Politics

Vermont Governor Pardons 192 Misdemeanor Marijuana Convictions

Vermont Governor Pardons 192 Misdemeanor Marijuana Convictions

Vermont Governor Pardons 192 Misdemeanor Marijuana Convictions

On Jan. 3, 2016, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin issued pardons to 192 individuals who had previously been convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Maine Governor Certifies Pot Vote But Urges Moratorium on Sales

Maine Governor Certifies Pot Vote But Urges Moratorium on Sales

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.

Lawmakers in Massachusetts Vote to Delay Retail Marijuana Sales

Lawmakers in Massachusetts Vote to Delay Retail Marijuana Sales

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.

Medical Marijuana Bills Pre-Filed in South Carolina

Medical Marijuana Bills Pre-Filed in South Carolina

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.

New York Hospitals Stuck Between State And Federal Laws on Medical Marijuana

New York Hospitals Stuck Between State And Federal Laws on Medical Marijuana

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.

Michigan Court of Appeals Overturns MMJ Transport Law

Michigan Court of Appeals Overturns MMJ Transport 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.

Israel Plans to Relax Penalties for Soldiers Using Marijuana

Israel Plans to Relax Penalties for Soldiers Using Marijuana

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.

In Minnesota, Disagreement Over Medical Marijuana for PTSD

In Minnesota, Disagreement Over Medical Marijuana for PTSD

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.

Maine Governor Certifies Pot Vote But Urges Moratorium on Sales

Maine Governor Wants to Get Rid of State’s Medical Marijuana Program

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.

DEA Issues New Rule to Ban Cannabidiol

DEA Issues New Rule to Ban Cannabidiol

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.

U.S. senators seek to protect banking for pot business vendors

United States Senators Seek to Protect Banking for Pot Business Vendors

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 Tennessee Republican Legislators Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill

Two Tennessee Republican Legislators Introduce Medical Marijuana Bill

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.

U.S. Congressmen Establish Bipartisan Cannabis Caucus

U.S. Congressmen Establish Bipartisan Cannabis Caucus

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.

Maine Marijuana Opponents Fail to Produce Enough Volunteers for Recount

Maine Marijuana Opponents Fail to Produce Enough Volunteers for Recount

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.

New Hampshire Officers Worry About Legalization in Neighboring States

New Hampshire Officers Worry About Legalization in Neighboring States

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.

Governor of Arkansas Announces MMJ Commission Appointees

Governor of Arkansas Announces MMJ Commission Appointees

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.

John F. Kelly, Trump's Choice For DHS Chief, Considers Medical Marijuana Legitimate

Trump’s Choice For DHS Chief Considers Medical Marijuana Legitimate

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.

Head of AK's Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office to Step Down

Head of AK’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office to Step Down

Franklin announced her resignation to members of the Alcohol and Marijuana control boards on Wednesday afternoon, in an email forwarded to Alaska Dispatch News.

Maine Starts Recount of Marijuana Legalization Ballots

Maine Starts Recount of Marijuana Legalization Ballots

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.

In California, Proposition 64 Could Bring Less Tax Revenue Than Once Expected

In California, Proposition 64 Could Bring Less Tax Revenue Than Once Expected

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.

In Arizona, Two Sue Over State's Medical Marijuana Fees

In Arizona, Two Sue Over State’s Medical Marijuana Fees

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.

California Could See $1 Billion in Tax Revenue From Legal Marijuana

California Could See $1 Billion in Tax Revenue From Legal Marijuana

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.

Obama: Marijuana Should Be Treated Like ‘Cigarettes or Alcohol’

Obama: Marijuana Should Be Treated Like ‘Cigarettes or Alcohol’

“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.”

South Africa Making Moves to Legalize Medical Cannabis in 2017

South Africa Moves to Legalize Medical Cannabis in 2017

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.

Will Trump White House snuff out N.J. push to legalize marijuana?

Will Trump White House Snuff Out N.J. Push to Legalize Marijuana?

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.

Houston NORML Suggests Putting Marijuana Laws Before Texas Voters

Houston NORML Suggests Putting Marijuana Laws Before Texas Voters

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.

Canada Revises Cannabis Reimbursement Policy for Veterans

Canada Revises Cannabis Reimbursement Policy for Veterans

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.

Florida medical marijuana

NORML says Florida City Moratoriums on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Will Be Illegal

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.

Medical Marijuana Is Legal in California. Except When It is Not.

MMJ Is Legal in California. Except When It Is Not.

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.

Sessions

Drug Policy Groups Respond to Choice of Sessions for Attorney General

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.”


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