Drug Policy Newsletter: Federal Marijuana Reform, Expunging Cannabis Convictions, and More
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Drug Policy Newsletter

Drug Policy Newsletter: Federal Marijuana Reform, Expunging Cannabis Convictions, and More

Plus: How state and local marijuana market regulations often lead to corruption, states fighting voter-approved marijuana legalization, and more.

News and Opinion 

Democrats taking control of the White House and Senate likely improves the odds of decriminalization of marijuana or other federal cannabis reforms.

A recent YouGov poll shows that roughly 70 percent of Americans support the expungement of non-violent cannabis crimes, with 81 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents, and 57 percent of Republicans in support of expungements.

California cities that ban marijuana dispensaries should still allow cannabis deliveries from the municipalities that do allow marijuana sales, argues Reason Foundation’s Matt Harrison.

In its response to the opioids lawsuit the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Justice filed against Walmart, the company said, “It is outrageous the Department [of Justice] is trying to shift blame for DEA’s own well-documented failures” related to the opioid crisis. Reason’s Jacob James Rich outlines how the government’s own opioid policies helped cause the crisis.

The Boston Globe tells the story of two men finding redemption in cannabis entrepreneurship and seeking to help others who have been hurt by unfair drug laws.

“By making local officials the gatekeepers for million-dollar businesses, states created a breeding ground for bribery and favoritism” connected to the regulation of the legal marijuana industry, Politico explains.

Oklahoma is quietly transitioning from prohibition to being one of the nation’s hottest legal marijuana markets.

The American Medical Association approved a statement saying that cannabis is a dangerous drug and should not be legalized.

Legislation, Regulation, and Markets

A deal that would have set penalties for underaged marijuana use in New Jersey fell through this month, but lawmakers and the governor say they’re still hoping to reach a compromise.

Illinois expunged nearly 500,000 marijuana-related records in possibly the largest cannabis expungement event in U.S. history.

Virginia’s governor is asking for funding in the state budget that would be used process expungements for misdemeanor marijuana convictions.

A new Virginia law prevents police from stopping, searching, or seizing any person or place solely on the basis of the smell of marijuana, including during traffic stops.

One Missouri legislator is trying to reform the state’s drug laws to make any amount of cannabis possession, and other drugs, a low-level misdemeanor.

Opponents of cannabis legalization are attempting to overturn voter-approved ballot measures in South Dakota. Marijuana Moment reports on similar attempts in Montana and Mississippi.

In November’s elections, citizens in the District of Columbia voted to decriminalize psilocybin, the psychoactive chemical in mushrooms, and voters in Oregon approved a measure that will eventually legalize the substance.

Cannabis officials from 19 states are forming a regulators association.

Mexico is delaying its marijuana legalization efforts due to “mistakes” in the text of the legalization bill.

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs has removed cannabis from its “particularly dangerous” status on the Schedule IV Drugs list. The move could give cover to nations that may be considering cannabis decriminalization or legalization.


A study in the Journal of Adolescent Health looks at state-level cannabis prohibition laws between 1999 and 2017 and finds no association between marijuana legalization and increases in youth use of the drug.