WeedVoice

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

Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved By Congressional Committee In Historic Vote - Cannabis News

For the first time in history, a congressional committee has approved a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in a 24-10 vote on Wednesday, setting the stage for a full floor vote.

The vote saw two Republicans -- Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Tom McClintock (R-CA) -- join their Democratic colleagues in support of the bill.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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What Tuesday’s Elections Mean For State And Local Marijuana Reform - Cannabis News

Tuesday’s state and local elections across the U.S. saw several gains for the marijuana reform movement, as well as some potential setbacks.

Legislatures shifted, cities decided on cannabis business expansion and new officeholders were seated.

A wave of newly elected prosecutors could further shape the drug policy landscape throughout the country, with a “mixed bag” of results coming out of the elections. 

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Senate Approves Bill Protecting Medical Marijuana States From Federal Intervention - Cannabis News

The Senate approved spending legislation on Thursday that extends a provision protecting medical marijuana states from federal interference.

But the question remains as to whether a House-passed version with broader protections for all state cannabis programs could still be adopted in the final bill that’s sent to the president.

The so-called “minibus” appropriations legislation covers funding for Commerce, Justice, Science, Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development for the 2020 fiscal year. 

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Pennsylvania Senators Move to Legalize Recreational Marijuana - Cannabis News

Two Pennsylvania state senators introduced Senate Bill 350 in Harrisburg on Tuesday which would allow adults 21 and older to possess, cultivate and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers.

If the bill passes, Pennsylvania would become the 11th state to legalize marijuana.

State Senators Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) and Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) said their legislation is designed to end the ongoing destruction caused by cannabis prohibition and to establish a fair protocol for the use, sale and regulation of cannabis.

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Marika Malaea ~ Newsweek.com ~

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Former FDA Chief Wants Federal Government To Regulate State Marijuana Markets - Cannabis News

Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Monday that the federal government should regulate state marijuana programs.

In his clearest comments on the issue to date, Gottlieb said in a CNBC appearance that the rise in vaping-related lung injuries underscores the need for a federal regulatory scheme that would empower agencies to impose industry standards on aspects of legal cannabis markets such as THC potency and allowable forms of consumption.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~  

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More Senators Are Demanding That FDA Speed Up CBD Regulations - Cannabis News

Another group of senators is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expediently implement regulations for CBD in order to protect consumers and free up the industry.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said he is urging FDA to issue guidance so that CBD products can be lawfully marketed.

He and five of his colleagues also sent a letter to FDA expressing their desire to speed up the rulemaking process.

While delivering his remarks, the senator showcased CBD-infused seltzer water, gummies and tinctures as examples of products that can be beneficial to consumers.

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Northeast Governors To Coordinate Marijuana Legalization Plans Next Month - Cannabis News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) revealed on Wednesday that he will be meeting with governors from throughout the region next month to coordinate marijuana legalization plans.

Cuomo and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) made the announcement following a meeting in which they discussed how to ensure there’s consistency among cannabis programs that various neighboring states are working to enact.

The pair said federal inaction on the issue has forced states to take the lead but that it’s also important to avoid a patchwork approach among states in the region.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Historic House Vote Expected on Marijuana Banking Bill - Cannabis News

If the measure passes, it will be the most significant action taken by Congress on marijuana reform in recent memory.

The House is expected to vote Wednesday on a bipartisan bill that would protect banks servicing marijuana businesses, a move that would provide security and stability to the multibillion-dollar cannabis industry.

The vote marks the first time a standalone marijuana reform bill has reached the floor of the House.

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Claire Hansen ~ USNews.com ~ 

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Marijuana Banking Bill Gains Momentum With One Third Of Senate Now Signed On - Cannabis News

The most cannabis-friendly Congress in history is back from its August recess, and lawmakers are already making key moves to advance marijuana reform legislation.

The immediate focus is on a proposal to let banks serve cannabis companies without fear of being punished by federal regulators—with House leaders announcing that a floor vote is expected by the end of the month.

On Monday, the Senate version of the marijuana financial services bill got its 33rd cosponsor -- Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) -- meaning that virtually a third of the chamber is now formally signed onto the legislation, counting its main sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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GOP Senate Chair Says He Plans Marijuana Banking Vote - Cannabis News

The Republican chair of the Senate Banking Committee said on Thursday that his panel will hold a vote on legislation allowing banks to service state-legal marijuana businesses this year.

Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) told Politico that while he doesn’t support ending federal cannabis prohibition, his committee will take up the industry’s banking issues, which was the subject of a hearing the panel held in July.

Because marijuana remains federally illegal, many financial institutions remain wary of taking on cannabis business clients -- forcing them to operate on a cash-only basis -- and there’s a growing bipartisan call to resolve the problem.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Presidential pot: Why 2020 Democrats are ready to legalize marijuana - Cannabis News

Once a politically dangerous subject, legal marijuana has become something of a de facto platform plank for the 2020 Democratic candidates.

All support either legalizing or decriminalizing its use, and the differences lie in just how far the candidates are willing to take it.

But those differences — particularly former Vice President Joe Biden's reluctance to embrace full federal legalization and the lack of enthusiasm that increasingly organized young marijuana activists have for him — may play a role in determining who faces President Donald Trump next fall, experts said.

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Trevor Hughes ~ USAToday.com ~ 

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Mississippi: Petition with over 100,000 signatures to legalize medical marijuana submitted to Secretary of State’s office - Cannabis News

Over 100,000 certified signatures have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s office in an effort to legalize marijuana.

Mississippians for Compassionate Care submitted 105,686 signatures as required by the Mississippi Constitution to qualify Initiative 65, also known as Medical Marijuana 2020 to appear on the ballot for Mississippians to vote on during the November 2020 election.

This does not guarantee the initiative will appear on the ballot; the signatures but first be reviewed by the Secretary of State, who then determines if the initiative qualifies for the ballot.

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WLBT.com ~ 

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President Trump Reiterates His Administration Will Let States Legalize Marijuana - Cannabis News

President Donald Trump again said that his administration is allowing states to set their own marijuana policies.

At a press briefing on Friday, the president was asked by DC Examiner reporter Steven Nelson whether cannabis would be federally legalized while he was in office.

Nelson referenced studies showing that states with legal marijuana systems experience fewer opioid overdoses.

“We’re going to see what’s going on. It’s a very big subject and right now we are allowing states to make that decision,” Trump said. 

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Survey: Americans View Marijuana As Far Less Harmful Than Alcohol And Tobacco - Cannabis News

Americans are twice as likely to say that alcohol is “very harmful” than say the same about marijuana, according to a survey released on Monday.

In fact, far more respondents described alcohol, tobacco and e-cigarettes -- all legal, regulated products -- as seriously dangerous.

The number of Americans who said that tobacco cigarettes are “very dangerous” is more than three times the share who believe that about cannabis, which the federal government continues to classify as an illegal Schedule I substance.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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DEA Announces It Will Finally Take Action On Marijuana Grower Applications - Cannabis News

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced on Monday that is is taking steps to expand the number of federally authorized marijuana manufacturers for research purposes.

In the three years since DEA first said it would be accepting applications for cannabis manufacturers, the agency has received 33 submissions.

In a notice of applications set to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, DEA said the “unprecedented” volume of inquiries makes it necessary to develop new regulations before approving pending applications.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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This Is The Most Marijuana-Friendly Congress In History - Cannabis News

With the House and Senate heading into a month-long August recess this week, it's a good time to look back at what lawmakers have accomplished so far this year when it comes to marijuana reform: It is unquestionable that the 116th Congress is the most cannabis-friendly Congress in history.

Seven months into the session, there have already been seven hearings on cannabis, a marijuana banking bill passed a key committee and the full House adopted a far-reaching amendment to block federal interference in state legalization laws.

And those are just the highlights.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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Legalizing Marijuana, Once Thought Unthinkable In These Three States, Will Be On The Ballot In 2020 - Cannabis News

One of the states sued Colorado years ago for having legal pot, now it's putting legalization to the voters.

Three states will be asking their voters to consider legalizing marijuana for recreational use in 2020, and in those three states the idea would have been all but unthinkable even a few years ago.

As The Motley Fool reports, the tide of public opinion on cannabis use and legalization has turned over the past few years, with 11 states having legalized recreational marijuana, and 22 having legalized medical marijuana. 

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Aaron Homer ~ Inquisitr.com ~ 

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Federal Officials Give Hemp Legalization Update At Senate Hearing - Cannabis News

The Senate Agriculture Committee heard from federal agencies about efforts to implement the legalization of hemp at a hearing on Thursday.

In the months since the crop and its derivatives were federally legalized under the 2018 Farm Bill, lawmakers and industry stakeholders have made repeated calls to expedite the development of regulations providing for the lawful marketing of hemp products.

