Study: Medical Cannabis Legalization Associated with Reduced Violent Crimes in States Bordering Mexico

The introduction of laws legalizing medical cannabis is associated with reduced violent crimes in U.S. states bordering Mexico, according to a new study published by The Economic Journal.

“[T]he introduction of medical marijuana laws (MMLs) leads to a decrease in violent crime in states that border Mexico”, states the abstract of the study, titled Is Legal Pot Crippling Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations? The Effect of Medical Marijuana Laws on US Crime. “The reduction in crime is strongest for counties close to the border (less than 350 kilometres) and for crimes that relate to drug trafficking.”

In addition, researchers found that “MMLs in inland states lead to a reduction in crime in the nearest border state. Our results are consistent with the theory that decriminalisation of the production and distribution of marijuana leads to a reduction in violent crime in markets that are traditionally controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organisations.”

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Illinois Judge Allows 11-Year-Old to Use Medical Cannabis at School

In a decision that may have a far reaching and long lasting impact, an Illinois judge has allowed an 11-year-old girl to use medical marijuana at school, reports NPR.

Although medical cannabis is legal in Illinois, it’s against the law for students to use it in school or have school nurses administer it. However, a judge has made an exemption to the law for Ashley Surin, an 11-year-old who overcame a leukemia diagnosis at just 2 years old. Despite overcoming the illness, chemotherapy left her having semi regular seizures. Her mother, Maureen Surin, told NPR that since starting medical cannabis treatment, her seizures have largely declined in number. “We’re amazed with her progress,” says Surin.

Her parents filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday against Schaumburg School District 54 and the State of Illinois, claiming that the state’s ban on taking the drug at school violates the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). On Friday, a judge ruled in their favor after hearing from the school district, which reportedly had concerns that its employees may be subject to legal penalties for helping Ashley with her medications.

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New Federal Bill Would Stop Jeff Sessions From Prosecuting State-Lawful Marijuana Entities

Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Don Young (R-AK) filed a resolution today (HR 4779) that would prohibit the federal government from enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the plant.

“The federal government should respect the will of the voters in states that have voted to decriminalize cannabis”, says Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money on the failed War on Drugs. I’m proud to introduce the REFER Act, which would prevent the Attorney General and others in the Trump Administration from stifling the budding cannabis industry.” Lee says that “if the federal government chooses to interfere in these state matters, it’s up to Congress to prevent this harmful overreach.”

“With the Justice Department having rescinded Obama-era directives limiting the federal government’s involvement in states where marijuana is lawful, and with the future of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment uncertain, it is imperative that members of Congress take swift action in support of HR 4779,” says NORML’s Political Director Justin Strekal. “More than seven out of ten Americans – including majorities of both Democrats and Republicans – believe that states, not the federal government, ought to decide marijuana policy. Our nation’s longstanding federalist principles demand that Congress take action to respect voters’ wishes and permit these policies to evolve free from undue federal interference.” Read the rest of this entry »

9 States Have Legalized Cannabis – Here Are the 5 States Most Likely to Become #10

Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Massachusetts, Maine, California and Nevada have all legalized marijuana, and Vermont’s Legislature just approved a bill to join this list. Which state will be #10?

Below is a list (in no particular order) of the top five states we believe are the most likely to legalize marijuana next, becoming the 10th state in the U.S. to do so (which would make 20% of the entire country).

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Virginia: New Bipartisan Bill Would Decriminalize Marijuana Possession, Reduce Penalty for Distribution

A bipartisan group of state legislators in Virginia have filed a measure that would decriminalize marijuana possession, and reduce the penalty for distributing up to half a pound.

According to its official summary, House Bill 1063 “Decriminalizes marijuana possession and provides a civil penalty of no more than $250 for a first violation and $1,000 for a second or subsequent violation.” Under current law, a first offense is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and a maximum jail sentence of 30 days, and subsequent offenses are a Class 1 misdemeanor. The bill “creates a rebuttable presumption that a person who possesses no more than one-half ounce of marijuana possesses it for personal use and provides that the existing suspended sentence and substance abuse screening provisions apply only to criminal violations or to civil violations by a minor.”

