Cannabis Legalization – Bringing Regulation to a Shadowy Industry

Pass it on:

Happy New Year, and Happy 2019 from WeedUpdate!

It has already been a busy 2019 with many state lawmakers introducing cannabis legalization legislation with a renewed sense of optimism.

Of course, with legalization comes regulation, and with regulation comes recalls. It’s safe to assume that we can all agree that recalls are a good thing, especially when it’s about protecting consumers from illegal pesticides. For example, Colorado recalled 100,000 edibles in the form of lollipops and candies, while Oregon recalled an entire strain, called Blue Magoo.

There has also been some good proof out of California that cannabis legalization through good policy and enforcement is a good thing, particularly when compared to the black market. In this case, a California testing lab in Sacramento was caught faking lab tests. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control recalled the bad batch; late or not, seeing real and quick enforcement encouraging. The black market has no obligation to test for illegal pesticides, while regulated markets do, and protect the consumer in the process. This extra-step (lab testing) alone justifies the higher prices being seen in legally regulated cannabis markets.

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Federal WeedUpdate

A longtime supporter of cannabis legalization and founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Congressman Earl Blumanauer from Oregon, introduced H.R. 420. Yes, “420” is a definite nod to stoner-culture. Let’s hope that alone won’t shut it down.

Speaking of a shutdown, the government shutdown is now in its 5th week. Unfortunalely, Congress is more worried about crushing our first amendment rights regarding offending a certain foreign government than it is about funding its own government and paying its employees.

It’s absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional right to engage in political activity,” (Tweet found here)

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Contact your representatives and let them know how appalled you are with these turn of events. Even veterans are speaking out. According to the Harald Tribune, “We have two types of people in the Senate — we have The Flintstones, and we have The Jetsons,” says Iraq war veteran Leo Bridgewater of Trenton, New Jersey. “Mitch McConnell represents The Flintstones genre. And if HR 420 doesn’t go through Mitch, there’s still our lawsuit. I can’t imagine this is what he really wants. The optics for that are not very good.”

It’s nothing new that D.C. does not represent the people. If more of us spoke up like the lobbyists do, then we would have just as much of our representatives’ attention.

Let’s see what’s happening around the country.

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State By State WeedUpdate

Arkansas

Arkansas already has a medical marijuana program, but it is very limited. New legislation has been introduced to add 40 ailments to the list of qualifying illnesses. However, the bill is calling for the removal of Glaucoma, citing conversations with ophthalmologists that cannabis could actually make glaucoma worst over the long run. Nonetheless, it’s very welcomed to see so many new patients potentially being able to improve their lives through cannabis.

Colorado

Colorado is one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, so it makes sense that the state has started a program to help individuals with low-level cannabis charges to expunge those records. Mayor Michael Hancock is a big supporter of the program, calling it the Turn Over a New Leaf program and applies to convictions between 2001 and 2012.

Connecticut

There is a new push for legalizing recreational marijuana in Connecticut for adults 21 and over. There have been previous tries at this type of legislation, but now with a democratic majority, there is a better chance of success. Also, as part of the new bill, Individuals with previous marijuana convictions will have those erased.

Kansas

Another state that has no laws legalizing cannabis, Kansas failed to pass medical marijuana last year. However, Senator Tom Holland is preparing legislation forming a conservative medical marijuana program. According to CJOnline.com,

Holland’s bill would place the Kansas Department of Health and Environment at the forefront of state regulation. Patients would register with KDHE and present a state ID card when buying doctor-prescribed marijuana. The Kansas Board of Pharmacy would permit dispensaries.

Senator Tom Holland

Give Senator Holland a hand and get in touch with your representatives here.

Kentucky

The state of Kentucky is one of the states with no laws legalizing cannabis. But there is an effort to introduce legislation this year for a medical marijuana program. The program will be the responsibility of the state’s Department of Public Protection’s Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The intent of the program is not government revenues, but to give patients of many illnesses the relief that they have a right to. Cannabis is known to ease the pain of many ailments, such as epilepsy and arthritis. If you live in Kentucky and want to see this legislation pass, then find your representatives and get in touch with them.

Maryland

In a recent Maryland State Legislator session, state Senate President Thomas Miller debated state House Speaker Michael Busch about Marijuana legalization. According to the Washington Post,

Busch said he is establishing a task force headed by Del. Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery), the House majority leader, to study recreational marijuana use, which he believes should be decided by Maryland voters in a state referendum.

Washington Post

However, Miller says that the legislator should decide by themselves. If you live in Maryland, find your representatives and contact them so that your lawmakers know your stance on cannabis legalization.

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South Carolina

South Carolina has no laws legalizing cannabis, but there are new efforts pushing for a state medical marijuana program. Lawmakers are very positive that these new efforts have a great chance of passing this year. Help them out and let them hear from you. Find your representatives and let them know your thoughts on legalizing marijuana.

Tennessee

Tennessee is one of the states with no laws legalizing marijuana, but now there is new legislation pushing for a medical marijuana program in the state. Legislators are positive that it has a much better chance passing this year, especially that there are new members in the state senate with more Republicans supporting medical marijuana. Want a medical cannabis program in Tennessee? Find your representatives, and let them know your opinions legalizing marijuana for people with serious illnesses.

Virginia

Although Virginia has a medical marijuana program, it still has very strict laws on cannabis possession. But Portsmouth Delegate Steve Heretick wants to change all that with the introduction of a new bill decriminalizing pot. Although Heretick has been trying to change state policy on cannabis since 2015 and believes in the sanctity of individual liberty in making certain choices as adults. The bill would decriminalize cannabis for adults 21 and older with civil fees no more than $250. Details of the bill can be found here.

Unfortunately, Heretick’s bill and others were recently shut down. Come on Virginians, contact your representatives and let them know your thoughts on cannabis legalization.

Washington, D.C.

District of Columbia Council Member David Grosso is now pushing for a revised Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act. According to Afro.com,

Since D.C. voters approved initiative 71 to decriminalize recreational marijuana we have seen marijuana-related arrests plummet, representing thousands of District residents who were spared needless involvement in the judicial system, The logical next step, to continue to reduce arrests and to bring marijuana totally out of the shadows, is to set up a strong tax and regulatory system.

David Grosso

Grosso believes that this legislation will pass quickly because of a Democratic majority in the House of Congress. Let’s hope he is right. The details of his bill can be found here.

Washington

The great state of Washington is creating a system that helps people with cannabis misdemeanor charges to receive a pardon. Governor Jay Inslee, who is also eyeing a 2020 presidential run, supports the Marijuana Justice Initiative, which pardons people that have marijuana convictions between 1998 and 2012. This is sound public policy that aims to fix the mistakes of marijuana prohibition on so many lives.


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Founder of WeedUpdate, Cannabis legalization advocate.

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