The panel requested updates to that end from invited witnesses, which included representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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The MORE Act Calls for Sweeping Changes in Federal Cannabis Law - Cannabis News

Two high-profile Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday unveiled what they describe as “one of the most comprehensive marijuana law bills ever introduced in the US Congress.”

US Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Kamala Harris of California -- who is running for president -- introduced their Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act on Tuesday.

The bill would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act.

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Bruce Kennedy ~ Leafly.com ~ 

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Top Congressional Chairman And Presidential Candidate File Marijuana Legalization Bills - Cannabis News

The chairman of a key congressional committee responsible for crime policy is teaming up with a senator running for president to file legislation on Tuesday that would federally legalize marijuana and seek to repair some of the harms of a war on drugs that has been waged primarily against people of color.

The move by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), who leads the Judiciary Committee, and 2020 Democratic contender Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) signals that, at least on the House side of the Capitol, a floor vote to end federal cannabis prohibition could come before the end of the year.

If enacted, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would remove marijuana and THC from the Controlled Substances Act, provide for expungement and resentencing of prior convictions and prevent federal agencies from using cannabis as a reason to deny access to benefits or citizenship status for immigrants.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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Senate Schedules Hearing On Marijuana Business Banking Access - Cannabis News

In one of the clearest signs of marijuana reform's growing momentum on Capitol Hill, a Republican-controlled Senate committee has scheduled a hearing for next week that will examine cannabis businesses' lack of access to banking services.

The formal discussion in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on Tuesday comes as legislation aimed at resolving the marijuana industry's financial services problems is gaining momentum.

A House cannabis banking bill that cleared that chamber's Financial Services Committee with a bipartisan vote in March now has 206 cosponsors -- nearly half the body -- while companion Senate legislation has 32 out of 100 senators signed on.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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FDA Says It Is Speeding Up The CBD Regulation Process - Cannabis News

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said on Friday that it was “expediting” its efforts to develop rules for CBD and plans to issue a report on the department’s progress by early fall.

FDA Acting Chief Information Officer Amy Abernethy tweeted that “FDA is expediting its work to address the many questions about cannabidiol (CBD),” describing it as “an important national issue with public health impact, & an important topic for American hemp farmers and many other stakeholders.”

“We are enthusiastic about research into the therapeutic benefits of CBD products but also need to balance safety,” she said.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Congress Holds Historic Hearing On Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition - Cannabis News

Members of a key congressional committee are holding a historic hearing on ending federal marijuana prohibition on Wednesday, setting the stage for a potential markup of legislation that could fundamentally change cannabis laws in the U.S.

The meeting of the House Judiciary Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security Subcommittee marks a significant development in the marijuana reform movement.

Early signs indicate that members won’t be discussing whether to legalize cannabis -- but how to do it.

“The hearing will provide Members with the opportunity to consider issues related to the need to reform marijuana laws in America,” a committee staffer said in a notice released on Tuesday. 

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Lawmakers File Three Congressional Bills To Help Small Marijuana Businesses - Cannabis News

Small marijuana businesses would be eligible for a wide range of federal economic services under three congressional bills that were filed on Thursday.

Following a House Small Business Committee hearing on opportunities and challenges for small cannabis companies earlier this month, the chair and two other members of the panel filed legislation aimed at resolving some of the issues that were raised.

One bill, from Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), would allow marijuana businesses to access resources from the federal Small Business Administration (SBA). Those resources include microloans, disaster assistance and the loan guaranty program. 

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~

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Historic Marijuana Measures Clear First Major Congressional Hurdles As Opposition Wanes - Cannabis News

With the annual appropriations process wrapping up in the House, far-reaching marijuana measures are officially clearing their first major hurdles -- and longtime opponents are largely standing out of the way instead of mounting what would likely be futile efforts to block reform.

A bill containing a historic amendment to protect cannabis programs in all states, U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. was given final approval in the chamber on Tuesday.

And separate legislation that includes a provision safeguarding banks that service marijuana businesses also cleared the House on Wednesday.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Congress Votes To Block Feds From Enforcing Marijuana Laws In Legal States - Cannabis News

The House of Representatives approved a far-reaching measure on Thursday to prevent the Department of Justice from interfering with state marijuana laws, including those allowing recreational use, cultivation and sales.

The amendment, which also shields cannabis laws in Washington, D.C. and U.S. territories, is now attached to a large-scale appropriations bill to fund parts of the federal government for Fiscal Year 2020.

