52% of the people living north of Mexico have access to legal medical marijuana.
Population tallies from the 24 US states with medical marijuana programs, one federal District and the country of Canada, which has a national program, show that the majority of those citizens are living in harmonious comfort with regulated medical marijuana production, distribution and use.
The wave of reform that’s swept across the U.S. this year has been swift, with lawmakers and citizens across the nation standing up for a change in the longstanding, propaganda-laden prohibition on cannabis. This year alone an initiative to legalize cannabis has qualified for the ballot in Alaska, signatures have been submitted for a similar initiative in Oregon and Washington D.C., and 8 states have passed laws legalizing some form of cannabis. Because of the latter, the number of states in the U.S. that have legalized at least some form of cannabis – whether it be full legalization or simply the allowance of the cannabis compound cannabidiol – has reached 31, or 62% of the entire country.
In the coming days, members of the House of Representatives are expected to debate and vote on budget appropriation legislation for the Department of Justice. Representatives Rohrabacher and Farr will be introducing an amendment to this measure to prevent any of the department’s funding from being used to interfere with medical marijuana programs in states that have approved them.
Twenty-one states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington — as well as the District of Columbia have enacted laws protecting medical marijuana patients from state prosecution. Yet in all of these states, patients and providers still face the risk of federal sanction — even when their actions are fully compliant with state law.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 233 to 181 earlier this month to pass H.R. 4138, the Enforce the Law Act, a measure to force President Obama to crack down on states that have legalize cannabis. Fortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the bill will be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.
Under the proposed law, the House or Senate would be authorized to sue the president for his inaction.
“The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to write the laws and the Executive to enforce them,” says Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), one of the bill’s sponsors.
In 2014 numerous states have joined the movement to legalize at least some form of medical cannabis.
In Utah, the governor recently signed a measure legalizing low-THC cannabis oil. In Kentucky, the state’s legislature has voted unanimously to legalize cannabidiol (a compound found in cannabis); the measure is expected to be signed by the governor.
In Mississippi, the state’s House and Senate has voted to also legalize cannabis oil that’s low in THC for medical purposes. The measure awaits response from the governor.
Below is a state-by-state breakdown of efforts across the United States to reform decades of failed cannabis laws.
Earlier this year a proposal to decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis was introduced.
Under current Alabama law, the possession of any amount of cannabis can net someone a prison sentence of up to a year; under this new proposal – House Bill 76 – the possession of an ounce or less of cannabis would be a simple $100 ticket. The measure currently sits in the House Judiciary Committee.
Most Expansive Drug Sentencing Reform in Decades Would Reduce Mandatory Minimums, Give Judges More Discretion, and Release Some Nonviolent Drug Offenders from Prison Early
Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan sentencing reform legislation that would reduce the federal prison population, decrease racial disparities, save taxpayer money, and reunite nonviolent drug law offenders with their families sooner. The reforms are supported by a strange bedfellows group of senators, including Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
“The tide has turned against punitive drug policies that destroy lives and tear families apart,“ said Bill Piper, director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “From liberal stalwarts to Tea Party favorites there’s now consensus that our country incarcerates too many people, for too much time, at too much expense to taxpayers.”
Today the Obama Administration – through a memo sent to prosecutors across the nation, and a phone call made to governors in Colorado and Washington – made an official statement announcing that they won’t being suing to overturn recently-approved recreational legalization measures in Colorado and Washington, nor will they sue to overturn state medical cannabis laws, so long as they don’t run afoul of certain enforcement priorities, such as preventing sales to minors.