On Jan. 3, 2016, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin issued pardons to 192 individuals who had previously been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Maine Gov. Paul LaPage on Dec. 31, 2016, signed a proclamation certifying the state’s narrow vote to approve adult-use of marijuana, according to a Jan. 3, 2017, article in the Portland Press Herald. LaPage confirmed the signature during a Jan. 3, 2017, radio show program during which he also urged Maine legislators to set a moratorium on marijuana sales.
On Dec. 29, 2016, California State Sen. Jerry Hill and Assemblymember Evan Low announced the introduction of Senate Bill 65 to ban marijuana use while driving.
On Wednesday, the Nevada State Medical Marijuana Program became aware that application information about individuals with medical marijuana agent cards, such as employees and owners of medical marijuana establishments, has been disclosed.
On Dec. 28, 2016, Massachusetts lawmakers voted to pass S.2524, a bill that delays the retail sales of recreational marijuana by six months. Approved during an informal session, the bill’s swift and subtle passage came as a disappointment to many.
In South Carolina, Rep. Todd Rutherford has pre-filed a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. Dubbed the Put Patients First Act, the bill would allow qualified patients to possess up to two ounces of medical marijuana as well grow up to six plants.
On Dec. 27, 2016, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission approved a $15,000 fee per cultivation application, with rejected applications to be refunded half of the application fee.
The state of New York allows five companies to dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients, but most hospitals receive federal funds, so they cannot allow patients to use pot medicinally, according to an article in the Times Herald-Record of Middletown, N.Y. While several states have approved marijuana for medical or adult use, it remains illegal under federal law.
On Dec. 20, 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the state’s medical marijuana act takes precedent over a law that restricts how patients can transport medical marijuana. The ruling is the result of a 2014 case where medical marijuana patient Callen Latz was arrested for improperly transporting marijuana.
On Dec. 22, 2016, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission voted for prospective cultivators to participate in a merit-based licensing system instead of a lottery.
What that means is each and every case where prosecutors charge a medical marijuana user with breaking the law requires expert testimony to show that particular individual was impaired at that particular level of THC.
The Israeli army is planning to relax its disciplinary action for off-duty soldiers caught smoking marijuana. Israel’s military prosecutor wants to revise the drug policy to allow IDF soldiers to smoke marijuana up to five times.
Their position on marijuana is hardly the only difference between Canada’s prime minister and the president-elect of the United States.
In Minnesota, medicinal cannabis companies and the state’s health commissioner disagree with the state Veterans Affairs regarding the use of medical marijuana for PTSD. The controversy centers around the commissioner’s decision to include PTSD among the conditions that qualify for medical marijuana, while Veterans Affairs prohibits its use.
MP Bill Blair says until legalization legislation is in place marijuana requires strict regulation and that current laws should be obeyed.
Now that adult-use marijuana is legal in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage wants to get rid of the state’s medical marijuana program. Maine voters passed Question 1, the marijuana legalization referendum, on Nov. 8, 2016, leading LePage to say “we’ve got to get rid of medical marijuana” on a recent interview with a radio show.
On Dec. 14, 2016, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration announced a new rule that makes hemp-based cannabidiol a federally illegal substance. Under the new rules, liquid extracts derived from plants of the cannabis genus that contain one or more cannabinoids are now considered a schedule I substance.
The U.S. government should keep banks from cutting off the accounts of vendors who work with state-sanctioned marijuana businesses, 10 U.S. senators said in a letter to the Treasury on Wednesday.
Two Republican legislators in Tennessee have introduced a new medical marijuana bill, according to an article in The Tennessean. At an announcement that included supporting comments from singer Gary Chapman, Rep. Jeremy Faison and Sen. Steve Dickerson insisted their bill was not opening the door to adult-use marijuana.
The state legislature and health department have six months to revise current rules and must implement them within nine months.
Two U.S. congressmen have established a bipartisan Cannabis Caucus, set to meet next year, according to KIVI-TV’s website. U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., founded the caucus in hopes of reforming federal marijuana laws. Rohrabacher said he wants to make states’ rights central to his efforts.
The newly elected president has already chosen a good handful of cabinet members, some of whom have some pretty harsh views on marijuana legalization.
Opponents of legalization in Maine have come under fire after failing to produce enough volunteers for the first two and a half days of a statewide ballot recount for Question 1, a marijuana legalization initiative that was narrowly approved by voters.
Powerful Virginia Senate leader, Tommy Norment: It’s time to look at marijuana decriminalization.
