FILE – This Feb. 1, 2011 file photo shows medical marijuana clone plants at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif. Despite new rules that say only about 140 medical marijuana dispensaries are eligible to stay open, more than 450 have filed renewals to pay Los Angeles business taxes this year. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

VA lawmakers pass marijuana legalization; Wisconsin government puts legalization in budget; COVID vax clarity for cannabis workers in CA; NJ government signs psilocybin law.

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) met with cannabis advocates to begin developing a federal legalization plan for 2021. They spoke with the five attendees to find out what commitments have been made and what to expect during the 117th Congress.

The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have approved their respective marijuana legalization bills. Lawmakers will then combine the legislation into one proposal that will be sent to Governor Ralph Northam (D), who supports it.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (D) has announced that he will include a plan to legalize marijuana in his proposed two-year budget next week. Two years ago, he lobbied for decriminalizing cannabis and medical marijuana, but the Republican-controlled legislature scrapped those provisions.

  • “Legalizing and taxing marijuana in Wisconsin – as we already do for alcohol – provides a controlled market and a safe product for recreational and medical consumers, and can provide countless opportunities to invest in our communities and create a fairer state.

A week after lobbying state officials on the issue, the California Department of Public Health clarified that cannabis industry workers are generally entitled to priority access to coronavirus vaccines.

  • “Medical cannabis workers are placed in the appropriate categories of the core workforce according…. to the nature of their assignment.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (D) has signed a bill to reduce penalties for possession of psychedelic mushrooms, the latest step in a growing trend of psychedelic policy reforms in the United States.

Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), along with a bipartisan group of sponsors, have introduced a bill that would direct the Food and Drug Administration to allow the sale and marketing of CBD, derived from cannabis, as a dietary supplement.

Since last week, patients in West Virginia can officially enroll in the state’s medicinal cannabis program, but sales cannot begin until regulators approve a laboratory to test the products.

/ FEDERAL

The USDA indicated that many of the public comments it received on the agricultural biodiversity conservation program related to the production and regulation of cannabis.

Delegates Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ayanna Presley (D-MA) spoke about the racist nature of marijuana laws and their enforcement (video from about 11:30 p.m.).

Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) tweeted, “I look forward to seeing progress on cannabis issues during this Congress, whether it’s #SAFEBanking, research, or maybe even a change in the cannabis agenda. We need to do more for these businesses and their employees to help them stay safe and stimulate the economy.”

Delegate Ihan Omar (D-MN) tweeted, “We need to legalize cannabis and destroy registries across the country to start eradicating the destruction caused by the war on drugs.”

Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted, “In December, the House of Representatives passed the #MOREAct to end federal marijuana use. Ending federal marijuana prohibition is long overdue and a necessary step to repair the damage the war on drugs has done to our most vulnerable communities.

/ STATE

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) tweeted, “On Monday, I announced legislation to permanently expand Medicaid and legalize medical marijuana. This bill will help keep our workforce healthy and our economy strong.”

The lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, explained how his party has distinguished itself on issues such as legalizing marijuana and ending the war on drugs.

The New Jersey Assembly has postponed its next session to give lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy (D) more time to resolve differences over the youth provisions covered by the marijuana legalization law, extending the deadline to February 18.

The Michigan Supreme Court has tweeted about an upcoming Michigan State Bar seminar on local marijuana regulation.

The Rhode Island Cannabis Regulatory Authority has a new director.

Oklahoma has a leading new medical cannabis regulator.

Hawaiian lawmakers are considering bills to legalize marijuana, allow inter-island transportation of marijuana for medical purposes and reform other aspects of the state’s medical marijuana program.

A Maine congressman has introduced a bill to ease restrictions on marijuana advertising.

An Ohio congressman has introduced a bill to add autism spectrum disorder as an eligible medical condition for cannabis.

A Colorado state legislator plans to introduce a bill to limit marijuana content in products with a THC concentration of 15%.

California regulators have issued new forms to make it easier for financial institutions to obtain information about marijuana-related businesses.

New Mexico regulators are considering revoking the license of a medical cannabis manufacturer in connection with a fire that injured two employees.

Regulators in Minnesota are holding a cannabis forum Wednesday and Thursday.

Alaska regulators will consider changes to the list of marijuana penalties Thursday.

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tracked more than 500 bills on cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy in state legislatures and Congress this year
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/ LOCAL

The Board of Supervisors of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, is considering a proposal to reduce fines for offenses involving marijuana and paraphernalia by up to one dollar.

The District Attorney’s Office of Bexar County, Texas, has refused to prosecute certain drug cases under the new policy.

/ INTERNATIONAL

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government is in the process of finalizing legislation to legalize medicinal cannabis.

There is a shortage of marijuana in Jamaica.

/ SCIENCE AND HEALTH

One study concluded that “there is no significant evidence of an association between gum disease and cannabis use.”

The study found that marijuana can “reduce aggressive behavior toward people in dog shelters.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION AND ANALYSIS

An editorial in Colorado Springs criticized efforts to decriminalize psychedelics.

/ COMPANIES

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has shut down cannabis seed farm Castillo Seed Co. after at least 13 full-time employees reported that they had not been paid since December.

Schwazze purchased two more cranes from Colorado Star Buds.

/ CULTURE

David Beckham has invested in synthetic products manufacturer CBD Cellular Goods.

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