Marijuana Legalization Updates

Status-of-Marijuana-US-Map-May-2015_LaurenAs of April 2015, 23 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) currently has laws legalizing marijuana in some capacity. According to a press release by the D.C. mayoral office, on February 26, 2015, D.C. passed a law allowing the possession of small amounts of marijuana in some circumstances for adults ages 21 and older.

In addition to D.C., currently, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Colorado are the only states where marijuana is legal for recreational use.

Furthermore, the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro J. García Padilla signed an executive order on May 3 that would allow for the legal use of medical marijuana in U.S. territories. Before that date, marijuana was classified as illegal under the Puerto Rican Controlled Substances Act.

In a press release, the governor mentions research that confirms the pain-relieving benefits of marijuana for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, AIDS, glaucoma and a host of other illnesses.

According to a report from Marijuana Business Daily, the U.S. marijuana industry will funnel $10 billion into state and local economies in 2015 by way of dispensaries and recreational cannabis stores. The information from the report comes from the publication’s “Marijuana Business Factbook 2015,” which was compiled from survey data from 1,000 business owners and their financial backers.

The report also claims that expected revenue for the industry is predicted to reach $30 billion by 2019 as more states legalize marijuana and the industry continues to expand.

Medical Marijuana At The State Level

Despite the promising financial outlook, there have been quite a few regulatory setbacks in states where legalization once seemed promising. For example, Senate Bill 528, or “The Florida Medical Marijuana Act,” died in the Senate this May. The bill would have allowed registered patients and caregivers to purchase and possess medical-grade marijuana in Florida.

Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah and West Virginia are the remaining states that proposed and were denied legislation in 2015 related to legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.

However, there are currently seven states with pending legislation in 2015 for medical marijuana, which include Alabama, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

In Georgia, HB 1, also known as Haleigh’s Hope Act, was signed into law this April, and allows the creation of a registration within the Department of Public Health for authorized persons to possess a low THC oil for medical use.

This law does not legalize the use of marijuana and it requires more regulation than states where medical marijuana is legal, due to the fact that it only allows processed cannabis oil extract with a THC content of 5 percent or less.

Tennessee and Virginia have also signed similar laws early this year that would allow the use of a cannabinoid oil; however, Tennessee’s law requires that the oil be purchased in another state for legal use.

Looking Ahead

At the federal level, several bills are currently awaiting action including the bipartisan bill HR-1094, or the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015,” which would prevent federal prosecutions of state-compliant marijuana consumers and businesses. The bill was assigned to the congressional committee on April 22, and is still awaiting approval before it moves to the House or Senate.

Another federal bill, House Bill 525, which would amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp, has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee of Energy and Commerce, and currently has 49 co-sponsors.

For more detailed information on pending legislation at both the federal and state level, visit Norml.org/act.

Sources: Norml, Marijuana Business Daily

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3 comments on “Marijuana Legalization Updates

  1. What a joke! We will pontificate like politicians the decision to grow legal marijuana with the clear moral delusion of relieving some poor souls pain?
    The truth is we will legalize and grow it because it pays better than jumbo six pack annuals along with the tax benefit of bailing out our budget deficient state governments. Same argument used for casinos, lottery, booze , cigarettes…and yet we still spend more than we bring in.

    While we think our industry can get on the ground floor of the new money tree with a couple of moral arguments that it helps the sick and reduces crime to legalize it… knowing full well it is used for folks who like to get high, eat a bunch of chips, and stare at the wall for the rest of the day.

    You may know that this is the easiest plant on earth to grow. and that as soon as it is legal it will be as profitable as growing nut grass .Until it is regulated into some sort of lottery system where you pay to play the politicians; and then only the “moonshine” growers will earn good money

    Then again the lawyers will make out ok when they learn you may be liable because your marijuana gave junior cancer and made him stupid. But your honor, I grew it for medicinal purposes!

    1. are some users stoners who use “medical” as an excuse to be slackers? Certainly. However talk to some cancer patients like my wife who use medical CBD oils as a treatment for her cancer. Children who are able to reduce their dependence on super nasty narcotic based treatments for seizures. True chronic pain sufferers, that are actually prescribed morphine. I am talking about people who have been in severe accidents, have more metal pins and fused vertebrae that while alive are literally writhing in pain. All these people deserve safe access to high grade, commercially grown, reasonably priced product. Not every sick person can grown their own product, and should not be required to buy illegal crap grown by a cartel.

      I wish you continued health but remember that not everyone is as fortunate to be free from conditions that are truly relieved by this plant

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