Vermont Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law, Takes Effect July 1

As expected, Vermont Governor Phil Scott on Monday officially signed a bill into law that makes marijuana legal for those 21 and  older.

Governor Scott signing H. 511 into law makes Vermont the first state in U.S. history to legalize marijuana through state lawmakers (the other eight states with legal marijuana did so through the initiative process). The new law – which takes full effect on July 1 – allows those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to two mature (and four immature) cannabis plants.

“After more than 15 years of hard work by MPP and our allies in the state, adults in Vermont no longer need to fear being fined or criminalized for low-level marijuana possession and cultivation,” said Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “This is a great step forward for the state and the whole region. Responsible adults will soon have the freedom to enjoy a safer option legally, and law enforcement will be free to concentrate on serious crimes with actual victims. We are looking forward to working with lawmakers and state leaders to continue improving marijuana laws in the Green Mountain State.”

Read moreVermont Governor Signs Marijuana Legalization Bill Into Law, Takes Effect July 1

Nevada: Legal Marijuana Sale Begin Saturday

Legal adult marijuana sales will begin in Nevada on Saturday, making it the fifth state in U.S. where legal marijuana sales are taking place.

Marijuana StudiesBeginning at 12:01 a.m. PT, those in Nevada who are 21 and older will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of marijuana-infused edibles or concentrates from licensed marijuana retail outlets. Retail marijuana sales will be subject to a 10 percent sales tax, which state officials estimate will generate more than $60 million in the first two years.

“The marijuana prohibition era is finally coming to an end in Nevada,” says Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which backed Question 2, the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol that was approved by approximately 54.5 percent of Nevada voters in November.

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Quinnipiac Poll Finds 93% of U.S. Voters Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

A new Quinnipiac University Poll has found that the vast majority of American voters believe that marijuana should be legal, and that the federal government should respect states’ rights.

According to the poll, an overwhelming 93% of U.S. voters believe that marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. A strong, though obviously smaller majority (59%) is in support of legalizing cannabis for all purposes.

The survey also found that 71% of voters (including a majority of Republicans, Democrats, independents, and every age group) oppose the federal government enforcing federal marijuana laws in states where the plant has been legalized.

Read moreQuinnipiac Poll Finds 93% of U.S. Voters Support Legalizing Medical Marijuana

Colorado: $1.3 Billion in Legal Cannabis Sold in 2016, Nearly $200 Million in Taxes Generated

Colorado Department of Revenue has released data showing that there was $1.3 billion in cannabis sold last year.

This resulted in almost $200 million in new tax revenue for the state. A large portion is earmarked towards school construction and funding.

“Over one billion dollars in marijuana sales that once took place in the underground market were instead conducted in regulated businesses this year”, says Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project’s Communication Director. “The state received nearly $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, whereas just a decade ago it was receiving zero.”

Read moreColorado: $1.3 Billion in Legal Cannabis Sold in 2016, Nearly $200 Million in Taxes Generated

Government-Funded Survey Finds Little Change in Teen Cannabis Use Despite States Legalizing

The results of the Monitoring the Future Survey invalidate claims by prohibitionists that liberalizing cannabis laws will increase teen usage. The survey was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse

According to the survey:

teen cannabis use Among 8th-graders, the rate of past-year cannabis use dropped significantly from 11.8% in 2015 to 9.4% in 2016; its lowest level since 1993. Past-month cannabis use also dropped significantly; from 6.5% in 2015 to 5.4% in 2016, and daily use dropped from 1.1% in 2015 to 0.7% in 2016.

• Among 10th- and 12th-graders, rates of past-year, past-month, and daily cannabis use remained relatively stable compared to last year.

Read moreGovernment-Funded Survey Finds Little Change in Teen Cannabis Use Despite States Legalizing

World’s Largest Cannabis Policy Group (MPP) Endorses Gary Johnson for President

gary johnson
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (photo: thelibertarianrepublic.com).

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the largest cannabis policy group in the world, has officially endorsed Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson for president of the United States. Johnson is the former governor of New Mexico (1995 – 2003).

“Of the three presidential candidates who will appear on the ballot in all 50 states and D.C., Gary Johnson clearly has the best position on marijuana policy”, says MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia. “When he first advocated for legalization in 1999, he was the highest-ranking public official in the U.S. to do so — as the sitting Republican governor of New Mexico, no less.”

Read moreWorld’s Largest Cannabis Policy Group (MPP) Endorses Gary Johnson for President

MPP Updates Cannabis Scorecard for Presidential Candidates, Includes Third-Party Nominees

jointThe Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the nation’s largest cannabis policy organization, has released their updated presidential candidate voter guide for the general election, which now includes third-party candidates. The full guide can be found by clicking here.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who was nominated Sunday by the Libertarian Party, and physician Jill Stein, the presumptive Green Party nominee, were both added to the voter guide, and both received “A+” grades. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump received a “C+” – primarily based on his past support for legalizing medical cannabis – and the two remaining Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, received a “B” and an “A,” respectively (though in all honesty, we here at TheJointBlog do take issue with Clinton receiving a “B”, when all she supports is rescheduling cannabis to schedule 2 alongside drugs such as cocaine; and even this she didn’t support until the current election cycle).

Read moreMPP Updates Cannabis Scorecard for Presidential Candidates, Includes Third-Party Nominees

Poll: 55% of Maine Voters Support Initiative to Legalize Cannabis on November Ballot

Marijuana_Plants-3An initiative to legalize recreational cannabis for everyone 21 and older in Maine was recently placed on this November’s ballot, and according to new polling voters are prepared to pass the measure into law.

According to the poll, conducted by Critical Insights and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project, 55% of voters in Maine support the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol initiative to legalize cannabis, which recently qualified for the November ballot despite being initially denied by the state (something a judge overruled); just 41% are opposed.

When asked; “regardless of how you feel about this specific initiative, do you favor or oppose taxing, regulating and legalizing marijuana for adults?”, support rose by 4%, with 59% in support to 35% opposed.

Read morePoll: 55% of Maine Voters Support Initiative to Legalize Cannabis on November Ballot

Illinois’ Full Senate Approves Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis

jillyIllinois’ full Senate gave approval today to a bill that would replace criminal penalties with a civil fine for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. The vote was 40 to 14.

Senate Bill 2228, which was introduced by Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), would make the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis a civil violation punishable by a fine of no more than $200. Under current Illinois law, the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis is punishable by a misdemeanor and up to 6 months in jail (if it’s under 2.5 grams the penalty is up to 30 days in jail)

Read moreIllinois’ Full Senate Approves Bill to Decriminalize Cannabis

U.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Colorado’s Cannabis Legalization Law

coloradoIn a historic decision, the United States Supreme Court today dismissed Nebraska and Oklahoma’s lawsuit challenging Colorado’s law that allows for the legal possession, cultivation and retail distribution of cannabis.

The lawsuit against Colorado’s cannabis law was filed in December, 2014 by the attorneys general for Nebraska and Oklahoma, who argued that the state’s decision to legalize the plant was “placing stress on their criminal justice systems.” Both the state of Colorado, and the Obama Administration filed briefs urging the court to dismiss the suit.

Read moreU.S. Supreme Court Dismisses Challenge to Colorado’s Cannabis Legalization Law