Republicans on a Senate committee Monday killed a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana by changing the punishment from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil penalty.
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While United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed federal marijuana enforcement policy, it appears his stance on American marijuana legalization isn’t representative of the country’s politicians or its people.
Support for legalizing recreational marijuana in the United States has reached an all time high. According to a new a Gallup poll, 64% of Americans support legalizing recreational marijuana, compared to 60% last year and 58% in 2015.
On July 25, 2017, the House Rules Committee blocked the Veterans Equal Access amendment, an amendment allowing veterans medical marijuana access in legal states, from proceeding to the House floor for consideration.
On May 20, 2017, the Republican party of Utah rejected a plank in the party’s platform that would have called for the legalization of medical marijuana. With approximately 70% in opposition, state delegates overwhelmingly rejected medical marijuana.
Republican and Democratic senators on Wednesday renewed their drive to make banking easier for marijuana businesses in those U.S. states where the drug is legal.
Democrats from Oregon and Colorado–along with a Republican from Kentucky–are proposing bills in the U.S. Congress that would establish federal regulations for marijuana businesses, according to The Hill. Legislation from Oregon’s Sen. Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer would get rid of the federal ban on marijuana.
The 2016 General Social Survey revealed an increase in public support for marijuana legalization, according to a March 29, 2017, article on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog. The survey, which is conducted every two years, showed 57 percent of Americans supported marijuana legalization in 2016, up from 52 percent in 2014.
After losing a son to opioid addiction last year, a conservative South Carolina Republican is co-sponsoring a medical marijuana bill in the state’s General Assembly. State Rep. Eric Bedingfield said he believes medical marijuana can help people overcome opioid addiction.
In a nationally broadcast interview on Feb. 26, 2017, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said his state has sovereignty on matters of marijuana, despite the federal government’s anti-pot laws and the new attorney general’s stance as a weed opponent. Hickenlooper was a guest on NBC’s Meet the Press.
Iowans are increasingly supportive of medical marijuana. A new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll found 80 percent of adult Iowans approve of medical marijuana legalization. Iowa has a medical marijuana program, but it only allows people with epilepsy to use low-THC marijuana oil—and that program will expire during the summer of 2017.
Some Wisconsin Republicans who have been opposed to medical marijuana are now warming to the idea of legalizing cannabidiol or CBD oil, according to an article by the Associated Press. Republican state Sen. Van Wanggaard said he wants to introduce a bill allowing possession and use of CBD oil, which has proven to help people with seizures.
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.
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 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.”
A new report from the Pew Research Center reveals marijuana legalization is gaining support among Americans. Overall, 57 percent of American adults support legalizing pot, while 37 percent do not, according to Pew’s Fact Tank blog. Support for marijuana legalization is at 71 percent among Millennials.
A poll conducted by the Albuquerque Journal has found that nearly two-thirds of New Mexico’s residents would support legalizing recreational marijuana.
Ohio attorneys cannot use medical marijuana or help businesses that offer medicinal cannabis, according to an Aug. 11, 2016, opinion from the state’s Board of Professional Conduct. Medical marijuana is still prohibited by federal law.
YouGov’s latest research shows that most Americans still support legalization of marijuana, and that support for legalization has increased slightly.
The Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a medical marijuana bill 71-26. The bill, however, would not allow medical users to smoke marijuana or to grow it at home. Patients would have to use a vaporizer, and prescription users would not be allowed to keep more than 90 days’ worth of marijuana.
A new poll shows 66 percent of Utah residents want to legalize medical marijuana, according to an April 27, 2016, article in the Deseret News. The survey, conducted by Utah Policy, revealed 90 percent of the state’s Democrats, 55 percent of its Republicans, and 76 percent of its independents want to allow medical marijuana.
A constitutional ballot amendment legalizing recreational marijuana and industrial hemp in New Mexico has failed to gain approval from state lawmakers.
In South Carolina, the Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee voted unanimously to advance S672, a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. The five-person panel came to the decision after a two-hour hearing where panel members heard from both opponents and supporters of the bill.
The first candidate to address the question of legalization was Sen. Rand Paul, who has made a name for himself by championing hands-off governance.
With a vote of 40-7, the Pennsylvania Senate voted to approve SB 3, a bill which would legalize medical marijuana in the state. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives where it is expected to meet much more resistance than it did in the Senate.
When it comes to passing legislation surrounding issues like same sex marriage or legal marijuana, young voters matter.
Many Americans have actually experienced a government shutdown so the term has a less apocalyptic connotation in 2014. Fortunately, Congress was able to avert a shutdown this year at the 11th hour by signing a massive spending bill that funds the federal government.
The biggest boost to cannabis investor confidence would come in the form of governmental assurance that their investments will not be undone.