The inclusion of adult-use programs represents a significant expansion of an existing policy that protects only local medical cannabis laws from federal intervention which was first enacted in 2014 and has since been extended through annual spending bills.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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Federal Aviation Administration Clarifies Marijuana And CBD Policy For Pilots - Cannabis News

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently issued an advisory clarifying that pilots who test positive for THC are disqualified from certain certifications, even if that’s just from trace amounts in CBD products or if they use marijuana in a state where it’s legal.

The advisory notes that FAA has received “a number of inquiries about marijuana, due to the recent increase in the number of states around the country that have approved its use for medical and recreational purposes.”

The agency said that pilots are especially interested in learning the rules governing non-intoxicating CBD. 

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Oregon House Passes Bill To Transport Cannabis Across State Lines - Cannabis News

The Oregon House passed a bill Tuesday that makes it legal to transport cannabis across state lines. But trading isn’t about to happen anytime soon.

Senate Bill 582 includes a number of important restrictions.

For example, cross-state transportation would only be allowed between states that have both legalized marijuana and share a border with Oregon.

That would include Washington, California and Nevada, but not Idaho because it hasn’t legalized marijuana. 

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Delaware: Marijuana legalization bill clears first legislative hurdle - Cannabis News

A bill to legalize marijuana in Delaware has cleared its first legislative hurdle.

The House Revenue and Finance Committee voted Wednesday after a two-hour hearing to send the bill to the full House.

The legislation calls for a state-licensed industry that would create jobs while padding state coffers with licensing fees and taxes.

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Randall Chase ~ Associated Press ~ 

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Bipartisan Governors Team Up To Demand Federal Marijuana Reform - Cannabis News

The governors of twelve states sent a letter to congressional leaders on Monday, urging them to pass bipartisan legislation that would let states legalize and regulate marijuana without fear of federal intervention.

In the letter, the Republican and Democratic governors said that a majority of states have already moved to allow cannabis for medical or recreational purposes and mentioned that “state legislators across the country have filed hundreds of bills to legalize and regulate this emerging industry, provide protections for consumers, promote public safety and eliminate illegal sales.”

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~

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Congressional Funding Bill Protects Cannabis Banking And Lets DC Legalize Marijuana Sales - Cannabis News

Federal officials would be blocked from punishing banks for working with marijuana businesses under an annual spending bill released by congressional Democratic leaders on Sunday.

The legislation, which is set to be considered by a House subcommittee on Monday, would also remove a longstanding rider that prevents the city of Washington, D.C. from spending its own money to legalize and regulate recreational cannabis sales.

Although a growing numbers of states are moving to legalize and regulate marijuana -- with Illinois lawmakers becoming the latest to pass a bill ending cannabis prohibition on Friday -- many banks remain reluctant to work with licensed businesses in the industry out of fear of being subject to ongoing federal penalties.

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Tom Angell ~ Forbes.com ~ 

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Colorado Gov. Signs Bills Legalizing Delivery and Lounges - Cannabis News

With a few signatures Wednesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis dramatically expanded his state’s already historic cannabis laws, and fulfilled some of his campaign pledges to enhance the state’s significant cannabis industry.

Speaking during a ceremony at the state capitol in Denver, Polis noted that Colorado cannot “rest on our laurels as one of the first states to legalize marijuana.”

He then signed into law a series of bills that he said would ensure “that Colorado can maintain its leadership position in job creation in the cannabis industry.”

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Bruce Kennedy ~ Leafly.com ~ 

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Illinois Senate OKs revised legal marijuana bill - Cannabis News

A bill approved by the Illinois Senate on Wednesday to legalize possession and sale of recreational marijuana for people 21 and older would create history-making “social equity” to repair damage done by the nationwide war on drugs, sponsors of the legislation said.

Several of those sponsors embraced amid applause after the 38-17 vote, which paved the way for House consideration of the proposal — modified in several ways over the past two weeks — that would make Illinois the 11th state to legalize recreational cannabis.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s willingness to eventually pardon potentially hundreds of thousands of people convicted of lower-level marijuana offenses was key to easing constitutional concerns about House Bill 1438 and winning several Republican votes, according to Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, one of the bill’s co-sponsors.

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Dean Olsen ~ State Journal-Register ~ 

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Texas Senate Advances Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill - Cannabis News

More than a million Texans could be eligible to access medical marijuana through the Texas Compassionate Use Program, after state senators Wednesday unanimously approved a bill expanding the list of qualifying conditions.

