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Federal Taxation of Cannabis: A Primer

8/30/21--According to the research documentation outlined and presented by Gordon Gray, Director of Fiscal Policy at the American Action Forum, as federal and state governments remain somewhat in limbo on the overarching question of legalization and associated taxation, the practicalities of how much and how effectively these products are taxed have policy implications for governments, local economies, consumers, and even complementary industries. Read

Idaho cannabis advocates launch legalization efforts in ‘the most hostile states’ toward policy reform

8/5/21--Idaho cannabis advocates are working to place medical and decriminalization measures on the 2022 ballot in what Russ Belville, spokesperson for the Idaho Citizens Coalition for Cannabis, calls “the most hostile state” toward policy reform. Read

2 lawmakers introduce bill to legalize marijuana in Ohio

7/30/21--Two state lawmakers introduced legislation Friday to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Ohio. State Reps. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) and Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland) say their bill will have four major components: Decriminalization, Marijuana Excise Tax, Commerce and Licensing, and Medical Marijuana. This new legislation would allow for adult cultivation and possession of marijuana and allows for the expungement of conviction records for previous cultivation and possession offenses. Read

South Dakota marijuana activists unveil four legalization initiatives for 2022 ballot, pending supreme court decision

7/5/21--South Dakota marijuana activists filed four separate legalization measures with the state Legislative Research Council—the first step toward putting the issue before voters next year. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws says the sponsors will drop the proposals if Amendment A, which was approved by voters last November, is fully restored by the state’s high court. But for now, they’re getting the process rolling in case the judiciary doesn’t uphold the will of the electorate. Read

Update: Gov. Ned signs adult-cannabis legalization

6/17/21--Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont made adult-use cannabis legalization official June 22 in the Constitution State, where lawmakers met in a special session to approve the measure last week. Connecticut is the fourth state to end prohibition through the legislative process this year. Read

Amazon endorses federal marijuana legalization, softens drug-testing policy

6/2/21--On Wednesday, Amazon endorsed the U.S. House of Representatives’ federal marijuana reform bill and said it would no longer include cannabis in its drug screening process except for positions regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In a blog post, Dave Clark, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer, said the Seattle-based company’s public policy team will actively support the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE Act). Read

Congressional bill to federally legalize marijuana filed by Republican lawmakers

5/12/21--A pair of congressional Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill to federally legalize marijuana, protect banks that service state-legal cannabis business and ensure that military veterans are specifically permitted to use marijuana in compliance with state laws. The Common Sense Cannabis Reform for Veterans, Small Businesses, and Medical Professionals Act is being sponsored by Reps. David Joyce (R-OH) and Don Young (R-AK). Read

Alabama House passes medical cannabis bill as session nears end

5/6/21--After years of failed efforts, Alabama lawmakers are one step away from passing the SB 46 bill, introduced by Sen. Tim Melson, to legalize medical cannabis. This bill would create a more robust medical cannabis program, allowing patients who qualify with at least one of more than a dozen conditions to buy medical cannabis products from a state-legal shop. Though, the bill does not allow for smokable products, including vapes, which would make the state’s program among the most restrictive in the country. Read

Weinstein to seek full legalization of marijuana

4/22/21--Democratic state Reps. Casey Weinstein of Hudson and Terrance Upchurch of Cleveland are preparing to introduce legislation in the next few weeks to legalize recreational marijuana in an effort to capitalize on economic opportunities for the state and address disproportionate imprisonment of Black people for non-violent offenses. Read

Labour’s ‘responsible’ drug abuse

4/13/21--In a relentless drive to legalize drug abuse, Labour issued a White Paper entitled, ‘Towards the strengthening of the legal framework on the responsible use of cannabis’. Labour’s White Paper asserts that “Nothing in this White Paper is intended to encourage, promote or lead to consumption of cannabis,” but according to The Shift's Kevin Cassar, it proceeds to do just that. Read

New coalition launched to end cannabis prohibition, bridge across ideological, party lines

4/6/21--The Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) launched to end the prohibition, criminalization, and overregulation of cannabis in the United States. The CFA aims to do so in a manner consistent with helping all Americans achieve their full potential and limiting the number of barriers that inhibit innovation and entrepreneurship in a free and open market. Read

New York marijuana legalization bill is officially released, with votes planned within days

