DOJ wants to dismiss cannabis lawsuit (Newsletter: January 23, 2024)

DeSantis: legal marijuana on FL ballot; OH gov wants legal sales; Congress’s cannabis & guns report; USDA hemp survey; German legalization; MO sales

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Department of Justice confirmed in a new court filing that it will be seeking to dismiss a lawsuit that marijuana businesses filed to block the federal government from enforcing cannabis prohibition against their state-legal activity.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said the state’s voters will get a chance to decide on legalizing marijuana in November—predicting the state Supreme Court will reject efforts by the attorney general to block the ballot initiative.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is urging lawmakers to address the “goofy situation” the state’s current marijuana laws have created by allowing people to use and possess cannabis legally but without any place to purchase regulated products.

The Congressional Research Service published a report on the federal ban on gun possession for marijuana consumers, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering taking up the Department of Justice’s appeal of a lower court ruling that declared the policy unconstitutional.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is mailing surveys to thousands of hemp farmers to better understand the state of the industry. Questions ask about smokable hemp, grain for human consumption and extraction of CBD and other cannabinoids or terpenes for use in oils, lotions and cleansers.

Germany’s health minister said he’s optimistic a marijuana legalization vote can proceed next month and that the law will be implemented on April 1 despite growing concerns among lawmakers.

Texas activists are collecting signatures to put marijuana decriminalization initiatives on local ballots in Dallas and Lockhart.

The Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation reported that retailers sold $1.3 billion worth of legal marijuana products in 2023—capped off by a new monthly recreational sales record in December.

/ FEDERAL

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson tweeted, “It’s time to end America’s War on Drugs. Initiated in 1971, we have spent $1 trillion and it has only exacerbated the problem… We should treat drugs not as a criminal issue but as a health issue (such as in nations like Portugal.) For a fraction of the $100 billion we spend a year on the War on Drugs, we could pay for a world-class network of recovery options that actually help people get sober.”

Rep. Mark Alford (R-MO) and Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-TX) discussed the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

/ STATES

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) tweeted, “For the third year in a row, Illinois had record-setting growth for adult-use cannabis sales. We’re building the most prosperous and accessible cannabis industry in the nation – taking steps to repair the damage of the past and creating real opportunity for all Illinoisans.”

The South Dakota Senate passed a bill to give law enforcement and other state agencies more leeway to inspect, search and impose disciplinary actions against medical cannabis businesses.

The Alaska House Labor & Commerce Committee approved a bill to restructure marijuana taxes.

New York’s Assembly majority leader said regulators need more staff to launch the recreational marijuana market. Separately, the senator who authored the bill that created the legalization law said the state’s cannabis tax policy is “too complex.” Another senator tweeted, “The #cannabis priority for NYS is the opening of more legal retail stores in addition to enforcement efforts. We must move with a sense of urgency.” And the top cannabis regulator spoke about accelerated efforts to roll out legal sales.

An Oklahoma senator plans to revise a bill so it would no longer propose making it a felony to expose children to secondhand marijuana smoke.

Virginia lawmakers discussed the prospects for legislation to legalize recreational marijuana sales.

Oregon regulators published a compliance education bulletin on tracking hemp products. They separately  viewed a demonstration of the state’s new cannabis business licensing system.

The Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission published a list of public officials that are barred from being employed by or having an ownership interest in medical cannabis businesses.


Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,000 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

New York City’s top marijuana regulator discussed ongoing efforts to launch the legal marijuana industry.

Manhattan, New York’s district attorney spoke about enforcement against unlicensed marijuana sales.

A Commerce, Georgia City Council member was arrested for allegedly distributing marijuana.

/ INTERNATIONAL

The Canadian Free Trade Agreement was expanded to include trade in non-medical cannabis.

/ SCIENCE & HEALTH

A review concluded that “current clinical data suggest the potential of CBD and CBD-rich cannabis extract in managing core and behavioral deficits in” autism spectrum disorder.

A review suggested that “psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can be safe and well tolerated in older adults.”

/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS

The Cannabis Regulators Association elected new board members and welcomed the Netherlands as a new international non-voting member.

/ BUSINESS

The Cannabist Company Holdings Inc. entered into a repurchase agreement to reduce leverage by up to $25 million.

Indiva Limited announced a private placement offering for proceeds between C$2 million and C$4 million.

Planet 13 Holdings Inc. is selling its Florida medical cannabis license to SGW FL Enterprises, LLC.

/ CULTURE

Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker launched a cannabis brand called Barker Canna Co.

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