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High Times Legislative Roundup: Sept. 8

A new poll released last week finds that nearly 60 percent of the American population supports putting an end to prohibition and establishing a marijuana market similar to the alcohol industry. The Civil Science online poll, which captured the responses of over 450,000 people, indicates that well over half of the nation is prepared to vote in favor of legislation to legalize recreational marijuana. Unfortunately, the numbers of the opposition remain relatively strong, with 35 percent claiming they would not support a measure to tax and regulate weed.

Nevertheless, this is the most recent survey to indicate that well over half the nation is in favor of legalizing marijuana. Some marijuana advocates predict that once the polls consistently show a 65 percent approval rating, federal lawmakers will have no choice but seriously consider the issue.

 This is what your pot-friendly lawmakers were up to last week:

Illinois: Hemp Research Law Signed

Last week, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a measure into law that will allow the cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes. The law, which takes effect at the beginning of 2015, will permit state universities to begin studying hemp. This measure is the result of federal lawmakers reworking the language of a federal farm bill that allows states to conduct hemp research without fear of prosecution.

In addition, patients in Illinois can start applying for permission to use medical marijuana. Last Tuesday, the state began accepting applications from patients whose last names start with the letters “A” through “L,” with the remainder of the population being allowed to apply within a couple of months.

Georgia: Medical Marijuana Study in Discussion

Earlier last week, the Georgia Medical Cannabis Joint Study Committee held its first hearing in regards to a medical marijuana study aimed at testing the effects of cannabidiol or CBD on sick children. The group aims to draft legislation that will make cannabis oil available for epileptic children. For now, the state has negotiated research with GW Pharmaceuticals to study the effects of their cannabis-based medicine on epileptic children.

Mississippi: Cannabis Oil Not Available Until 2015

Although legislation was passed earlier this year to legalize cannabis oil for epileptic children, the latest report indicates the medicine will not be available until 2015. The law, which went into effect in early July, puts the University of Mississippi Medical Center in charge of gaining federal approval. However, even though the university claims to have some preliminary support from the government, they have been faced with challenges that will ultimately delay the program.

Oklahoma: Struggling for Legalization

An initiative to put the question of legalized marijuana on the ballot in the November election has failed to garner enough support to move forward. Supporters of Oklahoma Coalition Against Prohibition were challenged with collecting over 155,000 signatures in a period of two months; however, the all-volunteer organization fell excruciatingly short before giving up. This failure, according to supporters, was due to a lack of financial support more than it was a lack of interest within the community. The group is expected to retool and start collecting signatures again in the near future for a push in 2015.

South Carolina: Joint Committee Meeting

Lawmakers in South Carolina met last week at the statehouse to discuss the issue of medical marijuana and agriculture. This comes just a few short months after the General Assembly passed a measure to legalize CBD oil, which now has farmers interested in cultivation. The group was expected to discuss how to move forward with production. A decision is expected to be made in the next few weeks.

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