3/27/21--A new bill to legalize marijuana in New York was released on Saturday after lawmakers and the governor finalized a deal that has been negotiated for weeks. Sen. Liz Krueger (D), the lead Senate sponsor of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), says the newly revised version of the legislation will legalize adult-use cannabis in a way that foregrounds racial justice, while balancing safety with economic growth, encouraging new small businesses, and significantly diminishing the illegal market. Read

Advocates back legislative effort to legalize marijuana in New York

2/28/21--Proponents of legalizing recreational marijuana in New York are putting their weight behind a bill in the state legislature, saying they prefer it to the competing framework that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has included as part of his proposed $193 billion budget. Read

Jeff Brandes refiles bill for recreational cannabis in medical storefronts

1/21/21--Pinellas County Sen. Jeff Brandes has refiled legislation that would allow medical storefronts to sell cannabis to adults for recreational use. The bill, Availability of Marijuana for Adult Use (SB 710), would legalize the sale of cannabis to individuals 21 and older at authorized medical cannabis centers. The bill also allows adults to purchase 2.5 ounces of cannabis or a product with up to 2 grams of THC. Read

Hawaii lawmakers push to legalize marijuana for personal use

1/22/21--Some Hawaii lawmakers are considering legalizing recreational marijuana. The bill would allow people to have up to an ounce of cannabis. It would also create a process for cultivators to grow and sell marijuana which would then be taxed by the state.  Read

Recreational marijuana bills expected to be filed as early as next week

1/23/21--Rep. Javier Martinez has backed a recreational marijuana bill every year he's held office, and he's working on it again this year. Martinez said the bill focuses on three fundamental principles: protecting and enhancing the medical cannabis program; ensuring equity in the way the industry is built out; and ensuring a smart regulatory and taxation framework. Read

Recreational marijuana done well.

1/19/21--Both the outgoing and incoming Rhode Island governors as well as the Senate President have indicated that marijuana for recreational use will likely be legalized this year, and they also believe legalization has been adequately studied and the time is right. However, House Speaker Joseph Shekarchi has expressed that he will convene a study commission before deciding whether to proceed. Read

West County state rep introduces bill to legalize marijuana in Missouri

12/29/20--Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin, wants to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri. Dogan pre-filed a bill that would change the state constitution and would require voter approval to legalize the sale of the drug and wants the measure to go before voters in 2022. Read

Idaho group to try for recreational marijuana in 2022

12/30/20--Groups of Idaho activists are renewing the effort to legalize marijuana, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. Russ Belville, with the Idaho Citizens Coalition, is in the process of drafting a citizens initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use in the state of Idaho. Belville led the 2020 citizens initiative for medical marijuana, called the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act (IMMA). Read

Texas lawmaker understands path ahead for marijuana legalization

11/19/20--State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, authored House Bill 63, which would have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. That bill passed with a supermajority in the Texas House of Representatives, but was never taken up in the Senate. This session, Moody is going further by filing a bill that would outright legalize marijuana if passed. Read

Arizona Republic tests the limit of the First Amendment

10/26/20--The Arizona Republic’s editorial board endorsed that state’s Proposition 207 to legalize, commercialize and tax recreational marijuana sales. In spite of advanced notice that what they were publishing was false, The Arizona Republic proceeded with what amounted to a front-page advertisement for the Marijuana Lobby. Read

Pot initiative cash battle: Industry versus rich conservatives

10/22/20--The campaign to legalize recreational cannabis for adults in Arizona, Proposition 207, was recharged with nearly $1.47 million in late-summer donations, while the campaign against the initiative, Arizonans for Health and Public Safety, raised about $298,000, roughly one-fifth of the pro-cannabis side in that in the same time period. Its donations came largely from wealthy conservatives. Read

Election Poll: Presidential race and marijuana ballot issues

10/25/20--KELOLAND Media Group teamed up with the Argus Leader to conduct a scientific poll on the candidates and ballot issues. Between October 19-21, 625 likely voters in South Dakota were asked to respond to a series of questions regarding the upcoming election regarding two of the biggest issues: the Presidential Race and ballot issues about marijuana. Read

Who are 2020’s top marijuana legalization campaign donors? We’ve got all the data

10/13/20--In most of the five states with cannabis legalization measures on the 2020 ballot, public campaign finance data indicates that prohibitionists are hurting for cash. Read

Prop. 207 would legalize marijuana, but it does a lot more

9/18/20--According to columnist Robert Robb, recreational marijuana should be legal. However, Proposition 207 does a lot more that should trouble even its supporters. Read

