Maryland Senate Advances Bill to Increase Marijuana Possession Limit from 10 Grams to 28 Grams

Legislation to nearly triple the amount of marijuana allowed under a decriminalization law passed in 2014 has been passed through its second reading in the Maryland Senate.

In Maryland, the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana for personal use has been decriminalized since 2014. Senate Bill 127, according to an official summary, “increases the amount of marijuana below which possession is a civil offense from 10 grams to one ounce and makes conforming changes.” The measure was passed Thursday through its second reading in the Senate, the day after it was approved by the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Senate Bill 127, filed by Senator Robert Zirkin, must now be passed through a third and final reading in the Senate before it can be sent to the House of Representatives. If also passed by the House, the bill would go to Governor Larry Hogan for final consideration.

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Missouri Legislature Votes to Legalize Hemp

Missouri’s Senate has approved a bill to legalize industrial hemp, less than a month after the House passed a similar measure. 

Senate Bill 547 was passed yesterday by the Senate in a 29 to 3 vote. A similar measure, House Bill 2034, was passed last month by the House of Representatives in an almost, but not quite unanimous 141 to 4 vote. The two chambers must now reconcile the two bills (or simply pass the measure the other chamber passed) before it can be sent to Governor Eric Greitens for consideration.

According to the official summary of House Bill 2034; “This bill exempts industrial hemp, which is defined as Cannabis sativa L. containing no greater than 0.3% THC, from the definition of marijuana and the list of controlled substances. In addition, it is legal for any person who has received an industrial hemp license to grow, harvest, cultivate, and process industrial hemp.”

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Court Rules California Medical Marijuana Recommendation Valid in Arizona

Californians who have a valid medical marijuana recommendation can use it to receive legal protections under Arizona state law, a court of  appeals has ruled.

A three-judge Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled that a man’s medical marijuana recommendation obtained from a California physician provides him with the same legal immunity as those who have a medical marijuana card that was issued in Arizona. The ruling upholds a La Paz County Superior Court judge’s dismissal of drug possession charges stemming from a 2016 traffic stop of Stanley Kemmish Jr.

During the case Arizona prosecutors argued that Kemmish’s medical marijuana recommendation wasn’t the equivalent of Arizona’s state-issued cards. However, the court disagreed, saying that Kemmish’s recommendation makes him a “visiting qualifying patient” under the Arizona law, giving him equal protection.

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New Poll Finds 59% of New Jersey Voters Support Legalizing Marijuana

As New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy continues to advocate for legalizing marijuana, new polling  shows that a strong majority of voters in the state are behind him on the issue.

“Voters support 59 – 37 percent allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use”, states a press release from Quinnipiac University, who conducted the poll. “Support is 63 – 33 percent among men and 55 – 41 percent among women. White voters support legalized marijuana 58 – 39 percent, with non-white support at 60 – 35 percent. ”

The Quinnipiac University Poll found that only “9 percent of Garden State voters say they would definitely try marijuana if it were legal, while 13 percent say they would probably try; 18 percent say they would probably not try legal marijuana and 58 percent say they definitely would not try it.”

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Legalizing Marijuana in U.S. Could Generate $106 Billion in Taxes, Create 1 Million New Jobs by 2025

According to a new report by New Frontier Data, titled Cannabis In the U.S. Economy: Jobs, Growth and Tax Revenue2018 Edition, the U.S. could generate billions of dollars and a lot of new jobs if they legalize marijuana.

The report, released today, “examines what full adult use legalization of cannabis could generate in federal tax revenue and jobs for the United States economy after implementation of the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” New Frontier Data forecasts that under full federal legalization cannabis has the potential to create cumulatively $105.6 billion in federal tax revenue and 1 million new jobs by 2025.

“New Frontier Data projects increased domestic and international expansion of new legal cannabis markets and $106 billion in tax revenue over an eight-year period in the U.S.,” says New Frontier Data CEO Giadha Aguirre De Carcer.

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Enough Signatures Collected in Missouri to Put Medical Marijuana Legalization to a Public Vote

Advocates of a Missouri initiative to legalize medical marijuana have collected enough signatures to put the measure on the November general election ballot.

“This Sunday, our petition drive to place medical cannabis on the November ballot surpassed 200k total signatures”, says New Approach Missouri. This surpasses the 160,000 signatures required to put the measure to a vote. However, given that some of the 200,000 signatures may not be valid (such as duplicate signatures or signatures from those not registered to vote in Missouri), the group will be continuing to collect signatures with a goal of reaching 300,000.

If the initiative is placed on the ballot, and approved by voters,  “a statewide system for production and sale of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products” would be established, with patients also allowed to grow their own cannabis. “Instead of creating a short and restrictive list of qualifying conditions, this initiative puts power in the hands of a state-licensed physicians, not politicians or bureaucrats, to determine who will benefit from medical cannabis.”

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Arizona Committee Votes Unanimously to Legalize Industrial Hemp

Arizona’a House Land, Agriculture and Rural Areas Committee has voted unanimously in favor of legislation that would legalize industrial hemp.

The legislation has already been approved by the state’s full Senate, and now needs to be passed by the House of Representatives in order to be sent to Governor Doug Ducey for consideration. Ducey vetoed a similar bill last year, though advocates are hoping that backlash from the move will lead him to consider at least allowing it to become law without his signature.

“It uses nine times less water than cotton,” says Senator Sonny Borrelli (R), the bill’s primary sponsor. “This will help our cotton growers to be able to rotate in another crop. They only get one planting a year of cotton, this can be planted once a year and at least four cuttings”.

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DEA Praises Man Who Once Said Marijuana “Makes Darkies Think They’re as Good as White Men”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has Tweeted praise towards an unabashed racist who helped make marijuana illegal.

No one is more responsible for marijuana  prohibition than Harry J. Anslinger, a former government official who used racism to make the point that marijuana use should be a crime. When arguing for prohibition, Anslinger made statements such as “reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men“, and “marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes”.

Despite this disgusting and blatant racism, the DEA sent out a Tweet yesterday praising the man.

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Sonoma County (CA) District Attorney To Vacate Thousands Of Past Marijuana Convictions

Sonoma County, California District Attorney Jill Ravitch is directing staff to review and vacate thousands of past convictions for marijuana.

According to an estimate from county officials, 3,000 cases are eligible for either a sentencing reduction or expungement under Ravitch’s new orders. The announcement comes after similar moves were made in Alameda County, San Diego County, and San Francisco.

“Provisions in the state’s 2016 voter-approved marijuana law allow those with past marijuana convictions to petition the court for expungement”, says NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “Legislation is pending in the California Assembly, AB 1793, to make this process automatic for anyone with an eligible past cannabis conviction.”

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Marijuana Use Doesn’t Harm Kidneys, Finds Study

According to a new study published by the The American Journal of Medicinemarijuana use doesn’t seem to be harmful to kidneys.

“Our research provides some reassuring evidence suggesting that there is no detrimental effect of infrequent, relatively light use of marijuana on kidney function among healthy adults under age 60,” said lead investigator Dr. Murray Mittleman, professor of epidemiology at Harvard University’s School of Public Health and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“However, our research does not address heavy users, the elderly, or those with pre-existing chronic kidney disease,” said Mittleman in a press release. “Research is needed to evaluate the impact of marijuana use in adults 60 and over, and among those with existing or at risk of developing kidney disease.”

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