House GOP Leader Says Pot Bill Is ‘Tainted,’ Vote Must Wait

With the Connecticut House of Representatives poised to take up a long-awaited bill that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults, the Republican leader on Tuesday called for an investigation into how language was tucked into the legislation that could have intentionally benefitted at least one individual.

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said the closed-door process that led to the massive, nearly 300-page bill is “tainted,” and the House should not proceed with a vote during the remaining hours of the regular General Assembly session, which adjourns at midnight on Wednesday. The bill narrowly passed the Senate early Tuesday after the contentious provision was stripped.

“It is so tarnished that the House of Representatives should not be taking up this bill,” Candelora said. “And frankly, there should be an investigation in the governor’s office and in the Democrats offices on how this provision came to be.”

Read the full story at usnews.com.

Republicans Push for Federal Legalization of Marijuana to Ensure ‘Individual Liberty’

Representative Dave Joyce, a Ohio Republican, introduced the proposed legislation to end the longstanding federal prohibition of marijuana along with Representative Don Young, an Alaska Republican.

The bill would remove cannabis from the Federal Controlled Substances list; instruct the government to create a regulatory framework for marijuana similar to the alcohol industry; allow the Department of Veterans Affairs to prescribe medical cannabis; and protect financial institutions dealing with marijuana distributors and growers.

“For too long, the federal government’s outdated cannabis policies have stood in the way of both individual liberty and a state’s 10th Amendment rights. It is long past time that these archaic laws are updated for the 21st Century,” Young said in a Wednesday statement.

The Republican congressman noted that he is “proud” to represent a state that has already legalized and regulated marijuana.

Continue at Newsweek

Turning weed into green: Could liberalizing marijuana laws help Texas’ economy recover?

Last year Go Green Botanicals co-owner Maurice Salazar and his business partners were forced to close two of their three local CBD shops due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The stores sold myriad cannabidiol products such as gummies, infused coffee beans, lollipops, caramels, and oils at locations in New Braunfels and in San Antonio at Alamo Ranch and North Star Mall.

While selling hemp-based products containing CBD – a compound found in cannabis that does not cause a high but has other relaxing properties – became legal the United States in 2015, Texas’ marijuana laws, including for medical use, are among the most restrictive in the nation. To a growing number of Texans, it was starting to look like a lost business opportunity.

Keep reading at San Antonio Report.

California Bill To Legalize Possession Of Psychedelics Clears Second Senate Committee

A second California Senate committee has approved a bill to legalize possession of a wide range of psychedelics and create a working group to study broader reform.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D), advanced through the Health Committee on a 6-2 vote on Wednesday. This comes one week after the Public Safety Committee approved the proposal.

If enacted into law, the bill would remove criminal penalties for possessing or sharing numerous psychedelics—including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD and MDMA—for adults 21 and older.

“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” Wiener told colleagues before the vote. “It has done neither.”

Read more at Marijuana Moment

New York, I Love You but Are You Really Just Now Legalizing Weed?

Congratulations, you’ve legalized weed! Finally.

For all your East Coast elitism, you really are behind the times on this one. I mean, the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis? Even Virginia did it before you. My home state of Oregon was the third to do it—seven years ago. Of course, Oregon has long been at the forefront of legalization. We were the first state to decriminalize pot, back in 1973, the same year New York enacted the Rockefeller Laws, some of the toughest drug laws in the country, which called for prison sentences of at least 15 years for those caught with even a small amount of weed. And while it’s cute that New Jersey legalized weed in the 2020 election, it was in this election that Oregon became the first state to legalize psychedelic mushroom therapy.

But hey, look at it this way—at least it’s better than being the 16th state to legalize, right?

Continue at wweek.com

New York is latest state to legalize recreational marijuana

New York adults over the age of 21 can now possess and use marijuana — even in public — under a legalization billsigned Wednesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though legal sales of recreational-use cannabis won’t start for an estimated 18 months until regulations are set.

Passed after several years of stalled efforts, the measure makes New York the 16th state to legalize adult use of the drug, though South Dakota’s measure is in legal limbo.

New York becomes the second-most populous state, after California, to legalize recreational marijuana. Legalization backers hope the Empire State will add momentum and set an example with its efforts to redress the inequities of a system that has locked up people of color for marijuana offenses at disproportionate rates.

“By placing community reinvestment, social equity, and justice front and center, this law is the new gold standard for reform efforts nationwide,” said Melissa Moore, New York state director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

More at WI Proud.

Feds Want Help Finding Evidence On Marijuana And Kratom’s Role In Treating Pain

A federal health agency is conducting a review of studies to learn if marijuana and kratom could potentially treat chronic pain with fewer side effects than opioids.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is asking the public to help identify research that specifically looks at the risks and benefits of cannabinoids and kratom, a type of plant known for its analgesic effects. The agency said the rise in opioid prescriptions and overdoses necessitates exploring plant-based alternatives.

