WeedVoice

An online media news aggregator and blog for the cannabis and hemp industry world-wide.

State Financial Regulators Press Congress To Allow Marijuana Banking Access - Cannabis News

The top financial regulators in 25 states and U.S. territories are joining together to pressure Congress to pass legislation allowing marijuana businesses to store their profits in banks.

"It is incumbent on Congress to resolve the conflict between state cannabis programs and federal statutes that effectively create unnecessary risk for banks seeking to operate in this space. The looming threat of civil actions, forfeiture of assets, reputational risk, and criminal penalties is not conducive to a legal, regulated marketplace," the officials wrote to House and Senate Democratic and Republican leaders in a letter on Monday.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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U.S. Attorney General Says He Prefers Marijuana Reform Bill To Current Federal Law - Cannabis News

Attorney General William Barr said on Wednesday that he would prefer that Congress enact legislation allowing states to legalize marijuana instead of continuing the current approach under which a growing number of states have ended cannabis prohibition in conflict with federal law.

He also said the Justice Department is actively reviewing legislation that would accomplish that.

During a Senate appropriations hearing, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) asked Barr about the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act, a bipartisan bill introduced last week that would protect legal marijuana states from federal intervention.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Treasury Secretary Calls For Bipartisan Fix To Marijuana Banking Issues - Cannabis News

The head of the U.S. Treasury Department said on Tuesday that there is no regulatory solution to existing banking access issues for the marijuana industry, and he encouraged Congress to resolve the problem with legislation “on a bipartisan basis.”

During a House appropriations subcommittee hearing, several lawmakers asked Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about what could be done to provide state-legal cannabis businesses with access to financial institutions.

The Trump administration official agreed that it was a problem, noting that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has had to build “cash rooms” for taxes paid by marijuana companies, but he said the matter was outside the Treasury’s jurisdiction.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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New Mexico to become 24th state to decriminalize marijuana - Cannabis News

It’s not legalization, but it’s still a big change in marijuana policy.

New Mexico is about to become the 24th state to decriminalize marijuana.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this week signed legislation that will reduce penalties for marijuana from a criminal to civil violation.

A person caught with less than half an ounce of pot will face a $50 fine instead of jail or prison time; penalties for drug paraphernalia will also be reduced.

The law takes effect on July 1, KRQE reported.

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Marijuana Banking Bill Approved By Congressional Committee - Cannabis News

A congressional committee voted on Thursday to approve legislation aimed at increasing marijuana businesses' access to banks.

Following multiple days of lengthy debate and consideration of several amendments, the House Financial Services Committee voted 45 to 15 to advance the legislation to the full body.

Floor action has not yet been scheduled, but cannabis reform advocates are hopeful that the committee approval of the banking bill is a sign Democrats are ready to move broad marijuana reforms this year.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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First Congressional Marijuana Vote Of 2019 Officially Scheduled For Next Week - Cannabis News

A bipartisan bill designed to protect banks that service the marijuana industry from being penalized by federal regulators will get a vote in a key congressional committee next week.

The legislation, which was discussed during the first cannabis-related hearing of the 116th Congress last month, will go before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.

Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) Denny Heck (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Warren Davidson (R-OH) are the chief sponsors of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act.

It was formally filed earlier this month, and currently has 138 cosponsors—more than a quarter of the House.

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Florida legalizes smoking medical marijuana - Cannabis News

Smoking medical marijuana is now legal in Florida. It's been a long time in the making.

In 2016, Floridians overwhelmingly voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to allow medical marijuana.

However, in 2017 then-Gov. Rick Scott signed a law that banned marijuana smoking in all forms.

That ban was overturned on Monday when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation to repeal it. 

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Lawmakers pushing proposal to legalize recreational marijuana use in Connecticut - Cannabis News

Three Democratic House Committee Chairs revealed their proposal to make recreational marijuana legal across the state in Hartford on Thursday.

Democrats in the Connecticut House have predicted annual revenue would be in the $100 million range.

The lawmakers stress the proposal is just a starting point. There will be a Cannabis Control Commission set up and will be overseen by the Department of Consumer Protection.

Taxes will be somewhere around the 20 percent range, when state and local fees are added up together.

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In landslide vote, Florida House agrees to end ban on smoking medical marijuana - Cannabis News

Without much debate and two days before Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ deadline, a bill to repeal a ban on smoking medical marijuana has finally rolled onto the governor’s desk.

