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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

Democrats push for marijuana decriminalization in Wisconsin

10/30/19--Possession of small amounts of marijuana would be decriminalized in Wisconsin under a bill that Democratic lawmakers introduced Wednesday in their latest push to loosen Wisconsin's marijuana laws in the face of Republican opposition. The bill would decriminalize possessing, distributing, and manufacturing up to 28 grams of pot or more than two marijuana plants. The bill would also prohibit police from using the smell of marijuana as probable cause to arrest someone. Read

Gwinnett solicitor on marijuana: ‘It’s out there, so let’s make it legal’

10/3/19--There's  and the man pushing the idea and organizing lawmakers is a prosecutor. Gwinnett County Solicitor Brian Whiteside is pushing a new proposal to legalize all forms of marijuana in Georgia. He says the time has come and thinks it could help raise some $4 billion in tax revenue. Read

Think tank backs marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania

10/4/19--A policy brief from a liberal-leaning Harrisburg think tank on the possible legalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania concluded that doing so would generate millions in revenue for the state, create thousands of jobs, and reduce incarceration rates and court costs for prosecuting marijuana-related crimes. Read

Recreational marijuana could become legal in Florida. How should the governor act?

8/22/19--Florida may soon be turning to pot in a way that could realign politics for generations to come. Surveys show that making recreational marijuana legal – with strict restraints and regulations in play -- is already favored by two out of three Floridians. While this would have seemed unimaginable a few years ago, the interest is rolling in. Read

Revised initiative for North Dakota marijuana legalization submitted

7/12/19--A group seeking to plant marijuana legalization in North Dakota's Constitution has resubmitted its petition for the June 2020 primary ballot. The petition would need 26,904 qualified signatures by Feb. 10 to be placed on the primary ballot. Read

Group starts ballot petition process to make recreational marijuana legal in Arkansas

7/9/19--The Drug Policy Education Group, an Arkansas 501(c)4 nonprofit dedicated to reducing harm and promoting education about drug policies, will file two ballot petitions with the Arkansas Secretary of State on Wednesday, July 10. The first ballot petition proposes to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult recreational use in the state by December 4, 2020 while the second would allow persons with marijuana convictions involving less than 16 ounces to petition for expungement. Read

NM to begin push to legalize recreational marijuana

7/8/19--The push to legalize adult-use recreational marijuana in New Mexico is beginning this week. On Wednesday, industry officials and policy experts will meet for the first time to begin crafting proposals to move legalization legislation forward. Read

Marijuana bill likely to come up early when lawmakers return

4/25/19--Illinois State Sen. Heather Steans, a Chicago Democrat and key supporter of an initiative to legalize adult recreational marijuana in the state, said substantial bill language will be filed soon, and the issue could be one of the first discussed by state lawmakers when they return to the Statehouse from their two-week spring break next week. Read

Cardinale: Recent pro-marijuana editorials are rife with inaccuracies

3/20/19--Senator Gerald Cardinale, (R-39) the ranking Republican on the State Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a response to two pro-marijuana editorials he claims spouted misinformation, and going out of their way to hide data that illustrates the grave consequences of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Cardinale believes marijuana legalization will not ‘cure all the ills facing New Jersey.’ He urges every Senator and Assembly representative to vote no on legalizing marijuana. Read

New Mexico bill would create first state-run pot shops in US

3/12/19--New Mexico would become the first U.S. state to set up its own government-operated marijuana stores and subsidize medical cannabis for the poor under a bill brokered between Republicans and Democrats, as a new wave of states weighs legislation that would legalize recreational sales and consumption. Read

NJ marijuana legalization: Top NJ Democrat says legal weed vote needs to happen now

3/8/19--New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney wants to vote this month on a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. He believes the longer it takes to vote on the bill, the harder it will be for the measure to pass. However, a bill has not been formally introduced. Read

New Mexico moves toward legalizing recreational marijuana

3/8/19--New Mexico took a step toward legalizing recreational marijuana when its House approved a bill that would allow state-run stores and require customers to carry a receipt with their marijuana or face penalties. The measure mixes major provisions of a Republican-backed Senate bill that emphasizes aggressive regulation with a draft by Democrats concerned about the U.S. war on drugs. The 36-34 vote sends the bill to the Democratic-controlled Senate for consideration. Read

