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VP Harris calls federal prohibition ‘absurd’

Plus, Hochul orders OCM review

Good morning.

Well, happy Monday everybody.

Your Veep is pushing cannabis reform — it’s yet another signal that this administration is taking the issue seriously. And, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is ordering a full review of the state’s cannabis licensing process, set to begin today, per the NYT

Let’s get to it. 

- Jeremy Berke & Jay Rosenthal

💡What’s the big deal?

VP called on DEA to reschedule at the White House

What happened: Vice President Kamala Harris on Friday hosted a roundtable at the White House on cannabis reform.

The event was billed as a way to further understand the “injustices” of the federal government’s prohibitive stance on cannabis — and perhaps a way to signal to voters that the administration is working on it. 

The Veep specifically called on the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule cannabis.

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, rapper Fat Joe, and a few people who received federal pardons were among the attendees.

What she’s saying: Harris called cannabis’s status as a Schedule I drug, the same classification as heroin, “absurd.” 

“I’m sure DEA is working as quickly as possible and will continue to do so, and we look forward to the product of their work,” she said

Why it matters: The roundtable is yet another sign that the White House is taking cannabis reform seriously, after President Biden spoke about it at the State of the Union earlier this month. 

The symbolic nature of holding the meeting in the Roosevelt Room wasn’t lost on attendees, either. 

What’s next: We’re still awaiting the DEA’s decision on moving cannabis to the less-restrictive Schedule III. But the drumbeat continues.

Read more: In a closed-door section of the meeting, Harris told participants, “we need to legalize marijuana,” reports Marijuana Moment


👊 Quick hits

Canadian Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland was warned last year about systemic financial distress among the country’s cannabis producers, reports MJ Biz Daily

Two white brothers who applied for a cannabis microbusiness license in New York refiled a federal discrimination lawsuit, saying that the social equity requirements the state has levied for licenses is unconstitutional, per Green Market Report

Connecticut is getting a second cannabis testing lab, CT Insider reports.

Investor Doug Kasssays he’s going long on cannabis stocks after he posted on X that sources tell him the DEA will soon reschedule cannabis to Schedule III. Unnamed sources are unnamed sources, but he’s got a lot of capital available to move markets.

The subject of the state’s first product recall is going on the offensive

What happened: Jenny Argie, a licensed cannabis producer and cancer survivor, is suing the New York State Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) in the Albany Supreme Court, after the state pulled her products off of store shelves for what she says is retaliatory behavior on the state’s part, NY Cannabis Insider reports

Back up: Argie’s claims were at the center of a bombshell story accusing the OCM of intimidation and retaliatory behavior published by NY Cannabis Insider last week.

Argie says that after she spoke out about illicit products entering New York’s market — and leaked conversations with OCM officials to the press — her products were recalled by the state, for reasons that she says had little to do with public health and everything to do with retaliation. 

A note: As an aside, I haven’t personally verified Argie’s claims. An OCM official at the center of the allegations declined to comment further. 

What’s next: If this case goes to court, we’ll see who is and who isn’t telling the truth here. Until then, we’ll be watching carefully. 

And more: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has ordered a review of the state’s cannabis licensing process and the OCM, set to begin today, the New York Times reports


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