The Florida House affirmed the right to smoke medical pot Wednesday afternoon, approving the Senate bill to include “smoking” to the language in the medical marijuana constitutional amendment.

The bill allows patients to receive up to 2.5 ounces of whole flower cannabis every 35 days as recommended by their qualified doctor.

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Samantha J. Gross - MiamiHerald.com ~

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Alaska Is Officially The First State To Legalize On-Site Marijuana Consumption - Cannabis News

Later this year, Alaska marijuana consumers will be able to buy their cannabis and smoke it, too—all under the same roof.

Adults 21 and over can buy regulated and taxed cannabis from licensed storefront dispensaries in a growing number of U.S. states -- but until Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer (R) signed his state’s new on-site consumption regulations into law on Tuesday, no states had explicitly permitted on-site consumption.

There are some dispensaries in California that allow cannabis users to consume their purchases on-site—nearly all of which are in San Francisco, which permitted on-site use in the medical marijuana era -- and businesses in Denver can apply for a permit to allow vaporizing.

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Chris Roberts ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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New Mexico mulls state-run pot shops, subsidized medical use - Cannabis News

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.

The idea for state-run pot shops comes from a trio of GOP state senators who broke with local Republican Party orthodoxy to embrace legal marijuana with a decidedly big-government approach that would have the state directly oversee most sales — and require that marijuana consumers carry receipts of purchase or confront penalties.

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Morgan Lee ~ Associated Press ~ 

 

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House Bill Introduced to Remove Marijuana from List of Controlled Substances - Cannabis News

“This bill is long overdue. This is a bill that solves a problem, Get the government out of it.”

Even before it began, 2019 has been hailed as the year of marijuana, with good reason: the number of Americans who support legalization has reached record highs, and an increasing number of Democratic presidential candidates are advocating for drug reform and an end to our draconian, racist drug laws.

On Thursday morning, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Don Young (R-AK) introduced what they called a “landmark” piece of legislation, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2019, which is “the only bipartisan piece of legislation that would allow states to make independent choices about their marijuana programs,” according to Young.

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EJ Dickson ~ RollingStone.com ~ 

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Congress is finally going to pot - Cannabis News

Bills to loosen marijuana laws are gaining traction in both parties.

An unlikely coalition of lawmakers is plotting how to revise the nation’s marijuana laws during the 116th Congress -- a mission that’s become much more viable in recent years as public support for legalizing cannabis shoots up and members introduce bills in higher numbers than ever before.

That legislation languished at the bottom of the hopper during the last Congress as GOP leaders remained steadfast in their opposition.

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Jennifer Shutt ~ RollCall.com ~ 

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Texas Lawmakers Hold Marijuana Decriminalization Hearing - Cannabis News

A Texas House committee is scheduled to hear testimony on Monday about a bill that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

House Bill 63, introduced by Rep. Joe Moody (D) of El Paso, would make possession of up to an ounce of cannabis a civil penalty carrying a fine of $250.

This change in the law would eliminate the threat of arrests, jail time and criminal records that are currently associated with most low-level marijuana charges.

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Evan Johnson ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Hemp farming bill passes Georgia House - Cannabis News

The Georgia House overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday allowing farmers to grow hemp for CBD oils and other products.

The 163-3 vote calls for Georgia to join the 41 other states that already permit hemp cultivation, said state Rep. John Corbett, a Republican from Lake Park.

“As a farmer, this is a great bill,” said state Rep. Robert Dickey, a peach grower and Republican from Musella, west of Macon. “This is another tool in the belt of farmers that we can diversify.”

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Mark Niesse ~ Atlanta Journal Constitution ~ 

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Marijuana Legalization Bills Are Advancing In Several States - Cannabis News

Marijuana legalization advocates came into 2019 expecting it to be a huge year for cannabis, and lawmakers around the country are not disappointing them so far.

This month alone, bills to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults have advanced through key committees in at least four states.

Three separate New Mexico House and Senate committees have approved two different legal marijuana bills in recent weeks.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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Wisconsin's Governor Proposes Medical Marijuana Legalization - Cannabis News

Gov. Tony Evers will propose legalizing medical marijuana in his state budget address later this month, the governor announced Monday.

The push for medical legalization will be accompanied by several other marijuana-related proposals, including legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, establishing expungement procedures for people with marijuana possession on their criminal records and bringing state laws on cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, in line with federal standards.

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Laurel White ~ Wisconsin Public Radio ~ 

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West Virginia House Passes Medical Marijuana Banking Bill - Cannabis News

A bill that provides state protections for banks that deal with medical marijuana revenue was approved overwhelmingly by the West Virginia House of Delegates on Friday.

