Marijuana Legalization Roundup: October 17

Three Senate Candidates Who Could Affect Marijuana Legalization
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Indiana Voters Want Weed … But in Missouri, Court Rules Marijuana Is Not a Crop…And the Latest National Polls Show Massive Support for Reform. 

Read all about it in the HIGH TIMES weekly Legalization Roundup for October 10:

Where: Nationwide

What: New Poll Finds Majority of Americans Support Legalization

The latest Pew Research poll finds a hefty majority of the American population would like to see marijuana made legal. Fifty-seven percent said marijuana should be taxed and regulated in a manner similar to beer, while only 37 percent opposed this concept. That’s an impressive leap considering that, just ten years ago, 60 percent of the population opposed this reform—only 32 percent was in favor. Drug-policy experts believe the latest numbers show the marijuana legalization debate is gaining some serious momentum. They only hope the results eventually opens the eyes of federal lawmakers. Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, said, “It’s more clear than ever which way the country is moving on marijuana. Legalization is polling much better than either presidential candidate, and politicians should do more to appeal to this growing constituency.”


Where: Indiana
What: Poll Indicates Strong Support for Medical Marijuana

Last week, a WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana Poll found that 73 percent of Indiana’s residents support the legalization of medical marijuana. Only 25 percent said they opposed, while another 2 percent was undecided. Lawmakers have been working to get a proposal aimed at reforming the state’s marijuana laws in front of the state legislature for years, but none of those bills have so much as been allowed a hearing. There is hope that with more states set to legalize the leaf in the upcoming November election that a medical-marijuana bill will at least get through to committee in 2017 for a fair debate.


Where: California

What: San Francisco Cops Get Mental-Health Support

In an effort to get ahead of the situations that can lead to unnecessary police violence, San Francisco officials have implemented a plan that will require a team of mental-health professionals to accompany police on calls involving drug users. Last week, Mayor Ed Lee announced the formation of the Crisis Intervention Specialists team, which will assist police in dealing with mental health-related issues, including cases where the person is suspected to be under the influence of intoxicating substances. The goal is to prevent incidents from becoming violent. Similar programs have been implemented in Los Angeles, which some experts say have saved lives. Supporters of these programs would like to see them implemented nationwide.


Where: Missouri

What: Right to Farm Does Not Apply to Weed

A St. Louis Circuit Court Judge decided last week that the cultivation of marijuana was not protected under the state’s “Right to Farm” amendment. Judge Robert H. Dierker said “Marijuana is not a common item harvested in Missouri and, therefore, cultivating it should not be included in the extension of the meaning of the word ‘agriculture’ and ‘farming’ as understood by the legislature and voters” and “even when constitutional amendments are designed to address government overreach … they are seldom intended to give citizens free rein to harm themselves or others. Defendant’s concept of the ‘right to farm’ stretches (the amendment) way beyond the protection of farming activities in Missouri.” The decision was made with respect to a man who was caught with more than 300 cannabis plants in his home, and who argued that the right to farm amendment, which was approved by the voters in 2014, gave him the right to grow weed. It’s not the first time a Missouri resident has used and failed with the right to farm defense.


Where: Nevada

What: State’s Largest Labor Union Supports Legal Weed

Last week, Nevada’s largest labor union came out in support of the legalization of marijuana. The Culinary Workers Union Local 226, which represents around 57,000 casino and restaurant workers throughout the state, said they support an initiative set to go before voters next month aimed a legalizing marijuana because it will create jobs and put more wages into the pockets of tax-paying citizens. Joe Brezny, a spokesperson for the Culinary Union, said, “The people who care about good jobs, safer communities, and money for schools believe that voting Yes on Question 2 to regulate marijuana is the far more sensible choice.” If voters approve the measure this November, the state would become home to a taxed and regulate cannabis market similar to what is currently underway in Colorado.


Where: Michigan

What: East Lansing Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession

The East Lansing City Council approved a measure last week intended to eliminate the criminal penalties associated with small time marijuana possession. The measure was designed to give police the option of slapping petty pot offenders (less than an ounce of marijuana) with a $25 fine instead of dragging them to jail. As with similar measures passed in other cities, officers will typically take into account a person’s criminal record and whether or not the pot was found as a result of a violent crime before deciding if the suspect gets arrested or a citation. The move comes just a month after it was confirmed that MILegalize would not be allowed to put a recreational-marijuana initiative in front of voters in 2016.


Where: Delaware

What: Full Legalization to Be Discussed in 2017

Lawmakers in Delaware will begin discussing the legalization of marijuana when the next legislative session begins in early 2017. Senator Margaret Rose Henry, the lawmaker responsible for medical marijuana, has plans to introduce a measure in January that would give adults 21 and over the ability to purchase marijuana from dispensaries all across the state. Henry is reportedly already working to pull together sponsors for the bill. Lawmakers are hopeful that a piece of marijuana legislation will make it to the governor’s desk next year. Although the current governor does not support full legalization, Republican gubernatorial candidate Colin Bonini said he supports the concept. Meanwhile, Democratic candidate John Carney says he wants to see what happens with decriminalization before moving forward with a plan to make weed fully legal. A new governor will be selected in the upcoming November election.




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