legalize, all the opponents talked about the parade of horribles: Crime would go up. Drug use would go up. Everything bad would happen,” the New York Democrat added. “The legalization of states worked out remarkably well. They were a great success. The parade of horribles never came about, and people got more freedom. And people in those states seem very happy.”

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Biden Administration May Deny Security Clearance to Weed Investors

Investing in a cannabis company could jeopardize an individual’s application to work under President Joe Biden, according to a new report this week.

Politico obtained a document detailing the Biden administration’s new employee conduct guidelines, reporting on Wednesday that the rules could “potentially deny security clearance to individuals who have invested in companies that are involved in the marijuana business.”

“Eligibility may be negatively impacted if an individual knowingly and directly invests in stocks or business ventures that specifically pertain to marijuana growers and retailers,” the document said. “Decisions to willfully invest in such activity could reflect questionable judgment and an unwillingness to comply with laws, rules, and regulations.”

The Biden administration has taken a relatively lax approach toward past cannabis use among employees; a White House official said last year that the “Biden White House has been more permissive than past administrations on past marijuana use.”

But there have also been reminders of the continued federal prohibition of cannabis. Last year, news broke that the White House fired dozens of staffers for previous use of cannabis.

The firings prompted a concerned letter to Biden from several Democrats in Congress, who said they were “dismayed to learn that several White House staffers were reportedly suspended, put on probation or asked to resign after honestly disclosing past cannabis use.”

“We ask that you clarify your employment suitability policies, remove past cannabis use as a potential disqualifier, and apply these policies with consistency and fairness,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “Cannabis is legal for either medical or adult use in 36 states, with more than 50 percent of the adult population having used cannabis in their lifetimes.

This number is bound to rise as states across the country legalize through voter initiatives. Just last year, cannabis was legalized in five new states through ballot initiatives, and many more states are currently working on legislation to legalize cannabis. The American people are demanding a change to punitive and harsh cannabis laws that have always been unequally applied.”

The Biden administration pushed back on the reports, telling CNBC at the time that “no staffers have been fired due to pot use from ‘years ago’ or from ‘casual or infrequent use’ in the past 12 months.”

According to CNBC, “President Donald Trump’s White House, for instance, did not allow any past marijuana use over the prior year, and Obama’s required no pot use for the previous six months, according to the official,” while the Biden administration claims that its new policy “has allowed around a dozen White House staff to continue serving in the administration who would not have been permitted under prior administrations’ policies.”

Polls show that a majority of the public––including an overwhelming majority of Democrats––supports an end to pot prohibition. 

Biden, however, has long resisted the idea of outright legalization. During the 2020 presidential campaign, Biden said that he backed the decriminalization of weed, but not an end to prohibition. 

The position has put Biden at odds with his party, including Vice President Kamala Harris, who has admitted to smoking marijuana in the past and has said that she is in favor of legalization.

In their letter to Biden last year, the Democratic lawmakers alluded to both Harris’ and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg’s admitted past use.

“Those in the upper ranks of your administration won’t face consequences for their cannabis use, and nor should they, but the same standard should be applied across the administration,” the letter said. 

A poll last year among cannabis industry executives found a relatively bearish outlook toward legalization under Biden. Sixty-two percent said they don’t believe the current administration supports cannabis, while 41 percent said that federal legalization is still at least five years away.

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Senators Urge Biden to Pardon All Non-violent Cannabis Offenses

Decrying “over a century of failed and racist cannabis policies,” Elizabeth Warren and a pair of other Democratic senators are urging President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to “pardon all individuals convicted of nonviolent cannabis offenses, whether formerly or currently incarcerated.”

Warren, the senior senator from Massachusetts, made the request in a letter to Biden on Tuesday. Warren’s fellow senator from the Bay State, Ed Markey, and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley also signed the letter. 