Introduced by Del. Eric Nelson (R), the legislation authorizes the state treasurer to open a bidding process for banks and other financial institutions that are willing to process the “fees, penalties and taxes collected under” the state’s medical cannabis program.

It would also make it so the state government could not “prohibit, penalize, incentivize, or otherwise impair” financial institutions that accept accounts for medical cannabis businesses operating in compliance with state law. 

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~  

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Georgia bill seeks in-state cultivation, sale of medical marijuana - Cannabis News

Legislation filed Thursday would allow medical marijuana oil to be sold to patients in Georgia.

The proposal calls for medical marijuana dispensaries to serve the state’s rising number of registered patients — more than 8,400 so far.

The drug would be legally grown, manufactured, tested, tracked and distributed for the first time if House Bill 324 passes.

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Mark Niesse ~ Atlanta Journal-Constitution ~

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Congress urged to fully open banks to marijuana industry - Cannabis News

Bank officials and others urged Congress on Wednesday to fully open the doors of the U.S. banking system to the legal marijuana industry, a change that supporters say would reduce crime risks and resolve a litany of challenges for cannabis companies, from paying taxes to getting a loan.

Most Americans live in states where marijuana is legally available in some form.

But there’s a problem when it comes to banks: Most don’t want anything to do with money from the cannabis industry for fear it could expose them to legal trouble from the federal government, which still considers marijuana illegal.

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Michael R. Blood ~ Associated Press ~ 

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Lawmakers File Bills To Legalize Medical Marijuana For Military Veterans - Cannabis News

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill filed companion bills on Tuesday in the House and Senate to make it legal under federal law for military veterans to “use, possess, or transport medical marijuana” in accordance with state policies.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), is called The Veterans Medical Marijuana Safe Harbor Act.

Aside from shielding veterans who use medical cannabis under local laws from being harassed by federal officials, the proposal makes clear that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) doctors can issue medical marijuana recommendations to their patients.

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves marijuana legalization bill - Cannabis News

The Hawaii Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill that would legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21.

The bill, which was first introduced on January 18, 2019, would legalize the personal use, possession and sale of marijuana in a specified quantity.

Licenses would be required to operate any marijuana establishment as well as excise taxes and income taxes. 

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KHON2.com ~ 

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Congressional Democrats Plan Hearing And Vote On Marijuana Business Banking - Cannabis News

Newly empowered congressional Democrats reportedly plan to hold a House hearing next week on marijuana businesses’ difficulties accessing banks - signifying renewed momentum for cannabis issues on Capitol Hill following years of blockades by the former Republican leadership of the chamber.

Party leaders are also laying the groundwork to vote on a marijuana banking bill soon, Marijuana Moment has learned.

Politico first reported on Monday night that the House Financial Services Committee was planning a hearing on the topic, which cited “sources familiar with the matter” as saying it could be scheduled for Wednesday, February 13 - though nothing is formally on the calendar yet.

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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These 10 States Are Most Likely To Pass Marijuana Legalization Bills In 2019 - Cannabis News

The number of states with legal marijuana is expected to jump significantly in 2019, and a slew of already-filed bills offers a look at what those new legal cannabis systems might look like.

While marijuana legalization legislation has already been introduced in at least 17 states -- including several traditionally conservative ones -- there are 10 that seem to hold the most promise of passage at this point.

Here’s a look at the states that are most likely to send legal cannabis bills to their governors’ desks this year, in alphabetical order.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Lawmakers Race to Introduce Veterans' Medical Marijuana Bills in New Congress - Cannabis News

Less than a month into the 116th Congress, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in the House and Senate have introduced four bills that, if signed into law, would require the VA to conduct research on medical marijuana.

Tennessee Republican Rep. Phil Roe, a medical doctor and ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced legislation Thursday that would require VA to conduct research on medicinal cannabis, to include marijuana and cannabidiol -- a component extract of marijuana - for post-traumatic stress disorder, pain and other conditions.

The bill, H.R. 747, is similar to one introduced Wednesday by Rep. Lou Correa, D-California, H.R. 601.

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Patricia Kime ~ Military.com ~

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'Who am I to judge that?': Florida Gov. DeSantis wants to end ban on smokable medical marijuana - Cannabis News

Newly inaugurated Florida governor Ron DeSantis came to Central Florida Thursday afternoon to call for an end in Florida's ban on smokable medical marijuana.

