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WH touts cannabis action ahead of SOTU, but no speech mention (Newsletter: February 8, 2023)

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VA Senate passes marijuana & psilocybin bills; MN gov on cannabis taxes; NH legalization plan; “Black market” op-ed

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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW

In a fact sheet released ahead of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday, the White House touted his cannabis pardons—saying that “criminalization of marijuana possession has upended too many lives.” The president did not end up discussing cannabis during the speech itself, though he did call for a crackdown on fentanyl and other drugs.

The Virginia Senate passed bills to allow recreational marijuana sales to begin and to reschedule psilocybin while creating an advisory board to study

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Ahead Of 4/20, National Democratic Group Slams Virginia GOP Governor For Marijuana Vetoes

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A national Democratic Party group is bashing Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) “harmful opposition to marijuana reform” ahead of the 4/20 cannabis holiday, calling out the GOP governor’s recent vetoes of bills to legalize retail sales and reduce sentences around past marijuana crimes.

In a statement tied to the 4/20 cannabis holiday and shared exclusively with Marijuana Moment on Friday, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), which focuses on electing Democrats to state legislatures, said Youngkin “continues to hold Virginia back and block the progress made by Democrats in control of the legislature.”

Use, possession and limited cultivation of cannabis by adults is already legal in Virginia, the result of a Democrat-led proposal approved by lawmakers in 2021. But Republicans, after winning control of the House and governor’s office later that year, subsequently blocked the required reenactment of a regulatory framework for retail sales. Since then, illicit stores have sprung up to meet consumer demand.

This year, with Democrats in control of both legislative chambers, lawmakers passed a new legal sales bill, sending it to Youngkin for his consideration in late February. A month later, the governor vetoed the bill, writing in a veto message that “the proposed legalization of retail marijuana in

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Kansas GOP Senator Forces Vote On Reviving Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill

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After a Kansas legislative committee effectively killed a medical marijuana pilot program proposal last month, lawmakers are slated to take up the issue once again when they return from break later this month under a GOP senator’s new motion to force a vote on a different legalization bill.

Last week on the Senate floor, Sen. Robert Olson (R) made a motion that would revive a broader medical marijuana measure and have senators debate and vote on it. That bill, SB 135, was shelved by a legislative panel a year ago after pushback from law enforcement.

“We’ve debated this issue in committee,” Olsen told Senate colleagues. “It’s time that we have an opportunity to vote on the floor to try to bring this bill out.”

“There’s a lot of money that states around us are making from this,” he added. “Someday this is going to be law in this state. I would like to put it into law with good boundaries, and this bill does that.”

The Senate will vote on Olson’s motion to hear SB 135 once the body reconvenes on April 26.

Olsen previously backed medical marijuana legalization and said last October that Senate President Ty Masterson (R) removed

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Kansas Lawmakers Consider Proposal To Jail Farmers Who Grow Hemp With Too Much THC

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“The reason I’m bringing this forward is to make certain hemp is hemp and hemp growers do not get out of their lane.”

By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

State law enforcement, local prosecutors and a lobbyist convinced legalization of medical marijuana posed the greatest threat to quality of life in Kansas tried to quietly squeeze into a bill lowering fees on industrial hemp producers an amendment that could send wayward farmers to prison for years.

The threshold between freedom and incarceration under the amendment advocated by the executive director of Stand Up for Kansas, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas County and District Attorneys Association would be a laboratory test measuring whether a hemp product had a THC content greater than 1 percent. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state of Kansas allow harvesting, processing and marketing of hemp with less than 0.3 percent THC.

“I just need help understanding who are we going after? I hope it’s not our industrial hemp producers,” said Sen. Carolyn McGinn, a Sedgwick Republican and farmer. “Is there some place we can look to find out how much this is being abused? I’m trying to understand where all the abuse is

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