Vermont’s new marijuana law lacks pathway for local growers and marginalized groups, opponents say

9/25/20--A coalition of advocacy groups are calling on Gov. Phil Scott to veto a bill passed earlier this week that would establish a retail marijuana market in Vermont. The coalition, which includes the Vermont Growers Association and Justice For All Vermont, say S.54 doesn’t offer a clear path for small businesses, farmers and marginalized communities to get in on the emerging cannabis market. Instead, they say, lawmakers are opting to work initially with out-of-state retailers that operate medical marijuana facilities in Vermont. Read

Tim Steller’s opinion: Effort to put Kanye West on AZ ballot relying on deception

9/2/20--In a last minute, high-priced effort to put musician Kanye West on Arizona’s ballot as an independent candidate for president, petition circulators might say they’re working for “independent candidates,” they might even say they’re collecting signatures for marijuana legalization — something that’s already on Arizona’s ballot. As mentioned in an editorial by Tim Steller, columnist for the Arizona Daily Star, when you combine a desperate petition effort with decent money, it’s not surprising deception results. Read

Cannabis ballot measures finalized, Florida gets edibles, capital raises rebounding & more

8/29/20--A recreational marijuana legalization ballot measure in Arizona got the final go-ahead, while a medical cannabis legalization initiative in Nebraska is fighting to keep its place on the November ballot. And, the addition of edibles to Florida’s medical marijuana market became formal under state health department rules. Read

Cannabis legalization campaign launches new website

8/4/20--NJCAN2020.org, the campaign to pass a referendum to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, has launched a new interactive website to build grassroots support for the November general election. Read

Montana adult-use cannabis legalization initiative certified for November ballot

8/13/20--A citizen initiative in Montana to legalize a commercial recreational marijuana program gathered enough valid signatures to appear on the November ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s office. The ballot initiative, backed by New Approach Montana, would set up a regulated adult-use market. Read

Legalized weed headed for November ballot

7/7/20--Backers of a campaign to legalize recreational use of marijuana submitted about 420,000 signatures on petitions Wednesday to put the issue on the November ballot. However, it becomes only the first step in trying to convince Arizonans once again that they want to allow adults to buy and possess up to an ounce of marijuana or 12 plants. Read

As signature deadlines approach, here’s where marijuana and drug policy reform campaigns stand

7/2/20--Several drug policy reform campaigns are in the final stretch as deadlines to submit signatures for proposed ballot initiatives loom this week and next. The proposed ballot measures would accomplish everything from legalizing cannabis to decriminalizing psychedelics such as psilocybin and ayahuasca. This article provides a status update on where they stand. Read

Why more states could legalize cannabis in 2021

6/25/20--Actions by states to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana use and possession are fueling momentum for the broader movement to legalize cannabis and have it serve as an economic engine for cash-strapped coffers, industry members and policy experts say. Karen O'Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, expects a record number of states to legalize marijuana in 2021, in part due to the financial pressures, along with the racial injustice imperative to reduce unnecessary police-civilian interactions. Read

Oklahoma high court rules on firearms, marijuana questions

6/23/20--The court ruled State Question 807 to legalize marijuana may proceed to the signature-gathering stage. Supporters hope to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to legalize marijuana for adults age 21 and over and impose a 15% tax on cannabis sales. Supporters would have to gather about 178,000 signatures of registered voters in 90 days to qualify the question for the ballot. Read

National groups to spend $3M on campaign to legalize marijuana in Montana

6/22/20--The backers of a voter initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana formed a new group, New Approach Montana, with national backing, that’s prepared to spend at least $3 million to get the measure and a companion constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot and pass them. Read

Axel Owen named campaign manager of NJ CAN 2020 to win ‘yes’ vote on NJ marijuana question

6/19/20--NJ CAN 2020, the political committee leading the charge to legalize marijuana in November, announced Axel Owen as the campaign manager for the inclusive and robust effort leading to a “yes” vote on the 2020 ballot question to legalize cannabis in New Jersey. Read

Montana activists submit 130,000 signatures for marijuana legalization initiatives despite coronavirus setbacks

6/19/20--Montana activists are turning in more than 130,000 signatures on Friday to qualify a pair of legalization initiatives for the November ballot. While the coronavirus pandemic took a major hit on the New Approach Montana campaign, forcing a temporary suspension of signature gathering during critical months, they relaunched the process in recent weeks and submitted their final petitions batch on the deadline day. Read

Which cannabis efforts survived the Coronavirus shutdowns?