DeSantis appeared with Lieutenant Governor Jeanatte Nunez and Orlando attorney John Morgan at Kraft Azalea Park in Winter Park.

The Republican governor, who took office earlier this month, said he is asking the legislature to repeal part of the state's medical marijuana law that prohibits smokable forms of the plant.

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Kevin Williams ~ WFTV.com ~ 

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Rhode Island governor to propose legalization of recreational pot - Cannabis News

Gov. Gina Raimondo will propose within the next week that Rhode Island legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use, she said.

The state is facing the “inevitable” prospect of being encircled by states that have legalized recreational marijuana, she said.

“I will say, I do this with reluctance,” the Democrat told The Providence Journal for a story published Sunday.

“I have resisted this for the four years I’ve been governor. ... Now, however, things have changed, mainly because all of our neighbors are moving forward” with legalization.

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New Congressional Marijuana Bill Is Actually Numbered H.R. 420 - Cannabis News

In a hat tip to marijuana culture, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have officially reserved the number H.R. 420 for a bill that would dramatically change federal cannabis laws.

420, of course, is a special number for marijuana enthusiasts, who celebrate the plant extra hard every April 20.

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 cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act.

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Meet America’s first pot governor, Colorado’s Jared Polis - Cannabis News

The governor-elect takes office at a significant moment in Colorado for the cannabis industry.

Jared Polis takes office Tuesday as Colorado’s new chief executive — and America’s first pot governor.

The Democrat’s long-standing support for legal marijuana, his embrace of the industry as a core part of his campaign agenda and his unique strategy to court cannabis voters in the 2018 election make him the nation’s most pot-friendly politician.

“There is no one that even comes close in my mind to Gov.-elect Polis,” said Christian Sederberg, a prominent cannabis-industry attorney based in Denver.

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New York Gov. Cuomo Pledges Marijuana Legalization In Inaugural Address - Cannabis News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reiterated his newfound support for legalizing marijuana in his inaugural speech on Tuesday, just after he was sworn into a third term in office.

“When they write the history books and ask what did we do – in the face of anger and division, when people were disillusioned, let New York’s answer be that in this defining moment we brought healing and light and hope and progress and action,” he said in his remarks as prepared for delivery.

“That New York led on legalizing recreational marijuana, bringing justice and new economic opportunity not for rich corporations, but for the poor communities that paid too high a price for too long.”

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Marijuana Legalization 2019: Which States Will Consider Legal Weed - Cannabis News

Following a year of huge advancements in marijuana policy reform, experts predict that 2019 would be a “real game-changer” in terms of the conversation surrounding cannabis legalization at both the state and federal level.

“In 2019, I think that we can expect to see more of the same type of change, but maybe at a more rapid pace,” Jolene Forman, senior staff attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance, told Newsweek.

“The train has left the station. Americans of all political affiliations and almost all demographics support marijuana legalization,” Forman added.

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Alexandra Hutzler ~ Newsweek.com ~ 

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These States Are Most Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2019 - Cannabis News

With the results of last month's midterm elections—which marijuana basically won—ten states have now legalized cannabis for adults, while 33 allow medical use.

Those victories at the ballot box capped a year in which the fight to reform prohibitionist cannabis policies advanced significantly at the state, federal and international levels.

The tally of states that allow the use of marijuana is poised to jump in a big way again in 2019, largely because a slew of pro-legalization candidates for governor also won at the ballot box on Election Day -- giving cannabis reform bills a huge boost toward being signed into law sooner rather than later.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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Congressional Democrats Release Report On Marijuana Legalization’s Economic Benefits - Cannabis News

Democrats on the congressional Joint Economic Committee published a report on Tuesday highlighting the “economic benefits of legalized cannabis at the state and national levels.”

Titled, “The National Cannabis Economy,” the report finds that the marijuana industry brought in more than $8 billion in sales in 2017, with sales estimated to reach $11 billion this year and expected to soar to $23 billion by 2022.

“The growth of the cannabis economy presents opportunities for greater job creation, more tax revenue, and better patient care,” the report concludes after summarizing the banking and tax fairness issues that current federal policy causes for state-legal marijuana businesses.

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner proposes states' rights marijuana amendment to criminal justice reform bill - Cannabis News

Amendment mirrors STATES Act introduced in June.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., on Monday introduced an amendment to the criminal justice reform bill being debated in Congress that would implement some of the states’ rights marijuana changes he sought in a measure introduced earlier this year alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Senate leadership has yet to adopt Gardner’s amendment to the bipartisan criminal justice reform measure, the First Step Act, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday the Senate would vote on later this week.

