Pot Reforms Flood State Legislatures

Photo by Justin Cannabis

In a race to nail down legalization before the unspeakable happens, legislators in more than a dozen states have introduced measures to loosen laws restricting access to or criminalizing marijuana.

Advocates who support legal medical and recreational weed, which is now up to 60 percent in the U.S., seem to feel the urge to express their support to their corresponding officials and beyond.

The patchwork of various measures, laws, rules and restrictions that govern legal marijuana in 28 states could be propelling the urge for some type of continuity and consolidation, as we come ever closer to having an attorney general who has said “good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Several states are taking early steps toward decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, reported the Hill.

Starting in New York, where medical marijuana is legal, Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed decriminalizing marijuana possession.

“The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York State, but data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety,” reported Gothamist.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu said during his campaign he would support decriminalizing marijuana. Although legislation passed the Republican-led state House, it died when Sununu’s predecessor, now-Sen. Maggie Hassan, refused to support it.

But, several states are considering medical marijuana, including Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah, all of which have introduced bills to create their own rules on the topic.

And, it is worth noting that Republicans, who control state legislatures in most of those states, are behind the push.

Then, there is Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, New Mexico and New Jersey, which are considering recently introduced measures to legalize recreational weed.

Although there is still little consensus on how to approach legalization—hence the patchwork of laws in each state.

For example, three different bills have been introduced in Connecticut’s legislature. Two have been introduced in New Mexico, and three measures to allow medical pot have been filed in Missouri.

Clearly the move to legalize is moving fast.

“Now that voters in a growing number of states have proven that this is a mainstream issue, many more lawmakers feel emboldened to champion marijuana reform, whereas historically this issue was often looked at as a marginalized or third-rail issue,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority.

In Washington, the soon-to-be-inaugurated Trump administration has sent mixed signals that simultaneously encourage and worry, both supporters and opponents of looser pot rules.

So, it makes sense for supporters of legal weed to make headway on this issue before the situation becomes more entrenched.

You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.

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