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Graphic: The Fresh Scent

​”As of this moment I have enough committed votes to pass the bill”

~ Rep. Lou Lang
The Illinois House may vote on a bill to legalize medical marijuana on Thursday, January 6, the sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), said this morning.

“As of this moment I have enough committed votes to pass the bill if, number one, everyone’s here, and number two, everyone told me the truth,” Lang said, reports Hannah Hess at STLtoday.
The bill would allow people receiving treatment for cancer, AIDS and other serious illnesses to use marijuana for pain and nausea, with a doctor’s authorization and state certification.

Graphic: The Fresh Scent

​The Illinois House on Tuesday defeated a measure that would have made Illinois the 16th state to allow patients to use medical marijuana with a doctor’s approval.

The medical marijuana bill got 53 votes, but needed  60 to pass, report Ray Long and Monique Garcia at the Chicago Tribune. Voting against the bill were 59 lawmakers, and one voted “Present.”
The measure was aimed at helping people with cancer, AIDS and other illnesses have a better quality of life, particularly after doctors have tried multiple medications that have not helped, according to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie).

Photo: Salem News
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: “In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources” prosecuting petty pot offenses

​A bill downgrading the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction has been signed into law by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The law, SB 1449 by Senator Mark Leno, means small-time pot offenders will no longer have to appear in court, and will no longer have a criminal arrest record. It will also save California millions of dollars in court and prosecution expenses, according to Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML.
The bill treats petty cannabis possession like a traffic ticket, punishable by a simple $100 fine and no arrest record.
“Gov. Schwarzenegger deserves credit for sparing the state’s taxpayers the cost of prosecuting minor pot offenders,” Gieringer said. “Californians increasingly recognize that the war on marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources.”

Graphic: Joplin NORML

​The Missouri House snuffed out efforts to legalize medical marijuana during the middle of a debate on banning fake pot. One ignorant Representative called medical cannabis “a party, not an illness.”

The amendment, which popped up in a House debate to criminalize the “synthetic marijuana” sold under K2, Spice and other brand names, was voted down. But the bill banning fake pot received first-round approval, reports Marty Swant of the Columbia Missourian.
“Who are we to tell terminally ill patients that some substance that can provide them relief isn’t good enough for them?” said Rep. Jason Holsman (D-Jackson County), one of a small group of Democrats who pushed for the measure.
Holsman also said there were several other benefits to allowing limited medical usage of cannabis. He said it would keep non-violent drug offenders out of prisons, and allow the state to tax marijuana purchases.

Miss High Times 2010 contestant Caitlin, of Santa Cruz, California, with part of this year’s 16 million ounces

​Whoa, dude. Californians smoke 16 million ounces of marijuana a year (yeah, genius, that’s a million pounds), according to a recent report prepared for the Legislature. That’s almost half an ounce for every man, woman and child in the state.

The numbers, from a recent state Board of Equalization report, were prepared for legislation introduced by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) which would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for Californians 21 and older, reports Peter Hecht at The Sacramento Bee.
Ammiano’s legislation, AB 2254, would create a regulatory structure for marijuana similar to that used for alcohol. The bill would allow taxed sales to adults, while banning sales to or possession by those under 21.
Other interesting findings included in the report:
• California is America’s top marijuana growing state, with 8.6 million pounds of cannabis produced annually, at an estimated value of $13.8 billion. If those numbers are accurate, that represents more than a third of the entire pot crop of the United States. “The fact that California’s largest cash crop continues to go untaxed and unregulated is astounding, especially in such tough economic times,” said Aaron Smith, California policy director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
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