Law enforcement officers in New Hampshire are worried about the impact of legalized marijuana in neighboring Massachusetts and Maine. “Regardless of what the existing laws are in the state of Maine or the state of Massachusetts, marijuana possession is illegal in New Hampshire,” State Police Lt. Chris Vetter said.
On Dec. 8, 2016, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin announced that Vermonters convicted of marijuana possession of up to one ounce can apply to have their convictions pardoned.
On Dec. 7, 2016, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced appointments to the state’s medical marijuana commission. Hutchinson was accompanied by House Speaker Jeremy Gillam and Senate President Jon Dismang, both opponents of medical marijuana.
Retired U.S. Marine Gen. John F. Kelly will be President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for chief of the Department of Homeland Security. In a recent interview, Kelly said he believes U.S. drug policy should focus on reducing demand, and he also said medical marijuana has a legitimate medicinal purpose.
Franklin announced her resignation to members of the Alcohol and Marijuana control boards on Wednesday afternoon, in an email forwarded to Alaska Dispatch News.
Democratic Senator Jose Menendez filed Senate Bill 269 Tuesday morning. Menendez was joined by veterans, doctors and families at the State Capitol.
On Dec. 5, 2016, Maine began the recount of Question 1, a ballot initiative legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. Backed by opponents of the initiative, this marks the first time in Maine’s history that a statewide recount has been issued.
Medical marijuana patients in California are getting a tax break, and that could mean less money for the state’s coffers. The Board of Equalization recently notified users they do not have to pay sales tax on medical pot if they have both a recommendation from a doctor and the appropriate identification card.
State Senator Jose Menendez will introduce a bill in Austin to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
At the end of 2015, Arizona’s five-year-old medical marijuana program had an $11.5 million surplus. State law says the program can only raise enough “sufficient to implement and administer” the medical marijuana program, so two users are suing over annual identification card fees, which are $150 per patient.
Ireland moved closer to legalizing marijuana for medicinal use when the minority government said on Thursday it would not block the first reading of a bill that is backed by all other parties.
In California, analysts are saying the state could see $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana when a new legalization law becomes effective in 2018, according to an article in the International Business Times. The recently approved Proposition 64 prescribes a 15 percent excise tax on adult-use and medical marijuana.
“Look, I’ve been very clear about my belief that we should try to discourage substance abuse,” Obama said. “And I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it.”
On Nov. 23, 2016, South Africa’s Medicines Control Council announced to members of parliament that it had progressed in its study of medical cannabis and that the Department of Health could have a regulatory framework ready to publish by February 2017.
Tom Price is one of the most consistently anti-marijuana members of Congress, voting against a number of marijuana proposals before the House in recent years.
New Jersey already has a tightly regulated medical marijuana program that includes six alternative treatment centers, or dispensaries, but the issue has largely stalled in New Jersey because of the Republican governor’s resolute opposition.
For Texas legislators, it might be easier avoid political repercussions by placing new marijuana laws on a ballot, instead of voting themselves, Jason Miller, director of communications for the Houston office of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told the Houston Press for a Nov. 25, 2016, article.
On Nov. 22, 2016, Veterans Affairs Canada announced a new reimbursement policy for veterans using medical cannabis. While veterans can now be reimbursed for medical cannabis extracts, the daily reimbursement limit dropped from 10 grams to 3 grams.
Now that Florida voters have allowed medical marijuana with the passage of Amendment 2, some cities have placed six-month or one-year moratoriums on medical marijuana shops. But a representative of NORML says those moratoriums will be illegal when Amendment 2 becomes law on Jan. 3, 2017.
Cayman Islands Gov. Helen Kilpatrick approved a bill last week that amends the Misuse of Drugs Law, allowing for medical cannabis oil to be imported and dispensed for medicinal purposes.
Supporters and opponents of marijuana legalization woke up to the news on Friday. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is Donald Trump’s choice as the nation’s top law enforcement official.
Thousands of cannabis companies in California are now weighing whether they should register with local governments, pay local taxes and be regulated like all other businesses, or continue to operate in the gray market.
The Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project have responded to President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Senator Jeff Sessions for U.S. attorney general. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said Sessions is a “drug war dinosaur” and “the last thing the nation needs now.”
Just like a puff of smoke, some medical marijuana users will be paying a little less out of pocket.
With legal marijuana sales underway in Alaska, growers will soon be submitting their first tax payments to the state.
Trump has said marijuana policy should be up to the states, but that was on the campaign trail. Will he stay true to his word?