06/18/20--Months after the novel coronavirus settled into communities across the country, states have begun to emerge from stay-at-home orders, with some legislatures powering through backlogged bills while others fade into recess. Cannabis Wire contacted public servants, elected officials, and activists from Rhode Island to Arizona to find out where legalization initiatives—for medical and adult use—stand as legislators head home for the summer and election boards prepare for November. Read

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board | Canopy Project 2020

6/1/20--The canopy project, started in 2017, provides supplemental information about the physical size of plants grown in Washington. This data is a helpful supplement to both the state traceability and licensing systems because it provides firsthand information about the size of marijuana plants, a data point not captured by either system. Read

Recreational cannabis measure rallies for thousands of signatures still needed

6/5/20--Organizers of one of the two measures that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state is still trying to collect enough signatures to make it on the November ballot. The North Dakota Freedom of Cannabis Act has about 17,000 signatures so far, and the initiated measure needs another 10,000 or so before July 6th. Read

Group ends its ballot push; backers of 2nd recreational-pot proposal keep up efforts

5/27/20--Arkansas True Grass, one of two groups pushing for a constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana in Arkansas, is abandoning its efforts and will refocus on getting the measure on the 2022 ballot. Meanwhile, Arkansans for Cannabis Reform, another group hoping to qualify a recreational marijuana amendment for the November ballot, is continuing its signature-gathering efforts. Read

Federal Judge orders Ohio to let marijuana decriminalization campaigns collect signatures electronically

5/20/20--A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that activists seeking to place marijuana decriminalization measures on local ballots across Ohio can collect signatures electronically after they were forced to suspend in-person gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic. The court also ordered state officials to extend the deadline to submit signatures from July 1 to July 31. Read

Arizona’s marijuana activists are united. Will that be enough for legalization this year?

4/16/20--Arizona politicians and activists have spent the last year introducing various bills and initiatives to legalize adult-use marijuana in 2020. However, a single ballot initiative has outlasted the rest spearheaded by the dispensary-led Smart and Safe Arizona Act. The campaign had amassed more than 300,000 signatures — seemingly well over the necessary threshold to get approved for the ballot in July. Read

Civil society organizations call for drug decriminalization as a necessary response to COVID-19

5/14/20--More than 50 leading human rights, health, and drug policy organizations from across the country, including the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Pivot Legal Society, the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canadian Association of People who use Drugs, Amnesty International, the BC Centre on Substance Use, and the Canadian Public Health Association, are calling on key ministers in the federal government to immediately decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs in response to the twin crises of opioid overdoses and the COVID-19 pandemic. Read

Nebraska and Montana marijuana activists resume ballot signature gathering amid Coronavirus

5/15/20--Campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana and medical cannabis in Nebraska are back in action after temporary suspensions due to the coronavirus pandemic. In short, The Nebraska initiative would allow physicians to recommend cannabis to patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions. Montana activists are pushing two measures: one statutory initiative to establish a regulated cannabis market for adult use as well as a constitutional amendment stipulating that only those 21 and older can participate in the market. Read

Government reveals cannabis referendum legalization details

5/1/20--On Friday, the Government released details of the Cannabis Legalization and Control Bill, which will be voted on in one of two referendums at this year’s general election. The final version also confirmed the wording of the cannabis referendum question will be a straight 'Yes or No' option. The Bill sets out the regulation regime that would legalize the production, possession and uses of cannabis in New Zealand for those aged 20 years and older. Read

Push to legalize pot in New York still on

3/24/20--New York Gov. Andew Cuomo supports legalization. He said last month he will visit states that allow pot shops to research how the market is regulated. Those plans are now on hold due to the health crisis caused by the virus, but the governor offered no indication that he is stepping back from the legalization measure stitched into his proposed state budget package. Read

Arizona marijuana activists have more than enough signatures to put legalization on ballot, they say

3/26/20--At a time when drug policy reform campaigns across the country are suspending efforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, marijuana activists in Arizona say they’ve already collected more than enough signatures to qualify a legalization measure for the state’s November ballot. The Smart and Safe Arizona campaign to legalize cannabis for adult use said it has gathered more than 320,000 signatures—about 80,000 more than is required to make the ballot. Read