“America’s cannabis policies have punished Black and Brown communities for too long. Beginning at the turn of the 20th century, states enacted anti-cannabis laws to specifically target Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans,” the three senators wrote. “By 1937, the battle against cannabis—buoyed by a high-profile campaign relying on racist tropes—had escalated to a federal ban. 

“In the 1970s, President Nixon launched the War on Drugs over the objections of his own advisors and experts, spawning mass incarceration policies with devastating effects on Black and Brown families. Today, despite legalization efforts across the country and roughly equal cannabis usage rates, Black Americans are still nearly four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis possession as white Americans.”

The Democratic trio also came with receipts, pointing to the mounds of polling data showing record numbers of Americans in support of marijuana legalization.

“These policies are increasingly out of step with the views of the American public. Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe that cannabis should be legalized,” the senators wrote. “Eighteen states, two territories and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use, all in the past decade.

“Twenty-seven states—ranging from New York to North Dakota—plus D.C. have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis,” they continued. “Thirty-six states, three territories and D.C. have allowed for the medical use of cannabis. And a number of tribal governments have legalized cannabis for various purposes.”

But despite all that evidence of robust public approval for marijuana reform, Biden has thus far balked at the idea of outright legalization. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in July that the president remains opposed to lifting the prohibition on pot.

However, on the campaign trail last year, Biden had said that he supports decriminalizing marijuana, as well as expunging the records and releasing from jail individuals who had been convicted of pot.

Warren and her colleagues noted that campaign pledge in their letter to Biden on Tuesday.

“Our country’s cannabis policies must be completely overhauled, but you have the power to act now: you can and should issue a blanket pardon for all non-violent federal cannabis offenses, fulfilling your promises to the American people and transforming the lives of tens of thousands of Americans,” they wrote. 

“As a candidate for President, you argued that, ‘We should decriminalize marijuana,’ and, ‘Everyone [with a marijuana record] should be let out of jail, their records expunged, be completely zeroed out.’ The first and simplest step in the process is a blanket pardon. The Constitution grants you the authority to pardon broad classes of Americans to correct widespread injustice, as previous presidents have done. 

“Most importantly, such a pardon—combined with your leadership on an accessible expungement process to formally clear the criminal records of those affected—would mark the beginning of a reversal of decades of ineffective and discriminatory cannabis policies, allowing Americans to return to their communities, find housing and jobs and rebuild their lives without the burdens of an unjustly imposed criminal record.”

The senators called on President Biden to once and for all make good on the campaign promise he made on the campaign trail. “We urge you to act swiftly on behalf of the countless Americans punished by the country’s senseless cannabis laws,” they added. “Thank you for your attention to this important matter.”

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Wednesday April 14, 2021 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Longtime cannabis reform activist Steve Fox dies (Marijuana Business Daily)

** GoFundMe- Support the family of Steve Fox. **

// Biden picks former New Jersey attorney general to lead DEA (Washington Post)

// Illinois Gets More Tax Revenue From Marijuana Than Alcohol State Says (Marijuana Moment)

These headlines are brought to you by Agilent, a Fortune 500 company known for providing top-notch testing solutions to cannabis and hemp testing labs worldwide. Are you considering testing your cannabis in-house for potency? Agilent is giving away a FREE 1260 HPLC system for one year! If you are a Cultivator, processor, or cannabis testing lab you may qualify for this giveaway. Open up to answer a few quick questions to enter to win!

// Medical Cannabis in Mississippi Faces Constitutional Challenge (Bloomberg Government)

// NJ Cannabis Commission Gets Going Picks Vice Chair Logo (NBC 4 New York)

// urban-gro Pre-Announces Q1 Revenue in Excess of $11.8 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Aphria Stock Slammed On Dismal Third Quarter (Green Market Report)

// Organigram Q2 Revenue Slides 24% Sequentially to C$14.6 Million (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Colorado Marijuana Sales Reached $167 Million In February (Marijuana Moment (Center Square))

// Minnesota Marijuana Legalization Bill Sails Through Fifth Committee, With Floor Vote Expected Next Month (Marijuana Moment)

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