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Congressional Talks On Marijuana Banking And Expungements Bill Intensify As Advocates Push For Equity Amendments

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Talks are intensifying over a marijuana banking and expungements bill that Senate leadership is working to finalize, with advocates feeling increasingly optimistic about seeing action during the lame duck session.

Still, other activists are making clear that they want to see amendments to the SAFE Banking language to incorporate targeted equity provisions, arguing that it’s not enough to simply attach separate expungements provisions to the financial services reform.

Bipartisan and bicameral offices have been in negotiations about the so-called SAFE Plus package for months, and the latest signals indicate that the legislation will be less wide ranging than some initially expected—with previously floated sections on veterans and small business assistance seemingly being left aside as banking and expungements remain at the center of the talks—though the text has yet to be released so it remains unclear what will make it into the final product.

The negotiations in their current form are leading to “unprecedented levels of optimism” about passing a cannabis reform package by the end of the current Congress, one advocate familiar with the status of negotiations and who did not wish to be named told Marijuana Moment.

One sign that a deal may be imminent is that Senate

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New Jersey Marijuana Regulators Approve Rules For Public Cannabis Consumption Areas

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New Jersey marijuana regulators approved rules for “public cannabis consumption areas” on Friday, bringing the state one step closer to providing the social use option to adults and patients.

Adult-use cannabis shops opened in April, but advocates have emphasized the need to implement regulations that give people additional spaces for where they can lawfully consume.

On Friday, the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) moved closer to achieving that goal by approving requirements for the consumption sites and fees for businesses that operate them.

“Equitable access to cannabis means everyone who wishes to consume has some place they can do that—legally, safely, and responsibly,” CRC Chair Dianna Houenou said in a press release. “When regulated properly, cannabis consumption areas can strengthen the industry, while giving people more choices on where they consume.”

Food items could not be sold on-site under the draft rules, though people would be able to bring their own food or have it delivered. Alcohol and tobacco could not be sold or consumed at the cannabis consumption sites.

The proposed application fee and microbusiness and standard license fees for the facilities would be $1,000. They could operate indoors or outdoors, but the latter would

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Biden Signs Marijuana Research Bill, A Historic First For Federal Cannabis Reform

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President Joe Biden has officially signed a marijuana research bill into law, making history by enacting the first piece of standalone federal cannabis reform legislation in U.S. history.

The bill cleared the House in April and the Senate last month, and a White House spokesperson confirmed to Marijuana Moment that the president intended to sign it. On Friday, he did just that.

The law gives the U.S. attorney general 60 days to either approve a given application or request supplemental information from the marijuana research applicant. It also creates a more efficient pathway for researchers who request larger quantities of cannabis.

The president remains opposed to federal cannabis legalization, but he campaigned on a number of more modest marijuana reforms, including promoting research, decriminalization and rescheduling cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Biden also issued a mass pardon for Americans who’ve committed federal marijuana possession cases in October and directed an administrative review into cannabis scheduling. The White House recently listed those actions among the “top accomplishments” for the president.

Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Andy Harris (R-MD) sponsored the House version of the research legislation, which is substantively identical to a Senate bill from Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),

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GOP lawmakers talk cannabis reform’s prospects in Congress (Newsletter: December 2, 2022)

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AMA study: Legal medical marijuana tied to lower opioid use; DEA increases psychedelics quotas again; OH cannabis paraphernalia reform; RI sales begin

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

The Drug Enforcement Administration finalized its 2023 drug quotas, and the agency is allowing even more production of certain psychedelics than the already significant increases it initially proposed.

Reps. Dave Joyce (R-OH), Brian Mast (R-FL) and Nancy Mace (R-SC) spoke about the prospects for marijuana reform to advance in the lame duck session and in the new 118th Congress.

The Ohio Senate passed a large-scale criminal justice reform bill that includes provisions making it so possession of marijuana paraphernalia won’t qualify as a criminal record. There are also broader expungements and record sealing measures in the legislation.

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) formally filed a previously announced bill to create

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