Browsing: Legalize It

bernie_sanders_den_0919_4_of_23_ (1)Brandon Marshall

Bernie Sanders isn’t coy about his desire to see marijuana legalized, but the Democratic presidential candidate’s plans for the plant will go much further than that if he’s elected to the White House in 2020.

Sanders’s pot platform, just released today, October 24 (at 4:20 p.m. Eastern time, no less), includes plans to federally legalize marijuana and declassify marijuana as a controlled substance via executive action within 100 days of his inauguration, as well as to ban tobacco and cigarette corporations from entering the legal pot trade.

ed-perlmutter-house-gove-2019live.house.gov

Days before Congressman Ed Perlmutter was scheduled to speak at a cannabis management conference in Denver this week, he had a defining moment in Washington, D.C. His bill that would allow banking institutions to serve legal cannabis companies became not only the first pot-related proposal to be considered by the full House of Representatives in over fifty years, it actually passed.

“Had we not passed that bill last week, I did not want to talk to you people at all,” Perlmutter jokingly told a room full of cannabis regulators and business owners during the City of Denver’s Marijuana Management Symposium on Thursday, October 3. “The banking piece really is the thing that is the icebreaker in all of this.”

veritas_farm_collins20190807_038 (1)Jacqueline Collins

The prospect for more federal marijuana research improved significantly today, August 26, when the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would begin to “facilitate and expand scientific and medical research for marijuana in the United States.”

With only one marijuana cultivation designated for federally approved research purposes over the past fifty years — located at the University of Mississippi — proponents both for and against cannabis legalization have complained about the DEA’s lack of progress on significant research. Applications to grow marijuana for federal studies had been stalled for several years under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and the agency was even sued by a researcher it had permitted to conduct cannabis research over the lack of quality marijuana to use for her studies.

lighting-blunt-420-fest-collinsJacqueline Collins

The United States House of Representatives has pushed for more marijuana reform in 2019 than in any prior year, and just approved a bipartisan measure that protects all state pot programs from federal interference.

On June 20, House members voted in favor of prohibiting the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent any American state, territory and Washington, D.C., from approving and implementing laws authorizing marijuana use, distribution, possession and cultivation; they did so through an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

img_3863Jacqueline Collins

The Drug Policy Alliance, one of Colorado’s most vocal drug-reform organizations over the past decade, is closing the doors of its state office on May 22.

A proponent of drug and marijuana policy reform, the DPA opened a Colorado chapter in 2011. That office played a part in legalizing recreational pot statewide in 2012, and also worked on numerous efforts at the city and state levels, including during the most recent legislative session.

joe-neguse-cory-gardner-neguseCourtesy of the office of Congressman Joe Neguse

Senators Cory Gardner and Elizabeth Warren just reintroduced their States Act today, April 4, in hopes of guaranteeing states the right to choose their own marijuana policy. The two may seem an odd pairing, but Democrat Warren represents Massachusetts, where recreational cannabis is now legal, and Republican Gardner has pushed the feds before to observe Colorado’s laws regarding marijuana.

Representatives Earl Blumenauer and David Joyce have introduced the bill concurrently in the House, and the measure is expected to be heard by a House committee within weeks, according to House Rules Committee chairman Jim McGovern, who’s bullish on its chances.

diana-degette-2019_mlk_marade_hamblinKenneth Hamblin III

U.S. Representative Diana DeGette’s bill to halt federal marijuana prohibition in states where cannabis is legal was introduced on Monday, April 1, but she insists the issue is no joke.

“Colorado’s marijuana-related business owners are just like any other legitimate business owners in our state, and are currently contributing more than one billion a year to our state’s economy,” DeGette said in anouncing the proposal. “There’s no reason why they should have to go to bed every night worried that the federal government could suddenly take it all away from them and treat them like a criminal.”

captiol-marshall2015 (1)Brandon Marshall

The City of Denver’s marijuana conviction expungement program is online and ready to roll, according to the mayor’s office as well as the district and city attorneys, who collectively announced the news today, January 9.

Dubbed “Turn Over a New Leaf,” the campaign took a year and multiple city departments to implement and aims to dismiss and expunge thousands of convictions for marijuana crimes that are no longer illegal as of 2012, when Coloradans approved recreational marijuana.

first.legal.recreational.marijuana.sale.coloradoBrandon Marshall

January 1 will forever be a day of celebration in Colorado, where recreational cannabis sales began on January 1, 2014. When 2019 begins, Colorado will mark five years of such sales, with an expected $6 billion collected during that span.

If anyone qualifies to be on the guest list of an anniversary celebration, it’s Sean Azzariti. The Marine Corps veteran, cannabis activist and medical marijuana patient consultant wasn’t just present during the first legal cannabis sale in Colorado: He made the purchase. With plenty of cameras and onlookers present, Azzariti bought an eighth of Bubba Kush and some infused chocolate truffles for $59.74 from Toni Savage Fox, then-owner of 3D Cannabis Center at 4305 Brighton Boulevard. All that attention would make anyone nervous, but for Azzariti, who uses cannabis to treat post-traumatic stress disorder after his time in the military, it was much more than a photo opportunity. It was a first step into national acceptance for his medicine of choice.

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