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Blair Miller ~ TheDenverChannel.com ~ 

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Endorses Marijuana Legalization - Cannabis New

New York will become the next state to legalize marijuana if Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has his way.

The newly reelected governor for the first time explicitly endorsed ending cannabis prohibition on Monday as part of a speech outlining his “top legislative priorities for next year,” which he framed under the banner of “social justice, racial justice and economic justice.”

“The fact is, we have had two criminal justice systems: One for the wealthy and well off and one for everyone else,” Cuomo said in the appearance at the New York City Bar Association. “And that’s going to end.”

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Nebraska senators launch medical marijuana ballot committee - Cannabis News

Two Nebraska lawmakers have announced plans to place a medical marijuana legalization measure on the 2020 ballot.

Sens. Anna Wishart and Adam Morfeld, both of Lincoln, announced the formation Thursday of Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws.

The campaign will seek a constitutional amendment to give Nebraskans the right to use marijuana for medical purposes.

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Associated Press ~ 

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Lawmakers From Both Parties Celebrate Hemp Legalization In The Farm Bill - Cannabis News

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are celebrating a hemp legalization provision that made it into the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill.

Perhaps no one is more pleased than Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who fought for the provision over months of debate on the wide-ranging agriculture legislation.

He even signed the conference report finalizing the bill language with a hemp pen on Monday.

In opening remarks from the Senate floor on Tuesday, McConnell said the inclusion of hemp legalization is “a victory for farmers and consumers throughout our country.” 

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Marijuana's Ten Biggest Victories Of 2018 - Cannabis News

This year was a pivotal one for marijuana.

It began with then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sending waves of uncertainty and fear over the cannabis industry and legalization supporters on January 4, when he formally rescinded Obama-era guidelines protecting state marijuana laws.

But as 2018 went on, even more states ended up changing their laws to allow for legal recreational or medical cannabis use despite the conflict with federal law.

Efforts to end national prohibition in Congress picked up steam as well.

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Rhode Island considers marijuana legalization as New England turns green - Cannabis News

Pot stores are opening in Massachusetts. You can now grow your own in Maine and Vermont. And Connecticut’s new governor says legalizing marijuana will be a priority of his.

When Rhode Island lawmakers return to Smith Hill next month they will find the regional marijuana landscape greening around them.

That reality will influence the strategies both sides of the pot legalization argument employ this time around, they say.

Despite years of hearings and study commissions, the question of legalization has never reached lawmakers for a vote.

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Hemp Legalization Is Officially In The Final Farm Bill - Cannabis News

The 2018 Farm Bill will include a provision to legalize industrial hemp, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the top Republican and Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee confirmed on Thursday.

Lawmakers in the Senate and House Agriculture Committees announced that they’d reached an agreement in principle on the large-scale food and agriculture policy legislation and were in the process of finalizing “legal and report language.”

But while there’s still “more work to do,” it seems that hemp legalization made the cut.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ Marijuanamoment.net ~ 

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Legal weed is now one step closer to reality in New Jersey - Cannabis News

After months of false starts and delays, New Jersey took a big step Monday toward legal weed, with state lawmakers advancing a bill that would legalize the possession and personal use of recreational marijuana.

Committees from both the state Senate and Assembly approved the bill, which now awaits a full vote in the Democrat-controlled state Legislature before it could be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.

After nearly four hours of debate in a hearing room packed with about 200 people, the bill cleared the Senate budget committee, 7-4 with two abstentions, and then Assembly budget panel, 7-2, with one abstention.

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Payton Guion ~ NJ Advance Media via NJ.com ~

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On First Day Of Recreational Marijuana Sales In Mass., Rep. Joe Kennedy III Calls For Federal Legalization - Cannabis News

Massachusetts became the first state east of Colorado to start selling recreational pot on Tuesday, and Rep. Joe Kennedy III is calling on the nation to end its “prohibition on marijuana.”

The Congressman wrote an op-ed for The Boston Globe’s “Stat” publication titled “It’s time to legalize marijuana at the federal level.”

He’s calling for the removal of pot from the Controlled Substances Act and for federal legalization.

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Boston.CBSlocal.com ~

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Politics: Marijuana backers plot ambitious campaign - Cannabis News

Advocates of legalizing medical and recreational marijuana are planning a wave of new ballot measures in coming years few years, buoyed by wins scored this year's midterm elections in swing and conservative states.

