As we go to the election polls in November, it’s important to be informed on issues that could affect our industry. Medical marijuana is a crop that some ornamental growers are exploring and even applying for licenses to grow in certain areas of the country. In a July 30 Greenhouse Grower poll, asking growers if you were eligible to legally grow medical marijuana, would you do it, 71 percent of readers said yes and 29 percent said no.
According to ProCon.org, 23 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. In 2014, there are three states with pending legislation to legalize medical marijuana: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. This year, legislation to legalize medical marijuana has already passed in Maryland, Minnesota and New York.
Full Legalization Pending In Two States
According to a September 15 article in the Huffington Post, the state of New York could legalize marijuana for recreational use as early as 2015. The article states that the office of State Senator Liz Krueger (D) confirmed that she will reintroduce the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act during the next legislative session, which begins in January 2015.
This November, however, voters in Oregon and Alaska will decide whether to allow full recreational marijuana sales. If the ballot initiatives pass, those states would join Colorado and Washington, which legalized cannabis use in 2012, despite a federal ban on marijuana sales and possession.
In Alaska, Ballot Measure 2, if approved, would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana (28 grams) and up to six plants. A previous attempt in 2012 failed in Oregon, but possession has long been decriminalized there. Other states considering legalization for recreational use include Arizona, California and Maine.
National Pro-Medical Marijuana Legislation
Meanwhile, there is pro-medical marijuana legislation pending nationally that would not necessarily legalize use; however, U.S. House Bill H.R. 5226, Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014 is on tap to amend the Controlled Substances Act. This would exclude therapeutic hemp and cannabidiol from the definition of marijuana, and for other purposes. The legislation states that nothing in the Act should prohibit or restrict activities related to the use, production or distribution of marijuana in a state in which such activities are legal under state law.
Other pro-medical marijuana (non-legalizing) legislation has passed in 2014 in:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
To learn details about all of the related legislation on state and national ballots this coming November, visit the ProCon.org website. The ProCon.org mission is to: “promote critical thinking, education and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format.”
Sources: ProCon.org, Huffington Post, NBC News