If the first two weeks of 2015 are any indication of what is to come this year in the realm of marijuana legislation, lawmakers may have to start wearing bulletproof vests to work in order to keep opposing forces from taking them out in the name of the drug war. Seriously, Washington D.C. is on the verge of turning into a violent thunderdome, as the District Council has officially waged war on the federal government, while in other states, specifically in the Midwest, pot proponents are starting to get extremely ballsy with their efforts to legalize the leaf. Of course, that is exactly what it is going to take if the movement expects to gain the necessary momentum to make drastic changes to the pot laws in the United States within the next couple of years.
Read all about what went down last week in the High Times Legislative Roundup for January 12.
Kentucky: Medical Marijuana Bill to be Introduced
House Speaker Greg Stumbo recently announced plans to file legislation in the upcoming session to legalize a statewide medical marijuana program. The bill would allow patients to have access to medicinal cannabis with the approval of a physician. Stumbo said the bill will come with a vigorous oversight system in order to prevent patients from abusing their prescriptions. Medical marijuana has been widely supported by Kentuckians for the past several years, but legislation to move this program forward has been unsuccessful. However, Stumbo hopes this year will be different since the state legalized a restricted CBD-bill last year and just harvested the initial hemp crop associated with the passing of that law.
Iowa: Pharmacy Board Votes to Reschedule CBD
The Iowa Pharmacy Board voted last week in favor of rescheduling CBD, but that will not cover the entire marijuana plant. The group voted to remove cannabidiol from its current Schedule I classification and downgrade it to a Schedule II. This move comes in light of a recent petition asking the board to consider rescheduling cannabis, but the compromise in favor of CBD-only was made instead.
Washington DC: Proposal Introduced to Legalize Retail Marijuana
D.C. Councilman David Grosso introduced a proposal last week aimed at moving forward with plans to establish a taxed and regulated marijuana market in the District of Columbia. Although Congress passed a budget at the end of 2014 that prohibits the District from spending federal and local funds to legalize marijuana, the lawmaker wants to practice what he calls “direct civil obedience” by acting out against the Representative Andy Harris’ rider. Ever since voters approved Initiative 71, District lawmakers have been adamant about passing a measure to legalize a retail pot market similar to Colorado and Washington.
“I think we’re on the path to seeing this bill enacted,” Grosso told U.S. News. “By moving this bill forward, we’re directly confronting Congress.”
Florida: Medical Marijuana Initiative for 2016
United for Care filed the necessary paperwork last week with the Florida Secretary of State’s office to begin collecting signatures on a new initiative aimed at legalizing medical marijuana. Unlike the 2014 campaign, the new proposal attempts to diffuse some of the concerns expressed last year by the opposition, including issues with qualified conditions and parental consent. The coalition must now collect 683,149 signatures to earn a spot on the 2016 ballot. The signature collecting campaign is expected to begin later this week.
Illinois: Adding Conditions to the Medical Marijuana Program
Illinois wants patients to add their condition to the medical marijuana program. The Illinois Department of Public Health announced last week that is accepting petitions for qualified conditions through the end of February – those can be submitted online. Governor Pat Quinn has appointed an advisory board, and they will be responsible for reviewing the petitions and arranging public hearings. The goal is to uncover valid ailments that may not be listed on the state’s list of qualified conditions. As it stands, only about 600 patients have been approved by the state.
Kansas: Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced
Two pieces of legislation were filed last week aimed establishing a statewide medical marijuana program. House Bill 2011 and Senate Bill 9 were introduced by Representative Gail Finney and Senator David Haley in an effort to provide medicinal cannabis for patients suffering for a variety of qualified conditions like “cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella.” Both bills are expected to be heard during the upcoming session.
Washington: Medical Marijuana Bill to Regulate THC
Senator Ann Rovers filed a bill last week that would force medical marijuana dispensaries to undergo the same strict product testing as recreational shops. In addition, this legislation would force dispensaries to sell only tax-free marijuana edibles and oils – prohibiting them from selling raw cannabis.
“Recognizing the health concerns relating to smoking marijuana, the legislature intends to prohibit the sale of products that must be smoked at medical marijuana retail outlets,” according to the bill.
Another measure, which is being introduced by Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, discusses the possibility of eliminating medical marijuana dispensaries altogether. The idea is to allow certain pot shops to sell marijuana for both recreational and medicinal use, proving tax breaks on the medical sector.