Federal cannabis Monopoly Comes to Halt: DEA-Approved Harvests

RI leaders close to legalization deal; Bourbon-selling KY senator worried about medical marijuana; Record IL cannabis sales

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The federal monopoly on growing cannabis for research has officially ended, with two companies telling Marijuana Moment that they’ve harvested their first Drug Enforcement Administration-approved crops in recent weeks.

Rhode Island’s House speaker and Senate president indicated in opening remarks at the start of the legislative session that they are nearing a deal on how to regulate the marijuana industry in a new legalization bill expected to be filed this month. But Gov. Dan McKee (D) might not be on board with a key detail.

Kentucky’s Senate majority floor leader—who owns a bourbon company called “Kentucky Senator”—said he opposes medical cannabis despite strong support from his constituents.

  • “If they don’t like it, they can take it out on me in the next election.”

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation reported that marijuana businesses set a sales record in December, closing out a year with nearly $1.4 billion worth of legal cannabis products sold—more than doubling 2020’s total.


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tweeted, “The War on Drugs has been a war on people—particularly people of color. I’m working to pass our bill to end the federal marijuana prohibition, enact criminal justice reforms, and ensure equity for those impacted by the War on Drugs.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, currently the lieutenant governor, tweeted about a local move to reduce some marijuana charges, saying, “Lebanon   is one of Pennsylvania’s most conservative counties. I commend the DA for adopting these common sense changes to marijuana charges. Legalization is “inevitable” in PA. Those aren’t my words. They belong to a Republican state Senator.”

Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Charles Booker tweeted, “There is overwhelming bipartisan support to legalize medical cannabis in Kentucky. The politicians blocking it know that very well.”

Texas Democratic congressional candidate Coy Branscum tweeted, “I support federal efforts to legalize adult use marijuana. This will be a boon for investment in our country and will provide much needed criminal justice reform for our country.”


Mississippi’s lieutenant governor pushed back against Gov. Tate Reeves’s (R) criticism of pending medical cannabis legislation, while the House speaker said it is “not the top issue” for the session. Separately, a senator is proposing a medical marijuana bill that would ban smoking.

Tennessee Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Martin tweeted that voters told him it’s a priority to work on “updating Tennessee’s antiquated marijuana laws.”

The Louisiana legislature’s Industrial Hemp Advisory Committee met.

An Indiana representative said he doesn’t think there’s enough support in the legislature to pass marijuana reform.

A Wisconsin senator applauded Gov. Tony Evers (D) for pardoning people with marijuana convictions.

Montana’s Supreme Court has been slow to set up a specialized court to handle marijuana expungements.

Massachusetts’s top marijuana regulator said implementing delivery services can “take a big chunk out of” the illegal market.

Virginia regulators are considering amending rules for marijuana field tests and are accepting comments on proposed changes to rules on medical cannabis product labeling and access to facilities.

Illinois regulators are beginning rulemaking on changes to the medical cannabis program.

The New York Department of Agriculture and Markets tweeted, “We’re proud to announce that our Hemp Program Plan has been approved by @USDA. All growers who were licensed under our former Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program need to reapply under this new program in order to grow hemp this year.”

Colorado regulators gave an update on the marijuana program in the Department of Revenue’s annual report.

Oklahoma regulators sent an update about a switch to new medical cannabis licensing software this month.

The Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission reported on hemp projects it is funding.


Disclaimer: Federal cannabis monopoly ends with DEA-approved harvests (Newsletter: January 5, 2022) – Marijuana Moment

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