House Bill 3703 is more narrow than one passed by the House earlier this month, but would allow patients with medical seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, terminal cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, autism, and ALS to obtain medical cannabis with up to .5% THC from a state-licensed dispensary.

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Andrea Lucia ~ CBS Dallas/Fort Worth ~

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Poll: Most of Illinois says marijuana should be legal - Cannabis News

A new poll by Global Strategy Group on behalf of Think Big Illinois, says a majority of people in Illinois want marijuana legalized.

When asked whether marijuana should be legalized, taxed, and regulated just like alcohol, 60% support it, with 35% opposing.

Support spans across the state – 60% in the city of Chicago, 68% in suburban Cook County, 60% in the Collar counties, and 54% Downstate.

Six out of ten voters support legalizing recreational marijuana, taxing it and regulating it (60% support vs. 35% oppose).

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State Treasurers Group Endorses Marijuana Banking Legislation - Cannabis News

A group representing state treasurers and finance officials is formally calling on Congress to pass legislation allowing marijuana businesses to more readily store their profits in banks.

The National Association of State Treasurers adopted a resolution on Friday announcing that the organization “supports common sense federal laws and regulations to provide essential banking services to state legalized cannabis businesses, promote public safety and financial transparency, and facilitate local, state and federal tax and fee collection.”

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Tom Angell ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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Top Congressional Democrats Announce Bill To Federally Deschedule Marijuana - Cannabis News

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) announced on Thursday that they will be reintroducing legislation to federally deschedule marijuana and encourage minority and women participation in state-legal markets.

The bills are the latest in a series of bold reform proposals that have been filed this Congress, but Schumer’s backing is particularly emblematic of the mainstreaming of marijuana, as the top Senate Democrat has historically embraced punitive drug policies and is now—for the second year in a row—introducing legislation to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act altogether.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~

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Texas House passes bill to dramatically expand state's medical marijuana law - Cannabis News

The Texas House has approved a bill that would expand the state's medical marijuana laws to cover many more patients with a variety of different ailments and diseases.

"There are countless Texans enduring insurmountable pain as they battle diseases like cancer, autism and PTSD," Rep. Eddie Lucio III, D-Brownsville, said as he introduced his bill late Monday evening.

"This is undoubtedly a complex bill, members. But it has taken countless hours of time to develop a system we believe would work best to serve those in need. By combining needed patient protections and a comprehensive research component, this bill provides a framework to improve the lives of countless Texans in the near future."

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Lauren McGaughy ~ DallasNews.com ~

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It’s a $130 Fine for 3 Grams, Under Hawaii’s Decrim Bill - Cannabis News

Hawaii, the cradle of Maui Wowie, Kona Gold and other classic strains, may soon become the 23rd state (along with Washington D.C.) to decriminalize low-level possession of cannabis.

Last week, the state’s House and Senate passed a final vote on a measure that will decriminalize the possession of up to three grams of marijuana starting on Jan. 11, 2020.

The bill now moves to Hawaii Gov. David Ige for his signature or veto. Ige hasn’t signaled which way he’ll go. Cindy McMillan, Ige’s communications director, told Leafly that the bill “will undergo departmental and legal review before the governor will make a decision on it.”

If he vetoes the bill, Ige must notify the Legislature by June 24. 

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The Cannabis Revolution Comes to the Capitol - Cannabis News

Pot policy is suddenly a hot topic for federal lawmakers -- and on the 2020 campaign trail.

Since the dawn of the Drug War, federal legislators have stood by, or even applauded, as millions of Americans have racked up convictions for marijuana offenses — with arrests increasing in the latest FBI crime statistics, despite nearly a dozen states having already legalized cannabis.

But over the past two years, and now accelerating with Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives, federal marijuana reform has become a hot topic on the Hill. 

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Tim Dickinson ~ RollingStone.com ~

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Texas Lawmakers Will Vote On Marijuana Decriminalization This Week - Cannabis News

The Texas House is scheduled to vote on a bill on Thursday that would make low-level marijuana possession punishable by a fine with no jail time.

The development comes one month after the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee approved the decriminalization legislation in a 5-2 vote.

Under the bill, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana would be punishable by a $250 fine for the first two offenses, and it would be considered a class C misdemeanor for subsequent offenses, which is a lower penalty than is the case under current law.

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Kyle Jaeger ~ MarijuanaMoment.net ~ 

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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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