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HIGH TIMES Legislative Roundup: October 7

Mike Adams

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It was another eventful week for marijuana legalization across the United States. Some of the biggest news to surface comes from the West coast, where sources indicate that California’s mostly highly anticipated recreational marijuana initiative is about to be rolled out. Other highlights include a push in the Florida legislature to bring an end to prohibition in 2016, as well as reports that Washington D.C. will be unable once again to move ahead with recreational sales.

Read all about this and more in the HIGH TIMES Legislative Roundup for October 5:

Oklahoma: Oklahoma City Begins Collecting Signatures for Medical Marijuana
Supporters working to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma began collecting signatures last week for their initiative. Green the Vote must now gather 124,000 signatures before the end of December to earn a spot on the ballot in 2016. Residents will have an opportunity to sign the petition later this week at the Tulsa State Fair. For other locations, visit the group’s website. 

Michigan: Detroit Dispensary Ordinance Being Developed
A new ordinance is being proposed in Detroit to put a tighter leash on medical marijuana dispensaries. The measure, which has already been introduced and is currently sitting in committee, would force these businesses to adhere to more stringent regulations, including in the areas of zoning and licensing. The City Council is reportedly expected to vote on the issue in the next few weeks and Mayor Duggan is onboard with moving forward with the plan if it lands on his desk. 

South Carolina: Medical Marijuana Bill Receives Initial Approval
A South Carolina Senate panel approved a piece of legislation last week aimed at legalizing medical marijuana. The bill would pick up where the state’s highly restricted CBD-only law leaves off by providing patients, including those with cancer, HIV/AIDS and PTSD, with access to a full scale of medical marijuana products. The proposal has received a great deal of opposition by area law enforcement, which could have an impact on lawmakers’ final decision. The proposal is scheduled to go before a Senate committee in 2016. If it passes, it will need the majority vote of the full Senate and House to win approval. 

Georgia: Group Wants Medical Marijuana Law to Allow Cultivation
While Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed a law last year giving certain patients permission to be in possession of non-intoxicating cannabis oil, one group is hoping to expand the law into a more comprehensive plan. Georgians for Freedom in Health Care is working to get some attention for a proposal that would allow patients to cultivate their medicine. They are currently attempting to gain the support of physicians and law enforcement to further advance this plan. As it stands, there are 251 patients that have clearance from the state to have CBD oil. All of these people are forced to purchase medicine from a legal state and break federal law transporting it across state lines. The group’s plan would eliminate that risk by allowing those who qualify to cultivate at home. 

California: Big Initiative Almost Ready to Collect Signatures
ReformCA, the group with the best chances at legalizing recreational marijuana in California next year, announced last week that their proposal is set to be before the Attorney General’s office for review. The group’s initiative would legalize a recreational cannabis industry in a manner to what is currently underway in Colorado. To make this happen, ReformCA must first collect 365,000 signatures to earn a spot on the ballot in 2016.

California: Lawmakers Beg Governor to Sign Medical Marijuana Regulations
While Governor Brown’s office was instrumental in negotiating the terms of several bills aimed at dictating the regulations of the state’s medical marijuana program, it doesn’t appear the governor himself is in any rush to sign them into law. Lawmakers called on Governor Brown last week to sign the bills “to provide clear direction on how to move forward on medical marijuana,” but no action has been taken. At this point, it is not clear how Governor Brown plans to proceed. 

Florida: Legislation Filed to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Representative Michelle Rehwinkle recently filed a piece of legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana across the state. The plan would simply remove the substance from the state’s list of banned substances, which would make it legal by way of constitutional amendment. This is the second time the lawmaker has submitted the bill. Unfortunately, Florida lawmakers have not exactly been progressive in their attempts at reforming pot laws in recent years. However, several initiatives are currently underway to put the issues of legalizing both medical and recreational marijuana on the ballot in 2016. 

Washington D.C: Congress Shuts Down Retail Sales Another Year
The potential for the District of Columbia to launch a retail cannabis market has been foiled again this year. In a push to approve a last minute budget, Congress renewed a 2014 rider that prevents the District from enacting legislation intended for the legalization of marijuana. DC Councilmember David Grosso told HIGH TIMES earlier this year that the District was ready to put a plan into action as soon as Congress lifted the rider, but it appears retail pot shops will have to wait until at least 2017.
 

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