The public is invited to submit studies on how these substances impact chronic pain until the January 4 deadline.

“Some data suggest that cannabinoids may have analgesic properties, though research in this area is mixed,” AHRQ, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a notice, adding that THC “has demonstrated analgesic properties, though its psychoactive effects and abuse potential increase its risk and suitability as an analgesic.”

Keep reading at marijuanamoment.net

Marijuana legalization successes pave way for national conversation on drug laws: Experts

A majority of voters in five states, both red and blue, passed ballot measures that legalized marijuana on Election Day.

This show of support at the polls will put more pressure on other states and the federal government to update its drug policies, according to advocates and experts.

“This indicates that people are frustrated with the outdated drug policies from the 1970s,” Mason Marks, a law professor at Gonzaga University and a fellow in residence at Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, told ABC News.

In some cases, like New York, elected officials are publicly sounding the call for major policy changes.

In ballot measures passed in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, residents over 21 will be able to purchase and consume marijuana for recreational purposes.

Continue reading at ABC News

Drug legalization makes big gains with voters

Voters in six states and the District of Columbia approved measures that will broaden the availability of previously illicit drugs for recreational or medical use on Tuesday in an across-the-board win for legalization advocates.

In Arizona, almost 60 percent of voters approved Proposition 207 to legalize the use of recreational marijuana, and to allow adults over the age of 21 to possess up to six marijuana plants in their homes.

In Montana, a legalization measure passed with more than 56 percent of the vote. More than two-thirds of New Jersey voters approved Question 1, which will amend the state constitution to allow recreational marijuana use. South Dakota voters approved measures seeking both medical and recreational use of marijuana; the medical measure passed by a wide margin, while legalization passed by a slimmer 53 percent to 47 percent margin.

Keep reading

Congress set to vote on legalization of Marijuana in September

The House is preparing to vote on the legalization of marijuana next month — a bipartisan bill whose lead sponsor in the Senate is Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

Under the MORE act, cannabis would be removed from the 1970 federal Controlled Substances Act.

House members were alerted to the possibility of an upcoming vote via an email from from Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, writes Politico.

Cannabis is currently a Schedule 1 substance, just like heroin, ecstasy and LSD.

Removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act would decriminalize it at the federal level.

The act, which stands for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, would also encourage the expunging of most cannabis convictions on the state level.

More at New York Post

Editorial: Pot tax revenues can bring pandemic relief

In 2018, San Rafael voters endorsed Measure G, a city-sponsored plan to set new and higher taxes for the fledgling legal marijuana market.

It was a step in the city’s “toe in the water” approach toward opening the door to the 2016 approval of California’s recreational pot initiative. In San Rafael, 69% of its voters endorsed Proposition 64.

The city had estimated local marijuana production and sales — delivery only — could generate about $1 million per year for the city’s general fund.

That estimate fell far short of reality, as the special tax raised only $243,554 in its first calendar year.

That was almost two years ago.

This past year was a lot different. Local pot delivery sales have been on a record-setting pace.

What a difference a pandemic can make.

Keep reading…

Petition to legalize natural psychedelic drugs in Canada signed 13,000 times

A petition that will go before the House of Commons and calls for the legalization of natural psychoactive drugs has gained over 13,000 signatures.

After it was posted on Apr.18, Trevor Millar, Chair of Board for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, says the petition gained a whopping 500 signatures in a mere 12 hours.

So far, Ontario has the lion’s share of signatures, with 4,746. B.C. follows in second with 3,698 and Alberta comes third with 1,918.

MP Paul Manly of the Nanaimo—Ladysmith Green Party Caucus is sponsoring the petition, which will close for signatures on Aug. 14. As such, Millar tells Vancouver Is Awesome in a phone call that he hopes people will take time to understand what the petition is about.

“It is only about legalizing natural substances right now,” says Millar. “Things that grow from the ground.”

Read more at Tricity News

Illinois pulls in $52 million in first 6 months of marijuana legalization

The legalization of marijuana in Illinois brought in $52 million during the first six months of 2020, the governor’s office said Tuesday.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said the $52 million makes up the industry’s tax revenue for the first half of the year, and he promised to reinvest that money in local communities.

“Illinois has done more to put justice and equity at the forefront of this industry than any other state in the nation, and we’re ensuring that communities that have been hurt by the war on drugs have the opportunity to participate,” Pritzker said.

The sale and usage of marijuana in Illinois was legalized effective Jan. 1, though both remain heavily regulated.

Read more at Stl Today.

Biden-Sanders task force comes short of calling to legalize marijuana

The camps of presumed 2020 Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden and former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders have come together to hammer out joint policy recommendations to unite the moderate and progressive wings of the party — but marijuana was one issue they could not agree on.

