Marijuana and Cannabis Legislation
In an attempt to add clarity to California's oft misconstrued medical marijuana laws, the state Senate voted 22-12 yesterday in favor of Senate Bill 439, which aims to provide protection for dispensary owners in exchange for much more strict regulation.
The new legislation cuts through any previous confusion on compensation, making it clear that dispensaries cannot operate at a profit. Owners of dispensaries would be allowed to receive reasonable compensation and reimbursement of certain expenses, and would also be able to offer pay and benefits to their employees.
The Illinois senate Friday approved House Bill 1, which would create a state-regulated medical marijuana patient program as well as authorize state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries. Lawmakers say they have created one of the strictest programs in the nation.
But Governor Pat Quinn says he's still considering the bill, though he told reporters earlier today that he remains "open minded" on the issue. Lt. Gov. Shelia Simon has publicly expressed her support for the bill.
A proposal to decriminalize marijuana across the state will have a hearing this morning at the Missouri House of Representatives -- which appears to be the farthest this effort has ever gone in the legislature. It will not, however, make it much farther this time around given that today is the last day of the legislative session.
Still, supportive lawmakers and marijuana reform advocates from Show-Me Cannabis are celebrating the opportunity to have the issue finally debated in this setting. "It's a big step forward for Missouri," State Rep. Rory Ellinger, a University City Democrat, tells the Riverfront Times, which as the rest of this story.
Serious marijuana discussion is taking place in our nation's capitol, if only at the municipal level.
According to the Washington Post, D.C. city council members are trying to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana and have a few proposals in the works to do just that.
Marijuana advocates were abuzz last month -- and by "abuzz" we mean excited, of course -- when a bill to reduce penalties for marijuana possession was passed out the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The bill had been watered down to apply only to people younger than 21, but the Texas chapter of NORML, the national pot-legalization organization, still called it an "amazing step for Texas."
Also encouraging was progress on a medical marijuana bill that would make medical need a valid defense in pot possession cases. The measure, some version of which has been introduced in the past several sessions, got a hearing for the first time ever. Both those bills -- the only pro-marijuana legislation to get any sort of traction this session -- are now officially dead, which isn't to say that marijuana activists are admitting defeat. Dallas Observer has more.
If the state allows people to use medical marijuana, they should also allow those patients to drive so long as they aren't impaired. That's the gist of a law currently making its way through the Nevada legislature that would exempt medical marijuana patients from laws prohibiting drivers from having any marijuana - active or inactive - in their systems.
Discussions about the bill to regulate Colorado's ground-breaking marijuana legislation, Amendment 64, continue to draw in unexpected implications -- including language that essentially requires that marijuana magazines like High Times be treated as though they're porn. If that section lasts, they'll be hidden behind the counter -- no matter how many clothes are on the cover.
And now that the proposal is an official part of the main bill, the countdown to a lawsuit has begun. Westword has more on the likely legal battle.
As it stands now, the bill creates a four-year pilot program would allow qualified patients and primary caregivers to purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from a state-regulated medical marijuana center.
The Vermont senate gave their final approval yesterday to a bill that decriminalizes small amounts of cannabis.
The bill also makes legal small amounts of hash and possession of paraphernalia, but leaves crimes in place for sales and cultivation.
Colorado lawmakers yesterday passed what are being considered the first laws in the nation to regulate adult cannabis use and sales. Among that: when and where cannabis can be sold, limiting how much pot out-of-state visitors can purchase, to where pot magazines can be sold.
The rules still have to go before the governor for signing, but for the most part things seem to be set.