Legalizing marijuana in Arizona gains support in new poll

3/8/19--A new poll from OH Predictive Insights shows most Arizona voters support legalizing "adult use" of marijuana, an encouraging sign for advocates who hope a ballot measure that uses similar language will pass next year. This poll of likely 2020 voters showed 52 percent in favor of marijuana legalization, 41 percent opposed, and 7 percent were undecided. Read

Dueling bills lay out different visions for recreational marijuana

2/23/19--Very different visions for legalizing marijuana in New Mexico are a bit closer to becoming reality after legislative hearings on Saturday. It remains unclear whether the full Senate would approve either Senate Bill 577 and/or House Bill 356 this year, making the campaign to legalize cannabis something of a long shot as the legislative session nears its end March 16. Read

New Mexico Republicans say legalize marijuana, but let the government sell it

2/15/19--Republican state lawmakers in New Mexico want recreational marijuana to be legally sold in stores, but they’re proposing that the state government own and operate marijuana dispensaries. The New Mexico proposal would be a new model for the United States. In nearby Nevada as well as California, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, where recreational marijuana is legal and available in stores, it’s sold at government-regulated, privately run businesses. Read

Marijuana meetings start in Harrisburg with strong showing of support for legal pot

2/11/19--Lt. Gov. John Fetterman kicked off is pot legalization listening tour in Pennsylvania with dozens of people packing the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg to talk about legalizing marijuana. There were some opponents who voiced their opinions, but the public comments on this opening night ranged about four-to-one in favor of a broad legalization of pot for recreational use. Read

The most interesting 2019 marijuana bills that you might have missed

1/31/19--The Boston Globe presents some of the most interesting marijuana legislation filed this year that may have been missed. These are just a small handful of the more than 500 marijuana-related bills that have already been filed for 2019 legislative sessions that in most cases began less than a month ago. Read

Raimondo will propose legalizing pot in Rhode Island

1/13/19--Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Sunday she will propose legalizing recreational marijuana in Rhode Island, joining other states across the Northeast in a rapid embrace of the policy. The governor is scheduled to release her budget plan on Thursday, which will include the legalization and strict regulation of adult-use marijuana. Read

Legal weed is great, but black and brown communities can’t be left behind

1/11/19--Katelyn Johnson, Executive Director of Action Now, a grassroots community organization working to build power and fight for racial, social and economic justice in low-income Black communities in Chicago, believes marijuana legalization must bring both equity and justice for those most impacted by the War on Drugs. According to Johnson, while it’s critically important both for Black and Brown entrepreneurs to gain equal access to the burgeoning market, using marijuana revenue to fill budget gaps and backlogged debt does a grave disservice to the decades of inequity faced by communities of color as a result of the War on Drugs. Read

County creates marijuana task force to prepare for state legalization

1/11/19--Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced Thursday the creation of a task force to prepare for the anticipated state legalization of recreational marijuana. The task force will be co-chaired by county Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and county Legislator Josh Lafazan (D-Syosset). According to Lafazan, the group intends to consult with experts and the community to compile a report that can be used to inform potential county legislation. Read

Thorny questions threaten to slow legal marijuana in New York

1/13/19--Efforts to legalize marijuana for recreational use in New York are gaining steam. Although there’s broad agreement on the idea of legalization, there’s no consensus on a long list of details that must be figured out first, and New York has a history of taking a slow, cautious approach when it comes to marijuana. Read

Marijuana: Cities, towns could opt-out under Andrew Cuomo’s plan

1/14/19--Cities and towns in New York would still be able to ban marijuana sales under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's soon-to-be-released plan to legalize the drug statewide. Cuomo is expected to unveil his full recreational marijuana proposal on Tuesday as part of his budget plan and State of the State address, which is set for 2 p.m. Read

Bill sponsor says legal marijuana is example of limited government, personal liberty

1/14/19--A bill introduced by Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth, into the Virginia House of Delegates would legalize recreational marijuana for individuals 21 years or older. Heretick stated that legalizing the plant would serve the aim of “limited government” and “personal liberty,” which he said is something he thinks both major political parties value. Read

New congressional marijuana bill is actually numbered H.R. 420

1/9/19--Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have officially reserved the number H.R. 420 for a bill that would dramatically change federal marijuana laws. The new bill filed in the House on Wednesday by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is titled the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. If passed, it would remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act. Read

NJ marijuana legalization: What will NJ get from legal weed taxes?

