Lots of exciting stories in the cannabis universe this week as momentum for this plant continues!

Here are a few of the big snapshots:

Senate Majority Leader guarantees federal hemp reform

What happened: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it clear this week that when the next farm bill is introduced in Congress, it will include provisions that legalize industrial hemp.

Why it matters: Allowing farmers across the country to cultivate hemp will do wonders to help rural communities' economies, create jobs, and put the United States at the forefront of the international hemp industry.

Recommended to Watch: NoCo Hemp Expo 5

Cannabis reform bills are abundant in Texas

What happened: A number of cannabis reform bills have been introduced in Texas for the upcoming 86th legislative session. Two bills in particular that were introduced this week, one for decriminalization and one for adding medical cannabis conditions, have received a lot of attention.

Why it matters: Unlike many states that have reformed their cannabis laws, Texas does not have a citizen initiative process. The only way to reform cannabis laws in Texas is via the legislative process, so the fact that there have now been 10 bills introduced for cannabis reform is a very big deal.

Recommended to Watch: A Doctor’s Insights on Recommending Cannabis for Patients

Congressional leader will allow cannabis reform floor debates

What happened: Jim McGovern, a Congressman from Massachusetts, is set to take over the powerful Rules Committee in the U.S. House. The Rules Committee was previously led by Pete Sessions, who blocked voting on no less than 3 dozen cannabis reform measures during his tenure. McGovern indicated this week that he would allow floor debates on cannabis bills.

Why it matters: Cannabis reform has bipartisan support in not only the House, but also the Senate. If reasonable legislation were allowed to be debated by the House, it would likely pass, and then build momentum for a victory in the Senate. With McGovern taking over as the gatekeeper for federal legislation, it's very likely that 2019 could see some federal cannabis reform victories.

Recommended to Watch: Addressing Cannabis Fears 

Michelle Obama comes out green

What happened: Former first lady Michelle Obama released her book this week, in which she details her cannabis use growing up. When asked about it, Michelle stated that it was part of her 'becoming story.' She acknowledged it could have been left out of her book, but she didn't seem to think that it should have been omitted.

Why it matters: It isn't every day that a former first lady admits to consuming cannabis, and definitely not in a manner that was as confident and forthcoming as Michelle Obama demonstrated. It's yet another example of an extremely successful, bright person admitting to cannabis use.

Recommended to Watch: Coming Out Green

Norman Reedus helps young medical cannabis patients

What happened: Norman Reedus, a very popular actor from the hit show Walking Dead, helped raise funds for young cannabis patients. It's not the first time that Mr. Reedus has done so. The organization Reedus was supporting is SavingSophie.org, and contributing donators get a chance to win Reedus-autographed memorabilia from the organization.

Why it matters: Walking Dead is one of the most popular shows out there, and has been for a while now. To have one of the show's biggest stars lend his name to such a worthy effort is commendable, and helps move the message and issue forward in a way that is very much needed!

Recommended to Watch: How to Be a More Effective Cannabis Activist

The cannabis industry makes its annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas

What happened:  The Marijuana Business Conference has been occurring since 2012 when it was first held in Denver. Roughly 300 people attended the initial event. It has since grown to become the largest cannabis business event on the planet.

Why it matters: The size of the event has paralleled the rise of the industry itself and serves as a sort of annual pilgrimage for the international industry. More and more celebrities attend the event, and it receives more notoriety with every passing year. A good gauge for the health of the industry is the state of the Marijuana Business Conference, and the future is bright.

Recommended to Watch: MJBizCon NEXT 2018

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