Marijuana and Cannabis Legislation
An Iowa state senator has introduced a medical marijuana bill to the state legislature, but says advancing the bill any further would be a long shot.
Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City says he doesn't have the bipartisan support in both the state House and Senate whatsoever for Senate File 79, which would allow for qualifying patients to cultivate and possess up to 2.5 ounces of herb at a time as well as create state-regulated medical cannabis dispensaries.
Missouri Rep. Chris Kelly has filed language that would legalize medical and recreational cannabis in Missouri, using language that closely follows another proposed ballot initiative.
In addition to legalizing taxed and regulated sales of ganja, House Bill 1659 would regulate recreational cannabis like alcohol, with a 21-and-up age limit. Missourians would be able to cultivate up to eight plants in their home and keep up to 16 ounces of herb, 16 ounces of edibles and 72 ounces of tinctures and other liquid-infused cannabis products.
State Rep. Stanley Cox says he wants to improve Missouri's criminal code, as long as those improvements don't include more lenient marijuana laws.
And if there's anybody who knows how harsh Missouri's drug laws are, it's Cox -- he was one of the attorneys involved in the case of Jeff Mizanskey, Missouri's only inmate serving life without parole for marijuana charges.
StanCox.net Rep. Stan Cox is hard on drugs.
The Republican from Sedalia is upset that within a 1,000-page bill is a little piece of legislation that would reduce the penalty for possessing less than 35 grams of marijuana for nonviolent, first-time offenders. Under the proposed legislation, the maximum penalty one would receive is a $500 fine. Under current law, offenders face one year in prison.
"Joe is a freshman legislator in a Republican-controlled house, so he's got zero juice to get anything done." So says John Morgan, an Orlando-based attorney and cannabis reform advocate.
The "Joe" he is referring to is Florida state congressman Joe Saunders (D- Orlando), who recently filed House Bill 859, which if passed, would skip right past the voters in Florida, making legal medical marijuana the law of the land.
Morgan, who has personally raised $4,000,000 in an effort to get a similar piece of legislation before Florida voters this November, calls Saunders' plan nothing more than a publicity stunt.
Last month, the Connecticut state Department of Consumer Protection granted the first four licenses for marijuana producers, and they plan to award up to five additional licenses for marijuana sellers by the end of next month. With cannabis already decriminalized in the state, and a heavy liberal bias in the region politically, one may wonder what is taking medical marijuana so long.
The grow facilities will be considered "pharmaceutical manufacturers" by the state, with all medication produced being put through a mandatory testing process before it gets to the dispensaries. Once on the shelves, sellers will be subject to incredibly strict regulations aimed directly at preventing diversion of medical marijuana to the black market in the state.
Still, with some of the nation's most strict regulations in place, the usual suspects are screaming from the rooftops that allowing any medical marijuana in Connecticut is going to pose a huge risk for...wait for it..."the kids".
When Colorado passed Amendment 64 in 2012, cities across the state were given until October 1st, 2013, to have their own individual rules put in place to regulate the inevitable wave of recreational retail pot shops.
Aurora, Colorado, the third largest city in the state, has no legal medical marijuana storefronts, and feeling the pressure of the impending deadline for recreational stores, enacted a moratorium of up to one year on the opening of any retail outlets either. That was in May of last year.
Since then, the spitballing City Council and the Ad Hoc A64 Committee have made some rather far-fetched proposals to get in on the lucrative legal weed market, even proposing that the city grow and sell its own! But their latest proposal may be the most ludicrous one to date.
The Hawaiian Islands have historically been known for exporting fresh fruits and nuts, dank coffee beans, and sunburnt tourists. While the many legends of amazing pakalolo strains like Kauai Electric, Kona Gold, and the infamous Maui Wowie have made their way to the mainland over the years, extremely strict anti-cannabis state laws, and a lack of will to reform them, have kept Hawaii's finest weed a well-kept secret.
One high-ranking state lawmaker hopes to change that, though, and in the process help turn marijuana into Hawaii's new number one cash crop.
Ever since Colorado's medical marijuana boom, law enforcers have been worried about people driving stoned
-- and these concerns likely helped motivate strict open-container laws related to marijuana.
Toke of the Town
But now, following the launch of recreational pot sales, one of Colorado's most powerful legislators has introduced a bill that would make it more difficult to prove an open-container violation -- and a marijuana attorney sees the move as a positive one.
Though he spared exactly zero words regarding cannabis, drug policy, or criminal justice reform in his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama and his administration have been increasingly more vocal on these issues as he settles into his second, and final, term in office.
Both the President and Attorney General Eric Holder in the Department of Justice have earned few friends and little trust in the cannabis community, but both wings of the Executive Branch have vowed to address the undeniable fact that when it comes to victimless, drug-related crimes, our criminal justice system is broken. This past Thursday, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee took an historic step to begin the long overdue reform process.
In the November elections of 2012, 63% of the voters in Massachusetts approved Question 3, the state's newly proposed medical marijuana law, making the Bay State the 18th state in the nation to legalize ganja use for medicinal purposes. With Connecticut, Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island already respecting patients' rights, and New Hampshire looking to follow in Colorado and Washington's footsteps, all of New England will soon enjoy safe access.
Back in Massachusetts, in accordance with the regulations set forth in the Question 3 medical marijuana law, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health sparked the process this past Friday by granting the first 20 official licenses for prospective storefront medical marijuana dispensaries.