12/10/18--The Office of Legislative Services, a nonpartisan Statehouse bureau that assists with crafting and studying legislation, estimates that New Jersey would bring in a little over $210 million in state taxes from nearly $1.8 billion in annual marijuana sales, according to its fiscal impact study of the legal weed bill. Read

Marijuana legalization hearing includes … broccoli, bar fights and Bills games

11/19/18--During a statewide debate at Monday’s State Assembly public hearing on proposals to legalize, regulate, and tax the adult use of marijuana in New York State, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn talked about vegetables and bar fights and State Assembly members brought up Buffalo Bills games in relation to their objection and support of marijuana. This was the second of four statewide public hearings scheduled by the Assembly. Read

Marijuana ballot initiative campaigns raised $12.9 million, final pre-election numbers show

11/6/18--In the lead-up to the election, committees supporting or opposing marijuana ballot initiatives have raised a total of $12.9 million in cash and in-kind services over the past two years to convince those voters, Marijuana Moment’s analysis of the latest campaign finance records filed the day before Election Day shows. Read

How can legal weed impact NJ’s economy? Five questions for a cannabis industry leader

10/7/17--Karson Humiston founded Vangst, a Denver-based organization that has connected more than 7,500 people to leading marijuana companies across the U.S. and Canada. Her company employs more than 60 people, and in the last year, Vangst has reported a 567 percent revenue increase and projects revenues of $5 million for 2018. North Jersey Record presented and published five questions posed to Humiston about what legalization could do for New Jersey's economy. Read

A vote for legal weed in N.J. coming on this day, top lawmaker says

9/27/18--New Jersey's Senate President Stephen Sweeney has set a new date for at least one house of the state Legislature to vote legalizing recreational marijuana in the Garden State: Oct. 29. Sweeney said Thursday that lawmakers and Gov. Phil Murphy's administration have only "two issues" left to work out related to the bill that would make marijuana legal. Read

Rick Steves to hold marijuana legalization talks in Michigan

9/26/18--Rick Steves, host of the hit PBS series “Rick Steves’ Europe” and prominent marijuana policy reform advocate, will be holding talks across Michigan to discuss the benefits of legalizing and regulating marijuana, and how world travel has shaped his views on the issue. Read

Michigan voters poised to approve recreational marijuana proposal

9/11/18--Michigan voters are poised to approve a ballot proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in the state this November, according to a WDIV/Detroit News poll. By a margin of 56.2 percent-38.0 percent, Michigan voters support legalizing recreational marijuana. Only 5.8 percent of voters remain undecided. Read

North Dakota legislators debate potential fiscal impact of legalized marijuana

9/12/18--North Dakota lawmakers of Legislative Management debated the accurate fiscal impact of Measure 3 on marijuana legalization, zeroing in on an educational campaign not mandated by the measure. Read

Charlie Crist, Nikki Fried holding joint call on passing marijuana reform

9/9/18--Following action by multiple banks to close Agriculture Commissioner candidate Nikki Fried’s campaign accounts, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist will file federal legislation to address conflict between federal and state marijuana laws. Crist and Fried, both Democrats, will hold a joint press call Monday to discuss the “urgent need to reform marijuana for medical use advocacy at the federal level.” Read

Medical marijuana advocates start their own PAC

8/9/18--Gary Stein, a medical marijuana historian and advocate, has opened his own Florida fundraising panel, Clarity PAC,  to support pro-marijuana candidates and influence legislation. Its mission is to advocate for full legal access to medicinal cannabis and the responsible adult use of cannabis, and to help create and pass legislation supporting that topic. Read

Journal Times editorial: Pot referendums could sway election

8/12/18--This coming November, City of Racine residents will have the chance to vote in an advisory referendum on the question of whether marijuana should be legal for medicinal and/or recreational use, as well as what the potential revenue should be used for. Keeping in mind the fact that the marijuana referendums could sway the election, the poses the question: Is this the right time? Would April be a better time? Read

Will recreational marijuana be legalized in Florida in 2020? John Morgan thinks so.

