(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM NEWS)
This Long shot Bill Would Encourage States to Legalize Marijuana
Sen. Cory Booker is introducing a longshot bill to incentive states to legalize marijuana.
Legislation unveiled Tuesday from the New Jersey Democrat, who hasn’t ruled out running for president in 2020, would remove cannabis from the federal scheduling system, which currently classifies the substance in the same regulatory class as heroin.
While this would end marijuana’s status as an illegal drug on the federal level, it could still be prohibited on a state or local level. Booker’s bill, called the Marijuana Justice Act, would cut federal money from states with disproportionate marijuana arrest rates for minorities and the poor.
“This is the single most far-reaching marijuana bill that’s ever been filed in either chamber of Congress,” Tom Angell, head of the pro-legalization Marijuana Majority, said in a statement. “More than just getting the federal government out of the way so that states can legalize without DEA harassment, this new proposal goes even further by actually punishing states that have bad marijuana laws.”
Congress is currently under control by Republicans, many of whom adamantly oppose marijuana legalization. In addition, President Trump appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has made it clear that he intends to ramp up punishment for marijuana possession and use.
But Booker’s legalization bill should be an encouraging sign for advocates. It reflects the country’s changing views on the substance. A CBS News poll in April found that 61% of Americans think marijuana should be legal, 71% think the federal government shouldn’t intervene with states that have legalized it on their own, and 88% support medical use.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MPP)
|Federal Lawmakers Introduce Sweeping Marijuana Policy Legislation
Posted: 30 Mar 2017 02:30 PM PDT
Legislation was introduced in the Senate and House of Representatives on Thursday that would end marijuana prohibition at the federal level and replace it with a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.
Bills filed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, leaving states to determine their own marijuana policies, and impose federal regulations on marijuana businesses in states that choose to regulate marijuana for adult use. Wyden’s bill would also enact a federal excise tax on marijuana products. In the House, the tax is being proposed in a separate bill introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).
Wyden and Blumenauer also filed marijuana policy “gap” bills that would eliminate many of the collateral consequences associated with federal marijuana convictions without removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act.
An additional bill filed by Wyden with Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Michael Bennett (D-CO) would reform section 280E of the U.S. Tax Code to allow state-legal marijuana businesses to deduct ordinary and necessary business expenses from their federal taxes. A companion bill was filed in the House by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Rep. Blumenauer.
“This is commonsense legislation that will eliminate the growing tension between federal and state marijuana laws,” said MPP’s Robert Capecchi in a press release. Voters and legislatures are rolling back antiquated state marijuana prohibition policies, and it’s time for Congress to step up at the federal level. States are adopting laws designed to improve public safety by replacing the illegal marijuana market with a tightly regulated system of production and sales. The federal government should be working to facilitate that transition, not hinder it. It’s time for Congress to come to grips with the fact that marijuana is safer than alcohol, and most Americans think it should be treated that way.
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|Bill to Regulate Marijuana Introduced in Delaware
Posted: 30 Mar 2017 02:22 PM PDT
After years of advocacy on the part of MPP and our local partners, Delaware Rep. Helene Keeley and Sen. Margaret Rose Henry introduced HB 110, the Delaware Marijuana Control Act. The bill seeks to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults 21 years of age or older. The marijuana tax revenue would be used to fund education, public health campaigns, and to support re-entry campaigns for ex-offenders, among other programs.
An October 2016 poll by the University of Delaware found that 61% of state residents favor this important policy change. Now it is up to voters to let their lawmakers know they want to see them vote in favor of this bill!
In a press briefing to announce the bill’s introduction, sponsors of the bill — which enjoys bipartisan support — spoke about why they see this topic as a social justice issue, and how the failed “reefer madness” policy views of the past should come to an end.
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|West Virginia Senate Approves Medical Marijuana
Posted: 30 Mar 2017 02:15 PM PDT
The West Virginia Senate has voted to approve a medical marijuana bill Wednesday. SB 386, sponsored by Sen. Richard Ojeda, passed the Senate in a 28-6 vote! The bill will now move to the House.
In the past, House Speaker Tim Armstead has not been willing to allow medical marijuana bills to be considered. However, if enough delegates are willing to stand up and support this critical reform, it will be possible to overcome the speaker’s opposition.
“We applaud the Senate for standing up for seriously ill West Virginians and giving them hope with this much-needed legislation,” said Matt Simon of the Marijuana Policy Project, who is a West Virginia native and graduate of West Virginia University. “For many patients, medical marijuana is a far safer alternative to opioids and other prescription drugs. Any delegates who are serious about addressing the opiate crisis in West Virginia need to consider the substantial benefits this law could have on that front. We hope Speaker Armstead will review the facts and give this bill a fair shake in the House.”
If you are a West Virginia resident, please call your delegates’ offices right now, and urge them to support allowing medical marijuana in West Virginia.
It’s also imperative that you call House Speaker Tim Armstead’s office at (304) 340-3210, and urge House leaders to stop stonewalling on this important issue.
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|Vermont House Moves Legalization Bill Back to Committee
Posted: 30 Mar 2017 02:07 PM PDT