Sanders vowed to legalize marijuana via executive order on his first day in office. Biden, however, has been reluctant to call for legalizing pot.

As a compromise, the “Unity Task Force” instead calls for rescheduling the drug and decriminalizing its use, legalizing it at the federal level only for medical use.

The difference is this: Decriminalization would only relax penalties for marijuana use and possession. Full legalization would open the doors for marijuana to be regulated and taxed on the federal level.

Continue reading here…

New York looked poised to legalize marijuana in 2020. Then COVID struck. Here’s what is next

Count legal marijuana in New York among the victims of COVID-19, along with the hundreds of millions in tax dollars and thousands of jobs legalization might have generated.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on the last day of March that the state’s spring legislative session was “effectively over” after several state lawmakers tested positive for the coronavirus.

They came back in June to address COVID-related issues, but didn’t address other outstanding issues.

Among the unfinished items Cuomo said would have to wait until next year was the legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use. Of the eight other states that were poised to legalize pot this year, only three appeared on track for legal weed in 2020.

Keep reading

CDC flooded with comments on marijuana and kratom as alternative painkillers ahead of deadline

Federal regulators looking into pain management options at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have received hundreds of comments related to medical marijuana and more than 1,000 about kratom.

The federal agency’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control is looking for input on “individual stakeholder’s values and preferences related to pain and pain management options,” it said in an e-mail last week.

“Through this opportunity, CDC is seeking stakeholders’ perspectives on and experiences with pain and pain management, including, but not limited to, the benefits and harms of opioid use,” it said. “CDC invites input specifically on topics focused on using or prescribing opioid pain medications, non-opioid medications, or non-pharmacological treatments (e.g., exercise therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy).”

Read more at MSN.

Meet the Vermont marijuana legalization advocate running for the office of ‘high bailiff’

The irony is not lost on Dave Silberman. The Vermont-based drug policy advocate and lawyer who has been working for years to reform the state’s marijuana laws is running for the office of … high bailiff.

No, really. In Vermont, each county elects a high bailiff whose singular responsibility is to arrest the sheriff if they engage in unlawful conduct. Silberman wants to occupy that position in Addison County — and he plans to use it as a platform to advance bold reforms, including legalizing all drugs.

The candidate recently spoke to Marijuana Moment about the need to have a person challenging the status quo — rather than someone in law enforcement, as is typically the case for high bailiffs — assume the role.

Read more at the Boston Globe

Cannabis and COVID-19: Pandemic’s Impact on Legalization and Legislation

By early 2020, marijuana had made tremendous strides toward legalization—for either medicinal or recreational purposes—in most states and even implicit federal recognition in the form of safe-harbor legislation for insurers and banks conducting business with the cannabis sector. But then COVID-19 struck, and progress predictably slowed. Nonetheless, unintended effects of the global pandemic may ultimately usher in a new wave of legalization and protection for marijuana businesses and the insurers and banks who work with them.

Jan. 1 marked the first day of adult-use marijuana sales in Illinois, the latest state to legalize marijuana for adults and the first to provide a comprehensive legal blueprint in the form of legislation that addresses everything from taxation to social justice. In all, at the beginning of 2020, medical marijuana was legal in 33 states, and another 11 had legalized recreational adult use, with several other states—most notably, New York and New Jersey—making a big push to do the same, despite marijuana’s continued illegal status at the federal level.

Read more…

Most People In Recreational Marijuana States Believe Legalization Is A Success, Poll Finds

People who live in states that have legalized marijuana for adult use broadly feel that the policy has been a success, according to a new poll.

A majority of people from eight states that were surveyed said the programs are working well. And in Maine, which legalized cannabis in 2016 but still doesn’t have any adult-use retail shops open, people still said the law is more of a success than a failure by a greater than two-to-one plurality.

YouGov asked more than 32,000 people the following question: “In the states that have decided to allow recreational marijuana use, do you think the legislation has been a success or a failure?”

They were given five options: “Success only, more of a success than a failure, more of a failure than a success, failure only or don’t know.”

Continue reading here

New Virginia law recognizes hemp extracts as food

The State of Virginia has passed a law defining hemp extracts as an approved food. The law also allows a more liberal amount of THC in these products during the growth phase than does the federal description of industrial hemp.

The new definition is part of a law passed by the state to set up a fund to promote industrial hemp production within Virginia.

There are a number of states in which medical marijuana products have been approved, and a smaller number in which full recreational cannabis use is allowed. The market for hemp/CBD extracts is thriving in these locations, and CBD products marketed as dietary supplements, while technically illegal on the federal level, seem to be available throughout the country, either online or in brick and mortar outlets.

Read more here…