It looks like the great American populous needs more legal marijuana in their lives as the East Coast is seeing more states are looking for recreational. Fortunately for those folks, there are now eight states that have legalized the leaf for recreational purposes, giving adults the freedom to get high without a serious health condition, with more jurisdictions all over the nation working to get into the game at some point this year.
Without a doubt, the new year always begins with a slew of lawmakers pushing for some level of cannabis reform in their neck of the woods. However, the majority of those proposals are preordained to be plopped into the dumpster before the end of the legislative session. Nevertheless, it is important for states to get a turtle into the race – even if that little rascal only has three legs.
Here is a brief synopsis of what is currently happening in grand scheme of legal marijuana in the United States, according to the International Business Times.
Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney has introduced a bill intended to legalize a statewide recreational marijuana market. However, there is some resistance toward this reform coming from the Republicans and Governor Dannel Malloy.
State Senator Joshua Miller and State Representative Scott Slater have introduced a proposal called the “Cannabis Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act,” which aims to end marijuana prohibition statewide. Governor Gina Raimondo has said she would support a proposal of this magnitude “If I could get myself comfortable that we, the state, could legalize in a way that keeps people safe.”
State lawmakers are pushing to legalize marijuana in a manner similar to beer. There is also a proposal in the House that would create a marijuana research committee to study the impact of legalization in neighboring states.
Governor Andrew Cuomo does not believe pot offenders should be in jail. He recently made it part of his mission in 2017 to fix the state’s decriminalization law. “The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York State, but data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety,” Cuomo said during his recent State of the State address.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who gained national notoriety last year after a photo emerged of him sitting next to Willie Nelson and a jar of the singer’s own cannabis line “Willie’s Reserve,” says he would like to legalize medical marijuana in 2017. There is also a push in the State Legislature to eliminate the criminal penalties associated with small time pot possession.
Lawmakers are working to legalize medical marijuana for patients suffering from health conditions ranging from cancer to PTSD. The state currently has a measly cannabis oil law that does not allow cultivation or distribution – forcing patients to break federal law by smuggling in the medicine from a legal state.
There is some action in Missouri to legalize the leaf for recreational and medicinal purposes. Bills have been filed in the state legislature aimed at expanding the state’s very restrictive medical marijuana program, while at least one voter initiative has already been approved for 2018.
Since the state has one of the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the country, permitting patients the use of only cannabis extracts, state lawmakers are hoping to expand the program to make all forms of marijuana available.
State Representative Jeremy Faison and Senator Steve Dickerson recently introduce a proposal aimed at giving patients with a variety of health conditions access to medical marijuana. The proposal, entitled Medical Cannabis Act of 2017, would give patients with around 12 serious health conditions access to the herb. But the state’s Republican domination feels the bill is a gateway to full legalization.
Texas pot laws are some of the most ridiculous in the country. It is for this reason that lawmakers are pushing a decriminalization bill in the 2017 session. House Bill House Bill 81, which was introduced by State Representative Joe Moody, would make the offense a civil infraction, punishable with a $250 fine.