Supporters say they are likely to field measures in states like Ohio and Arizona in 2020, and potentially in Florida and North Dakota.

They say plans are underway for initiatives to legalize medical marijuana in Mississippi, Nebraska and South Dakota.

“2020 provides an opportunity to run medical marijuana and legalization campaigns across the country. Typically, presidential elections offer better turnout and a more supportive electorate,” said Matt Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project. 

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Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Three Medical Marijuana Bills For Veterans - Cannabis News

A bipartisan team of lawmakers plans to introduce a package of bills aimed at reforming marijuana policies at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Wednesday.

Just days after Veterans Day, Reps. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) are filing three pieces of legislation that seek to cement the VA’s existing administrative policy of protecting patients who discuss their marijuana history, survey veterans on medical cannabis use and assist in education programs focusing on marijuana treatment at medical universities.

“Our veterans are seeking alternative options to opioids and we should be supporting their desires not to be addicted to painkillers,” Moulton said in a press release. “Let’s not kid ourselves, people are using marijuana—including our veterans.”

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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New bills filed for marijuana decriminalization in Texas - Cannabis News

Decriminalization of marijuana in Texas is back on the table as nearly a half dozen bills related to the drug’s use were filed on Monday for the 86th legislative session.

Recreational and most medical uses of marijuana are still prohibited in the state, the exception being low-THC cannabis for qualifying intractable epilepsy patients under the Texas Compassionate Use Program.

Marijuana advocates, who have been pushing for decriminalization and an expansion to the medical program, have gained greater bipartisan support in recent years, said Heather Fazio, director of Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy.

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Ileana Najarro ~ HoustonChronicle.com ~ 

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Mitch McConnell Guarantees Industrial Hemp Legalization - Cannabis News

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is guaranteeing that the 2018 Farm Bill will include his industrial hemp legalization provision after the Senate and House reach a compromise -- ideally by the end of the year.

“If there’s a Farm Bill, it’ll be in there, I guarantee that,” he told reporters on Friday.

McConnell said he’s visited several hemp processors over the past few months, and one thing that occurred to him was the international implications of hemp legalization.

Executives based in countries like Australia and major investors have expressed interest in the hemp business, he said, signaling the crop’s immense potential. 

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New attorney general must protect states’ rights on marijuana, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner says - Cannabis News

The next U.S. attorney general is going to have to respect the decision of Colorado and other states to legalize recreational and medical marijuana — at least if Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has his way.

“Whoever comes after him is going to face some pretty tough questions about where they stand on states’ rights and making sure they will stand up for states’ rights,” Gardner told The Denver Post on Thursday.

“I am going to demand that the new attorney general side with the president because the president is right on states’ rights.”

Gardner blocked President Donald Trump’s nominees to the Justice Department for three months in early 2018 after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded something called the Cole Memorandum, an Obama-era policy that outlined a set of rules for states that legalized marijuana to follow if they wanted to avoid federal intervention.

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Weed Wins on Election Day. So What Comes Next? - Cannabis News

The more states that legalize cannabis, the likelier it is that federal prohibition will topple soon.

And so a few more dominoes fall. Michigan voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, while Utah and Missouri legalized it for medical use, according to projections made late Tuesday night.

(A recreational measure in North Dakota failed, though medical cannabis remains legal there.)

They join 31 other states that have already gone the medical route, and nine others that have gone fully recreational.

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With Jeff Sessions Out, The New Attorney General Should Advance Marijuana Policy By Restoring The Cole Memorandum - Cannabis News

There are glimmers of hope now that Sessions has left office. For all of his anti-cannabis bluster, it seems like his former boss doesn’t share his opinion, and that could lead to new legal protections for the industry.

Sessions is out of the Trump Administration, resigning at the president’s request after months of speculation that his tenure would be up shortly after the midterm elections.

Many factors led to this, but it is unlikely that Sessions’s position on cannabis was one of them.

To understand why, let’s review Sessions’s record. 

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Pot proponents claim victory, set sights on national legalization - Cannabis News

Marijuana proponents were elated Tuesday after major cannabis measures passed in Michigan and Missouri and Democrats took control of the House.

The victories — for recreational cannabis in Michigan and medical marijuana in Missouri — have emboldened some leaders in the prohibition reform movement to declare that they'll push for legalization in the House.

"We are going for the jugular on this issue," said Michael Collins, interim director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Voters in Utah endorsed a measure that would provide access to medical marijuana despite opposition from the powerful Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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