Competing recreational marijuana petition filed to change Oklahoma constitution

3/6/20--A third constitutional initiative petition has been filed seeking to legalize recreational marijuana in Oklahoma, but organizers expect to withdraw and refile it by next week after some problems were identified in the language. Read

Who’s spending the most to legalize marijuana

2/2/20--Major marijuana players have been spending big to influence pot policy in New York. Most are multistate companies that already have a foothold in the Empire State through medical marijuana, and would likely have a leg up in the recreational market under the current proposals. Read

Marijuana reform advocates divided between decriminalization or legalization

1/15/20--House Bill 1507 wants to exclude marijuana from a list of controlled substances that are illegal to possess. Under current law. Less than half an ounce of marijuana is considered a class one misdemeanor. Nine other bills have been introduced this session relating to the possession of marijuana. Some propose legalization, while others propose decriminalization. Although the terms are used interchangeably at times, the two carry dramatically different meanings. Read

Raimondo budget sets up clash with lawmakers over car tax, marijuana

1/16/20--Governor Gina M. Raimondo's $10.2 billion tax-and-spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 would make Rhode Island the first state in the country to have total control over the sale of marijuana, but asks for more time to fully phase out the car tax. However, House Speaker Nicholas A. Mattiello and Senate President Dominick J. Ruggerio have repeatedly said they oppose the legalization of marijuana. Read

Pot politics : Some Northeast states regroup on legalization

1/13/20--Although marijuana legalization already passed in three of the Northeast region’s states and was a priority for governors in three more, the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut still want to make recreational pot legal even after legislative efforts stalled and a vaping sickness stirred new concerns. These governors, as well as Pennsylvania’s governor have been comparing notes on how to do it. Read

Missouri activists take steps to put marijuana legalization initiative on November ballot

1/17/20--Missouri activists are gearing up for a push to put marijuana legalization on the state’s November ballot. A proposed constitutional amendment to legalize for adult use, which was submitted last year, has been cleared for signature gathering by the secretary of state, which certified the ballot title last month. Read

Florida marijuana lawsuit: ‘Stealth Deadline’ means legalization might miss 2020 ballot

1/2/20--Organizers behind an effort to place a marijuana legalization measure before Florida voters this November are suing the state over what they say are unconstitutional hurdles in the way of ballot access. At the center of the dispute is a controversial new law the legislature enacted last year that places additional restrictions on the signature gathering process that the campaign says pose “an enormous (if not insurmountable) barrier to the ability of sponsors.” Read

State lawmakers discuss new bill to legalize marijuana

1/1/20--Some state representatives said they are hopeful New Mexico will be the next state to jump on board with legalizing recreational pot. Rep. Javier Martinez, (D)-Albuquerque, is part of the task force created by Gov. Michele Lujan Grisham working to legalize marijuana here in New Mexico. Martinez is pre-filing a new bill in the coming days to legalize marijuana. He said under the new legislation, recreational marijuana would be a private industry, regulated similar to the way the state does liquor stores. Read

NJ marijuana legalization: Unaccountable legislature pushing ahead

11/13/19--According to Stephen D. Reid, executive director of New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy (NJRAMP), votes on controversial bills, like marijuana legalization, usually warranting thoughtful consideration become more easily swayed. So, to try and move legislation with such dire potential consequences for people at a time when lawmakers can be completely unaccountable to the public they were elected to serve only makes sense if one realizes this entire movement is about one thing: profits. Read

South Dakota groups file petitions to legalize marijuana

11/6/19--South Dakota groups submitted separate signed petitions Monday that would allow residents to vote next year on whether to legalize medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. Monday was the deadline for submitting signatures to the South Dakota secretary of state’s office for measures for the November 2020 ballot. Read

Is recreational marijuana coming to Florida?

11/6/19--According to the Florida Division of Elections, there are currently about 57,000 valid signatures submitted statewide so far to get a recreational marijuana question on the ballot. But organizers have a long way to go; they need almost 800,000. Read

As recreational marijuana becomes possible in Florida, state lawmakers ask Oregon for nuggets of wisdom

11/6/19--Facing the possibility that Floridians could be asked next year to legalize recreational marijuana, a House panel on Tuesday turned to Oregon to learn more about the economic, environmental, and health impacts the state has faced since authorizing adult pot use four years ago. Read