7/6/18--Orlando attorney John Morgan, who bankrolled the successful effort to broadly legalize medical marijuana in Florida two years ago, says he will raise funds — and dip into his own deep pockets — to get a recreational use measure on the 2020 ballot. Morgan said he is speaking with U.S. marijuana companies to raise enough money to get a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot and would personally contribute any needed funds. He estimates the campaign would need about $5 million. Read

Group collecting signatures for measure to legalize recreational marijuana

7/5/18-- ‘Green the Vote’ announced that it was seeking a constitutional amendment that would allow adults to use marijuana recreationally. State Question 797 would allow anyone over the age of 21 to legally possess, use, grow, process, and sell marijuana. It would also allow marijuana to be classified as an herbal drug, which would be regulated by the Oklahoma Cannabis Commission. In order to have a chance to get the question on the November ballot, the group says it needs to collect 124,000 signatures of registered Oklahoma voters. Read

Marijuana campaign Part 2?

6/30/18--Orlando attorney John Morgan apparently wants to put more money into getting Floridians to vote on marijuana. The lawyer, who spent about $7 million backing a successful 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana, is now suggesting the creation of a fund that would support putting “full marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2020.” Read

Lawmakers hold hearing Thursday on legalizing marijuana

3/15/18--A public hearing Thursday on recreational marijuana was a lopsided affair, with all but one of the people who testified urging lawmakers to legalize possessing, growing, and selling limited amounts of the drug. The state legislature is weighing three bills that, in tandem, would legalize marijuana and regulate its retail sale. Connecticut has been hesitant to follow the lead of neighboring Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont, all of which have legalized recreational marijuana. Read

A new legal weed plan allows for hundreds of dispensaries across N.J.

3/13/18--Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, has unveiled a plan to legalize marijuana that would permit hundreds of dispensaries across New Jersey and would allow people to grow a small number of plants at home. The bill would legalize the possession and personal use of small amounts of marijuana, while creating both a commercial industry and a government body to regulate that industry. It would also allow New Jerseyans convicted of marijuana possession to apply to have their records expunged. Read

Md. lawmakers hear arguments for, against putting marijuana legalization on Nov. ballot

3/13/18--Medical marijuana is being prescribed and steps have been taken to decriminalize it, but with thousands of Marylanders still being prosecuted for marijuana offenses, the Marijuana Policy Project says it’s time to put it to a vote. On the ballot, Marylanders would decide whether or not to legalize marijuana for recreational use, allowing adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce. The House Judiciary Committee heard pros and cons Tuesday. Read

The business of weed, from the medical marijuana industry to the black market

3/8/17--Whether its legal, illegal, medical or recreational, the marijuana industry means business. As lawmakers debate legalizing marijuana in New Jersey, the players who stand to be impacted -- from businesspeople already invested in the medical industry to black market dealers -- are keeping a close eye on how things develop. Read

Schumer introduces Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act

6/27/18--Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) formally introduced new legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. Specifically, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, effectively decriminalizing it at the federal level. Read

Recreational marijuana in Florida likely on hold for years

1/2/18--Anyone hoping that Florida voters would get a shot at legalizing recreational marijuana in 2018 will likely be disappointed. Organizers of the two primary efforts to get the issue on the state’s Nov. 6 ballot say they won’t come close to collecting the required 766,000 petition signatures by the Feb. 1 deadline. The groups now hope that 2020 will be their year. Read

Several states likely to legalize marijuana in 2018

12/28/18--It was a big year for pot in 2017: For the first time, a majority of Americans said it should be legalized, four state ballot initiatives passed and startups pounced on California's approval of recreational use. The year ahead portends legalization in three states, and the first pro-pot initiatives enacted by lawmakers instead of voter referendums. Read

Could recreational marijuana soon be legal in Ohio?

12/8/17--Ohio’s medical marijuana program will go into effect in about 10 months, but already there’s a push to make all marijuana legal across the board. Jimmy Gould of Green Light Acquisitions, LLC, will propose making marijuana legal for all adults in Ohio. He said he has raised, invested, and spent more than $28 million on legalizing marijuana in the Buckeye State. Gould insists that his plan – this time around – will meet with voter approval. Read