It was another exciting week in the fight to legalize marijuana in the United States. Several groups announced the launch of campaigns aimed at getting medical marijuana on the ballot in the 2016 election, while news broke on Friday that Florida has joined the ranks of one of those states seeking to legalize recreational marijuana next year.
Read all about this and more in the HIGH TIMES Legislative Roundup for August 31:
Colorado: PTSD Patients File Lawsuit Against State
Because the Colorado Board of Health has refused to approve PTSD for the state’s medical marijuana program, several patients have filed a lawsuit against the state in hopes of reversing that decision. The group argues that it has been 15 years since Colorado added a new qualified condition to its program, and yet officials still neglected to consider PTSD, even after a leading health official provided them with a recommendation. The board says the decision was based on the fact that there is only anecdotal evidence to support cannabis as an effective treatment for the condition. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has 21 days to respond to the complaint.
California: Medical Marijuana Regulations Are Coming
Last week, a measure aimed at establishing regulations for California’s medical marijuana market made its way through the Appropriations Committee. However, before passing, Assembly Bill 266 was completely stripped of it language and modified to read, “It is the intention of the state legislature to regulate medical marijuana.” There word is that Governor Jerry Brown’s office has drafted its own proposal that could become what lawmakers decide on next month.
Florida: Decriminalization, Initiative to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Officials in Key West recently voted to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. In a unanimous decision, the Key West, Florida City Commission passed an ordinance that would allow law enforcement to simply issue a $100 citation to anyone caught with less than 20 grams of weed. A final vote on the issue is schedule for September 1.
Also, Florida officials have reportedly approved an initiative aimed at legalizing a recreational cannabis trade. RegulateFlorida, the group behind the initiative, is seeking the collect enough signatures to put the issue up to the voters in 2016. If passed, it would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of weed, the cultivation of up to six plants, and regulate retail pot shops in a manner similar to what is done in the alcohol industry. HIGH TIMES will have more information on this proposal later this week.
Oklahoma: Initiative to Legalize Medical Marijuana on the Horizon
Oklahoma may soon be one of the next states to vote on the issue of medical marijuana. Green the Vote recently filed the necessary paperwork to begin collecting signatures in hopes of earning a spot on the ballot in the 2016 election. In order to be considered, the organization has 90 days to collect around 123,725 signatures. If passed, patients would be able to cultivate, buy, and use cannabis as recommended by a physician. The program would be overseen by the Oklahoma Department of Health.
Ohio: ResponsibleOhio Challenges Ballot Summary in Supreme Court
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has included the word “monopoly” in the ballot description of ResponsibleOhio’s initiative that is set to go before the voters in November. The language suggests that Issue 3, which seeks to legalize marijuana in Ohio, “Grants a monopoly for the commercial production and sale of marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes.” In contrast, Husted describes Issue 2, the amendment proposed by the General Assembly to block ResponsibleOhio, as an “Anti-monopoly amendment; protects the initiative process from being used for personal economic benefit.” ResponsibleOhio calls the title “absurd” and believes it was only written this way to mislead the voters. The group has petitioned the Supreme Court to force the Ohio Ballot Board and the Secretary of State to use different language in the ballot summary.
Wyoming: Campaign to Legalize Medical Marijuana
Marijuana supporters in Wyoming are making a move to legalize cannabis for medicinal use in the next presidential election. Wyoming NORML recently began collecting signatures for their initiative…they must secure 51,370 signatures by February 8 in order to earn a voice in the November 2016 election. Although the organization’s signature goal is more than what is actually required by the state, the group wants to make sure to qualify at least 25,700 signatures.
Michigan: One Group Switches Initiative from Recreational to Medical
One of the group’s attempting to legalize a cannabis industry in 2016 has switched gears and now plans to pursue a campaign to better medical marijuana. The Michigan Responsibility Council announced last week that its efforts are being shifted in an attempt to enhance the state’s medical marijuana program.
Idaho: Initiative to Legalize Medical Marijuana Needs Signatures
Idaho marijuana advocates are pushing to legalize medical marijuana in the 2016 election. New Approach Idaho was recently approved to start collecting the necessary 47,623 voter signatures to earn a spot on next year’s ballot. However, the group has run into a snag because only around 50 percent of the signatures they have managed to collect so far have been valid. The group desperately needs more Idaho voters to come forward to sign the petition.
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