The bill also “decreases the penalty for distribution or possession with intent to sell more than one-half but not more than five pounds of marijuana from a Class 5 felony to a Class 6 felony.”

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West Virginia Lawmaker Introduces Legislation to Legalize Marijuana and Hash

A proposal that would make marijuana and hash legal throughout West Virginia has been filed in the state’s legislature.

House Bill 3035 was filed by Delegate Sean Hornbuckle (D). According to its summary, the purpose of this bill “is to legalize the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana and establish a regulatory program for growing, selling and testing of marijuana sold in West Virginia.”

The measure would allow those 21 and older to possess and use up to an ounce of marijuana and up to five grams of hash; they would also be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants (with up to three allowed to be in the “mature”  stage at any given time). A system of licensed marijuana retail outlets would also be authorized.

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Tripartisan New Hampshire Bill Would Protect Medical Cannabis Patients From Having Info Given to Feds

New legislation filed in New Hampshire would protect medical cannabis patients from having their information handed over to the federal government.

House Bill 1672, filed by Representative Caleb Dyer (L) with a tripartisan group of lawmakers, “requires a search warrant issued by a judge based upon probable cause for any federal request for information relative to users of therapeutic cannabis created by the registry.”

Specifically, the measure would amend RSA 126-X:4, XI(b)(4) to read as follows:

“(4)  Requests by law enforcement officials under this section to the department pursuant to a sworn affidavit, search warrant, or court order, regardless of whether or not the name or address was found in the registry, shall be confidential under this chapter and exempt from disclosure under RSA 91-A.  Aggregate data relative to such requests may be made public if it does not contain any identifying information regarding the specific law enforcement request.  Requests by federal authorities for any information relative to users of therapeutic cannabis contained in the registry shall require a search warrant issued by a judge based on probable cause.”

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Washington State Bill Would Legalize Medical Marijuana Deliveries

Legislation that would legalize the delivery of marijuana and marijuana products to qualified patients has been introduced in Washington’s House of Representatives.

The measure, House Bill 2574, was introduced by Representative Shelley Kloba (D) along with a bipartisan coalition of 11 other lawmakers. The bill would establish “a medical marijuana delivery endorsement to the marijuana retailer’s license that authorizes the holder to provide marijuana home delivery services to qualifying medical marijuana patients age 21 or over, or to designated providers”, and “Authorizes qualifying medical marijuana patients to place delivery orders for marijuana products with a qualifying retailer over the telephone or by Internet.”

The proposal “Requires that medical marijuana deliveries be made to the same qualifying adult that placed the order and that the delivery be made only to a private residence, hotel, motel, or other lodging business”, and “Requires that delivery persons be trained regarding age and identity verification, as well as verification that the patient is registered in the medical marijuana database.”

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Study: U.S. Marijuana Legalization Would Create a Million New Jobs, $132 Billion in Tax Revenue in First 8 Years

According to a new study if marijuana is legalized across the United States a million new jobs would be created and the government would receive at least $132 billion in new tax revenue in the first eight years.

The study was conducted by New Frontier Data, a data analytics firm that’s primary focus is analyzing the legal marijuana industry. They found that if marijuana was made legal across the country, and taxed at 15%, it would generate at least $131.8 billion in tax revenue between 2017 and 2025.

The study also concluded that legalization would create 782,000 new jobs almost immediately; this would rise to 1.1 million by 2025.

“When there are budget deficits and the like, everybody wants to know where is there an additional revenue stream, and one of the most logical places is to go after cannabis and cannabis taxes,” says Beau Whitney, an economist at New Frontier Data.

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Poll: 61% of South Carolina Voters Support Legalizing Medical Cannabis

According to new polling a strong majority of  voters in South Carolina want cannabis to be legal for medical purposes.

According to the new Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey, 61% of South Carolina voters support making physician-approved medical cannabis use legal. Just 31% are opposed, with 8% undecided.

“The numbers in the poll are positive,” said Jill Swing, founder of SC Compassionate Care Alliance, which is advocating for medical cannabis legalization. Swing says she wants a bill passed that allows  “safe, legal access to patients who do not want to break the law.”

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